A doorway in Rome, Italy

Painting has always been my own particular potential. For 30 years, I lived for painting, obsessed with it. When I was not painting I was daydreaming about images, composing them in my head. I painted all the time, alongside cooking the meals, helping the kids with their homework and during our constant moves from one country to another. To sleep among my paintings was beautiful, so I could see them first thing as I woke up.

The porch at my old house in Washington, D.C.

Everything about painting excited me: The smell of turpentine. Forming the shapes on the canvas bit by bit. The triumph of finishing a painting, and hanging it on a wall. Seeing it becoming infused with the life I gave it and then giving it a name.

"Private Pleasures", at the Alhambra in Granada, Spain.

I am a realist painter. I paint what interests me. Everyday objects. People. Interiors. Landscapes. Fruits and vegetables. Beautiful things and scary thoughts. Every painting is my composition of photo images from many different places and times, and persistent thoughts that result in a different story for each viewer. I love letting people tell stories to themselves.

Mint tea on a Portuguese verandah.

In the 80’s and 90’s realist painting was unfashionable. If you painted beautiful objects, you were labeled square, conventional and traditional by critics who wanted to see the abstract or the outrageous. The public was told to believe that “art” was only far out and extreme forms – and done by artists that the critics approved. Yes, art, like all culture, is also political. But not everyone follows what critics recommend. Nearly every painting I did was bought almost before it was finished.

Several reflections of my daughter.

It takes me a long time to complete a painting. I have never been able to do more than about 12 large paintings a year. The image of what I want to do usually forms slowly in my mind – often over months or years. But sometimes it bursts out fully developed like Zeus from the head of Athena. When the images are clear, I sketch the thinnest of lines on the canvas, notations only. Color is my guide. The images take shape with paint and color. If there is a central figure, I paint that face first. If I get it right, I know the rest of the painting will fall into place. Weeks later, when I am finishing the last details of the painting and cannot bear to be in front of it any longer, the release of completing it is total. I have been called an aesthete. So be it. I always thought that if I could add a touch of beauty to the world – and still touch on every story -- what was wrong with hat?

A chapel window in Sintra, Portugal.

The above is a reflection on my very first entry when I started blogging in June. Now I’m back in the studio, sorting out my next painting, so I wanted to show you some earlier ones.

An old coach entrance to a building in Madrid.

But the other reason for bringing up painting is that I decided to recognize some of the very talented people I have come across in the three months I have been blogging. I call this recognition “Moonlight”. I have been puzzling about the image and here is the final result of a number of sketches.


Moonlight in this case represents the glorious brain-sharpening, mood-enhancing experience one feels when reading or seeing something inspirational in other blogs. Something that sets the tone for the rest of your day, puts a smile on your face, stimulates your work, or makes you feels awesome about life. It is not often one feels wonderful. But some days, some blogs do just that.

I want to give “moonlights” to all the special blogs I encounter.

There are no obligations attached to the recognition. But if you feel like it, you can pass it on to whoever has also given you that something special, what in Spanish they call “eso”, or “it”. Whatever “it” is that lifts your spirits and helps you to up your mental game.

”Moonlights” go to three talented artists I very much admire.

These “moonlights” go to wonderful photographers:

“Moonlights” for wonderful people with a lot of pluck:

“Moonlights” for blogs that delight me:

In the future I will be handing out more “moonlights” to other bloggers who inspire me.


  1. There's something off with the links. I'm going to send you directions.

    The image reminds me of the book "Mythago Wood" and its sequel, "Lavondyss" in which the main character has a moon mask.

  2. OOps. thought I had your email. I think if you are linking by highlighting the type and using the little green box with horns in the new posts, you may be doubling up on the https - Anyway, looking forward to visiting when it; sorted.

  3. Celeste, Thank you, Thank you. I sometimes lately have wandered from that steadfast determination that must be there at times and thanks to you and your upbeat attitude you have made me feel worthy again. You wonderful talented lady that has more talent in your little finger than me, and many others. I am honored.

  4. Can somebody please tell me how to get the links to connect to the various blogs? Thank you!

  5. Celeste, you are a very talented person and a gifted painter.
    Please don't be angry at me, but I think you probably will like to check the work of portuguese painter Manuel Amado and also the photographs of James Casebere.
    I like to use Google Reader to keep me posted on all the sites I like...

  6. Hi Celeste, es increíble el talento que tienes. Maravillosas tus pinturas, too realistic... I wonder how you do that... it´s a Gift I believe.
    María Cecilia

  7. Hi Celeste:)


    Let me clarify your query first.

    Go to EDIT POSTS, select the blog Url you want to link, then click on the icon for link( there is an icon after Bold and Italics. A box will open up. Enter the url and click on OK. The blog will be linked. You have to do this for each blog. I hope it is clear.

