"The true painter strives to paint what can only be seen through his world." ~André Malraux

After a year of intermittant "painter's block"  I am working again in my studio, and feeling in a tentative positive state. Painting is a solitary activity, and as artists, we are often working in a vacuum. Unless we have a show hanging, reaction to the work is minimal. With several pieces underway, I decided that perhaps if I write about what I am doing or am attempting to do, it might act somewhat as a muse for me as well as give me some feedback on the work I am creating -- hence the establishment of this blog. 

As for the blog title, traditional, representational painting is a language for expressing what’s visible. But I feel my work is the most successful, and most interesting, when focused on things not entirely visible. I paint what I see but also what I sense and feel by utilizing my interior and unseen world --- in other words, the invisible world. Plein air work or  studio work from photographs are only touchstones or landmarks which guide me to other inner spaces. By so doing, I find that I am pushing the boundaries between representational and abstract work.

You can enlarge the images in this blog by clicking on them.

Dec 2, 2011

An Obsessive Fork in My Creative World

 When I was 13, my laughing  father walked into my room and saw me sitting by my dollhouse, and said "Aren't you a little old to be playing with dolls?" I felt as if he had slapped me in the face. My dollhouse had been my world, my obsession since I was 8 years old. How could I get rid of it? I was filled with adolescent angst.  Eventually, within the next year, my obsessions shifted to boys, especially one particular 17 year old football player, and the dollhouse was carefully packed away in the attic. But I can remember that doll house family of Flagg dolls as well as I remember my flesh and blood family, and that long-gone 1950's era tin lithographed dollhouse as well as my real house.

 I did not unwrap all the plastic Renwal furniture and the dolls from those boxes until my daughter was about 8. I built her a dollhouse which was a Christmas gift, and after 25 years, my obsession was suddenly back, and suddenly shared. I sometimes stole into her room when she was at school and straightened up the house, communed with the dolls, the same tiny, familiar family from my childhood which now were under her control, with new names and dressed in outfits which she made. I watched my daughter use her dollhouse as a decorative fashion statement, and a chance to play with the emerging roles of adulthood. A dollhouse provides a safe place to role play adult responsibilities, to let your imagination run wild, as well as a wonderful backdrop for creative expression of self and decorating tastes.

Before long, after a successful solo show of my paintings, I took some of the money and bought myself, as an adult, a large and complicated  dollhouse kit. And built it almost singlehandedly.

What do you suppose the psychological implications are behind an obsession with dollhouses and miniatures which lasts into one's adult years? It is not uncommon --  there is a huge world of miniature enthusiasts and craftsmen and women out there. Is it perhaps a need to be in control of a controllable, tiny world? A need to escape to a place where the sun always shines, and nothing bad happens (unless, as happened to me as a kid, a male cousin comes and sticks a tiny kitchen knife in the father and writes RIP on his coffin, and sticks the mother's head in the tiny toilet!)? Why does a miniature replica of a vase of roses, a chocolate cake or book give one with such a rush of serotonin, sense of well being, of joy?  In any case, I built the house, electrified and decorated it, and staged it to be set in about 1928, when my mother was a teenager. I began collecting and creating items for it, and had it pretty well in hand when we moved--- to a wonderful small Cotswold Cottage type of house, but with no room for a large dollhouse. It was relegated to the basement. And shortly thereafter, a kitchen pipe broke, flooded the dollhouse, ruined the lighting,  and made me so sad I just left it there, stained wallpaper, buckled siding, lost shingles, and covered it with a sheet.

When we moved to Vermont 15 years ago I had it placed in my studio, thinking I would get to it someday. It gathered dust. Then grandchildren began to arrive in my world, including my two adorable little girls, Eloise and Lily,  who found the house, and desperately wanted it to be fixed NOW.

My obsession returned. I began to nag my husband to rewire it. It took the abnormally large electrician  and a helper in town six years, but it is almost finished. Meanwhile I have been carpentrying, wallpapering, painting, making curtains and small accessories, and running up large bills at a couple of miniature stores. The Little family has been "writing" to my granddaughters reporting on the progress of the house, and even though much more work needs to be done on the outside, and a basement has to be built to house the electrical transformers. Last week they moved in.

Come take a look! Remember, this is 1928, in Vermont. I am trying to give my granddaughters a bit of history as this house evolves, and may open it to children from my little village to come and see at some point, complete with a written history of the era, and information on the family in a booklet. 

