Sunday, March 31, 2019

There is still room in my Italy workshop.

OK. I’m beginning to get excited. This is the room we will be painting in while in Florence, the last week of May. We’ll move the furniture out of the way and paint to our hearts’ content. Can you imagine the beautiful photo shoots we can have in this room? I can. Can you imagine the beautiful paintings we’ll produce? I can.

We’ll be staying at the Palazzo San Niccolo (pictured below), in Florence. On day 5 we’ll retreat to the Tuscan hill town of Fiesole, which overlooks Florence. There we will paint a model outdoors instead of inside the studio. We'll explore the town when our painting for the day is done.

There is still room in my Italy workshop. Contact Debra Zamperla at

in Florence, Italy

Saturday - Friday, May 25-31, 2019 
Painting in oils or pastels from live models and photos. 

Friday, March 29, 2019

Spring has finally arrived in Atlanta

I want to welcome my new subscribers from FASO (Fine Art Studio Online). Thank you for signing up for my newsletter/blog.

FASO is an artist oriented web site provider with easy to use, elegant templates. It's geared toward marketing the artist's name and work with blog, newsletter and ecomerce capability. In the month or so that I've been subscribing to it, I've already seen results.

I've had a change of plans: I was scheduled to hold a workshop at Christina Debarry's studio in New Jersey the first weekend in May, but it seems I can't compete with Lynn Asselta or Stan Sperlack (with good reason--check out their beautiful pastel landscapes), who both have workshops around the same time and locale. So Christina and I have decided to move my workshop to the fall. We're looking at September or October. I'll post here when we have confirmed the dates. My apologies to those of you who have already signed up for the May class.

This coming Friday I'll be flying to Cleveland to teach at Susan Porges studio. I'm looking forward to a pleasant time there, at least compared to my last visit there a couple of years ago, when there was a huge winter storm; my flight home was cancelled twice. I was feeling frantic and decided to catch a bus home. OMG. What a nightmare. I wish I could remember all the reasons why, but only a dim suppressed memory of a hoard of loud cheerleaders and their mothers climbing aboard in the middle of the freezing night, a menopausal woman who complained loudly through the night about how hot the bus was (while all the rest of the passengers froze--our breath making little clouds), and having to transfer to a new bus in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night in the middle of the frigid winter. Never never again.  It seems I always have to learn the hard way.


Which brings me to this: spring is here in Atlanta. Thank God. Although I can't complain about Atlanta's mild winters, my body seems to go into hibernation until the warm weather returns. Today daffodils, tulips, iris, cherry trees and dogwoods are in full bloom. It is my favorite time of year and I am beginning to come alive again. I've been out in my yard fertilizing and mulching my blueberries and strawberries, planting new perennials, transplanting daylilies and pulling weeds of course. There's nothing more healing than digging in the dirt and watching what thrilling things emerge as the days get warmer. It's like Christmas morning every day.

I know there is real distress in the midwest because of the devastating flooding. I'm hoping the emerging spring will help.

Oh yes. Happy Birthday to my Dad, who left us around 6 years ago. It seems like yesterday. He was a vibrant man's man until the day he died. I miss you, Dad.

The painting above "White Roses in a Glass Bowl" is a 16x20 oil on canvas, $2200.00 unframed. Click on the picture to be taken to my web site if you're interested.

Thursday, March 14, 2019

A much needed boost.

I had two excellent surprises last month. I received a text from my artist friend Judith, congratulating me on my mention in the latest issue of the Pastel Journal. What??? I had to run out and get it to find out what was in the article.It was a special edition marking the 20th Anniversary of Pastel Journal, February 2019. The article, "20 @ 20," said, "To mark this significant Pastel Journal anniversary, we searched the magazine's bountiful archives to select 20 exceptional paintings at which to marvel all over again. And, we've included sage advice from each of the artists to boot." Wow. I'm quite humbled, especially seeing who the other 19 artists were. I thank Anne Hevener, Editor in Chief of the Pastel Journal and her staff for this wonderful honor. I sent them some flowers.And then, only days later, I received this in the mail from the National Oil & Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPS): an award for "Best Impressionism," for my oil painting "A Garden at La Bonne Etoile," along with a gift certificate for a workshop of my choice at the Fredericksburg Art School in Fredericksburg, TX, where some impressive painters teach.Not a bad week, huh? I needed one.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

An update on Kia and her kids...

