Friday, May 30, 2008

Purple Shutters, this must be France

If you scroll down to my posts from Italy you will see buildings with many colors of stucco over the stone walls, and shutters and many doors all the same color of green.

Now you purple shutters on a grey wall, we are in France. Here the walls are mostly the grey of the stone, or in some places in this part ofFrance they are a sienna colored adobe, and the shutters and doors are of all colors of the rainbow.

Sorry I must sign off now and take the connection back to the neighbors. More tomorrow hopefully, Sandy

French Esacapade 2008 painting trip

Here we are in the tiny village of Virieu, France posing with a cutout statue of the Dutch Impressionist Jongkind who lived and painted in this village and the surrounding contryside. Left to right are Kathy Ross, Linda Carroll, Josephine Takomoto, Jackie Mickesel, Shelley MacIntosh, Bonnie Crosse and myself. What a wonderful group. The weather has been rainy, a real challenge for watercolor painters, but we are having a great time anyway. Stay tuned for more photos...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Via San Francisco, Vernazza Italy

This is my last day in the Cinque Terre, tomorrow I take several trains to Nice. After spending the night there I take another train to Lyon to meet up with my students and Jackie and Valerie for our "French Escapade" painting trip.

I will continue to add to this blog. Remember the blog posts the last one first, so scroll down to "Older Posts" twice now to get to day one of this trip, May 22, 2008. Please leave a comment for me so I know you are getting this.

Ciao! Sandy

Recognize these two?

That's right, as I was talking with the friendly lady her husband came up from his swim, and asked where I was from. When I said Penryn, he said, "Do you know Victoria Brooks?" It was Silvio Sylvester and his wife Katheryn from Grass Valley. I have seen his paintings in shows around the area, but never met him. How fun is that?
Anyway I finished my painting and went to get a table across the square at the restaurant, Silvia (not sure I am spelling his name right) set up to paint the square. Just then a procession appeared around the corner from the church, lead by children scattering flowers along path already made of blossoms across the square and up the main street, came a procession. Brothers carrying a cross, the Father followed by most of the village singing a song. A lady waiting for a table said, "Oh look they have hired a painter to capture the procession!" and pointed to Sylvio!
The Sylvesters were able to find a place to stay from my Rick Steve's book and we shared a nice dinner and train ride. I have not seen them today but where ever they are I am sure they are having fun. I painted another Vernazza Gelato place today, last time I was here I did not see this one, maybe it is new. The other one across the lane from it I painted last time. I have a bit more to do on it so will post it later.

Towels above the Vernazza Marina, a watercolor

Yes I have been painting, not just photographing, although I have a tun of new photos to paint from when I return home.
While painting this painting seated in a shady spot of the marina square in Vernazza yesterday an American lady sat down and struck up a conversation. She said she was waiting for her husband who was over there swimming, but he too was here painting. An oil painter, they had been traveling around Europe by car and being a fast painter he has already painted many paintings. She complained about the place they were staying so I loaned her my Rick Steve's book so she could find a better spot. They were traveling without Rick Steve's Guide Book, is that possible?????? Anyway, the next photo (which will actually be the previous photo as the blog posts the last ones first) is of the painter and his wife.

An appropriate mailbox in a vino town

This is a wine barrel that has been placed in the wall by the door of a home here. This region is famous for its wine, my guess is this guy is a wine maker.

This is how I get around the Cinque Terre

The trains here are terrific, they come a couple of times an hour each way, up and down the Italian Riviera. To go between the 5 villages of the Cinque Terre, you pay 1 euro 40 cents for a ticket that you validate and it is good for 6 hours, just hop and hop off. Of course it is wise to check the schedule to make sure you are on the right track, so far I have done fine with the trains after I got here. Of course my booboo on the way to Cinque Terre is another matter.

Wedding in Vernazza

May 24, 2008 while enjoying my favorite lunch here, bruchutto y melone (I have no idea if I spelled that right) the bells of the church began to ring in celebratory notes and then the wedding part appeared from the church around the corner from the restaurant on the Vernazza marina where I was eating. Meals here are not lonely even though I am traveling alone, tables are close and people just talk to each other in whatever language they can find works. Today a friendly Norwegian couple sat with a German couple that they said were the luckiest Germans alive. When I asked why, I was told they won the German 1 million euro lottery, and so purchased a home high on a hill here in Vernazza. They had invited the Norwegian couple for a visit. Behind me a Canadian couple jokes with the funny old waiter who tells them that this may be the groom's best day, or worst day of the rest of his life! Susan, remember the funny and cranky old guy who was the waiter at the restaurant with the colorful umbrellas? Same guy, still here.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Old walls New Windows, Corniglia, Italy

Ciao! When I post on my blog the most recent post is at the top, so for this painting journal to make any sense to you, scroll down to the beginning of my trip. It is the post just prior to the video of Brother Pual Brennan speaking of the violence in Kenya.

Enjoy my journey.....


