Sunday, February 28, 2010

Delphic Sibyl

Back to the Vatican, and the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo started painting this ceiling in 1508, working on the Prophets and the Sibyls first. The architecture of the whole is the most striking feature of the decoration, with its imaginative structure that subdivides and expands the space. He completed the work in 1512.
Like the Lybian Sibyl, I drew the sketch of the Delphic Sibyl in the Sistine Chapel, watercoloring them later. The difficulty of copying a figure so far high while the paper was on my lap, was quite challenging. Michelangelo's Delphic Sibyl, watercolor, 4x6" (10x15 cm.) done in my Rome journal, November 2009.

Sistine Chapel

At first, the Pope Julius II wanted just the upper part of the room painted, but Michelangelo persuaded him to have the whole ceiling decorated. The ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is 41 x 13.5 meters (125 x 42" approx.) and took Michelangelo several years to complete.

I drew a quick sketch of one of the Sibyls, with my head looking up at the ceiling, and back down at my paper, till my neck hurt so much! I kept thinking how much more tiring it must have been for poor Michelangelo, high up there on scaffolds, illuminated by candlelight. I colored my drawing back at home, not daring to use watercolors in the Sistine Chapel. The guards kept telling people "No pictures!", and everybody took them behind their backs. Michelangelo's Libyan Sibyl, watercolor and ink, 4x6" (10x15cm.) painted in Rome, November 2009.

The Vatican

In November 2009 I spent two weeks in Rome. The goal was to visit art museums and galleries as much as possible. We rented an apartment in Prati, the neighborhood near the Vatican and Castel San Angelo. This view of Piazza San Pietro (Saint Peter's Square) was part of our everyday walk, a mere three blocks away. This is a quick watercolor sketch I did in 4x6" (10x15cm.) as a souvenir.

There was so much corruption in Rome at the time of Michelangelo, that to set a high moral example, he made no charge for his dessign of the dome, dedicating it to the Madonna. He had always venerated her (his mother had died when he was 5 years old). The dome was constructed between 1546 and 1564, dessigned free of charge by Michelangelo Buonarotti.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Autoportrait on Green Paper

The San Diego Museum of Art has a cool room for creating art. I spent a few minutes there last week, and did this quick self-portrait with a multicolored crayon. You are meant to leave your work on the wall, but I found it interesting enough to take it with me to photograph. It's quite difficult to look at yourself as an object, to be objective. When you are inside, how can you look from the outside?
Which is the real you, the one looking in, or the one looking out? The one who feels, or the one who judges from the mirror?

Friday, February 26, 2010

Impression, Marbella

Impression, Marbella is a pastel, 16x20" (40x50 cm). Marbella is a beautiful beach town in the South of Spain. Sunsets are awsome. Barefoot walks on the beach are heavenly.

Good news today! I've had Sunset Tales at Mission Bay accepted into the juried exhibition of the North County Society of Fine Arts, at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts. To see this oil painting, go to the February 7th post, titled like the painting. Please come to the reception and award ceremony on Saturday, March 13, 2:00-4:00 pm. at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Le Haricot Tarbais

At the Friday plein air market in the town of Cauterets, France,
this blond lady with a red sweater and a blue scarf caught my eye.
I was sketching at the market, and included her in my sketches.
I painted her, and different market scenes many times, including this oil painting. When I returned to Cauterets the following summer, I talked to her and told her I had painted her. Her name is Magda, we chatted for hours and became friends. Now we visit each other often. I have also painted a portrait of her beautiful daughter, Nina. Magda shares her time between her farm in the Pyrenees, and her career as a tourist guide in Paris. Thanks to her I have had the opportunity to know Paris better than ever before! And our friendship started with one little sketch done quickly, when she wasn't looking....

Le Haricot Tarbais, oil on canvas, 27x46cm (11x18") In the home of Mme. Brigitte Scellier, Cauterets, France.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Mirror, mirror...

