36 x 36 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
French artist Claude Monet spent almost forty years living and painting at a country home near the bucolic little town of Giverny about 50 kms. Northwest of Paris. He set about landscaping his property and formed two gardens: one was the Clos Normand which consisted of flowerbeds which brought forth a wide array of brightly-colored flowers in patches while the other was a water garden. Influenced by Japanese woodblocks, Monet's water garden was based on Japanese themes which included a prominent Japanese-style wooden footbridge. He imported many plants and flowers which were not native to Giverny, such as bamboos, wisterias, rhododendrons, weeping willows, and the famous nymphea water lilies. Monet spent much of the last half of his life painting in this very serene environment. His house and gardens have become one of the most popular destinations in France visited by artists and tourists alike.
(Longhignana di Peschiera, Borromeo, Milan, Italy)
24 x 30 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
The ‘Trattoria dei Cacciatori’ is a lovely restaurant outside Milan not far from Linate Airport. It is where Italian families enjoy spending a lazy weekend luncheon in a splendid country setting surrounded by medieval walls, grapevines and yes…..cats, many cats wandering from table to table beneath the feet of the clientele. The restaurant has been run for several generations by the Temporali family. It is a part of the grounds of the medieval castle of Longhignana. One of the earliest proprietors, Bernarbo Visconti, used it as a hunting lodge – thus the name ‘cacciatori’ which means hunters in Italian. In 1456, it was acquired by Vitaliano Borromeo and thus began the splendid Borromeo dynasty of ownership of the castle which reached its apogee during the era of Lodovico Borromeo and his wife Bona Maria da Longhignana who entertained lavishly and hosted many important visitors.
24 x 30 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
During the 19th Century, Frenchmen from the central province of Auvergne became the principal proprietors of the cafes and brasseries of Paris which remains the case to this day. They concentrated on the 5th (Latin Quarter) , 12th, 18th and 19th Arrondissements of Paris – the latter two districts forming the hill of Montmartre. They brought with them a music and dance from Auvergne known as “la bouree” which was accompanied by music from the “cornemuse” - a variation of the bagpipe. The term “musette” thus came from the “cornemuse”. These musicians were joined by accordion players who originally came from Italy. The musette dances which evolved were based primarily on the tango, waltz or pasodoble. Going to a bal musette became a very popular form of social entertainment and these were attended by the literary and artistic avant-garde of France and immortalized in the paintings of Toulouse-Lautrec and Manet among others. Although the music later evolved to include jazz and blues, going to a bal musette remained a hub of popular entertainment until the very end of both World Wars well into the mid-20th Century. During his 1922-1923 residence in Paris, Ernest Hemingway and his wife Hadley lived just above a “bal musette” at 74 rue du Cardinal Lemoine (not far from the Place de la Contrescarpe). It was called the “Bal au Printemp”’ and Hemingway makes reference to it in his book ‘A Moveable Feast’ and it was also the inspiration for one of the scenes he describes in ‘The Sun Also Rises.’
24 x 36 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Construction on the Wren Building goes back to 1695, pre-dating the building of Massachusetts Hall at Harvard University and thus making it the longest continuous-use academic building in the United States. It was modelled on plans drawn up by Sir Christopher Wren, famed British architect who designed St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. The Wren Building was ravaged by major fires and rebuilt three times, once in the early 18th century and twice in the mid-19th century. When the Rockefeller re-construction of Colonial Williamsburg began in the late 1920’s, the Wren Building was one of the first structures to be restored. It has served a wide variety of academic purposes during its long history. Lord Botetourt, a popular Governor of Virginia whose statue stands out in front of the building, is buried in the crypt beneath the chapel in back. Among the many traditions and ceremonies which have taken place at the Wren Building, entering Freshman classes always assemble in the courtyard in front to pass into the building while graduating Seniors will walk in the opposite direction from within to exit the front doors as a symbol of entering the next chapter in their lives.