    I am amazed at the beautiful paintings done by you. Gorgeous work! Spell binding! You are indeed a marvelous painter and I admire you. I never realized that so much thought process and hard work is involved in painting. You are a great master artist and you have magic in your hands.

    My hearty congratulation to all the winners to whom you have bestowed the fantastic award.
    I visit Herrad and Lucy. They are an inspiration to me and I feel like a toddler in their presence. Others must be equally good. I will visit them one by one as and when I get time. Many thanks for highlighting these wonderful blogs.

    Have a wonderful day Celeste:)

  8. Oh my! I feel truly honored to be in such company! And such a gorgeous image. Thank you, Celeste!

    Your paintings are wonderful! I especially love the doorway, the front porch, and the chapel window -- space filed with shadows.

    The only way I know to make the links hot is a slow process. Go to the website you are linking to and COPY the URL. Then go to your post in EDIT. Highlight the website address in your post. Go to the little green link icon at the top of the page and click. It will allow you to insert the hot link.

    As far as I know you have to do this one at a time -- tedious. Surely there's someone else who can give a better explanation.

    Muito obrigada pela honra deste prémio por ti concebido.....tu sabes bem como aprecio e admiro o teu excelente trabalho, a tua sensibilidade artistica não tem limites e tu maravilhas-me sempre que me mostras algo de novo. Estas pinturas que aqui apresentas são fabulosas......adoro os reflexos e as sombras que tão bem exploras nas tuas composições.
    A imagem deste premio "MOONLIGHT" parece ter sido criada "especialmente" para mim, pois identifico-me com ela, a "dualidade" desta mascara, para mim é o meu estilo de filosofia de vida, entre o ocidente e o oriente unidos por esta lua simbólica, que para mim é a alma que me guia.
    Beijinhos, HELENA

  10. Beautiful paintings and incredible finished products! ; )

    Since ArtS mentioned letting you know about linking, I won't double the intructions.


  11. Estou há imenso tempo a olhar para as suas pinturas.Amplio-as,recosto-me na cadeira,saboreio as sombras,as transparências...o prolongamento misterioso de cada uma.É a grande responsável por ter o trabalho todo atrasado!Obrigado.
    um beijinho

  12. Hi Celeste,
    Thanks for this beautiful award, thgink it is really lovely.

  13. Querida Celeste: sao lindos os teus quadros. Muito obrigado por expo-los desta maneira. Agora, esse Moonlight que criaste e muito especial. Parabens aos premiados. Certamente que visitarei esses Blogs. Tudo de bom. Grande trabalho! :)

  14. Your paintings are stunning, absolutely stunning! Especially the ones with the shadows - I love them! And is that a monkey at your daughter's feet in that painting?! :)

  15. Dear Celeste
    You are too generous to include my little effort in your wonderful award.
    I shall display it with great pride.

  16. How wonderful to have such a passion -- and the talent to manifest it. I particularly like the sunlight streaming into the chapel window.

    Your moonlight is such a good idea, and the blogs which I'm familiar with are very deserving.

  17. What a beautiful thing to do. I love the "Moonlight" painting.

    Loving all things related to tea, I just adore your Mint tea on a Portuguese verandah. All your paintings are wonderful. Thanks so much for sharing them with us.

  18. These paintings are wonderful. You create story with color and shapes and textures. I'm awed.

  19. Celeste,
    Your paintings are beautiful. As with your writing, they take us to magical places..
    I have a small canvas that I have been trying to finish since 2001..So far, I have done the blue background. I have spent much time trying to figure out how to make the special clouds that would finish it.
    The day after the World Trade Center was hit, I was on my way to work and noticed a small section of the very blue sky filled with clouds that were shaped like small tornados. My first thought was that the skies were weeping for the loss of so many..Minutes after seeing them, I heard them talking about it on the radio. People were starting to call in and talk about this wonderous sight.
    With the anniversary coming up in a couple of days, it brings it to the forfront again that I need to finish it..
    Sorry, didn't mean to ramble

  20. Neither poet nor painter will be able to speak about the moon anymore, without having your name in thoughts.
    Remember as well a student, who wrote: There's life upon the moon, becaues there is light.
    Thank you for making bright this and any other long night.

  21. Absolutely delightful post! How talented you are!

  22. What lovely images, and what a lovely sentiment you are sharing! You, my dear, are quite a lovely and inspiring lady. I'm just sayin. :)

    So very happy to be back to the computer. I am spending a few days catching up with everyone. Your blog makes me happy to catch up!

  23. Celeste thank you so much for including me in the Moonlight award - it is so beautiful, and I feel honored to be in such great company. Some of which I will need to come back and check out.

    Your paintings are just beautiful. I have a soft spot for realism. Most of my artwork is in that form. Your daughter is lovely, as is the reflections from the windows in some of the paintings. I hope we get to see more in the future. I am always awed by the incredible talent in the world. And you are certainly talented in so may ways. What a joy to have found you!