This wall looks like an abstract painting


As I write this journal intended for family, friends, my artist friends and student friends I wonder if anyone is actually reading it......

Please send me a comment on the blog and let me know. It is faster for me to read comments on the blog as I am already in the blog, than emails and since I am paying for minutes here I would appreciate you use the comment feature on this blog instead of email. Its easy, just click where it says comment. Are you out there?

New and Old Doors, Corniglia Italy

Day 3, Saturday. Figuring Vernazza and Manarola would be crowded on the weekend I headed for tiny Corniglia the only village of the Cinque Terre that is not on the sea. I was rewarded with many picturesque old stone walls, old doors, and old lanes.

For those who like to paint scenes of vineyards from the top of the hill, I am thinking of Deborah and SusanH, this is a great destination. The vineyards are terraced with dry rock walls and interlaced with tiny gardens and flowers. As for me, I love to paint the ancient lanes, doors and windows, and I found a feast of them here. Unfortunately the sky was grey most of the day so I will have to imagine the shadow patterns that would have been there had the sun been shining.

I am posting this particular view as I was all set up to paint it when the heavens opened and it began to pour. So I quickly packed up and looked for a sheltered spot with a view I could paint.

I found steps leading off the main street of Corniglia (street is too big a word, it is only 5 feet wide at the most) up to a doorway that looked too old to be used. The best part was the view across the "street" was lovely and their was a roof over my head.

I began to draw with my ink pen when the door opened and out came an Italian lady with a cigarette in her mouth, "Prego, Prego" she said never loosing the cigarette as she squeezed past me. "Prego" seems to mean Please do, or its OK or something like that. I hear it all the time. By the time I decided to take a break and take more photos and have a bite to eat, 4 people had come out of the doorway, all smiling and saying "Prego, Prego" to me as I took over their front porch. The painting is not finished yet, but I will post it when I complete it.

The fun part about my perch was I could overhear everyone, tourists and locals alike, as they strolled down the lane and very few noticed me. Some tourists need to watch what they say! Of course I understand only a few words of German and Italian so most of the people that past me I could not understand, but the English was spoken by as many Brits and Ausies, as Canadians and Americans, and at times their comments and impressions of Italy were pretty funny.

If the twenty something American and Canadian guys are wondering where the girls are, they are all backpacking in Italy!

Looking Over the Laundry

Look closely at the balconies and windows all over Italy and you can catch someone looking down at the activity in the street below. This shot was taken in the tiny hillside village of Corneglia, Italy.

Parking on the main street of Manarola, Italy

In this tiny village on the sea more locals own boats than cars. In fact since the Cenque Terre was designated a National Park, cars are not allowed in the villages. So if I see a cute door I want to paint I do not have to worry about a car parking in front of it, but it may have a boat in front instead.

A painting in my journal of Manarola from the backside

Day 2, I took a hike from Riomaggoire to Manarola and found this fabulous view of Manarola from the backside just peaking through the cliffs. I found a nice place to sit and paint, and with a wary look at the cloudy sky decided to set up and paint and hope the sun came out. I was on a platform that was above the train station, so the whole time I painted I heard train announcements in Italian and then English, I can now translate Italian train announcements. Just as I began to add the color, the sun came out, perfecto!

Italians can't talk without their hands

I had to laugh when I saw these two in front of the local old guy hand out, the short guy talking with his hands reminded me of my Dad. H could not talk without gesturing, he always had something to say, and was always the short guy in any crowd! After he retired he would go to the post office in Fort Jones every day to get the mail and hang out with the other retired guys also there "to pick up the mail". Fort Jones has a population of 500, so, Vernazaa population 600, life is so similar in small towns all over the world.

Ciao! Update from Cinque Terre, Italy


There are 5 villages in the Cinque Terre, I chose to stay in Riomaggorie (village number 1 in Rick Steve's bood) this time as it is the quietest of the 4 beach villages (the train goes through the bottom of the village and I have a room at the top of the village). But of course the only wy-fy access is in Vernazza, village number 4. Regional trains run a couple of times an hour all day long and cost 1euro,40cents for a ticket that lasts 6 hours, so no big deal to travel among the villages. With so much to paint, photograph, and see however, I choose to spend my time out in it all instead of the Internet cafe, so that is why you have not had many updates to this blog. It is sprinkling at the moment so perfect time to catch up on the blog. This cute photo was caught when the sun was out a few days ago in Vernazza, a painting waiting to be done for sure! Vernazza is the most popular village so many tourists to try to see around to paint. I'll paint from my photos here when I get home.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Riomaggorie Marina

Its rainy today and the sea is a bit rough for the little boats so they are all stacked up in the marina. Riomaggorie is very tiny and friendly, not like the cities of Italy, it is easy to feel at home here.
The train unloaded two groups of 50 or so tourists, one all German, one American this morning. The other tourists are all on there own, not with tour groups, mostly young 20 somethings with back pack's, American, but I have heard Brit and Ausie accents too, and some youngsters from Germany. Then there is my age tourist, mostly German, some American, the ones inbetween 20 and 60 must be all at home working! Well I am off to find a place to paint under and umbrella. stay tuned. Sandy

Ciao! from Riomaggoire, Itlay

Ciao! This is my home in Riomaggorie, Cinque Terre Italy for the next 5 days. I am on a painting trip (solo this time) to Italy. Then I will meet my friends in Lyon France where I will be teaching a watercolor workshop for French Escapade.

