watercolor painting of tennessee valley trail by emily weil

daily painting | tennessee valley trail

After visiting my brother in Mill Valley the other day I headed to the Tennessee Valley trail not far away, a spot I hadn’t visited in several years. The fog was roaring in and I knew my afternoon hike would be breezy and deliciously cool. My walking sticks helped me along the way and at one point I stopped to listen to at least five different species of birds calling, including a Swainson’s Thrush, who sings a lilting, gorgeous song (I’m not so savvy about identifying birds by song, but since I bugged GGRO’s Allen Fish about this mystery birdcall a few years ago I knew this one). A wildlife photographer was trying to spot the bird for a good photo but it was elusive visually; its song, however, filled the valley. That lovely walk soothed my heart. As nature always, always does.

So. Time on my hands? Seriously? What IS that? (I’m adapting, however — now in its ninth week, this brother-brain-cancer crisis has consumed my life). But with Covid roaming the halls of James’s nursing home I’m at home for now (no argument there). So the paints are coming out. And the laundry is done. The dust on my bookshelf is wiped clean (it was practically sprouting seedlings). I’m still tired, but I think that is a fact of life these days. And I am learning that I need to call by name the sadness that sits next to me on my couch every day. To welcome it and not ignore it. To embrace it, even. Loss is a central ingredient of my life for now. I accept it.

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor on paper




watercolor painting of boatyard by emily weil

daily painting | papery poppy

I keep going back to these papery poppies I photographed on a hike. This particular view of them seems hopeful as the blossoms are so wide open, which is what I aspire to. An open heart, open mind, open being. Though I’m certain you are likely quite fatigued with my writings about grief, painting this scene helped me get through a rough week; I want to heal and not be bitter. I acknowledge being angry and frustrated and sad and I want these feelings to keep moving through me so that I don’t attach myself to them. These emotions do pass — like clouds drifting overhead. The trick is to let them storm through, then let them go and enjoy the fresh air that follows. The tears still come easily, and I let them (just checked my Kleenex supply). And my moments of pain and loss are peppered with lovely joys that come unexpectedly — a new species of bird at my feeder, a red shouldered hawk flying overhead as I do volunteer chores in Marin, a warm and understanding friend. And bike rides and yoga and Zoom Zumba and a bowl of cereal with fresh strawberries and trying a new roasted eggplant soup recipe. Life is juicy. Happy Easter.

12″ x 9″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $140