sketch of figure by emily weil

daily painting | drawing marathon

I am so so so happy for things I enjoy. Went to the Bay Area Models Guild drawing marathon yesterday and I had an enjoyable and also sad time. I saw another artist friend I haven’t talked to in years and was horrified to hear his wife recently died — suddenly, unexpectedly. In his arms. I knew them both and they seemed like wonderful and loving companions. They had a 46-year marriage and she was a very accomplished and respected painter. It hit me hard, and I am deeply sorry my fellow-artist is going through this bruising turbulence.

And I loved painting and drawing and here is one of my sketches, done with a soft, water-soluble pencil. Artists — my tribe. I am comfortable and content in a room with them. And sometimes it’s more fun to draw the artists than the model.

I keep a list of things that give me peace and it helps to look to it when I feel awful and am too foggy to see straight. Making art, hugging a redwood tree, seeing raptors — all at the top of the list. Also time with loving friends, as I got to soak up a warm afternoon with another painting and bird-loving pal yesterday in Mill Valley. Scratching my guinea pig behind his cute little ears and laughing at his chirps. Watching finches fight over a perch at the bird feeder. Seeing a pacific loon in my marina. I am grateful. I am alive, all the way. All the way.




watercolor of flowers by emily weil

daily painting | spring 2024

I’m waving my white flag in grief’s general direction. Been seven months now since my brother’s death, and of course both my sisters died in the prior years. The shock of it all is wearing off, but feeling generally crappy continues. I think it’s all part of this process and I tell myself not to worry or be impatient, as everything is running its course. My heart got broke. More than a couple of times. It takes time to mend.

Sure sucks at times. Especially since I can’t control grief and sorrow and loss and the way they wipe the floor with my hair.

So, no resistance here. I won’t fight it and I will brush aside advice that I should take pills to make me feel better. This is a natural, beautiful, normal, healing, extraordinary process. I embrace it. Even while I feel stinky. Ugh. I really like something I recently read about a woman experiencing painful loss — her answer, when people ask how she’s doing, is, “I’m here.” Yep.

10″ x 10″ watercolor, ink, pastel on paper = $140




daily painting | mando

So obviously this isn’t a painting. I am working on fixes with my email service that alerts folks to new posts, and this is a kind of random test and thanks for indulging me.

I love this guy. I recently watched “The Mandalorian” series and a very dear friend who supports me in my healing journey sent me this action figure to help remind me that I am a powerful warrior, protecting little Emily and loving her. Mando immediately got involved in my daily life, helping me spruce up my container garden. I think he likes life on my lily pad.




acrylic abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | paper trail

I almost titled this piece Sand Worms after seeing Dune 2 last week but it was too specific (not to give anything away but watching Elvis combat Willy Wonka was fabulous). I created this on Easter Sunday, a lonely day for me, but also satisfying as being in my studio felt perfect and restorative. I listened to a mix of Beyonce and Bonnie Raitt and Judy Collins. I sat in my chair and had a dialog with the work-in-progress, asking the painting what it wanted next. I was in my own private paint world which was where I needed most to be, and I gave thanks for resurrection and healing and new hope — I wasn’t feeling it, but I appreciated the concept. It’s important to hope even when it isn’t reasonable to do so.

Happy Zombie Jesus day, everyone.

23″ x 18″ acrylic, oil pastel, paper collage on stretched canvas = $675




abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | belly band

Today’s blurb is for Mike. I found out today that my childhood neighbor and pal died, and I am grieving him. Mike and I played and climbed trees in our little Mill Valley hillside world. I spent hours and hours in his home, which had a friendlier vibe than my house. Debbie, his sister, was my best friend, Rhonda was the oldest with her magnificent flaming red hair (so compelling to me, this older teenage girl with mysterious ways) and baby Jimmy came along when we were in grammar school. I think we had a Bluebirds meeting in their house, and I held baby Jimmy and then dropped him on the floor (short drop from the couch, no harm but I still feel bad). Mike, my crush, was a sweet boy who loved motorcycles and news of his death is hitting me hard. This happens as we enter our later years. Peers and childhood buddies and family members die. Their lives are done. I am keenly sensitive to my choices here — to be sad, to be depressed, to be bitter as I sort through loss. Or I can keep my heart open, committing to live as largely as I can regardless of my age. I think I’ll do the largely part. 

[Working on this today in my studio was great therapy]

12″ x 12″ acrylic, oil pastel on claybord = $200




watercolor of chair by emily weil

daily painting | damn chair

When I was a little girl, the starry night sky enchanted me. That there were huge gassy balls of light a zillion miles from our planet helped lift me out of my sad body tied to earth and marvel at such miracles. One August a yearly meteor shower was happening (must have been the Perseid) and the Weil kids and the Swango kids laid out our sleeping bags under the stars to see the show. I don’t remember much from that night but I can remember the anticipation and excitement that such celestial fireworks were visible from our little Mill Valley yards.

So when I got this email from Colossal it reminded me of the magic that is all around us; it’s a fantastic image of an exploded star:

It was like angels were all around me when I was little, urging me to look up and dream (as I write this I am hearing a song play on TV, “All I Have To Do is Dream” by the Everly Brothers. Cool beans.)

[Regarding this artwork, there’s an old chair that hangs out near the “yacht club” in my marina (community room). I’ve done 6 or 7 drawings/paintings of the thing and this is my favorite. Loose and funky.]

