Saturday, December 6, 2014

IN LOVING MEMORY of Jerry Scoggins - by North Carolina Painter, Sue Scoggins

For a moment I want to thank those who selflessly serve the sick and the dying.  For your service that cannot be put into words, your kindness, your attentiveness, your willingness to be there in the most intimate and tender moments and for your reassurance in the last days. .. I thank you.

Peace Like a River
24x36 original oil on canvas
Donated to:
Crystal Coast Hospice House
Newport, North Carolina

Monday, November 24, 2014

From THIS to THAT...a wildflower painting by Sue Scoggins, North Carolina Painter

It's time to share.  Find a great song.  This one was "Oh Happy Day."  Sing it in your head. (If the doors are closed, you can sing it out loud!)   After toning the canvas with yellow and magenta ink, I dried it with a hairdryer. Then wrote the lyrics all over the canvas.  Once dry, I brushed on gesso for texture and toning down the background. While all this was going on, I could see wildflowers beginning to appear.  The rest was envisioning fields and using intuitive colors and shapes and negative painting around the shapes.  Give it a try.  You'll like it!

Oh Happy Day
36x48 original oil on gallery wrapped canvas
The Little Art Gallery
Raleigh, North Carolina

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Fields of Wildflowers - abstract florals by North Carolina Painter Sue Scoggins

36x36 original oil on gallery wrapped canvas

Can't get enough of these things.  After dropping someone off at the airport the other day, I did the round about onto I-40.  As I "rounded about" a huge field of wildflowers almost caused me to run off the road.  Planted by the North Carolina Department of Transportation Wildflower Program, these fields are all along the sides of the roads.  What a great gift to see!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

FLOWER CHILD - Abstracts (sort of) by North Carolina Painter Sue Scoggins

30x40 original oil on canvas
The Little Art Gallery
Cameron Village
Raleigh, NC

Finally have settled down in the happening city of downtown Raleigh, NC.  It has taken me a while to get my brush moving again.  The beach was a tad lonely, so city life seemed like a nice change.  New town.  New studio.  New vision.  Here is a new piece that is headed for The Little Art Gallery in Cameron Village in two weeks.  Seems fields of wildflowers have taken root. Can't get them out of my head! 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

DECOR!!! ONWARD AND UPWARD - a traveling art blog by Sue Scoggins

Bye bye salmon, onion, goat cheese bagel and little red motorcycle!

The long awaited day has come.  For weeks I've shoved to the back of my brain how I was going to get everything back to the good old USA.  As a former airline employee, it was shunned if we checked a bag.  We were so proud to say, "I can go  10 days to Europe with just one little rollie!"

WELL! Three suitcases, a backpack filled with 11 French hats, and a tube of rolled up paintings later...I'm here to say that I definitely looked like the tourist on John Candy's European Vacation. By the way, the bus drivers do NOT help load your bags. When the taxi driver dropped me off at the station, it was quite entertaining for all to watch as this elderly woman (ME) meticulously strapped these pieces together,  attempt to walk two steps, only to have them  tumble down again over the crowded cobblestone walkway.  I could see, out of the corner of my eye, an indifferent little Frenchman in his Persol sunglasses, leaning against the railing as he watched me struggle. Frustrated,  I whispered under my breath..."you could help, ya know" ...  after which he reluctantly stepped toward me.  "Oh no...don't bother." I thought as I raised my seething head, made the sign of the cross as if to scare away the demons, then smiled and said, "That's ok. I'm fine.  No thanks."  (ooo.  That didn't sound nice.)  I MUST PRACTICE MY DAMSEL IN DISTRESS ACT!

AND for the second act:  getting the bags into the belly of the bus.  It was a true grand finale when I pulled back, grasped the handle and slung my body with all it's might to get that 50 pound bag onto the bus; throwing my delicate frame into a flaming arabesque twirl off the curb and back on again.  The people cheered an ovation with their hidden grins.  BUT,  I was once told by a well respected co-worker..."never let 'em see you sweat!" So, with head held high and a laugh at myself, I stepped onto lyne 40 for the last time to the Marseille airport.

