Inspired Sparks

Journey of Inspired Thought

As 2015 drew to a close, I was in a whirl of crafting and baking for Christmas.  Creative painting, on the other hand, was neglected. An empty canvas, which sat on my easel staring out at me usually was enough to spark my imagination.  Yet, inspiration was giving me the silent treatment.  Then,  a photo taken on a whale watching trip in June came into clear focus as painting potential…but “can I do it?” still nagged me into inaction.

In Julia Cameron’s “The Artist Way Every Day”, she writes this excerpt for February 7th:  “Out of the notion “I Can” comes the next thought:  “I think I will.”  The impulse is playful.  It is an impulse born of pure faith.  The artist has a vision and that vision includes the successful completion of the art he has in mind.”

So I moved into the “I think I will” mode.  The photo was of my brother watching dolphins at a ship’s rail, which I playfully dubbed “Old Man and The Sea”.   On January 5, 2016, he turned 75 and the desire to honor this milestone was enough to finally turn an idea into action and restore the “I can” to my psyche.   I don’t really do portraits of people I know – if I do paint  any faces, they are mostly made up out of my imagination in other-worldly, fairy-like or visionary images.    I was due for a good challenge and rather pleased with the results–at least everyone knew it was him without a doubt!

Old Man & the Sea - Edmund Doglio 2016

“OLD MAN & THE SEA” – Acrylic on Canvas 12/2015

Slow Start Firing Up The Passion in 2016

Julia Cameron states:  “Growth is an erratic forward movement:  two steps forward, one step back.”  And…“A creative recovery is a healing process.”

2016 – My desire was to start this new year off in a whirl of inspiration, but instead I seemed to have muddled through all of January, not producing much or finding that the ideas sifting themselves in my brain fizzled before they had a chance to blossom.  Then seemingly out of the blue, I plunged into producing three challenging paintings in a clump of creativity  that just burst out of the inner me.  I love it when that happens! In the process I am inspired back to this blog, which I have woefully neglected.  (I still have plans to revamp this website.  I hope to make that a reality in the next few months.)

Recently I had picked up “Cezanne, His Life and Works in 500 Images” at the library, absorbing the feeling of his work.  I am drawn to how he portrays serenity and strength.  I often look to masters of his era to inspire me and teach when I feel stuck.  All artists have dry periods.  Try to see it not as a detriment, but a fertile void filled with potential.  Many times, journal writing jump starts the process.  When I feel a restlessness within the void, I know some creative potential is about to be born – that intuitive spark that fires us up again.

Three of the paintings that grew out of my January void reflect what pulled me at the moment in February.  The first of these is an adaption of a photo of Cali & Co dance team called “Emergence into HERE”, inspired by their  production of “Be Here Now”.  My intent is to portray the surprise of emerging from the cosmos into consciousness of HERE.

Emergence into HERE 2016

This meditative scene from a walk along the Russian River with my daughter, is inspired by two photos strung together to show a bucolic stretch of river.  My personal challenge was to portray the feeling of serenity in nature we both experienced.

Finding Serenity 2016

“Finding Serenity”  ~ acrylic on canvas, 2/2016

Sometimes even a fashion magazine inspires a theme for a painting, especially if you don’t have access to a live model.  The inspiration for “Study in Blue” came from an ad for artistic tile.   A few months back, I took a 3-day workshop on fashion drawing to help improve my skills in figures.  This painting was a fun challenge for me to capture a pose, muscles and skeletal structure of the model.   The blue skin makes her unique and I love the drama of it.

Study in Blue 2016

“Study in Blue” ~ acrylic on canvas, 2/2016

I have given myself enough successful challenges to keep wanting to push for more.  Each painting allows growth into more.  Painting in joy and a sense of playfulness brings the best results.  If I find myself struggling with a painting, I leave it until I find that inner flow again.

May your creative path for 2016 lead you on an exciting path of self-discovery and expression.  Take the road less traveled and see what it reveals to you.

© Maria Doglio, February 2016

References and thanks to the authors and artists:

  • The Artist’s Way Every Day,  by Julia Cameron
  • Cezanne, by Susie Hodge
  • Cali & CO dance/Matt EL, collaborative modern dance and music;



On The Easel – A Painting Journey


Some time in the late 70’s, I stood on a bridge in South Londonderry, Vermont, at sunset, looking out at the West River.  There were storm clouds clearing and an incredible light and colors of rose, yellow, lavendars, greys and whites reflected against billowing clouds.  I loved the drama of that sky!  The air was crisp and clean with hints of spring coming – my guess it was sometime in late March or early April.    We lived on the corner, at the junction of Route 100 and Winhall Hollow Road, just below the Londonderry Inn where I worked.   The river was a steady presence of the beauties of nature as it meandered through the village.  I liked being close to it, witness to all it’s seasonal stages, sounds and scenes it presented.  Camera in hand, I took a photo.

Some 35 years later, in my slow attempt to sort all my boxes of prints, I came across the photo, long forgotten.  Potential painting, I thought and put it in my folder of “painting ideas”, leaving it at that for some time longer.

