Brenda Behr at the Big Rock

Brenda Behr is painting en pleine aire at the Morehead City waterfront and other locations during the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament this week.  

"Big Rock, Big Hopes", watercolor 9 x 6 inches


Watering Hole With Fish, oil 8 x 10 inches


Gallery Nomads Show

Gallery Nomads Invitation

Our galleries have been invited to participate in Gallery Nomads, at the Greenhill Center in Greensboro, NC.  Seven arts organizations from eastern North Carolina were chosen for this show and we are thrilled to be part of it.  The show opens on Friday, June 17th with a reception from 5:30 – 7:30,  and runs through August 21st.

Easter decorations in Italy

We just got back from a trip to Italy and stores were at the beginning stages of setting up their Easter displays.   The first stop on our trip was Florence to visit a few artists and we noticed that Gilli, the centuries-old cafe in Piazza della Repubblica, had exquisitely decorated  windows.

Easter at Caffe Gilli, Florence

Here are some photos of several more store windows in Florence.  The reflections are distracting, but hope you can make out the fish-topped chocoate eggs and the chickens hatching from chocoate eggs in the photo below.  Any child would be thrilled to have the Easter Bunny deliver one of these!

Chocoate delights in Florence

"Fried" chocolate eggs - yum!

This fabulous egg with the lamb on top was in Siena.  Little lambs tumble down the side of the egg also.  Sure makes you want to be a kid again. 

Egg decorated with sheep, Siena

New Interiors by Julyan Davis

Julyan Davis, who joined our galleries this fall, is known for paintings of interiors as well as landscapes.  But don’t expect pretty scenes of sunlit living rooms, oriental rugs and vases of flowers on a polished table.   Instead Julyan has continued his years-long exploration of the South by capturing glimpses into the past life of buildings, from mansions to farmhouses, that have long been abandoned.  He paints  rooms with faded, peeling walls, remnants of furniture shoved at odd angles, and random objects on the floor.   Julyan says on his website, “This kind of subject matter brought me to the States.  Most things I’ve painted are gone:  torn down or gentrified.  It’s a race.” 

Here in Carteret County, he has found fresh material for his interiors in the form of Down East fish houses.  Historically significant to our area, they are also disappearing at a rapid pace, being replaced by condos, McMansions and fancy marinas.  

We have just received his first completed interior of a long-closed fish house in the town of Atlantic.   

Julyan Davis, "Interior, Atlantic", oil on linen 24 x 22 inches

Memories of Italy

After spending two weeks in Italy, it is a bit sad to sift through photos since they make one want to be back in those spots instantly.   Lots of fond memories of time spent in Florence, Cortona and Rome,  wandering streets, shopping for food for the apartment (well OK and for shoes, after all this is the land of leather), scoping out restaurants, and tons of people-watching.  

Got a chance to immerse ourselves in a demonstration one Saturday in Rome that seemed to be a workers’ protest (lots of speeches, banner and flag waving and helicopters flying overhead).   It took place at Piazza Giovanni, the home of the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome (in other words the Pope, and where new popes are coronated), and also of the tallest and oldest Egyptian obelisk in the city.  

Demonstration in Rome

Crowd at demonstration


We saw some cool signs while walking around various cities:

Restaurant in Trastevere, Rome


It's cost-effective to send your child for study abroad

Rome’s contemporary art scene is thriving and we visited the newest museum just opened this spring,  MAXXI, which is the National Museum of 21st century contemporary art.  Designed by architect Zaha Hadid, the building features a fabulous interior curved stairwell.  Greeting you at the front door is this huge sculpture by Gino De Dominicis of one of his signature bird men.    I’ve posted several photos below as it is almost impossible to get this image in one shot.

Bird man skeleton at MAXXI

Head detail of Gino De Dominicis' sculpture at MAXXI

Feet of bird man skeleton

We loved out little penthouse apartment in Rome with 360 degree views of the city and the ancient wall.

View of our penthouse apartment in Rome

My final Italian food blog (I think)


I think of panini in three grades:

1) Those made far in advance and waiting for a tourist or non-discriminating person to purchase.  They have little content, taste and the bread is made edible only by toasting it.  Not worthy of a photo here.

2) Those made daily and containing ample portions, tasty fresh bread and not located right next to a tourist hot spot like the Ponte Vecchio in Florence.  They may be take-out only, or have a bar where you place your purchase along with a drink.  

on Via Nazionale, Cortona

3) Those freshly-made from a menu or by creating your own.  They are pre-priced or sold by weight and usually run from 2-4.5 euro.  You can find them anywhere from a store selling meat and cheese products to a hole-in-the-wall stand with a line waiting.  

