watercolor painting of california wildflowers by emily weil

daily painting | headlands wildflower

Here’s another Marin Headlands wildflower from a recent hike (I’m wondering if my series of small flower paintings would be a good grouping together, framed on a wall?). Flowers like these are so damn cheery. I love them. This morning as I did my regular practice of prayer and meditation, my heart felt so shattered I placed my hand on my chest for comfort, which helps. Sometimes grief just sits on me, like a chunk of granite. Other times it’s in the corner, glaring at me but not possessing me, and I know at some point it will be done with me and head out the door. It’s a conflicted relationship, but I believe full surrender is best.

Note: please check out my events|classes page for info on a show at Terra Gallery in San Francisco next week! 

7″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $65

 

 

 

watercolor painting of flowers by emily weil

daily painting | courthouse posies

My day of jury duty last week in Oakland was brightened by finding a secret stash of blooms tucked behind a metal fence next to one of those big, cold, gray commanding buildings near the Alameda County Courthouse. It was a very chilly, overcast day, and we were not allowed to stay inside the building for lunch, so I wandered around a bit hoping for a spot to land. It was a challenge as lunch spots are all take-out due to Covid, and damn it was nippy and breezy, which made all those official buildings near Lake Merritt even more imposing and coldly intimidating. But here was this little gem of a bush, sporting flowers I’d never seen before and they cheered me. I hope the other members of the jury pool enjoyed these too, as we filed out of the assembly room and looked for somewhere to perch for an hour and then some — I felt spit out into the concrete jungle where there were no warm havens. Glad I layered up. Which is different from being lawyered up. Ha.

7″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $65

 

 

 

sketch of jury room by emily weil

daily painting | assembly room #100

Yesterday was a gray, chilly April day in Oakland, and as a member of jury group #1010 I was required to show up in the Alameda County Courthouse (I argued I am self-employed, which sometimes gets me excused, but no). Here are a few sketches I did as I fought stultifying boredom, hoping I didn’t hear my name called over the speakers (but I hasten to add I believe in this kind of civic duty, and if chosen I will embrace my responsibilities — I served on a jury for a fascinating federal case years ago involving a confiscation of 70 tons of hashish on the high seas). It was an 8 hour day, and after the Chauvin trial folks on all sides are skittish, so jury selection for a trial that involves a Black man, a gun, a robbery and lots of cops is taking quite a long time. This courthouse is famous for the photos taken during the Huey Newton trial in the 1970s with the Black Panthers holding rallies on the front steps. One photo has legally-armed (at the time) Black Panthers outside the front doors; can you even imagine what would happen if that took place today? Bloody hell, that’s what. 

But that was over 50 years ago and my god I’m old. I’m reminded of comments a racist family member made, who was a judge in the 60s-70s, opining about Angela Davis. Chilling and nauseating. But I won’t rant here about racism in the US as I get kind of riled up. (Side note: I was lucky enough to have Davis as a professor for a Women in Music class at CCAC in the 1980s and she was incredible; don’t think I’ve ever met a more intelligent or thoughtful woman in my lifetime. She was the antithesis of the scary Black woman firebrand militant the media painted her as in those days, and that bit of history looks quite different in light of the Chauvin trial, yes?)

Let’s all wake up, OK? White supremacism and bigotry is real, dangerous, and rotten and needs to be rooted out, especially in police departments and courtrooms. And in our own hearts.

 

 

 

watercolor painting of plumeria by emily weil

daily painting | plumeria

Went into the wayback stash of photos for this painting; I believe it was a shot of plumeria in a San Diego yard. The pinky yellows were really luscious, as were the big leaves with interesting patterns. I’m having an emotional afternoon, after hearing the Chauvin trial verdict. I was happy for the outcome and yet we have a long ways to go as a country with racism deeply dyed in our wool; I was passing time waiting for tires to be mounted on my car and was checking emails and saw the news on the trial and I was glad the waiting room wasn’t close to the lug nut experts as my eyes were leaking for the pain and sorrow and loss and ugliness of the raw facts of the challenges we face as Americans — we are marinating in old, difficult, painful, seemingly intractable issues. If I was queen of the universe I would make all of us open our hearts, be willing to see truth, and be kind. I do not have royal blood, so I’ll just try to be considerate to the folks I encounter during my day.

7″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $65

 

 

 

watercolor painting of morning glory by emily weil

daily painting | headlands glory

Have you ever had Stevie Wonder singing to you in your headphones and managed NOT to dance? (I dare you to try.). This past weekend as I went to my cache of photos of wildflowers from the Marin Headlands, brought out my paints and cranked up the music, I had to take multiple dancing breaks from my watercolor expressions. All my curtains and doors were open, so I went into my bedroom where I could have a private Songs in the Key of Life dancefest. It was great (and terrific exercise), and I gratefully soaked up those moments where life felt like a celebration again. I always feel happy to see the swallows coming back in Spring, too — they collect mud in their beaks at low tide just out my window, to build their nests up on the Barnhill silos. They do this fluttery dance while they harvest the gooey stuff, never quite landing. It’s beautiful and balletic.

