Why is it I’ve never seen THIS WOMAN before?

Tuscany was wonderful . . . and

I can still hear my sister’s question reverberating in my head.

“Are you going to come home a new woman again?”

Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture at Capabilo

I took her picture without a second thought.

Then returning home, I discovered a big beautiful colored woman had been in my studio.

Visiting Capabilo (on the southern coast of Tuscany), I photographed Niki de Saint Phalle’s sculpture of the woman towering above the city wall. Then returning home, I discovered a big beautiful colored woman had been in my studio.

Paintings left unfinished on my easels appeared more colorful than I remembered. I felt as though I had come home into someone else’s world. Better than I remembered; more vivid, peaceful, focused ~ yet unequivocally recognizable as me!

How could I have known who this woman would look like? Or that I was even looking for her?

This ‘new’ person is recognizable, yet why is it I’ve never seen her before?

Now I’m painting two new series that synthesize 45 years.

1. Clouds, Skies, Sunsets & Dreams

It happened quite unexpectedly one day while I was having lunch. I’d taken my sandwich and drink out onto the veranda. I looked up at the brilliant turquoise sky and saw a single cloud.

The important part here is that I wasn’t doing anything. I wasn’t looking for anything. I was simply being there enjoying the warm sun, resting.

cloud paintings
On a Clear Day, oil on gessoed panel, Purchase Info>

In a flash I saw the painting. I finished my lunch and brought my drink back to the easel and started painting.

Couds, Skies, Sunsets & Dreams series
Couds, Skies, Sunsets & Dreams series in process. Each painting requires many layers of thin glazes, so waiting time to dry before the next can be applied.

The colors mixed on the gesso like pastels. So excited, I painted two more. Returning to Virginia, I am painting five at once! The series will be my winter studio show January ~ March.


These colorful abstract paintings synthesize my passion for fiber, texture, and vibrant color. While rooted in pastels from my early years, and even more recent oil paintings ~ something indescribable in words is happening in this series.

abstract paintings
The Yellow Door, oil on linen, Purchase Info>

The first shifts started on small linen canvases while in Italy. Street scenes and landscapes became more abstract. No longer feeling constrained to painting one or the other, organic and man-made subjects fused in compositions woven together with color and texture.

abstract paintings
The Olive Branch, oil on linen, Purchase Info>

Somehow all those things that filled my life and kept me ‘busy’are gone. Permission to do only those things I am most passionate about, granted. I didn’t even know what they were ~ until my retreat in Tuscany.

Learn more about the Tuscany Retreat

Paint in Tuscany with me

Creativity Retreat at Archaeological Site

OMG! I just received a confirmation note from Luca!

Castle Ruins, a Medieval Bridge, and an Archaeological Dig are on the Estate where we’ll be painting next fall!

dig 2
This year’s dig at Monteverdi

Creativity Retreat at Archaeological Site

The 2500 acre Monteverdi estate is in the Maremma part of Southern Tuscany. I just booked it for our 2018 retreat!

It has a Medieval bridge, castle ruins, and it’s own chapel Sant’ Antonio!

Family Chapel at Monteverdi
Family chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua from the 18th Century

I am SOOOOOOO excited! I can’t wait to paint this magical place! The rolling hills against the backdrop of Monte Amiata (an extinct volcano), the ruins, and it’s so close to the rocky coastline of the Tyrranian Sea! I so enjoyed painting the rocky coast of Brittany ~ this will be wonderful.

Get all the Details Here>

Montverdi landscape
Montverdi landscape

Monteverdi is dominated by a late 15th Century borgo with an 18th century church dedicated to St Anthony of Padua. Bought in 1904 by Luca’s grandfather as a hunting estate, it presently covers over 1000 hectares (2471 acres), with olive groves, vineyards, woodlands, rivers and arable farming land.

Olive groves at Monteverdi
Olive groves at Monteverdi

Our host is Luca Savelli, an Italian-English archaeologist and owner of the estate. His team is studying  the Castellaccio of Monteverdi. It appears as a deserted medieval village, with a few structures still visible in the vegetation. It faces the river Ombrone and overlooks the ruined Medieval bridge connecting the NW shore to Sasso d’Ombrone.

Luca Savelli
Luca Savelli

The estate appears in early maps: in fact it is the location of several important sites, including at least one Roman site, a still very visible Medieval bridge over the River Ombrone which is overlooked by a ruined castle known as Il Castellaccio; the main Villa with its current origins from the 1490’s, and a family chapel dedicated to St Anthony of Padua from the 18th Century.

Maremma map
Monteverdi estate in located 2 hours north of Rome near the coast

The Maremma is a large geographical region of southern Tuscany and northern Lazio, half way between Rome and Pisa/Florence. An Etruscan heartland and Roman colony in Ancient times.

And the unspoiled rocky coastline of the Maremma with its beaches and islands are close enough to make day trips!