Bulgaria was a stretch.  Research quickly revealed fascinating connections to our lives.  First I learned Bulgaria is a major supplier of rose essences for perfumes and baking around the world.  The petals must be harvested at dawn while the dew is still on the flowers.  They have begun to host Rose festivals with beautiful costumed singers to capitalize on the tourist industry.  My dear Grandma Betty always wore a rose fragrance.  "Evelyn" was her favorite and we grow roses with the same scent as a reminder.  
    Icons enhance Bulgaria's many monasteries.  The priest from St Francis Mission in Taos, Father Bill, published an amazing book of his fabulous icons.  We have learned so much from his wonderful art. 

Please visit Darcy's blog at http://art-and-sole.blogspot.com
My creative time has been limited in the past two months.  I'm picking up the post card challenge in New Zealand and I hope to work backward as well as going forward "with the tour."  Our son-in-law is from New Zealand and takes his family home to visit often so our grand-daughter Sarah knows her sister, brothers, nieces, nephews and heritage.

Please enjoy your visit to New Zealand on Darcy's blog http://art-and-sole.blogspot.com.
First Impression

    Switzerland gave me a chance to "visit" a country dear to us.  When our girls were young we agreed to host exchange students from foreign countries during the summers.  The first year we had a visit from a dynamic young woman named Claudia pronunced like it was spelled with a G instread of a C.  She taught us how to make fondue with real Swiss cheeses and Kirsh.  We introduced her to life on a ranch and Native American traditions.  She spoke three languages French, Italian and German fluently.  Switzerland reflects all the surrounding countries.  We have never been able to visit but she knew we would love the area around the thermal hot springs in Baden.
    My work is usually transparent watercolor but I read about the amazing collection of original Impressionist art at their museum and attempted a quick study by mixing white Bleed Proof ink into my colors.  I wanted to give an impression of broken opaque color like the layered oils.  Originally it was to be "framed" in a gold pleinair frame from a catalogue but it covered too much of the composition.  The little dog on the tapestry and a copoy of an antique map of Baden just appeared.  The Langmatt museum was privately funded by one couple and houses complete rooms in different European styles in addition to the fabulous art collection.
    Working on the kitchen is putting a dent in my art and blog visiting time but I'm hoping to be on track soon.  Thank you all for sharing this creative challenge.
        My postcard entry went by the wayside last week. My husband had surgery and we laid tile and plastered in the kitchen. Wales was the country we visited. Valentine’s Day was also the 9th birthday for our grandaughter Anna. Anna has a God given gift for horseback riding. She participates in a theraputic riding class with perfect form. She had a beautiful black horse for one session and her thick black waist length ponytail stood out in all the rings. Black coastal ponies with daisies seemed like a perfect subject.

        This week we traveled to Cuba and I learned that there is an amazing variety of butterflies and orchids native to Cuba. Visit Darcy’s blog http://www.art-and-sole.blogspot.com to link to all the great postcards.

            Today I am reminded how important comfort is to body and soul. I spent the morning making and writing valentines with my 90 year old friend Annette. Valentines carry so many memories. We covered her bed at the care center with uniqe creations and spent over an hour choosing the right words to remind her friends how much they are loved and cherished. Annette is saving her box of chocolate covered cherries and "secret" valentine for Tuesday. I was running too late to show you her choices but here is a scan of an autograph book to set the mood.

            This week the PostCard Challenge went to Belgium. My Mom and daughter loved their time in this beautiful country. Jim and I visited a new shop in OldTown Arvada, CO that sells "authentic" Belgian frites. The potatoes are fried twice and served in paper cones with your choice of dipping sauces from around the world. The words on the paper cone are a version of bon appetite from Finland. I may never get to see Belgium in person but we’ll go back for the comforting fries! My card was made from souvenirs from the shop and a scan of Belgian lace our daughter brought me years ago. I didn’t make it to the easel this week.