Not for one minute have I regretted this trip; traveling solo, learning curves, new cultures, conquering fears, silent nights and overcoming anxiety..finding out that I could do it. Friendly people, not so friendly people, goose legs and black pudding (blood sausage), goat cheese and olives, ancient fountains and foreign films, eating alone but drawing the scene, lovers and tourists, bus ventures and caves full of art, ochre  cliffs and lavender fields....those are a few of my favorite things.....
when the dog bites...when the bees stings....when I'm feeling sad......OH....THAT'S A SONG!!!!  (sorry)  Well....I simply remember my favorite things..and then I don't feeeeeel   so bad.

Thank you all for joining me on this trip.  It was great having the company.  Keep singing.  Onward and upward.

Next!  Maybe a little red motorcycle?

Saturday, August 9, 2014

ALORS! - a traveling art blog by Sue Scoggins

Tree Line
6x12 original oil on canvas

These I left out the top of the buildings

I've noticed something through drawing. I never connect the lines. The lines are left  unfinished and n-e-v-e-r quite touch their next point.  I wonder what a psychologist would say about that.  Hmm. Where's the sofa?  It's not a conscious thing where I intentionally leave them unfinished.  It's definitely subconscious.  Does that mean I have unfinished business?  Or that my life is incomplete?  Or that I'm waiting for something or that there's more to do with my life?  Or am I lazy and undisciplined? How about could just be my my astigmatism!   I's not just an occasional line or's all of the lines!  So, I've tried to make sure now that I "connect" the dots now, finish my lines and I've gone back and tried to complete them all.  

 ALORS! (well..)

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go.  (A little bit of Peter, Paul and Mary)
In the last 6 weeks, my vocabulary has consisted of primarily one to three word sentences. Bonjour!  Merci!  Ca va bien? Très bien. Au revoir. Oui.  Non. Je suis en peintre. Je ne comprend pas. Vous ne comprenez anglais?  Un peu. C'est bon. C'est beau! Très jolie! Voila! Pardon. No problem.  Reservation. L'addition. Un billet. Expresso noisette, s'il vous plait. aperitif, pour manger, quelque chose a boire, vin blanc, vin rouge, vin rose, mojito! 

Oh yes!  Don't forget  "Ou est le bus pour Les Baux?" and "il est chaud."

My diet has consisted of (In order of importance)
Bread, loaves of ...(which includes pastries and pizza)
Wine, bottles of...
Cheese - goat, ewe (brocciu), parmesan
Tomatoes - heirloom and grape
Olives - tons
an occasional zuccini
white fish

I've had no meat in 8 weeks accept
one goose leg (that was in Hungary)
one lamb (not the whole thing)
one filleted chicken breast
very little refined sugar  (that was a "creme glacee".  I had to do it.)
nothing processed or fried  (not that I don't crave a french fry right now!)

My jar of Nutella is empty now. (It was a small European jar.)  

Thursday, August 7, 2014

MUSEE GRANET, the Pearlman Exhibit - a traveling art blog by Sue Scoggins

The right half of
La Montagne Sainte Victoire
My friend Catherine and I said our last goodbye yesterday.(That's Caterrreeeeene, with a rolled r).  She was such a highlight of this trip.  She'll be off in the country to teach next week.  I'll be heading back to the USA.  My easel now has a new home with her.  It's too heavy and takes up too much room for me to carry back and maybe this will encourage her to pick up the oils again.  Thank you, Catherine, I'll remember our heartfelt conversations.

Did you know that Cezanne painted his beloved Monte Sainte-Victoire mountain 87 times?  He died of pneumonia at 67 years old after being caught in a rain storm while painting it for the 88th time.  Now, I'd say that was a magnificent obsession.

