Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Dialing In

At first, I fight and resist and strike out and punch and rant and thrash and gain no ground. I think I'm up against an immutable law of physics.

Then, exhausted to the point of stillness, I see that I have created my own uproar, am up against my own mind.


I let self-compassion wrap its arms around me.

Also again!

I dial into being present to simple pleasures:

• managing the intricacies of using a rewards card and my credit card successfully at a gas pump on the way home from the gym on an unexpectedly balmy predawn December morning;

• collecting from our mailbox a bank statement, a payment, a magazine, and a postcard featuring a first-day-of-issue postage stamp;

• building layers and layers and stories and stories into a veritable skyscraper of a new painting!

Reading the Braille of Bark and Lichen
6 x 6"; acrylic, latex, ink, and oil pastel on canvas board
abstract landscape

art history (backstories can be read at links):

In the Wake, Long Lake, a study
first layer/one story
In the Wake, Thinking about Watters, a study
another layer/another story
In the Wake, Emmy!
another layer/another story
layers painted over In the Wake, Emmy!
painters' tape on top of layers
Reading the Braille …

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Art History

I took at least one art history course in college: American art, I think.

Do I remember anything from that class that I could tell you? Nothing comes to mind.

Maybe I'd recognize a few correct details if presented with a multiple-choice format?

Hard to say.

But I digress. The art history that has me captivated at the moment is that of this little painting. It has brought me such satisfaction in the past few days. Inspired by a here-today-gone-tomorrow mini-tutorial offered by Amanda Evanston, it offered me the perfect balance of messy-intuitive and intentional-but-largely-uncontrollable.

Soooo much joy!

The Many Grays of This Winter Morning
6 x 6"; acrylic, latex, and pastel on canvas board
abstract landscape

the art history:

Camp Root System
layers painted over Camp Root System
painters' tape on top of layers
The Many Grays …

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Negative Space, Positive Space

Just have to post this next step in a piece that is still in process—as I played for a few minutes in my studio creating negative and positive space on my canvas, I moved from a negative internal space to a positive one! Grateful!

work in progress
6 x 6" canvas board

Wednesday, December 4, 2019


Practicing seeing elements of visual language, turning my attention to a work in progress that's maybe halfway to its eventual stopping place. Up to this point in the process, my intent has been to establish multiple layers that cover the canvas vs. to make a composition.

I notice:

• cool color palette
• predominantly matte paint, with black splatters of gloss
• black spatters mostly of similar size
• black spatters that create contrast
• a shadowy hint of the circumference of a circle whose diameter is about 2/3 the size of the canvas, located roughly in the center
• scribbly lines
• repetition of small mulberry squares throughout, all same size
• depth created by layering
• texture of canvas evident in varying degrees
• no particular directionality

work in progress
6 x 6" canvas board

Friday, November 29, 2019

The Occurrence and Development of Events by Chance in a Happy or Beneficial Way

Two years ago in November I started a bookmark. A day or two later I added the finished piece to my growing collection.

I never know, as I make bookmarks, when one of them will pair perfectly with the jacket of a book I've borrowed from my local library.

Two days ago, in the dizzying swirl of an unusually busy day, with mind and body moving in one direction and another and another, I fell into the grace of inner stillness and deep satisfaction at the serendipity of having a two-year-old bookmark be exquisitely just the right partner for the book that was next in the stack on my nightstand.

Like having all my chakras lined up.

And fun!

book and bookmark hanging out together

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Learning Style

Although I did well as a student when in school, I had a metacognitive epiphany after I finished my formal education and could step back to think about learning: following my own nose and lived experience is far more engaging to me than following a pre-established curriculum set out by someone else ever was.

So it's no surprise that when I took up painting a few years ago, I just started mucking about, trusting that I'd learn by doing.

Every now and then, though, I wonder what I've retained of the countless in-the-moment lessons that have come from my studio time. What have I come to know about 'how to paint' that is so deeply internalized I don't know I know it even though I put it into practice intuitively?

In any given moment, it feels to me as though I don't know much of anything! I just paint.

And that is fine by me.

A few days ago, however, I had the fun of discovering that I have learned at least one solid lesson that I'm able to consciously put to use. If I don't clean a brush thoroughly, or forget it altogether and let it dry out with paint-loaded bristles, soaking it in Murphy's Oil Soap for 24-48 hours dissolves the paint and returns my brush to good as new …

… which was especially helpful knowledge to have at the ready when I painted An Unrolled Bolt of Raw Feeling and looked down to see that in the process of expressing my raw feelings I had dripped a bunch of white paint on the recently-purchased jeans I was wearing.

They Began to Sing Very Softly
3.5 x 5" postcard; acrylic, oil pastel, and canvas and paper collage on card stock
abstract floral

Monday, November 18, 2019

No Filter

rough day yesterday.
gray skies, 
gray spirits, 
heavy heart. 
an uproar 
of my own 
gray making. 

went into my studio, 
grabbed a finished painting, 
reached for gesso 
off a shelf.
and a brush.
painted right over 
that sucker.

black gesso. 
white gesso. 
whatever came to hand.

threw my raw feelings 
directly onto the canvas 
with no filter.


An Unrolled Bolt of Raw Feeling, Saturated with November
12 x 24"; acrylic, china marker, charcoal crayon, and collage on canvas

earlier history: see 2017 post