Stay-cation, Vacations and Paintings


Hey, there all you lovely people, art lovers, friends, family, and fans….

I’m not sure if people consider a stay-cation as a real vacation. Technically, I am working, granted unpaid, but being an artist and loving it, this is what I do on a stay-cation.  I am not working a “job” or attending classes at a live school and am healthy enough to enjoy time off! Think about that…  what does a painter do on vacation? PAINT!! I have been off school since August 4th, I did three classes this summer. Now I have 11 more days without a set schedule to spend as I choose. Woohoo!

All art by Jean Bourque copyright 2017.

During the summer of 2009 I took my last vacation. I went to NYC after a long absence. Much to my surprise between 2001 and 2009 Starbucks had sprung up everywhere! That was my last trip anywhere, except Chicago in 2016 for the Art Teachers Convention.

IMG_9116I miss going to NYC. I went two or three times a year during the late 90’s and early 2000 and 2001. My longest trip there was the summer of 2001. I stayed with an artist from the Ward Nasse Gallery where we both showed our art. Her home was in Long Island and I really appreciated being hosted at such a lovely place,  We commuted to the city during the week and then stayed the weekends at the Holiday Inn on 57th St. across the street from the Coco-Cabana, with its multi levels of dance floors. Ahh, what a fun place and a fun time.  I met everyone from Ward Nasse Gallery and discovered the owner knew my Grandfather when he was in MA. Surprise!

Many years ago… I had another vacation, another place, another time… Bermuda on the water was incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, two of my three traveling companions ended up being sick the entire trip. Sharon and I felt bad leaving them to suffer with their illnesses in the hotel room. However, they both said go and we knew we had to explore the island. We were so surprised when we took our first cab, how fast they drove on narrow streets. We hung on for dear life as the landscape rushed by. There were bikes and mopeds everywhere we looked. I suggested we rent a bike or a moped and Sharon looked at me like I had three heads. Finally, we arrived at the touristy capital filled with tiny little shops brimming with souvenirs and tourist trap spots. We found a little cafe and had lunch, walked around a bit and then decided to walk back. Sharon was tired and I longed to go to the beach and go swimming or at least wave jumping.

My favorite spot on the island was the beach. Our hotel room was on the beach and I walked the pink sands and explored the area alone. I couldn’t help but notice no one was in the water. I thought how odd. Yes, it was February, but to me coming from MA it looked and felt like summer.  I found a spot to put my clothes and hide my camera and went into the water and it felt so cool, so good, so refreshing. The water was an amazing aqua color. Heck in MA even in the middle of the summer the water (in the ocean) never got this warm or looked this amazing.  I suspect the water temp never gets above 45F even in summer in New England. I guess I should google that. LOL!


My little stay-cation seems sadly lacking by comparison. But then when I really think about it, I am very happy here staying home for a few weeks doing what I want to do (paint, write, learning to play guitar, visiting friends, and web surfing). Isn’t that what a vacation is: doing what you want to do, when and how you want to do it? Sure, I would love to go to NYC, Bermuda or Berlin, but for now, this IS just what I need…to stay home. Believe it or not, this is turning into a great vacation, even if it is a stay-cation. There will be plenty of time to travel, next summer and all the years ahead. When one has a super busy life and rarely gets to stay home, it becomes a treat to stay home.

Honestly, I hope everyone is having a great summer!  By the way, if you like reading my blog or seeing my art, please follow this blog or bookmark it. Thank you.

With Love,





Sculpting Class 200 level

I am currently taking a sculpting summer session at USC in Columbia SC. Working with wood is proving to be a wonderful experience.  I wish the “project” didn’t have to be tied to something the instructor choose as that feels limiting to me. As it is we have a serious time constraint as somehow between now and Thursday the 20th of July 2017, not only do I have to finish the one I am currently working on, I also have two more to do. Yesterday was my 4th day in the woodshop, I was covered in sawdust and had to laugh at myself, when I looked down I discovered I still had my shoulder bag on and it too was covered.

This project is about being in darkness and discovering and going into the light based on an essay our teacher provided called “Plato’s Cove”. It has to be a mixed media project with no more than two additions to the wood, and wood enhancements such as paint, stain, sealer, varnish, wood filler, and spackling do not count as the two. additions. The idea conveyed itself to me in the form of visual layers and my project is layered, however, due to time constraints, I feel it necessary to scale back my original plans.

