Oct 23, 2012

Sweet dreams

Turndown, 7½  x 9" watercolor
Upon my return from dinner my second night at Fearrington House, a chocolate truffle and a decanter with port wine were waiting. I’ve had turndowns that include chocolate, but never wine. The wine went untouched; the chocolate gave me the energy to paint this scene.

I really thought until today that I like this painting more than the one of the entire room. Now that I’ve printed them both out as greeting cards, I’m leaning toward the first, more busy one. I’d love to hear your opinions. This one, or Room No. 10?

Fearrington House

Room No. 10, 7 x 9½" watercolor
Leave it to an artist to undo a room
This calligraphic style of painting is “about the adjectives, not about the nouns.” See more about this quote at “Company’s coming.”

A stay at The Fearrington House Inn brings with it incredible ambiance, a room with a view, plus each day, a breakfast fit for a King and afternoon tea fit for a Queen. I did not find time to paint my tea experience this time, maybe next.

My first night, I painted my room. With all the giant pillows on the bed, turndown service was a serious matter. Suspecting this luxury might be coming, I painted the bed with all its pillows early in the process.

Oct 21, 2012


Perched, 6x6" watercolor
Feathers, straw, & twigs, 6x6" watercolor
Ordinarily I would not come home referring to a weekend as trés chic. This was no ordinary weekend. I was given a trunk show at a wonderful shop known as Dovecote. I come up short for words to describe this quaint shop of fashion for the home, garden, and person. Dovecote is located in the charming country community known as Fearrington Village, close to Pittsboro and not far from Chapel Hill, NC.

My history with the Village dates back maybe five years ago when I was invited there to show my wedding watercolors to one of North Carolina’s premier wedding photographers. She said, “Put together a press kit. Just do it.” 

Several years later I got my foot in the door at Dovecote with some cow paintings. I got my foot out the door earlier today with at least eight small watercolors I’d painted of the two doves that nest inside this fanciful shop of taste, style and whimsy.

Oct 18, 2012

Peace College commission

It was called Peace College, 7 x 9½" watercolor
Shows, travel and other commissions have buried me, so I was happy when my customer told me she could wait for this painting. I promised her I would get to it in October. Finally October arrived and two weeks ago Monday I had reason to be in Raleigh and therefore, good reason to do the painting while I was there. Wrong. It rained buckets.

So this past Monday, a meeting with The Little Art Gallery in Cameron Village gave me reason again to drive up to Raleigh. This time I had told customer Jennifer I would paint it then. Again, it rained buckets. Not one to go back on my word, here was good reason to paint dans la voiture. Click to see how I came up with this term.

The area where one sees this view is now a parking lot. Of course, all slots had been taken when I went there. I parked my compact SUV at a right angle to all the other cars and alongside some traffic cones. This gave me a direct view of the scene. Perfect! I had to run the car intermittently so I could turn on the defrost and the windshield wipers. I had time to fantasize what I would say if a police officer questioned my parking arrangement. “My daughter goes to school there, and I’m waiting for her to come out.” Now certainly, I am more than old enough to have a daughter in college, but I am also old enough to know fibbing is not a good thing. Nobody asked.

Oct 15, 2012


Heads Up sunroom, 7½x9" watercolor
Just got back from a mad dash down to Beaufort, North Carolina. No doubt the town has much changed since Blackbeard set anchor in its harbor almost three hundred years ago. In reference to this quaint little seaport town, I recall a statement made by someone across the bridge in Morehead, “Those Beaufort people are said to be a little more gentrified than we are.”

I am charmed by the new friend I’ve made in Beaufort and by her house so full of artifacts and artwork (including some of mine I’m proud to say). She and her husband are world travelers and their house and garden offer testimony to all the exotic places their travels have taken them. Charles, who initially served two years in the Peace Corps, has spent 25 years as a foreign service officer for USAID.

An accomplished leader of child development in third world countries, at home Deborah is an exemplary cook and host. After a scrumptious dinner Friday night we retired to the sunroom to enjoy dessert. The minute we sat down in the room adjoining her kitchen, I spotted the carved heads above. Had to paint them.

What is it about interiors that so intrigues us? Much of a person’s soul, I think, is revealed in their surroundings. Like the lines on an old person’s face, a room and its furnishings convey a wealth of information about its inhabitants.

Oct 6, 2012

Serendipitous spider sculpture

Last week, I was driving through the town where I live and noticed some flowers on the curb that had no leaves. The lilies, shooting through the ground with only their stems, are a late summer blooming plant. I don’t know how I remembered the name Lycoris.

The very next day it was serendipitous for me to discover the sculpture I came upon. I was in New Bern to teach a watercolor workshop during the Craven County Art Festival. I had met my students under the veranda behind the city’s Convention Center. In search of a plein air scene to paint as a demo, my eyes couldn’t seem to escape this beautiful landmark.

Spider Lily Sculpture, 7 x 9½" watercolor
At first I thought the kinetic sculpture was a “whirligig” by famous North Carolina whirligig sculptor Vollis Simpson. Not so. Upon reading the plaque under the sculpture, I found the name of the sculpture is Spider Lily, named after the plant Lycoris Radiata. I learned that this prized plant species made its 1850s debut into the United States in New Bern.

Commissioned and contributed by Dr. Jim Congleton, the sculpture by California artist Susan Pascal Beran was dedicated to the city of New Bern in December of last year.