abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | visibility

I kept fussing over this painting I worked on over the weekend. Too many moving parts and I was ready to toss it in the dumpster. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed the process — tunes in my earbuds, slapping paint around, adding bits of collage, playing with color patterns. Finally I got frustrated and decided it needed a big black mark at the bottom. After I brushed on the E with India ink, I figured, Well, I guess I need to be seen more! (So, an “E” for Emily, maybe? Dunno.) I feel most comfortable in my little cave, being an artist, quietly doing art. But at the same time I wish a Peggy Guggenheim would come along and convince the world to pay gazillions of dollars for my brilliant works of art. Ha. Well, that’s an honest admission, anyways. I need to mix things up, so I’ll do a series of these small works on boards. We’ll see what happens next and now I need to wrap this up as it’s dinnertime and I’m getting cranky and I want to enjoy my happy hour and give Buster (my cute little guinea pig) his dinner salad (red leaf lettuce is his fave). Until next time.

12″ x 12″ acrylic, pencil, collage, India ink, crayon on claybord = $185

 

 

 

watercolor and abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | on-ramp

This new painting, “On-ramp,” seems to capture all my thoughts and feelings about this year. Busy, crazy, colorful, confusing, shadowy, nerve-wracking, jumbled. But, intact, right? Still here, woot! Can’t believe we’re going into a new year — and the 3rd year of the pandemic (curse that damned ComiCon variant!). So, getting back to talking myself through each day. It works, only doing one day or one minute at a time, letting tomorrow’s worries take care of themselves. It eases my mind. Since life these days feels like skating on thin ice, let’s have some fun and lace up our skates and buckle on our life jackets anyways and Hans Christian Andersen ourselves around the frozen pond. Oh, and here’s a relevant quote I recently heard (thanks Claire and Virginia!):  

“… birthing is hard

and dying is mean–

so get yourself a little loving in between.”

— Langston Hughes

30″ x 22″ acrylic, watercolor, ink, pencil, pastel on paper = $795

 

 

 

abstract acrylic painting by emily weil

daily painting | roughage

Well lately I’ve been spending time in my studio creating/redoing large abstracts. My space, in the Temescal neighborhood in Oakland, is perfect. I can splatter paint and make messes, I can store large paintings, there is a sink for cleaning out brushes drippy with acrylic paints, I have a cushy chair I can sit in and cry when I need to, and my landlady kindly assists in installing shelves and rag racks. Yesterday I finished up this painting, and again I’m curious about choosing those crazy colors in this dark December when family grief sits like a heavy cloud on my head. I watched a documentary about Bob Ross last night (Netflix, I recommend it), and his joy in painting was genuine. And his demos creating a “happy little tree” attracted thousands of viewers to his TV show, bringing encouragement and hope (and, in one case, the prevention of a suicide). I’m not going to paint on TV any time soon (not to mention I can’t stand being observed while I paint), but I get the excitement at creating art. It absolutely heals and buoys my soul, and today a cherished neighbor sent me a loving, kind text, complimenting me on a small painting she bought from me yesterday. Though today I am frustrated and discouraged that my many attempts at fixing a leaky spot in my roof have failed (drip drip in the living room), and my heart aches from painful family legacies, I can always paint. This colorful corner in my life fills me with gladness; I can always go there and make splashy puddles of wet pinks, yellows, blues and greens on canvas and paper. And I will. Like, right now.

28.5″ x 31″ acrylic, oil pastel on canvas (stretched) = $1295

 

 

 

abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | tumbles, bumbles and rumbles

A large fan set on low is starting to blow away the grief fog. It’s not super close, but it’s on. I can feel the cooling, gentle breeze. Waking up in the morning is less dreary (today’s bonus — images in my head from an early morning dream when I was making out with Brad Pitt). I look forward to the events of my day more than I have in many months. Hope drifts around my body in little wisps. I have not posted much lately, as I’ve been working on this large painting in my studio. Also my gut is sometimes wonky and occasionally I have to just take a nap instead of getting my watercolors out. Oh well. But I want to tell you this story. 

