daily painting | abstract amaryllis

I tried to ignore the impeachment trial today. I really did. And I failed. But then I did turn it off for a bit and crank up a few blues tunes and work on the deliciousness of yet another blooming amaryllis stalk, v. 2 from the bulb I received as a gift. The first set of flowers faded and dried up and were replaced by these! And there’s another shoot visible, popping out. Woot! I wanted to be super loose with this painting and use bright colors and pastels and be freewheeling and splashy, so I started with sticks-and-ink, then added big splotches of watercolors, followed by pastels and acrylic pens. Didn’t really care if you could ID the subject. I couldn’t tear myself away from the news so I did this at home, and that was fun too though I often suffer from quarantine cabin fever. But I’m safe. Vaccines are on their way and I’m ready. My gosh I’ll be squeezing my kids and grandkids and great-grandkids until they squawk. Not soon enough. Oh! And Happy Valentine’s Day! You know what? Here’s another thought. Such a damn loaded day of the year, right? I’d always longed for a romantic celebration of this day. And I’m truly fine with what is. And I got wonderful prezzies from my daughter in San Diego (which included a darling mug printed with the words, “Best Effin’ Mimi Ever” [I’m Mimi to my grandkids]). So sweet and it makes my heart so full. Accepting what is is the best. I resist so much, often. But trusting, and letting go, and “non-resistance” equals contentment, and — dare I say? — joy.

16″ x 12″ watercolor, pastel, sticks-and-ink, pencil, acrylic ink on paper = $250

 

 

 

daily painting | contained

A favorite place for me to visit is the nearby Alameda/Oakland estuary where these huge ships deliver and pick up containers filled with all kinds of goodies. I love watching the shipping cranes in action, seeing the tugs escort the hulking beasts to moor under the praying-mantis-like contraptions, admiring the lovely San Francisco skyline and bridges in the background. The other day I snapped a few photos of this scene as I loved the bright red hull of this hard-working, ocean-crossing vessel.

Ok folks a bit of therapy-speak coming up so feel free to check out now. Here goes. Some of my most profound healing moments occurred in a group therapy setting, facilitated by our skilled and beloved counselor Peter Frechette, several decades ago. One exercise we did was to create a “container” — a safe way to express deep emotion, grief, sadness. This amazing environment, where trust had developed between group members, was difficult, challenging, healing, life-changing. For example, a person I might choose with whom I felt comfortable would hold me in a protective, gentle way so I could emote and let old childhood feelings out. For me to feel so secure was earth-shaking and phenomenal. Thus, the title! For this painting is of a container ship, and I hope you think I’m SOOO clever! (I’m not, but still.) These days grief often overtakes me, and while I do not have the safety of that group of peers to hold me while I weep, I know how to create a protected setting, which is often the overstuffed chair in my studio. Where I can sob away. Which brings profound healing and mending of my heart. I was immersed in the creative process of this painting today, pastel chalk dust flying. Loved every minute of it and danced away while drawing and painting (Sam Cooke is a favorite). Yesterday, though, I sank into my spattered chair in my studio and cried and wept and was immersed in profound sorrow and loneliness. Relinquishing control of those strong emotions is the only way to heal. You have to let them wash over you. And you get to the other side. Contained, sheltered, better.

20″ x 30″ watercolor, sticks and ink, chalk pastel, pencil on paper = $775

 

 

 

daily painting | outburst

My lush, blooming amaryllis bulb has four giganto blossoms atop its stalk like those tall poles with siren loudspeakers you see outside sometimes. Four! Each the size of a big salad plate, with another stalk reaching up, hoping to outdo its sibling. I decided to do a rendition of this lushness in my studio using larger paper, ink with sticks, watercolor and pastel.

In elementary school I remember science projects, simple experiments of planting seeds and watching them sprout and grow. I was quietly and secretly amazed that little small hard things could contain a miracle like that — how could a tiny seed hold so much information, and need so little to burst open with life? I carefully — unconsciously — held back my curiosity and thirst for knowing these things, as that meant vulnerability and vulnerability meant exposure and exposure meant danger, either from my father’s rage and derision or my mother’s mocking, sharp tongue. I learned to stay deep inside myself and thus survive. Once I arrived in my twenties, struggling with crippling PTSD from childhood trauma, I sought — and found — professional help. My first therapist gave me words for my roiling feelings, helped me find support groups, counseled me and guided me into hope and love and wholeness.

These spectacular blooms grew out of a lumpy, humble, ugly duckling of a bulb. How is that not a divine marvel? As I painted these flowers, I got completely lost in the creative process and felt a joy in making art I hadn’t felt in many months. I was a whirling dervish of splashy bright paint and powdery pastel chalk and drippy India ink and I hardly knew my name, what day it was, the time. It was a Disney Fantasia dream reminding me that life happens, whether from seeds or bulbs or paintbrushes or pens and inks. No stopping its amazingness!

22″ x 19″ watercolor, sticks and ink, chalk pastel, pencil on paper = $550