daily painting | talking head

Appropriate for today’s newsy events — watching pundits pontificate on news channels is great practice for painting people. I don’t even remember who this was, but his face and generous lips and mouth captured my interest. It’s much more satisfying, however, to watch the swarms of cliff swallows out my window build mud nests under the ledges of the cement silos in my parking lot. Really lovely time of year.

watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | calla 2.0

I’m afraid I can’t keep my thieving hands off these gorgeous flowers; again raided a neglected calla lily bush tucked in a hidden corner at Ft Cronkhite next to an unused building. And yet! This arrangement on my coffee table was perched next to my favorite new drawing tool, a fountain pen with permanent ink, loaned to me by a friend, and I needed to draw my favorite flower again. It’s lovely experimenting with thick and thin lines and loose scratches and then adding watercolor. A Memorial Weekend creative endeavor, and also a celebration of teaching a watercolor workshop at Frank Bette Center in Alameda. What lovely, open-minded and big-hearted students! More classes will be offered; I’ll keep my website updated with info (keep an eye on the “about” button). I brought this flower arrangement for students to paint and all results were spectacular.

5.5″ x 7.25″ watercolor, pen, pastel on paper = $50

 

 

 

daily painting | hannah

One more fun Tue night with the figure drawing/painting group in Oakland. Hannah was the lovely model, and though this small painting has anatomical mistakes, I like its simplicity. Watercolor can be simple or complicated, and I am practicing minimalist paintings when it comes to figures. There’s a freshness to the colors in my trusty Daniel Smith triad, and it’s especially nice when the puddles of color dry into interesting shapes while still suggesting the human form. I am particularly inspired by the New Yorker artist Barry Blitt who does wonderful watercolors (his website is great: www.barryblitt.com/). It was a costly evening, though, as three of us had our cars broken into, right outside the door. Nothing valuable lost except money out of my bank account for the window replacement deductible. He was interrupted even though not nabbed.

watercolor, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | ignition

OK so this isn’t exactly a daily painting but a large abstract worked on over a number of days but I wanted to get it posted and public. I think painting this one was part of my emotionally cathartic release over the weekend — once again, the mystery of digging down deep in the process of making art is quite a wild ride sometimes. Also as I consider, ponder, and question my place as an artist in this world, some of those murky pockets of doubt come out in paint. At times I’m happy with a piece. Most of the time I look at it and wonder, “Does it suck?” (that’s a stolen line from another well-known artist.) Ack.

46″ x 60″ acrylic, pencil on canvas = $3500

 

 

 

daily painting | black keys

I enjoy ping ponging back and forth between painting acrylic abstracts (large and small) and watercolors. Watercolor paints have a stained-glass-like transparency that have enchanted me for 40+ years, while the deeply emotional process of creating abstracts with acrylics also has its many satisfying benefits. This painting is on Ampersand brand “claybord”, a flat, smooth surface that accepts paints in a smooth, slippery, fluid way, unlike more textured canvas surfaces. This claybord had a former life, and needed new colors and shapes. In doing abstracts I can reach down into a secret, creative space and let things rip from there. I think there was a connection between working on abstracts on the weekend and watching a good TV series, “Catch 22” on Hulu that split me open like a watermelon. The show captures Joseph Heller’s irreverent, brilliant take on stupid leaders doing stupid things while the hero, Yossarian, rages against the machine. Something about one of the episodes got down into me and I wept and cried and came apart. I needed the catharsis, I suppose. Starved for truth in a world of alternative facts. I want REAL.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | shoreline rose

Yep. More floral thievery. Bad (?) habit I blame my mom for. These huge blooms, surviving without a lot of careful tending along the shoreline trail near my marina, were so lush I needed one for my kitchen windowsill. There were many blossoms on this rosebush, so I don’t think I deprived folks strolling along the waterfront of any rosy beauty. Roses seem so upper class, so in need of fussy attention and not for the teeming masses (I’m definitely a teeming mass. Or mess). I’ve been off the daily painting routine, as my female bits are still recovering from some ailments, but I’m starting to be myself again. Looking forward to getting back to my studio this weekend (when more rains are coming! Sheesh, weather gods, it’s MAY). Also there is much prep work for E Bay Open Studios in June and I hope you can come visit me at Gray Loft Gallery (see “about” button).

5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor, pen, pastel on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | boat on wheels

Had great fun with Urban Sketchers at Rock Wall winery in Alameda (though management there was not particularly thrilled with our presence). As I drove home I spotted this charming dory on a trailer (on the other side was a sign directing people to the naval museum nearby). Kitty corner from this spot was a beer garden and it was a lovely day and folks were enjoying their afternoon on the former navy airfield. I love this part of the island — it’s still a bit rough and decaying and interesting and un-sanitized. Not something from Disneyland. Hope it remains that way a bit longer.

5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor, pen, pastel on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | closed firehouse

This charming structure is an Alameda firehouse that has closed. I love its character, and one nice day while riding my bike through neighborhoods I snapped its pic. I’ve been inspired lately by watercolor artist Paul Wang (see his works on Instagram; his demos are fun) so I experimented with emulating his loose style. Anyways, since I’ve been under the weather lately it was lovely to feel better and paint. Soothing for my soul.

5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor, pen, pastel on paper = $60

 

 

 

daily painting | rough & ready

It is satisfying to go back and forth between abstracts in acrylic and painting with watercolors. This one felt a little rough and textured, but it wanted to be that way. I’m feeling rough too — sidelined, I hope briefly, with an infection, so haven’t been posting or painting this week. But, I am halfway through the Mueller report! Wasn’t sure I could hang in there through the whole thing but honestly it’s fascinating, terrifying, sobering and, frankly, disgusting. Humans shamelessly displaying greed, corruption, deceit. I can’t seem to stay away, though, and during the Watergate scandal in the 70s I was equally interested and engaged in the latest news. Politics makes me want to vomit. Inspiring thought for the day.

12″ x 12″ acrylic on claybord = $185

 

 

 

daily painting | calla lily

I am so madly in love with calla lilies. Alongside an unused WWII military barracks building at Ft Cronkhite, a big display of these lush blooms was growing so I stopped and surreptitiously swiped a few. I know, taking flowers from parks and all that, very illegal, but these were off the beaten path and unappreciated and desperate for my admiration. My way of living dangerously I guess (pretty damn tame though; shoplifting at age 13 was riskier). I did a few watercolors of what I brought home, and this was the last one (with a few dabs of pastels). I’m not sure why these appeal so much — perhaps the sexual shape of the yellow spadix (I looked it up!), or the sensual, feminine shape overall. Maybe a love of Georgia O’Keefe’s female-parts paintings that are blush-worthy. The whiteness of the curving petals, the plain, sturdy yellow-green stem, the utter, brilliant simplicity of the design leave me enthralled. Part of it may be that my mom was so dismissive of them (“They grow like weeds”) which made me cling to my secret admiration of their beauty. Unspeakably lovely and robust.

5.5″ x 8.5″ watercolor, pen, pastel on paper = $60