daily painting | tilden poppies

It was a perfect day for a hike up in Tilden Park in the E Bay hills — cool breezes, clear skies, not too many hikers on the trail (the trails are wide so it’s easy to socially distance). A friend and I took about 95 pictures of these poppies near the road and I painted from one of the shots from the comfort of my kitchen yesterday, wanting in particular to stay loose with the paint. The huge blooms with their papery petals and pincushion centers were lovely and profuse, there at the bottom of S. Park Drive. We saw what seemed to be a family of red tail hawks calling out and gliding and circling, heard a red shouldered hawk calling from the trees, enjoyed the amazing views from the ridge both of the entire SF bay and, on the other side, Mt Diablo. It’s one of my favorite hikes, and was a great afternoon and a wonderful distraction from the worrying news stories. Blooming flowers and lush gardens and birds in the air remind me to enjoy the glories of this world; to inhale them.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | the edge

Again see-sawing between large abstracts (painted in my studio) and small watercolors (done all over the place). The emotional expression of creating an abstract is great therapy and often, as part of the process, includes sitting in my chair and weeping as I let feelings go — grief, loss, concern about my country, worries about the health of family members. Creating art does that — the process helps me access feelings, reach down into them and let them go. This painting seems to show an edge — should I take a flying leap off of it? Should I build a guardrail around it? Should I post warning signs? I have no idea. I’m just doing one day at a time over here and some days are edgier than others. Are we there yet?

56″ x 40″ acrylic, crayon, oil pastel, pencil on canvas = $2900

 

 

 

 

daily painting | perched

I was so honored that my neighbor Danishka, an accomplished and talented movie/TV director, purchased several of my watercolors! She works on location all over the world, and is a considerate neighbor to boot. She bought the paintings (from this website) while I was in San Diego, however, so I couldn’t go find them for her; turned out she’s making a TV series in Canada anyways so I didn’t have to worry. But! Then I came home and couldn’t find one of the paintings she had selected (and already paid for), of a night heron perched on this railing outside my window; I found a substitute for her that she graciously accepted but I’m not super happy with its quality. So I found a similar photo I’d taken of an egret, perched in the same spot, and painted from that pic today. I’ll wrap up her purchased paintings and include this one as a bonus. I’m embarrassed I lost track of that other one. I will work on my inventory control issues.

7″ x 10″ watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | green house

On a recent stroll through Berkeley, I walked past this charming house painted in bright greens, oranges and yellows next to a striking red fence along the sidewalk. I snapped a few pics to paint from at home. I was quite smitten with this building, so creatively adorned with its vibrant colors and several ceramic tiles. I walked past it as I left my elderly Prius at the Nate’s Green Garage nearby and was headed to friends Nancy and Steve’s house where I could enjoy their back yard (at a safe social distance) while Nate fixed up my old girl. Such a pleasant afternoon sitting under their redwood tree, doing some work on my laptop, and watching a crow family enjoy peanuts Nancy put on the deck for them (“Chupper” liked to soak his in drinking water first). A great comfort to be around birds and humans.

10″ x 10″ watercolor, pen on paper = $130

 

 

 

daily painting | class demo

Egads this one was a process. I videotaped this demo as I created it, step-by-step, for the watercolor/ink class this coming Saturday (check out Frank Bette website for sign up info for this mixed media class: www.frankbettecenter.org/watercolor-and-ink.html) and the more I got into it, the wilder I got — with each step I threw out more rules. Working from a photo, I started with a pencil drawing. Then watercolor. Then sticks-and-ink. Then more ink. Then more aggressive ink spatters. Then acrylic paint spatters. Finally I worked into it with acrylic pens. With each stage I expressed stronger and stronger emotions, and when I was done I practically needed a cigarette. A catharsis, a release, an expression of intense feelings I am still working through from this past month. Phoo. I truly am happy to be a painter. Terrific therapy.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | hotel berries

Spent a few days in a San Diego hotel a few weeks ago. In a courtyard outside the lobby there was kind of a tropical jungle of palms and plants with shiny dark leaves of an unknown variety. Peeking out of the leaves were cherry-sized red berries which seemed odd! A mystery to me but they were quite lovely, so I painted them. I wonder what they were. Happily I am home now. It was a strange and stressful time but there was also a gorgeous bougainvillea near the parking lot and what I think were colorful, beautiful Bullock’s orioles flitting around which were fun to watch. In sad times it feels wrong for birds to be so vibrant. But nature continues and I’m glad.