24 x 48 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Merchants Square is one of my favorite places in Colonial Williamsburg, an iconic location which has come to symbolize so much about our community. I love watching people and this is the best place in town to do this as you have such an amazing variety of individuals: visiting tourists, students from nearby William & Mary, local residents walking their dogs, businessmen, and shopkeepers in Colonial-era costumes. This is where they are all brought together for different reasons. I chose to do a painting depicting the square in the late afternoon as this is also my favorite time of day here. The sunlight is very special, the air begins to turn cool, people rest on benches after a full day of sightseeing or shopping and they pause to decide what to do next; maybe have drinks or dinner at the Fat Canary or Trellis, perhaps followed by a performance at the Kimball Theatre. The time before the sun goes down can be a very magical moment.
40 x 40 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
I was attending classes at the Accademia di belle arti di Brera in Milan at the time I undertook this self-portrait in my home studio. I had done several portrait commissions before, including one for a member of the Royal Family of Oman which I had just completed, but never a self-portrait. This presents unique challenges of its own! I studied photos of myself which my family or friends had taken, I worked in front of a mirror, and finally, I asked my then-teenage daughter Ajda (about my size and height) to don the kimono and adopt the same pose as I had taken and under the same lighting. I found this especially helpful when working on the outstretched hand and the intricate detail and folds of the kimono. The kimono itself was hand-stitched and was received from the Japanese wife of a Turkish doctor.
20 x 60 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Peyton Randolph House, located on Nicholson Street, is one of the most historic and beautiful of Colonial Wiliamsburg’s 18th century homes. Peyton Randolph (1721-1773), a cousin of Thomas Jefferson, was Speaker of the House of Burgesses for nine years, President of the First and Second Continental Congresses, and lived in this house from 1745 until he died in 1773. Other historic figures who took shelter here included General Rochambeau and the Marquis de Lafayette. Randolph brought his wife, Betty Harrison Randolph, to the house around 1751. It became a hub of political activity when Randolph was elected the Presiding Officer of the First Continental Congress in Philadelphia in 1774. After her husband's death, widow Betty Randolph opened her home to French General Jean-Baptiste-Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau, and General George Washington in their preparations for the siege of Yorktown in 1781. The house served as the French headquarters until they moved to the field.
11 x 14 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
In 1781, Admiral Suffren led a squadron of French navy ships to challenge British supremacy in the Indian Ocean. En-route, he attacked a British convoy in Porto Praya, Cape Verde Islands on April 16, which upset British plans to seize control of the Cape of Good Hope. Ile de France (modern-day Mauritius) was a French possession in the Indian Ocean and became Suffren's main base of operations. In 1782-83, Suffren fought five inconclusive actions off India and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) against the British Royal Navy squadron commanded by Admiral Sir Edward Hughes (1720-94. These battles took place off Sadras (Feb 17), Providien (Apr 12), Negapatam (Jul 6), Trincomalee (Sep 3) and Cuddalore (Apr 20, 1783). Suffren was a brilliant naval tactician and usually 'gave better than he got' but he was unable to score a decisive victory, largely because he was ineffective in communicating with his more cautious ship captains during the heat of battle. The signature of a peace treaty between Great Britain and France in 1783 brought the war to an end.
The ‘Hero’ was Admiral Suffren’s Flagship, a 74-gun Third Rate ship of the line. In this painting, the ‘Hero’ is shown approaching the Northern coast of Mauritius which is visible on the horizon. The small Gibraltar- shaped island on the left is Gunner’s Quoin (or ‘Coin de Mire’ in French), one of several small islands off the Northern tip of Mauritius.
