The first days of 2014

A dream: “I dreamt of rolling slowly through the countryside in a caravan, pulled by two happy horses. I held the reins in my hands, with my husband Mark, and one of my daughters (or a friend) seated next to me; a watchful dog sat at my side. I dreamed that we found a shady grove before lunchtime, unhitched the horses and led them into a pasture with push-in posts and white ribbon. We watched them roll in the grass, then shake with contentment. We spread a blanket under a tree, laid out a picnic of bread, cheese, salad, and wine; we enjoyed it slowly while talking of the morning’s sights and sounds, people we met along the way, and our plans for the afternoon.  “Upon waking, I realized that these are the memories I plan to capture through pen and paint; this is the core of what must be shared!

photo: Mark Balogh

January 1, 2014 dawned bursting with color and energy. The towering moss covered trees reflected the rising sun, painting the sky in constantly changing hues. My first walk of the New Year could not have been more beautiful than this lavender and rose tinted setting. My faithful furry dog shadowed me as she has done daily for the past 13 years. When she was young, and my last horse, Amour, was alive, we spent hours in the forest, exploring, galloping up hills, and feeling wild and free. Now she and I both walk a bit slower than before. Perhaps we see the beauty of nature in more detail than before as well. By her example, she has taught me that this time in life is a gift to be accepted with great pleasure.

On January 2, the remainder of the balsa wood arrived by post. I already had the correct size wheels for the model of Tòti Bleu I am building. They were a gift from a kind person who mailed them to my daughter in Washington, who in turn mailed them to France–amazing how the dream continues to get support from an expanding network. With the help of my talented husband, I will actually begin to build the model for Tòti Bleu next week.

I completed the first portrait commissioned as a donation to my Tòti Bleu fund on January 3. I have done many portraits of dogs and cats, even a portrait of a child’s hamster. But this is the first portrait I completed of a person. This brings a generous donation to the project, and it opens a possible economic path for my efforts. (Anyone who would like to be a part of the Tòti Bleu project can send me a photo of their much loved pet, and I will paint a portrait in acrylic on canvas for a donation of 100 dollars or more, plus postage. The painting can easily be mailed in a cardboard tube. I have a Toti Bleu PayPal account and I can be contacted at:

I received an email from Scott Ecelberger on January 4; he is a very talented stained glass artist who has offered to create the glass window for the rear of Tòti Bleu. I am quite excited to see his rendition of this detail, and I feel very honored that his mark will be part of the finished cart.

Finally, on January 5, my friend Leo Hobaica, Jr., suggested that he offer a week’s rental of his house in France at a discounted rate, all of which will go towards Tòti Bleu. Located in Sorèze, the village just below the Montagne Noire where I live is his three bedroom, three-story house, with an artist’s studio on the top floor. He is discounting the cost for a 7-day stay to $500–all of which goes into my donation box. (Contact him directly for photos, description, and further Put TOTI BLEU in the heading


About Suzanne

American living in France. Artist and lover of nature, gardening, all living beings. Married to the love of my life, mother of two wonderful daughters and grandmother.
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4 Responses to The first days of 2014

  1. Barbara Roth says:

    I am so glad you are getting the support and $ to achieve your dream goal. You continue to inspire me and your most recently posted painting is charming.

  2. Gwynn Kelley says:

    Your talent is awe some. the portrait is spectacular with an inner energy and you being in total alignment with your soul’s desire is bringing your dream into reality. Such an inspiration. thank you.

  3. I LOVE your paintings. You are so talented. The portrait is stunning. I am happy the you are having success with your project. It sounds like such fun. You have always been my mentor.

  4. N2 says:

    Lovely painting. Glad to hear that the totibleu funding has begun! Looking forward to getting a walk with you on the mountain. I arrive Wed, Jan 29 and will stay until mid March. x0 N2

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