"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.

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..


  1. How incredibly beautiful. The pictures look like my mind's pictures when I am reading about Italy. The family picture is terrific.

  2. I loved looking at your pictures of Venice and Tuscany. We have loved our many trips to Italy and never tire of the scenery the people the art and architecture and of course the delicious food. You describe it so eloquently and as always your paintings will be sensitive and beautiful.I love the picture of all the family. You all look so happy.I'm happy for you and John to have shared this very special adventure.The children will remember it always. They are so lucky to have taken part in this great family adventure. We look forward to hearing more about the fun experience when we get together again for a fun vacation in Nantucket. Much love, Maureen