 The Little's  house was badly damaged in the 1927 Vermont flood, and it has taken them a long time to make the repairs, but finally they are home again. Come on up to the porch, watch out for the baby carriage, and come on in.

The bay window below is in (Mrs.) Lily Little's music room, and above one of the nursery rooms.        
Come warm yourself by the fire. (It took me forever to find a sofa that felt right for the era). 
Below photo shows the phone nook. The Littles are very fortunate to have two telephones, when many people had none. (This is also where a Cathedral style radio is going to go, and where the family will gather to "listen in" to news, music and other radio shows. I needlepointed  the small rug, made the curtains, and the tiny pack of Camels on the coffee table. The other railing still has to be constructed.) Note the period Morris Chair, (which has been pushed aside to accommodate the Christmas tree this week.)
The door to the right of the fireplace goes into Nathaniel Little's study. He is a music professor at the nearby college. When he comes home, he goes in here, puts on the gramophone or plays his violin, seen in case upper right, and reads the paper.
He is still waiting for the carpenter to finish the paneling on one of his walls. He has a Stickley desk.

Maybe you can stay for dinner. If you want to help, come in the dining room, and set the table. The cloth and dishes are in the cabinet. 

You can see Lily Little's music room beyond the end of the dining room where she gives piano lessons, takes care of her scorrespondence, and steals a minute to herself to read. (See below)
Note the William Morris wallpaper border in dining room. The rug for this room just arrived, but is not in photo.

Lily Little is in the kitchen cooking dinner -- a turkey (which is a bit tired and scarred, since I have had it for 60 odd years!) is in the oven because when these photos were taken, it was Thanksgiving time.  She is hoping to modernize this farmhouse kitchen someday, but meanwhile, it suffices. She has ordered a kitchen worktable. (The stove was a salesman sample of my husband's grandfather who sold stoves in the NC hills. His mother played with it as a child. I built the cupboards in 1981, and made the curtains.) It looks like a chocolate cake is being made on the Hoosier.

(There are a lot of items in the kitchen that were part of my childhood dollhouse--- the garbage can, the crackers box, the catsup, the chocolate cake, the rolling pin! I made Lily's dress out of an old handkerchief of my mother's. Old hankies are the BEST source of fabric for dollhouses.)

The last room on the first floor is the family breakfast room. The table is too big for it, and Lily has ordered a smaller one.The sun comes in the bay window at breakfast time. Somebody has left a game of Chinese Checkers on the table, and the remains of little Bitty's supper is there.

We will give you a tour of the upper floors next time, to see the bedrooms of Minnie, Bitty, Dolly, Tad and Mr. and Mrs. Little. And also a glimpse into the children's grandparents' house, the Petits, who live just across the street. They are in the process of getting some electricity in their home, where they live with Mr. Petit's elderly Mother Grandmere, and their youngest child Connie, a flapper about to get married.      Thanks for stopping by.

 So this is where my creative side has been working this month. But there are paintings strumming in my head. Will I find time this holiday month to paint? I hope so: I have to take some new work to the Lyme (NH) gallery because they have sold the two I had there, which is nice. I also took two pieces over to the Chaffee Art Center for their Winter member's Show of Smallworks. Busy busy time of year.

Oct 23, 2011

Commissions: A Love-Hate Relationship

As long as there have been artists trying to earn a living with their work, there have been collectors and patrons eager to commission art that speaks directly to their own tastes and preferences, and not to the artist's.  For that reason, and because many artists feel a real sense of restriction when dealing with external guidelines outside their own internal  creative processes, we often have a love- hate relationship with commissions.

The first commission I ever had was when I was about 13. The father of children I baby sat for knew I was taking oil painting lessons, and asked me to copy a Modigliani for him. I dutifully did (and began my life-long love affair with Modi!) He in turn actually paid me money, I forget how much, certainly not much, but I was thrilled: it was my very first sale. And in high school, my boyfriend asked me to make him a painting of the woods, with a moose by a stream. And I did, for free because I loved him, and often wonder whatever happened to it after I broke up with him three years later. For my grandfather I did a man fishing in a stream which he loved and I loved making it for him.

In the eighties, when I got seriously back to painting after the kids were in school, I had a very successful solo show in Newark, NJ. An acquaintance, who had bought a 36" square painting of an oversized, abstracted rose at the opening, asked me if I would make a companion for it, in the same colors. I thought about it, and realized it was not something I could do. My large roses were all painted and titled with ee cummings poetry as my muse (see example below), and came from deep within my psyche. I could not paint one to order, and so I lost a sale.

