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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Had a nature bathing experience driving along the Blue ridge parkway in North Carolina that helped me feel peaceful and content in the Maryland traffic jam that came later!

Monday, June 18, 2018

Road tripping north, and painting the path as we move. Traveling and sketching have to be my favorite summer pastimes. Left Miami on a major expressway, went to blue highways and over undulating bridges, and arrived on the oak canopied one lane road of my youngest son's home in coastal Alabama

Sunday, June 17, 2018


Piccowso just made his annual move to the summer pasture! He's looking fine! ❤️❤️❤️

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Portraits of classrooms

...and of teachers who inspire! This series in progress was started as I said goodbye to some colleagues for the summer. Many of them, who are returning, will be relocating to new classrooms (so lucky) and leaving the Art Compound region of the campus. We have been located in trailers, "portable classrooms",  since the 1995 Hurricane Andrew. I wanted to document their spaces before they packed up and left.

I've depicted a Math teacher, a History teacher and a Spanish language teacher. I tried to capture some of the magic of their classroom. In addition I painted a painting of my colleague and partner.
For a year we worked in classrooms side by side. Hired at the last minute to replace an outgoing art teacher, Michael rose to the occasion and really taught. I loved watching how he prepped his classroom, and worked his critiques. We were pretty busy every day and often this painted moment, on the porch of the trailer, unlocking our doors, was the last we saw of each other, till closing down at the end of the day. He will be missed in the fall. (That darn glass aquarium that he dragged over from the science junk pile will still be there, I am sure)

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

That makes FIVE murals at the Yoga Studio

Peter,, has commissioned me for 5 murals since 2013.
I started outside on the side of the house with a painting of him in warrior pose at the sea.
Then I painted the OM symbol inside, on the large studio-facing wall.
I remember chanting Om while I did it! It was a fun vibration to paint with.
Then, I collaborated with Michael for the next two murals... the body chakras, and a large Buddha head.
The giant Buddha head was done in oil, applied and wiped off.
And today... a Lotus on the backboard! It is mostly spray paint with a little brush work.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The first art marks of summer!

Whenever I am about to paint someone else's wall, I swear my heartbeat sounds like my parents footsteps running down the hall. It was a big deal when I was little and took it upon myself to draw directly onto the furniture or the door or the drywall...

But now, I am so gratefully inspired by my friend Peter, TheYogaWarrior, yoga master at his own studio @13950 100th Place, Palmetto Bay, FL, and at Five Sisters, among other places!  He commissioned me to do something, "anything", with the existing hoop backboard in his waiting courtyard. It is the first couple days of official summer, and I am doing what I love best!

Taking a plane white surface...
and making a mark on it.
My first summer project! Done in spite of the rains. Thank you Yoga Peter @

Monday, June 11, 2018

Mango Season

Right now it is the prime season for mangoes in Florida.

During the rest of the year we are lucky enough to be able to get one or two varieties in the stores, but NOW, there are 50 to 60 varieties dangling from trees in the neighborhoods, and 500 different strains at Fairchild Tropical Garden! This July 14th and 15th the annual Mango festival at Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens will feature the mangoes from Haiti!
A google search of "mangoes from Haiti" turns up this:
The Haitian variety, is called the Francis or Francique. It has a bold flavor, which is both sweet and slightly spicy. Haiti grows mangoes year round. However, peak harvesting season for the Francis, which features yellow-green skin and a bright orange flesh, is typically from March to June.
Right NOW.
My personal favorite mango is the Kent variety, dark green with a little red bluch, it is sweet and rich with hardly any fibers. I can't get enough of them.
All the varieties, with the range of textures and sweetness, can be very inspiring.

I'm cooking a heavenly Mango and chicken stove top dish tonight...

Sunday, June 10, 2018

How to studio without a.c. in a concrete jungle

I remember when I first moved down to Miami, I thought it would be hot like it was hot in Haiti. "I don't need air conditioning", I proclaimed. After all, I was used to houses with nothing more than a veranda and a ceiling fan capturing the breezes moving through the large trees...
That was before I realized a concrete box without cross ventilation is the architectural style that fits in my city living budget. And the giant trees are hardly to be found; most were blown over or chopped down back in the Hurricane Andrew era.
So the still humid heat that builds up in my ARTHouse studio between the months of April and October can, in under 3 hours, turn my brain to mush, bring out pink welts on my skin and drip off pounds of sweat. What's an artist to do?