            Happy Valentine’s Day! Celebrate with a little Belgian chocolate! Vicki

  Life with a capital L happened this week.  Today is a major snow day in Denver and I am working at the Sewing Expo at theMerchandise Mart.  I hope you enjoy visiting France.  Don't forget to check out all the great postcards at Darcy's http://art-and-sole.blogspot.com   What life still has in store ... remains to be seen.  Vicki
        The postcard challenge was personal for me this week. We are blessed with three grandchildren who were born in China. The first child came to fill our hearts when my Mom died. After a year of prayers and mountains of paperwork we had a name and picture of our precious girl. These came on the day of my mother’s funeral. It would have been Mom’s 81st birthday. She continues to fill our lives with her love. A brother and sister have since joined their family, each equally treasured.

        This week we celebrated not only Chinese New Year but a special birthday. Our newest grandaughter came home in June. She amazes us each day with her strength and determination. You would never guess English is her second language and she is only 7. Her Mom and Aunt made a four foot rainbow dragon cake for this auspicious occasion. It was shared with other families who have children who were born in China at their annual New Years celebration.

        My postcard provides a hint about my week that is best left unsaid. I chose the camellia stamp because they are a favorite subject to paint. My husband Jim grew them for me to photograph for many years...no small feat in Colorado’s dry cold climate.

        Celebrate new beginnings rooted in traditions. How I’ll get back on track remains to be seen... Vicki

"Life" often gets in the way. Time to create has to be sandwiched in between real life obligations. Art journaling has a way of reflecting what is going on around us. Peaceful optimistic affirming layers can be replaced by bold expressive interpretations balanced with symbols of hope.

Blue has always represented strength and tranquility for me but it also is a passionate color that captures my attention. I have treasured a beautiful parrot feather I aquired in Taos that became the inspiration for today’s post. This week’s Postcard Challenge showcases Brazil. Giant Hyacinth Macaws provide an unparralled feast of blue. Visit Darcy’s blog to enjoy the journey http://art-and-sole.blogspot.com

Chaos enters our lives without warning. Art keeps us grounded. Where we will focus our attention remains to be seen.....Have a great week. Vicki


Thank you for your kind comments on my website and blog. It is amazing to hear how quickly it circled the globe. I hope you will continue to enjoy my paintings and maybe be inspired to express your own creativity.

Since I hope you will visit again I have a confession to make. I can not trace! What does that have to do with anything? It means I often move from one type of painting or creative venture to another very quickly. Dede Willingham, http://inkiwell.blogspot.com, calls these diversions "rabbit trails" and even designed a stamp to remind us to stay on track. 2011 came with health challenges for my husband. Studio time was limited but art journaling and mixed media allowed me to enjoy my creativity. I found an inspiring artist, Paula Phillips a.k.a. Journal Artista, http://www.journalartistart.com, who not only opened the door to creative techniques and art journaling but gave me a supportive community.

I am participating in a 52 week mail art postcard challenge to maintain my momentum and make room in my life for art. I am reminded "art is a verb" and the discipline of this challenge and the built in diversions fits my mood. Of course I’m making this a personal quest but will focus on the country given each week. You can visit Darcy’s blog http://art-and-sole.blogspot.comfor all the details and links to participating artists. Enjoy.

Here are the cards I created so far. The first showcases techniques from friends who generously share their creativity in many ways. You may recognize the clues.

Austria and Spain were the first two countries in the challenge. My character is an artist sustained by an unlimited budget from an admiring patron. She has no restricitons She seeks and records personal connections to subjects all around the world

It remains to be seen how these two visions reconcile.

Please visit again soon, Vicki


You are invited to join me on an artful adventure. 2012 is a great year to share the joy of creating. I have enough paintings and projects on my To Do list to fill another lifetime.

A "special" handmade gift came at Christmas

Close inspection showed a small fortune message www.vbartonart.com

My daughters made my "Someday I should have a website and blog" today.

I can’t tell you what will appear as the year develops and I learn to navigate the wonders of technology but I look forward to new beginnings and breathing new life into those just for me projects.

What now? What next?.....Remains to be seen

Thank you for visiting and come again the door is always open! Vicki