  24. What an inspiring post. And your paintings are breathtaking! It is inspiring to read about your process, and to see the amazing results of your passion. I am very grateful to have found your blog, and will be checking back often!

  25. Thank you, Celeste! What a beautiful prize!!

  26. Celeste,

    Your paintings are beautiful windows of possibility.

    I don't know what it is...they are charged with a sort of silence, of peacefulness, that invites to reflection and the engagement of one's mind. And you find yourself completely "in them".

    For lack of better words to express myself I can only say I FEEL them as windows with doors. You are taken in by the light and the shadows, the choice of color and angles of composition, and then you start finding these doors to inner parts of yourself...and you reveal in the paintings.

    Some how, as I am writing this I am reminded of "The Interior Castle" by the Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila. Somehow, your paintings have that same quality of leading us to that inner light.

    Thank you for generously mentioning my "little room" amongst such excellent places.

    And now I'm off to visit them :)



  27. I particularly like the chapel window and the Time Machine affect of the reflection in the coach house. Wonderful work.

  28. Dear Celeste,
    I am truly touched to be honored by someone I admire so dearly. I am only beginning to get to know you and I find that each time I see that you have a new post I get this little jump of excitement. You enchant and delight and bring moments of joy to peoples lives. Thank you for sharing your glorious paintings. The light shines clear across the ocean.
    Many thanks for this special honor.

  29. How incredibly rare ... . your writing about your painting is as remarkable as your art!

    I can see why you'd take delight in waking up to such beauty.


  30. This is a lovely post, great paintings (sobre todo la Alhambra!) and wonderful words!

    But the highlight is definitely the Moonlight... enchanting! Thanks for such a beautiful idea!

    I've come over from Herrad's blog who was kind enough to pass on your award to me!

  31. I loved every painting you've done. Ah, the technique is beyond wonderful. So nice to visit today and not have to do my own blog, but I love that you are giving others an award while showing us some of your work. Yummy and delicious are what comes to mind. I could see the tea in the pot, the moisture on the floor, the shine on the car, etc. Really beautiful.

  32. y muchas gracias por la visita! ;o)

  33. Tem sido um enorme privilégio visitar o seu blog!
    Tanto as fotos como os quadros são de uma beleza envolvente, não me canso de os olhar.
    Decidi partilhar a visita de hoje com a minha filha Sofia, que comentou " Uau!Does she give classes?"
    Gostaria também de lhe dizer tenho ido espreitar os blogs que mereceram a distinção " Moonlight" e tenho visto coisas muito bonitas e interessantes.
    Beijinho grande e muito obrigada. Maria José

  34. Hi Celeste, I love seeing your gorgeous works of art and can appreciate the process. You are so very talented in all that you do, from writing to painting and beyond.
    Thank you for sharing such beauty. I love them all.

    Thank you for stopping by and your kind comment.
    Have a nice evening.
    Hugs, Celestina Marie

  35. Oh, Celeste! Graçias! you honor me, and you also move me with your beautiful paintings. What a wonderful community you have surrounded yourself with, and what beauty! I look forward to more of your paintings & photographs, and to peek into what else inspires you: these blogs you have picked!

    Thank you! ...the Moon, Sun and Stars for you!

  36. So, Celeste, may we post your beautiful moon painting on our blog??

  37. Hi Celeste Maia, I loved seeing your earlier paintings. There's something so calming about them, like the paintings of Vermeer, especially the chapel window painting. And your story confirms that if you do what you love the universe will take care of you. I am learning to do that...

    Thank you so much for the award!!! How lovely to be given the gift of moonlight. What a wonderful idea. I will definitely pass it on. I read your message last night but was too sleepy headed to be able to respond coherently. But I was so glad, and so grateful. Thank you!

  38. What a wonderful artist you are, sometimes I wonder why you visit my poor efforts but I love visiting your blog, so very different to the world I live in.

  39. After first seeing your post at Google Reader, I have been back several times to gaze on your paintings. My favorite is the chapel window. Your talent is extraordinary, and I admire your compositions, colors, shadows and tones. Your work reminded me immediately of one of my favorite realistic painters, Denis Fremond in Paris. His gallery is here if you are interested.

    Thank you for my Moonlight! I close my eyes and feel it inside, such a happy glow.

  40. Reading through this post, I came to know a bit about you and your life. Seems you have lived a very lively life, and have enjoyed it to the max I believe, with your passion and love for painting.

    I am feeling highly honored that you thought of me when giving "moonlight" to the best you have found.

    If you recall, you asked me whether I want to take photography as a profession. Actually, I have always wanted to, but had never found a good way. But I guess I have found it now. I have started taking advertisements on my blog to make myself pushing more in photography. And to follow my social responsibility, I will be donating 10% of the revenue to charity or to the underprivileged. I have already got 1 sponsor. I will appreciate if you can guide and help me with your vast experience of life.

