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




acrylic abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | believers

“A thing about Tommy that we had in common is liking to draw. His doodling he called it. For him, though, it was like blood, this thing that came out of him whenever he got hurt.” That’s a quote from the novel I’m reading by Barbara Kingsolver, Demon Copperhead. The protagonist is a 10 year old boy who has had nothing but hard luck and gosh I hope his fortunes change or the rest of the book will be a bit of a grind; I’m about a quarter-way through. But Tommy survived his foster-care miseries by drawing. Tommy’s a boy after my own heart, as I often had a pencil in my hand as a kid. And today painting and drawing continues to comfort and soothe. It’s another world I can visit, that is safe and familiar. Tommy and I are both very fortunate for having discovered the Art Planet.

Here’s a small abstract that I worked on over the weekend. I was grateful for studio time.

12″ x 12″ acrylic, oil pastel on claybord = $185




daily painting | vermilion views

OK so I’ve been going to the thesaurus to find words other than crimson, since I’ve overused that word a bit in the last few posts, trying to verbally capture the drama of desert outcroppings in Arizona; vermilion is my new favorite word. Here is an abstract I worked on, inspired by Sedona’s stunning red rocks. The views in that area take your breath away; the crowds take your patience away. Was fun to work on this without expectations, smearing paint with palette knives and making marks with pencils and oil pastels. I’ve thrown myself back into my art practice with renewed vigor, as I become clearer that, 1) My past is growing and my future is shrinking [stole that line from a movie], 2) I need to create art with abandon regardless of worries of whether my art career is financially viable, and 3) Painting gives me joy and that’s reason enough. That’s my mission statement for today. Amen.

12″ x 12″ acrylic, oil pastel, pencil on claybord = $185




watercolor painting of calla lilies by emily weil

daily painting | lilies

Sweetness and light! Calla lilies are blooming again. And I never tire of their beauty or of using them as subject matter. Why are they so compellingly lovely, Springtime after Springtime? ONE | enormous, dinner-plate sized velvety petals that curve around the stamen with drama and grace. TWO | they pop up around every corner at this time of year. THREE | they are impeccably designed. FOUR | the way light flows around, over and behind their white skirts. FIVE | all their bits are sensual and sexy.

My mom always dismissed them when I sang their praises. “They are just big weeds,” she would say. Which made me love them even more. I always thought they were criminally underappreciated. It’s as if they are so sophisticated and grown-up — like a fancy, perfectly decorated, magazine-cover Manhattan high-rise living room in a 1940 film noir as opposed to a John Waters movie set boudoir with fluffy pink bedspreads and cartoony teddy bears and dolls (apologies if your rooms have lots of cuddly toys; I actually have a soft little pink bunny named Coral that I hug at night sometimes for comfort).

My heart felt happy and complete when I found these yesterday

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




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




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 | NFS




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




daily painting | perky

A hundred years ago when I was a young mom living in a small Oregon coastal town, I hit a very painful wall; memories of childhood trauma came boiling up with accompanying PTSD and I struggled to keep my bearings (mixed results on that). At the same time I was taking watercolor workshops, and doing bright, colorful paintings of flower arrangements. I still can’t quite understand that, as I was sinking from depression, terror, loneliness and confusion. Which brings me to this painting which I worked on over the weekend. It seems quite chipper to me — albeit with darker notes. And this is such a challenging time for our country, for my family, for the world. And yet! Hope leaks out.

I have to tell you another story. Back in the early 90s I was a graphic designer for the then-young company, Electronic Arts (as in, EA Sports — videogames). As part of the creative services group, we were a fine lot of production artists, designers, managers and writers. I’ve never had so much fun at work. At one point, an idea was floated to do a yearbook for the current employees (idea was dropped; the company was growing very quickly and it was too hard to keep up). I asked creative writer Michael Hume to please write for me the required blurb that would be the caption under my photo. He wrote, “16 personalities and all of them perky.” Or something like that. It was brilliant. I still miss that team. A flash of light long gone.

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




daily painting | bloodsport (redo)

Are you watching poll results and predictions and breathless reports on the 2020 election like I am? Well, honestly, I have to limit my news-watching (I take breaks to watch something violent on TV). This painting got reworked and renamed, and the title seems appropriate for this completely insane year of politics and everything else. I’m 99% sure it’s done; when I have a dialog with it (something I do with my paintings), it says, Enough already. I’m soon heading out to my studio to work on another painting which is one of the only ways I am staying sane. These works hold a lot of my insides — sadness, grief, vitality, hope, loss. My life. I think I finally reached that spot where I don’t give a damn if anyone sees it or likes it or wants to show it. This is my work. If it sucks, so be it. It’s completely mine.

OK I have to tell this related story as it’s relevant and incredible [Kay, if you read this, I hope you will forgive me]. My sister Kay is soon leaving this world, as many of you know who have been reading my blogs, as cancer is taking over her body. Want to know how she is determining timing? She wants to know election results. She’s in pain, a lot of it. But that’s who she is and how much she cares. I love you, Kay, my hero.

41″ x 43″ acrylic, oil pastel, pencil on unstretched canvas = $2290




daily painting | birthday orchid

I thought I’d post today (don’t usually do on weekends) as I’m soon heading up to Seattle & can’t predict my coming days in terms of painting and blogging. And I wanted to share this painting I did today. I’m sitting writing this on my couch, hoping some trick-or-treaters come by who live in the marina. I just love the darling costumes. [Here’s a Halloween memory — living in a kid-filled neighborhood in OR when my kids were small, two costumed kids knocked on the door and I still remember them — that area used to be a big logging area, and the little boy was dressed like a logger, with a plaid shirt, a pillow to indicate a big belly, a hard hat and big boots and drawn-in stubble on his chin. Adorable. His “wife” was in a ratty bathrobe, fluffy slippers and curlers in her hair.] But I digress. This orchid, a generous gift from my amazingly wonderful neighbors who took me out for lunch [outside seating] for my birthday, has vibrant, show-stopping magenta and purple blooms. I hope to keep this plant alive (2 ice cubes a week, I’m told). Anyways! Life in upside-down, crazy 2020. I had a truly terrific birthday, which is amazing these days. I felt happy and celebratory that I was born 68 years ago. OK back to my couch. Dinner’s in the oven, it’s a beautiful clear October day, hummingbirds are at my feeder, I had a fun bike ride today to go see the big container ships on the estuary, and I appreciate the countless gifts in my life today. Thank you for reading my posts, as it means a lot to me. Happy for this vivid, interesting, unpredictable existence.

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