20 x 24 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Our daughter Ajda had been born in London almost thirty years earlier but back then, there was very little time for me to paint between looking after an infant child and keeping up with a fairly busy social calendar due to my husband’s work. Now, we were back in London together to attend the wedding of one of Ajda’s high-school friends. This friend had met his future wife while both were attending the same university in England. The bride, it turned out, was the daughter of friends I had known in Turkey and whom I had seen when she was just a little girl! What a small world of amazing coincidences…
This painting came about as a result of a long walk with Ajda during this London trip. We kept along the South bank of the Thames. The view of the Houses of Parliament and of Big Ben as seen from the opposite side of the river actually gives far more details and impressions of how light reflects than when one is close up or in the shadow of the structures. I took a few artistic liberties, in particular with ‘cleaning up’ some of the more unsightly barges or work boats tied up across the way by removing them from the scene. This painting was for me a way of capturing a memory of London, birthplace of my daughter, which had escaped me the first time when we lived in that lovely city.
32 x 40 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Lake Orta is the Eastern-most of Northern Italy’s breathtakingly beautiful lakes. Just South of the town of Varese, it is much smaller and less known to travelers than Lake Maggiore, Lake Como, or Lake Garda. In the midst of its sparkling deep blue waters lies the island of San Giulio upon which a Basilica was built beginning in the 9th century by the Bishop of Novara. It is famous for its black marble pulpit and the frescoes painted in the 15th century. Only an hour’s drive from the hustle and bustle of Milan’s noisy streets, a weekend outing to view the tranquility of Lake Orta from the shoreside village of Orta San Giulio is a favorite escape for city-weary Italians.
26 x 32 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Perhaps one of the most iconic cafe-brasserie landmarks of Paris, Les Deux Magots is located right on the place St Germain des Pres opposite the church of the same name. Originally a store selling imported silk and art objects from the Orient, Les Deux Magots became a café-bar around 1885. The name Les Deux Magots comes from two Chinese figurines dating back to this period which can still be seen mounted on a wall inside the café to this day. Les Deux Magots quickly acquired a reputation as a favorite hangout of the literary and artistic communities. French poets Rimbaud and Mallarme were among its earliest patrons. Between the two World Wars, it became a watering hole for artists of the Surrealistic movement. In 1935, Paul Eluard introduced Pablo Picasso to his future mistress and muse, Dora Maar, at the café. Famous authors who frequented Les Deux Magots included Jean-Paul Sartre, Simone de Beauvoir, Andre Gide, Apollinaire, Francois Mauriac and Andre Malraux to name but a few. Ernest Hemingway became a regular patron of Les Deux Magots after World War Two and in his book “The Moveable Feast,” mentions having drinks there with James Joyce.
24 x 32 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Place de la Concorde is at the end of the Champs-Elysees and across the River Seine from the Assemblee Nationale (Parliament). As of the mid-19thCentury, two large fountains such as the one in the foreground have graced its center. These were designed by Jacques-Ignace Hittorff and no fewer than nine separate sculptors worked on the individual statuary. In the background, the building on the left is the Embassy of the United States on avenue Gabriel and to its right is the famous Hotel Crillon. I especially enjoyed the Place early in the morning because this was the only time it was free of traffic and the light was beautiful, especially right after a light rain as is the case here.
24 x 36 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
As we climbed up the steep path and came to the entrance, I knew that discovering this medieval village nestled near the top of a mountain would be an experience of a lifetime. As I strolled through the narrow streets lined with exotic plants and flowers, I saw how well it was all put together. Every time I turned a corner, I saw a scene for a painting. When I came to the spot where I saw the view I painted above, my heart skipped a beat... It was magical! I wasn't so sure whether it was the height, the atmosphere, the light at that time of day or a combination of all these which contributed but I knew then that I just had to take this view home...
Eze, on the French Riviera, has been described in many travel magazines and on websites as a picturesque village from which you can enjoy one of the top ten panoramic views to be found anywhere in the world! This painting depicts the view from Eze looking toward the peninsula of St. Jean Cap Ferrat with the charming village of Beaulieu-sur-Mer along the coastline below.