Inspiration, and a Painting Challenge

There’s nothing like a couple of new canvases to get inspiration going.  Sometimes I like to just put a blank one on the easel for a few days, waiting to see what calls to my artistic muse.   I did that with a 20 x 24 canvas that sat for a week until I had the urge to look in my painting ideas folder.  Found again was the West River photo.  I was inspired, but I hesitated, wondering if I was up to the challenge of capturing the mood of the scene. I know that falling into doubt is a sure killer of inspiration, so I plunged ahead, taking it in slow stages – basic wash of color, then a light charcoal sketch.  I let it sit for another week before I prepared my painting pallette, finally starting in, laying a foundation of color contrasts of light and dark.

Once started,  the  painting process consumed me – day and night. This one was intense. If I couldn’t sleep, I found myself in the studio at 1 or 2 am, painting in PJ’s,  crawling back to bed to sleep off my odd hours burst of euphoria or to the kitchen for coffee to keep going.  I had to leave it for fresh air and walks and food, or a long restful nap.  I am careful not to paint when I feel too tired, even though I want to keep going in spite of it, but I know that’s when the flow dulls.  Rest periods give me a chance to study the stage I am at, contemplate next steps, what little subtle touchs are needed that make a big difference.


I wanted to take it slower, but this painting wouldn’t let me, it seems.  I painted long hours instead.   I stepped up to meet my self-imposed challenge.  In doing so I’ve expanded my experience as an artist, learning a lot along the way.  I find that each painting allows me to reach further, be bolder, experiment more and more.  Crush the doubt, silence the inner critic as soon as possible and just begin!  If I get stuck, I leave it for a while and consult the old masters.  The painting isn’t photo perfect, but it’s my interpretation of that moment in time. It is the feeling of the scene that was important for me to capture and share.

Even though signed and dated,  I will let the painting sit on my easel for a while to contemplate it’s completeness, letting my eyes rest from it a bit, and maybe tweak it here and there.  I suppose the tweaking can be endless, but also good to understand when to stop. This one will be framed in a beautiful wood frame that compliments the scene.  I’ve had it in my collection of old used frames for a number of years, waiting for the right painting.  Whether this painting of the West River will make it’s way into a gallery or not, is yet to be seen.  Some of my paintings are too nostalgic for me to let go – this may be one of them.

West River, So. Londonderry, VT – On The Easel 

West River_on the easel March 2015

©  Maria Doglio, March 2015


Celebration of Art at Towers Gallery 

You are Invited to Join Us!

Fine Art, Fine Food, Fine Wine and Fine Music,
Saturday February 21st    5pm to 

Music by Michael Hantman

Cloverdale is a small town in Northern Sonoma County with a big gallery.  At the far end of Cloverdale Blvd, Towers Gallery occupies a large Victorian with elegant and inviting twin stairs leading to it’s entrance.  Forty plus artists have gathered to show their work – paintings, sculptures, photography, jewelry, glass works, pottery, woodworking, textile craft and more.

A new show, called “New Beginnings” has just begun February 14th and runs to April 15th.  On Saturday, February 21st, you can meet the artists at the opening reception.

Happy to be a featured artist in this show, I have been on a roll in my studio the last two months painting in preparation, building my inventory.  Now that this show is hung, a wave of new paintings are on the horizon, still swimming in my head, waiting to manifest on canvas.   These days, my easel is not empty long.  I need more inventory, but I don’t want to rush it.  Every painting is an experiment.  Every painting teaches me.  I like to savor the process and feel what pulls me to paint.  When I am stuck, I look up the masters and contemplate their expressions in paint, or pull out an acrylic techniques book or peruse local artists works.   Like life, we never stop learning, and in doing so, we keep expanding our perspective.

My art shows my eclectic wanderings.  You can view two walls of my journey in art as you enter the gallery. Down the hall and around the corner is a little alcove with my textile craft of colorful pillows and a few more paintings.  Art celebrates life, creative imagination and emotional expression.  The Gallery is delightfully filled with it.  Art moves us in a personal way when we resonate with a particular piece.  Incorporating art that you love into your home is the ultimate sharing from the artist to you and keeps us all inspired.

Color Pillow Alcove

Colorful Pillows Alcove

A Glimpse of Select Paintings


Entry Hall Tower’s Gallery

Sbarboro's Wine Train, Asti CA 2015

Sbarboro’s Wine Train, Asti, CA

Towers.2 Towers.3 Towers.4 Towers.5 Towers.7 Towers.8

© Maria Doglio, 2015



My inspiration for two of my three new paintings came from my nostalgic wanderings through old photos of people and places.

Many years ago, I walked along this beautiful stretch of Rhode Island coast whose beach sands stretched as far as the eye could see.  The sunsets were spectacular and I had captured many a photo of them.

