watercolor painting of leaves by emily weil

daily painting | kevin’s leaves

On the last day of the Santa Barbara watercolor workshop with Shari Blaukopf, it was a blistering hot day (95°+). I played hooky for the afternoon lesson (painting figures on the streets downtown) as I knew the heat would melt me. Instead I found the shadiest, coolest spot in the back yard of the house where I stayed and painted the gorgeous, large leaves of a big tree (which I forgot to identify). It was fun and relaxing and quiet and cool(ish) and afterward I dipped into the pool before heading to the group’s 2-1/2 hour, mind-fogging farewell dinner inside a restaurant with no A/C (but I really enjoyed my conversation with fellow artist, Anna). Now that I am home, I am just starting to sort through the many lessons and observations from this past week that are ping-ponging around my cranial cavity. 

I felt more joy during those six days in SB than I think I’ve felt in two years (heart-shattering grief does, in fact, subside, in time). And I am deeply grateful my artist pal Sue gave me this opportunity to take her place in the week-long class, and also for my astoundingly generous neighbor Beth who at the last minute was willing to again take care of my little guinea piggie (without her, the trip would have been a no-go). It’s kind of like, How can I begin to count the ways I am thankful? Many, many ways. I think the top-of-the-list insight I’m chewing on is that I now fully inhabit who I am as an artist. I’m my own me. I read in my meditation book last night that I need make no excuse for who I am and how I want to be in this world. Unrestrained girl power, baybee.

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor on paper




watercolor painting of Santa Barbara Mission by Emily Weil

daily painting | the old mission

Gosh I hardly know where to start! Taking a few minutes while baking in Santa Barbara heat today (93°+ which makes my brain, as well as my laptop, sluggy) to post a painting from a watercolor workshop which I am enjoying this week. A very dear friend generously gifted me this painting extravaganza here, as sadly she had to cancel as her mom became suddenly ill. Breaks my heart, but I’m grateful and learning much about many things — who I am as a painter and art teacher, how I want to organize workshops, what I have to offer students. An incredible opportunity. Did this painting on day one at the Old Mission, and I am accepting that my style is quite different from the very gifted teacher, Shari Blaukopf. Not a detail-oriented artist ovah heah. But I’m having a ball, and enjoying meeting new friends, including recent Academy Award winner Brian Connor and his delightful partner Mia. They are renting the master suite in this upscale hostel where I am renting a bedroom in Goleta and it’s the icing on the cake of this extraordinary six days — pool, hot tub, views of the ocean (big sprawling ranch house up in the hills), great kitchen, coyotes yipping at night along with frogs croaking and crickets singing. But back to Oscar! So Brian and Mia are exhausted from the LA/Hollywood hoopla and are taking it easy up here. Brian brought the Oscar out (AND his BAFTA), awards for Best Visual Effects for the movie, “Dune”. The coolest guy. So we hung out in the kitchen and took pictures and had some wine and had our own Oscar party (“we” also including the house-owner and another guest). So casual, so fun. Not to mention, Mia is a chef with her own restaurant in Montreal and cooks up amazing Thai dishes which they generously share. Obviously I’m a bit star struck and goggle-eyed about this excitement, so thanks for letting me name-drop. 

I’ll be posting more paintings in the coming days, as we hung out at the historic mission, the old courthouse, a fun and quirky architectural apartment complex, the wharf and other spots. I think I’ll find a nice shady spot under the pomegranate tree out here in the yard and do a small painting right now, in fact. Or maybe I’ll just jump in the pool.

7″ x 10″ ink, watercolor on paper