Friday, February 26, 2016

Upcoming ART RETREAT in Estes Park, CO

I'm so excited to announce . . .

Painted Prism Art Retreat
in Estes Park, Colorado
July 14-17, 2016

Join us for 3 days and 4 nights in the Rocky Mountains 
to paint and create, to rest and rejuvenate, to learn and share.

This Art Retreat will offer you a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in art --
in an incredibly beautiful setting 
for a truly special experience!

PRICE:  $450, which includes tuition & supplies

Early Bird Special:  $375 (before May 15)

TO REGISTER, with a deposit of $150, click here.
The balance of $300, will be due by July 1st.

Your Tuition includes:
- All materials and supplies for the 3 days of workshops
- Breakfast and lunch every day
- Snacks, water, coffee, and tea -- throughout the day
- Wine and cheese, for the evening gatherings
- 3 days of Art Workshops with Pat Howard
- Opening and closing gatherings, every day
- Yoga sessions every morning (optional)
- Time for yourself -- to meditate, play, walk, hang out, nap
- Unlimited fresh mountain air, laughter, and friendship


The Retreat will flow through yoga, writing, drawing, and painting,
with a few surprises thrown in, each day.

In addition to lots of watercolor painting,
your days will be a nice balance of learning, connecting, creating, reflecting, and sharing.


At the Painted Prism Art Retreat, you will:

- Fill your sketchbook/journal with sketches, Super Doodles, and writing.
- Work with watercolor, pencils, pens, liquid acrylic, markers, and collaging.
- Complete 2 or 3 Painting Projects -- including Mandalas, Aquabord, Negative Painting
- Come together for Group Activities -- with intention, meaning, and fun, of course.

We will be staying and painting and playing here at Aspen Falls, a beautiful private mountain retreat in Estes Park -- set on 30 acres, with a lake and gorgeous Rocky Mountain views.

LODGING:  Available on-site, at an additional cost

If you choose to stay with us on-site, at an additional, but very affordable, cost --
you'll have the option of staying in the main house, in one of the 4 cabins on the property, or in the barn/studio.  Lodging information, with prices and details, is available.  Contact Pat at


Thursday, 7/14 -- Check in between 3 and 6 pm.  Welcome Reception at 5 pm.

Friday through Sunday, 7/15-17 -- Our days will begin with a light breakfast, coffee, and tea.
Then, relaxing and energizing movement -- yoga session, a jog, or a walk around the grounds.

The Art Workshops will start each day at 9:30 am.  We will be involved in art lessons and projects for 5+ hours each day -- with time out for lunch.

At the end of each day, we'll gather together at the main house -- for sharing, reflecting, story-telling, connecting -- and enjoying a glass of wine.

Monday, 7/18  -- The Retreat will end after breakfast on Monday morning.

This Retreat will be small -- limited to 16 women -- 
with personal attention and time for each of you,
as we accompany you on a journey of discovery.

About the Retreat Leaders:

Pat Howard is a watercolor artist and teacher, who lives in Durango, Colorado.  Her artist/teaching blog, The Painted Prism, averages 1,000 visits a day.  Pat's Watercolor Workshops, in Colorado, Ohio, and California, are always full, and she currently has 30 on-line mentoring students, from all around the world!  Pat's watercolor paintings can be seen at Columbine Gallery, in Loveland, CO.

Cheryl Miller Thurston is an award-winning author, editor, and musician, who lives in Loveland, Colorado.  She founded and ran a successful publishing company, Cottonwood Press, for 24 years.  Her plays and musicals have been performed all over the country.  Cheri writes the material for, directs, and plays the accordion for, the popular musical comedy performing group, Moonlighting Teachers.


Questions?  Contact Pat at:


To Register for the Painted Prism Art Retreat:

- You can secure your spot at this retreat, by paying a deposit of $150, HERE.  The balance of $300 will be due by July 1st, 2016.

- You can also register by contacting Pat Howard at:

- Once you register for the retreat, you will receive an e-mail from us, describing how to book your lodging for the retreat.


Hope you can join us in July, 
for 3 days and 4 nights of creativity and fun
in Estes Park!


Sunday, February 21, 2016

WOMEN ARTISTS: Giovanna Garzoni

Still Life with Bowl of Citrons, c. 1640's.  
(Current location: The J Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles)

An Italian painter, who was prominent in Europe during the Baroque period, Giovanna Garzoni is the featured artist for February, in my Woman Artist Series.  She is considered to be one of the greatest Italian miniaturists of the 17th century.

She has been a favorite of mine for a long time -- and has been a huge influence on my own work.  One of the first women artists to practice the art of still life painting, Giovanna Garzoni pursued her career with intensity.

GIOVANNA GARZONI (1600 - 1670)

Here are 10 things to know about Giovanna, along with images of her beautiful paintings:

Giovanna Garzoni, Self-Portrait, c. 1650,
watercolor on paper

1.  Born in 1600 in Ascoli Piceno, in the Marche district of Italy, Garzoni's talent was first noticed when she apprenticed with a pharmacist in her hometown.  

Her parents, Giacomo Garzoni and Isabetta Gaia, were of Venetian origin and both came from families of artisans -- but were not artists themselves.  They could provide no training for their daughter, as was typical for many women artists of the period -- but she received some art training from her uncle, Pietro Gaia, a painter, sometime before 1615.

