Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Daily Painting-again

                                       Sun on the Winter Marsh watermedia on paper 12x9

 Since I`m not burning hot with great new ideas, I thought painting whole pieces in a single day might be useful again. Ten years ago the practice kept me working through the deepest grief I had experienced.
   Carol Marine makes a convincing case for the habit as a way of learning efficiently. In her book Daily Painting, she asserts working small and often as a way to gain confidence and develop technique. It`s also a way to be active in the studio when the muse is away. Almost exercises without any expectation, it`s pleasant and satisfying. Nothing I liked much has come from it until this piece, a bright, brittle winter slough. Here are some of the others, all watermedia on paper 12x9.

                                                                  Distant Green


 With perfect timing, this sweet little book arrived in the mail yesterday. It fits nicely in the hand and is filled with ideas, methods, proposals, concepts, and suggestions. And it`s illustrated with lots of paintings. The UK artist Joanna Goss contacted me a couple of years ago about using an image of mine. Naturally enough, I`m the section on Yupo;

 This is one of the coolest books on watercolor I`ve ever seen.

 That nice red head boy got married, God bless them.
Prince Harry served in two deployments in Afghanistan. Heel spurs were never mentioned. He also created the Invictus Games so that injured servicemen could also compete in sport.
I like Meghan too;

Image may contain: dog and text

 After referring to a poem in my last post that I`ve searched 48 years for, my pal Elisabeth sent me this wonderful piece by James Dickey;

                                                       The Heaven of Animals

Here they are. Their soft eyes open.
If they have lived in a wood
It is a wood.
If they have lived on plains
It is grass rolling
Under their feet forever.

Having no souls, they have come,
Anyway, beyond their knowing.
Their instincts wholly bloom
And they rise.
The soft eyes open.

To match them, the landscape flowers,
Outdoing, desperately
Outdoing what is required;
The richest wood,
The deepest field.

For some of these,
 it could not be the place
It is, without blood.
These hunt, as they have done,
but with claws and teeth grown perfect.

More deadly than they can believe.
They stalk more silently,
And crouch on the limbs of trees,
And their descent
Upon the bright backs of their prey

May take years
In a sovereign floating of joy.
And those that are hunted
Know this as their life.
Their reward; To walk

Under such trees in full knowledge
Of what is in glory above them,
And to feel no fear,
But acceptance, compliance.
Fulfilling themselves without pain

At the cycle`s center,
They tremble, they walk
Under the tree,
They fall, they are torn,
They rise, they walk again.

                                                        Prow by Christopher LeBrun

 Isn`t this magnificent?! It is as urgent and inspiring as when I first saw it 35 years ago.
Pegasus! We`ve been waiting for you! What is the message?

work for sale in my studio

Monday, May 14, 2018


                                                        Adrift watercolor on Yupo 14x11

 Though the release from pain has been joyous, to my surprise, a surge of innovation did not rush in. So as I often do, I tinker. My studio has lots of failed or unfinished paintings about. There are many opportunities for rescue.
 As rapid as my recovery has been, I`m careful not to over extend my new knee. So I haven`t yet been back to some of my sources of inspiration. However we are planning a visit to Minto Brown Island. I`ve never been there in the summer and its cool muddy lagoons will be seductive and quiet. I will happily work with the thousand shades of green.
 Meanwhile, these are what I`ve been up to;

                                                  FC Wetlands watercolor on Yupo 14x11

 Because it`s always best to have a paintbrush in hand when inspiration sweeps in, sometimes I`ll do something I`ve already done. Usually in a different medium like I did here. The site, the confluence of Fanno Creek with the Tualatin River, is dense with possibility. What I mean by that is not just the beauty but also the spatial relationships of trees to water to grasses. That couple of acres is almost Japanese in its elegant proportions.

                                                 Flood Plain watermedia on paper 12x16

 As I remember, I had recently returned from the Finley Wildlife Reserve and I was trying to depict the delicate new grasses arising from a huge field that had been underwater. I believed she texted and said she was in the area and wanted to meet me. I said sure and because I was already in process with this, she watched me paint. Probably because I was talking, that fresh green field turned into a scene of apocalypse right before our eyes. Oh well. She was worth meeting.

