Thursday, December 13, 2007


An artist friend casually mentioned that maybe it was time for me to move away from the calm glassy images I have been working with for so long. Not that I am in any way finished exploring the subject, but I decided to branch out. I had been entertaining the idea of painting wave spray/foam in oil for a while, but frankly, it is a daunting project. As I finished my recent foam drawing, I felt almost warmed up. After I picked an image that I liked, I then proceeded to find all sorts of distractions to keep me from taking that first step. but here it is.. The underpainting for the foam painting. Up until today, I have been putting off painting over it, I actually liked the looseness and drawing-like quality of the paint. ( hmmm, maybe I should be paying attention to something here) But alas, it will be lost and I may totally ruin the whole thing. So here's a photo before it changes..

Friday, November 23, 2007


I am grateful to be surrounded by beauty, for the everchanging surfaces of the water, for a mind that finds delight and interest in the impermanence of it all, and for the ability to become engaged in seeking to understand water through the medium of painting as well as the means to share it with others..

oil 12"x36"

Friday, November 16, 2007


The newest of the "foam" series.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Together again

Just to see for myself the difference between two colors and a full palette(!) I painted the piece on the left as a continuation of the "breakthrough" painting.. They are meant to go together.. I also wanted to see the 4 paintings together again, as two of them found a new home.. Am slowly working more studio time into my day.. (each painting is 16"x20")


Wednesday, October 03, 2007


I am finally getting close to whatever color it is I see in the water with this study.. Thanks to a tube of cerulean blue that I received for my birthday in June..If you look in the archives, you may be able to see how far this painting is from the previous studies..especially July 2006...

The new paint helped, as well as a year(!) of experimenting...but as valuable is the time I sit in the water, looking, looking, looking.. and then trying to remember what it is that I saw when I am in front of a blank canvas..

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Painting, but not THAT kind

Ah, I am SO longing to get back in the studio and start a new painting.. As usual, the activities of the summer, mostly people-oriented, while I have welcomed them with open arms, have not allowed me to continue that important mental continuity it takes to keep me fresh, involved, and on track.. My artists mind works best when my life is uncomplicated... Unfortunately, I'm not one of those artists who can just go work when ever I feel like it.. I need certain conditions so my mind isn't constantly drawn to other life issues.
However, since the end of last month, I have been in the process of painting a condo that my son will be moving into.. an amazing lot of work and not yet finished... so I am counting the is nice to paint for the first day, then a couple of weeks later you wonder if it will ever be finished.. And why isn't he helping? He works all day....
Luckily, I have a drawing in progress. SO when I return to the studio, I won't be totally spinning my wheels... Hope to post a new piece soon!!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Playing with old images

Um, just thought I'd add a new/old image since I just returned from a week on the right coast and haven't returned to the studio yet.. Many thanks for those of you (Carol, Pat, Sheila) who took the time to visit this blog.. That's what it is about for me, sharing with friends.. This is just two different pieces of art, put together.. the things one can do with a computer! Probably approx 3'x6'.. It's so hard getting started again after a break.. especially if I'm already working on something...OOOP! Off I go!

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Saturday, July 21, 2007

Middle Ground

My work has been following me around. This new charcoal drawing has accompanied me on many trips.. I clip it to some foam core, throw my materials in a bag and whenever the moment presents itself, it is there to work on.. I have worked on it in Inverness and while scanning about 4000 slides (in progress) these past few weeks.. I can pick it up and just do a bit at a time. One of the things I like so much about drawing is the ease and portability of the materials. It was really fun to get back to this series. I really love the well as the black and white..

And at the same time, I finally completed another water painting.. I had a hard time with the photo, hence the easel shot..In the painting process, the hardest part for me is when the painting is almost finished, but I see all sorts of areas that need working on just a bit more..It could go on forever... Minor stuff, but important to me.. ah the perils of a perfectionist.. I can just never get it right... which is good in a way because it motivates me to keep trying.. hopefully on the next painting.. Here I discovered that Gamlin Payne's grey is bluer than the same color from Windsor Newton.. Which works well for me.

oil 30"x40"

