watercolor and ink drawing of hollyhock by emily weil

daily painting | peralta hollyhock

As I left my therapist Lucy’s office on Peralta Ave in Albany the other day I noticed this lovely hollyhock towering in a yard across the street (snapped a photo). There’s something about these flowers — I only see them in the summer, and they seem quite accessible and almost pedestrian but also very gorgeous. They are not sophisticated or aloof, like a perfectly grown rose or an elegant lily. Which is why I think they are magnificent. Lucy is helping me walk through this very difficult chapter in my life (and in my family) — death, dysfunction, addiction, estrangement, cancer and suicide lurk. And death is a natural — even miraculous — part of life. And those of us left behind get out our mops and try to clean up the bloody bits of our beat-up spirits. Lucy advises me to keep my heart open. Which often seems impossible. But when I do, and choose to see the love and magic in the world that surround me, my steps are a bit lighter — I appreciate the red-shouldered hawk that flies overhead when I have conversations on the Mill Valley patio with my brother as we sit under a huge, blooming magnolia tree. Bright scarlet dragonflies zoom around outside my houseboat, skimming the estuary waters. Red tail hawks in a nearby Monterey Pine dodge dive-bombing crows. I get to see golden eagles have kids in the Sunol hills. Finches and sparrows mob the bird feeder on my deck. And, best of all, I absorb the warm hugs and loving affection from my brother. It’s a beautiful world.

OK now I am going to follow the steps a counselor suggested years ago when we experience hard times: Dial 911, step over the body, and do the dishes.

10″ x 7″ ink, watercolor on paper

 

 

 

abstract painting by emily weil

daily painting | tumbles, bumbles and rumbles

A large fan set on low is starting to blow away the grief fog. It’s not super close, but it’s on. I can feel the cooling, gentle breeze. Waking up in the morning is less dreary (today’s bonus — images in my head from an early morning dream when I was making out with Brad Pitt). I look forward to the events of my day more than I have in many months. Hope drifts around my body in little wisps. I have not posted much lately, as I’ve been working on this large painting in my studio. Also my gut is sometimes wonky and occasionally I have to just take a nap instead of getting my watercolors out. Oh well. But I want to tell you this story. 

The other day I sanded down a plank of wood to use as a shelf for my TV. I rooted around in my cupboard for a leftover can of wood stain I was certain I had, but, nope. Not there. Mumbling and grumbling (I was happy to just stay home all day), I headed to the local hardware store. Near my house, I saw a gorgeous adult red-shouldered hawk in a tree so I stopped to admire its beauty before it flew off (I swear those birds were designed by Walt Disney). After securing my small can of Minwax® Gel Stain, I drove home and set up a spot on my porch to apply the stuff to the wood. Then, a hawk calling! I recognized the call of a red-shoulder. It was nearby, so I tried to spot it — it was atop my neighbor’s sailboat mast, supervising my work, for sure. When I took out my binos to look for the vocalizing bird, I saw another hawk atop the cement silos in my parking lot — a Cooper’s hawk that sometimes sits there (which may explain the red-shoulder’s calls, perhaps territorial). I was sandwiched by two hawks, watching over me; the bird on the mast may have been the bird I spotted earlier in the tree. I was thrilled and glad I had to go to Pagano’s Hardware. The presence of these birds! Magnificent and heartening.

62″ x 72″ acrylic, oil pastel on canvas (stretched) = $6100