On a freezing day this past December I met Kia and her two little boys in a laundromat, where they were taking shelter from the cold. Long story short, I made a place for them in the unfinished room above my studio. It has gas heat and a refrigerator. There is no plumbing so they had to come into my house to use the bathroom and laundry. I gave Kia the key to my home.

Our objective was ambitious: to get Royalty, her 5 year old, into school, get Eden, her 1 year old, into daycare, get food stamps, get Kia a job and an apartment, and eventually get her a used vehicle so she wouldn't have to rely on the buses and train system here in Atlanta, while pushing a stroller and having a 5 year old tag along behind her. I started a Go-Fund-Me page and the response was overwhelming: $4300 in only days, mostly from you generous people who read my blog.

I helped Kia open a checking account with Wells Fargo, into which all the Go-Fund-Me donations were directly deposited. She now has a debit card to purchase all the daily necessities like diapers and train fares.

To update you two months later: a promised job never materialized, neither did food stamps or daycare. There was one opportunity which came to us. A dear artist friend who takes classes from me on Wednesdays has spent the last 30 years working with the homeless. She had connections who could channel Kia through a system that would have enabled her to receive job training and placement, child care and shelter. Kia declined, "I don't want no caseworkers." Kia left Atlanta this week to return to her home in Kansas City. But your money kept these children safe and warm during the cold days.

I received this text from Kia the day after she left, "We almost there. I got a job at greenies. Eden will go to my aunt daycare and I'm transferring Royalty school. I will be living with my sister until apartments call me I'm doing my apps next week. Thank you."

I'm going to miss Royalty. So will Krash. Krash is a shiny black lab with a ferocious bark who lives next door. Anybody who dares rattle the gate to enter my back yard will be terrified by the charging gate-keeper. He still does it to me. But he would sit at the fence and wag his tail to wait for Royalty to share dog biscuits with him.

Would I do this again? No. Not the same way. Things got complicated--there was a boyfriend, there were housekeeping issues, there were boundary issues. If Kia had not been as honorable as she was, there could have been more serious issues that I had not considered when things felt so urgent. Next time I'll buy a meal for the family, give them some cash, and try to secure shelter through other means.

Although that was another issue. Try to get any shelter in Atlanta to answer the phone on a freezing day. Try to get any helping organization in Atlanta to return a call ever.

I'm reclaiming my house this weekend, cleaning with a renewed energy to love my home. I am fortunate to have a place to share.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Join me in Florence, Italy, May 25-31, 2019!

in Florence, Italy

Saturday - Friday, May 25-31, 2019 
Painting in oils or pastels from live models and photos. 

In this one week studio workshop we will work from a live model and from our own photos from photo shoots with the model. You don't have to be an accomplished painter or pastelist; I will help you with the basics if you need that. 

We'll have plenty of time for exploring, tasting and sipping in this magnificent Renaissance city that holds nearly a third of the world's art treasures. We’ll stroll the same cobblestone streets that Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli strolled.

We'll be staying in apartments in the Oltrarno section of Florence, minutes from the major landmarks but removed from the hustle and bustle of the crowded tourist section. You'll experience Florence like a native in an area known for its artisan shops and boutiques. On Day 5, we will retreat to the hill town of Fiesole to relax and enjoy its spectacular views and fresh breezes. We will visit the Etruscan/Roman ruins and the San Francesco monastery, dining, of course, the entire time in the Italian way.

Join us for a glorious week in Italy!

TUITION: $3150 ($500 deposit required to hold your space) Does NOT include airfare.

