Sunday, December 27, 2015


January is fast approaching and that means it's almost time for Leslie Saeta's 
3 0   P A I N T I N G S   I N   3 0   D A Y S   C H A L L E N G E

We are encouraged to choose a theme for the 
challenge, so I've been thinking about that.  

Edgar Degas said, "A painting requires a little mystery, 
some vagueness, and some fantasy.  When you always 
make your meaning perfectly plain you end up boring people."  

So I'm taking his idea literally and aiming for paintings that will be a
little hazy and undefined, leaving some things up to your imagination.

In the past I've done ballerinas . . .

But so far - no portraits.  
Maybe a little of both in January, using my two favorite little people as inspiration?

I'm hoping you'll follow along on my blog through the month of January, 
and that you won't be bored with what you see!

Or maybe you could send me photos of some of YOUR favorite little people?

Thanks for looking.  I hope you'll come back on January 1, 2016, to see what I've been working on!


Monday, November 23, 2015


Tonight I worked on a tea cup painting ordered for a person who just received her PhD.  What a huge accomplishment, and a fun project to work on!

All wrapped up and ready to go!

If you have a favorite quote and a favorite tea cup, let me paint a personalized gift for YOU!
My teacup quote paintings can be found in my Etsy shop here.

Thanks for looking!

Friday, November 13, 2015


Walking outdoors in the summer - there's so much to look at and smell.  
Everyone's gardens are blooming, and lawnmowers are putting that 
great fresh-cut grass scent in the air.

Walking in the winter is a whole different story 
with only the skeletons of summer left behind, and the cold has a smell 
that's unmistakable. 

But cut a sprig from a pine at any time of year and that tangy, fresh scent 
reminds you there is life outdoors, even in winter.

Winter tames man, woman, and beast.
-William Shakespeare

Thursday, November 12, 2015


I couldn't be happier than when I have ink on my hands and my work table's a mess!  Sorting through old projects, some barely begun, some almost done, it was a good night.

The clamorous owl that nightly hoots 
wonders at our quaint spirits.

-William Shakespeare

Thanks for looking!

Friday, October 23, 2015


After 7 months of dry brushes, life has settled down again and  
I'm ready to paint!

It's fun to have several things going at once and one of those will be a new children's story entitled,

T H E   L O N E S O M E   P I N E

This story is dedicated to my little granddaughter, Lucy, 
and I hope to have it ready for her and my shop by Christmastime. 

Along with the book, I'm working on another Tea Cup Tale painting.  This order specified an inspirational quote behind the teacup to celebrate a friend's achievement of a doctorate degree.
See the shop listing to order your own china/mug painting 

(A Tea Cup Tale dedicated to my Great Aunt Pearl.)

Also, a new shipment of my children's book will be arriving next Tuesday and can be ordered 

Last of all, with the holidays right around the corner, I'm again taking orders for
Home/Front Door Portraits.  
Those can be ordered

A Storybook Inn 
Versailles, Kentucky

Historic home in Cedarburg, WI
(done for The Doors of Cedarburg Exhibition, 2014)

Thanks for checking in.  It's good to be back!


Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Fact:  Wisconsin winters are long.

So, when a beautiful, sunny, 60 degree day comes along in early March, it's time to buy some flowers!  A few days ago I set out to find a bouquet to remind me of the long summer days to come.  They may not be from my own garden, but I'll gladly fill a vase with a bouquet of store bought, humble sunflowers!  

The perfect way to spend the rest of a sunny spring-like day - time in my art room surrounded by paints and brushes with a little Michael Buble' filling the air with some oldies!

Both the original and prints of the original are available in my Etsy shop.  
Click here to go to my original painting on Etsy.
Click here to go to prints of "Sunflowers" on Etsy.
(prints are available in 4 sizes)

8 x 10 inch
original oil on canvas board

(professional print in 4 standard sizes - ready for your mat and frame)

Saturday, March 7, 2015


Two of my favorite artists are Cezanne and Degas - all of their work is just beautiful in my eyes.  And imitation is the greatest compliment, right?  I try to get the feel of their style by doing much of my own work with one of them in mind.

A couple weeks ago, two of my favorite paintings were sold and now reside in Virginia.  They were both done with the style of Cezanne in mind.  While I was sad to see two of my favorites go out the door, I was thrilled to receive such a sweet note from the buyer.  Notes like this make it a little easier to let go of a painting you've worked hard on! 

"Greetings, Nan and great thanks for the gorgeous paintings- which just arrived and are super!  You are very talented.  They look like Cezanne's!   Plus- you are an artist in every way- I liked your presentation, wrapping and key, too!  All best to you"

Now, THAT is the beginning of a wonderful Saturday!

Thanks for looking!

