watercolor of wilted rose by emily weil

daily painting | droopy blossom

A wonderful and supportive friend brought me a lovely bouquet from her garden the other day, including a lush and gorgeous rose. The rose was getting droopy today, and I wanted to paint it. As a follow up to my sister Diana’s rose drawing in my last post. A rose that is done. Over. Spent.

If you have read my last blog, you will know I lost my sister Diana to suicide several days ago. And here is my request, my dear friends — please toss out hesitancy to talk about mental illness. Diana had any number of diagnoses, from depression to schizophrenia to anxiety disorders. A long list. She suffered a great deal and was hospitalized at times. While I am angry she could not or would not be more aggressive about her own care, it’s important to break down the taboos about being mentally ill. It’s essential we talk about it; most of us have been touched by it either directly or indirectly. I have had my own battles with depression and as a teenager considered suicide but decided it was too scary; I knew where mom’s full bottle of Seconal was (one of the things that pushed me close to that cliff was idiot parents of fellow teens in high school who gushed, “Oooh, these are the happiest times of your life! Enjoy them!” I thought, jeez, if this is as good as it gets I think I’ll check out now). Instead I found solace in the born-again Christian belief system which I no longer practice. People who commit suicide don’t want to die. They want the pain to stop.

It’s good, to be honest about these things and discuss disturbances and disorders and craziness and suicidal ideations. Put it all out on the table; there is nothing to be ashamed of. Someone who is bipolar or schizophrenic didn’t choose that any more than someone chooses a brain tumor or cerebral palsy. It’s physical. It’s a messed up brain. 

So. Please talk amongst yourselves.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of california wildflowers by emily weil

daily painting | headlands wildflower

Here’s another Marin Headlands wildflower from a recent hike (I’m wondering if my series of small flower paintings would be a good grouping together, framed on a wall?). Flowers like these are so damn cheery. I love them. This morning as I did my regular practice of prayer and meditation, my heart felt so shattered I placed my hand on my chest for comfort, which helps. Sometimes grief just sits on me, like a chunk of granite. Other times it’s in the corner, glaring at me but not possessing me, and I know at some point it will be done with me and head out the door. It’s a conflicted relationship, but I believe full surrender is best.

Note: please check out my events|classes page for info on a show at Terra Gallery in San Francisco next week! 

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of flowers by emily weil

daily painting | courthouse posies

My day of jury duty last week in Oakland was brightened by finding a secret stash of blooms tucked behind a metal fence next to one of those big, cold, gray commanding buildings near the Alameda County Courthouse. It was a very chilly, overcast day, and we were not allowed to stay inside the building for lunch, so I wandered around a bit hoping for a spot to land. It was a challenge as lunch spots are all take-out due to Covid, and damn it was nippy and breezy, which made all those official buildings near Lake Merritt even more imposing and coldly intimidating. But here was this little gem of a bush, sporting flowers I’d never seen before and they cheered me. I hope the other members of the jury pool enjoyed these too, as we filed out of the assembly room and looked for somewhere to perch for an hour and then some — I felt spit out into the concrete jungle where there were no warm havens. Glad I layered up. Which is different from being lawyered up. Ha.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of plumeria by emily weil

daily painting | plumeria

Went into the wayback stash of photos for this painting; I believe it was a shot of plumeria in a San Diego yard. The pinky yellows were really luscious, as were the big leaves with interesting patterns. I’m having an emotional afternoon, after hearing the Chauvin trial verdict. I was happy for the outcome and yet we have a long ways to go as a country with racism deeply dyed in our wool; I was passing time waiting for tires to be mounted on my car and was checking emails and saw the news on the trial and I was glad the waiting room wasn’t close to the lug nut experts as my eyes were leaking for the pain and sorrow and loss and ugliness of the raw facts of the challenges we face as Americans — we are marinating in old, difficult, painful, seemingly intractable issues. If I was queen of the universe I would make all of us open our hearts, be willing to see truth, and be kind. I do not have royal blood, so I’ll just try to be considerate to the folks I encounter during my day.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of morning glory by emily weil

daily painting | headlands glory

Have you ever had Stevie Wonder singing to you in your headphones and managed NOT to dance? (I dare you to try.). This past weekend as I went to my cache of photos of wildflowers from the Marin Headlands, brought out my paints and cranked up the music, I had to take multiple dancing breaks from my watercolor expressions. All my curtains and doors were open, so I went into my bedroom where I could have a private Songs in the Key of Life dancefest. It was great (and terrific exercise), and I gratefully soaked up those moments where life felt like a celebration again. I always feel happy to see the swallows coming back in Spring, too — they collect mud in their beaks at low tide just out my window, to build their nests up on the Barnhill silos. They do this fluttery dance while they harvest the gooey stuff, never quite landing. It’s beautiful and balletic.