I've been known to paint in my bathing suit, keeping myself hydrated and cooled by taking showers under the sole existing faucet by the sink. It was not pretty, but in that way I could endure 5 or 6 hours painting practice.
But I don't ALWAYS feel like prancing around in nearly nothing... so yesterday I am pleased to announce that I temporarily moved my paints and tools to the front of the studio and there, with the open garage door, I caught some fresh air, an afternoon shower and even a visit from some recording studio artists in the neighborhood. Ever heard of Stoned White Elephant? Their song on the Stampede  album called, Boiling Point, can conjure up where you may go with out a.c. in a concrete jungle. (explicit)

Monday, June 4, 2018

My laughing paintings

I can't bake very well in the kitchen YET I have been whipping up this batch of cakes with my bare hands- finger painting with the joy of moving color and feeling the paint ooze between my fingers and under my nails. Life is about the small things: a candle, some frosting, memories, gatherings and laughter.
June is a time for transitions and celebrations. My school job is wrapping up and presenting me with a much needed break. My sisters children have all graduated with honors from their institutions making their grandparents especially proud. Gatherings have been festive. Unfortunately, I have also, recently, lost a couple friends who were sick with incurable cancer. It's a miracle any of us get very far. With that in mind, I just fell into the painting. I hope anyone who needs one, comes forward to get some!

Cant have cake without the milk!

Sunday, June 3, 2018

Show at Aster deFonseca Gallery

Michael and I officially hanging together
 Up through June 16th, nine aviation-enthused paintings of mine are hanging at the Da-Fonseca Contemporanea gallery in Wilton Manors, FL. Inspired by the peaceful feeling I get when I am between where I was and where I am going, the paintings present a surreal perspective and are executed with a riot of colors.
The best thing about the show is that I am hanging alongside my partner Michael Gellatly's works. His paintings are bold and fanciful landscapes inspired by our spring break trip to the south of France. One of them was started with fluid pale red wine stains from our train ride picnic. Also in the show are works by artists Marco Beria, Henry Souza, Lee Brock and Aster's own new works.
A good opening
Gallery is at 2201 Wilton Drive, Wilton Manors, 33305
caught some ones attention!

my favorite transplanted Beacon-ites!
 I hope people can stop by and see the show. It is fairly hard to keep a gallery open and running and Aster is a real sweet heart visionary. Support the arts by showing up! Thank you- Tilly

Monday, May 28, 2018

A Quick way to thank those who protect our democracy at home

This memorial day I am reflecting on the soldiers and politicans who work every day dedicating their lives to a cause bigger than themselves. I am very thankful. My grandparents immigrated here and fought in the world war. They saw first hand how dictatorships and totalitarianism can destroy communities and countries. Our democracy is a fragile idea with a noble ring to it. It takes all of us to keep it safe. With the recent people running the White House, congress and courts, I am struck even more by the need to step up and be a good citizen.
My mother's side of the family has been here for many generations and my great grandfather started newspapers. His sons ran and published many more. And until I was a young adult in the 1990's, our family was in the news business. The DesMoines Register was, and still is, an strong investigative voice in a sea of celebrity worship. I am very proud of the ethos of community responsibility that pervaded both the journalism and our family's culture. My family, under the matriarchal and patriarchal leadership, cared about their neighbors and sought to educate about the larger world issues. In full disclosure, the trend to infomercials and infotainment came with Grandaddy's Look Magazine and a little weekly "for busy readers", Quick.
But, I digress! I am today no longer in any news business except as a consumer... looking for a way to stay an informed citizen. It is not easy to know where to turn. In the midst of strong bias on both liberal and conservative sides I am very happy to know of FAIR- an organization that works as an unbiased watchdog pointing out the misleading focus of our current media. Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting is doing the soldiers work in keeping us aware of what lousy information we are being fed. They are a small group of readers who work on a shoestring and...they are my Memorial Day heroes. I am sure even my granddaddy would be a fan.
Please consider supporting our troups and also looking up FAIR and supporting them. They work to keep democracy as a viable idea and, if we pay attention, we can all keep democracy as a system of governing.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Bark Walk Art Walk in Ft Lauderdale this weekend

Bark Walk: dog-friendly artwalk event
Saturday, May 26, 2018, 5-8pm

Girls' Club presents Bark Walk, a block-wide event to benefit Pets Broward, 
a non-profit organization dedicated to saving shelter pets and creating a community 
where all pets and people are valued and treated with respect, kindness, and compassion.

