Love In Italia For Valentine’s Day


I have had the thrill of painting in Lucca, Italia during several summers, in recent years. I love to paint a balcony scene that is on a large square with an important cathedral. The real windows are often closed because of the hot, summer sunlight. When I have painted the scene, I have flung open the windows and added a couple in love. Love on Valentine’s Day – or in Italy, any day! I have museum quality gicleé prints on German etching paper available for sale, as well as blank cards, of this lovely scene.


Here is the young couple in an embrace. The curtain is blowing to represent life and love. The days I have spent in Italy have been grace-filled days. They have been days filled with beauty, good food, kind friends and lovely color everywhere. Such beauty has been restorative to my soul, mending fragile areas, and encouraging my heart.


This particular balcony has many pots of bright red flowers and flowers hanging on the stucco walls. The lively reds help me to see past dark days fighting cancer, and dark days healing from hard parts of my story.


I have seen the windows open when I was on one, maybe two, of my trips to Lucca, and it was fun to see the long white curtains blowing a bit in the breeze. Such life! I have exaggerated the blowing of the curtains in this watercolor. The wild curtain expresses my joy I have experienced in this town.


I’ve used washes of sienna to suggest shadows under the pots. A blue vase is casually tucked by one of the window shutters.


Here is a photograph of the real balcony in Lucca with the windows closed. It’s a much more lively scene to have the windows open! This photo must have been taken during the heat of the day, or when I was wandering around early in the morning. If you’d like to buy a print or a set of cards, please let me know at The prints are 11×14 for $40 / includes shipping costs. The cards are 10 blank 5×7 cards for $25 / shipping costs included. Please include your hard copy address when you email, and I’ll give you an address where you can mail payment. I only have 10 prints in this edition. Enjoy love in Italia!


The front of my art cards.


11×14 gicleé museum quality print.

Bombastic Tomfoolery

Once, when I was taking down one of my oil paintings that was displayed in a Christmas show, an older gentleman took one look at the painting and said, “I could have done that.” Since I have oodles of time to process all kinds of  experiences I have had, due to my cancer journey and resting in bed for hours, I have processed this experience and actually become appreciative of this critical man’s bombastic tomfoolery.

The Holy Family, Marcia Carole, oil on canvas

I think of the eight years of art training, both on the undergraduate and graduate level, that I completed. I think of the tricky aspects of oil painting, and how I shy away from the fumes and glazes of that medium. However, occasionally, like with this painting, I embrace the fumes with an open window, and I experiment once again with the buttery textures of oils and glazes. This painting came on the heels of eight years of academic training and thirty-five years of practicing my artistic skills.

The beginning stages of this painting

While lying in bed, fighting chemo nausea, I think of the idea I had, even before I started painting – the wonder of the Trinity dancing and communing in Heaven in eternity past, and the moment Jesus chose to leave that perfect union of three persons in One God, to come to earth for us. And to do what? He came as a humble baby, grew into manhood, died on a wooden cross for our wrongs, rose from the dead, (defeating Satan and death) and He has now danced back to the Father and Holy Spirit, and secured a place for us in Heaven for all eternity. Serious hard work! He did all that because of His great love for each of us in our hopeless, darkened, fallen, never able to quite get it right, condition.

Adding more layers and glazes

And what is our response to all Jesus did? All He gave? (Think of His MANY years of preparation???) Well, of course, in our bombastic tomfoolery we say, “I can do that.” I can save myself.  Our way of saying, “I can do that.” is usually something like this: “I’m a pretty good person; I haven’t killed anyone,” or “I think God loves me and will overlook all the bad stuff I’ve done,” or, “I’ve done more good than bad, so I’ll probably go to Heaven,” or, “There is no God.” The reason why I am an authority on this is because I used to say these very sentences. I’m one of us. I was full of bombastic tomfoolery.

Then, one day, with the help of those further along in admitting their tomfoolery, the scales began falling from the eyes of my haughty and yet shame-filled soul, and I humbly saw the need for the work Jesus did for me. I began to appreciate it, rather than say I could do it. Eventually, He became my greatest treasure – clinging to Jesus and the work He did for me, is more precious to me than life itself.

So, when someone says to me, in all their bombastic tomfoolery, “I could have done that,” I will smile and think of my own silliness in thinking I could save myself from sin and death. I almost weep for joy at the gift of humility God has given me, so I could know, appreciate and receive the work and the gift of Jesus.  Merry Christmas!

My home in Seattle

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6

Art Interrupted ?

I have put off blogging about a recent development with my health. I was having so much fun sharing my faith with art around the world. However, because I have friends who might want to know, my cancer has returned in full force. I have begun another round of chemotherapy, and will probably be fighting my stage 4 breast cancer with chemo for quite a few months. Even so, I hope to make art as I can, and share with you a few projects I completed right before my treatment began. Two of my daughters cared for me during my first chemo, pictured below. What encouragement they have been! They have shown up and shown up, over and over again. (*See below for info on a very special book on showing up.)

First chemo session with two of my daughters. Katie and Virginia, thank you!

I’ll give you a sneak peak at my latest collaged art book………..

The new book cover.
This is based on the parable of the one who built(trusted) his house on the rock, and the one who built(trusted) his house on the sand.
The one who built his house on the rock suffered through the storm, has some scars, but remains standing firm.

Making this book has encouraged my own heart to stand firm in my faith, and my rock, Jesus, as I try to grasp a few more years with my loved ones by doing more chemo. Stay tuned as I share more, and another book I recently completed.

And thanks for any prayer during these months of fighting and creating.

*Be sure to check out the book, Just Show Up: The Dance Of Walking Through Suffering by fellow cancer fighter, Kara Tippetts and her showing up friend, Jill Lynn Buteyn. JUST SHOW UP 🙂