After beginning to sort, toss, cut and finish up things, I decided to take one last visit to the Musee Granet to see the Pearlman Collection of Cezanne.  I don't usually rent those little recorded tour headsets, but I finally talked to myself and said, "Self.  How are you going to learn if you don't listen?"   I found myself mesmerized as it was told as a dialogue between Henry Pearlman and a questioning little girl.  Cezanne's first exhibition was after being "rejected" in the Paris salon show and his  first solo exhibit wasn't until he was 56 years old.  Pretty interesting.  He pretty much became a recluse and no one knew where he was...even thought he was dead.  I guess that's a common thing about artists....they get lost in their painting, become isolated, sometimes forget to even eat.  (Of course, that's not the case with me.  Eating, that is.)

In one room, I found myself completely spellbound by his most famous painting, La Montagne Sainte-Victoire.  I examined every brush stoke and every color against color.  I'd move from one side of the room to the other.  Other's did the same.  In fact, waves of people would come in and just stand as if in some sort of a dance trance, shuffling around as if hypnotized by it's movement.  Sketching them had to be quick. How could a painting of a mountain be so captivating?  Aix en Provence is very proud of their Cezanne.

Bye, bye Musee Granet.  Bye, bye Cezanne.  Bye bye La Montagne Sainte-Victoire.

Monday, August 4, 2014

ALL IN A DAY - a traveling art blog by North Carolina Painter, Sue Scoggins

Around the Corner
14x14 original oil on canvas

This morning was spent trimming up paintings and organizing the next few days for the "grand" departure. Yes, soon this little bit of "shangrila" must end. It began like in a movie, but I never did find my little farmhouse to remodel as in Under The Tuscan Sun.  Maybe it's because I was in France and not Italy.  Hmmmm....  No.  I shouldn't! Should I?  It has been wonderful  but maybe I should go back home.  I dunno.

The afternoon was kind of exciting. I found myself in the middle of a political demonstration. Here I was, taking a break from painting, wandering my normal path of shops to see if there were any that I had missed. I could hear shouting in the streets and before I knew it, I was surrounded by flags waving, carrying the letters PCF, Parti Communiste Français. It was a peaceful demonstration. My favorite Romanian accordion player, Minelle, and I sat on the curb to wait it out. He was ready for it to be over so he could get back to playing La Vie en Rose. I eventually got up and ordered a glass of Rose. When the demonstration was over....the protesters ordered Rose too. (kind of funny)

I'm trying to be as "normal" as possible.  (Whatever that is.)  Work on my art, eat, exercise, eat, go to art class, eat, walk, walk,'s not much different than home, accept I'm in France.  There's a lot of alone time in the studio, which is the second bedroom of my apartment but I've met very friendly people. Almost every shop owner is smiling, helpful, and welcoming. In fact, one shop owner invited me out to a picnic tomorrow night to meet her friends and watch an outdoor film of the opera.  Today, I spent a few hours in the eyeglass shop picking out new glasses. I've found out that I'm more blind than I wonder I kept stumbling across those cobblestones....I couldn't see them! He prescribed the latest and greatest HD lenses (with cheap frames) and told me I was to never drive without glasses again. (My bad!)  I'm sorry, but I'll be sporting the most "French" glasses when I get home.  My kids will be so embarrassed!  I might be too. (Maybe I was blind when  picked them out.) Whatever, I won't be stumbling over cobblestones anymore.  That's a good thing.

My favorite people, above all, ( besides my art friends) have been the waiters and the Romanian accordion player. I will miss them.  I see them all everyday...or maybe I should say, "I am their regular tourist"  (accept other tourists go home and I'm still here.)  There's Nelson, who brings cafe noisette in the afternoon (noisette - which means, the coffee is the color of almonds), along with a "Sue!" and a kiss on both cheeks. The waiter at Le Gaulois, where I experienced authentic, truly French, blood sausage (must be an acquired taste), says I need to practice my French. Then, there are Ornella and Abdu, my wonderful friends at the Italian restaurant around the corner. They bring me a lemoncello, that wickedly wonderful Italian liquor, to finish off my salmone fiorentino and wonder why I am alone.  Should I tell them?  Maybe not.

