Monday, July 29, 2019

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

My next workshop in France, August, 2020.

Now that my Florence workshop is finally complete, I can tell you about my 2020 workshop in Perigord, France, August 9-18, 2020.

Where is Perigord?
Perigord is located in the Dordogne and Lot regions, midway between Bordeaux and Toulouse, only a few miles from the Medieval town of Gourdon.

What is Perigord Retreats?
The sole purpose of Perigord Retreats is to provide enriching, relaxing and artful experiences to art instructors and their students. Owned and operated by Angela and Adrian, they pride themselves in fulfilling your requests to see as many, or as few, sites as possible, while indulging in the French experience. Visit their web site for a 3D tour of their home.

How to register for my 2020 workshop at Perigord Retreats: Contact Angela or Adrian with any questions or concerns:

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


I'm home in Atlanta now with luggage to empty and put away, laundry to wash and weight to lose. I will be drinking smoothies for the next few weeks. But however many pounds I've put on, it was so well worth it--all those fresh Italian meals and desserts, the camaraderie that good wine is too short to deny myself this. And I've returned home with a new appreciation for sandwiches made with focaccia and pesto, rather than the usual sliced bread and mayonnaise. And mascarpone. I have discovered mascarpone.

I returned to my cozy little home, with what, after about 6 years, is beginning to look like a real garden.  The little dogwood tree I planted weeks ago, a leafless sprig of a thing given to me at an art festival by the Arbor Society, has sprouted new green leaves, my gardenias are all in bloom, filling my home with that incredible perfume (which always reminds me of my mother--it takes me back to my 7th grade in Clearwater, Florida--vividly). My tomato plants doubled in size, my sweet potato plants are thriving. I may complain about minutia, but I have been blessed. I am grateful.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Thursday, Fiesole. Friday, departure.

We packed our bags Thursday morning and caught a cab to our new place in Fiesole, a charming hilltop village which overlooks Tuscany. We each had our own room, bathroom and balcony. There was a large patio attached to my room, where we had a new model, Maya, pose for us. We also photographed her in the little village--walking the streets, buying dolci from a vendor, and sipping coffee at an outside bistro. The proprietors of the bistro watched as we all followed Maya around with our cameras, shooting everything she did. They must have assumed she was a celebrity because they got into the act and took selfies with her!

The next day, our last of the workshop, most of us painted in our own rooms, others joined me on my patio, while I went from room to room giving direction if the artist needed it. For dinner, we climbed the steep and winding roads into town for shopping and dinner. There were charming little gift shops full of little decorative things for our homes. I got a tablecloth which I will convert into curtains.

Friday is departure day. It is sad leaving this beautiful place. Debra and Ivano are trying to find a place to buy here; they have been coming here every summer for quite a few years, and the Michigan winters are becoming less bearable for them. They could retire here and continue the workshop business from their hopefully large home in Tuscany. Ivano and one of his 3 sons (you should see these stunning Italian boys) is a builder by profession; they are on the lookout for a derelict villa to renovate. How glorious!!!!!

Sunday, June 2, 2019

The artists...

Here are the artists: Deb Wicks from Sarasota, Florida; Mary Ruth Mann from Seattle, Washington; Patricia Davenport, currently living in Budapest but getting ready to move back to the States; Lydia Steeves from Ottawa, Canada; and Annie Jones from Belfair, Washington. And of course Debra and Ivano from Ann Arbor, Michigan (Ivano is originally from Pisa Italy). A great group of artists. Every minute with them has been a pleasure.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

Some very cool street art in Florence.

There is some beautiful street art all over Florence. So very cool.

Friday, May 31, 2019

Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday...

When the day is finally over and I have some alone time to write, I'm exhausted. I tried, I promise, to write but I inevitably fall asleep at the computer. So my posts are all running late, but here's how our week has gone...

Monday and Tuesday we worked from our photos of Margherita most of the day. Tuesday afternoon and evening were free time for us. Several of us made a bee-line to the Scuola del Cuoio,  the Florence Leather School, at the Monastery of Santa Croce, across the Arno River, just blocks from where we are staying. We had been told by our tour guides that much of the leather sold on the streets is inferior, but quality leather and craftsmanship would be found at the school. The Scuola del Cuoio was founded after World War II by the Franciscan friars of the Monastery and the Gori and Casini families, Florentine leather artisans since the 1930's. Their mission was to give orphans of the war a means to learn a practical trade. Today, students come from all over the world to learn the craft from the school. We had to walk past the Monastery quietly, in obedience to the posted signs, past a small garden, past large windows into which we could see the students busy at work. We climbed some metal stairs into a room heavy with the scent of leather. Counters and displays were full of affordable items: change purses, wallets, decorative boxes,  The larger, more expensive items, jackets, blazers and purses, were down the hall in other rooms.

We wandered around for a while, collecting souvenirs. While Mary Ruth and Patricia were getting things monogrammed, Lydia and I made our way back to the Piti Palace to search for an artist whom we saw days earlier, selling his art on the steps. Much to our relief, he was there. We purchased more little souvenirs and had time to waste before we could meet back up with Mary Ruth and Patricia, who were headed to a kitchen store, which neither Lydia nor I had any interest in whatsoever. We were right around the corner from the Ponte Vecchio, so we took a slow walk up and down the bridge, looking at all the sparkling gold and gems. With more time to kill, we stopped for a glass of wine at a trattoria behind the Duomo, while tourists passed by continually. It began to rain while we were sipping under a canopy; all was perfect. Mary Ruth and Patricia found us and we had a lightweight meal of roasted vegetables and soup. And wine.

On another night, dinner at Boccadarno, musicians on the Ponte Vecchio, gelato, and a nighttime walk through the dark quiet streets of Firenza.