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