daily painting | metal piece update

This is the metal piece I am working on, the melted engine block from the Greyhound Friends for Life van destroyed in the Sonoma County fires last Oct. At first I tried to make it flow from one color to the next, making it fire-like. It was OK, but yesterday I needed to make it more my own creation and turn off my brain—I was trying to make it into a sophisticated piece that would do well when auctioned. Finally I let go of the final product and let myself create freely, Emily-style. It’s working better than way. Excited to see how it turns out (I might love it; I might hate it). Hope it generates funds for GFFL. It is becoming more bird-like—maybe a Phoenix. Kind of a cliche but perhaps it fits. Alas, I just never get far from the bird thing. I’m cool with that.




daily painting | pioneer creek

Watercolor sketch of Pioneer Creek, WI. Missing it. Maggie the muskrat swimming across the creek, looking to say hello. Fish fighting amongst themselves for Diane’s nightcrawlers, broadwing hawks overhead, layered lily pad leaves nudging the reedy bank. The peace of that place! Breeze rocked the pontoon boat where I sat, painting. Chilly there, now. Autumn has arrived. We never did figure out what made the very loud splashing noises now and then. Sounded like a dog dropping into the water from a tree limb. Never saw it. Really big fish jumping? That place was full of beautiful mysteries.

5.5″ x 5.5″ watercolor, pen on paper = $40




daily painting | fishing rods

The pontoon boat at the vacation cabin in WI, moored at the dock on Pioneer Creek, was a floating couch. I could stretch out and read, nap or paint while Diane reeled in bluegills and bass. The fishing implements dept in the corner of the boat was an array of colorful rods and water safety gear and the scene was so cheerful and vacationy that it needed to be painted. We also scored big in weather — it was sunny and warm the week we were there. The week after, it was raining and in the 50s. Lucky!

10″ x 7″ watercolor, pen on paper = $90




daily painting | bench, firepit, mushroom

Bright yellow mushrooms were blooming in the expansive front yard of the Wisconsin vacation cabin. They seemed to pop up magically, like wood spirits conjured them in the night. I lay down on my belly to photograph this cheery fellow, so I could paint him later. The bench next to the stone fire pit watched over these little fungi. Very cute. Maybe deadly.

9″ x 12″ watercolor, pen on paper = $140




daily painting | north woods deer skull

This buck skull was on the windowsill of the cabin in Wisconsin. It was compelling — it had a voice and a mystery and called to me. I wanted to do a monochromatic painting of it (Daniel Smith Moonglow). This painting pulls me in. I have been a bit obsessed with death since my mom died 13 years ago. It is the great enigma that we cannot understand until we take our last breaths. The final great adventure. Earlier this year in a space of 10 days I attended 3 funerals, and since I am closer to the end of my life than the beginning, I find these questions fascinating. But not scary. I just want to live to the max until the very end — to be awake, to pay attention, to create, to love.

8″ x 10″ watercolor, pen on paper = $100




daily painting | diane’s tomato

This luscious tomato that Diane grew in her Tennessee garden came along for the ride to the Wisconsin north woods. She graciously allowed me to paint it, keeping it out of the salad for the moment. It’s called a Cherokee purple heirloom tomato, which is an awful, racist moniker for this fruit, kind of like naming a football team the Redskins — or like calling a team The Brooklyn Jews or the Houston Negroes. Pardon my opinions — these things get me riled up. But the tomato was both beautiful to look at and even tastier to eat. I put it on the railing of the cabin front porch to paint. May the people who name teams and tomatoes grow into a more conscious and sensitive folk.

5.5″ x 5.5″ watercolor, pen on paper = $40




daily painting | conover wheelbarrow

Oh boy oh boy. 2nd annual vacation at the A-frame cabin on Pioneer Creek (that runs into Pioneer Lake) in the north woods of Wisconsin, almost into the UP of Michigan. Came into the library (has wifi) to post this, so I’ll catch up on blogs next week after I return. It’s glorious being off the grid. Friend Diane catches bluegill off the dock until her arms wear out (not to mention a 23.5″ walleye!) I sit on the front porch — or at picnic table on the lake — or on the dock — painting and sketching away. Flickers call shrilly, muskrats cross the “crick” with plant material in their mouths, muscular river otters swim by, broadwing hawks circle overhead, perhaps migrating. At the lake a bald eagle swooped down and caught a fish. Probably inspired by the bass Diane was reeling in. Much magic, here.

5.5″ x 5.5″ watercolor, pen on paper = $40




daily painting | barnhill phone booth

There is this old phone booth along the waterfront in Alameda, a relic of the past. Its only connection is to various plants and a few nautical lines. It used to have an old surfboard in it (I think it was on hold) but some damn thief swiped it a few years ago. Charming, this scene — I saw another local artist sitting out there painting it, and so I had to do my own version. Terrific funk factor in this part of Alameda. May it stay undeveloped.

7″ x 9″ watercolor, pen on paper = $80




daily painting | subterranean

I’m reading an inspiring book, No Secondhand Art. Sometimes I focus on working hard to do a daily painting, and trying to make it good to add to this blog. I was moved over the weekend to take an older watercolor abstract and work into it with acrylics, expressing deep emotion as a way of personal expression. It was cathartic — almost always is. It “brought me ’round” — it’s so important to honestly create. To forget about “the market.” To forget about social media. To do it. The satisfaction was great, and I like this painting very much.

10″ x 7″ watercolor, acrylic, pencil, oil pastel on paper = $795