Mirror, mirror... I painted this pastel on swede board, 20x16" (50x40 cm.) based on pictures I took of my grandaughter Emily playing with hats in front of the mirror. Life is good. You are blessed. Enjoy your day, your week, and your year!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Emily and Rosie Learning Together

Emily is the girl, and Rosie is the beautiful horse. Last year, my grandaughter Emily was learning to ride Rosie. Rosie was learning to allow people to ride her, after having been mistreated for some time. So both of them were working hard, and both had instructors to help them. I took dozens of pictures of them together, and did some quick sketches on site, then I did this pastel. I think you can see Emily's expression on her face.

Emily and Rosie Learning Together, 20x16" (50x40 cm.), pastel, 2009. In the home of Tim and Marina Dillingham, San Diego, California.

Morning Catch

I finished Morning Catch today. It's an oil on canvas, 10"x10"(25x25cm) I started a couple of weeks ago. I like to walk to Mission Bay Park in the early morning and do quick sketches of the people I see around the bay, exercising, walking their dogs, or like this man, fishing.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Grandma's Joy

From a picture taken by her father, I painted this pastel portrait of my grandaughter Natalie last year. Grandma's Joy is 10"x8" pastel (25x20cm) on swede board. I started with hard pastel sticks, then continued with the softer Rembrandt, finishing with the extra soft Schmincke pastels.

Natalie is a smart girl. She loves to read, paint, and play games she invents.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Le Pont de Van Gogh then...and now

I visited this famous bridge near Arles, France, in 2007. On the left is the bridge the way Van Gogh painted it. On the right, is the bridge the way I saw it. In Van Gogh's time, women would go to the river to wash clothes. In my time, during my visit, I saw women free to express themselves.

Le Pont de Van Gogh then...and now, two small watercolors (4" x 6" each, 10x15 cm.) In the home of Frank and Marisa Kiedaisch, Santa Monica, California.
I had them framed together. My friend Marisa had been with me in Arles. When I exhibited this painting a year later, she bought it. The faith she's always shown in me has encouraged me to believe in myself as an artist.

Autumn `a Cauterets

Autumn `a Cauterets is a small watercolor I did in my sketchbook in the fall, sitting on the bench at Vieux Pauze. When I'm in the Haute Pyrenees, in France, I love walking up there to paint.

Growth as artists happens slowly and almost unconsciously. Beginners are often concerned with finishing a painting, with the end result, but we actually learn more from each attempt, and with failure. We must take risks! I draw and/or paint all the time. I carry a small sketchbook with me, and do value studies or small watercolors or quick pencil sketches on buses, airplanes, in cafes and restaurants, in the car while somebody else is driving. This is a great way to study people and places. When we have to work quickly we can grasp the essential elements, which sharpens our perception.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

King Louis

King Louis, pencil and charcoal on paper, 8x5 in.(20x13cm)
I did this small portrait 10 or 15 years ago. Last night I went to the Gaslamp district Mardi Gras here in San Diego and heard New Orleans music played in this street party. I love Louis' music, when I read his biography I was in awe of his life. Louis Armstrong was 11 years old when accidentally shot a man (one of his mother's lovers) and was sent to jail. At 12 at the beginning of the 20th C. in the United States he was black, poor, in jail. What were his odds for a successful life? He started tinkering with music in his teens, and made the decision he was going to be happy. He "made the decision to be happy"! Mind over matter. For the rest of his life, no matter what happened, he was happy. Live and learn.

Monday, February 15, 2010

My Dream, Cauterets

My Dream, Cauterets - watercolor, 9x12 in. (23x30 cm.)

Monts geles et fleuris, trone des deux saisons
Dont le front est de glace et le pied de gazons,
C'est la qu'il faut s'asseoir, c'est la qu'il faut entendre
Les airs lointains d'un cor melancolique et tendre.

Poem by Alfred de Vigny, describing the beauty of this small mountain town in the French Pyrenees, Cauterets. (I'm sorry I couldn't put the accents in place. I haven't figured out how to change the language for the blog.)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

It's not about the wave

It's Not About the Wave: Acrylic on canvas, 14x11 inches (35x28 cm).

