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September – new beginnings and a time of renewal.

‘Let us reflect on what is truly of value in life, what gives meaning to our lives, and set our priorities on the basis of that’.  From ‘Buddhist Offerings’ 

watercolour/gouache – Rays of sunlight as I walked through the woods1917262_186338425395_7900997_n

Moving from August into September has always meant new beginnings for me.        Along with the onset of cooler weather and visible changes in nature….there is also a perceptible change in mood.      Children go back to school and many return to work. The world around us becomes busier.    I am speaking from an English point of view.     For my friends living in the southern hemisphere….there are also new beginnings – for them Spring is arriving.

Those who follow this blog will be aware that I usually go to Portugal in April.    This year, I am also returning on 18th September for a workshop at the school in Olhao http://www.artinthealgarve.com      The School is one of my all time favourite venues – a wonderful places to explore the creative process.

Olhão Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (936)After working with a group for the first week, fellow artist and good friend Bonnie Halsey Dutton http://www.bonniehalseydutton.com  arrives from South Dakota to give a course.     As always we take these opportunities to spend some time together.     I will also see another artist friend, Vickie Snaddon, who has a house not far from Olhao. It is Vickie who runs the beautiful lodge in Belize http://www.pookehilllodge.com     Needless to say, I am really looking forward to it.

Given that Olhao is part of the Ria Formosa National Park...beautiful wildlife abounds – watercolour20-11-15 - 1 (226)watercolour

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Nesting storks on one of the local churches.    ImageI With its courtyards, communal areas and excellent studio space, plus shops, cafes, markets, Lagoon  all within a few minutes walk from the school – plus of course the wonderful Margarida and Joanna who take care of all our needs….what more could an anyone wish for.

The Pool House courtyard….I love all the levels, shapes and shadow play. P1150740The studio. P1150901The 150 year old Olive Tree that meanders from one of the courtyards up through the three levels of the school.   You can see the blue of the roof top pool through the tree. P1150724watercolour20180703_105444

Another exciting development this year is that I have been invited to exhibit five watercolours at the Chongqing Museum of Art, China.   This is part of a French/Chinese annual cultural exchange.    I was invited by French artist Claude Lesur  who organised an exhibition I had in France eleven years ago.   The opening in Chongqing will be on 17th November and next spring the exhibition will come to Paris.    I will write more about this after I return from Portugal.

The Art Gallery in Chongqing where the exhibition will be held. 



20180702_121621This has been one of the best years I can remember.   I have visited places, friends and family I love and along the way enjoyed wonderful conversations and much laughter.   I am so grateful for this moment in time and that I have been able to focus on what is truly of value in my life.

The magical hummingbirds have been with me all the way……

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A bientot


Bonnie Halsey-Dutton Tutor at Art in the Algarve…www.artinthealgarve.com

e-bhd-photoI can’t believe that it’s almost that time of the year again when courses start up at the School in Olhao Portugal – http://www.artinthealgarve.com     

I am looking forward to my time there in April, but this post is about another artist and dear friend of mine, Bonnie Halsey Dutton...who will be tutoring a course at the School from May 31st til June 7th.

Although Bonnie hails from Spearfish, South Dakota, I first met her in West Chester Pennsylvania about 28 years ago.      Having just moved to the area she first saw me at an art opening and came up and introduced herself, and the rest is history……

Bonnie’s artwork honours stories and explores mankind’s connection to the past.   Living in S. Dakota impacts her imagery, as her art explores the cultural symbols, stories and ancient artefacts from that region. 

Coming in with the Surf –  Oil on canvas. 


A professional artist and art educator, Bonnie has had over twenty years of experience in the field of art education.

Her workshop at the School in Olhao will focus on ‘exploration of place’, as well as ‘low stakes, creative risk taking.’

Using water based mediums, the workshop is designed to benefit beginning painters as well as artists wishing to explore their individual painting style.   

