Sunday, January 26, 2020

Join me in Italy this Summer!

Work Small, Learn Big!

Explore and sketch Italy 

June 6-13, 2020

Join me for seven days of immersion into the art of the travel sketchbook. You will create your own visual journal while exploring silvery olive groves, scatterings of poppies and sunflowers, vineyards and farms, ancient churches, small villages and the Renaissance city of Florence.
Open to all skill levels and geared toward individual instruction, this workshop is the perfect combination of working small and portable and learning big skills to take home with you.
Day 1: Saturday, June 6 – Arrival in Florence 4:00pm  We will pick you up at the Florence train station and transport you to our villa at the Petrolo Winery, where you will move into your rooms and explore the house and grounds. 8:00pm Welcome wine reception and typical Italian dinner at the villa.
Day 2: Sunday, June 7 Morning Session  Breakfast together. Review of supplies, drawing warmups and preview of the week's opportunities. Sketchbook demo and presentations on how to "move into" your sketchbook. Spend the afternoon drawing on the grounds of the villa.
Afternoon Session: A trip into Montevarchi to the grocery store to stock up on items you would like to have for snacks for the week. This is our opportunity to be delighted and amazed at the variety of things offered at the Italian grocery store. Evening Session: Dinner at local restaurant Lo Schicchero in Mercatale Valdarno
Day 3: Monday,June 8 –Art History, Sketching and Wine Tasting
Morning Session: Architecture Made Simple Spend the morning at a 13th century church on the grounds of the Petrolo Winery, drawing and painting with a discussion focused on how to easily draw architecture with attention to the correct use of interior and exterior perspective.  Lunchtime picnic on the church grounds
Afternoon Session: Art History - the Seeds of the Renaissance More sketching and a presentation by a local art historian on the artistic history of the Valdarno area and of the church we are visiting.
Evening Session: Wine tasting at the Petrolo Winery. Look at this link for a short history of Petrolo.  Italian dinner at the villa, sharing the day's work with good food and wine.
Day 4: Tuesday, June 9 – Trip to Florence: Art History and Sketching in the City
Morning Session:  Train to Florence. Practice "speed sketching" the Italian landscape from the train windows. Afternoon and Evening Session:  All day - explore Florence, the seat of the Renaissance, where you can visit Michelangleo's David, climb to the top of the Duomo, shop for jewelry on the ancient Ponte Vecchio and visit the Botticellis at the Uffizi Galleries all in one very compact city. Head to the Market at San Lorenzo to sketch the hustle and bustle or shop the stalls for leather goods, handmade papers and Italian gourmet items. Demonstration and practice drawing figures in an environment to create a sense of place.
Evening Session: Recap of the day in Florence Meet in the city for a light snack and to review the day. Board the train for the trip home Light dinner at the villa
Day 5: Wednesday, June 10 – A View from the Top and Shoe Factory Visit Morning Session: Atmospheric Perspective We will spend the morning at the top of the hill at the tower of Galatrona, overlooking sweeping vistas of  olive groves and vineyards. Our opportunity to discuss atmospheric perspective and how to achieve a sense of depth in our work  using of color, scale and value .
Afternoon Session: The Shoe Factory Visit the Pratesi Shoe Factory in nearby Ambra to shop, admire the amazing variety of leather goods and/or sketch shoes, cats and interiors.
Evening Session: Back to the villa to recap the day and have dinner together.
Day 6: Thursday, June 11 – A day at San Luciano Winery in Monte San Savino  We will join the proprietor, Stephano for a full day at San Luciano Winery to sketch the old church, the vineyards, the animals, the garden and ancient farm equipment. We’ll spend the afternoon painting and sketching at the vineyard with a lesson on composition and focal point. Picnic lunch in the afternoon and wine and olive oil tasting at the end of a lovely day. We will have dinner back at the villa.
Day 7: Friday, June 12 – Finishing up the week Morning follow ups, final touches to our sketchbooks. Time to pack for the trip home in the afternoon. Farewell dinner at Locanda Casariccio. Day 8: June 13 - Saying Arrivederchi Transport to the train station with your ticket back to Florence included.
Workshop Tuition For a single person sharing a room $2200 ($1950 if 50% is paid by March 15, 2020) For a single person with private room or non-participating guest $1200
Workshop Tuition Includes: Pickup from train station in Florence Accommodations (7 nights) Individualized workshop instruction All meals except lunch on day trips Transportation to/from local train station Wine tastings Art supplies *Maximum of 10 participates
Not Included: Airfare Transfers
**IMPORTANT** Please Note: Purchasing travel/medical insurance is highly recommended.
Participants should be in good physical condition and able to walk on uneven surfaces and up and down hills while carrying supplies and equipment in a backpack. Must also be able to sit for extended periods of time on folding stools while you paint.
About Jaime  Jaime Howard is a classically trained American oil and watercolor painter, and has instructed all levels of artists from beginners to advanced college students. A faculty member of Savannah College of Art and Design, she teaches drawing, painting and design and conducts workshops in the US and Europe. She is an avid member of International Urban Sketchers and Urban Sketchers of Jacksonville, Florida. Jaime combines her love of drawing, painting and teaching with a rich background in art history, bringing her students the stimulating presentation of a knowledgeable and inspiring teacher.
"Sketching and painting on location makes each day thrilling; sharing the adventure with my students makes life fulfilling."
Contact:Jaime Howard