The event is free and open to the public. 
Well-behaved pets welcomed and must remain on-leash and in-control at all times.

Adoptable Dog Parade at 6pm 
Best in Show: Dog-themed Art Exhibit at Girls' Club 
Human/Dog-Friendly Photo shoot with Alissa Alfonso at Girls' Club
Guest Artist Kerry Phillips at Madeline Denaro Studio
Art Making Activities for Humans/Dogs at Form Hair Studio
Doggy-and-Me Hair Specials at Form Hair Studio
Dog and Human Swim Specials at Montce Swim
Puppacino Specials at Wells Coffee

with Frankie Dogs, Vintage Pops and Sparkling Ice 

A new hot spot in Fort Lauderdale, the shops along NE 2 Avenue and Flagler Drive recently opened for business this past year with a craft coffee roaster and cafe Wells Coffee, a fit-focused swim shop Montce Swim, high-intensity functional HIIT studio The Fit Shop, a creative-thinking hair salon Form, the working artist studio of Madeline Denaro and the city's only private art collection/alternative art space Girls' Club Collection.

The Bark Walk coincides with the Last-Saturday artwalk, 
connecting with the FATVillage and the MASS District art neighborhoods 
of Fort Lauderdale for an epic evening out.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

I heard a faint knocking...

As artists, we dream of someone knocking on our lone studio door and screeching in joy at the treasures within. They will insist the work needs to be seen by a wider audience, and launch into a discussion of training, then reflect upon our personal/universal existence, and, then proclaim the work boundless in value.
But it rarely if ever happens.

But kinda....

I walked a couple doors down from my own studio and knocked on the stitching studio of Karla Caprali . There I joined in on a couple Miami Textile Association's embroidery workshops. #textileartists  They are held most every other Saturday. Karla is warm, smart and bakes a mean cake. In short order she has arrested some of my bad habits, taught me correct stitching and, introduced me to other smart and interesting women. One of MTA's regulars turns out to have gone to my high school in Virginia!!! (Now I am probably going to a local reunion this fall. Talking with my new friend made me laugh and recall details I had long forgotten. Small hints of who I am at the core of my being were raised!)

 Then... At school a young new teacher, TJ,  invited colleagues to stay after school and discuss pedagogy. Though I dragged myself there in somewhat of the cynical mind, I left an hour later full of inspiration and self-reflection. He brought me back  (after 22 years of this) to the core of why I teach and to thoughts of how I teach. Teachers Talking Teachin! It is an inspiration.

Throwback to December 2016 when I answered a call by artist Kim Schoenstadt to be part of a group photo, Now Be Here #3,  at the Perez Museum. Schoenstadt had called for all the regions women artists and, despite torrential rains, 303 of us showed up! The only Florida institution that expresses an outright commitment to supporting local female-identifying artists was/is the Girls' Club, a private collection and alternative art space in Fort Lauderdale that helped whip up support for Now Be Here #3. 
The two ladies on either side of me in the line to register and enter have become sources of inspiration ever since.  Just last week one of those women, Meg Wallace of  passed on information about a show at the Girls Club  that I have since entered. Three doggie paintings will now be for sale in their gallery space as part of a fundraiser to benefit Pets Broward, a non-profit organization dedicated to saving shelter pets. The show is May 26th.

The creative spark that helps my imagination needs to roam, play and join in discussion. It has been a full spring. Austin Kleon writes in his book Show Your Work,  that "you don't have to be a genius... be an amateur...get out of your league...defy perfection" and...the work will get shown!

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Things to know about Miami and flying

HistoryMiami Museum tour
Miami can literally be called the birthplace of modern aviation and commercial air traffic.

Air business was born for mail delivery, and survived with the infusion of money and training needs of the government for the WW1 war effort.

Thanks to a fabulous tour put together by the HistoryMiami museum, I was able to spend a full day learning about the history of flight on a tour that took us from Miami Springs, to behind the scenes at MIA, to Dinner Key (where Miami City Hall is located in Pan Am's first airport).