My journey here was long, long, and longer! 3 airplanes a shuttle bus and two trains. A very big and confusing train station in Milan. Note to self, next time fly to Genoa, I know that train station well!

The only hitch was the first train trip. I bought my ticket form the nice lady that spoke English in the travel agency 365 in Milan train station like Rick Steve's book says, got on a very nice fast train to La Spezia (the end of the line). Then I was to catch a frequent regional train to Riomaggorie. Well, I fell asleep on the train, not surprising since I had not slept on all the airplanes. When I awoke everyone was getting off the train so I assumed it was the end of the line and hurried off. It was a very crowded station and as I searched for the posted train schedule to find the track to be on for the train to Riomaggorie I began to feel like I had been there before. Oh yeah, this is Genoa! Susan and I missed our train here two years ago! Well at least I knew where to find the Information Office where they speak English, been there done that! I swear it was the same white haired man that helped me locate a train to get me to Riomaggorie and assured me that my ticket would still work. Anyway I made it, and after a very deep sleep last night in my cute little room, I am out exploring today. Its overcast, spits a bit of rain now and then but comfortable around 72 degrees I think.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Bro Paul Brennan in Eldoret

This is a news video about the recent violence in Eldoret Kenya. Brother Paul Brennan is interviewed in this piece. He founded and runs the Patrician Primary School at Kabongo near Eldoret. I am pleased to announce that Cay Drachnik, Kathy Young Ross and I are working with Barton Gallery in Sacramento on an art show of our paintings of Africa to raise badly needed funds for the Patrician Primary School at Kabongo. The show will open with an Artist Reception August 8 and run through September 8, 2009 at Barton Gallery, 1723 I Street, Sacramento, California. More details to come...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Art Loop was great, now its time to pack

The Loomis Art Loop Open Studio tour was a great weekend, but now it is over and so time for this sunflower painting to go the the gallery. I hung it today in my studio in the back of Elliott Fouts Gallery, and it will soon be on his website. Loomis Art Loop is an annual Mother's Day event here in the Loomis Basin where my home studio is located. We think we had around 200 visitors, and 3 original paintings went home to live with new owners. Loads of prints and cards also went to new homes which is always gratifying as it shows that people like my paintings.

Now I am racing around trying to get ready to leave for a painting trip to Italy and then to teach a painting workshop put on by the wonderful small group tour company called "French Escapade" in the French Alps.

I plan to blog as I travel, posting photos and paintings as go, so stay tuned here!

This painting is called "Radient" it is a watercolor image size 18" x 24" princed at $850. framed.
Inquiries to Elliott Fouts Gallery 916-736-1429.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Loomis Art Loop Update

The first day of the Loomis Art Loop is over and Linda and I have our feet up. This little painting has a new home in the Bay Area. We had great fun meeting lots of new art lovers, and visiting with old friends.

Hope to see you tomorrow, from 10:00am to 5:00pm. We would love to see Mom on her special day.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Disappearing Landscapes Show in Auburn, California

I am posting the Red Barn at Labadie Farm again to remind everyone that the Disappearing Landscapes Show to benefit the Placer Land Trust is still hanging at Latitudes Restaurant, 130 Maple Street in Auburn, California.

The curator Rosie Stillwell invited the top artists in the County to be in this show and the artists stepped up to the plate big time. Their work is wonderful!

But the public has been slow in discovering this show, only two pieces have sold so far. The Red Barn is still waiting to go home with someone. It is framed in a very cute shadow box frame (the image is 6' x 6") and is priced at $250.00. To purchase the Red Barn email Rosie Stillwell at of call her at 530-885-5670.

I really do hope that you will visit Latitudes and see the show, as there are so many good pieces there just waiting for you. If you go, there is parking next to the restaurant in a lot, and you can enter through the Bistro, see the art there, and then come up stairs to the restaurant to view the rest of the show.

My Latest print and card image

"Pots" St. Paul de Vence, France is my latest small print and card. It is so new it is not on my website, so those of you coming to my studio this coming weekend during the Loomis Art Loop will get to see it first.

This darling window with the cute pot collection drew many of my students to paint it during a painting trip to the French Riviera a couple of years ago. In fact so many were crowded around the window, that I painted a door further down the square. I took some photos and knew that sooner or later I would get around to painting that darling French window with the pots. The original is only 6" x 6" and I am saving it for a future show.

Don't forget the Open Studio Tour called the Loomis Art Loop is this coming weekend, Saturday May 10 and Sunday May 11, 10:00 - 5:00 each day. Free maps can be downloaded from com/">http://www.loomisartloop>com.