June 6, 2020
June 13, 2020
$2200 ($1950)


Jaime Howard
+1 (904)662-2140

Thursday, April 16, 2015

We made it!

It's hard to blog on a camping trip! Even though we brought our own portable wifi with us, it doesn't always work as well as advertised and the circumstances of traveling and painting make opportunities for blogging very difficult to find.
I'm happy to report that we've driven without incident (except for that one day when I bent the trailer jack driving into a dip in the pavement. Sorry, Joanna!) over 3,000 miles from Jacksonville to the coast of California. It's been fun and exhilarating and exhausting and educational. Joanna and I haven't yet come to blows or even irritated each other. We are extremely compatible.
We crossed the lower states and painted in LA, TX, NM and AZ before we arrived in the Promised Land and the Plein Air Convention in Monterey. Here we are enjoying the most astounding landscapes - the beauty of this state is almost intimidating. How can we paint well enough to do it justice? But we keep trying!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Travel Advice from Georgia O'Keeffe

Georgia O'Keeffe

One of the most significant artists of the 20th century, Georgia O’Keeffe,the  "Mother of American Modernism"(1887-1986) was devoted to creating imagery that expressed what she called “the wideness and wonder of the world as I live in it.” 

O'Keeffe lived and painted in her own way and on her own terms. She did every single thing she wanted to do, yet admits, not just to being afraid, but absolutely terrified every moment of her life, and she lived to be 99 years old!

I appreciate that she shared her feeling of terror with us. This is strangely comforting, since although I can't seem to be content without adventure, fear seems to be inherent in every new adventure.

But...I have learned something in my life, just as Georgia O'Keeffe did:

Anything worth doing is bound to create a little fear.

Joanne and I have carefully planned each mile of our cross-country trek, we researched every campground between Jacksonville and California. We've made long packing lists of every item essential to our happiness and comfort. We've discussed the difficulties we might run into and how we will handle them.

Though we've planned so carefully, we aren't without anxiety. Let's not kid ourselves - it's a loooong way to California from Jacksonville, Florida and we'll be far from home for over a month. Despite the most careful planning, we're bound to encounter some surprises and misadventures.

Everything I've done that I consider to be a worthy endeavor was scary as hell at some point. Have you found this to be true too?

So we decided to re-label our feelings of fear and anxiety; we decided to call what we are feeling excitement and anticipation. 

One of our stops will be O'Keefe's studio and home in Obiquiui, New Mexico as well as the only museum dedicated to a woman artist, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe. We hope that she would have been proud of us.

We'll keep you posted on our adventures and misadventures. Let us hear about some of your anxiety-producing adventures.

 We leave in two weeks and we are so...EXCITED!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Getting Ready for Adventure

Jaime Howard and Joanne Middlebrooks, feeling adventurous
Once upon a time, two painters decided to have a big adventure in a small trailer.
 Monterey, California and  the Plein Air Convention, "the Woodstock of plein air painting." We're off to join the largest collection of plein air painters on the planet for a week of classes, demos and on-site painting with world class artists along the rocky coast of California.

This is a road trip of epic proportions - almost 6,000 miles round trip from Jacksonville, Florida. It will take a lot of planning and about five weeks to complete the trip.
 The goal is to paint our way across the USA, at every location and in every state from here to Monterey and back. We represent our local group of artists, the First Coast Plein Air Painters, and everyone who hankers after an adventure of their own making.
Bubba Jane
Bubba Jane, the 14 foot long 1965 Zipper vintage camper, will be our home away from home, so our first task is to make her as comfy as we can.

