daily painting | desmina

Really enjoyed joining a figure drawing group today with a model. Results weren’t fabulous, but it was pleasant to be there and play with different media. I think this sketch was the last one and took about 2 minutes as I kept starting over and then ran out of time, as the model’s pose ended. Very simple and quick, but working with a combo of wet and dry media was fun. Making art — what a wonderful privilege. I am fortunate and grateful. It’s like being in a lush, safe world, doing art with other artists, and we encourage and learn from one another. Bolsters my sanity and helps keep my head attached to my neck.

12″ x 9″ watercolor crayon, water-soluble graphite on paper = $150

 

 

 

watercolor of figure by emily weil

daily painting | figure drawing

I have a marvelous new art toy — Caran D’ache watercolor crayons. Yesterday I very much enjoyed joining a figure drawing group (every Tuesday; contact me if you are interested) and brought out my sweet little water-soluble drawing implement. Gameli was the model, and he had the most glorious huge afro and a thick beard and it was all a great reintroduction to figure drawing, something I used to enjoy but the weekly group I was part of disbanded because of Covid.

Such a great distraction, and fun to be with other artists as well, including my old friend Bill, a fellow artist and also a bird bander. I need to focus on activities or I’m susceptible to sinking into dark, broody moods. Staying busy is the key, not to mention having outlets to talk about my grief process and doing healing work around musty and stinky and painful old issues. This is a roll-up-my-sleeves kind of time, moving forward and paying attention (not to mention sorting through mental illness issues in my family, ugh).

There’s a freedom, though, in acceptance. I practice non-resistance every day — and boy does it take practice. To accept what is, and that this is a challenging time, and be OK with it. Life isn’t about feeling good all the time, much as I’d like it to. Growth sucks sometimes. Very uncomfortable. Best to flow along with this river. My little boat is mostly seaworthy.

12″ x 9″ watercolor crayon on paper = $150

 

 

 

figure drawing painting by emily weil

daily painting | eva

Another Bay Area Models Guild Marathon happened on zoom last weekend, and the quick sketches (short poses) were the most satisfying to draw/paint. But damn I am SO over zoom, are you? (I was tired of it 5 mins into the pandemic, though.) I seriously hope the ComiCon variant of Covid spins itself out, but it feels like we’re back in a discouraging cycle — wash, rinse, repeat. The news is all a bit dismal, so I distract myself whenever possible with things that don’t veer too close to self-destruction, like drawing and painting and taking walks and spending time with caring friends until they are sick of me. I use “notebook therapy” — writing out feelings in a journal. I love to cook, so I make myself comfort-food meals which I look forward to. Let’s see, what else? Oh, right, taking my binos out to the shoreline to try and figure out the difference between sandpipers, plovers and rails, crossing my fingers a local peregrine falcon will stop by, hunting and scattering the little guys poking around at the water’s edge (not that I want any bloodshed, but peregrines are beyond amazing). If you want a fun walk, go out to Chavez Park in Berkeley next to the marina and see the burrowing owls that winter there — extraordinary! OK that’s my Christmas week update. I accept my lessons of today — to keep my heart open, to trust, to dig deeper into my spiritual practice, to believe every day in life’s magic. It’s a challenge, as I default to gloom and doom (I can tell how much I am fighting depression by the state of my house, which is currently messy). But I did totally get out of bed today. 

10″ x 7″ watercolor, pencil, water-soluble graphite on paper

 

 

 

painting of bay area models guild model barbara by Emily Weil

daily painting | barbara and hat

Yesterday was another fun Bay Area Models Guild marathon on Zoom. They used to have these events at various locations around the Bay Area, but it actually works pretty well online. Was a blast — there were a number of expert models in various poses, funds were raised for the guild, and I could create art more comfortably in the privacy of my home. I think this was my favorite model, Barbara, with her glorious red hair and magenta hat, who has been modeling for more than 35 years. As always, painting and drawing saves my bacon. And Barbara’s expertise and perseverance and joy in modeling was inspiring, which leads me to today’s musings.

Sometimes life’s challenges strip you down to the studs. As I sweep up the drywall dust, bent nails, chunks of linoleum and splinters of dry-rotted siding, I can see the bones of my insides. Is the framework sound? Can I rebuild? I’m finding that, yes, the original structure was created with high-quality building materials. My bones are sturdy and good. I remember feeling similarly after my mom died 15 years ago. Things got stripped away in the grief and pain — stuff I no longer needed got chucked into the dumpster, which cleared my head — I found my path as an artist, I was directed to my GGRO tribe, and I discovered my houseboat community. What will happen now that I’m pushing 70? Dunno. But I’m not done yet. Never too late to rethink goals and dream new dreams and move forward. And be my truest self. Who I hope is kind and compassionate.

We’ve all been through a lot these last years; 2020 was simply a bitch. For everyone. Some suffered more losses than others but no one got through the turmoil unscathed or unchanged. My hope is that I can embrace loss and grief with grace and an open heart. Like the line in a Bonnie Raitt song, “Don’t let me grow bitter I pray.” Amen.

11″ x 8″ watercolor, pen, pencil on paper = $120

 

 

 

daily painting | barbara, ree-ree

Barbara has been a model with the Bay Area Models Guild for 30 years. This was a quickie painting done of her exquisite face from the Zoom gallery during last weekend’s drawing marathon. Damn I wish I’d taken a secret and illegal screenshot of her pose so I could do it again! But this shows her character and essence, I think. She wore this marvelous sequined red hat and I found myself wishing I could hear all her modeling stories. Now, how to work in another sister story? Hm. Choppy segue here but I want to write about yesterday’s email exchange with Dawn, a life-long friend of my sister’s from childhood. Dawn wrote to me and my brother asking for a few more details about my sister Kay that she was curious about, like her name. As a kid, Kay (born Kathleen) had the nickname Ree-ree, which morphed into a few other ree-lated monikers (I crack myself up!). Never occurred to me to ask the origin story of that name, but since my brother was 11 years old when Kathy was born, he remembers stuff. He said that when Kathy was a tot learning how to talk, “ree-ree” was her way of saying “raisin” and it stuck. Funny how the small things that seem innocuous or even adorable can dissolve me into a soggy, mushy puddle. Which happened last night, under the full moon. A big wet mess up on my deck to match the accumulation of rainwater that caused the Christmas night leak, and a new year’s thanks to Vern who just left after flushing out the drain. And it’s likely my tear ducts will be leaking out my sorrow again soon. And that’s a good and healthy thing.

7″ x 7″ water-soluble graphite, pen on paper

 

 

 

daily painting | painting marathon

The Bay Area Models Guild has several drawing/painting marathons a year. Yesterday’s was the first one on Zoom and it worked great (I’ve gone to previous events held at Fort Mason in SF). Rather than roaming through various rooms looking for different kinds of models (and lengths of poses), I wandered through the Zoom gallery. It was great fun. Wasn’t sure I’d like it, but I miss painting the figure and yesterday satisfied a need I’d forgotten I had. It’s like a celebration of all kinds of shapes and sizes of bodies as well as a myriad of artists’ styles (I think 300 artists participated!). Life as a rich feast. Because in these days of quarantine I spend so much time alone (and it does get to me), seeing all those drawing and painting possibilities on my screen was delicious. I enjoyed myself thoroughly and painted for four of the five scheduled hours (no wonder I’m tired today!). It was a last-minute holiday gift (thank you Laurie Wigham for the announcement). I’ll post another pic tomorrow.

8″ x 8″ water-soluble graphite, pen on paper