watercolor of black and white cat by emily weil

daily painting | benny

I woke up this morning with a revolutionary thought. What if, just for today, I believed that everything I was doing was right and good? If, instead of constantly doubting and criticizing myself, and thinking I should try/work harder, I practiced having complete faith in myself? Now I know from books I’ve read and interviews I’ve heard with brilliant creative folks and personal conversations I’ve had that I’m hardly alone, questioning who I am and what I do. I know an artist who is that rare combination of being both brilliant and financially successful and I heard her mutter to herself words of self-criticism and self-doubt (I don’t think she knew I could hear her, it was a group setting). I was amazed that she of all people questioned herself. So it’s kind of a chronic condition of being human, I think. Especially for someone who bares all, exposing him or herself whether on stage or as a writer or a visual artist. It’s risky. It’s an act of vulnerability, and most of us humans avoid it, creating clever facades of protection. I aspire to embrace the experience, though. To have an open heart and to honor and accept and trust myself and create art from a place that’s deep inside. That’s a helluva thing, isn’t it? Takes ovaries. Wish me luck. I can always pull out my trunk full of Halloween masks if needed.

[This is Benny, commissioned by a friend as a gift to his wife for Valentine’s Day. Benny thinks he’s a dog, has a hilarious parallelogram mustache, goes with the family on neighborhood walks and jumps into the car with mom and dad to go to the drive-through coffee shop where the baristas give him kitty treats.]

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor, pastel, pencil on paper




daily painting | jean gray

Kitty #2 for the Frank Bette Center for the Arts fundraiser (www.frankbettecenter.org). I was liking this painting until I needed to do the face — thank god for acrylic pens. My fixers. Worked on this over a couple of days, taking a break to cry today as I watched the memorial service on TV for all the Covid deaths. Heart-shattering. I’ll be up in the morning bright & early & squirrelly to celebrate Biden’s inauguration which can’t happen soon enough. I have struggled lately with dark moods, and today is a bit better. We can all say we’ve been through many difficulties in life — you can’t be on the planet for six decades, as I have, without pain and loss — and being this old gives one perspective; this has been an exceedingly challenging chapter both for myself and my country and we’ll get through it. Wild winds whipped through the bay area last night and today but so far no deck chairs have sailed through my neighbor’s windows. Weather as metaphor. I’ll make some comforting soup tonight and sway along with the rocking and rolling as my houseboat is buffeted by the fierce gusts (which are starting to calm down). She’ll be OK. I’ll be OK. Mooring lines are secure.

7″ x 10″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper





daily painting | zuri

The Frank Bette Center for the Arts in Alameda (“FBC”) is having a fundraiser; folks sent in photos of their pets and FBC assigned volunteer artists to create artwork of the kitties and dogs and other critters (I was kind of hoping for a turtle). Check out www.frankbettecenter.org. Zuri was my assignment — I’m working on an orange tabby as well, and the paint is drying as I write this. Kind of housebound today — a bit under the weather and this morning I freaked out as I ate some of last night’s dinner salad and it tasted, well, mediocre. Is it my taste buds? Am I sick with Covid? No other symptoms, but I’ll lie low and quarantine for now just in case. I think it was just a rather bland salad as my morning tea was delicious. I suspect it’s because my emotions are raw and my nerves are like unraveling mooring lines; had a fairly dark night last night, wondering if loneliness and isolation could be fatal. It sure feels desperate and horrid and I’m thoroughly sick of it. But then, my darling granddaughter in Sacramento FaceTimed me today and I got to say hello and laugh at her two adorable tots (who are 5 and 2) and hear the latest stories about their antics (like finding a whole jar of vaseline and covering their bodies with it — including hair, bedding, blankets, the dog); it takes serious dish detergent to remove the gooey mess, I learned. Ick. But they all seem happy and healthy and normal, and though my arms ache to hold them and my lips don’t remember what it’s like to kiss loved ones, it was fun to see the fam on my little screen. Sigh. One day at a time. Hope tonight’s dinner is a bit more satisfying. I’ll let you know.

7″ x 10″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper