We had a cool visit to Cedar Key this year, but a very productive one!

We peruse old issues of “Pastel” magazines, watch various instructional videos, and walk the island looking for interesting things to inspire us to paint!

We love to watch the day to day clam boats launching and going to their leases to pull clams to ship all over.  One of our favorites is the boat “Baby Cakes”.


We always enjoy watching the activity at the public beach.


We stopped in Asheville to see my son, and his friend scored us some free tickets to tour the Biltmore Estate.  Carol painted the orchids on display in their solarium.


The dawn near our condo was a great inspiration.

Before the sun 2


Dusk on Dock St. was another inspiration…..

Bright Lights

One of Carol’s favorite was the Daily Grind, a coffee shop who always have fresh scones!

Morning sun and shadows

We walk by the back bayou on Third St., peeking through the mangrove bushes and fishermen’s docks.


There is an abandoned building on the main street that has found objects of art posted, some even whimsical…..

Inspiring this painting…..Art Show at the L & M 2

I had fun exploring some abstracts.


for computer

Eyes shut 2

My final painting this trip was an old, broken dock that had been damaged in hurricane Hermine.


And Carol’s final one, a pink cottage.


Hope you enjoyed our paintings from Cedar Key, 2018!



Justin Keillor, Financial Advisor for Edward Jones has recently purchased two of our paintings for his Benzonia office reception area.

“Why We’re Here!” Acrylic by Julie

“Fishtown”, watercolor by Carol

He invites you stop by and visit them sometime!


“Morning Coffee” by Julie

Carol and I have been packing and cleaning all day!  Heading home, back to winter.  We have a  couple more painting to share.  “Morning Coffee” was from when we went downtown to 1842 Cafe to have our morning scones and tea, and this was our view from our table.

“Florida Rental”, pastel by Carol

This cool old building is tucked behind what used to be a cafe downtown, now a dentist’s office.  It looks like it used to be a small cottage for guests.

Oyster gatherer and shucker Bob from Virginia

We headed over to the back bayou to look for Roseate Spoonbills, non were there, but Bob was at the fish cleaning station cleaning and serving less-than-an-hour-picked fresh oysters.

Just picked oyster. Yummo!

“Sunday at the Beach” by Carol

We did our last plein air Sunday.  We plopped down on a picnic table at the city beach in the midst of playing children and families barbecuing, and reveled in the family time shared.

“Palms at the City Park”

Back to Michigan!


Beach Reflections by Carol

Here are a few of our endeavors while being in Cedar Key.  We have had a great time walking, painting, and meeting fascinating people!  We got to visit the University of Florida Marine Biology Station on Sea Horse Key, a remote island to the west of us.  There is an old lighthouse on the island, and no folks are allowed on the island accept for researchers and visitors during open house day.  We were lucky enough to be here during that time.  They had a historian/writer telling history of the island, and the role it played during the Civil War.  She really could draw you in with the way she told of the events!

Waiting for the boat, Seahorse Key by Julie

Ms. Collins giving a history lesson

Lighthouse at Seahorse Key

Hurricane Hermine made the key’s beaches bigger!

Cedar Key is stilling coming back from the hurricane last Sept. 1.  These folks are resilient, and truly have a supportive sense of community!

Here is a view of Dock St., that used to be a railroad depot to shipping in the harbor.  This is a sunset seen from our balcony.

Pastel by Julie

Walking gives us many subjects to choose from.  Here is an Old Florida house and dock on the channel.

Bay House by Carol

We walked to the birdwalk on the back bayou near the cemetery where I was inspired to do this one.

Adrift in the grass by Julie

We’ve been inside for several days due to cold and breezy weather.  Carol is trying a new technique……it came out quite well!

Pastel by Carol

Yesterday we went to the Tiki Hut and celebrated St. Patrick’s Day.  We were provided with free corn beef and cabbage by the owners, Maureen and Frank.  A jam session followed. Met a very nice and interesting author from Knoxville there. Very relaxing time.

This one I rather liked, a late afternoon pastel of Dock St. caressed by the sun.

Pastel by Julie

Well folks, that’s what we’ve done so far!  Hope you enjoy!



We ran into Cal Kemppainen from Charlevoix at dinner the other night.  Burt saw his hat, and struck up a conversation.  He is an artist, and his wife is a realtor like me!  Anyway, the result was an impromptu plein air paint out the next morning!