"Palace Intricate"  36 x 36  NFS   

And since then, other than portraits, I have avoided commissions as much as I can.   I have done many commissioned portraits, see example left and in earlier postings, which is a slightly different thing, but also a bit restrictive creatively, or perhaps a lot restrictive. I have had a fair amount of success with the portraits, but have grown tired of doing them, although I still will do it because once into them, I do get a certain amount of enjoyment out of the process.)

A few years ago, a very close friend whose summer home we visit every year on Lake George, asked me if I would do a painting of their house which they could have back home in Virginia during the year. I said yes, and then spent the next two years suffering terrible guilt because I could not do it. I tried, over and over again, but working from the photos I took was just not working, and I honestly believe it was because the painting was not coming from inside. I finally finished it this summer, and breathed a deep, deep sigh of relief. The photo below is a bit fuzzy, but it now hangs happily in Virginia.
Malovany Home, Lake George 

I would LIKE to be able to do commissions, because it is a nice way to earn some extra money, AND to make your customers happy. But I find it so difficult, not only emotionally, but while technically attempting the work in the studio. It reminds me of why I did not major in art at Skidmore: I told my mother I did not want art to ever become WORK for me. I wanted to keep my creation of art  forever as a joy. 

I don't know if any of this makes sense to you, but it does to me. And right now I have no company coming, and no commissions due, so inbetween water aerobics, I plan to spend a lot of time in the studio this week!

Oct 1, 2011

The Disappearing Month and Disappeared Days from Long Ago.

My readers, all 5 of you, must be wondering what happened to this blogger. Life happened, basically, and I found I had little time to paint, or to blog. The end of August found us, and the two Pulis, off to Lake George to visit old high school friends just the day after our wonderful 10 day Nantucket idyll with our son and family. (I do not have any of the photos from that trip on my computer.) Finally home, we cleaned up the garden, and enjoyed the end of summer, so eloquently captured in this poem.

The Round 

by Stanley Kunitz

Light splashed this morning
on the shell-pink anemones
swaying on their tall stems;
down blue-spiked veronica
light flowed in rivulets
over the humps of the honeybees;
this morning I saw light kiss
the silk of the roses
in their second flowering,
my late bloomers
flushed with their brandy.
A curious gladness shook me.
So I have shut the doors of my house,
so I have trudged downstairs to my cell,
so I am sitting in semi-dark
hunched over my desk
with nothing for a view
to tempt me
but a bloated compost heap,
steamy old stinkpile,
under my window;
and I pick my notebook up
and I start to read aloud
and still-wet words I scribbled
on the blotted page:
"Light splashed..."

I can scarcely wait till tomorrow
when a new life begins for me,
as it does each day,
as it does each day.

And then came Irene, which was a catastrophe here in poor little Vermont. Being high on a hill, and having a reliable generator, personally we were fine, but not our little village. Our neighbors' driveway was in the road, leaving them with a Grand Canyon-esque driveway. Homes were flooded, bridges broken. Here are some shots of our road:

Rt. 132 from Sharon to South Strafford.
We were stranded for a few days, but before long they got one lane open on this country road with a temporary traffic light in operation. We are hoping they can fix it, and the many, many other roads and bridges in town and all over central and southern Vermont which need it before the snow flies. If Eric Cantor has his way, I guess it will not happen.

I am so incredibly impressed by the way Vermnonters rallied together to help each other in a million ways. We relied on a town internet site and a hastily established Facebook site to find out what was going on, what roads were open, who needed help where, etc. The big excitement was when government helicopters arrived with emergency food and water for stranded Straffordites. Seeing the normally bucolic, lazy brooks, streams and the Ompoponoosuc River in a frenzied rage was astonishing. We felt as if we were living in the middle of a newsreel... and in fact, we were.

And September was a blur.
We were away until the 12th, mostly at Long Beach Island, Barnegat Light to be specific, where we have gone for the last five or six years. Going to LBI has become an homage to my past --  it is the island where I spent part of every summer from the time I was 10 until we moved to Vermont when the family oceanfront home in Loveladies was sold. Some of the best memories from my childhood and  adulthood are of family times at Loveladies.
I was an only child, and spending time with my cousins at the shore every summer was pure joy. That's me in the center, in 1952, chin on the old rubber raft, squinting into the sun.

