daily painting | limey still life

Thanks to the bounty of the Berkeley Bowl produce dept I have quite a selection of fruits to assemble for a quickie still life. I hadn’t planned on doing this today but some of my fruit bowl items were so colorful and interesting I needed to pull them out and arrange them on my table. At first I did a painting of one of those funny, pompadour-sporting sumo tangerines with its bumpy topknot but I wasn’t satisfied with the results (the tangerine looked more like an orange with a cerebral tumor). Then I thought I’d compose a quick work with limes and this roma tomato which was fun (I ate the beets. They are gone.). Even though I’m at home for this Staycation, my body is more relaxed, I feel more at ease, and I can sense all my parts — my psyche in particular — mending. It’s hugely comforting knowing I can take care of myself this way and bringing out my paints also is a healing exercise. I’m putting a dent in my stack of New Yorkers, making myself lovely dinners, visiting friends (safely), sleeping late, watching movies (last night’s fare: “African Queen”). Escapism and rest and outdoor fun are my priorities and every day I feel better. I’m filled with gratitude that I am near so many beautiful scenes, from beaches to redwood groves to wildlife on the estuary just out my window. I am absorbing it all and becoming whole.

7″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $65




watercolor painting of beet by emily weil

daily painting | beet in a pleat

I know it shows a lack of imagination, doing two beet posts in a row, but I just love the shape of these veggies. So I did another watercolor of the same subject, and since I started it late in the afternoon in waning light, I left the long-tailed root vegetable, a bit coyly hidden behind folds in the napkin, on the table as I planned on continuing the painting today. In the meantime, as per usual, as dusk descended, I chased rats off my bird feeder (a useless activity, they are repeat customers) and as I half-glanced at this still life arrangement on my table later in the evening, it resembled a dead rat with a long tail. Or maybe a sleeping rat. Either way it made me laugh. Rats are OK if it means I also get to have bird visitors. I’ve made my peace with the rodents, though I did shake cayenne pepper on my rubber mat outside as the rats rudely started chewing on it to get bits for their nests. I had pet rats as a kid until the dog killed them, so I’m not averse to their visits to my deck. I’m OK with the squirrel too. Any damn thing with a beating heart.

7″ x 10″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $90




watercolor painting of poppies by emily weil

daily painting | bright blooms, sad heart

Decades ago when I was a young mom in Florence, Oregon, I was experiencing PTSD from childhood trauma but I didn’t know it; I had no idea what was wrong (needless to say I have oceans of guilt as I know how my kids suffered too). As I reflect on those years and look at some of the early watercolor paintings I did then, they are bright and cheery. What the hell, I wondered? In some of my darkest days I made art that looked quite happy. Have no idea why. Maybe inside I had sunny, hopeful corners that came out in my art. I feel similarly about this painting done as a demo for a class. After a year of isolation, family troubles, the pandemic and the death of my sister my moods are often mournful. But maybe my insides come out anyways, and I am encouraged by those colorful and hopeful works. Maybe happiness hides in there and will leak out in other ways too.

Last night in a book I’m reading, The Outside Boy by Janine Cummins, the young hero who had tragically just lost his “grandda” says, “I thought maybe grief was like an egg that had to be cracked open, and I just hadn’t smashed mine yet—I was still holding it, cradling it. Careful.” Gorgeous writing. Can’t wait to dive back in and see what happens next in this family of Irish travelers.

10″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $90