It’s ALL about Color The most powerful communicator uses no words!

A friend asked me the other day, ‘Why paint in Tuscany?’

It’s all about COLOR! Painting IS color.

Color is emotion. Paint in translucent veils of Watercolors. Paint in pure color pigments of Pastels. Or paint with vibrant, glowing, resonant hues of Oil Paint.

‘There’s plenty of beautiful things to paint in the United States,’ my friend insisted.

So why would an artist paint so far from home in any media?

colorful contemporary oil painting
When Prayers Go Up, Shooting Stars Light the Sky, oil on canvas, 30″ x 24″  Purchase Info>

Painting is color and color is emotion

Yes! Different places have distinctly different, unique color palettes. Painting on the Chesapeake Bay for 15 years, I was all too aware that my palette had become blue/gray/green/brown. I felt it.

Bored by the idea of painting one more coastal landscape, I wondered what to do about it?

Painting in Tuscany, I discovered the warmth and vibrancy of Tuscan Colors and how they reflect the joyous people and culture. MORE than just painting. Learning to see and feel those colors ~ to appreciate the people, see the backroads, take my time and really feel the light and colors.

pastel painting lessons
Waiting for the Stars to Shine, Pastel Memory Painting, 15″ x 12″   Purchase>

Can you see it in the paintings?

I was able to bring the palette home with me! The painting holiday came home with me, and with it a new palette, renewed energy, and a fresh way of seeing the world that uplifts every single day. Can you see it in the art?

It doesn’t matter which media one uses. Even my photographs capture something more.

Chef Danilo makes Tiramisu for our cooking lesson
Chef Danilo makes Tiramisu for our cooking lesson, Photograph
Tuscan landscape painting
Tuscan landscape in autumn is all about color of ripening vineyards, olives, mountains. Photograph

Painting Colors of the Heart in Virginia

Painting in Tuscany forever changed how I see the United States! Coming home the landscape in my own backyard feels colorful, joyful and renewed.

Painting in Tuscany also helped me understand my role as an artist in bringing color and joy to people at home. Now my paintings capture lightheartedness, heart colors, and vibrant energy on each and every canvas.

colorful Tuscan landscape painting
Splendid Memory, Watercolor Landscape, memory painting, 9″ x 12″  PURCHASE>

In any media, painting is color and emotion

It doesn’t matter whether I paint in watercolor, pastel, or oil ~ the palette still reflects the joy I learned to see in the Tuscan people.

Color Painting Holidays in any Media

Now I can teach COLOR right here at home!

Painting on the Chesapeake Bay, the palette is no longer neutral gray green. Come paint with me. Weekend Getaways or a Week-Long Painting Holiday. Or if you prefer, join me in Tuscany this fall.


A Mountain of Problems Transforms


When a mountain of c%__p weighed down on me in 1995, life became so dark that I gave all my paintings away and stopped painting.

I became invisible. At a party no one noticed me come and go. At work no one heard my ideas.

Yet the Creative flame could not be extinguished.

I felt it as a yearning, an inexplicable urge for color, to paint, to sing out loud.


My strokes were awkward, colors muddy. No longer at my fingertips were the paintings that had brought me acceptance into The Pastel Society of America, American Artist’s Professional League, Salmagundi Club, the Pastel Society of Canada and all the others.

I had to start again.

Cascading Dreams
Cascading Dreams (aka Lavender Sunset)

Cascading Dreams (aka Lavender Sunset)

A Vision Transformed My Mountain

The end of my journey commenced in France. in 2013, awe-struck with this vision the first day in Provence, I shifted into overdrive at the sight of ancient stone and terra cotta buildings, sprawling down into the landscape, from the town of Gordes. Romanced by a mountain encrusted with layers of civilization, I forgot about the mountain.

I began painting the juxtaposition of structures sprawling into fertile fields. For five years, I tweaked colors in a series of “Cascading Dreams” paintings, never quite satisfied. READ MORE and see the cascading dreams>

Art as Prayer, A Studio Practice

People ask me how I get my colors? Which pigments I use? Why my paintings seem to glow so?

The answer may surprise you.

Art as Prayer, My Studio Practice

I have a sacred relationship with my easel. Standing at my easel, I think of myself as a blank canvas for the Creator.

To me the act of painting is my way of praying. What I pray for is peace. Mostly I listen. I don’t know what color goes where, or which ones to use. I ask the Creator to show me.

One by one, the colors reach out and attract my eye. One by one, I place them where they belong. As if replacing them in a jig-saw puzzle turned up-side down and backwards by life itself.

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My daily practice of painting feels humbling and exhilarating.

I await instructions before I begin painting. When the Creator speaks quickly, my hand darts rapidly without thinking. My brush looks like an EKG needle stroking art beats across the page.

When the Creator says stop, I stop.

When it slows, I walk to the stool across the room and rest. As in music, this resting part is a critical part of the rhythm of the Creator’s voice.

Learning the rhythm, how to wait for the downbeat, when to go up tempo, takes many years of practice. Practice does not necessarily make perfect. Perfect is not the point.

Practice is the point. Period. How to accept the Creator’s gifts freely?

Practicing with each stroke to find the gift in each is the biggest challenge. Practicing this flexes the faith muscle. Faith grows stronger. (My confirmation name was Faith, I got it from my Aunt Agnes.) Faith develops resiliency and flexibility. She finds the dark days seem easier to navigate.

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Practicing Prayer through he’ART

I found  three paintings from the garden when I was cleaning out a cabinet in the studio. Looking at them again nearly five years after Dad’s passing, I remembered it was the week after Dad died when I’d painted them.

I noticed something else too. Looking at them, I no longer felt sad. I feel glad I painted them. I feel humbled. I am glad I took the time to paint that day. I had no idea the terrible dark paintings would come back and lift me up so.

I feel honored. I feel proud to have been his eldest daughter, had such a long relationship of 60 years with him. And peace, most of all I feel peace. I feel peace in knowing his guidance in creativity, art, and life brought me to this peaceful place.

I believe you can see this place of peace and joy in my art now. The paintings at the top of the page are my newest prayers. Painting them feels like being a girl again. I call them Joy’s Garden.

This spring I am hosting a very special Art as Prayer Retreat, I invite you to join me. We’ll be painting in some of my favorite painting locations near my home in Mathews County, Virginia.  For twenty years, I’ve painted remote beaches, private gardens, coastal marsh sanctuaries, and villages. I invite you to come try using art as prayer. You don’t have to be an expert at art, just willing to pray.

Learn more about my Virginia Art as Prayer Retreat