abstract ink, watercolor & pastel by emily weil

daily painting | secret code

Sometimes when I wake up in the morning the howling grief monkeys are jumping on my bed. Today was one of those times, so I did my a.m. meditation practice (calming) and took out my journal to write notes to myself that go like this:

You are good, Emily.

You are sane.

Your brain cells feel like exploding popcorn kernels but you’ll be OK (add salt and butter).

Life is rich and beautiful and you always find your way to your best path (put your headlights on high-beam).

Is this what sanity looks like? I have no idea. What is sanity, anyways? Again, no clue. A grip on reality, I guess. On what’s real and true. Looking eyeball-to-eyeball at the facts (and not the alternative ones). There are times when life feels like being in a batting cage with a pitching machine hurling 90MPH baseballs at you and you don’t have a bat. Or a helmet or knee pads. And that’s just the way things are and you dodge and duck as best you can. I have two dead sisters, a flattened design business because of Covid, wrenching situations in my family that rip my heart up every day, and now my marina has new owners whose intentions are sketchy (where would I go?). BUT! My guinea pig Buster Posey cracked me up this morning with his little purring noises, today I am safe and warm and well-fed, I have loving and nurturing friends (I am so fortunate!), I get to watch eagles soar in the east bay hills with a fabulous birding companion, and last night I had a ball teaching students drawing lessons (they were amazing and very quick studies). Again, balancing things out. Life can be challenging, but as a dear British friend once encouraged (you can imagine her gorgeous accent), sooner or later Zeus will move on and hurl his lightning bolts at someone else.

About this painting — sometimes I’d rather stay home and linger in my PJs than go to my studio which can be a bit chilly and cavernous. So I get out sketchbooks and fool around with ink, acrylic pens, pastels and pencil. Working small like this makes life feel more contained.

PS Apologies for the metaphor soup.

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




illustration of willie mays by emily weil

daily painting | say hey

Since this version of my digital illustration of Willie Mays was rejected by the “Mays team” (licensing and bureaucratic and indecipherable legal reasons), I can post this now. I was thrilled (I mean, couldn’t-sit-still-ecstatic) to be called on to create a digital illo to be used for a logo being created by my lovely and talented freelance colleague who often creates designs for the SF Giants. The Giants front office loved my work but sadly Mays’ lawyers didn’t; they will use a silhouette of Mays that has been used (and approved of) in previous marketing materials. The logo was to be for a new program, “Willie Mays Scholars”, a non-profit group created by the SF Giants to support high school and college kids, timed to launch for Mays’ 90th birthday this month.

But still! Willie Mays himself looked at MY artwork, which absolutely sent me over the moon, regardless of the results and I’m still getting a little choked up about it as I write this. It took me back to my mom putting the Giants games on the kitchen transistor radio when I was a girl, when I fell in love both with baseball and the Giants. Mays is one of the greatest sports legends ever, and I adored him and the rest of that remarkable 1960s roster — in the early 2000s when the Silicon Valley dot-bomb disaster wiped out my design biz, I took on many odd jobs to survive, including counting money for Roberts Market in Woodside. When I was prepping money and checks for a deposit (I went home at night with green fingers), a check from Willie McCovey was in the stack and I about fainted. After that, the nice gals in that office where I worked PT would point him out when he came shopping (you could see the market entrance from the upstairs office). They wouldn’t, um, let me copy his check but it was exciting just the same (Shirley Temple came almost every day, and when I saw her at the deli counter I smiled and said hello and she smiled back). Love of our heroes is a fun part of being human, yes? Though with apologies to SF Giants greats, no one could ever outclass Eleanor Roosevelt in my personal pantheon. And, may Mays live forever.