In surfing, as in art and life, it's not really about the wave. It's about the feeling when you're immersed in it, it's about the life style, the friendships, the shared experiences, the meditation and karma.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

A Media Luz

A Media Luz (Spanish: at half light, or twilight) is an acrylic painting of tango dancers I did as part of my Tango series. The image measures 30x22 inches (75x55 cm.) The title reflects the words of this famous tango: "Y todo a media luz...a media luz los dos..." (and everything with half light, both of us in half light...) very romantic.

It has just been accepted for exhibition at the San Clemente Art Gallery, in San Clemente, California. The exhibition runs till the end of March 2010.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Larissa in Irak

Larissa in Irak, watercolor, 22x15 inches (55x37 cm.) I started this painting with a monotype. I knew I wanted the colors of the American flag as a background, so I laid the watercolors on an acrylic sheet, reversed: the blue on the right hand side. I then placed the Arches watercolor sheet carefully on top, and put weights on it: tons of heavy books. I waited for a couple of hours, then lifted the paper: voila! I had the "flag" as background. Next I painted a blue "storm", and the three female soldiers in Irak, with my handwritten words of a poem by the real Larissa, a poet who has been a soldier in Irak. The soil is gold. It was an emotional painting for me. Larissa in Irak has just been accepted at City of Brea Art Gallery's Made in California juried exhibition from 27 March-7 May 2010.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Pine Cove, Idyllwild

Pine Cove, Idyllwild, watercolor, 4x6 inches (10x15 cm).
One lovely afternoon in 1997, I painted this small watercolor just for fun, sitting at the end of the deck in our mountain cabin in the forest. Pine Cove is in the outskirts of Idyllwild, about two hours East of Los Angeles, California. I forgot about the little painting, until a few weeks later, when a painter friend, Etti, asked me to enter it into a show at the South Bay Watercolor Society in Long Beach. Since I had never entered a show, he helped me with the paperwork, the framing and wire, etc. My little fun painting was accepted! That was the first time my work was exhibited in an art gallery. Recognition and reassurance feels like warm water over your back: wonderful! I paint for pleasure, for meditation, for therapy. And when somebody likes my work enough to buy it, to accept it into a gallery, or to give it an award, my spirit soars! I can say with Hellen Keller: "The story of my life is the story of my friends".

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

MichelAngelo's Creation

MichelAngelo's Creation, 2007, watercolor, 8x10 inches.
I painted this watercolor inspired by Michelangelo's famous ceiling. It was meant as "creation", but I was thinking today that it could also be a symbol for "reaching out and touching somebody". In today's cyber-world, a gentle touch, a smile, a hug, positive comments, unexpected flowers, can mean so much. Go ahead and touch somebody.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Runaway Dreams

Runaway Dreams, 2008, acrylic on canvas, 11x23 inches.

This painting is about life, running away from us faster than we can believe. No Botox, extreme exercising, diet, surgery, will bring back our youth. We see our seconds, minutes and days, our dreams and desires, escaping softly into the universe. We must celebrate our life. My friend Helen turned 80 years old a few days ago. She celebrated her 29,200 days with the following poem:


I'm looking at eighty, the big Eight-O And I'm overwhelmed.

How did it happen?

Sixty is old, seventy is ancient, But eighty--that's incredible!

You can turn 80 upside down and it's still 80.

And if you stack the 0 in a vertical row On top of the 8,

It could be three 0's in a column

Which wins the game in tic-tac-toe!

Put the 8 on its side with the 0 Lying next to it

And it looks like 2 lemons and an orange

Which may get you something From the slots in Las Vegas,

But doesn't do much for me in its chronological


So, eighty-schmeighty, what do I think?

Hey, it's only a number! Right?

