Thursday, July 19, 2012

Work in Progress: Pretty in Pink

I have been working on a new piece this week inspired by my daily walks on the verdant grounds of the Marriott Ocean Club on Maui. We traveled to Hawaii in May, returning for the first time since we moved back to Florida seven years ago, and it felt like we never left. One of my favorite tropical plants is the Ti plant, a showy specimen that grows in any temperate climate, but seems to be everywhere in Hawaii. The vividly colored leaves silhouetted against the clear blue sky always make me smile. I read an interesting article in the airline magazine about the many uses of this plant. It is used to make ropes, hats, shelter, and medicine. Hawaiians utilize the Ti plant in their spiritual practice as well.
"Pretty in Pink" (36" x 24" watercolor on Aquabord) - in progress, day 2
This new painting is on Aquabord, a clay coated surface made by Ampersand Art Supply in Austin, Texas. I started using Aquabord several years ago when I was introduced to it by Karen Vernon, a fantastic painter from Texas. I really got into it once we lived in Kauai, where a lack of air conditioning meant that my Arches paper never really dried due to the humidity. I love it because it acts like watercolor paper (most of the time) can take repeated washes and lifting of color, and be sealed and displayed without glazing. That is the very best part!

Monday, July 16, 2012

An Artistic Encounter in Paris

I emerged from the Rennes Metro stop and looked around, trying to orient myself to the bustling neighborhood of the 6th Arrondisement in Paris. I was on a quest to find the apartment of two American artists living in Paris whom I had met through their blog on the internet. Laurie and Blair Pessemier are living their dream as artists in the City of Light, and I wanted to see what their life and art were really like. I arranged to visit their home studio and perhaps take home a treasure or two.
The top floor apartment was very easy to find, and the Pessemiers were so warm and welcoming. The place is tiny, painted bright yellow, and filled with paintings – on the walls, on the floor, stacked against the fireplace.  I knew it would be difficult to choose only one. As we drank café au lait and chatted about their artistic life in Paris and beyond, I realized that it not easy to pick up and move to a new country. Dealing with a new language and different cultural expectations, not to mention the impossibly illogical French way of doing business would stress out anyone, especially when you have the added pressure of supporting yourselves with your artwork.  Laurie and Blair manage to pull it off with flair. I left feeling so inspired, and hope to paint with them the next time I am in Paris. Oh, and yes, I bought two small paintings. 

To read their blog and see their work, please visit