8 x 8 inch oil


8 x 10 oil

Wednesday, March 4, 2015


A few days ago, I ordered a print of my original watercolor "Anticipation".  It arrived today and, once again, I am thrilled with the quality of prints from Imagekind.  The paper is thick and heavy with a matte finish and a narrow white border.  The original watercolor is only about 7 x 7 inches, and shown below is the 16 x 16 inch enlargement.  I placed a pen on the print to show a better perspective of the size.  

Both watercolor prints and wrapped canvas are available in three sizes - 
8" x 8",  11" x 11", and 16" x 16"

Shown below as it would appear in your mat and frame:
 And below as a deep, wrapped canvas print that needs no frame!  

Professionally printed - usually ships in 3-5 days.
All in my Etsy shop, GILLYFLOWER COTTAGE

Thanks for looking!


Friday, February 27, 2015


 It was a cooler day on the Gulf Coast - a perfect day for reading and painting.  
Today, more inspiration from Degas.  

Approximately 6" x 6"
original watercolor

And, for fun, a super enlarged print of "Blue Ballet" in a pretty, blue room!

Thanks for looking!

Thursday, February 26, 2015


A few months ago I found this book on the shelves at Barnes and Noble.  It's filled with exercises designed to get you thinking about Edgar Degas' style and trying your hand at it.  It's a beautiful little book and, as the cover suggests, speaks to the use of pastels.  However, pastels aren't a direction I want to go right now.
So, I used my watercolors instead and went forward 
with three ballerinas wearing saucy, rosy-red tutus. 
Available in my Etsy shop here.

Below, I cropped out the watercolor to make a square image, 
ready for matting and framing as an enlarged print of the original.

Thanks for looking!


 Both views have beauty, but a change of view can also be exhilarating!

From yards and sidewalks covered with snow, 
to a beautiful turquoise sea.
From the snow capped seedpods poking up in my garden, 
to bougainvillea and hibiscus in full bloom.
From the moan of bitter winds howling around our windows,
to the constant, rhythmic crash of the surf.

Toss trusty paints and brushes into the mix, an artist that 
never fails to inspire, and the gift of time.

A new watercolor in the shop - shown here as it would look in a mat and frame . . .
And showcased as a more modern piece - a large print.

 The original or a print - now in my shop!  Just click the photo above to go to Etsy.

Saturday, February 21, 2015


What a fun way to cap off what was already a fantastic day.  Two of my favorite Cezanne-like paintings sold today and will soon be on their way to Virginia!

8 x 8 oil on deep 1 1/2 inch gallery wrapped canvas

"Pomegranate, Peach, and Pear"
8 x 10 oil

Makes a girl want to paint!  
No oils along with me - it's a little complicated traveling with oil paints - but
I do have my favorite watercolors, pens, and plenty of good paper!

Thursday, February 19, 2015


It's kind of comical to hear the weather forecasters warn of being prepared before braving the elements today.   Yes, it's a little cold by Florida standards, but still paradise for these Wisconsinites!  
And now it's time to pull out my sketchbook, pens, and watercolors, which have started to get a little dusty since the flurry at Christmastime.

Being in Florida always reminds me of my parents who moved here upon retirement.  They're no longer here but the memories of them are everywhere and I think that's one reason I love it so much.  And, it doesn't hurt that this is the perfect place to get away from the cold and snowy winters of the upper midwest!

So, to start out my vacation sketches . . . my mom's geranium.

Friday, January 16, 2015


Supplies are gathered.  No paintbrushes.  No pens.  Today is a day for a wren!

A favorite textile artist, Abby Glassenberg, has made available some patterns for her own version of the beautiful little wren.  So, today, a friend and I will be doing our own version of this bird using vintage handkerchiefs - just in time for Valentine's Day.

Abby Glassenberg Design

 It's only January, but I'm looking forward to spring and the return of birds to our frozen state.  
There are so many great children's books and poems written about birds.  I think maybe the wren could be great inspiration for a children's story . . .

Just one little sampling of good, old-fashioned children's poetry involving birds:

There was an Old Man with a Beard

There was an Old Man with a beard,
Who said, "It is just as I feared!—
Two Owls and a Hen, four Larks and a Wren,
Have all built their nests in my beard.

I would love to see some children's illustrations for this one!

Thanks for looking today!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015


We're almost halfway through January and this is my first post of 2015!  I think I got pretty burned out from the pre-Christmas painting/drawing frenzy and needed a little break.

  So today, with a fresh dusting of fluffy snow on the ground and really cold temperatures again, I'm staying home ALL DAY LONG.  Time to get ready for a Valentine's Day craft night with these ideas from Pinterest.

And on my own . . . some paper mache/hand painted teacups using a pattern from one of my favorite folk artists, Ann Wood. 

Ann Wood



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