Sunday, July 31, 2016

More Sediment

Sediment continues to accumulate and compress—

tissue collage, and

paint knife and paints


Saturday, July 30, 2016


Sedimentary rock is formed from particles of sand, shells, pebbles, and other fragments of material—other fragments such as … Strathmore canvas paper, Stanislaus #12 brush, Winsor & Newton Phthalo Blue Red Shade, Liquitex heavy body Titanium White,

Paper Mate Sharp Writer #2,

Speedball brayer with blue and white,

Liquitex soft body Payne's Gray with homemade yogurt lid stencil, brayer with white,

plastic paint knife with blue, and white,

mesh drywall tape stencil and gray acrylic,

Caran D'ache Neocolor II Aquarelle Prussian Blue and Black wax pastel sticks,

brayer with blue and white together,

and Paper Mate black felt tip pen


Together, all these particles are called sediment. Gradually the sediment accumulates in layers and, over a long period of time, hardens into rock.

The layers above will do some hardening overnight.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Mountain Goat

A cherished childhood memory: scrambling around on shoreline granite at Old Kelsey Point on Long Island Sound in Connecticut.

I know I didn't use metaphor to think about the act of navigating rocks. In fact I don't think I had any metacognitive thinking going on at all as I clambered around with my sisters and summer friends, but I do remember being consciously aware of what I now think of as the conversation taking place between my open eyes and my bare feet. Such pure pleasure, those split-second decisions that led to mountain-goat nimbleness as I traversed the rocky playground beneath my feet.

It's not that I never stubbed a toe, or scraped a knee, or met obstacles—I did, but the intuitive, reflexive nature of my actions was direct and straightforward.

Love, love, love when the same happens while painting.

I channeled those Old Kelsey Point rocks and that goat-footed movement today.

Low Tide High Rocks
7x7", acrylic, ink, and wax pastel on canvas paper

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Throwing Good Money After Bad

Yesterday I got sucked for awhile into an escalation of commitment, the common decision-making error of applying additional resources at a problem when you should cut your losses and move on.

In a quiet moment later in the day I realized the big loss for me was in the process. I don't enjoy painting when I 'try' too hard, when I get stuck in monkey mind and lose all sense of intuition and flow.

Today, a new day.

I start fresh with the same rock face as yesterday's for my springboard. I opt to focus my experiments on complementary colors and quiet space. Instead of starting with a photo reference in front of me, and instead of drawing lines to begin, I choose two complementary colors and a brush, and just play. Quickly, intuitively.

When flow stops, I stop.

This work in progress started with the same reference as Cracked Under Pressure—is that crazy or what!

work in progress

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Cracked Under Pressure

Huh … got thinking today about the expression cracked under pressure. I hear it used most frequently to connote collapsed under mental or emotional stress, and I realize I rarely consider its literal meaning.

But it is precisely its literal meaning that's the source of all the cool lines I love in rocks: those rocks cracked under pressure.

In so doing they created abundant natural art for me to enjoy all these geologic eras later.

Ironically, I cracked a little under pressure myself in painting this piece. I got too much up in my head trying to achieve particular effects, and the intuitive flow I'd felt with other recent pieces collapsed under the mental stress!

But, an experiment is an experiment: go in with a hypothesis and make observations. The end result might be unexpected but welcome. It might be expected but not terribly exciting. Or any one of many other possibilities might emerge. The outcome here is one that makes me want to conduct further experiments.

Cracked Under Pressure
7x7", acrylic, ink, collage, and oil pastel on canvas paper

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Down to Earth

Perhaps my being a Taurus speaks to my lifelong affinity for the groundedness of rock, my affinity for its weight, its mass, its lines, its glacial fluidity. The coastal rock in my corner of the world speaks to my inner energy.

Now that I'm playing with abstract art, rock inspires mark making with which to launch paintings.

Today I start with lines loosely referenced to a photo of a geologic outcropping in Nova Scotia. With those lines as my springboard, I set off to explore both monochromatic color and use of quiet space.

