daily painting | social distance sketching

My good friend and neighbor Liz and I, missing going out for coffee, bring hot drinks in our commuter mugs and find benches near our marina along the water where we can escape house arrest and sit and chat and laugh and sketch while 6 feet apart. We did a kind of drawing experiment and drew outlines of skylines across the estuary in Oakland, rough outlines of boats in our marina, and our floating homes. It created kind of a jigsaw of abstract shapes, and I then filled in the drawing in this mini-sketchbook with color (watercolor, acrylic pen). It was kind of a paint-by-numbers, and was lots of fun. Her words were also reassuring, as I talked about the discombobulating experience of social-distance-senior-shopping at a local supermarket that opens its doors to us grayheads before they let others in (Berkeley Bowl is doing a brilliant job in this crisis; I was happy to buy most of the foods I wanted). It was a very upsetting experience and set my teeth on edge and it took the rest of the afternoon to calm down, though walking on Crown Beach in Alameda helped a great deal. It was almost normal there — windsurfers and kids playing in the sand and plovers running along on their cute little legs in the shallow surf. These are upside-down times, my dear blog readers. One day at a time. It’s all pretty awful. Hang in there.




daily painting | birds from heaven

Adapting is the name of the game these days. My darling art student Sue and I are not meeting thanks to all of us being under house arrest, so I’m enjoying learning to videotape my painting process so I can send her instructional videos. Sue selects the subject matter from photos she has taken, and this Bird of Paradise was one of her shots, taken near her home. So I set up my iPhone using a spotting scope tripod with a stick attached, like a boom, with the phone balanced on the end, and film the process of painting small watercolors on my kitchen counter. I’ve fired up new software (Premiere) which I use to reduce the file size as the videos are too big to easily send digitally. It’s satisfying to have my mind occupied by painting and learning new geeky stuff which for me is fun and challenging.

For this piece I started with my indelible ink, fude fountain pen (“fude”, pron. foo-day, is a kind of bent nib), drawing it from the photo displayed on my laptop (yes, there are splashes of paint on the surface!). I added watercolor, then more lines and pops of color using pastel pencils, finishing it off with white acrylic pen. I wanted to keep it loose, and while filming it I added my commentary which is quite the ego-stroke. I’ll continue this process, doing more paintings and maybe at some point I’ll start an online painting course. I’ll try this in my studio too, with large abstracts.

10″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, pastel pencil on paper = $90





daily painting | house arrest

Well, here we are in a full-blown crisis. No two ways about it. In honoring the need to shelter in place to hopefully diminish spreading covid-19, what do we do? Adapt, help others when we can, educate ourselves, be careful, disinfect, replace our fears with hope as best we can, watch videocams of eagle nests. We will get through this. And, this time can be a gift, allowing us to do things we often don’t have time for in our busy lives. More painting! Duh. Since a lush calla lily bush is near a certain nearby office, which is now closed, I appropriated a few blooms for the sake of art. I LOVE these flowers! My faves. So simple, elegant, hearty, sensual, exuberant, open. Likely I’ll do a few more renditions of this arrangement. Today I will even make an attempt at videotaping doing a small painting. We’ll see how it goes (I’m strapping my iphone to a lamp with a flexible arm). My lovely art-loving friends and fellow artists, let’s just do this one day at a time. And shore each other up by phone or text or however we can and keep social distancing in place. Thank you so much for checking out my posts. I appreciate it very much.

10″ x 7″ watercolor, pen, pastel pencil on paper = $90




daily painting | sunol scenes

Last week three of us golden eagle-watchers were delighted with a day of delicious respite from virus madness. We were on non-public land in the Sunol hills (we are part of an E. Bay Parks volunteers group) so our only sightings were coyotes, golden eagles of various ages, fence lizards, hawks, ranchers with cattle dogs and water district trucks. The weather was warm and sun-saturated, and we drank it all in like the thirsty, worried urban residents that we are. We snapped photos of these scenes, so I’ll bring out my paints for more cow portraits. God knows I will have time and space to do that, as I follow old-lady shelter-in-place directives from the Governor. Plus design work is a dried-up puddle, as clients’ businesses are hit hard by deserted campuses and worried customers. I have time on my hands. But I might have to troll my neighbors (at a 6-foot distance) begging for toilet paper. Preferably unused.

9″ x 12″ watercolor, pen on paper = $140




daily painting | sunol barn

This patched-up, slightly lopsided barn is in the Sunol area; I was there  to look for Golden Eagles (they were a no-show). But it was a lovely drive, and Vargas Plateau Park up there has wonderful, scenic hiking trails (and cows and cowpies). The area has such interesting landscapes — rocks jutting out of the earth like the spines of ancient creatures, views of Silicon Valley below. I started with an underpainting, working watercolor splotches into wet paper. Once dry, I drew the barn with my trusty fountain pen and then added layers of watercolor. A bucolic, country scene; I wandered up the barn driveway to take a few quick photos and hoped the resident in the nearby house wouldn’t come charging out with a gun. Nothing violent occurred.

9″ x 12″ watercolor, pen on paper = $140