Unexpected Results

I’ve been experimenting with little canvases and fauvism, a style of art I love.  I love the work of Portland, OR, artist Trina Hesson, who, among other things, does faces on small canvases and boards.

I like not being limited to the local color.  But I’ve felt many of my attempts at using unrealistic color always made the painting look like a big old mess.

With these little canvases, 5×7″, I’ve started out without any real goals, except to play with color.  The size is non-threatening.  I like the idea of being free of skin tones.  When I was making fabric sculptures, I hardly ever used skin tones.  They could be any race, they could be just figures anyone could identify with.

dream guide
Dream Guide

With these little paintings, I’ve used mostly dark colors:

Let Your Dreams Guide You
Peer Pressure
Is there a color that would make me safe?

I decided this week to work with lighter colors.   It was a terrible week — shootings, ICE arrests, and a deepening feeling of division around me.  So much unnecessary sorrow.  I’m shocked almost daily by  how well the “divide and conquer” political strategy still works.  I also had a discussion with a person I know who has a very rigid attitude about who is to blame and why.  That all crept into my latest 5×7″:

If you just admitted I was right, we wouldn’t have these problems!

I use art as a window or a door into the imagination and out of this fragmented world.  I don’t often do directly political pieces, but it’s hard not to.   I hope this one is political and humorous.  Her frustration that people don’t see she’s right.  The imperious stare over the glasses — a look many of us of a certain age look out at the world with.  It makes me laugh.

So that’s what I’ve been up to lately.  What do you think?


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If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.


The Slow Life

Most of yesterday was cloudy, which is nice in the summer when the sun can be so hot.  It stayed in the low 80s, so it was nice.

I felt sluggish.  I have for the past month, had that feeling of moving through syrup that people with chronic fatigue are familiar with.  Even though I have had neurological problems for 40 years now, I still get frustrated by these bouts of fatigue.  I am able, mostly, to keep up with my social obligations — in fact, I find often it helps to be around other people.  I kind of leech off their energy.  Although sometimes I can’t answer questions coherently, and forget things, I still like to be with other people.

Then I nap.  I don’t get much artwork done.

I have had a morning writing practice for about 5 years  now, but this last month I just stopped.  I slept.  I told myself it didn’t matter whether I wrote or not — and I have all these piles of composition books filled with nothing much.

Yes, that’s a sign of depression.

I’m being treated for it, but fatigue and depression, they are part of my life, no matter what I do.

My son’s been helpful.  He paints with me sometimes, gets me out of my lethargy bubble.  He’s in his thirties and energetic.  But after we painted for about 2 hours, he said he was tired and took a nap on the couch.

I was delighted.  If he needs a nap after painting, then maybe I’m not so abnormal after all.  It is intense work, even if it’s nourishing work.  I took a nap, too.

So this morning I did my morning write:  I wake up, make a cup of coffee, get back in bed, prop up the pillows and write in a notebook for as long as I need — usually about 30 minutes.  Most of it is just recounting yesterday, or working out a problem.  Sometimes a real story or poem will flow out and I’m there to catch it.

The day starts with words.  It helps my memory.  It’s a space that’s all mine.

And now, here I am writing a blog post again.  One creative act leads to another.

Late yesterday afternoon, the clouds got a darker shade of gray, thunder rumble like long monstrous growls.  A light rain sprinkled down, then a heavy rain drenched the ground.  As the sun set, it lightened up, and for a while it rained while the sun shone.

The light changed as the sun sank lower on the horizon, and glowed a golden pink.  A magical kind of light that made my little bit of the world like another planet, with soft light and sweet damp air.

I am so lucky, so very lucky, to have a life that’s slow enough that I can see such moments, savor them from beginning to end, to watch the sky fade from the magic of daylight to the rich dark blue of night.

Yesterday, I accomplished nothing.  And I accomplished everything.

30 snail


This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

If you find a typo, let me know, and I’ll send you a postcard.


I’ve spent the last month recovering from my Open Studio and spending a lot of time outside.  I’ve also been adjusting to my new progressive lens glasses.  I’ve had them for almost 2 weeks now, so I decided to try a detailed drawing from a from a few references online.  It’s still a little difficult, but I’m getting used to the process.  I drew a wing:


The paint coverage is uneven, but I’m pleased with it and my progress on the progressives.  I’m ready to start painting again.


This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.  

Visual Journal – Golden Bug

It’s been a month now since my Open Studio.  I was pretty wiped out afterwards, then I got a sinus infection.  I also got my first pair of transition glasses and they are hard to adjust to — though I’m glad to have my distance vision back.  I now need help with close up, middle and distance vision, therefore transion lenses.  Thanks to all the people who support me by buying my art and my Patreon supporters.  I couldn’t have afforded the glasses without you.

I’ve been spending a lot of my creative energy on my front porch garden.  I have a friend who has planted a garden beside the porch.  Both gardens are doing well.  We’ve had a very wet spring and summer, and the plants are loving it.

The garden by the porch
An explosion of phlox
Hibiscus enjoying it’s place on the porch
Geranium and snapdragon
Cannas all abloom
The elephant ears are trying to take over the whole garden, but the hardy hibiscus is blooming anyway

I planted morning glory and moonflowers late, but they are slowly catching up with the other plants on the porch.  I was dismayed to find something chewing on their leaves, though.  If you grow plants, you have to tolerate some insect damage.  Of course, you also get bees, butterflies and the occasional humming bird.

I investigated the leaves, looking for caterpillars of some sort to pick off the plants.  The first leaf I turned over, had a little mound of gold on it.  It looked like the leaf had grown three golden warts.  Shiny gold, too, like jewelry.  I tried to get my camera out but the little mound disentangled itself, revealed wings, then flew away.   They were small and shaped  like little lady bugs

After my astonishment abated, I looked for more golden bugs, but there were no more.  That was a few days ago.  I check every morning and afternoon, but no more gold.

I found out more about these bugs on the great google brain — the golden tortoise beetle — that you can read about here:  http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/veg/potato/golden_tortoise_beetle.htmgolden_tortoise_beetle02

The beetle has a clear shell around it, so that’s where the tortoise part of the name comes from, but I didn’t see it.  The ones I saw just looked golden.  They are prismatic, like many birds and beetles.  Sometimes they are orange and can turn brown.

Anyway, I was so delighted by my discovery, I got out my visual journal and tried to paint the magical little creatures.

20190701_164130 (1)
An actual leaf on the left and a watercolor sketch on the right. 

I don’t think my metallic paint shows how shiny they are, or their actual size — everything I do is a little (or a lot) out of proportion.  But it was good for me to spend some time drawing and contemplating the range of nature’s web of life.  And these little bits of flying gold aren’t a real danger to the plant.  They take a few nibbles and move on.

Although, I do hope I get to see them again.  I know they are still visiting.  Holey leaves tell me so.


This blog is brought to you by the generosity of people who support me on Patreon , buy my art, and who support me in so many different ways

Cards and prints on some of my art is available on Redbubble.