The other day I sanded down a plank of wood to use as a shelf for my TV. I rooted around in my cupboard for a leftover can of wood stain I was certain I had, but, nope. Not there. Mumbling and grumbling (I was happy to just stay home all day), I headed to the local hardware store. Near my house, I saw a gorgeous adult red-shouldered hawk in a tree so I stopped to admire its beauty before it flew off (I swear those birds were designed by Walt Disney). After securing my small can of Minwax® Gel Stain, I drove home and set up a spot on my porch to apply the stuff to the wood. Then, a hawk calling! I recognized the call of a red-shoulder. It was nearby, so I tried to spot it — it was atop my neighbor’s sailboat mast, supervising my work, for sure. When I took out my binos to look for the vocalizing bird, I saw another hawk atop the cement silos in my parking lot — a Cooper’s hawk that sometimes sits there (which may explain the red-shoulder’s calls, perhaps territorial). I was sandwiched by two hawks, watching over me; the bird on the mast may have been the bird I spotted earlier in the tree. I was thrilled and glad I had to go to Pagano’s Hardware. The presence of these birds! Magnificent and heartening.

62″ x 72″ acrylic, oil pastel on canvas (stretched) = $6100

 

 

 

abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | circus

Emotion central ovah heah (think Carmela’s voice, mobster Tony Soprano’s wife on “The Sopranos” which I’m enjoying again for the 4th or 5th time). You’ve been patiently reading these ongoing posts about my grief. Stormy, wet, weepy, sad and there you go, Bob’s Your Uncle. Still here. But rains cleanse and renew and refresh and make things grow. I’m into growing. I’m becoming stronger and more sturdy. I’m resilient and I am shedding crackled, dried up old skins like a snake. Dark childhood shadows drifting off into the ether. Six months since my sister Diana’s suicide now, and it’s getting easier to get out of bed in the morning, so healing does in fact happen even when you feel like the drippy technicolor emotions will drape themselves all over you forever. Life is such a carnival ride at times, but I’m strapped in and hanging on and fully here for the adventure, even when I’m screaming bloody hell on the roller coaster. As I get older I aspire to be myself. Only myself. It’s liberating, and it’s happening. This is good.

30″ x 24″ acrylic, oil pastel, pencil on stretched canvas = $975

 

 

 

abstract mixed media painting on paper by emily weil

daily painting | weather

Since I was a bit housebound by the Big Howl last Sunday I decided to do a small abstract using materials I had at home (as opposed to hurling drippy acrylic paint at a large canvas in my studio). It kept getting more complicated as I added layers of watercolor and ink and acrylic pen and pencil and god knows what else (maybe spit and string). But it was a satisfying exercise, whatever the results, and in some strange way it holds complicated and detailed thoughts and feelings. It’s a mystery to me how the creative process can soothe (or clarify) emotions by getting them on paper (or canvas) using various media. It’s a bit of magic, really, and I feel very fortunate. Anyways, if you live in CA I hope the atmospheric river didn’t wash you away. It got a bit bumpy on my houseboat, and at one point a big gust blew open the doors that lead outside to my deck (that was a first). But I didn’t end up floating down the estuary or having a neighbor’s sun umbrella spear a living room window. That’s always good.

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

 

 

 

abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | embers

Art as therapy is my world these days. Here’s another big abstract, a painting from several years ago I reworked. It’s satisfying, being in my studio and slinging acrylic paint around, consciously sidestepping rational thought (on composition, color balance, and so on); most of the paint actually lands on the canvas. It’s an emotional process, and digging into feelings and tossing them onto a paint surface is mending me. I’m very grateful — for my studio, that I stumbled into Leigh Hyams’ workshops in 2008 which exploded me into a serious art practice; for glorious, vibrant paint colors, for headphones that supply rock and roll. Grief is a helluva rabbit hole to tumble into — I’m upended. I disappear into it, and at times I even have hope I’ll emerge with all my body parts. I’m sometimes satisfied, strengthened and exhausted, sometimes frustrated, spent and humbled. But always, always more whole.

68″ x 60″ acrylic, oil pastel on canvas (stretched) = $5600

 

 

 

acrylic abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | 2020

Wacky wanderings is how I’d describe my world today. I’m finishing up the book, Proof of Heaven, about a neurosurgeon who had a near death experience (NDE) and writes about his journey into a place of love and joy and acceptance and connection to the divine while he was in a coma he wasn’t supposed to recover from. I couldn’t put it down, and it’s making me rethink everything, and in a good way. I’ve had faith for most of my life in a spiritual presence or higher power or Spirit or God (though I don’t like that term, it connotes male patriarchy and confining religiosity). Reading more about NDEs (I’m going back to the library for more) is boosting my beliefs and giving me more confidence to have faith and trust in the divine, western intellectual culture be damned. It’s like I’m learning that what I’ve always hoped to be true but was afraid to completely believe is real — there is an unseen, miraculous world that our limited human brains cannot access. A world of Spirit and consciousness and a loving, supporting, expanding universe. Because I’m in a stage of life where my “past is growing and my future is shrinking,” and because of recent deaths of my sisters, all these other-worldly concepts are on my mind, and I’m finding I’m in a place of, “Oh eff it, I’m going to leap off that cliff into total surrender and faith.” A place not exactly supported in our culture, but a stance that deeply comforts and encourages me. So, there. I’m reaching more deeply into my beliefs, dammit. It’s not a popular way of thinking, here in this world. But I’m more convinced every day that there is a higher being (or beings) that support me in this human life. And today I consciously choose to practice radical trust. This is difficult for me to share, as it makes me feel vulnerable. So I hope you are OK with that.

