Train Sightings

I’ve been continuing my work on my map series.   Many years ago I visited the house where the painter Claude Monet had lived.  He established an artist’s colony at his home in the village of Giverny.  His gardens and water lily ponds were the subject of many of his paintings.  If you are visiting Giverny, it is a short train ride from Paris to the city of Vernon.  Besides cutting up maps, I’ve used a large variety of materials in the series.  This one is primarily fabric.


I’m not quite finished.  I need to embroider a lot more flowers for the garden, along with some stitching in the lily pond.


Today, while cruising the neighborhood, I drove through the adjoining city of Lomita.  It has a lot of charming older homes.  But right in the middle of the residential streets, is a small train museum.  It actually seems like the setting for Thomas the Tank Engine’s Shiny Time Station.  All the elementary schools in the area go on field trips to the little museum.  I remember accompanying my son’s class many years ago.



There’s a cute park across the street where you can eat your lunch, if you bring one.


But it’s pretty unique to have a train museum on the same street as your house.


My parting shot is looking out of my little house (studio).  I was sitting in there today looking at a book of Vermont called “The Soul of Vermont” that I got from the library “books for sale” shelf.  It has gorgeous photos by Richard Brown that include all the seasons in Vermont.  We have had beautiful weather here, but we don’t get to experience real true “seasons”. Our seasonal changes are very subtle. Vermont has been on my places to visit list for a long time, but now I feel a real push to go.



“Most parts of the country enjoy robins and pussy willows in March, but in Vermont we get mud”.

Richard Brown, “The Soul of Vermont”









Just Add Water…Colors

I first read about an artist named Sara Midda in a magazine article many years ago.  She painted tiny detailed watercolors of flowers, fruit, vegetables and other garden delights.  In her second book, “Sara Midda’s South of France A Sketchbook”  the pastel stripes on the cover give you an idea of the soft colors to be found inside.  Upon opening it you discover whimsical paintings of her observations of the region.



It is not only an inspiring book that makes you want to get out your paints and paper, but it is a treat to browse through slowly from page to page and soak up the feeling of the Mediterranean.


I once visited the home of the artist Claude Monet in Giverny, France.  Although he painted in oil, his gardens looked like a watercolor painting.  I could see why he was so inspired by them.




Monet decorated his entire kitchen in blue and yellow.


I am hopeless when it comes to buying tiny souvenirs.


There is a beautiful book called “Monet’s Giverny” by William H. Gerdts that talks about the extensive colony of artists who came to paint there.


Inspired by my love of tiny things I’ve tried painting some small pictures with water color and also attempted some larger ones.  I find it very challenging.  It’s not one of those mediums that leaves a lot of room for error correction, especially if I’m feeling impatient and don’t allow the paint to dry before adding more color.





In my last post I promised to give the recipe for Norway’s National Cake also called the “World’s Best Cake,” so here it is.

Sweet Paul Eat and Make

1 stick plus 2 & 1/2 tablsps butter, 1 & 2/3 cup sugar, 1 & 1/3 cup flour, 1 teasp baking powder, 5 eggs, 1/3 cup milk, 1/4 cup sliced almonds, 1 cup heavy cream, 1/2 vanilla bean

Mix butter and 2/3 cup sugar together.  Add flour and baking powder.  Mix in egg yolks and milk.  Put the batter in an 8×12 inch baking pan, grease sides with butter or use parchment paper.  In a large clean bowl beat egg whites and remaining 1 cup sugar to soft peaks with a mixer.  Spread on top of the cake layer.  Sprinkle with the almond slices.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees or until the meringue is golden brown and puffed.  Cool and transfer to a cutting board.  When the cake is cool, put the cream in a bowl with the vanilla seeds.  Discard the vanilla pod.  Beat to soft peaks with a mixer.   Cut the cake in half crosswise with a serrated knife.  Place one half of the cake on a serving tray and cover with the cream.  Place the other half, meringue side up, on top.  Let the cake sit for one hour in the fridge before serving.