Giverny flowers

The price of freedom: My $9k dream vacation

betty ming liu Art, Food, Inspiration, Relationships, Travel 12 Comments

Running away from home for a 10-day painting vacation in France came with a price — $9,079.80, to be exact. But it’s what I wanted to do. I had a great time. Plus, I learned the value of letting go. “Me first” is my new mantra! Everything was new. I’d never gone on a vacation by myself before. Never went …


What I’ve learned about abstract painting & life

betty ming liu Art, Inspiration, Travel 4 Comments

The sun is setting on my 10-day dream vacation in France. When I fly back to JFK tomorrow, I will be packing a ton of new experiences, insights and concrete skills. Learning to paint abstract is all about simplifying what I see down to the elements that matter most — to me. Doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. I just …

Buying fish in Honfleur

Shopping for memories from my French painting vacation

betty ming liu Art, Food, Travel 7 Comments

Oh, this French vacation is zooming by, making me feel nostalgic. So I went shopping for souvenirs — memories to take home as I explored Honfleur during a very rainy day. Weather-wise, we’ve been lucky during this 10-day painting trip in northern France. It’s been sunny until now. The downpour started last night and it was crazy noisy. This morning, …


My day of creative reckoning

betty ming liu Art, Relationships, Travel 13 Comments

This 10-day painting trip to France is more than a tra-la-la fun vacation. I say this because we just went through the first critique of our work — and it felt like a deep therapy session. As you know from my daily postings about this adventure, our instructor Frank O’Cain, a master¬†teacher with laser vision. Even though I barely know …

Honfleur waterfront

Honfleur offers 12th century charm & more

betty ming liu Art, Travel 6 Comments

Just arrived in Honfleur! It’s easy to see why the Impressionist painters loved it here. Between the ancient architecture and gorgeous light, I’m inspired too. This seaside town is located along the Seine at the point where it meets the ocean. Honfleur is tiny; the tourism board says the population is only 8,500. But 3.5 million people visit annually to …

Streets of Honfleur

Painting trip in France: moving on from Giverny

betty ming liu Art, Travel 6 Comments

After three memorable days of painting plants and gardens in Giverny, we’re packing up and moving on. Just in time too. This 10-day artist’s vacation has turned into a creative boot camp that has me greened out. Time for a change of scenery and color palette… Our next stop is a Honfleur, a quaint, historic port town along the Seine. …