I'll be waving goodbye to them next week.  Makes me kind of sad.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

CHERRIES! THOSE CHERRIES! - a traveling art blog by Sue Scoggins

Did you know that the city of Aix was formed in 120 BC.  Seriously?????  The new part of the city is 400 years old.  That's the NEW part.  Mind boggling!!!

Like I said in an early post, this city is like a in the morning, cafes in the afternoons.  Every day the farmers come in at dawn, set up under their umbrellas, sell their produce then close up at 12:30. I've loved the markets so much that I just had to paint those cherries. Fresh vegetables and fruits, goat cheese, lavender, tapenades, mounds of garlic cloves, olives....and fish....oh those fish!  After an organized  "Taste of Provence" market tour with two young couples, one from Poland and one from Switzerland, market paintings were popping out of my head.  There is something freeing about being old.....I don't care about what people I ask questions and make comments.  I taste and I ooh and ahhh.  And I buy, not one....but three...something for each of my kids.  I'm not shy anymore. These couples probably thought I was a loony tunes....I thought they were adorable!

The tour guide was absolutely MORE than expected, giving us the perfect "tastes" with the quality vendors in the markets.  We began with the Patisserie Bechard tasting pastries, then moved to a chocolaterie, a spice vendor with tastes of  spices, chutneys, olives, then watched as coffee beans roasted and finished with a macaroon shop.  Everything is from local farmers.  Such a privilege! I've been back to the coffee roasting cafe many times since then for my expresso noisette.  It's the perfect spot to people watch in the afternoons.

It's almost too much to take in.   BUT I'LL TRY!

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

LOST IN TRANSLATION !! a traveling art blog by Sue Scoggins

Chagall must have been having "women issues".

Marc Chagall

Interesting fountain.  You figure out the meaning!
There's something to be said for "communication".

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to St. Paul de Vence, an ancient city, famous for the Belarussian-Russian-French artist,  Marc Chagall.  Did you know that his last painting was done at 97 years old and it was a premonition of his life after death?  The painting was a reunion with his first wife and his self portrait had wings.  He died 3 days later.

ANYWAY.  My new artist friend, offered to give me a ride to Vence where she dropped me off in the town center and went on to her prior engagement.  I was to meet her at the same spot at 5:30 that evening for pick up back to AIX en Provence.  Well, guess what!  It never happened.

I spent the day at the Foundation Maeght, a beautiful contemporary art museum and garden at the top of the hill.....(seriously, it was an 85 degree incline)  near the historic village of St Paul de Vence. I felt like I had climbed Mt. Everest. Once I recovered, I was privileged to chat with a very friendly gallery owner, who's family owned gallery had been in existence for generations.  He had an original  Picasso and several Chagall paintings.  I was a starstruck old American lady.  (I wanted to say middle aged...but....)

Once my visit was over, I headed back to the bus stop.  Wanted to be sure I didn't miss that bus for my ride.  Oh SUE!!!!  What have you done?  I GOT ON THE RIGHT BUS.....IN THE WRONG DIRECTION!!!   What is it with me and BUSES and French directions and French schedules!!!!!

After about 15 minutes on the bus, I walked up to the bus driver ..."are we going back to Vence?"  He looked at me like...."You pitiful American!"  I ended up in Nice.  Say it...with a French accent.  Does that sound the same to you?  VENCE.  NICE. VENCE.  NICE.  Anyway, Nice, that beautiful Cote d'azur city.   By the time I got there, I had decided not to panic. I had resolved that I probably wasn't going "home" that night, called my friend and said, "travel on, my friend.  I'm in Nice."  So I checked into a Meridian Hotel.

