we spent the majority of our trip here in this town, high up on the cliffs. from where we were, we could see everything–you couldn’t imagine a more beautiful place.  the countryside was nothing but olive groves, fields of sunflowers, mountains, and patterns of stubby trees. i can completely see how joan miro’s paintings came to be.

i came away inspired by the landscape, the architecture, the food & blocks of color everywhere. the sangria, even. spain in general was humbling & amazing. i always wish my days could be nothing but ridiculous inspiration. most days they’re just not. but occasionally, i have moments like this, where my fingers twitch…all day. and all i can do in response to what i’m soaking in or feeling is paint.

that was spain. it was really good. and totally compelling.

lopez de heredia

this winery in rioja was unlike anything i’ve been to before. it was beautiful & it’s the most humble, unassuming place.

the old stone cellar was carved by hand in the 19th century without using dynamite, in order to preserve the mountainside.

the cellar itself is thickly covered in mold, regulating humidity naturally.

the people there are creatives & passionate artisans…working extremely hard to cultivate these wines.

each barrel is racked by hand 3-4 times per year to remove sediment from the wine, and typically requires three men to operate the pulley. they do this for the benefit of the consumer, so that the consumer does not have to decant the sediment out of the wine.

each wine is aged until the winemaker feels the wine is ready to drink and from there every bottle is filled, labeled, corked, and cleaned by hand. their current release gran reserva right now is from 1991.

they say the wines can age for five to ten years more, but as they are now, they all drink beautifully. everything they do is for the best of the wine or the land…and the wines reflect the vineyard and that creativity and care.

if you ever come across one of these treasures, take the opportunity & remember the care that went in to making it.

london for two days

we were only in london briefly, but the highlights were this little market & festival happening in the streets, seeing joan miro’s retrospective exhibit at the tate, the spiciest, most incredible indian food i’ve ever tasted, and seeing the 25th birthday celebration of les mis at queens theater. amazing.

three days in florence

i have to say, this was the best surprise i could have asked for…i have wanted to go back for five years.

five years ago, david and i began dating…and two weeks later, i left for italy…for six months. i completely freaked out on him when he came to visit me in florence- i did. i panicked and ruined his trip. i’ll just say that. it didn’t faze him though. and despite my ridiculosity, i have a letter from him from every single day i was gone. five years later, i’m so thankful for this man…i couldn’t love anyone more.

for our two year anniversary, we spent it in firenze again. so much better this time…it was good.

i’ll be honest…there’s not much to tell…all we did was eat. our trip revolved around meals every. day.

i loved it all. we ate kebabs on the river across from piazza ognissanti, we went to art bar for raspberry mojitos, we ate at buca del orafo, had balsamic steaks at la giostra, and went to ciro & sons.  we had cappuccinos every morning. we packed bread, prosciutto, cheese, & wine and hiked for four hours through the countryside to have a picnic on a bridge. and we managed to squeeze in gelato every day.

the important things. we had priorities &  successfully got them done.

i love you david. happy anniversary! thank you for loving me so well.

ps. 139:14

some good friends of mine commissioned this drawing last month in anticipation of their first baby, who was born three days ago. she arrived healthy, perfect, and so precious…wonderfully made. this is one of her first pieces of art…can you believe they did that? i want to do that for my first baby.


what they know: their drawing is finished.

what i know: it had an insanely rough start.

what they know: they have a new baby & they love her!!

what i know: this drawing was so worth it once i got my brain in gear & past the start.

after mess-ups (of course. does that sound familiar? commissions. always. are hard.), ending with melt-downs or paper shredded or pulling out my hair, i did what i ought to have done from the start. i got a membership to the public library.

and two hours and ten books on starfish later, i came home and read about every kind there is. and then began.

and i’ve loved it all.

it’s no good drawing from an illustration or drawing: mistake number one. that’s what i started out doing & seeing as paper ended in shreds…i had no luck. i thought, using the examples they’d sent at the start, i could use my imagination to create something different, but with the same gist, that worked. that’s lazy & i was so wrong. i needed to see these invertebrates up close & study them before i could wrap my mind around them & draw.

once i found starfish i really loved & had researched them, the freedom to create a compositional space & take liberties came back easily.

using charcoal oil pencil on a thick fabriano paper, i did my best to create a vintage, textbook drawing of these sea stars that feels like it came from an old science book page. the letters below were carefully drawn & not traced, in a vintage typewriter font, which took awhile, but was worth it to me.

this drawing was so refreshing to be working on while simultaneously working on larger paintings. i feel like always, i am stretched & challenged as i go from painting to drawing & this time was no different…i took away many new things.

ps. 139:14   ::   10″ x 14″     (charcoal oil pencil on paper)   ::   sold