We all manned our chosen stations at a local donut shop who was closed that day.  They graciously let us use their facilities for our session.

I used their outside snack bar for my set up.  You can see Cal’s hat down in front of me.

He used acrylic, and we used pastel.  Very enjoyable morning!  Here are my and Carol’s results:


Carol’s pastel


Julie’s pastel

I love where art takes you, and the folks you meet along the way!



My studio gallery is ready to visit  for your holiday shopping!  Just drop me an email, and we can set up a time for your visit.


I have a good assortment of prints as well as original art.  Also in stock is our children’s book, “Little Hen Lost” that Carol and I wrote and illustrated.20161129_113515

New this year is “Color Me Up North”, an adult coloring set.20161028_173213


Amy has had much fun coloring them!20161128_100057

I also have greeting cards available with the same scenes.  Carol colored this one.20161127_120921

Coloring sets also available at Lisa Musgrave dental office in downtown Beulah, Century 21 office in Frankfort, and Oliver Art Center.

So drop me a line if you wish to stop by my studio, and I do take credit cards!

Enjoy the Season!   Julie


We left Greve and headed to Volpai, another castello (fortified town) dating back to the 1170’s.  The artist whose shop we visited in Greve suggested we stop there as it was the reported home of the woman who posed for the Mona Lisa.20160927_131105

We walked around the medieval fortress taking in the sights.20160927_132946





We decided to stop for lunch at a delightful open-aired restaurant called Bar Ucci.20160927_132208

No room outside, so we opted for the quaint and ancient rooms inside that opened out.20160927_140211


As we were leaving, we ran into our Tuscan hikers from England, George and Bridget.  They had hiked their way up that day, if I remember correctly, about 14 kilometers!

We left there and headed toward Sant’ Appiano.  Our agritourismo also had a winery, which was closed by the time we got there.20160927_122128

So we sat on the terrace of the former barn, and wrote in our journals, etc.


Love castello nearby.


We had chosen this spot as they advertised a restaurant within, but it was closed that day…..go figure!  So we ventured out and came to La Sosta di Pio VII.


The stone plaque marks the spot where a Pope had stopped to relieve himself at this very old barn, complete with troughs still in tact!  Delightful spot literally in the middle on nowhere.



Cinghiale (wild boar) stew and homemade ribbons of pasta were hits.20160927_202047

We got up early the next morning and left as there was no in-house coffee or tea, and headed for San Gimignano in provence of Siena. 20160928_080623



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We found a very nice cafe just outside the city walls.


We got our coffee, tea, croissants and fruit in this eclectic spot, which also provided paper and crayon for any artistic urge you might have.  You can see the brown paper renderings in the background.


Mom and I added to the menagerie.20160928_101044


View from the cafe window.


Interesting modern fountain in the square made from regional stone.20160928_103100

We entered the city walls for a day of shopping and sight-seeing.20160928_103731

Apparently, we weren’t alone!  Interesting leather shops, I found Burt some shoes!  LOL20160928_113452

Something for everyone……


Some are resting at the central well.


Even the lamps were interesting in the morning light……20160928_114643


Central cathedral20160928_114753


We stopped for lunch at a tiny bruschetta shop.20160928_115206

Good thing we’re all skinny!  Puts a new twist on “cozy”.



A walk around the outer edge of city after lunch was in order.










Well behaved dogs are always welcome!

We booked our agritourismo at town center, and headed out to the countryside.



We checked in, bought a bottle of their wine, and headed for a relaxing cocktail hour.






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Building with our rooms.


Heading to dinner.


Always wanted to know how pomegranates grew!20160929_083746

Early morning on the “farm”.



Up early and leaving for Voltaire and the Etruscan Museum!20160928_131729

Another hilltop town, we had to park at the bottom…..






The Etruscan civilization (/ᵻˈtrʌskən/) is the modern name given to a powerful, wealthy and refined civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany, western Umbria, and northern Lazio.  Their  civilization influenced the Romans, who had suppressed them by about 200 bc. 20160929_112500







As you can tell, I especially liked the pottery.  There was much more, but lighting was tough on some of the other displays.