Eze is precariously perched 1400 ft. up a cliff on a hilltop above the Mediterranean Sea near Mt. Bastide. Geographically, it is almost half-way between Nice and Menton along the Eastern coast of the French Riviera. Initially settled around 2000 BC, the village of Eze was either visited or occupied by the ancient Greeks, Romans, the Genoese, and then the Ottomans before finally being conquered by France in 1706 under King Louis XIV during the War of the Spanish Succession. The oldest building in Eze is the Chapelle de la Croix which goes back to 1306.
Among its many attractions, Eze boasts two of the finest five star luxury hotels in the world: La Chevre d’Or (www.chevredor.com) and the Chateau Eza (www.chateaueza.com). It also has a very rich botanical garden with a wide variety of plants and flowers, a number of fine art galleries, artisan & craft shops and fashion stores along with the Fragonard Perfume Factory just beneath the village. Eze is a popular tourist destination all summer long but in particular, during the month of May when the Principality of Monaco along the coast just below hosts both the Historic Grand Prix and the modern Formula One Grand Prix of Monaco motor races.
24 x 36 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
Located on the Dosso d’Avedo peninsula on the Southwestern shores of Lake Como, the Villa del Balbianello was originally a Franciscan monastery. It was purchased in 1785 by Cardinal Angelo Maria Durini who upon his death, passed it on to his nephew Luigi Porro Lambertenghi. In the 19th century, it was purchased by the grandfather of film director Luchino Visconti who used it to entertain many leading writers, politicians, artists and musicians. American businessman Butler Ames purchased it after World War One and oversaw a major renovation. The last private owner was Count Guido Morzino who added significantly to its interior décor and furnishings until he passed away in 1988, bequeathing the villa to the National Trust of Italy which has since overseen a major restoration and tended to its maintenance so that it may be kept open for visits by the public. Villa del Balbianello has figured prominently in the location shooting of a number of films, most notably ‘A Month by the Lake (1995) and ‘Casino Royale’ (2006). Famous neighbors who own their own regal mansions include American actor George Clooney and Italian fashion designer Giorgio Armani. The palatial Villa d’Este luxury hotel is only a bit further South along the same shore near the town of Cernobbio and the picturesque town of Bellagio is almost diagonally across Lake Como on the opposite Eastern shore. Lake Como is justifiably often ranked as one of the ten most beautiful locations anywhere in the world by major travel and tourism bureaus or magazines.
30 x 24 in. ~ Oil on Canvas
The ‘Sovereign of the Seas’ was the most ornately decorated warship in the history of the British Royal Navy. Ordered in 1634 under King Charles I, ‘Sovereign of the Seas’ was designed as a 90-gun First Rate ship of the line and built by Peter Pett in Woolwich Dockyard. Her great cost was believed to be in part responsible for precipitating the financial crisis which led to the English Civil War (1642-51). She emerged from a refit in 1650 to become flagship of General-at-Sea Robert Blake and would see action in all the major 17th Century wars against both the Dutch and French. The first major action in which she participated was the Battle of the Kentish Knock (September 28, 1652) during which she ran aground on the Kentish Knock itself.
In 1660, she underwent the first of two major re-builds twenty-five years apart at Chatham Dockyard to reduce the weight of her upper decks and improve her ship-handling qualities. Her name was changed after 1660 to ‘Royal Sovereign.’ In June 1667, she was fortunate to have been at Portsmouth when the Dutch fleet conducted a bold surprise raid on the Medway and set fire to many Royal Navy ships while they were at anchor in the River Thames estuary
‘Royal Sovereign’ would later take part in the Nine Years’ War (1688-97) (also called The War of the League of Augsburg or War of the Grand Alliance) against France under the ‘Sun King’, Louis XIV. She was present at the two major naval engagements of this conflict, the Battle of Beachy Head (July 10, 1690) and the Battle of Barfleur with its follow-up actions at Cherbourg and La Hougue (May 29-June 4, 1692).
‘Royal Sovereign’ was by now showing signs of old age and problems with seaworthiness so was once again laid up at Chatham Dockyard. On January 27, 1697, she perished in a mysterious fire whose exact cause remains unknown to this day.