Welcome! This blog began as an assignment in a digital art class. That was in 2008. I decided to keep it going as my art journal. It is fascinating for me to see how a painting develops, so this is where I post my painting progressions and exciting new things I find on creative blogs and websites. I hope you will learn along with me about painting, drawing and all kinds of art.


One more post about the JMS Workshop

Vineyard at the feet of Mont Ventoux (Provence, France)   
6 x 8 inches   oil on panel 
 was working on this just before the rain poured down;
I thought I may need to finish under cover,
but I liked it like this and thinking about how we had to quickly pack up
 and zoom away before getting soaked.

Old Stone Steps   6 x 8 inches    oil on panel   
While the rain was pouring down,
Matt found a covered open-sided shed to carve under;
I joined him and painted these old stone steps as we listened to the birds chirping
and the rain dripping.

A beautiful salad for lunch by Chef Angelique and crew.

By JMS (sigh ...)

These are table grapes, carefully picked over and sent to the local markets.

View across the vineyard of those table grapes. Oh have no fear,
there are wine vineyards around as well!

The market in Bedoin was so colorful!

Piments rouges et ail tressés  (braided red chili's & garlic)

 This is Nick Whitworth, zipping along on the tippy streets of Gordes ...
getting ready to capture some video about Julian's workshop.
(I still cannot believe he looked up as I snapped the photo! and I was in the van!)
Here is Nick's video is about 3 minutes long and captures the essence of our workshop.

Ruth Phillips, Julian's wife, is a wonderful musician
who plays the cello
SO beautifully! 
She gave us a mini concert.
Here is a sketch I made while she was practicing.

Ruth wrote a book about the beginnings of 
Julian and Ruth's life in Provence
Cherries from Chauvet's Orchard.

I am reading it right now and it is, of course, since I have met them, 
a fun and fascinating read.

Nick made another beautiful video for Ruth's Breathing Bow workshop 
which was right after ours,
about playing the cello, breathing, yoga 
and all that makes playing your instrument
work with your body.

Here is that video - so beautifully done!

Nick also made a video of  Le Domaine Saint Jacques.
Click HERE 
for that link, very short (~ 1 min).

Oh, my!  Links all over the place ... mark them,
take your time and watch at your leisure
... it is worth it ...

I hope it is also worth your time to read this little blog - thank you so much for doing that!
I love blogging, but it does take time so I do it just every so often.

Tomorrow is December, I wish everyone safe and happy holidays and, 
of course!

Happy Painting!


Julian Merrow-Smith Workshop

Road along the vineyard in the Vaucluse

From Oct 7 thru Oct 15 
in Provence, France. 
I can't even believe it - but it is true, it wasn't a dream.

As many of you bloggers know, blogging is hard. 
I think it is harder than painting ... 
painting is hard!

Anyway, finally getting around to posting about Julian's
workshop in his beautiful corner of the Vaucluse in Provence. 

It will be short (well, I guess not too short because of all the photos) but sweet,
as I like to see paintings and such much more than read text.
I am assuming many of you feel the same
 (but I actually am not sure of this - do you like to read long blog text?).

We were about 13 painters with a couple of non-painting partners, 
so there were a bunch of us to be housed and fed. 
Most were from the USA, one from Australia, 
and two people from England. It was such fun to meet them all.

Matt and I stayed in the 14th century chateau 
 le Devencet, along with about half the group.

The other half stayed in another chateau called
Grange Nueve, up the hill from ours. 
These chateaus are part of Domaine Saint Jacques, 
a private, small vineyard - far out in rural Vaucluse 
with the closest "larger town" about 20-30 minutes away, Carpentras. 
Avignon was the train station we arrived at from Paris, 
and the drive to our venue was at least an hour!

We were very well fed, indeed, at noon and night, 
by the wonderful chef, Angelique, her daughter 
and daughter's boyfriend, Bram (I think that is the correct spelling). 
Angelique and crew are from the Netherlands and live in Nice.
ALL of our meals were exquisite! 

Julian's first demo was a still life 

 I work on my first painting at the workshop

Julian teaches us some plein air techniques 

Julian's painting of the chateau - le Devencet

Trying my hand at the door to the courtyard at le Devencet

That distant mountain is Mt Ventoux and this road leads to le Devencet, behind me.
I am trying to capture the light with paint.

Before the rain I did get a fairly finished painting! But it was quick. I will try to find a photo of the finished painting for my next blogpost.

le Devencet

le Devencet by me

Julian painting a demo at Venasque, a village way up on a hill.

Julian's painting demo

I went out on a very windy "petit mistral" and
set up to paint the distant town Méthamis.
Things began blowing away so I had to find some rocks
to weigh the pochade box down.
Pictured is the plein air box Julian had for us to use while there!
All the supplies were given to us at the workshop.
We just had to take our paintings home
and they were mostly 6 x 8's, so they were easy to pack.


 Here is actual proof I went to Julian's workshop!

Julian and me ... being photo-bombed by Miranda,
who is a wonderful artist from Australia. The link is her Instagram page - go visit!

