Watercolor painting of shipping float by Emily Weil

daily painting | moon landing

At times I need to just get out of the damn house; I mean, vacuuming is fine and satisfying, in a limited way, but… really? Boring. So I roam around Alameda, sometimes on my bike, sometimes in my car. Yesterday I ended up at Ballena Bay, which is beautiful and wind-whipped and has stunning views of the SF skyline, a backdrop of navy ships moored nearby, and wintering ducks in the water (there were also people walking their dogs and not cleaning up their pooch’s poop; is it acceptable to grab a plastic bag and pick up the shite and fling it at the dog walkers? No?).

I was quite smitten with this large metal float planted along the shore, which I’m guessing was used to indicate something-or-other in SF bay eons ago (WWII vintage? Marking shipping channels?). It is now retired and perched in the ice plant at the water’s edge, and its rusty patterns and textures were gorgeous — full of pockmarks and craters and pitted with decay. Exactly the kind of deteriorating subject matter I am drawn to. It begged me to capture its likeness, and as the painting developed today it looked like a kind of man-in-the-moon portrait. Which is cracking me up. OK, getting edgy again. It’s that time of day. Time to venture out. Maybe a new container ship will be moored in the estuary with pairs of oystercatchers poking about in the rocks at the water’s edge. I think I’ll go see.

10″ x 10″ watercolor, pen, acrylic ink on paper = $130




daily painting | christmas satsuma

This time of year brings oodles of these tangerines to grocery stores with their puckered, wrinkly shapes. I snagged a few of these from the local produce market — the antithesis of the perfect sphere of a navel orange. I love how easy they peel and their sweet juiciness. I was wanting to do a quickie the other day so I got out my small watercolor sketchbook and did a few versions of this solitary guy. Which reminds me! [I love this story]. A million years ago in an art workshop, the teacher had put a bowl of oranges at our work table for snacks. As we worked on our drawings and paintings, an elderly woman in the group reminisced about being a small child in post-WWII bombed-out Berlin when the citizens were starving, suffering from blockades and sanctions. The Americans began the Berlin Airlift, dropping food and supplies to starving Germans. This lovely woman remembers the utter joy of running after the parachuted bundle and finding juicy oranges. She said she never takes food for granted, especially such wonders as succulent fresh fruit. I was so humbled by her story, for as a privileged American I’ve never run from bombs, been herded into refugee camps, fled from war across an ocean or suffered from the war-ravages of hunger. I’ll always remember that kindly woman and how she helped me be a bit more grateful.

3.5″ x 5.5″ watercolor, pen on paper