Pots and Pans, 20×24 Stebner oil on stretched linen

Mild as it was, January is over. Some of its goals have been accomplished. Others remain. Working in my new studio, I did revisit a number of subjects, from places to paintings. With new techniques, I reworked some old paintings.


Kitchen Bits, 6×8 Stebner oil on linen panel


Corner of Giverny, 8×10 Stebner oil on linen panel

After two years, I revisited the self-portrait, this time using the limited palette of Anders Zorn.


January 2016 Self-portrait, 12×16 oil on linen

Now it’s the beginning of February, and as I have begun planning for my teaching stint in France in June(several spaces remain…), my mind was drawn back to January of 2013, when I was solo-treking through central France, including the bogs(marais) of Bourges, where the townsfolk have private garden plots, naturally irrigated by the canals. Although I was immediately smitten with this mysterious place, at last I’ve begun see the paintings they offer. I guess I had to mature through three cancer treatments(and a lot of paint, c’est clair!) in order to finally know how to paint them. Gray is sublimely colorful and shadows are as beautiful as sunlight.


Marais at Sunset, January 6×8 Stebner oil on linen panel.


Punting the Marais, January. Stebner 6×8 oil on linen panel.

Morning in the Marais

When I awoke in the middle of the night, I thought today’s blog would be about facelifts. What do you suppose I had in mind? That was before I spent two chilly hours walking the Bourges Marais , the French word which sounds much better than our English swamps, this morning. Such swamps, in France, are lovely, rustic escapes, brought into submission as only the French might do. Just imagine perfectly irrigated community gardens bordered by shallow ditches wide enough for a punting boat and anchored by a hut of some sort or other. Even today, when snow is expected, men were out collecting winter crops or double digging the earth for spring planting.

Such marvelous gardening ghettoes are fertile ground not only for vegetables, but also inspire unique creativity beyond agriculture. Gates made of bed springs, scarecrows a la français, poetic plaques, as well as all sorts of fencing were artistic, Sanford and Son delights, squared. A Patois Paradise to warm my heart and feed my soul on such a gruff, Gallic morning.