My uncles' first and second houses spoke of home to me more than anywhere else in my adult years, because I could not go to any of my other childhood homes. This one still existed, exactly as it had always been,  until I was 55.
The vintage 50's house had pink asbestos shingles and a gleaming white roof, built after my Uncle had been to Bermuda. It was filled with the Heywood Wakefield furniture that was so popular at that time, and would be worth a fortune today. Back then, there were almost no other houses on the beach. Circa 1952.
 When my Uncle Ben died and the house which he had built in front of the Pink House in 1972 was sold (and eventually torn down) my heart broke and it was years before I could bear to go back to LBI. But eventually the pull was too strong, and we found a funny little house right on the ocean to rent in Barnegat, the northernmost town on the island, and the one least spoiled by the "tear-down and build-up-a-McMansion-beach-house" mentality. Since my daughter and family always join us for at least some of the time, I guess we are building some new memories, although rather than a long meandering summer, we have only a week.
Our little grand boy and empty beach, early September.
 There is no sand like the soft white sand on LBI, and nowhere else smells as good. When our grandson Nate, age 5, first got out of the car he exclaimed "I smell the ocean!" and he had to go there IMMEDIATELY. I know the feeling, oh I know the feeling.

This year, one day I took some photos with my i-phone of the patterns and textures on the water's edge for future abstracted paintings of just that which I can take to Nantucket next year. (I have been unable to locate a really good gallery on LBI.) 

So summer, is over. I knew it the last day on the beach, with some drifting mist and a hint of coolness in the air, and the sanderlings and other peeps rushing back and forth by water's edge. The gulls were reclaiming the beach, and I knew it was time to go home, time to get back to work.

 I have a lot to do this fall and winter in the studio--- Sedona, Italy, and Beach works. Stay tuned.

But as the season shifts up here, and my Vermont landscape views out the window and off the decks are magically colorized, I am sure I will be doing some October work as well. I took the painting below done in another October to a show in Lyme this month.
"October Mists"  oil on canvas currently at Long River Gallery in Lyme, NH     $900

Aug 5, 2011

Nantucket Work

This week has been been a busy one, as I prepare some new work to take up to East End Gallery in Nantucket. Each August I bring home some which have not sold, and hand off some new work to the gallery owner. I can't say I sell a lot up there, because she only does solo shows for Nantucket residents, and these shows take up most of the space in the small gallery during the summer. But she shows my work in the spring, early summer and fall into December, and I have made some nice sales during those times.

Besides the "Shallowing Waves" painting in my last post, and "In the Language of Blue and Gold" which can be seen in the right hand sidebar of this blog, I will be taking up an addition to my successful "Water's Edge series:
"Water's Edge # 10"  oil on clayboard  10" x 10"

"Blue Shore of Silence"
 and above, which I did earlier this summer and posted in the blog I believe.

And this new one, "Storm Abating" which is not quite as free form as "Shallowing Waves," but hopefully presents a mood and a feeling.

"Storm Abating"  oil on canvas  20" x 20"

I look forward to arriving on the island for a 10 day vacation with our son and his family. There’s a reason families summer in Nantucket generation after generation: There is a sense of history, of the unchanged there in the villages and outlying roads, because after the whaling industry, which made Nantucket so affluent, tanked in the mid 1800's when oil was discovered in Pennsylvania, no one could afford to build or rebuild for over 100 years, leaving Nantucket Island and its delightful cottages and buildings and cobble-stoned thoroughfare much as it was. (This is in spite of the continued growth of abundant and wonderful, albeit expensive, restaurants, shopping, and art galleries in recent decades.) 

Ocean and bay are wonderfully swimmable, thanks to the Gulf Stream, and the open beaches, some of the most beautiful in the world, are varied and available to all --- all who can afford to be there that is. You can tell that my only negative about this magical place is the sense of entitlement about it --- it is not a place where you can own or even rent a house without money. There may be a few too many docksiders, Vineyard Vines clothing, whale pants and dyed-in-the-wool Republicans for my sensibilities, but given all the natural beauty, it is easy to ignore. I can be a hypocrite for a few weeks in order to enjoy beauty and relaxation!