Monday, February 8, 2010

Morning at San Clemente Pier

Morning at San Clemente Pier is an oil I painted last year. I started on location, right there on the beach in San Clemente. Then I took it home and finished it in a few more days. It was exhibited in the San Clemente Art Gallery the following month. Today I drove from San Diego to Lake Forest, passing by San Clemente, and its pier. It was a bright, beautiful day. Here in Southern California we often forget how lucky we are to have such a weather in winter, when the rest of the USA is under a heavy blanket of snow.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunset Tales

Today is a week since I started this blog. So far, I've posted a painting a day. Since today I finished this oil painting I had started a few weeks ago, I will use it for today's blog: Sunset Tales at Mission Bay. It is a 10x10 inches oil painting. I enjoy watching the sunset at Mission Bay in San Diego.
Added a month later: Sunset Tales (shorter title) has been accepted for exhibition at the North County Society of Fine Arts, and will be exhibited at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts, from March 20th to April 20th.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Three is a Crowd

This is a watercolor on Arches paper. I started with a monotype, then did the watercolor based on my visit to Crystal Cove beach, with all those sandpipers running around like they are late for the opera, and won't be allowed to get in. They are so funny. So this painting, Three is a Crowd, is a full sheet, 22x30". Today it has been cloudy, raining, and then sunny in San Diego. The sky looked somewhat like this one.

Friday, February 5, 2010


Today is my birthday. I feel like "Malena", going forward in life toward new experiences. Malena is the name of a tango. I used it for this acrylic painting I did in 2008. I started with an abstract background, then superimposed the figure of a woman. It is a fairly large painting, 30x22 inches. It won the Award of Excellence from the American Juried Art Salon in Texas in December 2008.

La Boca

"La Boca" is a mixed media painting I did in 2008. I was inspired by a visit to Argentina, my native country. La Boca is a turistic area in Buenos Aires, where the Rio de la Plata opens into the Atlantic Ocean. Boca means mouth in Spanish. La Boca is a colorful, attractive, happy place. It's full of restaurants, art galleries, souvenir shops. Musicians play on the sidewalk, people take pictures of the buildings and of each other. The famous Argentinian painter Quinquela Martin immortalized it in many beautiful paintings. Many tangos have been written, sang, and danced in La Boca. No trip to Bs.As. is complete without visiting La Boca.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


"Refugee" is a 10x8 inches (25x20 cm.) pastel I did in 2009. The country, the war and the reasons may change, but the suffering of the people remains the same. Have we learnt nothing?

Painted Rock to Printed Page

Hi there,

Day 2: Today I finished reading Painted Rock to Printed Page by Francis Rogers. I've selected a pastel painting of La Boca de la Verita (famous old sculpture in Rome) I did a couple of years ago, to illustrate my feelings for this book. It was very interesting to follow the process of discovery of a better and better writing system from the caves of Altamira, Spain, to the present day. We've been writing on rocks, then on clay, papyrus after that, wood covered with bees wax, pergamun, silk, and finally paper. And now...blogging on a keyboard. Did you know the Sumerians had pictures which stood for a sound? Did you know the Phoenicians wrote on wood tablets coated with bees wax writing with a sharp instrument, the stylus? Did you know that the word "history" comes from the Ionians (Greek) and that it means "inquiry": the search for truth and knowledge?

That's what Herodotus, from Ionia, did. Herodotus decided to see the world and write about it, searching truth and knowledge. He started out when he was 20 years old, taking notes about everything he saw and experienced. It must have been so hard to keep track of that information since he was limited to waxen wooden tablets and stylus, also probably papyrus and ink. Both materials are cumbersome, heavy, and also fragile. This story is dear to my heart, because I also travel and carry my writing and painting materials with me. The book is informative and extremely easy to read.

Monday, February 1, 2010


I'm new to blogging. I've written and drawn journals for years, so this shouldn't be too hard. I will share my travels, my readings, and my painting activities. I've chosen this watercolor on Yupo, titled: "Bon Appetit!" to wish myself and my readers a delicious journey ahead.


Welcome, Minnie