So the end result of my painting/dancing afternoon was this guy, complete with its ant visitors. Do head for the hills if you can as the flowers are spectacular. Oh, and one more thing — Alcatraz is partly open again. Please visit, and bring friends, as revenue from this tourist spot supports GGRO (and other GGNRA programs) and we are struggling to survive, due to the pandemic. Thank you.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of morning glory wildflowers by emily weil

daily painting | morning glory

I loved the rich and nuanced purples and lavenders of this morning glory that soared above a fence near me in Alameda. It was as if this flower was reaching high, thinking big; had to lean back and take the pic as it was way above my head. It inspired me — it seemed bold and barely supported. I wanted the paints to do their thing yesterday, to see if the purple puddles dried in interesting ways. Which is the magic of watercolor, and why I love it so. Not much to report here — following Hillary’s advice, Get up every day and keep going. My daily commitment to verticality.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of calla lilies by emily weil

daily painting | april callas

“I relinquish all resistance to the present moment.” That’s my mantra today (thank you Eckhart Tolle); I stumbled into Monday morning feeling drugged. I think someone slipped me a grief Mickey. My vocab is that of a demented magpie and I seem to be in the intense process of rooting out family sorrows, which is all mixed up with my sister’s illness and death. Slogging onward, but progressing. This too shall piss. Uh, pass.

But still, aren’t calla lilies amazing? I am madly in love with them and my ardor is not fading. They are all over the place, growing in many unexpected corners, and the gorgeous Georgia O’Keefe simplicity of the unfurling blooms takes my breath away. I am quite greedy for them. This arrangement, gracing my coffee table, inspired me. I hesitated, thinking, Jeez, haven’t I done enough calla lilies, already? Nope. They are endlessly lovely, and I will keep painting them. Spring gifts — beautiful bird songs out the window, swallows returning to build their mud nests, grassy green hills, explosions of California poppies. What wonderful feasts for the senses. And I’m hungry.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of bouquet by emily weil

daily painting | bike ride bouquet

Just noodling around today. Keeping myself distracted helps keep me a safe distance from the grief sinkhole, and getting out my paints is probably my #1 choice for staying occupado (nabbed a few flowers from a recent bike ride which provided today’s subject matter). I poke my nose into news shows occasionally, plan dinners, go to the beach, make dates with friends. This morning I HUGGED MY SON. Wow! First time in a year (outside, masks on; I am fully vaccinated, he had Covid months ago). It was heaven as he’s the best hugger on the planet. It was great to see him as he kindly helped me lug heavy propane tanks, my source of heat on the houseboat. Now there is a lovely cool breeze, I can hear bird songs out the window, and the laundry is getting done and my house is peaceful. Thanks for stopping by today.

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

 

 

 

daily painting | happy boat

Living in a marina makes for fun & sometimes surprising little scenes in the corners of the parking lot, including this small motorboat with an orange windscreen. I suppose the owner might not appreciate my thinking his boat is cute, but, well, it is. I added a lot of acrylic ink blots to liven it up; it was kind of a dull painting.

I spent part of my afternoon up in the redwoods in the Oakland hills as I needed soothing today. This damn grief bus sometimes runs me into dark alleyways. But the trees whisper kind words and help to receive my sadness. I am so grateful for these nearby spots that give me so much comfort.

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

 

 

 

watercolor painting of shipyard by emily weil

daily painting | red ladder

Yesterday, Easter Sunday, the photo I took in this Port Townsend, WA, shipyard, called to me. A man on a red ladder, dwarfed by this ship, working on the hull of this massive vessel and it was just very cool. Talk about a deep draft! So much hull. Maybe it’s big so it can hold lots of fish, as it works the waters of the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it goes up to Alaska. Maybe it does other things I have no imagination for. 

The chunky mass of this boat! The man on the ladder looks like a toy. I did the painting, then decided it was a bit too stilted so I spattered ink and paint to loosen it up, which improved it. 

I guess I can’t get enough of ships and water and boats. Even though I live on a houseboat I go to a coffee shop on the water so I can be next to the estuary. In my plodding, often sodden journey of loss and grief I am reminded of the words of Jesus addressing his disciples, freaked out as they were in a boat as a storm kicked up: “You shall not capsize.” I don’t even know if those words are in the New Testament, really (my born-again past is showing itself), but I will imagine they are as they soothe me during this wild ride. Don’t know where I’ll come ashore. But I’m still afloat, trusting.

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