Ok...the Meredian.   I honestly thought..."what's the worse that can happen?"  I have a credit card.  So I asked the receptionist, "what is your best rate?"  She looked for a while and said, "I can offer you a $500 executive room. That's all I have."  Then, I politely said...."Would you mind pulling up the train schedule?  I need to get back to Aix...tonight!" We both laughed.  Then, I asked....and where can I get something to drink?  "Ah, Oui, Madame, over there."  I "proudly" walked on over and ordered a Tangueray and tonic (besides, I needed to plug in and recharge my phone)  and thought, "Relax, Sue.  Relax.  It's only money".   It was now about 7:00 pm.

After the T&T set in, I saw lots of "group" tourists there in the lounge.  Tons of retirees, with plans that had been made for luxury clients sipping on their "whatevers."  It reminded me of when my husband and I were on our award trips and everything was paid for.  Top of the line...everything planned and perfect.  All we had to do was show up.  Why do I always have to do things the hard way?  Here I was in my disgusting, mint green, sweaty tank top and linen skirt with no place to stay, no husband, no friends around, and, for a nano second, I sighed...."oh, how nice to be taken care of."  Then, I came to my senses!  I let go of my anxieties and pulled up my trusty "Kayak" to find some hotel quotes.  GUESS WHAT?  There was the Meredian for $200.  Ah- ha!  I quickly snagged the room online and went back over to the front desk.  What a great moment that was!  So I put on my giant black sunglasses, pointed up my nose, and pranced off to my "Nice" soft bed...with clean sheets...I couldn't wait.  Everything else could wait until morning.
The Phyllis Diller look! No brush, no clothes, no toothbrush,
just a cell phone and credit card!
Scary as it was, I headed out the next morning. Figured, if I was on this beautiful coastline, I shouldn't  head straight back to Aix.  So I got on a bus to Antibes. Where is Antibes, you say?    Who knows?  Somewhere between Nice and Cannes.  It's the only place I could go and be back in time to catch the bus to Aix that evening.  BUT, IT WAS WORTH IT!!!!!

What happened was, I got on the bus to Antibes with a few other people and got off in the town center.  Figured I could have a nice lunch, do some sketchbook drawing, then head back.  When I got off, I found myself completely lost along with two young girls from Spain.  They were adorable!  I was their mother!  They spoke Spanish.  I spoke English.  None of us spoke French very well.  So we bonded!  Both of them happened to be in Fine Arts school in Spain.  SO COOL!!!!!  They weren't even embarrassed to hang with me. We were LOST IN TRANSLATION together! We went to the Police station hoping to get a map or directions to the tourist information office.  Not a chance!  The officers took us to the back to show us a map that was taped to the wall.  We snapped a picture with our cell phones. That was somewhat helpful but..seriously, who can read a map that small on their cell phone?  Can't you just envision it!  They didn't understand a word, nor did they know where the tourist information office was. ..or if it even existed.   One of the girls, asked for directions to the historic city center...he looked confused...I said..."You know...the OLD me!"  He said, "Ah.  OLD!".  He got it.  Man!  Was that a blow for me!

Last but not least was at the end of the day when I met a beautiful woman from IRAN.  She was  working for the Canadian Consulate in Turkey.  What a beautiful woman inside and out!  I could go on about her culture but there is not enough time.  All I can't believe the media.... that...if the Iranian people are like must be a beautiful culture of people.

Today was even better than art!  

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Here's my interpretation of the exhibit!
Ok....what's a girl to do?  I'm traveling solo.  I'm not a bar hopper.  I don't shop much.  I can't find a cycling what am I to do?  PAINT!  DRAW!!  STUDY ART!

