daily painting | bounty

I was the happy recipient of a gorgeous big bag of produce from dear friends who are traveling and didn’t want the food to spoil. Lucky me! This lush head of red-leaf lettuce didn’t last long; I nibbled on it like a rabbit as soon as the painting was done. And there’s more to paint (and then eat) — beets, carrots, fennel. Fresh and colorful. Hard to decide which to paint and which to put on my dinner plate. I’m deeply grateful to have such choices.

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




daily painting | no smoking

Another scene from a local shipyard that dates back to WWII. I decided to post this even though I’m not happy with it — it doesn’t really hold together and it’s hard to tell what’s going on the painting (it certainly was fun to paint though! That’s very important!). An upside down, faded no-smoking sign was leaning against a doorway into a dark and cavernous area on a pier nearby and it caught my eye — decaying concrete, an old sign, disconnected water pipes, weeds growing in the corners. It was really cool. Decay is SO appealing. This reminds me of a moment I had, back in the Mesozoic Period, when a beloved watercolor teacher, Judi Betts (judibettsaws.com) was showing the class a gorgeous large painting on paper. As she put it up on the easel we could see the back side, a painting she rejected. It encouraged all of us! We all do duds; I’m happy to get one good one in four. Gots to keep at it: Show up, pay attention, tell the truth, let go of the outcome. A good life motto.

7″ x 10″ watercolor, pen on paper




daily painting | persimmon leaves

These beautiful leaves on an almost-bare tree behind the marina laundry room caught my eye so I ventured out, since the rains had passed through, to sit and paint them. I put the watercolor sketchpad in the sun to dry between layers of color and cracked up as I spotted a hummingbird enjoying the sweetness of a rotting persimmon still on the tree. I hadn’t realized it was a persimmon tree, and it was funny as I so love to paint the colors and shapes of this late-autumn fruit. The remaining leaves were vibrantly red and yellow and orange against the bare tree limbs. It was good to get out, since I’ve been slowed down by a stomach bug. Or maybe it was a rogue romaine leaf that sneaked into a salad. Was lovely to be outside and painting again. The December sunlight is at such an interesting angle, this time of year.

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




daily painting | san rafael buckeye

My collection of buckeyes gathered on a San Rafael sidewalk a few days after Thanksgiving is on its last legs; as they decay, they buckle and morph into lumpy, bumpy shapes. There’s something about these nuts that feel good in my hand—they are perfectly palm-sized. I love to watch them transmogrify—their brown, shiny outer coverings crack and flake. Then they go into the organic recycle bin, but before that I fool around with paints; in this case it’s Artgraf sepia, water soluble graphite. A bit under the weather today; sometimes my digestive system kicks a bit. I might just need a day with my nose in a book (like one of Louise Penny’s). I’m sad but reasonably content; I read a poem in the Sunday SF Chron that perfectly describes becoming at peace, when one ages, with losses, goals unmet, dreams unrealized. It isn’t gloomy – it is, however, grateful acceptance of reality, honoring my path as it continues to unfold (if you’d like to search for it, it’s called, “All I Ever Wanted” by Katie Ford).

5.5″ x 5.5″ artgraf graphite, pen on paper = $40




daily painting | december mandarin

Ah, winter. When you can go to Berkeley Bowl and buy small mountains of ripe, juicy, aromatic mandarin oranges. I’m told it’s good luck to buy them with leaves still attached. The leaves create interesting shapes as they dry and curl and are fun to paint. December can be a sad and lonely time, yes. But also a time of hope and joy as we spend time with loved ones and dear friends. A time of gratitude and winter fantasies and imaginations of a few significant elected leaders being led out of the White House in handcuffs. These visions offer great comfort, however fantastical.

8.5″ x 5.5″ artgraf graphite, pen on paper = $60




daily painting | buckeyes

I’m really having a ball using this water soluble graphite medium with its rich, slightly metallic darks and wonderful texture. I picked these buckeyes up from a San Rafael sidewalk a few days ago because they are so charming. Goofy, lumpy and a rich chestnutty brown color which I will explore more with watercolor. The outer skin is starting to crack, showing a beautiful buff-colored flesh. I’m enjoying this time of year and curling up with a good netflix show or an interesting book after dark. It’s a comfort to disappear into a good story and forget about frightening political news.

7″ x 10″ artgraf water soluble graphite, pen on paper = $90




daily painting | stormy still life

These persimmons (and lime) are about ready to put in tonight’s salad so I thought I’d best do another still life of one of my favorite fruity subjects using this marvelous ArtGraf water soluble graphite, thanks to a gift from a dear friend. The fruit wasn’t so stormy but boy the weather outside sure was — now there are gorgeous fluffy pink-edged clouds out the window as the sun checks out for the day. Fickle, moody grays outside as well as inside. More explorations of this new medium to come. Maybe we’ll get some electrical storm action (when my grandson was very little he called thunder “the big windy”). Stay warm and safe out there.

7″ x 10″ pen, artgraf on paper




daily painting | going swimming

My fingers were itchy to work on a large abstract on paper — there’s a delicious freedom that comes with getting out my fat, water-soluble graphite crayon and bottle of India ink and baskets of watercolor tubes and working into a large sheet of blank watercolor paper. Layers of paint go on with big brushes, and I love the large chunks of color contrasted with the staccato pencil marks. It is a joy to express myself without constraint.

22″ x 30″ watercolor, acrylic, pencil, pastel on paper = $795




daily painting | lining up

Worked on this over a couple of days and communed with what it needed. Yellow stripes, it said. Done. Perhaps my unconscious was wanting bright color as an antidote to thick smoke and terrible losses in CA fires. Still taking deep breaths of the beautiful, rain-scrubbed air outside. Hope you had a good Thanksgiving. I’m still digesting the amazing and luscious feast prepared by my talented sister and her hard-cooking husband. Worth every Pepcid pill I downed. Filled with gratitude to spend this holiday with loving family. Incredible! Happy to be together. Wow.

12″ x 12″ acrylic, pencil on claybord = $185




daily painting | smoky persimmons

This watercolor of my favorite still life characters wasn’t quite vibrant enough so I jazzed it up with pastels. Now they are the color of our smoky sunsets these days. We are all becoming experts at reading the AQI (air quality index) maps, snapping on the P95 masks, and coping with cabin fever. But we are still in our cabins. Our hearts go to folks who have lost so much. You are on our minds all the time. Make America Rake Again and here’s to the snarky Finns who posted hilarious photos of themselves diligently tidying up their forests.

8″ x 10″ watercolor, pen on paper = $100