Before you act, listen. Before you react, think. Before you criticize, wait. Before you pray, forgive. Before you quit, try. ----- Ernest Hemingway

Where Bloggers Create 2011

Welcome to Where Bloggers Create Blog Party. I am so glad that you stopped by. My "Painted Garden" gate is open for you to come in and sit and relax with a glass of ice tea while I share with you my creative spaces.

I am a decorative modern day impressionist painter and my paintings are an expression of my love for the beauty and simplicity of God's creation. I am inspired and paint the beauty of everyday life -flower markets, roses growing on a fence, geraniums spilling over a window box, Sunflowers, lavender fields, white wicker on a porch, blue skies and blue oceans and my cottage garden.

My painting career began long before I picked up a paintbrush, when I developed an eye for capturing the beauty of my garden on film by deliberately shooting out of focus to create the feel of a Monet or Renior painting. I became interested in painting after divorcing when I bought my new home and planted a smaller garden. I have traveled throughout France and fell in love with the charming small French gardens with pea gravel surfaces and went to work creating my own version in my new garden. I visited Impressionist Painter Claude Monet's garden in Giverny, France and fell in love with his garden and the way he mixed colors in his garden.

I added old iron furniture picked up at Flea Markets and planted the basket of a vintage bicycle with Geraniums and Nostrum - just like Monet's garden. I designed a garden where I could create and paint. The blue bicycle has been a subject in lots of my paintings.

I created different rooms in the garden so that I would have a variety of spaces to paint depending on the subject matter. The garden off my kitchen has an arbor with a red Mandavilla vine growing up it and white wicker furniture. I use this area all the time for inspiration in my beach cottage paintings.

Meet Bentley, my very helpful Studio Assistant. He loves being in the garden to help find inspiration for my art. I use the every day objects in my garden in my paintings such as garden hats, bird houses, vintage bicycle, pillows, etc.

I love painting Sunflowers - this time of year I do not have any growing in the garden and purchase them at the farmers market for a few dollars. Looks like Bentley found some inspiration for me to paint.

The Geraniums are beautiful this time of year and remind me of the ones growing in The South
of France.

I use my little paintings to decorate my garden and call it "art in the garden". Are you ready for a cup of tea?

This is one of my favorite photos of Bentley smelling the Geranium. He actually smells the flowers in my garden.

I pant seasonal flowers in pots so that I will always have them for inspiration. The Zinnias ended up in a small painting.

Roses are planted in my front yard as they get sun all day. Most of them are Iceberg and they bloom profusely. The front is my English Cottage style garden with lots of pinks, rose, blue and white flowers. My side garden is behind the white gate.

I also have a portion of my side garden planted in typical English Cottage style with lots of pinks, blues and whites.

Let's leave my garden and go inside so I can share more places where I find inspiration and create.

Would you like to take little break and sit and relax in my living room with a cup of tea? I made hot muffins for you.

When I purchased my home I knew the minute I saw the red Dutch door and light filled rooms with high vaulted ceilings and French doors in the living room and kitchen that it would be the perfect home where I could create my art.

I am very fond of white wicker furniture as it reminds me of happy childhood times spent with my family staying at my Grandparent's beach cottage in North Carolina . I love to open the French doors in my living room and let the outdoors come indoors while painting. This is a spot where I also create my "beach cottage" style paintings

I paint the beauty and simplicity of every day objects . I use my napkins and table runners in my still life paintings.

I love books and seashells and they often end up in my paintings.

I spend a lot time painting on the little patio off my kitchen or in my kitchen where the morning sun shines beautifully and the ocean breezes blow the blue and white check curtains. Bentley is out on the patio looking for flowers to smell.

My kitchen curtains were inspired by a trip to France where I visited Monet's home and garden in Giverny. I loved the blue and white check curtains in his kitchen as well as his collection of blue and white china and was thrilled to find blue and white check curtains by Martha Stewart at the K-Mart. Fortunately I bought two sets since K-mart no longer carriers her line of linnens. I have collected blue and white china for years and have it displayed throughout my home. My collection of roosters in the kitchen along with the old blue painted furniture remind me of Provence in the South of France. You may have noticed that most of my large paintings have a piece of blue and white china - usually a vase or tea set. Blue and white china has become a signature in my large art.

You will find me in my kitchen painting roosters and reminiscing of trips to Provence on sunny days when a gentle breeze is blowing from the beautiful Pacific Ocean just a few miles from my home.

Now let's leave the kitchen and visit the indoor/outdoor studio in my garage. I wanted to create the feel of always painting outdoors even when the weather is bad and I have to stay inside (which is not to often in sunny Southern California). I have a very large two car garage with lots of built in storage. About ten years ago I faxu painted the garage floor by tracing flag stones on the floor with chalk and painting them with patio paint. I also used a stencil and painted brick trim around the garage - sealed it with a sealer and it has held up remarkably well.

When I first started painting I met a fabulous artist, Penny Dermand , who painted beautiful flowers and roses. She gave me some great advise -"paint only what you love, and always connect with the flowers by smell, touch and feel". I follow her advise as much as possible by bringing in pots of real flowers from my garden when painting inside. I find that you can get great prices on flowers from florist or the market by asking to purchase flowers that are no longer sellable - flowers that are in full bloom - especially roses are great to paint - and usually the market starts pulling them off the shelf at their prime as they will only last a few more days.

I nailed old white curtains under the storage cabinets to create space to hide messy garage things, Christmas decorations, etc. I hung a long curtain (the one behind the easel) to hide hot water heater, and used old white shutters to divide the space. Paints are stored in the white cubbard.

This shot shows the curtain nailed under the storage cabinet and part of a white shutter

I purchased stacking bins from Joanne's at the end of the season for around $10. each and use them to store art books and supplies. You can see a little of the brick stencil. The curtain to the left of the storage bins conceal the washer and dryer.

I found a large white cabinet in the trash and use it to store mis-matched china, etc. found at flea markets that I use as props in my still life paintings.
I use the white umbrella at art shows and store it in my garage studio. The old green work table was picked up at a garage sale. I white washed the inside garage doors (shown behind the unbrella) so the space woudl have the feel of an old barn.

The table is used to arrange flowers for painitngs, mix paint, etc.

This concludes our tour of the spaces where I create. I hope that you enjoyed your visit. I would like to share with you one my favorite Psalms that is so fitting to the creative gifts that God has blessed so many Bloggers with:

May the favor of the Lord our God rest upon us;
establish the work of our hands for us;
yes, establish the work of our hands. Psalm 90:17

Thank you Karen of My Desert Cottage for hosting the 3rd Annual blog party where bloggers share their creative spaces. You are in for a real treat and can visist many fabulous and beautiful blogs at http://www.mydesertcottage.blogspot.com/.

Thank you for stopping by. I love hearing from you and sincerely appreciate your visits, comments, e-mails and those of you who follow my blog. Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to see me paint something special.

Have a lovely week. Blessings, Erin

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