Monday, May 22, 2017

Here I Am, Day Four

About twenty-five years ago, when my kids were still in my nest, I said hello to neighborhood mom on an exceedingly hot September day, and I grumbled about the heat. No grumbles from her—she replied, "I LOVE a day like this—we have ice cream for dinner!"

Shook me right out of my curmudgeonliness!

We didn't follow suit that day but I pledged to myself and my kids that the following summer, on the first day when temps were 90 degrees or higher, ice cream for dinner.

The next year, there was not one single day when the temps rose that high.

Not one.

What the heck?!

This year, we've already had a heat wave, i.e. three consecutive days with temps higher than 90 degrees. During the third week of May!


In spring!

I love painting on summer days, in part, I think, because my first season ever of painting was summer, three years ago. Last week, on the last day of our heat wave, I cut Here I Am, Day Three in half and kept playing.

work in progress, 4.5x6"
working title: here i am
day 4

Friday, May 19, 2017

Here I Am, Day 3

The left side of my brain "makes time" for things. Looks ahead at the day's to-do list, plans when and how long I might be able to paint, goes into the studio with ideas, keeps an eye on the clock, watches to make sure all balls are staying in the air.

The right side of my brain goes into the studio, makes a mark or a bunch of marks, responds with color or more marks, has no notion of clock time, paints until it stops painting.

The whole of me notices that I have been painting in snippets of time lately, but with a feeling of fullness and sufficiency.

I cut Here I Am, Day 2 in half, added to one half.

work in progress, 6x9"
working title: here i am
day 3

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Unexpected Gifts

One of the unexpected gifts of paintings is that I now have artist friends around the globe, hailing from such locations as Florida, North Carolina, Arizona, Michigan, Oregon, Massachusetts, California, Washington, New Hampshire, Hawaii, Manitoba, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, Scotland, England, Denmark, Sweden, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Australia, and Israel, to name a few.

On my birthday, Arizona artist Sheila Delgado, whose art and photo editing capabilities I've admired since September 2015, surprised me with the unexpected gift of a clean-up of the photo I posted last Friday—which was a photo of a photo of a photo from a decades-old album! She brightened the white borders, evened out the dark border, fixed the deckle edging on the top border, and got rid of the stain on the ceiling.


Thank you, Sheila!

Before and after:


Artist Carol Edan, who lives in Israel, and whose sketches first caught my eye in January of this year, surprised me with the unexpected gift of a card through the mail, a card that happened to arrive in timely fashion for my birthday, even though she had no idea of my birthday.


Thank you, Carol!

a Carol Edan original

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Here I Am, Day 2

Today, again, a day filled with blessings and richness and activity and responsibilities and opportunities and tasks and undertakings beyond my ability to count.

Today, again, I pay attention to and seek the spaces in between, hold myself as open as I can to the stillness always available to me if I will but drop into it.

Today, again, I go to my studio.

Today, three new colors to play with—all house paint hand-picked by my granddaughters.

Outwardly, the scene is one of my hands and eyes working together, using foam rubber brushes to move some paint around on paper, on the start I created yesterday.

The inward experience? A wordless simultaneity of stillness and movement, of deep peaceful energy, of elemental flow.

work in progress
working title: here i am
day 2

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Wherever You Go

I keep thinking I have soooo much to do, too much to do.

I pause first thing this afternoon to wonder why I tell myself that story.

My new story—I'm going to start a painting.

Materials: cheap drawing paper from Jane Davies class; torn paper collage from my college alumni mag and the packing paper that came in my birthday gift from the Peerys; PaperMate pencil; new Faber-Castell paint brush pen from the Peerys, Utrecht matte medium.

Wherever you go, there you are.

activated drawing paper

Monday, May 15, 2017

Salle de Bain Galerie

A 5x7" panel currently resides in my en suite bathroom where it acts as a periodic visual reminder throughout the day to drop my shoulders down from holding up my ears. I see it just often enough for it to serve its purpose.

I come back to my breath.

The panel looked like this in June 2015.

Jonesport Geometry

Never liked it.

Grabbed it a couple of weeks ago and started using it as a 'throw-away' board, a panel on which I off-load the last bits of paint from my brush rather than wash that valuable commodity down the drain. I have no game-plan currently other than to reactivate the panel for some future painting.

Until then, I'll keep off-loading residual paint and returning to my breath.

Friday, May 12, 2017


Not only am I the baby who initiated my dad into fatherhood, but also I had the great good fortune to be born on my dad's birthday on May 13, 1950, when he was 24 years old.

