By Mary Ann Miller

As an artist and art educator, I began many years ago to search for the places some of the great artists had lived and worked. From Michelangelo in Florence to Van Gogh and Picasso in the south of France I went, trying to paint where they had painted. I found the best-known paintings of these artists in Paris as well as in tiny museums in other places.

Mary Blocksma, in her book, Lake Lover’s Year says: “Painting from a photograph is like armchair traveling: comfortable, safe, easy to control. Ego loves it. Heart smells a lie.” So true, and for that reason, I try to paint most of these watercolors on the spot.

My title, Travels with a Blue Vase, was suggested by a fellow traveler. Up to then I had one sketchbook from each trip. I carried a blue plastic vase with me so I could enjoy fresh flowers in my room, and sometimes it appeared in my paintings. Since then I have been delighted to find that some of my favorite artists also painted blue vases!

Thank you for coming with me on this wonderful journey. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have.