Wisteria At Hotel Giordano, Ravello

48×48 inches
Acrylic on canvas

My friend Nicki had posted a gorgeous shot of wisteria hanging overhead on a trellis. I  asked if she had a wider shot. She sent me a video, that showed how the photo was taken from a parking lot. (Or car park.) So no wide shot but a gorgeous view of the Hotel Giordano in Ravello. Ravello is also on the Amalfi peninsula but is up on the hilltops. I wanted to paint this shot, and love the mingling of purples and white wisteria is woven over this area. The wisteria trunk is huge and looks to be hundreds of years old. I sometimes think that all living in Italy have a gift of making things grow! (I saw I can paint it, but am horrible at keeping plants, especially flowers alive!)

I actually love that this is in a place where no one would be expecting or looking for beauty. It’s just a parking lot. It’s where you park and leave to get to your real destination. Yet it is glorious. A wonderful reminder to keep your eyes open even during the boring, familiar routines of your day-to-day. You never know where you’ll encounter beauty that takes your breath away! It might be at that spot that hundreds of others have shared on Instagram, but if we seek to look with new eyes we might just find it while exiting our car or scooter in the parking lot!

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Sailor’s Delight

36×36 inches
Acrylic on canvas

You might have heard the phrase; ” Red sky at night, Sailors delight, Red sky at morning sailors take warning.”  This phrase came to mind after I’d finished the piece. The scene is still and calm, a moment of overwhelming beauty. Those perfect moments tend to be fleeting, you never know how long they will last. They are a chance to catch your breath, a respite, perhaps a renewal of hope or time to strengthen oneself before facing the world again.

The painting could be read as either a promise of calm for the next day or a warning of what’s to come. Some storms we can see coming and others take us by surprise. Many times we are powerless to prevent what’s coming. All we can do is prepare. What do you do to prepare? What gives you hope when you know one is coming or you’re in the midst of one?

At times I’ll admit I worry, imagining all that could happen, usually all the worst-case scenarios, stomach in knots. Convinced after looking up my symptoms that I’ve become a doctor and something is majorly wrong. Somehow thinking my being focused on how bad it is or could be can do something other than weighing myself down. Feeling without help in the world.

Other times I shift my focus from the storm to the one who can calm the storm, and promises to be there with us in the midst. I’m less paralyzed and remember that I am not alone. The circumstances don’t change but my perspective does, and a determined hope surfaces.

So smooth sailing or storms ahead I think there is always a reason to hope!

Overhead at Conca dei Marini

24×24 inches

Acrylic on canvas

I find my tendency when facing challenges is to study the problem, look at all the facets, worry, and then see if I can find a solution. Some things I can do, like looking in the fridge and figuring out what to make for dinner. Other things are totally overwhelming, and I can feel alone. Or I alert my husband to the breadth of the problem, hoping he will magically have a solution. No doubt, it’s a comfort for others to journey with me through it. Yet I’d like to switch my default. Instead of being overwhelmed by the size of the problem, I’d like to look to God and be overwhelmed that he is with me. He will journey with me and has the power, love, and goodness to actually do something about the problem.

Oh, the irony, So I didn’t plan to be painting a beach scene when an arctic blast will send temps well below freezing and blizzards have covered everything in white. But here I’ve been painting people lounging, relaxing on the beach, basking in the sun. It takes an effort to create new habits. Here’s to leaving worry behind.

I loved the bird’s eye view and the variety and interest the umbrellas, chairs, people, and shadows made to the scene. It was a fun scene to paint, the water and rocks going quickly. Then bit by bit tackling the beach.

This is Conca dei Marini near Amalfi. The Amalfi peninsula is mountainous, rocky, with hidden towns and beaches tucked away along the coast. The hilly terrain lends to some amazing views as one stops along the road to take it in. Better yet grab your towel, find a chair and sit and relax.

Shades of Green- minitures

I live in Florida, where there is plenty of greenery. However, traveling this summer in the Midwest, taking in some wilderness area it felt different. I loved the overhead canopy of trees and the dappled sunlight. I completed a few smaller paintings during the trip and look forward to doing more paintings in upcoming months.

