Thursday, September 11, 2014

ANNIE IN A KIMONO, click to bid

The garden is wasting away. It's time to pull up the dried-up tomato plants, pull more weeds from the flower beds, purchase carloads of mulch and put my garden to bed for the winter. Usually at this time of year I'm sad to see the growing season come to an end but this year I'm actually relieved. I'm afraid I'm overwhelmed by the garden and house. I won't feel so divided now as I climb a borrowed ladder and clean, sand and paint my house's exterior (I'll hire someone to do the really high areas), sand and paint my front porch floor a glossy gray, and get my house shiny and sparkly for the winter. I am enjoying it, no matter how much work it is.

"Annie in a Kimono" is an Atlanta model; all the figurative painters in the area love Annie. And I do too. This is a 5x7 pastel up for auction. Click on the title above, or the picture if I did this correctly, to view the auction.

Monday, September 1, 2014


I was right. I've been challenged again by someone else to do something else. Can't do it. Can't allow myself to be obliged to so many people. Sorry.

And I forgot to say 3 more things I am grateful for on the second day. So here they are a day or two late:
1. I'm grateful for a garden, good black soil and the proliferation of seeds I am now accumulating.
2. I'm grateful for good neighbors (who make an incredible hot pepper jelly from the peppers growing outside my kitchen window--I served it on brie yesterday when I had some recently single high school friends over--it was a big hit).
3. I'm grateful for my kitty Molly, who has become an amusing little companion and bed partner, even though she's lately gotten into the habit of crying to go out the back door only to cry to come in the front door only to cry to go out the back door only to cry to come in the front door only to...

This pastel is another 5x7 up for auction. Click on the title to see the auction. Bidding begins at $100. Good luck if you're bidding.

Sunday, August 31, 2014


Wish I could remember where this was. I can remember the day vividly, just not where. When you visit two, sometimes 3 places in a day it gets very confusing. But of course, it was a cloudless warm June day and everyone was celebrating a brilliant day in France.

"Somewhere in France" is a 5x7 pastel available at auction. Click the title above to visit the auction.

Saturday, August 30, 2014


The Caretaker is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord up for auction. Click on title to see the auction.

Friday, August 29, 2014


Oh no! My sister has challenged me. My daughter has challenged me. I think I'm going to go into hiding. Turn off my phone and computer.

My sister Emily challenged me to do the ice bucket thing. I know it's a worthy cause and it's an excellent fund raising campaign. But as soon as she started her sentence I knew where it was going. "No! Please!" I interrupted her. I'll just donate the money, just please don't make me put myself up on facebook. Thankfully she respected that and went on to all the other sisters in my family.

Now, like I was beginning to suspect, other challenges are coming. For some reason this challenging thing is starting to make me uncomfortable. I don't like feeling coerced.

My daughter challenged me to post 3 things for which I am grateful, for 3 days, after she was challenged to do it. Because I love my daughter, I'll do it, but I won't challenge anyone else. It ends here with me. But I'm dealing with that guilt that comes with not continuing a chain letter.

My waking thoughts every morning are gratitude. I am overwhelmed at waking to be in my own beautiful little house, and I say a prayer of thanks for that daily (1). I am grateful for my healthy beautiful daughters (2) and my best friends: my faithful sisters and brother (3).

 Here's another 5x7 pastel at auction. I'm putting a few more up today. I challenge you to go to the auction and bid on it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014


I'm putting a few more pieces up on ebay. I guess you might have guessed that whenever the checking account starts looking a little scary, I hustle up to the studio to crank out a few little pieces. Sometimes I create some really sweet pieces that way.

I used to work in graphic design, and I found I thrived on deadlines. The deadlines motivated me when I moved into fine art too. A show in 3 weeks? I could work like crazy and produce some really good work (and some not so good).

You may have seen this imagery before, or something similar; I'm going through my old photos. This is my oldest daughter Anna and her baby Victor at the beach on Tybee Island. It was his first day at the beach. He was slathered with sunscreen. He was almost impossible to hold when the water hit him; he's slip out of her arms,

Victor is 10 now. They still live down in Savannah. He was stung by a Portuguese Man o' War last week. Look that up on google images. YUK! Actually, I'll spare you the time searching for it. Here it is.

A Day at the Beach is an unframed 5x7 pastel on PastelBord. Click the title above to see the auction.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Four pieces finished, framed, packaged and waiting for a FedEx pick-up tomorrow morning, to be delivered to Stewart Fine Art in Charleston, SC. The gallery participates in a First Friday gallery hop, and Sue Stewart has invited me to hang with the artists in her gallery. September 5 is the day. I'm hoping to send more work for October 3.
Stewart Fine Art
12 State Street
Charleston, SC 29401

Friday, September 5
Friday, October 3

Go, if you're in the area.

