watercolor of pomegranate by emily weil

daily painting | october pom

I brought this pomegranate as subject matter to our Brushes by the Bay group yesterday. It had gotten a little dried out in my fruit bowl which makes it more interesting — it develops harder edges and interesting geometric planes. Fun. 

I’m home from my glorious Mammoth Lakes vacation. It was a beautiful reset button. I had clear, temperate weather and starry nights and breathtaking vistas every day. The morning I left the skies were cloudy and it was 45°. Talk about timing.

So I was happy to rejoin my artist pals to do art in my marina. I love the individual syles and media we use — watercolors, colored pencils, pen and ink, pencil. Nice to be home. So much life to grab with both hands.

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




watercolor painting of split pomegranate by emily weil

daily painting | barnhill pom

In 2008 I stumbled into Leigh Hyams’ art workshop in Big Sur, CA where she split me open like a watermelon. It was there, with her guidance, that I began to take myself seriously as an artist. She pushed and prodded (sometimes gently, sometimes not) and somehow had a gift of getting her students to reach deep inside and create authentic expressions of art. It was magic and I’d never met anyone like her. I became a devotee on the spot and took every workshop she offered for the next few years, including studying with her in her casita in Mexico, where she died peacefully when in her 80s. She changed my life, and now that I too am teaching art, I aspire to also inspire, though I would never compare myself to her and her gift of teaching. So when I took out this photo of a split pomegranate I had taken near my home, it made me think of being opened up. Of life and how it cracks and breaks us apart, and how we try to let the fissures spill out the juicy stuff (like that saying, our wounds are where the light gets in). 

Recently I came across an article I clipped about Kelsey Grammer, the actor who was on “Cheers” and had his own show, “Frasier” (I may have mentioned him before in a post; if so, forgive me). His motto is, “Stagger on rejoicing,” which is from a W.H. Auden poem. When he was 15 his dad was murdered and his grandfather died later that year. His sister was attacked and killed and his two half-brothers died in a scuba accident. And he continues to live his best life despite more losses than anyone should bear. I am glad I stumbled (or maybe staggered) across that bit of newsprint from several years ago. I’m up. I’m vertical. I continue. I may have a few messy wounds that need stitching up, but I keep my first aid kit nearby (mostly filled with tubes of paint but there might be some Neosporin® in there too).

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




daily painting | december fruitiness

Though I painted this last month (it got lost in the holiday shuffle), this piece still cheers me today with its bright pink and red hues. Pomegranates are so bold and unapologetic for who they are — strong colors, tough skin, lumpy shapes, funny little tart seeds, called arils (my mouth is puckering just thinking about them!). Something about things continuing their growth patterns even when the world seems to be collapsing all around us brings comfort; fruit still ripens, flowers still bloom, cute little wintering ducks still dive for food out my window, hilarious finch-fight drama at the birdfeeder. I found it very hard to get through my afternoon yesterday and I can only think it was because my whole body felt immersed in grief. I sat in my chair in my studio and wept. Then it subsided a little and I got back up and grabbed my paintbrush and continued with a small painting. I am riveted by political news today that is both horrifying and historic. So I didn’t head back to my Oakland studio; instead I applied for CA grants, worked on a graphic design project that I received today for the first time since last March, crossed my fingers the E Bay Pump folks fixed the marina pump that whined all night outside my window for a second night, checked in with friends who are ailing, tended to household chores, cleaned up computer clutter. Today I feel no need to be heroic or strong. I am just here. Staggering onward, rejoicing (thank you WH Auden).

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