daily painting | gramma love

I have been having arguments with myself about posting this painting as sharing about it is deeply personal. When I see my therapist it is often to seek encouragement and solace and healing from childhood pain (I had a friend who used to call a psychologist a “rent-a-mom” which is pretty accurate). Recently she encouraged me to do a painting of an image that would remind me I am loved and strong and whole, and make copies of it to place around the house for comfort. So I found this photo online and used it as a basis. I do keep it nearby and it does help! Which is very cool. So. There it is, a bit of my own healing process. Thank you for reading this with a caring heart.

artgraf graphite on paper




daily painting | the yaquina

I got a wonderful tour of this ship, The Yaquina, from my sister-in-law who is second in command on this “hopper dredge” vessel. Of course I wanted to capture the ship’s hard-working, broad-shouldered Army Corps of Engineers demeanor, and her upper bits were wrapped up for cleaning and repair. Shipyards (like this one, Bay Ship in Alameda) are fascinating, no-nonsense places and I loved poking around and taking photos. Thank you Jane!

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




daily painting | red sea

I’ve been recycling older paintings on claybord and gessobord. Lovely surfaces. I needed to have at it and got out my messy oil pastel crayons, which are oily and soft and have wonderful pigments and strong, vibrant color. I worked on this one in my studio. Then I came back another day and worked on it some more, scraping and scribbling and wiping and poking at it (sometimes a bit violently) until I felt somewhat resolved with the composition. This is not one of my more timid abstracts; I’ve been working out frustrations about wending my way through the art world which is full of weeds and thorns and potholes. Argh. I don’t expect easy. I never do. But I’m still trying to find my way. I think any artist who chooses this life is on the road less travelled. And unpaved.

8″ x 8″ acrylic, oil pastel on claybord = $75




daily painting | camellias

True confessions — I reached over therapist Lucy’s fence and plucked a few flowers. Thievery or an appreciation of bounty and beauty? I think the latter (and the bush was huge and lush and abundant). And my god I am becoming my mother, collecting flowers and bits of mossy rocks and souvenirs from hikes (and neighborhood yards). It was such a pleasure to paint these today after three previous disappointing attempts at a rose (oh dear; yes, also swiped from the garden here along the marina walkway; I’m a klepto, I guess, when it comes to lovely blossoms). The glossy dark green leaves are especially beautiful, for this kind of flower. They even look a bit fake in their rich color and sheen. It cracks me up how sometimes these last-minute painting sessions, shoehorned into my afternoon amidst chores, sometimes yield happy results. Over and out; more housekeeping tasks await.

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




daily painting | jane

Sketch from my tour of The Yaquina. Sister-in-law Jane is 2nd in command on this ship, which is a large dredging vessel put in for maintenance in Alameda (she’s carrying my Peet’s coffee as I was pretty sure I’d fumble and spill it; Jane is more sure-footed than I ever will be). It was a fascinating afternoon, and we had great and fun conversations. It had been awhile since we’d visited, and it was a hoot and I’m glad we connected; her ship was just up the estuary from my marina. We laughed, caught up on family gossip, made dark jokes about how much mental illness gallops through our families, and in the future I may get more time on board and will bring my paints. SO COOL. The experience was heartening, for divorce (her brother and I divorced eons ago) breaks up families and severs connections yet here were are, in touch, still a family. Since I’ve known Jane since she was 8 years old, it was a happy moment, and a big slap upside the head to old clanging beliefs in my head that I’m alone in the world. Fake news, that is.

8″ x 6″ watercolor, pen on paper




daily painting | dry dock

I was thrilled to get a tour of The Yaquina, currently moored at Bay Ship shipyard for repairs and maintenance. She is an Army Corps of Engineers “hopper dredge” that keeps west coast ports and river bars clear. She’s a big girl — the bridge of this ship has about the same square footage as my entire house. I snapped photos of other vessels being repaired, as my generous and kind host walked me back to my car (wearing the required hard hats), and was itchy to get my paints out to capture these fascinating scenes of propellers and rudders and hulls of big ships suspended in the salty air. Bay Ship accommodates huge vessels, and at high tide I can see some of the ships in repair against the backdrop of the SF skyline from the deck of my houseboat (especially right at this very moment which is the peak of a king tide and yes I am grateful and fortunate). Terribly exciting! I am promised another opportunity to return, and I’ll describe my shipyard painting adventures here as I experience them. How cool is all this? I love how life surprises me with these gems.

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




daily painting | buggy

Final posting of sketches from my SF Mission Science Workshop adventure. This monstrous creature was under glass in a box and probably had a 6-8″ wingspan. Another reason why Northern California life is good; the only things this big that fly here are birds. It’s a comfort. That wonderful place inspires curiosity, and watching the parents and kids wander through the large space and look at bones, bugs, frog eggs and lizards in wonder and awe was a reminder to always be interested in life and all its offerings regardless of one’s age. It’s way more fun than defaulting into gloom which for me is kind of lazy. It takes an effort sometimes to be hopeful. But it’s worth it: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” — Wendell Berry

7″ x 10″ Artgraf graphite, pen on paper = $90




daily painting | dem bones

Totally spaced out on posting yesterday, was caught up in watching the wild and wet weather and making soup. Here’s another quick sketch from my adventure in San Francisco at Mission Science Workshop. I used water soluble graphite for this skull, but, well, dads with little kids kept picking it up and moving it around (which is the whole point of the science workshop; I was the interloping artist) so I poked around looking for other things to paint. I was heading over to the full horse skeleton (so cool!) but then all kinds of wonderful, curious little kids were jumping into noisy experiments so I headed outside for a bit of quiet from the clanging and banging (substituted by soccer game action and J Church line trolleys). I wondered, though, about this skull. Male? Female? Adult? Child (it seemed small)? It was held together with metal bands. Who was this person? Were any remnants left of this human spirit, hanging around watching me draw her? Death fascinates me. What happens when we kick the bucket? Our final adventure. Very curious.

7″ x 10″ Artgraf water soluble graphite on paper




daily painting | carrots

A fascinating SF Sketchers adventure at Mission Science Workshop. It’s like a small, funky Exploratorium near Mission Dolores in San Francisco and it was hard to decide what to paint! An entire horse skeleton, bugs under glass, lizards and snakes in terrariums, radio parts, frog eggs. Fabulous, and the members of the group were great fun and very kind. All sorts of experiments for kids to try; some of them quite clangy and noisy so I went outside in the bright sunshine to get an aural break. Found a lush garden next to the soccer field. Someone had plucked these carrots from the soil and left them on a table for this ready-made still life and I managed to avoid getting bonked by flying soccer balls while I sloshed around in my watercolor palette. The delicious veggies were a tempting snack. But I held back.

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




daily painting | storm-blown

At times I go into my studio full of piss and vinegar ready to paint the hell out of a canvas and hours later come up flattened and deflated and I’m thinking, “Why do I dare call myself an artist? Who do I think I am?” Then on a random afternoon I see the red leaf picked up the day before on a walk that I had placed in my kitchen windowsill and the way the sun is hitting it, it’s so rich and vibrant it makes my teeth hurt. And I toss out my to-do list and push aside the bottles of vitamins and water pitchers and glasses on my kitchen counter and pull out my Daniel Smith paints and am swallowed up by the splashy joy of wet, juicy magentas and reds. One simple, vibrantly-hued leaf, pulled from a wet heap of wind-tossed maple leaves, cornered in a hotel parking lot. And my own mini paint-storm. Bursts of creative energies. I willingly let them take over my afternoon. And I remember how in love I am with watercolor.

6″ x 8″ watercolor, pen on paper = $60