Friday, 25 July 2014


Village Street, Auribeau sur Siagne, 22 x 18 in., oil on canvas, £2,000.00

I’m now finished with the materials I brought with me to work with, and have decided that it’s time to stop painting for awhile – until I get into the USA.  Since my last entry, things have been moving forward at tremendous speed (for shifting one’s life from 2 countries to one “across the pond” at any rate!).  I been faced with difficult decisions.... all a result of the decision to move home to paint, and the inevitable questions of what comes with you and what stays behind.  No-one should have to make these hard choices, but it seems, we can’t get away from them! 

I’m about to, once again, temporarily (I hope) leave my beloved mare, Dancer, behind while I return to make sure that life in the USA still suits us, after living abroad for so many years.  THAT was a difficult and necessary decision, made apparent by sudden shifts in the USA around importing livestock into the US from Europe.  I’m starting to spread the word that I’m selling my car – my mid-life crisis purchase that I’ve enjoyed immensely in the last 2.5 years I’ve had her; and then there will be the inevitable questions once I’m back in Glenfinnan for a short stay, about what is left, what is sold or given away, and what is shipped home.  My little Ardnamurchan cat, Ceilidh, is returning home with me this time....she has her passport, and is young enough to deal with the challenges ahead.  Right now, in Brittany, I’m focusing on Dancer.  Spending as much precious time with her as possible, making sure she’s completely integrated and accepted in her new herd, and as trouble free as possible for my very generous friend who has agreed to look after her with her own horses.  
Sadly, I won't be able to make the longed for drive across France to visit the caves at Lascaux, or on to the Cote d'Azur.  But, I'll make sure it's part of my agenda when I return to check on Dancer in 6 months. I needed to finish my work, needed to help Dancer, and take care of business...
I finished the last painting mid-week last week, a lovely view down one of the streets in Auribeau sur Siagne, in the Cote d’Azur.  It’s the last main canvas here in the studio, and all that is in front of me is Waltz Across Texas and possibly a painting I’ve put off for 2.5 years – one I saw in a moment of clarity right after my Mother passed away in 2011.  I’m working now on those very difficult sketches of the obvious crowd of beloveds, a host of kachinas (absolutely!) and well-wishers that surrounded her and helped her move on in those last, very powerful yet difficult days.  Art is therapy, and we artists are closer to it than most, as we struggle every day to allow inner images, feelings, passion, and struggles, to flow through our hands into the world....whether it’s by written word or through paint, music, dance, photography, sculpture, or any other medium.  This image may take a very long time to finally produce.  For me, it’s like very carefully lancing a sore; making sure its healing well and that there is only love behind what is left. 

Wednesday, 2 July 2014


Well, since my last entry here, plaintively saying, “I need to go home!”,  things have been moving in that direction steadily.  Don’t get me wrong, I need to raise a lot of cash to move home with a clean slate financially, much less just move me, travelling Dancer, and timid Ceilidh (a soon to be travelling cat from Ardnamurchan) home.  Artists are continually moving from feast to famine; and the feast times are usually paying off the famine.  But that’s NOT what I’m thinking about right now.  What I’m thinking about is the rush that as soon as I put it out there that I needed a certain amount to make it home, a large chunk of that was offered to me in the form of either a commission based on, or a major painting from my series, Waltz Across Texas.  I always DID want/hope that Waltz Across Texas would generate some commissions, and it seems that it might just be doing that!  And THAT is what I want to talk about.... COMMISSIONS. 
Floore Country Store, Study  9x 12 in., oil on board, £700.00
I LOVE doing them!  I love connecting with a client who has a vision, based on work of mine they’ve already seen, and wants me to put that vision into reality.  I love the research for a commission; getting to know a place/person, being able to take zillions of photos without worrying, sketching and sketching until I know I’ve come up with what I think the client is looking for, and in the case of Waltz Across Texas, painting the studies necessary to make sure that the client and I are on the same page before I ever put paint to canvas in a larger piece.  I do this for all commissions.  It makes it worthwhile for them because they can be pretty sure they’ll love the finished piece; and for me, because I know the finished piece will be what is expected – even though it’s my own vision, really.  And, unlike my usual work which is always on spec, it’s paid for....  There is a relaxation in my life when I’m working and know I’ve got money in the bank for food, supplies, etc. 

So, from the bottom of my heart, I’m saying a huge thank you to the client who has come forward to help me make this move, to give me a focus to work on immediately once I return, and for believing in and trusting me and my work!