watercolor and pastel painting of briones park by emily weil

daily painting | briones hillside

A steep hillside and a majestic oak in Briones park — the final painting (5th one) in the series of Briones watercolors/pastel works done in exchange for my new roof (I knew I’d chosen the right company when the Lovett & Lovett Roofing truck pulled up in my parking lot with the tagline written on the side, “Since 1886”). I’m quite happy this art-for-trade project is done! And I’m reasonably satisfied with the results. The next thing I need to do is big crazy abstracts to help discharge the intense and painful emotions that are fish-hooked up as I deal with legal issues regarding my brother’s trust. All kinds of old family ghosts are screeching in my brain, poisonous voices handed down by males that females are less-than, unworthy of honor and care, and not to be trusted. It’s ugly and I am again 10 years old feeling dismissed and ignored and labeled and criticized. But this life-circumstance is also medicine, giving me opportunities to heal and honor myself and celebrate my presence in the world. It feels hideous. And this moment is full of possibilities. Bring it.

32″ x 42″ ink, watercolor, pencil, pastel on paper

 

 

 

watercolor and pastel painting of briones park by emily weil

daily painting | briones

Well. (This exclamation makes me remember my mom exhaling this word, usually to voice disapproval — funny thought to photo-bomb my brain). This is kind of today’s pause to reflect on my life situation. Lots going on — changes and hope and healing and surprises and absorption of the reality of my world in this present moment. That my brother is no longer on the earth. That my heart is healing and is open. That I get to paint every day. That I’m sometimes a reluctant grownup having to deal with things in my house that break.

Thought I’d post this recent painting which is part of the series of commissioned paintings of Briones Park as a partial trade for my new roof. I’m happy and excited to be an artist — this series is boosting my confidence as a painter. Three done, two to go.

Life is a crazy rocket-ride! I miss my brother every day and the tears sometimes ambush me and I’m OK with that. We loved each other deeply and this grief is part of that love. I often think about our time spent together while he was sick, so grateful for the sweet connection we shared. And today I’m also thankful that I can now call my brother’s friends mine too. So cool. Life is rich. I’m very fortunate.

24″ x 48″ ink, watercolor, pastel on paper

 

 

 

watercolor of poppy by emily weil

daily painting | briones poppy

“Grieving is a full time job.” So says my wise and wonderful therapist who is herself grieving her dad who died recently. This helps me relax a little. Oh that I could be that fictitious genteel Victorian woman who would be sent off to a year-long tour of Europe to recover from her loss. What a wonderful dream.

But no. We live in modern times and very few of us can take twelve months away from daily living to work through painful losses. Which is why I’m absorbing the reality that I have things that break in my house and they need to be fixed despite how I feel. Life problems present themselves (broken water heater) and it feels like the end of the world! Which of course it isn’t. And yes these are first-world problems. Which wipe me off the road in a messy mudslide.

So? And now? Well, practicing self-compassion. As I’ve ranted about before, our culture gives us about three weeks to get over a death. Move on, people say. Don’t live in the past. (SO helpful.) Which makes one withdraw more deeply into the grief process, which can be horribly lonely. But, you know what? I have compassion for those who have had painful losses. It can take years — YEARS — to work through grief. Which is a sign of a big heart  — if we didn’t love deeply, we wouldn’t feel the pain of loss. Yay for us.

So I’m deeply grateful that what’s in front of me is creating art. I’m working on a series of commissions, and I completed this one today. I’m doing large paintings from photos of Briones, as a partial trade for my new roof that was installed last year. The client has been exceedingly patient with me, as I took time for brother-care and then did some traveling late last year. And now as I work daily on this project, I’m grateful to experience the joy of being an artist. Once again I am thankful to Leigh Hyams and for her Esalen art workshop I stumbled into in 2008. She gave me a whole new life direction. And it’s good.

32″ x 32″ ink, watercolor, pastel on paper

 

 

 

watercolor, ink painting of clematis by emily weil

daily painting | clematis

I have a spiritual practice. It holds me up. I am challenged these days to nurture a sense of wonder. Like a child delights in daily things that spark her curiosity. I take notes on these bright spots and go back and read them when I’m wearing iron boots and can’t move. 

These are my twinkly moments from yesterday: 

• The stunning red-tailed hawk I saw on the light post, hoping for a prairie-dog lunch. 

• The pleasant afternoon I enjoyed with my brother, as we visited the Homestead Valley Community Center in Mill Valley, where my dear friend Sandy is showing her beautiful watercolors. Sandy met us there and brought the sweetest, fattest grapes I’ve ever tasted. Kids were outside doing an exercise class to Beatles’ tunes; the school next door used to be Homestead School where I went to kindergarten.

• Email correspondence with Jordon the roofer, who had just approved of my idea of creating an arrangement of large paintings of Briones for his office wall in exchange for part of my roofing bill.

• The crescent moon setting in the western sky.

• The happy anticipation of teaching art for a week in June at a camp in Plumas County.

• Laughing as the “poker boys” crack wise on Zoom as I got my brother set up for the Tuesday night online poker game.

Tuesday’s wonders. My heart is happy.

[This is a painting done from a photo sent to me by my friend Diane who is an amazing gardener; I’m doing well if I don’t kill my jade plant.]

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