It's been quiet here since my return from France. I've spent the time trying to clean up the garden (again), getting my house in order, building shelves everywhere in the house and cranking out some new work in the studio. Things will get busy again in October, when I'm to get back on the road to teach in Cleveland, New Orleans and Dallas.

Several weeks ago I had this unexplained burst of energy, which lasted for days. I found myself waking at 3 or 4 a.m. Wide awake. So I figured, why don't I be productive with this time, instead of fighting to get back to sleep like I usually do.

I had been wanting shelves installed in a little room I use as an office. The ceilings are 12 feet high. All my stuff has been stacked on the floor or crammed into files, leaving 2/3 of the room wasted--all that space above me. I had gone to Lowes, had some 1x12's cut to 84", the width of my room, and then I just stressed about it because the walls are plaster; I've already put some frightening holes in my walls (hidden by pictures now) in other parts of the house trying to find studs. I sort of hoped some man with carpentry skills might just appear in my life, but realizing it wouldn't be wise for me to just wait for him, I decided I should give it another try.

I got out of bed and googled 'find studs behind plaster' and did what everybody advised: start at a corner, keep drilling holes until you find a stud, then measure 16" from that. I did it, I found the studs, standing on my desk at 4 a.m. So I proceeded to use my level and measuring tape and found all the studs every 16" across the room, all the way up to the ceiling, allowing for the shelves to be 13" apart. I stained my boards and tried drilling screws through my reinforced metal brackets (which I had spray painted the day before because Lowes didn't have any black ones) into the studs, but they wouldn't penetrate the wood. I was stripping the heads of all the screws. I googled "can't drill screws into studs in 1920 house." Try square screws, someone advised. Try star screws, someone advised. Whatever those were. The consensus was that philips head screws wouldn't work with old dense wood. When Lowes opened that morning, I was there purchasing both kinds of screws and the bits for them.

I know this is going on and on. But just wait. I finally got the job done by the afternoon--all my shelves stained and screwed into the wall, secured onto the brackets with screws--the star screws. Square screws didn't work. I'm learning. I organized the shelves with books and baskets and all the stuff that was all over the floor. I wrote about it on Facebook.

My friend Vicky messaged me that day: "Margaret, are you still on steroids?"

When cleaning out my garden the week or so earlier, I was pulling 20 year old poison ivy from the english ivy which was taking over my yard. LOTS OF IT. I filled 4 construction bags full of only poison ivy. I was relatively careful, work gloves  and plastic bags, knowing however that I'd probably have some reaction, but I've always handled that fine. Three days later I was swollen, gouging my arms scratching, and it lasted for days with no sign of decreasing. I finally went to an emergency clinic, got a shot of prednisone, prescriptions for 10 days of prednisone and itching relief.

If prednisone does that, I want more. I started painting the exterior of my house the next day.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

I've just been notified that my two pastels, "Taxi" and "Ann Braiding Her Hair" have been selected as finalists in the Landscape and Portrait/Figurative categories of The Artist's Magazine 31st Annual Art Competition, which will be published in December 2014. Thank you, Artist's Magazine, for the honor.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014


"A Table for Two in Isle sur Sorgue" is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord, and is available at auction. Click on title above to see auction. Bidding begins at $100. Thanks for looking.

Monday, July 28, 2014


If you are standing at the perimeter wall in Gordes and look out across the valley, you'll see this house perched at the top of another mountain. What a gorgeous place to live.
"Just Outside of Gordes" is a 7x5 pastel on PastelBord. Bidding begins at $100. Click the title above to see the auction.

"Gordes," SOLD

Gordes is a spectacular walled village, perched on the crest of the high Plateau de Vaucluse in southeast France. Its beige stone buildings are built into the cliffs. Dating back to Roman days, It overlooks the fields, forests and small villages in the mountainous region of Provence. We climbed its winding roads and could see for miles in every direction. Here is one of the roads on the perimeter of the city on a cloudless June afternoon.
"Gordes" is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord, at auction on ebay. Click on the title above to go to auction.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"A Brilliant Day in Cassis," SOLD

Never thought I'd be able to boast that I've swum in the Mediterranean, but I can now. Frigid at first, but within moments you're perfectly comfortable. So salty that you can stay afloat without any effort; you could fall asleep floating on the gentle waves. But the sand--or what would normally be sand--is rocks. Very uncomfortable on the bare feet. It makes you almost not want to get out of the water. I hope I never forget that day though. Just beautiful.

"A Brilliant Day in Cassis" is a 7x5 pastel on PastelBord, available at auction. Click on the title above to see the auction. Bidding begins at $100. Thanks!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

"Lavender Fields," SOLD

I'm working on a series of small studies of French scenes. This one is from Provence. On our last day in Provence this June we searched for lavender fields, so easy to find from great distances, not so easy to get to. Winding hilly roads made our search a challenge. But we found some.

