daily painting | pepper

watercolor and ink drawing of red pepper by emily weil

A large bulbous deep-red-hued pepper just gets me all excited to get out my watercolors. As soon as I saw it in the bin at Berkeley Bowl, I knew it would get painted several times before it ended up in my fry pan getting sautéed for a pasta dish (now that they make quite palatable gluten-free pasta). I could do dozens of iterations of this gorgeous vegetable; I need to go back to get yellow and green ones. I think I was smitten with peppers when I first saw Edward Weston’s black and white photos of these guys years ago — so many ways to enjoy their sensual shapes. I’m not even that crazy about this creation, but I will do more — sometimes in the produce dept I am shopping more for interesting still life subjects than dinner. Let me pivot now into gratitude for every day happy events (which includes finding surpisingly shaped veggies), such as joining a lively group of urban sketchers at Urban Ore in Berkeley (one artist recognized my masked-self not by my visage but by my spattered palette, which is like going to the dog park and knowing all the dogs by name but none of the humans). I painted a bin of brooms, which is an OK painting. I was grateful to have a phone conversation with my niece whose loss of her mom to suicide is still so fresh and painful; I’d like to think we comfort each other. I was also lucky enough to be invited to a small, Covid-safe BBQ in a friend’s back yard in Berkeley and the grilled salmon was exquisite, as was the most remarkable pie I think I’ve ever had, along with warm and loving conversations. And then coming home and feeling happy for community but also glad to rest by myself on my lily pad and sitting on my deck under the dim stars while black-crowned night herons squawk as they alight on the bow of my neighbor’s sailboat. There are always problems to solve in life — losses to mourn, conflicts to resolve, questions that will never be answered. But these daily gifts are sparks that light my way.

9″ x 12″ sticks-and-ink, watercolor, acrylic on paper = $140