Trip to Italy

Alan and I are back from our two weeks in Italy! I must say I'm enjoying my own home and bed again. Funny how even though you may be having a wonderful time, there's no still no place like home.

Two weeks in Italy. We loved it! It all started out a little iffy when I awoke at four in the morning about 30 hours before we were to leave with a severe case of vertigo that sent my blood pressure soaring. We almost canceled, but thankfully my physicians seemed to think the medications would kick in and I most likely wouldn't die in a foreign land. Although I was a bit off balance most of the time, it was tolerable as long as I looked straight ahead. Alan was my champion as I held onto his arm for most of the two weeks, he usually carried both our bags, and I heard nary a complaint. The group thought we were very romantic!

It was a bit of a splurge, but we decided on Rick Steve's Village Italy in 14 Days Tour. It had been a dream of mine to take one of his tours and we don't have any regrets of spending a bit extra. We had two amazing tour guides, veteran guide Trisha who is Scotch/Italian and apprentice guide Christina who is Italian and was completing her training.Both well versed, well educated, patient yet politely aggressive when necessary, and a great sense of humor. And our tour bus driver Mario amazed us all daily with his skilled maneuvering in some hair-raisingly tight squeezes on some very curvy narrow Italian back-roads, plus he could sing! At one point we had to change to a smaller bus with another guide and driver, and it felt like we had been abandoned by our own family.

It was a bit more than two weeks which began in Venice and ended for us in Milan since we added a day at the beginning and at the end of the tour. Everyday something new! I thought we would be restless by the time we were a week in: Another basilica, another village, another gelato? Not so. Each day had something unique about it which made it as interesting as the days before. Even our last 24 hours in the big city of Milan, when we were tired and thought we were ready to just go home was interesting and surprisingly beautiful for such a large, modern city.

Alan posted quite a few photos on Facebook, unusual since he rarely posts anything! I'll post a Picasso album with a link soon. Chow for  now!


Plein Air with R & F Pigment Sticks

"Simple Truth"- 6"x6" oil on panel

"Quiet Glow"-6"x6" oil on panel

Two small Plein air pieces completed this past weekend at my home. One at the pond and the other from the driveway because I liked what was left on the palette. One took about two hours and the other about two minutes. This was a test for using R & F pigment sticks as a Plein air medium. The only frustration was getting them out of the plastic tubes they are stored in. Easy to fix. Love the portability and the saturation. Applied with brushes and fingers. I'll use them again, but experiment with a bit of medium although these pigment sticks are fluid enough to use alone.


Sanity Drawing - 03162016

Oil pastel, charcoal, acrylic ink, acrylic paint-38" x 22" on brown paper. 

I love doing these drawing/paintings. It's my time to relax, de-stress, and just enjoy being creative. I buy the brown paper at Lowes-it comes in rolls. I use whatever medium I have on hand that strikes my fancy, especially the ones I've been "saving"!

No judgement. Just go!


Stacked Acrylic Panels

I like the look of these stacked cradled panels. Now to figure out if I want them attached together permanently. 

Gunpowder & Shellac 1

Now that the weather is warming, I'm on the porch with a couple of encaustic works I want to finish with gun powder and shellac burns. Best to do those outside don't you agree! 

An encaustic I didn't particularly like.

Reworked a bit.

A black powder burn for some additional texture and interest.

Then a shellac burn on top of the whole painting. Much happier with the finished work.


Last Snow

It was suppoose to only rain today. It snowed. I have unintentionally created a series of "Last Snow" paintings over the past few years. Maybe that's what this one is to be. Chalk pastel, watercolor, and acrylic ink-it's actually in a watercolor sketchbook. I may add some gold leaf since the photo with the glowing trees looks so interesting.


Avocado and Fried Egg Breakfast

This has become one of my favorite go to breakfasts! Takes about 5 minutes to prepare. 

Heat olive oil and crack in the egg, sprinkle with Spike seasoning! While frying, mash half an avocado on a nice plate. Flip the egg. Add a Wasa Sourdough Crispbread to the plate. Put the egg on top of the avocado and add some hot sauce! Ta da! Breakfast is served!