Which is kinda related to this painting. I took an older abstract I wasn’t crazy about and made a new one out of it. I’m doing larger works these days, as the over-sized canvases are better at holding all the swirling emotions that whip through me these days. I titled this painting “2020” as it felt appropriate. It contains all the roiling, messy feelings from that ridiculously crazy, painful year.

55″ x 65″ acrylic, oil pastel on canvas (stretched) = $4900

 

 

 

abstract acrylic painting 9"x12" by emily weil

daily painting | sub marine

Do you ever feel like life shakes you sideways like a dog with a bone? And then you go flying, ass-over-teakettle, bouncing on your keister, seeing stars after skidding into in an unfamiliar landscape? Can I just say that I hope the crazy, sad, unthinkable, heart-searing losses in my family these past months teach me some valuable lessons? Make me stronger and saner? Yes please. I’ll get my bearings again, I suppose. Sometimes I sit upright in a hard-backed chair and place my hands on my knees, as it helps me gather my insides. It’s calming. I’ll be OK (stupid, blind faith). I feel like one of those boats smashed against a dock in Hurricane Ida-tossed Louisiana. Hoping insurance covers the damages.

I can’t decide if this painting feels like an underwater jellyfish parade or melting summer ice cream (or neither; you decide). Slopping paints around in my studio all but guarantees I’ll stay afloat. Getting my paints out is akin to divers that inflate huge air-filled bladders to raise a sunken boat up to the surface. What was that about water lilies, to introduce another watery metaphor — whose seeds need deep mud to sprout and reach up to the sunlight? Maybe my lily pad will house frogs and give turtles sunbathing places and provide resting spots for shimmery dragonflies.

Oh, and I happened onto this on Ted Radio Hour yesterday and it was an enlightening lecture on relationships: www.npr.org/2021/08/26/1031384034/listen-again-esther-perel-building-resilient-relationships-2020

9″ x 12″ acrylic, pencil, oil pastel on claybord = $140

 

 

 

acrylic abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | 21 lessons.

Some helpful life lessons I’ve learned: 1. If I just do these four things, I am OK: • show up, • pay attention, • tell the truth, • let go of the outcome. 2. Soak up nature somewhere. I like California redwood groves and ocean beaches. 3. Keep an open heart. You have a rich, technicolor life that way. It can hurt too but it’s worth it. 4. Hang on to hope and faith. I like to believe in a Higher Power or Being or Spirit as it comforts me. Or believe in a tree, or a mountain. Even in the midst of loss and pain, hope is a lifeline. 5. Love. Nothing else really matters. 6. Forgive, mostly yourself. 7. Wear sunblock. Not too much though, our bodies need sunlight. 8. Create. Anything. 9. Life is a f#@%ing classroom. Be a student (my grades aren’t great, but I do show up for class). 10. Citizenship matters — find a group that interests you and volunteer. And vote. 11. Make kindness a religious practice. 12. Speak honestly, from the heart. 13. Get up every day and keep going. I don’t feel like it much, these days. But I do it anyway. 14. Disappear into a non-destructive distraction. It’s good to be in another reality at times (I like movies and books and good HBO series). 15. Pay attention to reactions: “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.” 16. Create more. 17. Call out racism. It’s evil. And it lurks in us, often unseen. 18. Cultivate your intuition and perceptions. They are reliable guides. Trust that inner voice. 19. Find help when you need support; reach out. Take action. There are great therapists and counselors out there if you search for them; it’s an investment in your mental health. 20. Move your body as much as possible. I’m always amazed at what a hike or a good bike ride does for my well-being. 21. Resist nothing (mantra: “I relinquish all resistance to the present moment”).

OK these are some useful things I’ve figured out. Things have been brutal but I’m still here: “Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.” — Wendell Berry

[I worked on this small abstract in my studio earlier this year.]

8″ x 10″ acrylic, pencil, oil pastel on claybord = $100