architecture of the canopy

DSC_1257 (2) canopy of perfect summer day

The curving forms of the boughs in the tree canopy are so magnificent.  How I would love to get in sync with that arboreal architecture.  I imitate the loops and curvy forms.  They make material the gladness of the light and the visual noise of summer.   The riot of colors, the density of growing things, the layers upon layers of intervening leafage wherever you look, light loving leaves that fill the spaces between you and the horizon.

I am summer’s biggest fan.

it bursts out in different directions


DSC_1231 (3) Distant Oak smaller

I seem to be preprogrammed to make certain kinds of compositions.  I particularly like ones that radiate in different directions like the spokes of a wheel.  It’s a feature of my own mind’s topography that I wouldn’t know except for seeing it afterwards in art.  It’s one of the reasons for painting — to paint not only the outer landscape, but the inner one too.


The comparison is more apparent when Distant Oak is turned upside down.

What do you learn about yourself by the things you do?  What does your own mind’s architecture look like?  And what is your brain trying to tell you?!

Sometimes you have to listen to yourself!


moving the needle

face scribble notebookWhen I want to get myself to do something, I write about it a little.  I have a bunch of notebooks that I keep — journals — with writing in them — leftover habit from English major days.  Sometimes I just think in ink — “what if I did X ?”

One of the things I thought about was that I should make more little sketches — incoherent little sketches that are to drawing what making lists in notebooks are to writing.  Now I am much quicker to give thoughts a visual shape even when I have no motif in front of me.

Recently I made a little sketch of a still life.

sketch of three things

I don’t know if I even realized that it’s a sketch of the ruby red still life.  But next thing I knew the thought that I should make a painting of the pastel was firmly rooted in my brain, and I was sifting through the stacks of stuff looking for a canvas panel of the right size.



the beauty of the vertical

DSC_1255 (2) detail perfect summer day detail smaller

Sometimes the reaching up is beautiful in itself.  That’s why I made the landscape vertical, to strive toward that reaching for the sky that plants do.  (We should all be a little more like plants from time to time.)

And in this detail of Perfect Summer Day the orientation I chose is a vertical part to echo the vertical whole.

because I like the shapes

seashell and bottle

I painted the seashell and bottle together because I like the shapes of each.  That’s why I bought the bottle (another of the thrift store hauls) and why I collect the seashells.  I love their shapes and colors.  Looking at their surfaces fascinates me.   I like the color blue.  I like the folds in a cloth.  I like the random things that end up being the edges of the painting when you paint without a plan.

This is a little picture — only 9 x 12 inches — painted on Arches oil paper, which is a wonderful surface, enjoyable for the artist.

I began doing still lifes in a random way, choosing the object I wanted particularly to portray and letting the rest of the picture arrange itself according to the dimensions of the format, and now I love the randomness of it.  The edges become a new area of exploration.

Some people climb mountains or dream astronaut dreams — I explore the edges of the painting — far more sedentary, much safer physically, but still wonderful — I assure you!

How does one express this love of the edges?  Or of the spaces between things?  Do you believe me when I tell you that they are marvelous territories?!  And while I rhapsodize the edges, do not suppose that I oppose the middle — I like painting’s interior too.

up close and personal

DSC_1261 (2) detail perfect summer day sm file.png

Everyone painting today is indebted to Monet in some way.  I think I paid some of my Monet dues with these flower daubs.  But what’s more I used iridescent paint in this acrylic painting, and the photograph comes close to capturing the effect.  Its hard to capture in photography.  Indeed it’s subtle even looking at the actual painting.  Do you think Monet would have liked iridescent paints?

When you can peer into the picture and find more things, isn’t that a happy result?

yesterday was a busy day

Three of the pictures posted yesterday were painted yesterday.

pond new (3)

I have been posting a bit more frequently in order to give my little bloggie a boost.

  Thank you all who by your clicks have set my blog on an upward path.

My stats are improving wonderfully by virtue of your readerly interventions!

Just want you to know that I appreciate it very much.

I painted like a crazy person yesterday and I thoroughly enjoyed it.



on the easel

red still life of flowers in progress

I started with the red.  Because — red!  Just putting the paint down straight from the tube, I enjoy seeing it so beautiful, luminous.  This is why I love painting — because color transmits wonder just in itself, even before you do anything.

I’m making a painted version of the pastel still life with flowers, the one with the red cloth.  It’s one of my favorites from among the group of pastel still lifes that I did in the fall.  I’m thinking that I may do painted versions of my three favorites.  Time will tell.  Certainly I had to paint the ruby red one.

looking out the window

Different times of day, different angle, but it’s the same window. In both cases I made a fast drawing.  I figured, “Why not?”

One is early morning (left) and the other is at twilight. The curtain on the right is only barely visible in the morning version.

me and RD

I have loved Richard Diebenkorn’s work since whenever it was (a long time ago) that I first saw it.  Without knowing anything about him, just seeing one of his pictures on the cover of a magazine, I fell in love. His ideas have affected me since.

Here in the drawing from one of his little notebooks (above left) and the detail of my painting Distant Oak (below), I think the affinity shows.  I never met Mr. Diebenkorn (who was the same age as my mother).  But I still think of him as being one of my teachers.

DSC_1231 (3) Distant Oak smaller