Saturday, September 29, 2012

floating Sumi on water

Sumi ink, floated on plain cool water, stirred gently with a bamboo stick, blown gently to create ripples, and captured on rice paper. A tranquil meditation and filled with endless possibilities. Click images to enlarge.

Want to know more? Click here.

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Each painting explores a new solution or raises a different question. Overlapping solutions and questions and a steady rhythm of painting.

It's a matter of FLOW. Listen to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on the topic.

Monday, September 24, 2012


12 x 12, pastel on archival paper
Have you ever seen this "Incredible Water Art" video?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

smoke on the water

12 x 12, pastel on archival paper
My love affair with music started early. I was only four when I became enchanted by my mother and grandmother singing in harmony (which I thought was magical) on our vacation road trips. It continued with babysitters who played Beatles' songs and listened to the pop stations on the radio.

I insisted on piano lessons when I was seven years old. It did not matter that my family did not own a piano. I knew it was for me and I wanted lessons. Lucky for me, my parents gave in and I began what has been a nearly lifelong passion.

But, when I was just nine, I became a genuine groupie of our neighborhood garage band. Garage bands were really popular in our town and every group dreamed of Capitol Records and Hollywood and being discovered. Fame and fortune, fancy cars, and the good life followed those dreams. Or, at least, winning the "Battle of the Bands" at the local high school.

I went to many of the band's rehearsals. Sometimes they let me try to sing along, other times they let me play the tambourine, but mostly I sat on a box or on top of a workbench and listened to the music. And one of the most popular songs in their playlist, was this: "Smoke on the Water."

Listening to it now still makes me think of the shy but cute drummer, Duncan, the smell of lawn clippings and gasoline, and the lyrics to this song.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

feeling good

18 x 24
Back in the studio today with a light raining falling outside and I am feeling good!

Nina Simone is, too.

Friday, September 14, 2012

dahlia bouquet, getting off the boat

ink on paper
My sketchbook is full of drawings as we begin to pack up at the end of our boating season. Here's one I did of a bouquet of dahlias my mother bought when she went ashore to a little farmer's market in Silverdale, Washington.

It's been a beautiful summer on the waters of the Pacific Northwest. In the three months we were aboard, we traveled 1071 miles, had 19 guests, and saw amazing heart-filling sights. Click on images to enlarge.

buttermilk sky in Olympia, WA

pink sunrise at McMicken Island, Washington

gray midday reflections in Hood Canal
Whether sunrise, midday, sunset, or night time under a blue moon, the light and water reflections begged to be noticed and attended.

sunset at Port Townsend, WA

Blue Moon over Admiralty Inlet

summer boating aboard M/V Flying Colors
Norah Jones "Summertime." Before we know it, it will be fall, so enjoy!

Monday, September 3, 2012

influence, inspiration, imitation

Last winter, when I was in Philadelphia, I was thrilled to happen upon the colossal "Van Gogh Up Close"  show at the Philadelphia Museum of Art. I love van Gogh, and his strokes of color on the canvas inspire and excite me. While listening to the recorded narration of the exhibit,  I heard this memorable description:

 "Van Gogh paints the landscape with the knowledge that he is 
painting the skin of a living and breathing dragon."

This summer, during my week with Marj Lightle and Dori Dewberry, we looked at the work of Canadian landscape artist Tom Thompson in many books I have in my studio. Tom Thomson: The Silence and the Storm is a beautiful book, filled with photographs of Thomson's paintings, and is still available through Amazon and other booksellers. The Group of Seven and Tom Thomson is another great resource for works done by this pioneering group.

For the last year or so, the dazzling work of these artists has rolled around in my imagination. In the painting above, you see some of my thoughts turned into action. How will I divide the landscape shapes into interlocking and interesting pieces? What will happen if I lay color in with short, directional strokes?

Both Marj and Dori did paintings during their stay with me that showed these same influences. You can click here to see

Trying on ideas, each in our own way. Nodding to the masters of the past. Looking to create something of our own. It is all part of the process of art making.

Sort of like this video. Or, maybe not at all.