So the end result of my painting/dancing afternoon was this guy, complete with its ant visitors. Do head for the hills if you can as the flowers are spectacular. Oh, and one more thing — Alcatraz is partly open again. Please visit, and bring friends, as revenue from this tourist spot supports GGRO (and other GGNRA programs) and we are struggling to survive, due to the pandemic. Thank you.

7″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $65

 

 

 

watercolor painting of morning glory wildflowers by emily weil

daily painting | morning glory

I loved the rich and nuanced purples and lavenders of this morning glory that soared above a fence near me in Alameda. It was as if this flower was reaching high, thinking big; had to lean back and take the pic as it was way above my head. It inspired me — it seemed bold and barely supported. I wanted the paints to do their thing yesterday, to see if the purple puddles dried in interesting ways. Which is the magic of watercolor, and why I love it so. Not much to report here — following Hillary’s advice, Get up every day and keep going. My daily commitment to verticality.

7″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $65

 

 

 

watercolor painting of calla lilies by emily weil

daily painting | april callas

“I relinquish all resistance to the present moment.” That’s my mantra today (thank you Eckhart Tolle); I stumbled into Monday morning feeling drugged. I think someone slipped me a grief Mickey. My vocab is that of a demented magpie and I seem to be in the intense process of rooting out family sorrows, which is all mixed up with my sister’s illness and death. Slogging onward, but progressing. This too shall piss. Uh, pass.

But still, aren’t calla lilies amazing? I am madly in love with them and my ardor is not fading. They are all over the place, growing in many unexpected corners, and the gorgeous Georgia O’Keefe simplicity of the unfurling blooms takes my breath away. I am quite greedy for them. This arrangement, gracing my coffee table, inspired me. I hesitated, thinking, Jeez, haven’t I done enough calla lilies, already? Nope. They are endlessly lovely, and I will keep painting them. Spring gifts — beautiful bird songs out the window, swallows returning to build their mud nests, grassy green hills, explosions of California poppies. What wonderful feasts for the senses. And I’m hungry.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of bouquet by emily weil

daily painting | bike ride bouquet

Just noodling around today. Keeping myself distracted helps keep me a safe distance from the grief sinkhole, and getting out my paints is probably my #1 choice for staying occupado (nabbed a few flowers from a recent bike ride which provided today’s subject matter). I poke my nose into news shows occasionally, plan dinners, go to the beach, make dates with friends. This morning I HUGGED MY SON. Wow! First time in a year (outside, masks on; I am fully vaccinated, he had Covid months ago). It was heaven as he’s the best hugger on the planet. It was great to see him as he kindly helped me lug heavy propane tanks, my source of heat on the houseboat. Now there is a lovely cool breeze, I can hear bird songs out the window, and the laundry is getting done and my house is peaceful. Thanks for stopping by today.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | happy boat

Living in a marina makes for fun & sometimes surprising little scenes in the corners of the parking lot, including this small motorboat with an orange windscreen. I suppose the owner might not appreciate my thinking his boat is cute, but, well, it is. I added a lot of acrylic ink blots to liven it up; it was kind of a dull painting.

I spent part of my afternoon up in the redwoods in the Oakland hills as I needed soothing today. This damn grief bus sometimes runs me into dark alleyways. But the trees whisper kind words and help to receive my sadness. I am so grateful for these nearby spots that give me so much comfort.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of shipyard by emily weil

daily painting | red ladder

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, the photo I took in this Port Townsend, WA, shipyard, called to me. A man on a red ladder, dwarfed by this ship, working on the hull of this massive vessel and it was just very cool. Talk about a deep draft! So much hull. Maybe it’s big so it can hold lots of fish, as it works the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it goes up to Alaska. Maybe it does other things I have no imagination for. 

The chunky mass of this boat! The man on the ladder looks like a toy. I did the painting, then decided it was a bit too stilted so I spattered ink and paint to loosen it up, which improved it. 

I guess I can’t get enough of ships and water and boats. Even though I live on a houseboat I go to a coffee shop on the water so I can be next to the estuary. In my plodding, often sodden journey of loss and grief I am reminded of the words of Jesus addressing his disciples, freaked out as they were in a boat as a storm kicked up: “You shall not capsize.” I don’t even know if those words are in the New Testament, really (my born-again past is showing itself), but I will imagine they are as they soothe me during this wild ride. Don’t know where I’ll come ashore. But I’m still afloat, trusting.

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