Class is limited to 10 students

Workshop Includes:
  • Welcome reception
  • 6 night total accommodation based on double occupancy (air-conditioned, WiFi) 
  • 4 nights in downtown Florence and 2 nights in the hilltown of Fiesole
  • All breakfasts
  • All evening meals (wine and gratuities included)
  • City walking tour with professional guide
  • Admission to the Accademia to see the "real" David
  • Visit to an artisan studio
  • All instruction from Margaret who will be with the group the entire workshop
  • Model fees included
  • All ground transportation related to scheduled events and transfer to Fiesole
  • Native speaker and experienced workshop host with group available onsite

To register, contact Debra Zamperla at or visit

Friday, December 14, 2018

Meet Kia, Eden and Royalty...

Meet Kia and her two sons, Eden (1)  and Royalty (5).

I met them in the laundromat when I was washing my comforter a little over a week ago on a freezing day. In the middle of our conversation I realized my machine was the only one operating. "Are you doing laundry here? " I asked her. No, she told me, they were homeless, just getting out of the cold.

Kia left her home in Kansas City and came to Atlanta to start a new life. Things didn't work out as she had hoped, and she wound up sleeping in friends' cars.

To make a long story short, I brought them into my house, with the intention of putting them into a room above my studio. The long-term plan is to get her a job, secure daycare (there are social and charity services for that, get her on the food stamp program, get her a dependable used car, and her own place.

I don't know how anybody pulls himself out of poverty without help. How much more impossible is it if you are a mother of two young kids with zero support.

Kia is smart, self-motivated and affectionate toward her children. She has a plan and she needs a hand; she was dealt a bad one. Please contribute. Let’s see if we can change a life.
Help Kia here

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

PETITE BEAUTE, December 7, Cecil Byrne Gallery, Charleston SC

"Petite Beaute" is a small works exhibition at Cecil Byrne Gallery in Charleston, SC. The show features works by award-winning artists from across the USA; I'm honored to be a part of it. Here are the 5 paintings I sent the gallery; Im not sure if all 5 will be exhibited Friday. But if anybody ever wants to see more of any particular artist's work, all galleries are only too happy to bring you to the back and show you everything they have. 

I wish I could be there for opening night, but I would be honored if  you are in the Charleston area and are able to attend the reception. If you do, please tell me about it! 
Opening reception Friday, December 7, 5:00-8:00.

Cecil Byrne Gallery, 60 Broad Street, Charleston, SC 29401
Open daily 10:00-5:00

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Another workshop on Wednesday, December 5.

Well, my December 19 class filled so quickly, I have a waiting list for it. So I've decided to hold another workshop on Wednesday, December 5. Email me if you're interested.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

 In just a few days, the Operation Fundstorm: Hurricane Michael Relief Fund auction has raised over $83,000.00 with artist donations! With this astounding success, they've asked us to put up a few more pieces. Right now there are 75 new paintings on the site; here are mine (lot numbers 251 and 252). 100% of the proceeds go to help the people in Florida's devastated panhandle. Thank you for spreading the word.


Sunday, October 21, 2018

Artists helping the Forgotten Coast!

I am one of 107 artists who have donated a painting (or paintings in some cases) to raise funds to help the people in the Florida panhandle, hit by the recent hurricane.
We are auctioning off the works, opening bids begin around 1/10 of the retail prices. The auction begins tonight! Here's the info:
PREVIEW begins Sunday (tonight) at 5pm EST!! 
BIDDING begins at 7pm.
This is a great opportunity to help the victims and pick up some incredible art at incredible prices. The auction will continue for a week.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Fig preserves and opening reception invitation

I did it! I canned 12 jars of fig preserves! I feel like quite the homesteader. I don't know why I was so afraid of it. I still have a tree full of figs and plenty of time to can them with all the rain we've been having here in the south.

I talked with Meg. Her neighbor rushed out to her when he saw her the other day, not knowing she had been in France with me. He and his wife had been frantic, seeing her car not move from her driveway for 3 weeks. They were afraid Meg's husband, Alan, a really nice guy, had done-off with her and had buried her in the backyard.

If you're in the Chattanooga area tomorrow, please drop by for our opening reception. The more the merrier. Here are a few of the pieces you'll see there...