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Self Portrait

Well, not exactly, but a portrait of a beloved object in my life.. My Mystic board, sitting in the water on a calm day, in between waves.. waiting...As for the painting, I painted over a previous unsuccessful canvas.. Used some previously unfamilar colors. Still working with a limited palette..And, after all, it is all about the water..which, by the way, has a lot of transparent green in the dark areas.. this is overly blue.. and a bit dark..
A couple of issues at work here..
1) This is my third try at a photo.. Since I glazed some of the colors, the canvas is shiny in some spots.. so any light bounces compensation, I took the photo in an area with indirect light, which was really too dark, hence, the slight out of focus look. Not to mention , of course, the ever evasive color matching.
2) Impatient, lazy or does perfection no longer matter? If I spent a bit more time "getting it right" I could probably get a lot closer to the original. But, since this is only a blog (ie. not a portfolio or sales site) does it matter that much to me? Uh, yes and no.. Today it doesn't matter.
3) Working title was "mystic(k)" John Moore, a local shaper, made the board, a Mystic. But it is my stick.. yeah, I know, kinda dumb.. Whatd'ya think?

Monday, May 14, 2007

A beautiful Shame

Beautiful glassy calm mercurial light filled water. In the distance I see a dazzling luminous green object floating in the water..I paddle closer and pick it up.. The contradictory image of the moment stays with me. At home, as I am working on , yes, yet another color study, the bottle finds it's way into the piece. I am reminded of the plastic bag blowing in the wind, from the film, "American Beauty" I guess this is my version. (8"x10")

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


Not a good day to write so I will just post "Traces" (12"x36") and keep my mouth shut, for now anyway..

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Let go and ....flow

There should be a way that I can write "flow" in the way that I am feeling it now.. I can say it, but somehow, "floooooooow" just doesn't do it..
I am in the third day of working on a new painting.. It is long and horizontal and is meant to be a view from water level, that is, I am in the water, looking out over the seascape from sea level, not above.. Picture a camera half in and half out.. I have had this idea in my head for ages, but have never been able to get the right perspective with a camera (not having a water housing for my digital camera) .. I ended up looking at a surf film shot that way and did some sketches to start me off..
First I just went for it, blocked in the areas of dark and light, just using payne's grey and white.. Yesterday after "working" in the water, (in between the meager waves) that is, really being observant of color, light, etc, I returned home and painted a second time, establishing the sky reflected in the surface.
When I saw it this morning , it was all wrong...Instead of doing some essential errands (like buying food for my family) and my morning exercise, I started to just paint... 3 1/2 hours later, I dragged myself away to write this and to eat something.. And also, walk away from the piece. When I left, it was really coming together.. so amazing.. I hope it looks as good when I return..
I find myself starting to rely less and less on photographic reference, and accuracy, and just going for it. And it usually happens when I make a mistake or just give up on something.. um, I think it's called "letting go."
I sure do enjoy the feeling of flow when it happens... and to think it's possible to live our lives flowing over, around and through the obstacles that we encounter on the way.. mostly of our own making.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Surface Matter(s)

After staring at this on my studio wall for almost 2 months, it is "done"..
It was a fun process working with this image, covering the canvas, working on it right side up, upside down, sideways, a small area at a time, everything at once.. Always learning. The challenge was making it work (for me) .. Noticing how the image is realistic and abstract at the same time..
One of the things I love about painting water is that it is such a fluid process..(no pun intended) Observation, painting, decisions.. Flow. Something mysterious is at work here. if I knew what it was I would write about it.

"Surface Matter(s)" oil, 4'x3'

In the studio

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Sneak peek

A large canvas is quite an undertaking, and I am painting a water surface that is not so familiar to me. Turns out if the surf is down and/or the weather is stormy, I spend more time painting.. Even lost myself a few days, which is rare for me.. It feels near completion, but that could change in an instant...looks like next week will bring some waves (at last!) so I better get back to work...stay tuned...

Friday, February 23, 2007

Up to three colors + white!!

I don't know what it is about glassy water.. the calming effect, the light, the motion, the mercurial element. (quicksilver!) What I do know is that I want to keep painting it...This painting started out as an experiment, months ago, in glazing (layering thin glazes of paint, intended to create a luminous quality ) but since I had no idea what I was doing, I just now painted over it.. It's oil, 8"x10". Ultramarine blue, cadmium yellow, cadmium red, and white...