    Once again, I feel highly honored that I am one of the Moonlights! God bless you!!

  41. You have a lot to offer both here and on the canvass.

  42. Such beautiful paintings, Celeste. All of them! You are truly gifted.

  43. I just found your site through Erika, whom you awarded your Moonlight prize. I am SO glad she linked us to you. I'm brand new to painting on a regular basis and now I have another place to stop, drink in, admire, and from which to learn. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your inspirations, your work... for sharing yourself.

  44. Yes, I can see why you thought of the painting. Perfect! And I'm honored. . . Hola from Mexico.

  45. Such beautiful paintings, Celeste. You are a wonderful artist and you have a beautiful blog, beautiful words, beautiful art! You are a treat to visit!

    Thank you!

  46. Your paintings are incredible and that you can create one in only a month and how wonderful that you always knew painting was your bliss. My son Patrick from the time he could hold a pencil in his hand knew only art and now does great geometric sculptures. You also remind me of him as you both are such caring individuals. I am honored to receive your recognition for my "pluck" and not only does the moon have special significance from my Wiccan days but also I see the figure holding the moon as Jungian. I am always aware of my shadow side.

  47. Celeste Maia – this is what I wrote on my blog to thank you: “ I went to look at the Moonlight offering at your blog and I am speechless. You are a great artist and I am humbled that my little blog is getting such an honor. Thank you very much.” But in case you do not go back to my post I’d like to thank you again for your kind award to my blog. My husband and I looked at your painting and were in awe – they are truly beautiful. Now I am going on another trip for a couple of weeks – I have two posts that will be published while I am away and my daughter will administer the comments. I’ll come back to read you posts when I am back, see you then.

  48. Celeste, your paintings are beautiful, they capture the light so well. Art is in the eye of the beholder, as is beauty. If you like what you see, read, hear etc, it does not matter what any critic says. Life is all about personal experiences. We share similarities and we have our differences as well. So glad you have shown us your wonderful talent.

  49. What a lovely post! I had no idea you had only been blogging for three months! You do it very well - I thought you were a blogging master when I first came upon your blog! Your paintings are exquisite.

    I love your Moonlight award. When I have a few moments, I shall go visit them all!

  50. Dearest Celeste,
    I love your paintings!
    My absolute favorite is the one of your daughter! Flowing close on its' heels is the Moon painting; how interesting!
    one of my kids wants to be Zeus for Halloween and his friend might be Athena!
    thank you!

  51. Celeste! Where on earth have I been, not to respond sooner here? Oh yes, I'm taking my "Moonlight" award and posting it before end of day, once I get out of my own laundry room! No kidding, it was such a "corporate" and "writing" week for me, I did not spin around much in blogworld, though it's a fave spot to hang out.

    Your paintings are so particular; I enjoy them all, but what is it especially about the architectural ones that so intrigues me? And also the tea setting. But the light on the stones and tiles, the doorways, all very special. So full of promise, ready for exploration.
    And so are your comments on my blog. Lovely.
    more later...I'm hanging linens in the fresh air to dry in the sun - can you paint the lovely outdoor scent that gets into air-dried cotton shirts?

  52. Celeste, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful. I love your paintings. Your "Moonlight" idea is wonderful. The way you describe how you feel about painting is perfect and I couldn't agree with you more.

  53. muito obrigada! thank you for inspiring links! as soon as our web speed will be better (usually after the 15th) I will check all of your moonlight-links. I am sure they will delight me as I am thirsting for inspiration to maybe start painting or drawing again.

  54. Thank you for sharing your experience, your passion . Love the way you paint .

  55. Celeste,
    your talents
    are limitless...

    and painting

    most incredible pursuits and achievements!

    and peace~

  56. I really like your art. My personal favorite is An old coach entrance to a building in Madrid. To me it conveys the feeling of a hot summer day at noon, when you enter the shady and still cool entrance of an old building that makes you almost shiver. The reflection of the cars on the marble wall tiles is beautifully accomplished.

  57. And finally the very deserved prize for you, your very own Moonlight!!!
    I see this moonlight painting as an image of you, as a "real" mask you wear, the complex and fascinating brilliant possibility of what it means to be a Human Being.
    And you are holding the light, that light which infuses life into every single atom, every single little and big thing, the light which is the source of Life itself, and the Light that is the creative foce of the Universe.
    All of your paintings, all of your words, all of your photographs, all of your books, all of your creations are a testimony to the Creative Spirit of the Universe Itself.
    Please receive this award, this amazing "Moonlight" as the most well deserved prize you receive today!
    It comes with all the appreciation and admiration and love which you inspire!!!
    Isabel (in DC)

  58. cant stopp say ---ing WOW thanks

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