Here is view from museum balcony…20160929_114518

More pics of Voltaire20160929_141221



We hit the winding road again, and head to Pisa. This was of particular interest to Amy, as we tried to go and see it 16 years ago, but traffic was so crazy, and parking impossible, so the best we could do was see it from a distance.  This time the girls had a parking spot all scoped out, and we actually got to park and see it!20160929_073422

We entered the walled piazza, and passed the army guards with machine guns.  The piazza was packed with tourists from all over the world. 20160929_075457It is actually a bell tower behind the baptistery and cathedral.


The must-have selfie!  Same in any language as we watched all do it as well.20160929_134224



Amy has this finally off her bucket list!  We had wonderful veal scallopini at a street cafe.20160929_141148

Heading toward the west coast and our final leg of the journey:  Cinque Terra, the Italian Riviera!20160929_095614

We are getting close as we pass through and by La Spezia.  You can take a train or a ferry boat from here if you wish to Cinque Terra.  We drove the steep and winding way, sometimes afraid to look down from the road as we edged around rocky cliffs.20160929_100858

We finally arrived at Riomaggiore, the southern most village of Cinque Terra.  To quote Lonely Planet:

“Set amid some of the most dramatic coastal scenery on the planet, these five ingeniously constructed fishing villages can bolster the most jaded of spirits. A Unesco World Heritage site since 1997, Cinque Terre isn’t the undiscovered Eden it once was but, frankly, who cares? Sinuous paths traverse seemingly impregnable cliffsides, while a 19th-century railway line cut through a series of coastal tunnels ferries the footsore from village to village. Thankfully cars were banned over a decade ago.

Rooted in antiquity, Cinque Terre’s five villages date from the early medieval period. Monterosso, the oldest, was founded in AD 643, when beleaguered hill dwellers moved down to the coast to escape from invading barbarians. Riomaggiore came next, purportedly established in the 8th century by Greek settlers fleeing persecution in Byzantium. The others are Vernazza, Corniglia and Manarola. Much of what remains in the villages today dates from the late High Middle Ages, including several castles and a quintet of illustrious parish churches.

Fetching vernacular architecture aside, Cinque Terre’s unique historical feature are the steeply terraced cliffs bisected by a complicated system of fields and gardens that have been hacked, chiselled, shaped and layered over the course of nearly two millennia.”
Read more: http://www.lonelyplanet.com/italy/cinque-terre/introduction#ixzz4Pomfh5Ol


We parked our car here, and walked down into the village to find our lodging.  Downhill all the way, we weaved our way down intricate steps and pathways around ancient, warmly painted buildings onto the main street of commerce.20160930_101147


Down at the very bottom was the fishing harbor.20160930_101010



No ugly blue tarps here!  Many were blanketed with stately blue-and-white striped covers, adding to the already fun colors going on.  Great eye candy!20160930_100855

We decided to eat harbor-side, and of course tried the house specialty, fresh calamari.20160929_202756


We checked out the port in the evening light before turning in.20160929_153158



The next day we decided to take the ferry and see the other four villages.20160930_042008

May as well take a picture of the village in daylight as we wait for the boat to arrive.20160930_101309

We climb up and around the steep cliff to board the ferry.20160930_101545





We were on a ferry with a family of five who were going to hike the ancient paths back. ” Lots of steps” the dad said.  We stayed aboard until Monterosso, but much enjoyed the smaller cliff-hanging villages in between.20160930_150939-pano


We deported at the harbor and headed for town.20160930_113030



I spotted our hiking family eating sandwiches on a bench.20160930_115946



Winding through the town, we came upon a very interesting church.20160930_141710


Adjacent to the church was a small Oratory built during reformation and run by a fraternal organization that was dedicated to care for poor widows and orphans and to see that funeral arrangements are made, with special emphasis on care for shipwrecked and fisherman.  It’s strange skeletal decor was fascinating.20160930_142254



We had an awesome lunch at a small cafe.  The big hit was fresh marinated white anchovies….Yummo!dscn1085

We ferried back to Riomaggiore for our last night.  We made reservations at Grottino.20160930_144827

It is literally a restaurant in a grotto.20160930_203401

Our final Italian feast was indescribably delicious, and we walked to see the last of the evening (and walk off the meal!).20160930_191601



The Nonnas are out socializing after supper, which seems to be an Italian custom as families come out and enjoy the last of the day together.  It’s a wonderful custom!20160930_191155

I hope you enjoyed our trip!  We enjoyed sharing it with you.

Until our next adventure……..Live every moment!  Julie