Saturday, February 28, 2009

Country Sampler Home Tours Magazine

One of the reasons I started my blog was to share the joy and inspirations behind my art with others. Part of the joy of creating is sharing and what a delight for me to have the honor of sharing my personal California garden and flea-market style, which serves as the inspiration for my art, in the March 2009 Home Tour Edition of Country Sampler magazine. The beautifully written article by Elizabeth Preston, Associate Editor, shares seven pages with ideas on "cultivating the charm of an authentic English cottage garden, bright ideas for using flea market finds and mirrors and tips on designing a mini Provencal style garden".

One page shows the inspiration behind the garden painting on my blog banner (which I donated as a give away to the readers). Sunday Hendrickson, fabulous stylist, really made my garden sing and Mark Lohman's photography is perfection. I am not usually at a loss for words, however, when I read the lovely article Elizabeth wrote about me and my garden all I could say was WOW, I am speechless.

My thanks and appreciation go to Donna Marcel, Editor, Sunday Hendrickson, Mark Lohman and the entire staff of Country Sampler Magazine for the beautifully written and fabulous design of the article on "Fresh Impressionism". A very special heartfelt thank you to Elizabeth Preston for her incredible talent and vision of my little garden with all of my "flea-market finds". The magazine can be purchased at your local news stand or on line at

I donated one of the paintings in the magazine article as a give away for the readers. Directions on how to register can be found in the Home Tour Edition of Country Sampler, March 2009, or you can go on line to and click on MAGAZINES - then click on HOME TOUR - then click on CONTESTS AND PROMOTIONS.

And yes, there is a photo of my Studio Assistant, Bentley, in the article.

Below are a few of my personal photos showing a little taste of my garden and flea-market finds not shown in the magazine article.

You can also see my blog friend Kim''s adorable Dear Daisy Cottage of the very popular Dear Daisy Cottage Blog, in the magazine under "True COLORS". The article features eight pages of her adorable cottage with lots of ideas on "perfect your palette with sunny hues to get a carefree look that's fresh and fun". Kim's adorable pup Miss Maggie is also featured. Bentley and Maggie have become blog friends and Bentley is also wagging his tail in happiness that he and Maggie are in the same issue.

Congratulations to Kim and Country Sampler for the beautiful and colorful article on her Dear Daisy Cottage. Kim is a very talented decorator and writer who has a great eye for color and flea-market finds. . . as well as being a sweetheart. . .she took the time to give me words of encouragement to start my own blog. . her advise - just jump in and get started. Thank you Kim, I just dove in and love Blog Land.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Everyday Inspirations

Finding inspiration . . . .

My neighbors pink roses are just starting to bloom . . what an inspiration!! Spring is on the way!

Our surroundings are an integral part of us and I am inspired to paint by the simple everyday objects in my home and garden.

Here . . . .

My vintage garden hat on a weathered blue table

There . . . .

My tools of the trade ( paint brushes ) and pink flowers in my favorite blue and white china.

Everywhere . . . . . . .
My paint palette on an old blue table.

Hmmm . . . I am beginning to see inspiration for a painting using the everyday objects around me.

By grouping some of my favorite everyday objects together I am beginning to see a still life painting. In artist terms this is known as the "set up". The next step is to sketch the objects on my canvas and start painting. The set up was done in my living room in front of a window with lots of light.

Since it was a beautiful day in Southern California, in between rain storms, I decided to paint in my garden surrounded by flowers I just purchased from the garden shop. I grouped everything together, still in pots, and set up my easel. The sky was blue and the birds were signing and oh what a lovely day. A wonderful artist named Penny, once told me to to surround myself with flowers and blue skies, as the sighs and smells would transfer onto my canvas. I try and do this as much as possible (weather permitting) by painting in plien air (outside).

Bentley, my studio assistant, was enjoying the day and happy to have a break from the rain.

I took the painting back inside to compare it to the "set up" for color and form. Notice, I decided to paint the entire table blue as I felt the painters pallet needed more of a contrast to make it pop.

The finished painting.

Wishing everyone a lovely week. Thank you for visiting. It means so much to me that you have taken time to leave comments and to follow my blog. If you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special I would love to hear from you.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pink Inspirations

Finding Inspiration . . . . . .

We have been having much needed rain in Southern California. Today is the first day all week that we have seen blue skies and a perfect day to get out in my garden to see what is starting to bloom before our official Spring.

Here . . . . . .

Pink Ranuculus are starting to bloom.

There . . . . .

Pink Primroses

Everywhere . . . . .

It's beginning to look like everything in early bloom is pink! I am beginning to think PINK inspiration.

I bought these pink roses last week at the Farmers Market and they are still beautiful after a week. I keep cutting the stems shorter and shorter and it has really prolonged their life.

I used one of my favorite blue and white pitchers to arrange the pink roses and picked a few pink geranium buds for the small blue and white pitcher. I collect blue and white china and use it often in my paintings - one of my artist friends calls blue and white "my signature" in my art.
I use a lot of Naples yellow as a background color on my canvas as it is very neutral and goes well with almost any color.

Close up of the little pink geranium petals in the painting.

I like to put the completed painting beside the set up to compare colors and form. I decided to paint the roses a little more open than the ones in the pitcher to look more like cabbage roses.

Completed painting.

Wishing everyone a beautiful and creative week. Thank you for your comments and visits to my blog. It means so much to me that you have taken time to leave a comment and to follow my blog.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Rose Inspirations

A trip to our local Farmer's Market was the inspiration for my "Roses By The Sea" painting.

Finding inspiration . . . . . .

Here . . . . .

There . . . . . .

Everywhere . . . . .