This morning, my paint brain was really cooking.  I don't know just was.  Any of you artist folks, you know who you are, know what I'm talkin' about.  Something inside just starts revving up....until it just has to come out.  Look out...if I just had some big canvases.  ...but I don't.  Cherries were in my brain.  I'm not posting them yet.  They are not finished...but they are well on their way.

In the meantime, I walked to the art store and bought glue.  My sketchbook needed a bit of glue.  I needed to update my sketchbook page with the Klimt exhibit!

SOOOO, yesterday, I finally made it to Les Baux en Provence!  The reason I wanted to go there was to see the Gustav Klimt exhibit in the caves.  After a mile walk to the bus station, 3 bus changes, and a walk down into the cave, I MADE IT!!!!!  It was amazing!  I could have stayed for hours.  If you've never seen anything like this..which I hadn't...all of the artists works are projected onto these huge cave walls...simultaneously on walls, floors, all around the cave. glorious symphonic, head tripping music! I would have been an embarrassment to every single one of my kids.  BUT, my grandkids would have been trippin' with me!   Everywhere you look were continuous images of his works.  And everywhere you walked, the view looked different.

If you don't know who Gustav Klimt is.....he's was a prominent Austrian painter who used a lot of gold and bold colors and was known for his eroticism in female subjects.

I would have walked for miles to see it.  Hmmm....come to think of it....I did!

A WORK IN PROGRESS - a traveling art blog by Sue Scoggins

Cassis Waterfront
20x24 original oil on paper
Seriously, I'm hearing the Romanian accordion player outside my window.  SO FRENCH!
Today, I decided I'd better finish up all these unfinished paintings so they'll dry and I can roll them up to bring home.  OR....maybe they'll go in the trash.  I don't know yet.  It's been 3 weeks of daily painting and I'm just getting use to these new pallet colors.  Hmmm.  Can't decide if I'll stick with them, go back to the old pallet or try to slowly migrate them.  One thing I DO like is that the pallet is made up of only FIVE colors. Meticulously! Every color is mixed from there.  Amazing!

Trying to finish this boat painting of Cassis.  Still not finished. It's taken a long time and is painted on paper!  (I bought a large notebook of what I thought was cut canvas....guess's paper for "huiles" (oils) and really absorbs the paint!  SO, yet, another new challenge.  My muscles are getting tense.

I can think of worse things.  Play on Minelle.  (That's the accordion player.  We've become buds.)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Traveling Alone - a traveling art blog by North Carolina Painter, Sue Scoggins

So, traveling alone is an art that must be learned.  I know that sounds strange in that I'm in one of the most beautiful places in the world, Provence, France. The worst thing to do is stay home alone. Today, I spent the most wonderful day drawing sketchbook art with new friends.  One "doll babe" was 19, traveling alone.  After getting acquainted I found out that she is majoring in bio-physics.  When she continues, she will be working on her PHD and going into.....ALZHEIMER RESEARCH!

Who would have thought?  In a drawing class..meeting such a focused young woman ...traveling alone from Brazil!  Such an inspiration she is!!!  She gave me such a sweet tap on the shoulder as I told her that I lost my husband to Alzheimer's disease 3 months ago.  She lost her grandmother.  I couldn't thank her enough for taking up the charge!

Today's art venture was beyond fun as we experimented with pens, stamps, watercolor, etc.  I found out that there are a lot of us traveling singles out there.  Mostly, our fun was because we couldn't stop talking.   We began painting on the grounds of Cezanne's garden, Jas de Bouffan .  Had a picnic there.  Then moved to an art courtyard, Hotel de Gallifet, which had been a historic residence that has been turned into an artist's haven for drawing, sipping coffee, and having a salad or the likes.  The 4 of us, plus our instructor, sat around the table sipping coffee and making art all afternoon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

JOUCAS - a traveling art blog by North Carolina Painter Sue Scoggins


In this little village were so many winding streets.  So many inviting spots where the light hit the walls and blinding cobblestones flashed against the darkened shady spots.  I think I'm beginning to find my pallet again.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

ARLES - a traveling art blog by North Carolina Painter Sue Scoggins

I've discovered something about myself.
In order to paint, or create, I HAVE to be in the outdoors or where I can see the outdoors.  I also HAVE to have people.  I love people with all their stories, their smiles, their eyes.  They are the energy that generates creativity for me.  Too much alone time is not a good thing.  However, as a writer and painter, I need the alone time to reflect and concentrate.  It's a balancing act.

