abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | art camp abstract

Aahhh… art camp! This 12” x 12” acrylic abstract was a demo for the acrylics day of class at Feather River Art Camp (I worked on it after class, too). It was a turbulent week! And we all did it, and did it well. There was the hailstorm on Tuesday while I was teaching — the canopies overhead couldn’t quite hold back the marble-sized icy pellets, which cascaded onto our tables. We just kept moving to the side, finding ever-shrinking shelter, while the steadfast artists continued. Crazy, exciting, thrilling, amazing (one person’s windshield cracked though). Then there were the “buffalo gnats”. Fiendish bloodsuckers that left painful, itchy welts the size of Ritz crackers. One woman had to be sent to the hospital. Misery all-around (somehow I was spared; one person suggested vitamin B pills make us foul-tasting to the tiny monsters so maybe my multi-vitamins helped; who knows). Some said it was the rains before camp that helped spawn the horrid beasties. And we were lucky to have camp at all — only days before, the bridge was flooded and camp was inaccessible.

And today I’m writing this on my laptop from a charming Air BnB cabin outside of Quincy where naps are in order; taking a few soothing days off. Thunderstorms come and go, though today is sunny and lovely. I painted outside for a bit today, following my own instructions to students to find a tree or other object to draw and paint. And sit with it. Draw it with your eyes, I suggested. I hate painting trees. So I did my own exercise today, making myself do something uncomfortable. Maybe it will be postable tomorrow. Maybe not.

OK time to call my bro. Because I am up in Plumas County I wasn’t there to take him down to the Dipsea race starting line to observe the festivities and visit with his Dipsea pals. Can’t wait to hear all about it; a very kind Dipsea person organized getting him there. Big kudos to Bill Rus.

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





abstract by emily weil using acrylics

daily painting | january abstracty

I’m working on a commission this week (woot!) and may not be posting much, but since I’m kind of sitting around with my doors open on this lovely day in Alameda, recovering from some digestive woes this morning (it happens sometimes; a super sexy condition), I thought I’d shout out a hello. I did this abstract a month ago, and can’t decide if I like it, so I thought I’d post it anyways. I may or may not toss it, but it was a day in January I needed to express my fierce grief and strong emotion with acrylics and oil pastels and big fat graphite pencils. As always, the catharsis of that process helped me release more sadness and grief. Today I am fully enjoying working on the consigned painting and resting while the paint dries between layers, enjoying various distractions — sparrows squabbling at the bird feeder, catching up on the sad news about Tiger Woods’ smash-up, doing research on making art videos, noticing the local diver walk up the docks in his wetsuit (likely checking out problems in a neighbor’s hull), and reading a scary mystery that’s too creepy to read at bedtime but I have to know what happens. My heart feels full — sure looks like my years as an old lady, should they continue, will be all about making and teaching art. That’s a marvelous thing to contemplate and I am grateful.

12″ x 12″ acrylic, oil pastel, pencil on claybord




daily painting | scratchy

In between making sale placards yesterday for my pop-up sale, I tacked up a fresh claybord to splash acrylic paints on while the signs dried. I have off-and-on relationships with smaller boards (12 x 12 is my fave) so I was nicely & unexpectedly surprised to enjoy painting this one. It’s really scratched up — I kept adding layers of paint and scratching them up and then adding more color. Since most of us feel scraped up and scarred after this astonishingly challenging year, it felt right to get a bit violent with the edge of my palette knife; we’ve all scrambled through the bramble patch and are cut up and bleeding. Eons ago a beloved therapist comforted me as I struggled to believe I would ever be whole after surviving a painful childhood. He said that yes, your wounds heal into scars that become part of a beautiful tapestry. I loved that image. An all-American creation, sturdy, imperfect, complete.

8″ x 8″ acrylic, crayon, pencil on claybord = $85





daily painting | loss

Grief sucks. She’s a powerful bitch that mops the floor with you. She eats you for lunch. She puts cement shoes on your feet in the mornings. She flops your brain around until you don’t know your name, what day it is, how to prepare a meal (not that you have an appetite). It gets even more confounding when the person you loved, who died, was someone you struggled with in your lifelong relationship. It muddles things. I’m not very coherent today but I can write down the feelings that are fizzing through my veins and leaking out my pores: rageful, sad, angry, peaceful, resentful, grateful, confused, sorrowful, doubtful, betrayed, frustrated, agonized, tenacious, lost, wrecked, sturdy, disbelieving, broken, in searing pain, outraged, content, wretched, regretful, distressed, desolate, flattened, furious, despondent, incredulous, volatile, bereaved, exasperated, defeated, hopeful, squashed, depressed, panicked, funky, deranged, thankful.

My belief is that it’s best to hand yourself over to this process and feel every last damn mother-flipping feeling. It moves through you better if you don’t fight it. When my mom died, almost exactly 15 years ago, I experienced a “complicated grief,” according to counselors. I didn’t get along with Mom, and neither did my older sister. I felt the need to protect myself when I was around her; she could be cruel and demeaning. But my younger sister, who died a week ago, had a better relationship with her and was always loyal to Mom. Which was a tense, sore spot in our sisterly relationship. But it was the truth of our family dynamics, and I learned to accept it.

Making things even more murky, Kay and I could never talk about the painful moments of our childhood that we suffered together at the hands of our abusive, raging dad. That is a sadness I carry today, deeply. Always will, I suppose.

Thank you for reading through this long treatise on mourning with all its criss-crossing metaphors. It reveals the contents of my heart, and I appreciate your kindness and compassion for this life experience I am having.

Oh, about this painting. I worked on it over the weekend in my studio and it is helping to contain my grief and pain. I actually felt joyful, painting in my space again. But oy, you should see the spatters! I actually wrecked a small painting that was against the wall, too close to the Jackson-Pollock freewheelingness of it all.

22″ x 30″ acrylic, India ink, pencil, crayon on paper = $795