"Squantum House"
My son found a wonderful old true grey-shingled BEACH house (not winterized, not yuppified) about 10 years ago to rent. Everyone would not love it, because of the small, old kitchen, ancient (but I think charming!) bathrooms, time scarred natural wood wainscotted walls, and simple furnishings. It is a house where a family raised six kids, located out on Wauwinet Road where there are very few houses, very few folks on the beach, and situated right on the ocean with bay views to the other side. My family all love it, because of its location and because the house is perfect for kids, (my grandkids think of it as a second home.) Because of our Italy extravaganza in June, they are only going for 2 weeks this year, (but logged into more next year I believe) and John and I  will be there for 10 days of it. (Not because, I suspect, they are dying to spend another vacation with the grandparents, but because you have to split the cost of the house: otherwise it becomes undo-able!) My daughter-in-law's parents and brother and family rent another house just down the road for one of the weeks, which makes it even more fun.

I look forward to doing some water aerobics in the ocean, communing with seagulls and my son, daughter-in-law and grandkids on the beach, sunsets over the bay on the deck, endless games of Monopoly, seafood feasts cooked on the beach, some good beach reading ... all of which makes for a perfect vacation.
Everyone makes fun of my beach chair with a roof, but it seems to be a popular place to sit--- this is my grandson Aidan, 9 here, now 10.
Granddaughter Eloise on the deck with fudgecicle at age 7, last summer
Granddaughter Lily on "our" beach post shower, pre dinner, at age 5

View from deck at cocktail hour
Hence they may be no blogging until we get home, after which we take off again for 3 days to Lake George!

Jul 30, 2011

Creating Something New from the Familiar: Bait for Viewers

These lovely summer days, when I sit down at the easel, I find myself creating paintings which are more abstract than any of my work since about 1985, when I was for a few years working in an abstract expressionist mode. An example of that era of work can be seen below.
"Fragments of Actuality"  36" x 36"  oil and pear paper on canvas

 From there I evolved into a "you know what it is but it is done very differently" frame of mind ...  see poor photo of painting of wild horse below ...
"Wild Stallion"  36" x 36"  oil on canvas   (sold, long ago)

...and then somehow I became much more of a realist for many years. But recently,I have once again started reaching towards a more abstracted approach.
My current work, as with the horse, revolves around my efforts to interpret a realistic subject in a completely individual way; my approach is very intuitive and organic, usually starting with thin washes on a blank canvas, often with underlayed areas of soft, crinkled pear paper which I love. The process then evolves into the use of painting knives, paper towels, my fingers and other objects, as well as brushes, to apply the paint -- layering and layering, and then finding out what is underneath! I also am bringing with me a hardfought (and not always successful) ability to keep my mind open to what the process will reveal.

My work is still firmly rooted in, and inspired by, landscape, seascape and buildings, but I find myself departing from the college-taught theories and formalities of representational art which have guided me in the past.  I guess I am trying to create something new from the familiar. My work this week takes the sea and its environs as my subject because I need to take some new work up to the Nantucket gallery which represents me. With these recent seascapes, I am trying to continue and enlarge upon my “Water’s Edge” series of the past few years, and to transcend typical seascape representation. I pick my composition, often from photographs, often from memory, and try to reach the heart and soul of each particular scene or dream. I work until I feel I have a work that is absorbing, reflective, and also makes the viewer think a bit. Unlike some abstract artists, I am not really looking to disturb: I still aim for painterly interest and some kind of beauty in my work. Here is one of the very recent seascapes. I was all over the studio with this one, flinging paint about, and getting myself and the studio into very much of a mess.The glow of the sun does not show up in this photo.
"Shallowing Breakers"  20" x 20" oil and pear paper on canvas

When speaking about his earlier work, Eric Aho was described as “ .. at first glance, … a most accomplished landscapist, but in reality he is an abstract-expressionist using farm buildings and turbulent skies as bait for viewers. His latest oil paintings, suavely brushed and knowingly layered, are in reality artworks about art.” This is where I am trying to go.

As an aside, and not exactly on point with the above discussion, I am also working on the Italian village street scenes. The one I put in this blog earlier in its initial configuration is now looking like this, and I have several more underway. 
"Montefioralle #1"  6" x 6"  oil and tissue paper on canvas

SO I am not abandoning the representational altogether, when it affords opportunity for wonderful colors, light, and texture such as these.

Jul 16, 2011

Back in the Saddle

I have not been in the studio for quite a while, but as well as starting a time-consuming water aerobics class this week, I also got back to work.

"Where All the Houses are Grey:  18 x 18, oil on canvas
This painting, almost done alla prima, is where my head is going right now. Layered and simple, an abstracted view of bayside Nantucket ... but in my mind, it could almost be Venice as well if I eliminated the grey on the horizon and added a few suggested cupolas of Domes.