Yesterday, quite early, I hopped on a bus to the town of Arles.  It was the connecting point to where I really wanted to go, Les Baux.  In Les Baux is the Klimpt exhibit where Klimpt's art is projected on cave walls. I've heard it's spectacular. Once the bus driver dropped me off at the corner of city center in Arles, I asked, "ou est le bus pour Les Baux?"  He waved forward and said, "la ba".   Ok?  Where is la ba?  I acted as if I knew where he was pointing and just followed  the wandering people with "women carts" and dogs on leashes and travelers carrying backpacks. I found myself in the midst of hundreds of tents and thousands of people.  It was Saturday market in Arles.  OH NO, ANOTHER MARKET!!!  But, I couldn't resist.  So I threw my pack back over my mint colored tank topped shoulder and wandered from tent to tent acting as if I was local.  (I wasn't wearing my stupid hat). I swear if I lived here I'd buy herbs and linens and pottery and fix my place up all "Frenchy".   I might even buy a goat! This market had a lot of the same as in Aix, however, there were several very authentic locals who had brought their wares.  One farmer was selling roosters, guineas, and rabits.  A potter was selling his hand thrown pottery...which was no mass production...his calloused hands proved it.   There were tables and tables of antique laces and linens.  OH, if I just had the inclination to buy those things...I would have been in heaven!


Mr. Potter and his calloused hands.  Vous estes merveilleaux!
I wanted to take these home.

Now, THIS is paella!

Lady singing guantanamera with tambourines strapped to her feet.
I couldn't resist this one.

After about an hour and a half of market walk, a vendor scooped some lightly fried shrimp and zucchini fritters and I sat for a cold drink and time to sketch.  Then I'd be off Les Baux, I thought.   It was now about noonish.  One thing led to another and......well....

I never made it to Les Baux!  Never found the bus.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Sketchbook Drawing - by Sue Scoggins, North Carolina Painter

la fontaine des 4 Dauphins
Aix en Provence

My oil painting has been a bit flat due to lots of reasons.
1.  My mind is filled with all these new sights that it just won't calm down.
2.  My apartment view is of walls.  Not that I am complaining, mind you.  But being an open skies kind of takes a bit of adjusting being in between yellow ochre walls and covered with beautiful trees.  (I'm just sayin')
3.  I'm use to painting large.  Large is difficult to do when traveling.  6x6 squares are cramping my fingers.
4.  I'm using a completely different pallet which is frustrating me because it's not bright and happy.  It's warm.


Today, I decided to get out and take a drawing class.  Absolutely loved it and my teacher was the warmest, kindest person ever! We are new friends.  We sat on the square of Place des 4 Dolphins and sketched as people walked by, doggies splashed in the fountain, cars came in and went out.  She showed me how to look at detail.  AND, for those of you who don't know....I AM NOT A DETAIL PERSON!  So...Catereeeene, as they say it in French...has taught me to draw in detail.  Also...she has taught me that it doesn't HAVE to be right. On peut faire des errors!

C'est difficile!  Mais amusant!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Creating in the Kitchen - a traveling art blog, by North Carolina Painter, Sue Scoggins

No one said a painter has to always create using paints!  Painting isn't just slapping paint on canvas, it takes uninterruped focus which can lead to a very lonely life.  It's important for me to get out and about.  In fact, sometimes I have to make myself do it in order to get those creative juices flowing.