With an end of March departure date coming up, we'll be taking a short shakedown cruise to make sure we both fit in this little tin can comfortably and happily. We'll be posting our preparations and adjustments as we go - and we'll try to answer some of your burning questions:
  • What will they take with them in the way of art supplies? Food? Camping equipment?
  • Where will they be camping and will they end up spending the night in any WalMart parking lots
  • How many paintings will actually be painted on this trip? 
  • How will these friends get along sharing this tiny space for over a month?
  • Does anyone snore?
  • Will they still be friends when they get home?
We'll try to answer all these questions and more, so stay tuned to this channel and please feel free to share with your friends who are interested in adventure, camping, painting or venturing into the unknown toward an uncertain but exciting outcome.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Vintage Trailer Transformation - Bubba Jane becomes the Blue Bird

Have Brush, Will Travel
goes on the road!

The restoration of a vintage 1965 model Zipper 10' travel trailer, came at the end of a very busy school year and before the trip to my painting workshop in Maine. 

My capable and creative daughter, Janna, just back from two years of la dolce vita in Italy, got right on board to make sure this trailer was transformed into a beautiful, practical portable painting studio and living space, as cute as we could possibly make her.

Her name used to be Bubba Jane

She was adorable when I bought her and I had my doubts whether we should even attempt to give her a new paint job. But being artists, Janna and I had to make our mark, so...
...we took a deep breath and took on the challenge. We painted her inside and out, gave her a retro zig-zag and a pair of wings to help her fly down the road. We dubbed her Blue Bird and we flew down the highway.

Now we call her Blue Bird

Blue Bird followed obediently along behind our car over 3,000 miles - from Florida to Maine and back again. She provided us a with almost all the comforts of home: a comfy place to sleep, shelter from the rain, and a tiny kitchen to cook in. What else do you need?

Did you see us on the road?

Chalk paint, inside cabinet door

 Stay tuned to this blog for more photos from the inside of the camper. See you soon!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Come Paint with Me in Maine


Nubble Light, York, Maine

Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine
New! I'm so excited and happy to be able to offer my 2014 Plein Air Painting Workshop! This summer, we'll be painting in the beautiful state of Maine. 
LOBSTER SHACK, Ogunquit, Maine
Home base will be Drake's Island and the charming little town of Ogunquit. We'll be eating fresh "lobsta" and painting in the fresh air. Contact me for details.
July 5-11, 2014

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

and now for...Something a Little Different

To the Sun and Back/ 12x12"/Oil on cradled hardboard

What do plein air painters do when the weather is forbidding and we can't go outdoors?

For me the answer is to paint something else, from another series, and from another part of my brain.

The latest painting betrays my former life as an illustrator for children's textbooks. I took advantage of a rainy day to paint something for the kid in all of us.

To the Sun and Back was a labor of joy, inspired by a special boy in my life. 

I have to paint what's on my mind and in my heart, you know. So do you. 

Tuesday, January 8, 2013


When Jeff suggested this getaway, I started choosing art supplies.
 I didn't pack much - an old watercolor box, 2 brushes, 3 micron pens and a smallish sketchbook.
This outfit was portable and light. It could be toted anywhere.
Handy-dandy little art kit

When traveling with another person you don't have all day to create a painting. Better to travel light and work fast.

Watercolor and ink were my choice of mediums, since they require no prep or drying time.

Our trip involved lots of driving, so time to paint was sandwiched in between visits with friends and a lot of sightseeing.

Teresa's Million-dollar View
The first morning, after a long climb up the mountain above Jaco Beach, the million dollar view from our friend Teresa's home beckoned me. 
It was heavenly to sit on a folding chair overlooking the valley, the rain forest and mountains beyond.
I was careful not to dip my paintbrush in my coffee cup while chatting with an old friend and painting as the sun came up and the fog rolled away. 

Under the Almond Tree, Jaco Beach 
A few days later we found ourselves in a beachfront resort, keeping cool in the shade of an almond tree while Salsa music wafted through the air.

Each time I sit down to paint, the act of concentrating embeds the scene in my memory forever.

Each time I flip through my sketch books, I will remember the beautiful country of Costa Rica in vivid detail. I will feel the soft breeze, smell the flowers, taste the coffee and remember Teresa's voice as she watched me paint. 

This is the best kind of journal keeping.

Do you want to record some memories with me? Join me in Italy at my Workshop this June for some rich learning experiences and adventures in art.

Let's make some memories that you will remember forever.