Here's a photo of us a few months after that birthday.

We've made a serious number of revolutions around the sun since that May 13th, but we're hanging out together this May 13th also, with daughters #4 and #5 joining in the fun. 

Although my dad most likely won't be tossing me up in the air as part of the festivities, I'd say we still lift each other up in countless ways : )

Happy birthday to us, Futh!

I took this playboard from April 2,


and fiddled around with it till I had a birthday card.

Daddy Tosses Me up in the Air
2.75 x 4"; acrylic, ink, pencil, and collage on paper, mounted on cardstock

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Rock, Paper, Wood

Decided to mount Salt of the Earth on a block of 1.5" deep wood to create a piece that can stand by itself rather than be hung on a wall. Bought some house paint to do the honors on the back—love the way the grain makes itself known through the black.

Salt of the Earth
4x5x1.5"; acrylic, collage, and ink on paper, mounted on wood
abstract landscape
The canyon is full
of hush. Self-contained, holy.
I sit in its lap.

Salt of the Earth, detail
Salt of the Earth, detail

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

MDF Again

Another painting is spiffed up and ready to strut its stuff, this one a favorite of mine that I painted in December 2015. I covered MDF with a medium gloss, soft, buttery, yellow house paint that picks up on highlights in the painting and speaks to the sunlight in the accompanying haiku.

Mighty Darn Fine, if I do say so myself.

Hanging Out Together
5 x 7 x 3/4"; acrylic, ink, collage, and pastels on paper, mounted on panel
They hold hands under-
ground while, up above, sunlight
kisses their wild hair.

Hanging Out Together, detail
Hanging Out Together, detail

Tuesday, May 9, 2017


Today I snag one of the playboards I created about a month ago and start to play.


I am so grateful to have invited art to become a centerpiece in my life. To have committed myself to making space for losing myself in this moment, and this moment, and this moment. To be, here and now.

I pull out a china marker I purchased recently. Haven't used one of those for decades! I draw some circles and then bring them into high relief by painting negative space around them.

I bump into the acrylic skin I made sometime earlier this year, cut it into bits, and let its random marks find places on my emerging piece. That acrylic film experiment has made appearances in several paintings now. Very satisfying.

Then out come my Posca paint markers, and the house paint Caroline and Emmy gave me at Christmas, and a PaperMate pencil.

Making a record of what I did when creating a piece is just that—some words that tell what I did.

Art making itself is a string of moments of looking at things for the first time; art making is being what I'm doing.

I take such pleasure in having all of that—all of everything I've just articulated, and more—fit into a little 3x4" painting that I can share with a friend to celebrate her being a centerpiece in my life, too!

Looking at Things for the First Time
3x4"; acrylic, ink, oil pastel, china marker, pencil, and oil pastel on paper,
mounted on card stock

Monday, May 8, 2017

Happy Household

Late last week I started a painting with an impulsive scribble born of a frantic need to put aside my day's to-do list and get something, anything, onto canvas.

Now: I've created a happy little house on a happy little 4x4" piece of property on a happy little hillside.

Happy little me!

The Ivy Hanging in the Kitchen Window Weaves Itself into the Blinds
4x4"; china marker, pencil, ink, acrylic, and collage on canvas
abstract landscape

Friday, May 5, 2017

More Messing Around

Yesterday's few moments of impulsivity, playing with paint and ink on a 4x4" canvas yanked out of a drawer with only twenty minutes at hand before I had to be at an appointment, were definitely an antidote to my grouchiness and irritability.

I messed around with the canvas again today, trying this and that, playing happily.

Nothin' beats a little free-play in the studio.

more messing around

Wednesday, May 3, 2017



Master Dirt Farmer?

Mother Daughter Friend?

Make Dinner Fast?

Nope. Medium Density Fiberboard, an engineered wood product that artists often use.

And, at the moment, a Major Distraction Factor.

I'm taking another hiatus from my 100layersofpaint challenge to turn my attention to mounting some of my paper paintings on MDF. Went to a local lumber yard to see what the stuff was, brought home a sheet, and had Dave run it through his table saw to my specs (thanks, Dave!). I varnished my painting, painted the sides of the MDF, glued the painting to my panel, wrote a haiku on the back, and now I've got a painting all spiffed up looking for a new home.

Stoned Soul Picnic
7x7"; acrylic, pencil, and collage on paper, mounted on panel
He left the field. Walked
across the limestone beside
the clattering brook.