Today, in Aix, I was invited to participate in a cooking class with Mathilde at  It was my first class and I assure you it won't be my last.  I met wonderful people, in fact three of the women in the class, have lost their husbands this year.  Like me.  Nothing like cooking and eating together...laughing.....what a beautiful thing!

No shells in the egg yokes, please

Oh no, what have you done?!

Scrumptious!  Caramelized tomatoes.

 A little thinner, please.

Yay!  We did it!


A must have.  Rose from Provence.

Stuffed ravioli.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Leeks Anyone? - by North Carolina Artist, Sue Scoggins

Leeks Anyone?
11x14 original oil

Lest you think I'm sitting around and drinking wine all day....think not.  There's painting to be done.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Farmhouse - by Sue Scoggins, North Carolina Painter

Luberon Valley Farmhouse
13x13 original oil

Spending another day in the field.  Just can't get away from the countryside.  It's so beautiful here.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

AIX en Provence - by Sue Scoggins, North Carolina Painter

Place des Trois Ormeaux

The city that closes up at night and reinvents itself the next day. 

Before the Spanish quitarist's concert tonight, I was going to this little cafe at the Fountain de la Rotonde and "voila!" It's not there. I swear I sat at a table there before.

The streets and city squares are crowded with people, darting in and out of shops, dodging the occasional car or moped. Unlike the US folks who walk on the right side of the street or sidewalk, the Aix people walk on all sides and in the do the cars drive in between the people or on the side or wherever they can get through.  They are mini cars.  That along with trying to stabilize myself on these cobblestone streets, makes me feel a bit wobbly.  The Aix en Provence rose wine doesn't help either.  Every corner and ally way has a little venue set up with their tables, chairs and umbrellas.  They stay open most of the night. Every language is buzzing. Energy is high.  The next morning they are gone.

Being an early riser, when I peek out of my apartment, there s no one. It is silent accept for the occasional street washer with his hose.  The streets are like empty ally ways with the sun lighting up the sides of buildings moving the shades as if lowering them. By 830, the farmers, fishermen, flower vendors, antique book dealers, and sellers of fine linens come in to set up at the markets. Someone new is setting up every day.  What was a square filled with restaurants last night, today is a market with juicy produce, fresh lettuce, assorted goat cheeses with the herbs of the day, and the butcher carving meats.  If the street names weren't engraved on bronze plaques, I would swear that I was in a different place.

Now.  THIS is a fish market!
(soon to be a painting)

There seems to be no racism here.  Every skin color is different. Every county is represented. Every language is spoken.  Every age walks, young and old.  

In the evening,  the sun doesn't go down until 10pm. I'm sitting at a cafe near the one that disappeared, drinking a vin rouge before the concert.  I write while the table next to me speaks French.  The children bungi jump across the way, springing up and down off of trampolines, a grunge twenty something girl, with pink dreadlocks and a beret, is tapping the street with her black puppy.  Everyone is smiling. 

Must pay up now,  My wine was 2.50 E.  Tip included.  Au revoire.  Merci.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Maggie Siner Workshop - in Provence

Just in case you think everything is heavenly perfect.  THINK NOT!
I've been without luggage (4 days and counting) since the air traffic control strike in France.  That means, rerouted to Nice, training to Marseille, and busing it to the airport where I was meeting my new fellow artist friends.  New friendships have been formed and we are being tortured learning jumps in space and bride/groom ways of seeing landscape.  The learning curve is very difficult for me and I think I've discovered I'm color blind.  But, Maggie is great at teaching in a truthful way, yet, manages to keep you from feeling like a failure.  I'm trying!

With that being said, this is an absolutely beautiful place to be tortured.  With or without clothes and art supplies.  Every artist has been gracious in loaning me paints and brushes.  I carried my canvas all over Hungary to Les Bassacs. I've even managed to be the recipient of left over painting clothes from the laundry.

Paint on! I say.