The following are each 6×6 inches, acrylic on canvas, inspired by our time in Mammoth National Park.

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Flower cafe #1 — Niagara-on-the-lake

Acrylic on canvas
24×24

Over the past year or so I delved into painting cityscapes or street scenes. That place where nature and civilization intersect. In most cases sharing space, at times one becoming more dominant. I find the best way to acquire photographs to work from is to walk around an area and take it in. Take the time to examine different angles, nuances missed when whizzing by in a car.

Not sure why, but I find myself drawn to outdoor cafes or restaurants who have some outdoor seating. (Particularly if they have umbrellas.) I’ve never been to Europe to see squares filled with such places. But I’ve found spots locally and in my travels that appeal to me. Maybe it’s the access to people watching, or the intentionality sitting and enjoying the meal and the time spent in fellowship.

As I’ve painted more I find myself asking why? Why does it appeal to me, touch me, have an emotional response? Not sure I have the answer fully for outdoor cafes. They are a reminder to slow down and enjoy. Invest in the moment. How one can survive on very little, yet it’s beauty around us, in us, in others that help us to thrive.

So expect to see more outdoor cafes from me in the future. This one is from The Epicurean restaurant in Niagara-on-the-lake. Loved the small area and of course the lavish flowers. (Took photos of several other eateries nearby that I will explore in upcoming works.)

Shades of green

Cuyahoga shades of green series 1,2,3
20×20
Acrylic on canvas

These 20×20 works are a continuation of my Shades of Green series that I started with a few smaller quick studies done from photos I took at Mammoth Cave National park that we visited earlier in the month.

Parking in a small lot we waiting for my friend to arrive. They pulled in shortly after us and after applying sunscreen we crossed the road and started down the trail. I’ve lived in Florida for about half my life, it’s green and sunny, yet felt a world away from this hike. We were in Cuyahoga Valley National Park, one of the newest of the National Parks that is nestled just south of Cleveland. We stepped under the canopy of trees into a sea of greens and browns. It was a hilly area, with some stairs to help navigate the trail. There was a small stream that ran over dark rocks. Peaceful, beautiful, full of life.

The park is quite spread out so we drove to a few other spots that day to take short hikes to different waterfalls. Loved the canopy of green and the dappled light!

I often paint scenes with more contrast, a larger variety of colors. As I continued to study the photograph I was working from, I saw the subtle shades of blue, purple, yellows and the many shades of green. Some scenes have a beauty immediately observed, while others hold a quieter beauty. Here under the trees sheltered from busy streets not far off is a place of sanctuary. It won’t be rushed, it doesn’t demand, but invites and is waiting. It gently reminds us of the importance of slowing down.

New color

It’s been months since I first bought tubes of acrylic paint. Some I used up and moved to a new tube. Then there was my sad tube of ultramarine blue. Bought it and got it home and it was clumpy, partially separated and gross. So I, for the most part, avoided using it. Finally, I thought to take it back to the store, explain it came like this and ask can I exchange it for a tube of smooth properly mixed paint. I had no idea how a tube of paint could change my life. OK, maybe not my life, but ultramarine blue mixes quite differently than phthalo blue. Hues I couldn’t quite achieve before sing from my canvas.

Am I really that excited about a tube of paint? It brightened my day. But really it brought to light a life lesson. We can be trudging through life by choice or in ignorance not using all the resources available to us. Why go without that person, place or, thing, that will help us? Maybe it’s a friend, or a calculator, or maybe it’s God. Fear, laziness, stubbornness can keep us from taking advantage.

I had to take a chance on ultramarine blue, and learn how it interacts with other colors, how transparent it is, what colors compliment it. But I’m so glad that it is now another color on my palette.

What color do you need to try?

These are three from my new series of sunrise/sunsets. They are small, and I purposefully worked loosely, quickly. They have been a fun change of pace. I hope to create some larger pieces from these sketches.