Finally got one of those "miscellaneous" ideas out of my head and onto a board (9"x12")...(probably because I got out of the studio and onto a board.. hehe) .. it's one of those beautifully lit Bolinas mornings, off shore wind, perfect conditions, with a nice swell, but closing out on the sandbar at low tide... darn! From a photo by Jesse Wagstaff..
I find that as much as I love waves, I am much more attracted to what "makes" a wave...water, form, light, color and movement/energy....I'm not particularly interested in painting the perfect waves, although I dream of them all the time and love seeing photos.. however, I do need to do a wave or a surf scene every once in a while just to get it out of my system.. voici!

Monday, February 19, 2007

Living dangerously

Cruising on the momentum of having a pallette full of unused paint as well as a gessoed and sanded board, I just went at the surface unprepared and uninformed..usually I spend a lot of time preparing for an image I intend to paint, studying photos, systematically drawing and then transferring an image...but here I just laid down the paint with no awareness of control...It was a lot of fun actually and although it is the preferred technique for many painters, I have never felt comfortable doing it.. Feels too risky I guess, what if I fail?
I actually am quite fond of this little (8"x10") study, and think I am going to tackle the 36"x48" canvas in my studio for something along the same lines..

Refining an image

I knew something had been bugging me about the image below, and in my "desperation" to paint, I decided to risk ruining it and trust my instinct.. I knew it wasn't quite right before, but was tired of working on it and also couldn't see what it needed..What happened is that I ended up making more of a value variation from top to bottom and softening the harsh dark shadows in the water... Maybe it doesn't make that much of a difference to the viewer, but to me, I just couldn't rest until it felt "right" to me.. So I will let it rest now..The good thing is that it got me back painting again...


After.. new and improved

Monday, February 12, 2007

Pin ball machine mind

Well, it seems that yet again I have fallen out of the groove of painting... and it is always so hard to get back in.. I have SO many ideas of images I am attracted to, but no one stands out...So I pop around from one to another. It seems to drain the energy right out of me.. I finally gave up last week and went to the movies.. Then a weekend of avoidance... today I am still avoiding the studio.. I get in the all too famiiar trap of wanting to do something "good" and that leaves me little room to make mistakes and experiment.. So I end up paralyzed and dissatisfied...I know I will eventually let go...
On another note, if you want to see what knocked me off track, here is a link.. I'm the one with a dark shirt and light blue board shorts...(not with long braids) ..
So I'm going up to the studio and see if I can get something going..oops, it's noon, maybe after lunch...

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Wow, it's not THAT blue!

It seems that all I ever do these days are what I prefer to call "experiments" Maybe that lets me off the hook when they don't turn out exactly as I envision them.. Maybe all painting is experimental.. that is maybe until one has some sense of control about what one is doing and the results are consistent with the vision.. just pondering..
8x10 oil (???)
I really dislike naming paintings/studies..
On another note, I now have plans do a website, at the encouragement of Jesse.. I plan to put past work on it, and just link it to this blog.. The blog will be a "as I do them and how I feel about them" site while the web will have all my work in one place .. easy to view (you don't have to go through the archives) ..

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Be patient, things change!

A very busy mind accompanied me when I returned to the studio for an "uninterrupted" day of work this week.. I had so many ideas and images running through my head, it was impossible to settle on any one. Either they weren't interesting enough or required too much research. No one idea stood out.. Even when I randomly selected one, I would immediately reject it.. I felt frantic! Ah, the challenges of being a perfectionist...Enough with this restless crazy mind!

After a frantic, unsatisying day of spinning my wheels, I saw that I would just have to wait until it calmed down a bit, which required letting go of any ideas of what I should be doing..

By the next day, it had calmed down and it became obvious what to do.... duh.

Some surfers paddle around all over the place, frantically chasing waves, hoping they will be in the right spot at the right time.. often chasing something that isn't even there.. .. Others sit patiently and wait in one spot, knowing a wave will come to them.. Both are fine, and I do both.. but from experience, I am learning that the calm, patient, focused approach pays off in the end. For me anyway..Yet another life lesson from surfing..

"Patience" 8x10 oil

Friday, January 12, 2007


In a burst of energy, I took photos of older pieces , all not related to water.. And of course the fun of playing with the edit feature of Picasa produced some interesting results.. Here's just one..this is large, 3'x6'... the Buddha face is charcoal and gouache on paper, the water, oil on canvas. Oh well just for fun.
Odd, yesterday's post isn't here.. must have done something weird..or nothing at all...later...

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