View from vow.

View from vow.

View from vow.

My sister recently got married. It was one of those cool destination weddings. But it wasn’t like a bunch of 20 year olds running off to Hawaii to party and get married on the sand. This was sophisticated and tres chic and very laid back. We all met on a Thursday in the Sonoma Valley in California. Some of us stayed in hotels nearby Santa Rosa and the wedding couple and their family stayed in a stylish house up on the hill overlooking the amazing wine country. It was a blast! I had never really seen the American wine country. After coming from France it was such a delight to see what the American’s can do with vines of deep purple and red. France has most astounding vineyards and winemakers. We tasted them in dreamy fashion alongside the Rhone River or in the Loire Valley. It was all so breathtaking that I had really no expectations in Sonoma. What could be better than the wine country in France? Well I was pleasantly surprised.

We arrived on Wednesday evening. Our hotel was fine but not a lot of ambiance. But lucky me, I got to go meet my two sisters and my sister’s best friend for a day of wine tasting. It all began in a big black car with a personal driver! He started us off with a bottle of champagne. We all of course said no thank you because it was 10am. Ha ha! We sipped and raised our glass to the beginning of a great day. The scenery was lovely but unalike the beauty in France. France has massive views of vineyards along old stony roads. Big castles that host wine tasting and some even were made for Popes. But here in this little part of the world we saw smaller quant vineyards; mostly small family owned and run. Many of them didn’t even distribute their wines. They relied on tourists and people who come back or become members. The wine stewards who were giving us tastings were very knowledgeable in their craft. Each had something different to offer. One might be homey and welcoming with warm bread and a picnic basket and others were a bit more pretentious with huge beautiful dogs with grins and wagging tails to meet us. The experience of that day was fantastic. I was able to spend a whole day with the two most beautiful and caring people I know, my sisters. We enjoyed each other and the spirit of love just before the vows.

I took many photos as did my hubby Ron. I decided to use one of the photos to paint a painting for the happy couple. But I didn’t want it to be like the ones my mom did. Don’t get me wrong, I love the paintings of my dear departed mother. I just wanted it to be different. So I decided to take the view from the ceremony site and paint it with lawn chairs for two. I call it ‘view from vow” since this is the spot they said their vows.

One of my favorite artists is Van Gogh. I tried my hand at his style. It is much harder than it looks. I read a bunch about him and it is fascinating how he painted and lived.

Most know the basics of the painter Vincent Van Gogh. He was born in 1853 in the Netherlands, lived several places in France including Provence and Paris. He cut off his ear, went “mad’ and died young; never selling a painting while he lived. He started painting at an early age taking after his mother’s love for nature and painting. Painting many styles starting in early in life he used darker palettes, earth tones and more detail. Later, after meeting many impressionist artists his style changed to lighter color palettes and smaller brush strokes. He focused on the vibrancy of color with less detail.

Van Gogh’s art also embodied the highly emotive style of expressionism. Expressionists depict the artists emotions about the subject rather than the reality of it. In this style, the artist conveys his interpretation and perception of the surrounding world through his art.
Van Gogh had a squiggled stroke in his paintings, a form of pointillism, this gave his paintings a sense of whimsy and movement. The use of small dots of color gives the art a sense of vibrancy when seen from a distance. Believe me trying to be less detailed is much harder than it looks. I often have to put the brush down and walk away. Come back in a few minutes to take a fresh look from across the room. My version is still a work in progress but I wanted to share at this stage of my art journey we can call the “Van Gogh journey.’

I have included pictures of my color palette and under-painting to illustrate how I went through the process.

Also the website link to some of the winerys we saw that day.


starry night


mountain painting by Van Gogh.


Palette of color

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Under painting or block in of my version



Edgar Degas

Edgar Degas

Dancers in the Studio

We all know at least one or two of Edgar Degas’ paintings. We have seen them at the Musee d’Orsay in Paris, France or at the Metropolitan Art Museum in New York. But, have you really ever looked at one? When you did what did you think? Some of you would say they are amazing and some might say…Huh?

I recently read a fiction book called “The Art Forger” by B. A. Shapiro.  It was a good book and I recommend it. I picked it up because I am concentrating on art right now. I thought reading about art, even a fiction novel, might inspire me. Well it did. The story was interesting enough but the way Shapiro describes the After the Bath painting was moving.  I could imagine this painting in my mind perfectly. Although, it is a fictitious painting it is modeled after some of Degas most famous works. As I read I had luminous visions of dazzling, intense and brilliant color.

After I finished the book I couldn’t get the image of The Art Forger’s painting out of my mind. So, I started dreaming of painting my own Degas! Even though the Bath series is famous I have been always taken with the dancer series. If I close my eyes I can still see them, full of life, on the walls in the museums in Paris. Oh how I miss those days of wandering through the Paris museums on a whim. Anyway, I started looking for a painting to work on and found this one by Degas. I like it because of the beautiful colors on the dancer’s dresses. The walls are reflecting the vibrant colors. My version changed it a bit because I like things more centered. I like symmetry.

One of the reasons why I said some people might say “huh?” at first is because Degas played with different views of his models. He didn’t always balance a painting perfectly. One of his paintings the dancers are all on one side almost dancing out of the painting. As much as I like balance I think Degas was brilliant to use a different perspective. If you think about it you never get to see a show or a concert in perfect balance. I always have the cheap seats and are on the side or up so high my perspective is totally different that the lucky people in the seats dead center.

When you look at mine version please remember I did today in a few hours. I still have a few more coats to do on it before I say it is done. But I wanted to share now since this is my “art journey.”  I hope you enjoy seeing one of Degas’ beautiful paintings, and the start of a painting that is merely a humble copy. Nonetheless, it is a copy in the name of education, wisdom and culture; merci beaucoup Monsieur Degas.

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Welcome to Peintuere de la Vie!

Welcome to Peintuere de la Vie!

This is my first blog ever! Welcome.
I am an aspiring, wannabe, wishful, hopeful artist. I am not a young girl but I feel like one. We have lived in Paris, France for the last seven and a half years. We loved living in France. There were times we wondered what the heck we were doing there but still left loving it. We all miss it terribly. We recently moved to Chicago and finding that a fun big city as well; more on that later.
This picture is a painting my mother did of me in my early twenties. I was in Hawaii with my dad, sisters and brother. My mother was a wonderful artist and painted marvelous paintings. Although, I don’t remember having such swoopy hair; it was the early 90’s so I probably did. She died suddenly in 2007 but she is still here in spirit. Now I am starting my own journey in art and life. I have to admit my life journey has been amazing.  One would call it a trip or a ride. Like a roller coaster but one with luxurious stops along the crazy loops and drops.  I have been blessed with a wonderful family, husband and children. In my blog I will talk about the likeness with art and life. Hence the name of the blog; Peinture de la vie. In French it means “life art” or “art of life” as I like to think of it. So, this blog will be about my art journey and of course what happens to my life during the process. Please comment and let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!