12″ x 9″ watercolor crayon, water-soluble graphite on paper = $150




watercolor of figure by emily weil

daily painting | figure drawing

I have a marvelous new art toy — Caran D’ache watercolor crayons. Yesterday I very much enjoyed joining a figure drawing group (every Tuesday; contact me if you are interested) and brought out my sweet little water-soluble drawing implement. Gameli was the model, and he had the most glorious huge afro and a thick beard and it was all a great reintroduction to figure drawing, something I used to enjoy but the weekly group I was part of disbanded because of Covid.

Such a great distraction, and fun to be with other artists as well, including my old friend Bill, a fellow artist and also a bird bander. I need to focus on activities or I’m susceptible to sinking into dark, broody moods. Staying busy is the key, not to mention having outlets to talk about my grief process and doing healing work around musty and stinky and painful old issues. This is a roll-up-my-sleeves kind of time, moving forward and paying attention (not to mention sorting through mental illness issues in my family, ugh).

There’s a freedom, though, in acceptance. I practice non-resistance every day — and boy does it take practice. To accept what is, and that this is a challenging time, and be OK with it. Life isn’t about feeling good all the time, much as I’d like it to. Growth sucks sometimes. Very uncomfortable. Best to flow along with this river. My little boat is mostly seaworthy.

12″ x 9″ watercolor crayon on paper = $150




abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | coarse texture v2

I like the term, “personal archaeology.” It’s kind of my life-long pursuit. And here’s another analogy from Peter Gabriel — “digging in the dirt.”

I wondered when I jumped into intense therapy what the possibilities would be. I needed help—tons of it. I couldn’t get through the night without terrifying nightmares and painful childhood memories nipped at my heels and all my prayers and Bible readings didn’t make the pain go away.

I learned in therapy I could control my night terrors — it effing worked! The scary giant spiders were no match for my new flame-throwing warrior-goddess-self. So I figured the painful work of self-reflection and honest therapy couldn’t make things worse.

A dear healer/psychologist from years ago encouraged me. This was the ranch I inherited, he said. Start fixing the most broken things first — that falling-down fence, the doors with broken hinges, the impassable road. This has been a life-quest since the 1980s and I’m not sorry I started it. It’s still bumpy but at least the doors work.

I had the idea decades ago that a few years of laser-focused attention on healing childhood pain would be the magical key to happily-ever-after. Nope, it hasn’t worked out that way. But I’m deeply grateful for the ground I’ve gained. Old wounds still bubble up and they are messy, oozing and painful. But when I see them percolating off the starboard bow I can at least ID them and devise a healing plan.

A personal crusade like this isn’t celebrated much and can be desperately lonely. It’s right for me, though. Dammit I want to be as whole as possible. And the vistas I enjoy are so lovely — to paint, to teach, to enjoy the beauty of my floating home and its warm community, to inhabit my confidence, to feel without apology. To try my hand at loving connections, something I fumble around with as best I can.

Phoo! This is an agonizingly long (for you) rant. I appreciate my life; all of it. I am showing up. Thank you for being here too and indulging me.

45″ x 35″ acrylic, oil pastel, pencil on unstretched canvas = $2200




watercolor and pastel painting of briones park by emily weil

daily painting | briones hillside

A steep hillside and a majestic oak in Briones park — the final painting (5th one) in the series of Briones watercolors/pastel works done in exchange for my new roof (I knew I’d chosen the right company when the Lovett & Lovett Roofing truck pulled up in my parking lot with the tagline written on the side, “Since 1886”). I’m quite happy this art-for-trade project is done! And I’m reasonably satisfied with the results. The next thing I need to do is big crazy abstracts to help discharge the intense and painful emotions that are fish-hooked up as I deal with legal issues regarding my brother’s trust. All kinds of old family ghosts are screeching in my brain, poisonous voices handed down by males that females are less-than, unworthy of honor and care, and not to be trusted. It’s ugly and I am again 10 years old feeling dismissed and ignored and labeled and criticized. But this life-circumstance is also medicine, giving me opportunities to heal and honor myself and celebrate my presence in the world. It feels hideous. And this moment is full of possibilities. Bring it.

32″ x 42″ ink, watercolor, pencil, pastel on paper




watercolor of rodent skull by emily weil

daily painting | african skull

In South Africa we stayed in one humble, funky and slightly shabby lodge that, as with all the places we visited, had breathtakingly beautiful birds. I called it the Zombie Moth Palace because there were dozens, maybe hundreds, of moths flittering about the outside lights at night, and there were no screens on the windows (only saw windowscreens in one place we stayed). They dive-bombed you while you were in the shower and drowned in the small lake that formed outside the half-broken shower stall (some places we stayed were nicer than others; this one was memorable in many ways). 

But. Just outside our window, in a tree only 20 feet away, there was a nest of an African hoopoe bird. Spectacular! I watched both parents flying to and from the hole in the tree, feeding hidden little ones. They were cinnamon-colored with dramatic crests and black and white chevron-like stripes on their backs. Took my breath away.

So I was standing at the window, admiring the doting parents, and I looked down and just outside our window were big owl pellets. Likely an owl roosted in the eaves just under the roof, ate its meals, and coughed up the hard little pellets (kind of equivalent to furballs of a cat). In the midst of that collection of chucked-up owl stuff was this little rodent skull which I wrapped up carefully and brought home. I painted it a few weeks ago (of course now I can’t find it). 

Oh what a trip that was! Kind of seems like a fever dream now. So many adventures — some amazing, some wretched. Glad I went. Unforgettable.

10″ x 10″ ink, water-soluble graphite on paper