Misquamicut Beach, Rhode Island

rhd. island coast sunset_2014

Rhode Island Sunset, Misquamicut State Beach ~Acrylic on Canvas – 16 x 20

Battenkill Fog.  Vermont days ~ I had ventured out early with my camera especially to capture fog rising along the river, thistles in bloom in a mauve haze.  The fog lends a aura of mystery that I love and pushes my imagination to mystical places.

Battenkill Fog Acrylic on Canvas 8 x 8

Battenkill Fog
Acrylic on Canvas
8 x 8

China Beach Fishing   April 2014 – Walked the coast trail to China Beach, San Francisco. Misting and gray.   One of my photos taken along the way inspired the painting –

china beach fishing, sf 2014

China Beach Fishing ~ Acrylic on Canvas 8 x 8

More strolls down memory lane on the agenda for 2015 – On the Easel now – sketch of Mykonos harbor in the evening light from a 1981 photo.   Through these paintings, I am appreciating where I’ve been, as well as my connections to people and places that have enriched my life.

2015 ~  May you fill it up with joy in living, loving, inspiration, passion and creative expression!  Peace and Blessings to all who visit here.

Star Graphic




Her song abundant with perfume
that soars like incense to the skies,
earth holds her beauty in its grasp
that buds the Bird of Paradise
(excerpt from a poem by Elfin “Bird of Paradise)
Begin by thinking about the nature spirits, the higher overlighting nature spirits, and tune into them. That will be so unusual as to draw their interest here. They will be overjoyed to find some members of the human race eager for their help.”  (Nature, channeled by Dorothy MacLean, Findhorn Foundation)

The “Bird of Paradise Deva” emerged, I am sure, with the inspirational help of the overlighting spirit that holds the blueprint for the Bird of Paradise.  I am grateful for the intuitive guidance that helped me hold my vision.

The sketch of this particular Deva sat on my easel for a few weeks so I could contemplate my approach.  I started tentatively painting with some difficulty, until I realized I wasn’t “tuning in”.   I let it sit for another week of contemplation, with rather flat leaves beginning to form a foundation.

Giving a project enough patience, there comes a point when the vision, the energy and the feeling of the painting all merge to combine a calling back to the easel—I was in sync.  As I tuned into the feeling of the painting more, the imagery in my inner vision began to flow out onto the canvas from paint to form with little effort.  I fell into the painting, time and day of the week disappearing along with it.  What a soul-satisfying  feeling of emergence!  The Deva emerged with a startling strong energy, that frankly I cannot explain.  My friend Cathy attested to this upon viewing it – as chills enveloped her body.  “Well this confirms I am not crazy!”, I told her.  The energy was definitely present.

The Bird of Paradise Deva is the first in my series of Four Devas of Nature – enjoy the journey with me as I complete each painting and post my experience with it here.  Maybe she will speak to you too.  Be inspired!


Maria Doglio 2014

Bird of Paradise Deva – Maria Doglio 2014 – Acrylic on Canvas Board 16 x 20

 © Maria Doglio 2014



IMAGINING THE ELEMENTALS ~ Faeries, Nature Devas, Sprites & Spirits

Playing with Nature Devas

Playing with Nature Devas – 2014 (quick painting sketch free flowing from imagination to canvas)

As long as I can remember, I felt connected with the world of faeries.  As a child, I would imagine them everywhere among the Queen Anne’s Lace, under the tangle of wild grape vines along the stone wall, along streams and between the gnarled roots of trees deep in the woods.  They would sit with me as I sat high in the branches of my favorite tree, reading a book, or just swaying with the breeze in the branches, eyes closed and the wind in my hair.

Being an adult never dulled this faerie world inside me.  They drifted to the background of my mind, but never really left, waiting patiently for me to recognize them again.  Now they are beginning to pop up in my paintings as testimony to their work in nature.  They are woven between flowers and leaves, some shy, some bold.   Like a flash of a snapshot, they take a moment to reveal themselves to me, as I attempt to capture in paint, the beauty and essence of  their work.

Four Panels

Now that they have captured my attention, I am inspired to create a series of four panels featuring four Nature Devas, each representing a beautiful flower – Bird of Paradise, Torch Ginger, Plumeria and a Fairy Iris.

Four Panels - Nature Devas

Four Panels – Nature Devas


Close up - Bird of Paradise

Close up – Bird of Paradise sketch

It’s interesting how inspiration can take off  once you start drawing.   I sat to sketch out my idea on a panel, tuning into my inner vision to connect with and draw out the spirit of the flower.   I drew the flower first, feeling it’s essence.  Then the Deva revealed herself to me and was added underneath, peeking out from under her flower hat.  The Bird of Paradise Deva was first.  She called to others who wanted in on the fun.   I kept sensing “me next!” as I perused my file of flower photos – and so I just kept going until one panel grew to four with four different Devas represented on them.

The challenge for me will be in the journey of painting each panel that captures both my inner vision and the spirit of the flower.  These are joyful challenges of expression.  I am so grateful to be able to pursue my passion and share the results with you.  I will be posting my journey with these Devas, and invite you along to watch them emerge into full bloom!

© Maria Doglio Art 2014