Our guides from the history museum had the whole day synchronized perfectly. Our bus driver was excellent and had us moving fluidly through traffic, our historian Dr. George is amazing. This was my fifth tour led by Dr. Paul George tour, so I must be a groupy.
Me and Dr. George

MIA was known as "36th Street Airport" or "Pan Am Fields". Today Miami International Airport covers 3,230 acres west of downtown Miami between Northwest 36th Street, Le Jeune Road, the Palmetto Expressway and State Road 836 and is one of the busiest airports in the world. Over 44 million people traveled through the airport in 2017.
On the tarmac of MIA

in the control tower
The Glenn Curtiss mansion is now a museum and wedding venue next to the airport. Among a million other things, Curtiss owned the largest airplane manufacturing business in the 1920's, he gave the land for the current Miami International and Opalocka airports and he single handedly saved UM from going under in the 1920's. He also had over 500 inventions and 400 patents when he died at 53 years. He invented the first motorcycle and was the official "fastest man in the world" in 1907 (for going 136 mph on an 8 cylinder motorcycle). He was issued pilots' license #1 in the USA and license #2 in France. He and the Wright brothers fought notoriously, but generations later their businesses merged to continue manufacturing plane parts today (Curtiss Wright Co)!

Victor Chapman, of Chapman Field, and a road right around the corner from where I live, was the first pilot to go down in WW1 combat .

Eddie Rickenbacher was a larger than life figure in Miami. He  was the highest scoring Ace fighter pilot in WWI, and he owned Eastern airlines. He survived an eastern airlines crash into the Pacific ocean and survived for 24 days. In his older years, he was often seen as the crazy old man feeding the seagulls. But you have to know the story to appreciate why he did that. 

The pilot, Paul Tibbets on the plane called Enola Gay, (named after his mother) which dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima August 6th, lived in Miami.  The second plane that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki was also piloted by a Bahamian Miami resident.

All the big stars worked  or flew out of Miami, including Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, and Glenn Curtiss.

Charles Lindberg was an airplane mechanic in Miami. Later he was hired to design routes for PanAm.

Talk about self made go-getters. Juan Trippe is someone to read about. He went from being a stunt amusement park flier to starting a mail delivery service to owning the largest international carrier in the world.
Pan American Airways, the largest international carrier, worked out of Miami airport from 1927 to its collapse in 1991. The employees were like a family and they formed World Wings International to keep in touch, build on philanthropic projects and keep the memories alive.
Pan Am flight attendants shared memories at the Curtiss Mansion

The next best thing to being in the airport control tower... If you eat in the 94th Aero Squadron Restaurant that is alongside the southern runways, you can wear headphones hanging from the walls between the windows to listen to the control towers.

A day from Heaven

Friday, April 27, 2018

Dade Art Educators Superintendent show

I am proud to be one of 17 art teachers in the Miami Dade County to have work included in the "Superintendents Exhibit"- a year long exhibition sponsored by the DAEA (Dade Art Educators Association) and held in the offices of Alberto M. Carvalho. Mr. Carvalho has served as superintendent of Miami-Dade County public schools, the nations fourth largest school system, since September 2008. The exhibition showcases the works of art educators in the county to expand public awareness of the role of Art Educators as Artists.... (or artists as educators).

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Table settings (variations on a theme)

I am terrified of French waiters      They seem linguistically aggressive. Perhaps if my French was better I would not feel so stupid.

I love a good croissant and raw honey. This breakfast was a perfect way to start the day- fresh and chemical free! Even the flowers!

A crusty baguette brings out the beggar in us all...

Why is the wine so much better in France?
Check out my website for more recent paintings inspired by my spring break!

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Guest book treasures

What about the tradition of keeping a guest book?
My lovely family relishes story. I recently spent some insightful evenings at the table discussing the lives of great uncles and musing on the escapades of heroic aunts. As I do with every trip to France, I miss my grannie Zabet and papa Jacques . Since I was a baby, I passed through their living rooms and learned to appreciate the art history on the walls and attend to the interesting friends in their salon.

I was going through my grandmothers guest book and found this sketch by one of my favorite artists, Alice Neel! It's double portraits in pen of grannie and papa Jacques! Signed and dated 1965.
great line on Jacques jaw!

My grannie was a little harder for Neel to catch