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Doing A Bunch of “Mini Vacations” This Year

Last year, I discovered a new love – the mini art card!

What’s to love? The challenge, baby! The challenge of seeing how much I can draw onto this little 2.5″ x 3.5″ piece of paper without it looking like an inky mess. The challenge of learning how to apply watercolour in tiny amounts with new tiny brushes (like my new 10/0 round brush). And the challenge I’ve set to make 100 of them before August 1 (the date of an art show I’ve set my sights on)!

I’ve been using my vacation photos as subjects again – and each time I paint one of these scenes, I recall what it was like to be there. So I’m calling these the “Mini Vacation” series! I’ll also be sharing some stories or travel info along the way… in case you are considering a real vacation to any of these spots.

To make 100 before August 1st, I have to complete 4 a week. How am I doing 10 days in? I’ve drawn 8 and painted 3. Got some catching up to do! Here are the first 3:

Anfiteatro in Lucca

Anfiteatro in Lucca

I was in Lucca, a small city 80 km west of Florence, during the Festival of Saint Zita in late April 2006. The streets were filled with candy and sweets tents, and the Anfiteatro piazza held its spring flower show for locals to pick up their gardening needs. Why flowers and sweets for Saint Zita? The story goes that Zita, a teenaged servant in a wealthy household, would sneak the meal leftovers in her apron to the poor in the community, and when the master confronted her in the act and asked to see what was in her apron, it opened to reveal flowers. A miracle! If you are in Lucca around April 27, you can also see the real Saint Zita, as her tiny mummified body (in a glass enclosure) is brought to the front door of San Frediano church. It didn’t help when I went to see her that I was in line with some very frightened school children. I bolted out of there and went back to the Flower Show with a bag of anise cookies in hand!



Barga Garden

Barga Garden – sold

A few years ago, I enrolled in an art course outside of Barga, Tuscany. We did some plein air oil painting in a beautiful garden attached to a large villa. Choosing a scene to paint was very difficult because there were so many great options. Trimmed hedges, potted plants, gorgeous flower beds, and sculpture in every direction! Finally sat down to paint and I remember the warmth of the June day, the quiet of the garden (save the buzzing bees) and the giggles I shared with a few classmates painting next to me. When I later looked at all the photos I’d taken of the garden, I knew I’d be painting it again.






Castello di Saint-Marcel

Castello di Saint-Marcel

In the Valle D’Aosta region of Italy near the French border, there are castles, upon castles! I’ve always been a “castle girl” – the romantic in me, I guess. When planning which castles I could visit a few years ago, this castle was the first to catch my eye. I couldn’t imagine that it sat right on the street in the small town of Saint-Marcel Surpian. Not high on a cliff or down in wooded glade – right beside the asphalt street. My plan was to go to the restaurant across the street for a delicious lunch, sit on the patio and sketch the Castello di Saint-Marcel with a nice cold glass of white wine. More romance, right! Ha! It was not to be – the restaurant was inexplicably closed and it began to rain heavily just as I pulled out my sketchbook. Fast forward 2 years and I’m drawing this mini card laughing about how I need life to give me a reality check every once in awhile!


I’ll try to post ’em as I make ’em – not as much to read! 97 more to go!

14 replies »

  1. Wow…what a challenge you’ve set yourself, Marion…I just hope your eyes won’t give out before then…lol. Are you using a magnifying glass to work under? I’m liking these three!

  2. Excellent Marion! Waiting for 97 more 😍 I really like your detail work style.. So much to learn from your artworks ☺️

      • Oh yes sorry 96! 🙂 I was following your work so long, but never had chance to talk or know about your work process. I read about your artwork on Charlie’s Doodlewash. 🙂

      • You had the number right. When I replied to your comment, I had just finished another one that I haven’t posted here yet. It’s going to get confusing I know! I saw your post on Doodlewash, too! It’s such a great site to read about other artists… and to see Charlie and Philippe’s ongoing work too!

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