Friday, December 31, 2010

An Artist’s New Year Resolutions

The Gift Amaryllis

The Gift Amaryllis, my newest painting in my floral oils series.

Happy New Year Everyone

It’s time for making resolutions, here are my “Art Resolutions”.  I would love to hear resolutions from other artists, please add them in the comment section below.

Art Resolutions

1.  Continue to have fun painting, by painting what I want to paint.  I find my best work is created when I am most passionate about my subject, and process.

2.  Create a body of new work worthy of a one or two person gallery show by the end of 2011.

3.  Make painting time, not just “paint when I get a chance”, as I often hear my students say.

4.  Keep my current gallery supplied with new work and search for a second gallery beyond Northern California.

5.  Continue to study ways to use technology to market my paintings and my workshops.  Thanks to John Stanley for an excellent Photoshop class at the Placer School for Adults, it helped.

6.  Check deadlines for competitions on the 15th and 30th of every month and get those entries in.  You can’t win if you don’t enter.

7.  Blog at least once a week.

8.  Take at least one workshop or class this year to continue to add to my knowledge of painting.

9.  Sharing all that I have learned with my students is fun and rewarding so I will continue to do that plus  listen to their suggestions on how to improve my teaching skills. 

I listened to my Sacramento area students when they  complained that they had trouble finishing their paintings they start in my classes.  They asked for more time in class so I changed my format from half day classes to a 2 day workshop.  So far not many have signed up, so let’s hope that is what you all want!  The schedule is on my website

10.  Share my work by donating to causes that I support.

Now it is your turn.

Please share your Art Resolutions in the comment box below.  Maybe we can all inspire each other.




Friday, December 3, 2010

Wayne’s World at the Crocker Art Museum

I finally made it to visit the new and improved Crocker Art Museum and see the Wayne Thiebaud exhibit just before Thanksgiving. 

WOW!!!!!!!!!  The museum is fabulous, any city of any size would be proud to have such a marvelous art museum!  The cafĂ© is great too!

I am a fortunate artist in that my favorite artist is not only alive, but I actually got to take a class from him 40 years ago, and have had the opportunity to visit with him recently at Elliott Fouts Gallery.  

When I was an art major at Chico State I learned about a trip Wayne and Betty Thiebaud were planning to his opening at the Stone Gallery in New York City.  They were making it possible for students to go with them, and spend a week in the city visiting museums and galleries and receiving a unit of credit through Sacramento State.  I jumped at the chance, and the trip was memorable. 

From shows I have attended in New York and San Francisco, and from reproductions in books and calendars I recognized many of the paintings hanging in the Crocker exhibition.  There were some that I had not seen before, like his paintings of the seaside resorts done in 2007.  The ice cream sherbet colors, the tall resort hotel on a sandy peninsula, loads of texture absolutely yummy!  And the composition, only Wayne would think of that!

Having my share of unfinished paintings sitting around the studio I was heartened to see paintings like “Estate” dated 1969 – 1996!   It shows buildings on top of an enormous hill with really rich colors, another one of his brilliant compositions.  This too was a painting I had not seen.  One of my favorites, also new to me, is dated 2003-2008 and is titled “The Speaker”.  Wayne’s humor shines through this painting just like the speaker’s bald head!

Two portraits of Betty Jean hang together, one from 1965 that looks just as I remember her then and one done in 1985.  Both are beautiful.

Thank you Wayne for all that you have giving the art world, our community, and all that you have taught your students over the years.   Keep on painting!

I do hope everyone reading this can make it to the Crocker even though the Thiebaud show is over, the collection at the Crocker and the museum itself is worth many visits.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Paintings at Elliott Fouts Gallery

Today I delivered the following paintings to Elliott Fouts Gallery.