I start clambering.

a start

Monday, July 25, 2016

Wasn't Just Breathing in the Air

In reading the novel Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt, I receive these words as a poem, though in the book itself they march across the page like any other sentences:

She took a deep breath, 
and she wasn't just breathing in the air. 
She breathed in the waves, 
the sea grass, 
the pines, 
the pale lichens on the granite, 
the sweet shimmering of the pebbles 
dragged back and forth in the surf, 
the fish hawk diving to the waves …

That poetry? That's the poetry of painting.

Scratching the Blue Dome
3x3", acrylic, ink, and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on collage paper

A poem in four verses:



Sunday, July 24, 2016

The Only Thing that Feels Real

When I paint, now is my experience. This moment of painting.

3x3", acrylic, ink, pencil, wax and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on collage paper

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Common Ground

Last week I painted a black and white series. Since then I've been working on two color series.

I don't have the objectivity to step back and decipher visually whether or not any or all of those pieces appear to come from the same hand.

However, as the person in whose hand the paint brush was held I can say they all have this common ground: the starting point for each was an internal spontaneity. I began from what feels like a quiet gathering place inside me. Its locus seems to be in the very center of my physical self, although I'd be hard pressed to say that it is anything physical.

I still myself. I let that quiet gathering place direct the first mark. And then I respond. Over and over again until that same quiet place says, stop now.

Internal Combustion
3x3", acrylic, collage, ink, pencil, and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on collage paper

Friday, July 22, 2016


I paused to read a few pages from Shaun McNiff's Trust the Process after I painted today, nodding my head more than once as his assertions resonated with me:

The skilled artist is the one who is always responding to and compensating for the changing winds of the creative process. Nothing is ever the same. Conditions are infinitely variable. Each engagement presents a new challenge, and that is the defining quality of the creative process … Creativity is a force moving through us, and only through practice do we learn how to cooperate with it.


Changing Winds
3x3", acrylic and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on collage paper

I cooperated with this expressively painted and brayed 6-inch square

by cutting it into quadrants and scribbling on each one; cooperated with this particular quadrant

by using paints, matte knife, bubble wrap, and oil pastels, eventually arriving here


Thursday, July 21, 2016

Back and Forth

Walked Singing Beach this morning with a longtime friend, the water washing back and forth, draining away from shore, flooding in again.

Ebb and flow.

That same pattern plays out when I paint, like breath. Out, back in, out again, in.

Shored Up
3x3", acrylic, pencil, and wax and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on color stock

Left on shore together by the last tide:



Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Back in Circulation

When I started this series I discovered the flow of process to be one that included bumping up agains rocks, boulders, and various other obstructions.

Today, the flow was smoother, the ride more fun.

I was back in circulation.

Coastal Current
3x3", acrylic, ink, and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on color stock

Pooling resources:



Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Back to Back

Way down under many layers and decisions and textures and changes, the original draft composition of this piece used to lie back to back with Eddy. They are two quadrants of a cruciform format sketch that I cut into quarters.

Now I'm developing each one individually, creating a series in color after last week's series in black and white.

Not Atoll
3x3", acrylic, ink, and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on color stock

Out of the same waters:


Blog Bonus

Received by mail from artist Emmy—
Papawi, Emmy, Gma, and Fireworks
4x5.5", pencil and crayon on copy paper

Sent by mail to Emmy—
2.5x4", acrylic and oil pastel on canvas paper

Monday, July 18, 2016

Back to Color

There's flow. And there's flow.

Today, I experienced flow, but flow that fought its way around rock after boulder after outcrop after tree root after rock after boulder.

As each obstacle arose, I stayed (mostly) in "river mind" and responded directly to what was in front of me. Rock? OK, where does that take me?

3x3", acrylic, pencil, and wax and oil pastel on canvas paper, mounted on colored stock

Sunday, July 17, 2016


The stuck-er the daring-er.

Got myself stuck again and again with this one.

Nothing for it but to meet stuck with daring.

So that is what I did.

Deep Breath
4x5", acrylic, ink, wax pastel, and pencil on manila stock

Completed series:



The final two pieces from this start, after it was cut in half:

Saturday, July 16, 2016


Still mining this black and white urge.

Still excavating my deep inner caves.

Anthracite Vein
4x5", acrylic, ink, pencil, and wax pastel

Ore piles up behind me.