                                            As the Moon Rises watermedia on yupo 14x10

 As the Moon rises, eyes of the animals rise from the forest into her light.
That was the opening sentence of a poem I read in 1970 in a library. I`ve been trying to find the complete work ever since, to no avail. With the internet, I should be able to find it but haven`t.

 Notorious Pam was here again doing what she does best, redistributing wealth. She was on a mission and when she was through she had bought nine of my best works on paper! She sent me photos after they were framed;

 She sure did honor the paintings! Thank you Pam, you do beautiful things.

 Among the many sad aspects to living with chronic pain is how small your world becomes. In my recent experience, I couldn`t shake the feeling that I was at the end of my life. Time to wrap things up. It wasn`t rational, I know what the actuarial tables predict but it was there. My family assured me it was the legs and they were right. I`m appalled at the idea now and feel sorry for that guy getting ready to go. I feel better than I have in years. Far more than I should after having atrophied for so long. And to my delight, arthritis elsewhere in my body, such as the other knee, is mostly gone!
 The universe sent me this story just the other day;

                                                                       Trudy Smith

 She was lonely after her husband died so she took up painting. She was 85! Read her remarkable story!

John says we need to paint the house.
If my house looked like this one in Burkina Faso, I`d just sit on the lawn and look at it.

                                                                     by Endre Penovac

 This is why I love watercolor.

                   In Mexico this dog walked through a parade for the Pope thinking it was for him

work for sale in my studio [updated]

Saturday, April 28, 2018


                                           Storm Break over the River

 To those that visit here regularly, I want you all to know my surgery to get a whole new left knee has been a huge success! Just six days since the operation, and there is now much less pain, I`m walking without a cane, I`ve already been down to my studio and my mood is one of elation! Let a new life begin.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

The Storm is Lifting

                                           The Storm is Lifting watermedia on yupo 26x20

 My brother Mike asked me the other day how I would characterize the work I`ve done in the last year. I told him wildly uneven.
For much of the year I didn`t know if I was getting better or worse. When I realized worse, I quit trying to push myself with exercise. I never stopped but I quit trying to rehabilitate myself. I was making the pain much worse. Now, as I wait for my new knee next week, my painting is as scattered as ever.

                                                     Across the Canal oil on  Yupo 20x16

 I was sitting on the bank of the lake`s canal trying to decide if I was cold, was it too early to paint outdoors. I did the drawing below and thought the weather was fine. Across the channel I could see a level area dense with vegetation. I tried to paint it from memory, first in acrylics and then in oils.

 Next I thought I`d do something I`ve never done before but had heard was an excellent way to learn. I would copy a hero. Bjornar Aaslund, a painter from Norway, slides in and out of abstraction as he paints his landscape derived, dynamic paintings. His work is adept and passionate and I admire it a lot;

                                                                    Bjornar Aaslund

                                                                     Bjornar Aaslund

                                                                     Bjornar Aaslund

                                                                    Bjornar Aaslund

 His painting, at its core, is suffused with nature. As if he has studied it all his life up close. As if he were a biologist. That last one, just above, is the one I decided to paint. I thought I could learn about his process and just adopting his palette was educational.

                                                  Bjornar and Me watercolor on Yupo 14x11

 Quickly I went my own way but it was a fun exercise. It wasn`t hard to imagine the lakes finally free of ice, suddenly teaming with plants in the warm sunlight.

                                                                 Bjornar Aaslund

 Because of my limited mobility I can`t get to all the places which are the basis of what I do. Consequently, I`ve had more creative blocks than ever. Usually I don`t become over concerned. A change of mediums will get things moving again. This time has been different. It feels like I`m actually denied that part of my brain. As if my imagination were inert or empty. A modest walk in Bryant Woods or a review of one of my Pinterest boards can change the chemistry in my thinking somewhat reliably but what is going on? It has been on, then off, frequently. I bet it has a hormonal element. Anyone else experience this as being cutoff from oneself?

 My show at the Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland OR is up the whole month of April!

                                                                     John Wolseley

 This is plein air painting! This Australian painter is another naturalist/artist. Really inspirational.

