daily painting | broken stem

I pulled out my small sketchbook this morning as I was captivated by this droopy bloom which is part of a glorious bouquet of lilies my daughter sent me for my birthday. I left the busted stem in the arrangement (as opposed to removing it to a smaller bud vase) as I kind of liked it. The flowers came mostly in lily bud-pods, and have opened up with wonderfully gaudy fall-color amazingness and I realized today that the bent stem’s bud actually opened up fully, even in its injured state. I am impressed — such stamen-a! (Sorry.) Anyways, I am moved by this vibrant, pumpkin-colored bloom that became its full, beautiful self even when broken. The correlations are obvious, as I came from such a mangled family, so this was fun to notice and appreciate. Limitations? Yes, and so what? We can always find a way to be our most elegant selves.

fountain pen, watercolor in small sketchbook

 

 

 

watercolor of lilies by emily weil

daily painting | barnhill lilies

As I journey on in this remarkable time of loss, I am encouraged and heartened not just by the loving support I have in my life but by what I am learning about myself: the old stumps I drag behind of family suffering, the incredible power to heal and say farewell to encumbrances and embrace new goals. Sometimes my head buzzes with fireworks — both illuminating and dangerous. Here I am, in the december years of my life (maybe just late autumn?) and yet here are new ideas, previously unconsidered possibilities and lessons of faith and trust. How grateful I am to be alive, and I’m going to co-opt a quote I heard from Norman Lear who described his family as having “lived at the top of its lungs and the ends of its nerves.” An excellent way of being in the world. I aspire to it.

Here’s this week’s adventure story -— after a particularly meaningful and healing session with my counselor who is a combo of skilled therapist, spiritual director and gifted healer, I headed up to the Oakland hills for my fave trail through the redwoods to absorb the powerful work of that afternoon. As I parked in the lot by the Joaquin Miller Park visitor center, avoiding street parking as they warn of break-ins, I heard red-shouldered hawks calling and saw red tail hawks circling above. The groves of trees embraced me as always (and I hugged them back); they comfort and soothe. Back to my car, I started it up and it made the worst racket! Like my muffler had fallen off. Not knowing exactly what to do (my mechanic had already gone home for the evening) I decided to limp home to Alameda, coasting downhill most of the way, glad for the electric engine that kicked in, avoiding freeways and laughing as I bombed through the Fruitvale district, attracting attention from the clamor of my engine. White-haired old lady in her hobbled Prius. Made it home (whew!), thankful for my safe arrival. A generous neighbor looked at my noisy vehicle and pronounced, “Your catalytic converter was stolen.” It’s in the shop now, getting repaired and is covered by insurance. Should be good to go, as my mechanic assures me she’s got quite a few miles left in her.

I also want to share this poem; couldn’t believe it arrived in my inbox, so perfect: 

YOU WHO LET YOURSELVES FEEL by Rainer Maria Rilke

You who let yourselves feel: enter the breathing

that is more than your own.

Let it brush your cheeks

as it divides and rejoins behind you.

Blessed ones, whole ones,

you where the heart begins:

You are the bow that shoots the arrows

and you are the target.

Fear not the pain. Let its weight fall back

into the earth;

for heavy are the mountains, heavy the seas.

The trees you planted in childhood have grown

too heavy. You cannot bring them along.

Give yourselves to the air, to what you cannot hold.
____

This painting: one of the owners of my marina has a fabulous garden (on land) and I took a number of photos of her lilies which, thanks to my Christian background, always make me think of Easter and new life.

10″ x 10″ watercolor, pen on paper = $130

 

 

 

watercolor painting of calla lilies by emily weil

daily painting | april callas

“I relinquish all resistance to the present moment.” That’s my mantra today (thank you Eckhart Tolle); I stumbled into Monday morning feeling drugged. I think someone slipped me a grief Mickey. My vocab is that of a demented magpie and I seem to be in the intense process of rooting out family sorrows, which is all mixed up with my sister’s illness and death. Slogging onward, but progressing. This too shall piss. Uh, pass.

But still, aren’t calla lilies amazing? I am madly in love with them and my ardor is not fading. They are all over the place, growing in many unexpected corners, and the gorgeous Georgia O’Keefe simplicity of the unfurling blooms takes my breath away. I am quite greedy for them. This arrangement, gracing my coffee table, inspired me. I hesitated, thinking, Jeez, haven’t I done enough calla lilies, already? Nope. They are endlessly lovely, and I will keep painting them. Spring gifts — beautiful bird songs out the window, swallows returning to build their mud nests, grassy green hills, explosions of California poppies. What wonderful feasts for the senses. And I’m hungry.

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