The next project is to create a conceptual mixed media piece and must have a found object, be at least 3 feet in one direction. It can be partially wood but we will have very limited access to the wood shop, so he prefers we move on to something else. No materials are provided. Today he will be showing us some conceptual pieces to give us some ideas. We discussed “The Fountain”, a urinal was used to create the fountain effect. He also provided a list of feelings and/or behaviors that our concept should relate to. He also stated it must be deeper, it should not be a one liner. In other words, people must not “get it” without looking into the project on a deeper level.

The third and final project is currently unknown to us.


The Art Critique




I haven’t been on here in while. I probably do not have any followers anymore…. if you are still here, I thank you for sticking with me. Basically, I write several blogs and had forgotten about this one. Last week we had our final critique in Painting 514. I love art. I love the work my classmates do and I love doing art too. I wanted to share a bit about some of the other artists and the environment I find myself in.

Diaz is a tall young man that paints beautiful women rendered in oils in a classical style similiar to Rembrandt. I know that may sound like an exxageration, but I assure you it is not! With lots of glazed layers he builds a depth in the painting and a shine from within.

He recently has thrown us a curve ball by switching out to a newer brighter bolder abstract design. Surprisingly he has a briliant sense of color. I love it! We are the only ones that will be continuing next year. This Fall, we will be painting in the same studio area.  I suspect we will learn a lot from each other.

My studio mate has been Matthew and Antonio sometimes joined us. It was very inspiring to watch these talented young men do their work. Both painting in oils and both of them are excellent draftsmen. They are both planners. By that I mean they draw out their entire painting before painting it.

Matthew often does a lot of drawings pulling from a variety of resources online and creating a composition based on an idea he has. He starts his oil paintings with the drawing and scratches in details before painting. He pretty much paints in the 4 ft to 6 ft size. His work will make you think of Alex Gray’s art. His work is very deeply thought out and intentional. It has an air of magic, mystery, and is often meditative. This semester he focused on Native Americans. He truly looks like an artist with his long blonde hair, beard, paint spattered jeans and flip flops. One gets the sense he lives to paint. He is a great painter already! He has not shown his work yet, but I beleive with an agent that could target his work to the right crowd; perhaps the yoga, vegan, and philosophical types he will have an excellent art career.

Antonio, draws on the canvas, the image he wants to paint. He works in any size. He has one going that must be larger than many murals. I never measured it, but my guess is it is at least 12 feet wide and 10 feet tall. The drawing is there. He does a gris style method. Layering paint in black and white to establish the values. The work that I have seen have all been related to bible scenes. He uses a palette with a wide variety of colors and works in a traditional style similiar to the Flemish tradition. His skills are highly evident as you look at his precise renderings. He is very articulate about art and talks about it and asks a lot of questions. He is from Columbia SC and I think he is a great addition to the local art community! I see him as being part of the isms of art!

Each one of them will be having an art show in the near future and as soon as I know exactly when I will tell you!!





About Time…

Hello Artists & Art Lovers, Writers, Poets, Free thinking Independents and all you wonderful creatures of the Universe. Since I have lived other places and studied other languages, I must include:

Halo! Gutentag! and Hi yall, Hey you guys, what’s up? Hope everyone is having a great weekend! It’s a lovely Saturday in SC. We have about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, not a cloud in the sky, the sun is shining, the dogs are barking and kids are running through yards playing tag or hide and go seek. It’s peaceful, the birds are chirping and if I sit still, I can even hear the squirrels chatter as they scamper around the yard collecting acorns from the mighty oak.



Painting: “About Time” c2014JBourque

I decided to start a fresh blog as I am in a different stage of life than when I wrote my prior blogs.

Currently, I am taking an oil portrait painting class. My teacher is the wonderfully talented portrait artist and landscape painter Steven Whetstone. In April, I will be attending a two day portrait workshop with Michael DelPriore a very accomplished portrait artist. Between the two time investments in learning oil painting portraiture, I plan to add people to my abstracts from time to time. I know it will take much more than two courses to become an actual portrait artist, but that is not my goal. I only want to be able to create a likeness so I can add a touch of realism into my abstracts as I find myself fascinated with abstracts that have just a faint touch of realism. On the other hand I am also fascinated by realistic paintings that have a totally abstract background and of course, things that appear to be abstract that are actually realistic have always fascinated me and probably always will.

I had actually done a few portraits in the past while studying art with Ilona Royce Smithken. I painted a portrait of Jean Ehler and she painted one of myself. So did the rest of the class. I found out just how hard it is for someone like me to sit still. But if the air temperature was warm but not too hot and the position was seated and comfortable using my own posture, I could stare off at a distance, hold the pose and be meditating for an hour at a time. That was truly an amazing state to get to. I have never asked any models about that, so if you have modeled clothed for artists, did you get in that state? Prior to discovering that freeing state of mind, I had attempted to model numerous times and just could not maintain the stillness longer than 10 minutes. That was about fifteen years ago, when I still had my looks.

Time is cruel, especially to women. Time’s cruelness is especially hard on those of us that have suffered a major illness that destroys your looks and creates rapid aging due to being in so much pain. With that being said, (there I said it because I needed to) I can tell you that I know I am very lucky to have survived having stage 3c and stage 4 multiple tumor cancers, that had spread. I’d pick the ugly pain over dying any day!

With love til next time,




Framing Advice for Art Shows

Hello Fellow artists and art lovers…

I remember back in 1995, when I was accepted into my first juried art show. I had an 18×24 canvas that needed to be framed. At that time, I knew nothing about frames, how they are priced, how they are assembled or what is good or bad. So, I naively went to an upscale frame shop in my city and picked out what I liked. It took about 3 weeks and was really lovely and set me back about $300. (that was in 1995, 21 years ago) As a painter showing art in a gallery for the first time… I priced my oil painting higher (than I should have) because of that frame.

Flash forward today… I am now working in the framing industry and have learned a lot since those days. Here are a few tips I can share for those artists entering art shows.

First, framing a canvas is usually less expensive than framing an artwork on paper.  With paintings on canvas, you rarely if ever need to add glass or plexi, you also will not need mats. So if you paint on both, like I do, you may want to keep the paper art as your experimental pieces and do your master works on canvas.

If however, your clients prefer water media works or you are entering water media shows, or you paint as a pastelist, wait to be accepted before framing. Take your photographs before framing and matting. Glass and plexi both create a glare… and you art will not photograph as well or as accurately with glass on it.

When you go in for framing, keep in mind that the shop may keep some items in stock, while others they will have to order. Some mouldings are made locally and they can get them quickly while others are imported from Italy and thus will take longer to arrive. If you need the artwork framed and ready for pickup in two weeks or less, let the framer know that before you even begin looking at frames. Ask about mouldings that are in stock and ask about mouldings that are made locally. Be sure to pick a stock mat and not be over-sized. These are your best bet for a quicker turnaround.

Best bets for art shows is to go with a basic style frame, nothing too flashy or too pricey. The mats should be a simple neutral mat and often the exhibit will have requirements on what they want you to use. If you are shipping the art and it is on paper, many of the galleries and museums ask that you use plexiglass or acrylic instead of glass. Let the framer know it is for a show and needs to be wired for hanging.

For mats, there are suede mats, linen mats and paper mats. The fabric mats are archival, while paper mats often are not. Paper mats often have the higher acid content and can turn after years. However, some shows specify paper and some shows specify acid-free and or archival. As far as pricing goes, the larger the mat, the higher the price. Typically, suede is the more expensive, linen in the middle and paper the most economical.

Yours truly,



Art is Love

I doubt everyone feels this way, but to me Art is Love. Some days I will wake up and it will bubble out of me and I cannot “not” do art. If my life is too busy, I cannot be the free-spirited artist, I am.

Right now,  my life is too busy… so I write about it and lament. But times will get better and Dad will be home once again and off antibiotics, IV and wound vac.

I would like to add pics here but do not know how yet. I have been on blogger aka Blogspot for 9 years and am used to that format. This is like learning to re-ride a bicycle in a different way, I compare it to riding in mud with a blindfold.  LOL!


Hurrah, I figured it out. It wasn’t as hard as I was making it out to be. This one is a mixed media collage. Let me try putting up another style piece.


Perhaps something a bit more painterly?



Just a quick note, to let ya’ll know I appreciate you checking out my latest blog. Please bear with me while I learn this NEW TO ME software platform of Word Press for this blog. Although I have been blogging for over ten years, all my blogs have been on blogger aka blogspot and blogpost.

Yes, I am just learning this format and as you can see, I have a lot to learn.

Thank you for your patience.