The Last Rose of Summer

The Last Rose of Summer  oil on canvas 24” x 24”

Maui Flowers

Maui Flowers  Watercolor on Aquabord   12” x 12”

Autumn in the Vineyard

Autumn in the Vineyard  Watercolor on Aquabord  12” x 12”

Proud Parrot

Proud Parrot  Watercolor on Aquabord   20” x 16”

Tropical Bouquet

Tropical Bouquet  Watercolor on Aquabord  30” x 22”

This Saturday is Second Saturday and the Gallery will be hosting a reception for the Featured Artist John Karl Claes from 6:00pm – 9:00pm.   These new paintings will also be exhibited.  See you at Elliott Fouts Gallery, 4749 J Street, in East Sacramento.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Where in the world would you like to paint?

I am planning my Watercolor Workshops for 2012 and would like to know where in the world you would like to paint.  All suggestions welcome, well maybe not really cold places like the North Pole!

In 2011 I will be taken students to paint in Provence, France in June and the Cinque Terre Italy in September.  The France trip is full and taking names on the waiting list.  The same thing could happen to the Italy trip if you wait too long.  To learn more about both trips check out the Travel Workshops page on my website  To get all the details and itnereary on the trip to my 5 favorite little fishing villages in Italy, the Cinque Terre, click here 

Now, it is your turn to dream, please click on “comment” below and leave your thoughts or email me if you prefer, and let me know where in the world you would like to paint!

Monday, October 25, 2010

New Spring Watercolor Workshop Schedule

I am revamping my teaching schedule for Spring 2011, the new one will appear on my website in a couple of days.  Here is a listing of the workshops, for details about each one please go to my website.  To enroll telephone (916) 652-4624.

Please note; this spring I will not be teaching afternoon classes, instead I am changing to workshops of at least 2 days.   Many of my students have requested this so they can finish a painting, so we will see how it works.

Via Fieshi


2 day workshop - emphasis on techniques for creating texture

Friday and Saturday, January 14 & 15, 2011   10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, California

Fee $160.00



2 day workshop - Designed for total beginners but beneficial for self-taught painters with gaps in their knowledge of watercolor painting.

Monday and Tuesday, January 24 & 25, 2011   10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento , California

$160.00, Paper $25.00



2 day workshop – prerequisite Beginner’s Watercolor Workshop

Monday and Tuesday, January 31 and February 1, 2011   10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, California


All Things Tropical 


5 day workshop – create bright, bold, luminous watercolor flower paintings on watercolor paper or Aquabord (your choice).

Monday – Friday, February 7 – 11, 2011    10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, California

Fee $385.00



2 day workshop – Bring your unfinished paintings learn composition, develop your critical eye, techniques for finishing paintings.

Saturday and Sunday, March 5 & 6, 2011    10:00 – 4:00

Sacramento Fine Art Center, 5330 – B Gibbons Drive, Carmichael, California

Fee $160.00


Proud Parrot


2 day workshop – no more framing under glass!

Friday and Saturday March 18 & 19, 2011    10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, California

Fee $160.00



2 day workshop – Designed for total beginners but beneficial for self-taught painters with gaps in their knowledge of watercolor painting.

Monday and Tuesday April 18 & 19, 2011   10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, California

Fee $160.00



2 day workshop – Prerequisite Beginner's’ Watercolor Workshop

Monday and Tuesday April 25 & 26, 2011   10:00 – 4:00

University Art Center, 2601 Marconi Ave., Sacramento, California

Fee 160.00


Hope to see you in a workshop,    Sandy

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Positano Photo Gallery

Sitting at LAX I decide to write one more story about my vacation in Positano because I have some more photos I want to share. 


Positano beach scene

There seems to be two rules for sunbathing here:

1.  Show as much skin as possible (no matter your age).

2.  What little you wear should be very brightly colored.

A local painter, paints on the beach and sells his work in a nearby garden.


These clever people created a rocking night club inside the rocks.

An ink drawing made during lunch one day, the old watch tower watches over the 2010 beach scene below.

Local guy checks out the tourists below his balcony.

Taking Mama for an early evening stroll.

Father and son, men of the sea..