Antico Noe near Sant' Ambrogio market, Florence

And also under the third category I Due Fratellini – a very small stand on Via dei Cimatori near Orsanmichele Church in Florence.  I regretted to pass it by on this trip but it had always had a huge line.  They have almost 30 kinds which are ready in a couple of minutes.  They start at 2.5 euro and are quite good (along with their wine).  Nowhere to sit, but they have a numbered rack for you to rest your beverage.   Run by hard working brothers who probably drive new Lamborghinis.

Pizza Diary

I am now prepared to contain my major eating to salads after two weeks of Italian travel.  Consumption of pizza, pasta, panini, gelato and assorted goodies was mostly offset by many miles of daily walking.  

In the good old USA, I infrequently have a pizza and they are usually easily forgettable experiences.  That would not be true about many of the ones I’ve tried in various parts of Italy.  Neapolitan vs. Roman style is a personal choice, but the latter usually avoids a soppy pool of sauce or oil in the center.  I prefer the crisp, thin cracker-like crust (some burned spots) with a few fresh toppings.  Just throw on any variety of fresh mushrooms (especially porcini), artichokes, rocket, assorted Italian meets and cheeses and I’ll talk to you after the last piece is gone.  

In 2002 I witnessed a young couple in Vallauris France take an order of frites and proceed to roll slices of pizza around them (think cheese fries).  Saw this pizza in Florence which seems to satisfy the need for a carb bomb:  

Pizza in Florence

Would you like fries with that?

Now onto the good stuff.  Pizza makers at a forno in Piazza Navona, Rome producing planks of pizza for take out:

Pizza prep

Pizza prep in Rome

Next door you point out what you want and how much.  They cut it, weigh it and wrap it in paper.  You walk outside and decide how many steps you can take before sinking your teeth into it.  Shown are two pieces of artichoke and cheese (delicious).  Also had a zucchini flower piece.  

Artichoke pizza

Artichoke and cheese just unwrapped

“Dar Poeta” in the Trastevere section of Rome……sitting down to a more leisurely lunch of rocket, cherry tomatoes and lotsa mozzarella.

It's as pretty as it is tasty!

Two cheeses, sausage and assorted funghi……. Mamma Mia!

Pizza at Dar Poeta - you can always diet later.

Hurricane Earl

There is a wonderful word, swivet, that I have never heard used outside of the South, and it so accurately describes our lives the last few days.  Used in a sentence (in the South mind you) it might go something like “That doggone Earl has sure got me in a swivet!”   Earl was a bad dude practically from the time it spun off the African coast and it had become a powerful category 4 storm by early this week.   It became apparent a few days ago that we would be affected, and how badly was still a guessing game.   It was forecast to brush the Outer Banks early Friday morning but Earl was starting to wobble and each successive NOAA forecast nudged it a bit more west. 

By Wednesday businesses on the beach were boarding up and some locals, who normally scoff at all the hoopla made by the media over every little blow, were quietly saying that Earl had them very worried.   The possibility of flooding here if we had a large storm surge was a real concern.   Carteret Contemporary Art’s building in Morehead City survived hurricanes Hazel and Donna in the 50’s and 60’s,  not to mention a bevy of other storms.  After 18 years in business Charles has his hurricane drill down pat;  remove watercolors from the upstairs, board windows and ride out the hurricane at the gallery (while pacing furiously).

At Vision I made the decision to get everything in storage off floor level, so paintings were stacked as high as possible and squeezed together on the walls starting early Thursday morning.   (One realizes how handy our gallery hanging systems are when faced with a task like this.)   Later that morning a check of NOAA revealed that Earl, which had earlier been downgraded to a 3,  was back up to a category 4 with 145 mph winds and still wobbling.  Plan B was then put into action which meant now pulling paintings off the wall and hauling as many as possible to our house in Morehead before 5 PM when the beach bridge would be closed.       

So we did all we could possibly do to secure the galleries and our home……..and Earl turned out to be a non-event here.  A little rain, a little wind, a lot of excitement for surfers and that was it.  Once again we were enormously lucky.   Here’s hoping that Earl is as bad as they get this season.

Richard Garrison Self Portrait

Self Portrait with Yellow

We just received this self portrait by Richard Garrison at Vision Gallery.  Though it is a few years old, it has never been shown until now.  We love how it incorporates Richard’s mastery of collage in the beautiful abstract background.   Many who have admired this painting in the gallery have said that they didn’t realize that Richard was such a gifted portrait artist.   Most of his paintings that are shown in galleries feature figures that are much less  defined.  Below we’ve posted a few more of Richard’s portraits.

Self Portrait, March


Jack Saylor Article in American Art Collector

Please click on the link below for the lovely article in the July issue of American Art Collector on Jack Saylor, and his show at Carteret Contemporary Art.