Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Castagnet children

Two recently completed portraits of my neighbour's children. I messed up the little boy and had to rework it from a photograph. Hate doing that but sometimes it's necessary. The one of the little girl was done from life and captures her slightly naughty yet charming personality.

Friday, March 19, 2010


The cows finally emerged from their barns this week. The nights are still crisp and a fire in the grate very welcoming, but the days are gloriously sunny. Snowdrops have been replaced by shy violets and daffodils in the woods.

Between Gym Tonique, my stretch class, speed walking three times a week for a heart study program in Toulouse, and walking the dogs, I am getting a fair amount of exercise. For an annual fee of 60 euros a year (about 80 dollars US) I participate in the state sponsored exercise classes four times or more a week.

I just cannot understand the resistance so many Americans have to a national health system. According to The New York Times, the French have the best medical care in the world, and it's universal.

Sunday, March 14, 2010


I gave up a fairly successful career as an illustrator and portraitist in New York to come and live full time in in this small cottage in France. I tell my friends that I committed financial and professional suicide by doing this, yet I have no regrets.

I subscribe to Robert Genn's bi-weekly internet newsletter, and a few days ago, fame and celebrity were his subject. Two quotes made an impression on me:

Winslow Homer noted, "The most interesting part of my life is of no concern to the public."

Henry Miller wrote that art's purpose is to transform the artist. An idea is absorbed by the body's cells, digested, and worked through his entire system, after which the artist is transformed like a butterfly, but the art itself is like dung. He was embarrassed to give his books to people because they were dung.

I think I want to become a butterfly.