Stoned Soul Picnic, detail
Stoned Soul Picnic, detail
Stoned Soul Picnic, detail

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Layer 22/100

Uh oh.

How will I move on from here?

I know I will.

I just don't yet know how.

Or when.

Either Waves Tapping Sea-Worn Rocks will sell, and I will send it to a new home, or … the tide that has ebbed way way out, making space for me to attend to the smallest of details, will come back in and wash over this piece, changing it into something entirely different.

Waves Tapping Sea-Worn Rocks
6x6"; acrylic, collage, ink, pencil, and oil pastel on gessobord

layer 22/100, detail
stamped letters, wax pastel markings
layer 22/100, detail
stenciling, oil pastel, pencil marks
layer 22/100, detail
shades of gray, asemic writing, stamped letters

Monday, May 1, 2017

Layer 21/100

I'm starting to like my new do. It's starting to feel like 'me.'

Layer 21.

layer 21/100

Friday, April 28, 2017

Layer 20/100

So now it's the day after my salon appointment.

I've washed my hair.

Will I finger comb it? Blow it dry with a styling brush? Use product?

Layer 20.

layer 20

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Layers 17, 18, and 19/100

You know how sometimes you grow your hair out, and aim for a certain look, and fuss with it, and get it just so?

And then one day you walk in for your regular hair appointment and say, "Cut it all off. Do whatever you want with it."

Layers 17, 18, 19.

layer 17
layer 18
layer 19

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Layer 16/100

Well, I'm getting into the thick of it now.

Had to do some serious letting go here.


So I did.

Not easy.

But done.

layer 16

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Layer 15/100

I continue with my 100layersofpaint.

Today I alternately experience the sensory immediacy of creating and the pulling back to observe.

I feel the give of a sponge roller, catch the faint smell of a Posca pen, see the brightness of teeny pops of orange and red, hear the scritch of an ink pen on gessobord.

I notice that today I am painting in a way that suggests finishing stages—adding little details, punching up bits of color, retracing linework to give it more depth … all the while knowing I have 85 layers to go!

The intuitive immediacy and the more thought-filled attention to detail are both gifts of this exercise—gifts of ongoing engagement and self-discovery, gifts of the creative process … specifically my creative process.

Layer 15.

layer 15
layer 15 detail
layer 15 detail

Monday, April 24, 2017

Outlaw Thoughts, and Layers 12, 13, and 14/100

Those of you who follow my painting adventures might remember that I started a 100layersofpaint challenge a few weeks ago. I moved through eleven layers, and then fell off the radar screen.

Two reasons for the disappearance. First, I was thinking of becoming an outlaw. I don't actually know what the rules of the challenge are but I was considering breaking them. I really liked layer 11, and I'm the boss of my painting life, so why not stop?

Just as important, however, was the fact that I got busy with other projects. A wedding and a bunch of birthdays came along and I wanted to paint for them. So I did.

All the while, I kept my challenge piece in view where I drank in its details and energy each time I sat at my laptop or met with tutees.

Then, a few days ago, again for two reasons, I decided to wield my brush anew. First, I'd continued to see posts on Instagram of those who've faithfully added a layer every day—they're up to thirty-something layers (!) now—and the daily changes are an ongoing invitation. Just as important, however, was the fact that the longer I honored my attachment to layer 11 by letting the painting remain unchanged, the less attached I felt.

So a few days ago I picked up a foam brush, a tube of black, and a squeeze bottle of fabric paint. Layer 12.

layer 12/100

The next day, I rotated my gessobord and used ink pen and paint pen to add white circles and dots. Layer 13. I am fascinated by the repeat experience of loving what I see in front of me, change after change after change.

layer 13/100

A day later, I glued strips of tissue collage and squeezed some white fabric paint onto my canvas. Layer 14.

layer 14/100

Friday, April 21, 2017

A Fourth Something

All his life Scott's gift to me has been to open my eyes to see in ways they don't think to see on their own.

Happy birthday, Scott!

He Saw Art Where Other People Saw Nothing
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Third Something

I am one of five sisters, the oldest.

Marj is one of the same five sisters, the youngest.

We are bookends, each holding a place in a sister lineup that spans twelve years.

Such a sweet time I've had painting up some colors and lines and scribbles and joy to make a card to celebrate my baby sister.

Happy birthday, Marj!

Maybe I Am Just a Kid, Only Older
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

A Second Something

The second something from Monday's start, another birthday card:

Maybe Adulthood Is a Myth
3x4"; acrylic, ink, and collage on drawing paper, mounted on card stock