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Saturday, March 31, 2018


                                          Wetlands Somewhere oil on canvas 30x24 [2011]

 Once this holiday was celebrated. Now it`s a quaint relic, or so it seems. I`m no longer a church goer so I may be wrong. It sure was a big deal when I was a kid. Mom was a Southern Baptist who had to agree at the outset that any children would be raised Catholic, like Dad. Since neither were particularly religious given their young age, this may have seemed minor. Yet as the brothers were born, the Reformation was reenacted within our family. For Lent, Dad strongly 'encouraged' us to give up candy to better understand the suffering of Christ. It worked, we were miserable. Especially during Holy Week when we also attended long services in Latin almost every night of that week. But come Sunday, that secular rabbit came through! Our Easter baskets were heavy with chocolate! No doubt the experience of delayed gratification was a helpful prelude to real life. As I got older, the mysteries of the Church had their way with me and I was a true believer! So as not to leave my Mom feeling isolated, I also memorized Bible verses through the BMA. I was one thoroughly Christian little kid! But it unraveled rather quickly as a teen, just through the idea of a loving God. No salvation necessary, just do your best. My outrage would come later as I fully understood the persecution of homosexuals.
 Easter was holy and I still think so. A celebration of rebirth, spring planting, warmer and longer days and for new starts, new hope! It`s worth a party!

                                        The Storm is Passing acrylic and ink on Vellum 10.5x8

                                               Split in the Cliff watercolor on Yupo 14x11

                                         Fallen Tree watermedia on mineral paper 9.75x9.25

                                             Untitled in Gray watermedia on Yupo 14x11

                                                  Untitled BW oil on cradled panel 14x11

 Some recent small paintings.
For the first time in memory, I have a lot of unfinished work around. Usually I`m too obsessed to walk away from something. But as I mentioned, it`s been difficult to concentrate. There is a limit to how long I can stand. In this period of waiting for my surgery [April 23], I had hoped to complete some of these disappointing paintings. Luckily I had the good sense to contact someone wiser than me. She told me no, just do new things. Chores right now aren`t good for my head.

 My part of the 'Nature Perceived' show, now goes from the museum to the Hanson Howard Gallery in Ashland Oregon. Four other paintings are also included. The local paper has published a preview saying I am a disciple of Richard Diebenkorn. While I think he was a terrific painter, I`ve never thought of me as a follower. Too distractable!

 Earlier this month, I was the juror of acceptance for the California Watercolor Association`s regional show. I said who`s in and who`s out. It`s true, the power was intoxicating!

Anybody know anything about the Myers-Briggs personality tests? Is there anything to it? Years ago I took the test and wrote down what I was, INFJ. Never thought much about it until recently when I`ve learned of others of my 'type'. I have no time whatsoever for astrology, so if this has any validity, it would be great to be more predictable.

Some art I`ve enjoyed;

                                                              by Adrian Ghenie

 Look close, it`s everyone`s favorite painter! The red on his cheek is brilliant, raw and exposed. That`s exactly how I think of him, defenseless against reality. The good dying young.

                                                                 by Adrian Ghenie

 Another. Vulture in a dead tree, atomic explosion in the distance. Hope this isn`t a prediction.

                                                                   by Fred Cumings

 I love every scrap this man produces. In this truly awesome seascape, all is poised for the crash of the wave. The waters are gathered back, the dark cloud hovers, sunlight breaks on the cresting wave, the waxing moon will witness, the receding film of foam rushes toward the monster..... It`s so dramatic! Fred Cumings paints everything with such sensitivity!

                                           The Descent from the Cross by Anthony Caro

 This sculpture takes a little time. We`ve all seen paintings of this desolate moment. I found this very tender.

                                                                  by Fiona Strickland

Botanical illustration is an old love of mine. Might have been the career that blended my interest in art and science. Fiona Strickland brings a breathtaking intensity to the genre.

                                                                by Joan Mitchell

Here`s a simple, early Joan Mitchell! Everything threatens to fly off the canvas but doesn`t. All is contained though whirling.

OMG, what if he`s right?!

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