2.  After residing in Rome for the first 15 years of her life, in 1616, Garzoni started her art career when she accepted a commission from chemist, Giovanni Vorvino of Rome, to paint a herbarium.  

Four years later in 1620, Garzoni arrived in Venice and painted Saint Andrew for the Venetian Church.  Garzoni stayed in Venice for a few more years and during that time, attended the Calligraphy school of Giacomo Rogni.  Shortly after her studies with Rogni, Garzoni produced a book of cursive characters.  This early work, a 1625 calligraphy book, included capital letters illuminated with fruits, flowers, birds, and insects.

She was also influenced, artistically, by Jacopo Ligozzi, a fellow botanical painter -- but, any more details about Giovanna Garzoni's art training are unknown.

3.  In 1622, Giovanna married the Venetian artist, Tibero Tinelli, but the marriage only lasted for two years, due in large part to her vow of chastity.  She was often called the Chaste Giovanna due to her vow to remain a virgin.

Tinelli and Garzoni separated in 1624.  There were others who suggested that Garzoni's father, Giacomo, suspected that his son-in-law was practicing witchcraft and magic, and encouraged his daughter to end the marriage.  The marriage ended by annulment, rather than divorce, because they had never consummated their marriage.

Dish with Plums, Jasmine, and Nuts
(location: Pitti Palace, Florence, Italy)

4.  In 1630, Garzoni left Venice for Naples, along with her brother, Mattio -- where she worked for the Spanish viceroy, the Duke of Alacala.  The artist was 30 when she moved from Venice to Naples.  She painted numerous miniatures for her patron, the Spanish Duke of Alacala.

She professed to being unhappy in Naples, preferring to work and die in Rome.  So, Garzoni remained in Naples for only one year, until she moved to Rome in 1631.  

Garzoni is notable for being one of the few women who opted to travel throughout Europe and receive an education during the 17th century, instead of settling down and starting a family.  She would travel with her brother, Mattio, throughout her career as an artist.  

5.  Garzoni's stay in Rome was short lived, because of Christina of France's persistent efforts to have the artist come to Turin, to serve as the miniaturist for the court of Turin.  So, when the Duke of Alcala returned to Spain, Garzoni used the opportunity to accept the invitation of Christina and the Duke of Savoy to move to Turin.

Portrait of Carlo Emanuele I, Duke of Savoy
(Tempera on Vellum, c. 1632-1637)

Garzoni reached Turin in 1632 and lived and worked there for five years.  In 1637, the commencement of the War of the Two Ladies forced her to leave.  

6.  Garzoni traveled back and forth from Rome to Florence, until 1651, where her primary client became the prominent Medici Family -- particularly Grand Duke Ferdinando II and Grand Duchess Victoria.  She was the official miniaturist painter at the court of the Medici in Florence, in the mid-17th century.

Garzoni's refined interpretation of plants and animals suited the taste of her aristocratic patrons, like the Medici family, and could be found decorating their villas.  She painted many botanical and zoological specimens for the Medici court.

Many of her surviving still-life paintings were commissioned by Medici patrons, chiefly Prince Leopoldo and Cardinal Giovan Carlo.

7.  After serving the Medici Court, Garzoni decided to settle in Rome in 1654 -- where she renewed her activity with the Academia di San Luca, an association of artists, founded in 1593. Although it was not customary to admit women to the organization, she enjoyed many of the same benefits as male members (including cakes brought to her when she was ill).

8.  While Garzoni earned success during her lifetime for her miniatures, only a few examples of those survive.  It is her carefully rendered watercolor still-lifes of flowers and fruit, and her portraits, that have earned the artist lasting recognition.

These botanical subjects were to become her specialty, and what she became famous for -- and tempera on vellum was her preferred medium.  Her use of watercolor, gouache, and tempera, instead of oil, adds a sense of delicacy and immediacy to the paintings.  Also, the inclusion of insects, birds, lizards, shells, and even mice, serve to further enliven the compositions.  Her works have a fresh presence and almost surreal quality that explain her immense popularity in her own day.

9.  Although her artwork was critiqued by her contemporaries for its subject matter (portraits and still-life were viewed as lower forms of art, in comparison to figure painting and historical themes), Garzoni's paintings were hugely popular among her clients.  In fact, her paintings were so well-received that she could sell her work "for whatever price she wished".

Her fame and skill also endowed the artist with a large degree of autonomy.  She had the option of working with various patrons throughout Italy, and she also traveled to London and Paris.

10.  In 1666, prior to her death, Giovanna devised a will that left her estate to the Church of Santa Martina (the church of the Academia di San Luca), on the condition that she would be buried in the church.

Garzoni died four years later in Rome, in February of 1670, at the age of 70 -- after enjoying a life of steady work and constant success.

Today, Garzoni's tomb remains at the Church of Santa Martina, but it was not interred there until 1698, nearly 29 years after her death.

Along with her tomb, is a portrait of Giovanna Garzoni, by Roman painter, Giuseppe Ghezzi.


I had the good fortune to visit the Pitti Palace in Florence, Italy, two years ago, and was able to see some of Giovanna Garzoni's beautiful paintings.  

Since they were enclosed in a glass cabinet, I didn't get the best pictures . . . but, it was fun to see them, "up close and personal"!