Sam Rachamin is another fab artist who was Julian's main workshop assistant/driver.
That is a link to his website and you must check it out ... beautiful, compelling paintings!

My funny and talented friend Miranda.
It was just amazing to be there in Provence taking Julian's workshop. 

I want to take this time to thank Julian and Ruth for an informative, fun and valuable workshop experience, my first in another country.

Thank you, dear blog reader, for visiting and letting me share this experience with you. 
I hope to blog maybe one more time about this workshop, what I took away in terms of
 painting technique and how to see (always striving for that).
so stayed tuned ...

and, as always ...

Happy Painting!


Une peinture de maquereau

Maquereau (French) = Mackerel

On Google Translate, there are definitions too
and it says the mackerel is:

"a migratory surface-dwelling predatory fish, commercially important as a food fish"

I do not know why 
but I have been wanting to paint some mackerel 
lying on a plate or a board. I don't even remember what it tastes like, 
or if I have even ever had any! or why I wanted to paint some!

So I took a screenshot from the interwebs 
of some mackerel (they happened to be in France),
and flipped them around and messed with the colors
and made my painting.

The following photos show my process.
  Sketched in my mackerel with a thinned mix of burnt umber and ultramarine blue.

Got a little more detail in, making sure ...

Now some color, mostly a blue wash. 

I think there is a little bit of Pthalo blue in here at this point.

Mackerel/maquereaux on ice! (not a painting)

Maquereaux pour votre dîner    12 x 10 inches    oil on wood panel

For your continuing fishy enjoyment, 
I give you this beautiful painting of mackerel by Van Gogh  💕💕💕

... and a quote from Maria Popova, about a little book she found, 
 (writing at her wonderful Brain Pickings site), 
about a boy and a fish ... and poems: 

 "Every once in a while, you stumble upon something so lovely, so unpretentiously beautiful and quietly profound, that you feel like the lungs of your soul have been pumped with a mighty gasp of Alpine air.  
This Is a Poem That Heals Fish (public library) is a vitalizing gasp of loveliness — a lyrical picture-book that offers a playful and penetrating answer to the question of what a poem is and what it does. And as it does that, it shines a sidewise gleam on the larger question of what we most hunger for in life and how we give shape to those deepest longings.

Written by the French poet, novelist, and dramatist Jean-Pierre Simeón, and illustrated by Olivier Tallec, this poetic and philosophical tale follows young Arthur as he tries to salve his beloved red fish Leon’s affliction of boredom."

(I might need to find this book!)

Thank you so much for taking time to check in!

Happy fishing and happy painting!


Cold Wax Medium (part 2)

the birds (NFS)      4 x 9 inches      oil and cold wax medium on Arches Huile paper
We began each workshop day by doing quick 30 minute "quickie paintings" 
prepared by taping 2 pieces of 9 x 12 inch Arches Oil paper 
to the table and dividing them 
up into four painting surfaces.

"the birds" seen at the top of this post was one of those.
If you are calculating it, yes - that meant we had 20 small paintings
by the end of the week!
It was a way to learn about the medium
and to warm up for the day.

Beginning layers of paint drying (in the shade) outside the workshop venue.

My workstation and two wip paintings.
I think that small one at the bottom turned into Rainforest! (the painting at the top of my last post)

The Pacific NW Art School space.
Of the many techniques we learned, 
one of the most valuable for
me was learning how (and why) to layer.

I guess everyone has the tendency to stop or "save" a pretty area of their painting.
 We learned that you will never see how magical it can be if you don't keep going, 
- keep layering -
even if you do have a cool texture or shape or color or even line!
keep putting paint down! and then taking it off again!

One of Jerry's sayings that sticks for me is:

"It's just passing scenery" 
... it may be gorgeous but you are just motoring along, 
taking note and passing it by. 

True, it takes a bit of bravado, but if you think of that quote, it helps.


So ... how much oil paint and how much wax? 
You can find the answer to this 
(and much much more) 
in the Cold Wax Medium book,
but I can tell you that the wax:paint ratio ranges 
from 30:70 all the way to 50:50 ... and actually
it simply is a matter of choice! Experiment!

Some of the techniques for applying 
oil and cold wax medium are -
1 - a brayer
2 - a brush (not that easy, I found)
3 - a painting knife
4 - a squeegee
5 - your hands!

Another thing to be thinking about as you consider your blank slate:
Why are you desiring to use this wax and oil mixture?
What is your Intention?
(To be honest, for me, this question should be answered 
before ANY painting, of any kind, has begun.)

The last thing I will say for now is
that you should give it a try. 
Trying new things is good for your creative brain. 
Most of all,
have fun.

I did walk around a bit in Coupeville before and after each day,
 and noticed the mussel beds out in Penn Cove (they were delicious btw),
the beautiful Pacific Madrona trees, and
during the week, the smoke from the forest fires got pretty thick. 
Note the sun in the last photo.

As I finish the paintings I started here in this great workshop, 
and make new ones, of course ...
I will post and try to talk about them.

Thank you so much for checking in!

Happy Painting! ... and let me know if you try CWM
and what you think.