Friday, July 27, 2018

Back to the studio.

I'm surprised that I'm feeling eager to get back into the studio, especially when I consider that only a month or so ago I was seriously thinking I was wasting my time and money trying to paint. I'd look around the studio at all the mediocre paintings and try to calculate how much money went into canvases and paints and classes and framing. I figured I had gotten as good as I would ever get, and that was just not good enough. Maybe it was time to do something else with what little time I may have in this life.

But I think I may have broken through a creative block. All of the sudden painting feels easy, and for the first time I'm thinking, tentatively, that I'm really painting.

Since I returned home from France, my sleeping schedule is out of whack; I'm going to bed late and waking up at 5 a.m., after only 3 or 4 hours of sleep. So I have my 2 cups of coffee, catch up on the news, and go out to the studio when it's light enough. And I'm excited about what I'm doing. Here a piece that will be in my upcoming show at River Gallery in Chattanooga. If you're in the area next Friday, come have a glass of wine with me at the opening reception, August 3, 5:30-7:00.

Now back to the studio.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Harvest time.

I fell into bed while the sun was still up last evening, exhausted after the long day traveling home from Paris. This morning I'm unpacking, doing laundry, getting to know my cat again, who is perfectly content because Debbie, my house/cat sitter, took such good care of her. Even my houseplants are happy. Thank you, Debbie.

I walked the back yard to see what's new and what I'll be doing the next few weeks and discovered that I have arrived home in time to rescue my figs from the birds! For the first time in years!!! They were all over the tree (the birds), and they fluttered away when I approached this morning. I've never done it before, but I'm making fig preserves this year. But first I need to find someone who knows how to can figs and who will be willing to help me do it. I purchased all the canning stuff several years ago in anticipation of this day.

And my pear tree is heavy with fruit, dropping pears on the ground. What a delight. I'll be spending the next few days picking pears, putting them in paper bags to sweeten, then when they're ready I'll peel, chop and freeze them for my winter smoothies.

I have my work cut out for me. Not to mention the weeding; Atlanta had a lot of rain while I was gone. I'm warily looking forward to learning how to use the gas powered trimmer/edger I bought before I left for France; it is a lot more powerful than my battery operated one.

I see my dream being realized, very slowly, of having a beautiful and productive garden in my inner city back yard. One day I will have chickens. I have a lot to learn.

And in the meantime, I'm finishing up some work for my upcoming show at River Gallery in Chattanooga. Friday, August 3rd is the reception, and you are invited. There should be a few paintings from my visit to France. Your invitation is below.

Meg and I are going home.

We spent two days in the Latin Quarter in Paris with Kippy, Brigette and Kathy. They are now on their way to Giverny to visit Monet's home and garden. Meg and I are going home.

While in Paris, we all visited the Musee Marmottan Monet (it's not really winter in France...I've swiped a photo from the internet), to see its permanent collection of paintings by Berthe Morisot but were equally thrilled by Monet's landscapes on the bottom floor. I especially enjoyed his vivid abstracts toward the last few years of his life. I remember seeing these years ago and not being impressed. Now I love them. It's funny how our taste changes. We were also pleasantly surprised to discover the current exhibition of portraits by Camille Carot., who is mostly known for his landscapes.

I wonder occasionally if Meg has been overdosed by art; the rest of us were consumed by it for two weeks and still couldn't get enough. I don't hear her complaining or swearing she doesn't want to set foot in another gallery for another decade, so maybe she's OK. I was always a little relieved to come upon her in a museum to find her photographing a favorite painting.

I have to try to tell you about the spectacular Gustav Klimt exhibit at the Atelier des Lumieres;, which we saw as well. Maybe 'saw' is not the appropriate verb. Experienced would be better. Pictures will not be adequate so I am providing this link to a video. If you ever get a chance to experience this show, do. I cried.

I am looking forward to getting away from all the rich French food and wine. I want to get back to my smoothies and an occasional peanut butter sandwich and glass of milk. So is Meg.