I saw this same roof design all over Santorini Greece last year.  They tell me the domes are filled with sand and it insulates the home from the heat.  The dips between the domes, create channels for the water to run off the roof into drain pipes located on the side of the house.  Very clever engineering, and so simple.

Doors of a small abandoned church.

Half way up the 72 steps to my hotel, you can stop and pray you will make it.

Church of Santa Maria Assunta

Hope you enjoyed my vacation photos and that they make you want to get out and explore the world.  Please leave comments below,  Sandy

Catching the Wrong Bus Leads to Discoveries

Positano has only one road.  It is a narrow one way loop connecting to the Amalfi Coast Road at one end of town, winding through the middle of town and connecting back to the Amalfi Coast  Road again at the other end of town.  Small orange busses make a dizzying loop around town all day long. 

One day I spend the morning photographing and exploring the town and then seeing the bus pull up at midtown I hop on to ride back up and around to the upper part of town where my hotel is located.  I think I will buy lunch in the grocery store and eat on my balcony.

The bus goes up, but instead of circling back down into to town  where I want to go,  it turns up hill on a really tiny road.  I soon realize this must be how people get to the houses that seem to hang from the cliffs way up above Positano.    Soon the only passengers are locals accept for two Germans in serious hiking gear with their walking sticks.   Locals ring a bell and get off from time to time at a lone house or a clump of 3 or 4 buildings, the bus keeps climbing.  Almost an hour goes by, I am really getting hungry but we have passed no restaurants or grocery stores.  What have I gotten myself into?

Finally the bus comes to a parking lot on top of a cliff and stops.  “Nicola” the driver says, obviously end of the line.   I ask can I ride down now, “No next bus 1 hour”.

I seem to be on top of the world, the only sign of civilization is a tiny church steeple sticking up from below the parking lot and a wall with this map on it.

I must be at the tip of the arrow. The Germans disappear down a trail and as I follow them I see a welcome sign “Ristorante St. Cruz” .   Following the trail down past a tiny church I come to a clump of buildings and walk into a lovely restaurant.  Up here?  The waiter sits me by the windows with an incredible view.

Lunch is a delicious salad at half what I have paid in Positano.  A friendly couple from Sidney took this photo in front of the windows with the view.

Here’s the view.

I used the zoom lenses to try to see if anyone was home on this yacht.

The Ausies and I catch the bus down the hill and I snap photos of a few locals that get on by waving down the bus as it comes by their homes.  

Seeing people getting on carrying small dogs makes me wonder is this how they walk the dogs?  Their cliff hanging houses have no where to walk the dogs except on this narrow road so maybe they take them down to Positano for a walk?

This is interesting, a miniature village sculpted into the cliff along side the road.  I have seen a few of them, wish I knew the story behind their creation.

Positano has so many hotels and shops you have to really look to find buildings that actually have people living in them.  My accidental trip to Nicola afforded me a glimpse of homes perched above the hustle and bustle of the tourist filled town below and the rugged people that live there.

Big Busses, Narrow Road = Insanity!

The Amalfi Coast Road was built under Spanish occupation in the eighteen hundreds (I forget the exact date) and “improved” after World War II.  It has to be the greatest challenge for bus drivers anywhere!

Huge SITA buses (the local bus system) vie with huge tour buses for space on a road not wide enough to be called two lane by any stretch of the imagination.  In addition to buses, cars (many rentals driven by tourists) and local motorbike riders and you have mayhem on wheels.

My first encounter with the road was my arrival day on a SITA bus. Lucky to find a seat, I found myself surrounded by laughing Ausies and locals who have mastered standing in the isle while holding a dog or a bag of groceries without toppling over as the bus took tight corners.  I was so enthralled by the incredible views of the coastline and the amazing bus driver that I missed my stop.  On the side of the bus where I sat I looked straight down cliffs to the sea with only a short stone wall edging the road.  On the other side the mountain went  straight up with occasional houses and shops built right up to the road. 