Recently I "re-purposed" one of my bedrooms and used rose floral accent pillows that were in another bedroom to give the room a fresh new garden- inspired look. I wanted to incorporate the roses in the pillows and shams into a large painting for the room. The fabric is a Ralph Lauren print and is paired with red and white check.

The fabric has red roses, blues, greens and a touch of yellow and those are the colors I want to use in my painting.

I used my garden wicker chair in the painting and changed the cushions to match the bedroom cushions.

I painted a similar floral throw pillow on the white wicker chair and picked up the blues in the two vases. Now I am bringing in some yellow by adding yellow flowers in the pots. Notice I am bouncing the reds around the entire painting to bring harmony. This will look nice with the red and white check bed skirt and the red roses in the floral shams and throw pillows.

Finished painting with little white daisies in the blue vase and daffodils in the clay pot.
"The skies can't keep their secret! They tell it to the hills - the hills just tell the orchards - and they the daffodils"! Emily Dickinson.

I planned to do a "how to" post for Valentines Day and show you how to paint a vintage style Whitman's Sampler candy box heart with an adorable needlepoint basket of flowers on the box. . . well things do not always go as planned . . . .as my Studio Assistant, Bentley was a little too enthusiastic about "assisting"!

Hmm - I better check out the boxes to make sure everything is in order for the painting project! I hope no one notices that I ripped the boxes open!
I just wanted to inspect the boxes to make sure there was no candy left in them!

Inspector Bentley just could not resist "inspecting" the vintage style box before the art project got started!

Wishing everyone a happy and creative week and a very special Valentines Day.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Fabulous Finds Award

Thank you Kathleen

I was thrilled to open my e-mail this morning to learn that Kathleen from Musings From A French Garden ( passed on the Fabulous Finds Award to me. This is my first blog award and it originated from Olive Rue According to Kathleen the award is passed on to "insanely talented, dumpster diving, curb and flea market finds, thrifty tiara wearing , re-purposing, self-proclaimed junk shop queens ".

I have been insanely busy re-purposing and re-decorating my home the past month using some of my dumpster diving, curb and flea market finds, and favorite ,"free to you" finds . . . .so in order to do justice to the award . . . I thought it would be fun to share some of my finds with you.

The most important item for this "Junk Queen" is my "re-purposing kit".

"Re-purposing kit"

Contents of kit - denim work shirt, hammer, wrecking bar, saw with heavy duty blade, heavy duty screwdriver, and measuring tape. The wrecking bar and hammer can be used to take down almost anything!

The shutters around my front door are my all time favorite found item. They were actually part of an old wooden gate that was hanging on one very large hinge. The house was being torn down and I asked permission to take the gate down. The workman said "Lady I do not have no time for such nonsense, but if you think you can get it down by yourself, have at it". I quickly removed my ""re-purposing kit" from my car and got to work with the wrecking bar and hammer and took down the gate . The workman looked at me in dismay and said " blank -blank lady" - where did you learn to do that!!!! He was very nice and put the gate in the back of my Ford Explorer and off I went with my new found treasurer.

Another favorite "free to you" is my blue step back cupboard. Actually it was an old wooden tool bench with a large vice bolted down to the center and filled with tools - the little drawer at the top held screws and nails. It is on wheels and when I saw my neighbor wheeling it out to the trash I ran across the street to ask if I could have it. He was shocked that I wanted it and eagerly gave it to me to get it out of his garage. I removed the vice and gave it to my son and sanded it down and rubbed three different shades of blue acrylic paint on it. I sanded the edges to give age and added glass knobs that I purchased at Anthropology. It has a new home and I now use it to house my stereo and CD's.

Another one of my favorite finds is the white garden bench. I was "junk cruising" down the alley with my friend one day and saw a man putting the bench in the trash. It was actually a seat in his Boston Whaler fishing boat and he was replacing the seat with a larger one. I painted it white and it has been at home in my garden for years.

I could not bear to see these wonderful old wicker picnic baskets thrown in the trash and salvaged them just as the trash truck was coming down the street. I stacked them up and store books and a plant in the old baskets.
The owner of this old hall tree was going to throw it away as it fell over in an earthquake and the top and side pieces broke off. As a "Junk Queen", I saw beauty in the old broken hall tree and offered to give it a new home. It has a special place by my front door and is perfect for hanging my garden hats and Bentley's lease.

The old white cupboard was another "Junk Queen" find discovered one early morning when I was walking Bentley. It is quite large and as I was pondering how to get it home, a lovely lady came walking by with her dog. She offered to help me - I ran home and got my car and came back - all the time she was holding my dog for me. We put it in the back of my car with one inch to spare. There was also an old mirror which fit perfectly on top of the cupboard and of course, the mirror had to go home with me. When we moved the cupboard she discovered some wonderful old classic Tonka trucks which she salvaged for her Grandchildren.

As I was writing my blog post about "Fabulous Finds" one of my new blog friends kept popping up in my mind as a great prospect to pass the award onto. She is a fabulous artist named Ruth who paints on fabulous finds . . . . .100 year old ceiling tiles and old recycled windows. Her work is beautiful and was featured in Hot Cottage Collectibles as well as Country Victorian magazine. I am adding the word "re-purpose" to Kathleen's description of fabulous finds since Ruth certainly knows how to re=purpose her lovely old ceiling tiles and give them a whole new life.

Please visit Ruth to see what she has done with her "Fabulous Finds" at:

Artful Creations

I hope everyone has a lovely week and don't forget to keep your eyes open for those fabulous finds. Now that most of my re purposing projects are complete I will be back in the studio working on a rose heart "how-to project" that I will share with you.