"Lavender Fields" is a 5x7 pastel on PastelBord, available at auction on ebay. Click on the title above or the link below to go to auction. Bidding begins at $100.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back to work.

Been recovering here, from a month in France and the loss of George. My garden is keeping me occupied. I've been pulling weeds and filling my jeep with mulch, 10 bags at a time, so far 4 trips. It keeps me busy. I keep expecting George to show up though.

I've also been painting in my studio, thanks to Mike and George, who finished my ceiling and installed my air conditioner while I was gone. It's comfortable now, and lately I've spent hours up there, forgetting about the time, loving the tactile feeling of paint smearing on a canvas. I close my eyes and see beautiful brushstrokes intermingling with surprising color combinations.

I've been taking a painting class from Jim Richards an Atlanta artist; he's probably my daughter's age. But he can teach me what I need to learn -- that expressive painterly stroke. Here's one piece I worked on in class that I'm pleased with. Normally I hate my oils, but I'm thinking I'll be happily working soon.

"Red Ribbon" is an 11x14 oil on canvas.

Sunday, July 6, 2014


I arrived home from France early Tuesday evening, pulling my heavy luggage from the train station a few blocks away, to a beautifully manicured yard and 18 inch zucchinis in the backyard garden. George, my across-the-street neighbor had mowed and trimmed my yard to perfection, like he always does. And the zucchinis were real, from the garden he had planted weeks before I left for France (unlike the not-real ones--see
All he ever wants is a thank-you. I give him more when I can. But I'm told I won't be able to thank him until he returns from his 4th of July camping trip. He had recently rekindled a relationship with his high school sweetheart; they were in the north Georgia mountains. They were going to look at houses up there on Monday.

George died in his sleep Friday night. 54 years old. I won't be able to thank him for everything he has done for me in the short time I've known him.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Friday. Our last day in Provence

We had a leisurely morning but wanted to have one more experience before we took our 6 hour trip back to Fountain-Fourches tomorrow morning. After lunch in a sweet little restaurant a few blocks away from our gite, we drove to Gordes, classified as one of France's most beautiful villages. The site dates back to the Neolithic era. Its Rennaissance chateau was rebuilt on the site of a 12th century fortress.
We did the usual...climbed stone stairs through twisting narrow streets under vaulted passageways, slipping into boutiques. We did visit a church however, surprisingly the only one on this trip. It was unusually decorated with vivid hand-painted patterns on every possible space, with seemingly no attempt to coordinate color or pattern, like someone went nuts with wallpaper. It was an unexpected surprise.
Our last expedition: find a lavender field for Alice. We found one after winding around the mountains for a half hour, piled out of the car and took some selfies, and piled back into the car with Jerome, our ever patient guide. Our experience is finished. Tonight we pack our bags. Tomorrow we head back to Kippy's and Jerome's.
Saturday: What should have been a 6 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive, thanks to bumper-to-bumper traffic through the entire city of Lyon. But we're back at La Bonne Etoile and are happy it's all coming to an end.
Sunday: Alice and Kate fly home to the USA. I will leave Tuesday and will be ever so glad to be back in my own home, seeing my beautiful daughters and grandson Victor, my sisters, my kitty Molly (who won't know who I am), my garden (which will be as angry with me as my kitty will be), my neighbors (who have kept an eye on things while I've been gone), and anybody else who might care that I'm home.



Thursday continued...

After drying off from our swim in the Mediterranean we drove the scenic route to La Cadiere d'Azure, yet another medieval town high on a mountaintop. It was getting late in the afternoon; we had lunch, roamed the winding narrow streets--dodging cars, poked our heads into sweet little artisans' shops, took pictures of breathtaking views, and turned around for the hour and a half drive back to the gite in Mazan. We were tired. A light dinner awaited. I headed to bed right afterwards but heard Kippy, Kate and Alice in heated conversation until the world became quiet.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Swimming in the Mediterranean Sea.

Did I say a small fishing village? That's what Rick Steves said. Turns out Cassis is a thriving resort with caf├ęs, bistros, shopping, fine dining, incredible turquoise water, cold and wavy. It's been years since I've put on a bathing suit in public, but nothing was going to stop me from swimming in the Mediterranean. Initially freezing, once I was completely submerged it was glorious. The heavy salt content keeps you afloat so you don't even need to tread water. We could have bobbed around in the waves forever, surrounded by cliffs and terra cotta roofed houses. Only one thing I could have done sand to speak of on the beach. It's all pebbles, which hurt. Especially going into and out of the water. But so worth it.

We had seafood lunches at an outdoor table with a beautiful rose wine, went back to the beach for one last dip, and headed out for one more location, stopping en route to snap pictures of the incredible countryside. Jerome always takes the scenic route, no matter how far out of the way.