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

 
 

 

daily painting | nancy’s lily

Going home. Been in San Diego one day short of a month, and my daughter’s emergency is working its way out of crisis-mode (my family is damn sturdy!). As I scrounge around trying to find all my scattered belongings here in the little casita that has been my home for almost two weeks, I saved putting away my paints until last minute so I could work on this one until I zip that damn bag up. I about tripped over this lily (I think?) as I made my way through the side yard to take my trash out. The richest purples and magentas with a bright yellow triangle right in the middle! Had to make this my last painting before leaving. I am sad to leave my daughter and grandsons and niece and friends, but it will be good to get home to Alameda and settle back into my Northern California life. I have many mixed feelings, but it’s time to head back. Very grateful to have close times with these precious loved ones.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | nancy’s courtyard

Yesterday John’s boots; today his wife Nancy’s courtyard. It’s very San Diego — stucco, succulents, beautiful outdoor living. And the paint dries really fast! I’ve been so comfortable here in Nancy’s casita (this scene is just out my door) where I slop watercolors around (and occasionally get a result I like), spend time with family, enjoy dinner conversations with my host, swim in the lovely and calming pool, and count the bats that come out at dusk. Yes, bats! They are so cool! I love them. Last night only a few, the night before, 14. I swam one late evening and a bat flitted around my head for a second. It was magic. Not Halloween-scary at all. I will miss all of this when I return, but also will be happy to be back on my Lily Pad. Wish me well as I cautiously get on another airplane tomorrow, wearing my hazmat suit.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | john’s boots

I am grateful to say I’ve been the guest of my good friend Nancy, mom-in-law of daughter’s first husband. Nancy and I have remained friends and I am still very fond of her son; he is a good dad to my grandsons. Staying here in her home this week, as I assist my daughter and her boys’ transition through a difficult time, I went into the garage to look for a bit of plastic sheeting or something to cover the little table Nancy set up for me to keep it from getting paint spattered and found these boots. Knowing Nancy’s husband was a Marine, I asked her about this treasure and she said Yes, they were John’s boots and likely he wore them as a soldier when he was in Viet Nam. John passed away four years ago now and I still miss him, and these bent, well-worn old combat boots are so loaded with history and personality that I couldn’t wait to paint them. I hope this small painting honors John’s memory. [Oops! I wrote 2002 instead of 2020; I will fix that. I guess I’m still a bit muddled.]

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

 

 

 

 

daily painting | hibiscus explosion

OK. Foo. Here I am being generously hosted by a kind friend in San Diego while family transitions get sorted. Things are getting a bit more settled, and I am hopeful my daughter and boys are starting a new, brighter chapter. I brought my little travel kit of watercolors and supplies (always!); here there are so many beautiful scenes to paint  — bright flowers, amusement parks, budding pomegranates, patio gardens, loose, juicy red roses. Many glories. And yet! I’ve been trying too damn hard. Like I have to take advantage of my surroundings and prove my worth by producing decent paintings. Needless to say the results are crap and I’ve become frustrated. I decided to splash watercolors and ink in my watercolor sketchbook just to have the pleasure of using the tools and feeling them in my hand — brushes, water-soluble thick pencils (Lyra brand, they are marvy), acrylic pens, a fine-tipped Micron pen — without having any specific subject matter to recreate, just doing an abstract expression — even plucking several pink hibiscus from the yard and smashing them into the paper, creating a few mauve-y pinks. Mostly I’m trying not to think. It isn’t often that painting frustrates me, so I am paying attention and getting rest and working through many emotions. Usually splashing paint around streamlines that inner process, but I think doing a few days of abstracts will help reset my creative flow. Or not. Does it matter? Not a lot. I’m here now, paying attention, letting go, feeling gratitude. That’s good for one day.

8″ x 8″ watercolor, acrylic pen, pencil, hibiscus blossom on paper