I kept wondering what my bicycle riding friend Bill would think of the traffic on this road!  He thought drivers on the roads in Belgium were crazy, how about two buses meeting face to face and a motorbike zooming in-between!  It was impossible to photograph but here are some feeble attempts.

On another day in the tour bus to Pompeii, I am sitting on the drivers side so this shows what should be the lane coming the other way, accept that it is only 3 feet wide!  The driver honks at every corner.  If someone is coming they have to stop and back up until there is a space wide enough to pass.  Fold-in car mirrors must have been invented here!

I am riding in a big shinny purple and gold tour bus to Pompeii when this big SITA bus coming the other way squeezes by but manages to scrape the bus I am on.

Our driver leaps out of our bus yells at the other driver who also leaps out of his bus and the two argue while traffic backs up both ways.  When I get off the bus I find a 6 inch long scrape in the pretty purple paint.

Better to look at the stunning views from the road than how narrow it is:

Parking is impossible to find here so the locals don’t bother with cars, they ride everything from Vespas to Honda motorcycles.

September 16, 2010 128

Cars and buses squeeze by these bikes on the narrow road by inches and yet the locals feel safe parking them like this.

At home we have a huge propane tank for our house in the country, and a big truck comes once a month to fill it up.  I saw this little truck making the rounds in Positano every day delivering small propane tanks to everyone that needed them.

If you go to Positano, the ferry is more relaxing but you have to experience a bus ride on the Amalfi Coast Road at least once before you leave the coast.

Friday, September 17, 2010


My only “Must See” on this vacation was Pompeii.   Pompeii did not disappoint.  For one thing it is HUGE!  From photos you just can’t get an idea of scale.

My husband and I both love history so it did not surprise me when our son majored in history in college.  So mainly for them, I want to  to share some of my photos, along with the most memorable facts I learned from our guide.   I am skipping the dates and details that are in the history books and concentrating on the things I found most interesting.

Marina Gate (names here come from Archeologists (not Romans).

Big hole is for chariots, small one for pedestrians.

Much of the marble came from North Africa only a small amount from the Tuscany region of Italy.

My camera cannot capture the enormous size of the forum.  That is part of Mt Vesuvius in the background.

Another memorable fact (no photos of this one) human urine was collected for its ammonia for use in the making of wool.

As a painter I was hoping to see more original frescos, but the ones I saw did not disappoint.

This fresco is from the “menu” in a very tiny brothel.  Don’t speak the language?  Just  point at the picture of what you want, like in McDonalds!

September 14, 2010 032

How do you find a brothel?  The penises point the way!

This is the ceiling in the sauna in the men’s public baths.  To prevent drips on the men below, the moisture that collects on the ceiling runs in grooves down the dome of the ceiling into gutters on either side.


The Romans were also ahead of their time in advertising.  The name of the family that donated this marble basin in the men's’ sauna is engraved in the marble.  

The best preserved statues (not moved to the museum in Napoli) are here in the men’s sauna also.  Here is a single one close up:

This looks like our neighbor’s Pizza oven and it works the same way.  It is the oven in a Pompeii bakery.

This is a stone for grinding flour, several are in this one bakery.

These large stepping stones kept pedestrian's feet dry when crossing the roads that often flowed with water or waste water.  The clever Roman’s also figured out standardization, all the chariot wheels were the same distance apart so they fit between the stepping stones.

These roads were busy you can see the tracks worn in the stone by the chariot wheels.

The archeologists think this tiny bits of marble were fitted in-between the stones of this road to help light the way at night.  The marble would reflect the moonlight.

As a painter I am always careful to use archival products in my work, so I wonder if this artist had any idea his or her work would still be viewed today?

Art must have been everywhere, most of course has been removed to the museum in Napoli, but here and there you find carvings like this.

Bringing home the bacon?

If you enjoyed this short tour of Pompeii please leave me a comment below, because I always wonder who is reading my blog.  I get many emails about it, but I would prefer to receive comments directly on the blog.  Just click on the word “comment” and let me know you are out there.