Lost and Found – oil one canvas


By studying art in an inspirational creative environment, like the School in Olhao, participant’s work and thinking is enriched….http://www.artinthealgarve.com

The 150 year old olive tree that emanates from one of the internal courtyards meandering its way up through the different levels of the school.


The studio 


The school offers excellent areas for group activities as well as plenty of quiet private spaces.


Looking down into the courtyard swimming pool…there is another pool on the roof


Minutes from the School, the colourful and vibrant market – 


A most convivial place to enjoy the wonderful freshly cooked food from the School’s kitchen,  and of course much conversation. 


Bonnie is an enthusiastic and energetic tutor.     She has travelled extensively throughout Europe, –  another reason why she is an excellent person to enjoy and explore this fascinating area with.

You can learn more about Bonnie at http://www.bonnie halsey-dutton.com and at http://www.artinthealgarve.com

I thought I would finish this post on a humorous note with this photograph of Bonnie and me taken in Deadwood, South Dakota – 1995.    We held up a stage coach that day and did quite well:)


A Bientôt..



My trip to France – beginning in Port-En-Bessin

The purpose of my recent trip to France was to visit Nantes where I painted a group of actors as they rehearsed for a production (more about that in my next blog)

However, my good friends Bonnie and Dave Dutton were visiting Normandy from the States,  and so  I made a detour which led me to the enchanting town of Port-En-Bessin where they were staying.

Famous for its integral part in World War II, and more specifically The Battle of Port-En-Bessin, which took place from 6-8th June 1944, it is also an area well known for delicious apple cider, Calvados and seafood….hmmmmm.

A very peaceful setting today – Port-En-Bessin.port-en-bessin-vue-g-n-raleSurrounded by beautiful Normandy countryside….the town and area are a reminder of the close geographical and historical links between England and France.

Just outside of the town of Port-En-Bessin – a bucolic scene which are replicated in Devon and Cornwall across the Channel. 20-11-15 - 1 (256)    Dave and Bonnie had booked me into, Les Filles du Bord de Mer where they were staying. Located in the middle of the Town and within a minutes walk of everything one could ever need,  including the harbour, shops and numerous restaurants, it is a place I highly recommend.

Les Fille du Bord de Mer is just across the road from the Apple Cider shop…..how convenient is that?20-11-15 - 1 (268)These pictures show the apartment where Dave and Bonnie were staying…..filles1Part of the apartment where I stayed. filles-bord-de-mer-location-727x313Every detail was taken care of..124261_origMy accommodation was on the top floor of the three story house….these are the beautiful stairs leading down to the lovely tiles you can see on the  ground  floor. 20-11-15 - 1 (264)Dave and Bonnie as we enjoyed a delicious feast of Moules – fish stew and some of the best ice cream I have had in a while.   Ice cream being one of my favourite foods:)20-11-15 - 1 (259)I love arriving in a place that I know nothing about.     In this instance there was only time for an overview,  however, it is definitely a place I would return to and explore much more.

Dave was seeing the area through the eyes of an historian and Bonnie and I through those of artists.    On my next visit to Port-En-Bessin I will definitely paint and would hope to stay at Les Filles du Bord de Mer again.

Looking down onto the Town 3635766The flags were flying around the town in preparation for the many visitors who were about arrive to commemorate the 72nd anniversary of the D Day Invasion and the vital part that Port-En-Bessin played in it. 20-11-15 - 1 (272)The next day, Dave and Bonnie drove me to Rennes where I caught the train to Nante.

Magical hummingbirds were definitely with us because although there was a petrol strike and a train strike – we had no problems.    Dave and Bonnie arrived at their destinations safely and are now home in S. Dakota.     I arrived safely in Nante where I was met by my dear friend Claudia.

Next week, I will write about the wonderful experience I had working with the theatre group in Nantes.

Enjoy a week filled with magical hummingbirds….


A Bientôt.