Thursday, September 30, 2010

So-so to ... SO?

The so-so painting washed off in the previous post became the painting you see in the top photo.

In the bottom photo, you can see how I turned the panel with its ghost image upside down before I put the charcoal sketch in.

The dark ground frustrated me and I felt like getting the lights to come through was an aerobic exercise! In the end, the entire painting feels pretty dark and I think that next time I will wash
over the ghost with gesso to lighten it up before I apply pastel again.

The first painting on this panel I did earlier this year at the Susan Ogilvie workshop I did down in Springfield, OR at the Emerald Arts Center. Click here to see the original painting.

Have you painted over old panels? What helped you succeed?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Culling the herd

Garden hose with high-pressure nozzle turned to full blast to wash off a so-so painting. It's my way of getting rid of what is weak and not working toward building up a strong base of good work.

Culling the herd. Believe me, there's a herd of them (so-so paintings) waiting to be hosed off!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Golden Hour

Golden Hour
24 x 36

In the golden hour the wind dies down, the water lies flat, and Stuart Island glows in a light bath. The crabbers, returning from their traps, pull a shadow in their wake. Trees stand as sentinels and the world feels safe. In the Golden Hour.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Coaching myself

24 x 36

Shed procrastination, busyness, fear, pressure, excuses.
Put on curiosity, wonder, playfulness, exploration, presence.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Last days of summer

After we unloaded the car, one of my first acts at home was to sit at the piano and play. I played and played and played. This song often figures in to my noodling around when I just play for the sheer joy of it.

Summertime. Almost over. Always a little tug of sadness when fall blows in.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Taking stock

The Washington State Capitol building was visible through the haze and fog as we approached Olympia on our return.

This has been a wonderful experience, a grand adventure. I've added a slideshow to the sidebar to show some of the 90 paintings I did while aboard.

Back on dirt, I look back at some of the stats from these last months aboard M/V Dutch Treat between Olympia, Washington and Auke Bay, Alaska:

124 days
2600 miles
90 paintings
120 pages of sketches
3" of hair growth (less now that I got a haircut)
42 books read
innumerable memories

Thanks to all of you who were interested and followed along. It was a wonderful trip. But, it's good to be home!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Sketches from the last days of this trip

Just a few more sketches in my book before we get home.

Sometimes my drawings of boats are right on. Other times I miss the mark and they look completely un-seaworthy. This sketch looks right to me.

LaConner, Washington has a beautiful quilt museum. A new exhibit of Japanese quilts and textiles was really interesting but the colors were odd to my American eyes. Orange with magenta and pink looked garish to me, but must make sense to Japanese eyes. I favored the crazy quilts and wondered about the women who put them together.

The end of this trip is in sight and brings a mixture of feelings. Endings are sad. But they make space for new beginnings.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Savoring the vapor

I wake up slowly. I like to prolong that time when my dream state hovers like a vapor over and around all of my senses. I make and savor my first cup of coffee and get acquainted again with the real world. This morning, this fellow was just outside my boat door.

Abstracting the shapes and simplifying. Still feels too tentative to me, but next time ...

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Wonders revealed

When the tide goes out, all kinds of things are revealed. In this case, a stream and rocks covered in algae. Just hours later, with the tide in, water covered these intricate patterns. It pays to pay attention.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Keeping it unreal

Relax, I told myself. Relax and let it be unreal if it needs to be that. Rather than wrestling the values and colors into submission and rules of proper landscape painting, I just let it be. Not out of laziness. Not out of ignorance. But, as an exercise to let go of the result and stay present with the process.

The sky darkened and blew out several times as I painted this, leaving the land forms darkly in shadow or oddly lit. I let it be.

In this case, it took far more self-control to let it be than it would have taken to organize it and force it into something more normal and comfortable. In the end, I decided to keep it unreal. Not as easy as it sounds!

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Brevity. Good in speeches. Good in poetry. Good in explanations.

And here, in a painting.

Just the briefest of color and strokes to tell the story of the island suspended in lemon sky and water.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Water as mirror

Sometimes the wind does not blow, the tide is slack, and the water is like polished glass.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Lopez Island, Hunter Bay

The bay is quiet as I walk around the boat, looking for a subject to paint. It's tricky because a slight breeze is blowing and the boat is swinging in a 30 degree arc on the anchor. Of the three paintings I did, this one is my favorite.

Sketchbook almost full!

Sketch of San Juan Island

can you spell "Roche Harbor"?

side view of sketchbook,
chubby from many watercolor drawings

In just a couple of weeks I'll be back home. So much to share. So much to show. The sketchbook is my favorite bit of "arting" from the trip!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Three views of the same subject

One scene, painted three times.

Looking for ways to explore the same elements in different ways.

San Juan Island
near Lime Kiln State Park.
Water, rocks, trees, sky, light.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Roche Harbor with Angie

While we chatted over coffee aboard her boat, M/V Desert Venture, I sketched this little portrait of Angie. She and her husband, Bruce, are full-time live aboard cruisers and she keeps a wonderful blog about their adventures. You can check it out here.

We met them a couple of years ago when we were on our boat up in the Broughton Archipelago in British Columbia. Our friendship has grown as they spent two winters in Portland and Angie is the person who got help for me when I nearly died in the waters of Bremerton. Whenever I see her, I think of the line I wrote in this blog July 2009, "Angie saved my life."

It has been a special treat to spend the last week with them in the water of Roche Harbor. This morning, they pulled up their anchor and departed for points south. I will miss them. Good friends are precious, indeed.

Angie liked the little sketch I did of her, and I was happy to give it to her. Life is good. Don't ever think otherwise. I know I won't.