Day 508 – Sketching the Smokies 

first you better have a good breakfast. We started with some of the best eggs and bacon ever cooked in a restaurant at the Little House of Pancakes  in Gatlinburg near our condos. 

I got there early and of course I sketched the perfect line up of happy Customers mere feet away from my table. 

This is drawn with my brush pen in my Stillman and Birn zeta colored with watercolors. 

I always love it when people sit nearby never noticing they are being drawn. These actually look like the couple eating. 

Fun drawing.  

Thanks for looking. 

Day 507 – Life Modeling

Home again home again. Laundry and nap not necessarily in that order. 

Materials used Neocolor II Caran d’Ache and #140 Fabriano Artistico


Today was life drawing at USA Aiken and the lovely Elena was our model.

She’s been thru quite a few stages. This is where she is now though thinking of lightening her right eye. I think it’s still a little dark.


Here’s how she looked after the first twenty minute break. That lemon yellow caran d’ache had been calling my name and saying use me use me!!!

TIP I take pics while I am working on it so I can see how it looks from a distance. You can really see your mistakes when you do this. And they are handy for a WIP work in progress blog post!!👍


My friend Ruth said she didn’t like the yellow and could I make her peachier. Ruth is usually right so I did. I also needed to lighten the shadows on her face which was making her look too old.

I lifted the shadows with a good stuff hogbristle oil paint brush and blotted off with a bounty towel. That#140 Fabriano Artistico is tough paper. Always amazes how you can wipe off the Fabriano.

I also had to narrow her right shoulder and lift both of them up a bit on either side of her neck. I love that hogbristle brush. It lets you do the lifting of color a smidge at a time.

Thanks for looking.

Margaret xxx

Day 505 – Auvers Sur L’Oise

We did a tour of Auvers Sur L’Oise the last home of Van Gogh. This is the church that he painted. He painted almost every square inch of this village and the buildings remain untouched. 

  The steep steps and house are still at the end of the lane behind the inn where he died. 

Thanks for reading 

Margaret under the weather.  Xxx

Day 504 – Monmartre

 Happy Thanksgiving. Hope this day finds you celebrating with family and friends!

Sacre Couer

 The hippy district of Paris where the painters and writer lived and worked, home of the Moulin Rouge and once upon a time Toulouse Lautrec who loved to paint the dancers.  

  Sacre Couer dominates the district on top of the highest spot in Paris.  It gleams in the sunlight with its very white turrets. 

You either have to ride the funicular train or climb these enormous talk stairs to reach Sacre Couer and St Pierre. 

Sacre Couer from the Pomidou Center. 

   The carousel at the base of Sacre Couer

 St Pierre sits next to Sacre Couer and is an ancient small pregothic church that was restored in the late 1800s.   
Inside St Pierre. 

 Market square at Monmartre. 

Thanks for reading. 

Margaret xxx

Day 503 – Grateful

To know Paris is as lovely as ever despite those who tried to blow it up. 


A random street near the Champs Elusses  
  Les Invalides  

The Eiffel Tower. I do t get tired of looking at it. 

Chaps Elysses by rainy nite 

In a mob or 

  Or early morning  
Rue d’artois 

Quai Greinelle Out our cabins window 

Thanks for reading. Stay tuned for more French adventures

Margaret xxx ready to head back to Paris

Day 502 – playtime

Really like this one of our chef Dimitris favorite Patisserie en Conflans.  Evidently you have to have a lot of training to be able t use the name Patisserie and have a special pastry chef on staff. 

Our first meal in France at L’ Artois on Rue de l’Artois around the corner from our hotel. The food was ok but the host and hostess were trés charmante as was the restaurant. 

 The Ranville church and cemetery. Love the colors of the flowers combined with the somber tombstones. 

Cathedral en Vernon. Did I say I love all the gothic churches? Pregothic ones too. 

One of my favorite was St Mclou in Rouen with Notre Dame that Monet painted 28 times in the background. St Mcclou was smaller and just lovely with all its encrustations.  

The front of Saint Mcclou.  The Rouen Notre Dame looked very similar to Paris Notre Dame. 

Thanks for reading

Margaret xxx 


Day 501 – Photoshop Express 

    Another free download is Photoshop Epxress. Great for doctoring those thousand photos you took on grey days in France. Easy enough that my three year old grandson had fun using it. He loved clicking on the different photo effects and changing the pictures.  

Watermill at Bayeux France


 Before photoshop express

  APanorama shot of the same mill. 

Before Photoshop express. Big difference. 



Before Photoshop express- taken into the sun. Never a good idea but sometimes the only choice. 


Ranville church panorama – dream in photoshop express


Before photoshop express. Late afternoon dark gloomy afternoon. 
A lot of fun. Go download it and have fun exploring. 

   View from the Eiffel Tower on a grey rainy day.

 Before pse

 Can’t decide which I like better.  I think the second one. 
 Thanks for reading!

Margaret xxx


Day 500 -Sky rockets?

Old Watermill at Bayeux, France – Bold

Ce Tour Eiffel – Vibrant

Mushrooms at Pegasus Bridge, France -? 
 I almost forgot today to post today. Spent the weekend with NO wifi and NO internet. Notice a pattern here?! Is it a sign time to stop posting?!!

   Henry -Vibrant


Drew and Henry 

Leeanne and Livia. All vibrant 
 500 days of posting and I only meant to do 50-100 daily posts. And here I am at 500 daily posts. What a journey. No idea when I will stop. 


 On the I planned what I would post. Two pieces of software- Waterlogue and Photoshop Express. I have them on my iPhone and my iPad. I think they are both FREE which is always a plus.

  Color Bloom

So what is Waterlogue?! You can turn any photo into a watercolor painting. How fun is that. I have seen some on Instagram that are unbelievable. 


I think it does a better job on architecture than people. It seems to leave out features such as an eye. Oops. 

But I just started using it and it has a lot of options I have not figured out yet. 12 different wc styles and then u can darken them or lighten them. Change the size. Fun stuff.  I made a dozen Eiffel towers in seconds. 

Blotted and illustration

You can save a “painting” open it and add more colors like I did with this one. Lots of fun. Tomorrow Photoshop express. Also a lot of fun. 

  Roche Guyon a medieval castle updated and used by Rommel during WW 2 to defend the Seine. 

 Here’s the original photo. 
Thanks for reading. Go make some watercolors. 

Margaret tired from driving home from the mountains xxx

Day 499 – Les Bateux


The Seine is a commercial river shipping via barges from Paris to Honfleur and Le Havre on the Sleeve also known as the English Channel and back again. The barges are huge long shallow draft boats. A car looks minuscule on the deck parked behind the wheel house for the owners use. 

Conflans outside of Paris is the barge town because it’s much cheaper to live. Boat homes can be docked five deep in Conflans but you better get along with your neighbors because you might have to cross their boat to get ashore!


 Barges get converted to homes and even churches.   This is a chapel for barge men in Conflans. It even has stained glass windows and pews. 


The variety is amazing.  A houseboat. 


A barge-You can have a job on it carrying goods from port to port. Industrial barges used to be numerous but are getting fewer and fewer on the Seine. 

You can live on them. 


You can run tours from them. 

And the berths on the quais can be in amazing spots. If u get tired of the view you can always move it!!!


Our personal bateaux the Viking Pride!!

If you’re lucky you might have some swans for neighbors. 

Keep them ship shape! 


You can carry your car with you.  
They line the quais in their infinite variety. 

This loaded barge was sailing down river so fast I hardly had time to draw it. Really need to paint it I think. We shall see.  
Thanks for reading.

Margaret who might need a houseboat. Xxx