watercolor and ink painting of leaf

daily painting | feather river leaf

The class I taught at Feather River Art Camp for which I created this quick demo was Watercolor and Ink. The week at camp was such a blast — I can’t believe I actually pulled it off without a major crash-and-burn after seven weeks of brother-brain-cancer crisis (and I was quite pooped once I returned home). Really had fun and was thankful for the schedule that allowed me to teach in the mornings and nap in the afternoons; luckily the weather didn’t get hot until the tail end of the schedule, and it was also fortuitous that the cunning Covid bastard didn’t ambush us until two days before we were set to go home (thankfully I dodged that infected bullet). 

These days I mostly feel upside down, as with great difficulty I embrace the reality that my brother is soon leaving the planet but for now he’s stable and more or less lucid; the hospice folks are supportive and professional and he’s got such a huge fan club he has frequent visitors. And I also enjoy just hanging out with him as we read the newspaper together or watch a Giants game. My emotions are a pinball machine, and I accept that (and I keep Kleenex close by at all times). We have tender moments and he still cracks wise and makes me laugh. I am deeply grateful for our connection and my heart will shatter when he dies but that’s the way things are as you get up into these senior years — people we love leave their bodies. And hopefully that passage into whatever follows death is the terminus of a rich life that was well-lived. That’s my goal in however many years I have left — to live with cheeky gusto and large portions of saucy irreverence. Because! Yes!

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor on paper

 

 

 

abstract painting on claybord by emily weil

daily painting | feather river

Walked in my door about an hour ago, returning from Feather River Art Camp up in N California, NE of Chico, in the beautiful hills of Plumas National Forest (3500 ft). It was an honor to be invited to teach at the camp and I had a ball and my students said they did too. I taught “Mixed Media,” meaning I did a watercolor class on one day, a drawing class another day, and so on (camp lasts 7 days with 5 days of classes and workshops). Such open-hearted, enthusiastic artists in my class — age range from 16 to hard-working art-enthusiasts in their 70s (maybe older; I didn’t exactly ask their birth dates). The camp has been operating for years, and there are a number of offerings given by fabulous teachers from ceramics to bead-making to plein air painting to creating art with bleach (marvelous — the teacher uses black paper). Check it out: www.featherriverartcamp.com.

Anyways not a lot of posting these days as I spend considerable time with my brother in his nursing facility in Mill Valley where he’s in hospice care with aggressive brain cancer; was hard to be gone for a week, but he was in good hands, and the art camp was on the calendar since last year. And I could nap in the afternoons. Then I could mosey down at dusk to Spanish Creek and enjoy the tranquility and the wildlife (and sometimes the company of my fabulous young assistant, Nolan). The wild creatures took my breath away — a merganser duck with 8 ducklings trailing behind, a resident beaver, dragonflies and songbirds and fish jumping and, two evenings ago, a young rattlesnake (not very big, small rattle) saw me (10 feet away) and twisted into the bushes but not before giving me a good shake of the rattle. It was marvelous.

But then there was Covid. The camp directors were exceedingly careful with us when we arrived — we provided proof of neg Covid test, they took our temps, etc. and all activities were outdoors. Still, three people became ill and tested pos; thankfully it was the last day of classes but it did kind of empty out the camp. Understandably. I’m isolating and testing every day and so far feel fine.

I did this abstract as a demo for the abstract class. The way everyone dove in to the exercise — so impressive and inspiring. All participants did amazing pieces, all week. Hope I get to come back next June. And I hope you will come too!

12″ x 12″ acrylic, ink, oil pastel on claybord = $185