And I am beginning a series of Montefioralle street scenes, as predicted. I thought it might be of interest to see a painting with just it's first few layers. It is nowhere near completed, just in the initial stages.

Stage 1 of a Montefioralle painting, oil on canvas covered with tissue underlay,  6" x 6"

 A woman who saw and liked my work at the Morrill show, and who is an art critic up here, has asked to come to my studio so she can write a review of my work for VermontArtzine, and  on line publication.  

Jul 15, 2011

La Dolce Vita in Tuscany

Door to villa
View from my bedroom window of pool and area
To continue our Italian adventure, the next whole week we, with our children, their spouses, and our grandchildren, situated ourselves at a marvelous Tuscan villa in the midst of the Chianti countryside. I have always wanted to stay in a small Tuscan town, and after reading Francis Mayes’ books, this desire became an obsession. We finally did it, and it did not disappoint.

Grandson Nate walking towards back of our villa. Loggia and patios visable. Photo by his Dad, son-in-law Bob Buzas. Below, right, loggia and patios


Entry Courtyard
It was such a joy spending time there that we almost hated to go off on day trips, but we did--- we selected this villa partially because it was so close to Siena, Florence, Pisa, many of the famed medieval fortified hill towns, and vineyards. We managed to see bits of it all.

 When it comes to travel, we all have our preferences. Some of us like to rough it, others like to stay in the most luxurious places they can afford. Some of us like to plan EVERY DETAIL to the nth degree, others like to wing it and just find adventures around every corner. Some like to be busy from sun up to sun down, others like to stop to smell the flowers along the way.  This trip confirmed something I have been learning about myself in recent years: that as I am growing older, I am less and less enticed by cities, and more and more happy and comfortable being in the countryside.

At this point in my life, when I arrive at the airport terminal, I like to head straight for the rural – wherever I am going, even when abroad. I have been to Paris often, but love Burgundy more and hope to get to Provence. I have loved spending time in London, but far prefer being in the Cotswolds, the moors of Yorkshire, the gardens of Sussex. I find the air sweeter, the people friendlier, the food fresher and local, and the pace of life slower. 

I also like to centrally locate myself in one place, and then move out for day trips. We draw a circle around where we are staying, and visit what there is to see in that circle--- always a lot!  And I am very happy to settle myself into a location, often in a rented cottage or villa, immersing myself in the area daily life,  without rushing to every possible famous tourist attraction before closing time.

Life at the villa was good. Below are my grandkids having a pasta making lesson from the chef hired by their parents to provide a fabulous birthday dinner for us.

The children loved eating the pasta they made by themselves--tagliatelle and ravioli.
The family relaxing at the villa.

I left the suburbs in New Jersey to move to Vermont 13 1/2 years ago, and in Vermont, I live among fields, farms, forests, animals and country lanes, unpretentious and rock solid folks. I like to explore these same things in foreign lands. Whenever possible on vacation from here on in, I want to try to avoid long lines, traffic, tourists, loud noise, exhaust, pollution and stress --  all part of the city scene.

That’s not to say I don’t find myself enjoying what cities have to offer  on occasion. I do want to sample the atmosphere, foods, cultural attractions and tourist attractions which are offered by cities now and again. Obviously I was not going to spend two weeks in Italy and not visit the Ufizzi, see the famous piazzas and squares, stand on the beautiful city bridges and take in the river landscapes -- so I did make the effort to see Siena, Florence – both wonderful -- and ended up in Rome for our last four days as my husband had never been there. (But we opted to stay in the quieter neighborhoods of Trastevere). 

But along with all the wonderful family interaction, the time I spent in our little Tuscan village of Panzano, the day trips we made to a few of the medieval hill towns and to a very peaceful monastery at Badia a Coltibuono, were the highlights of my trip. This is what I shall hold in my heart, and hopefully, transfer to my canvasses. 

Below are some of my favorite shots from the medieval, walled hill town Montefioralle for future use. This was my favorite town of those we visited because it seems relatively undiscovered by tourists (San Gimignano is wonderful, but crowded with people and shops). Montefioralle is full of Kodak moments, a perfect setting for a wedding, has one good restaurant, but that is about all. No tourist spots. And it seems to be a village still lived in by normal people living normal lives. I almost felt intrusive as I wandered around the lovely little streets.
 I cannot wait to paint the light in these streets..