Wednesday, November 3, 2010

True Grit

Certain things take courage.  Not as much courage as living in a fallen cave for 2 months, or being a firefighter.  A different kind of courage.  The kind I'm talking about is pulling up plants that are still alive, with tomatoes on them, but really have gone beyond their time in the garden.  In California we have 4 full growing seasons and although I still have some tomato plants left in the ground with their fruit on them, I know over the next weekend, despite the unusual heat, they will need to come out.  It would be easier if I knew what I was going to plant in their places, but the sun is low in the sky so whatever I put in will be a root vegetable of some sort.  And right now, I have no idea what I may plant.  And this is the great challenge of pulling out plants that are green and healthy, but past their prime.  It's like cutting short potential.  I think most gardeners face this gritty problem.  Our inclination is to nurture plants along.  We water and fertilize, compost and pick off snails, and do all the things a gardener does to encourage growth.  The fruition for this results in an abundant harvest.  Or at least that is the faith we start with when we plant.  But as much as it pains me, I will have to pull out the remaining tomato plants, eat the red ones and keep the green ones on the counter to ripen on their own, and know that the process of  gardening does require a season for everything.  I will have to be comfortable in that and then remember that gardens are a fully renewable resource.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Artistic License: Order from Chaos

Artistic License: Order from Chaos: "Flylady ( says that you can't organize clutter. You have to get rid of it. She's right. And last weekend it was t..."

Order from Chaos

Flylady ( says that you can't organize clutter.  You have to get rid of it.  She's right.  And last weekend it was time to clear some of the clutter in my studio.  I don't know about you, but there are times I really want to work but the amount of visual noise surrounding me snuffs out any creativity that may be lurking.  Even if the idea is close to the surface the stuff just drowns out any chance to get it out.  So I cleaned and organized and threw out.  I found that I have an amazing assortment of papers that will accept all kinds of mediums, a really excellent group of images, both mine and from others, to study and play with, a lot of information on anatomy in addition to the books on that subject which is already in my library, notes from classes and workshops, old work which looks pretty good, and probably a bit too much furniture.  I'm not ready to move the furniture, but everything else got filed and placed in their places.  And then the most amazing things happened.  Some girlfriends came for a visit and one of them told me about a technique she uses using watercolour and permanent inks.  And because I had cleaned up, I knew exactly where to find paper that would be perfect for that kind of project.  And then someone gave me old canvases that had been painted on but still perfectly good to repaint over and I have the space for that too.  And an old photograph of a potential painting that I had been trying to paint for a couple of years now and I'm probably cabable to do it now.  So here is the message.....While it may seem like it's procrastination and not very creative to clean, it opens up all kinds of possibilities.  So I'm off to explore the possibilites.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


Welcome to my blog.  I'll let you know what I'm working on, thinking about, and, from time to time, show you some of my process in getting a work to completion.  And maybe a recipe or two along the way.

So for this first post I want to show you a painting that I did over the weekend.  It's of pomogranates, which I hope you can tell. 

While in France, a friend of mine showed me a way to layer in colour quickly.  I spend a good amount of time glazing my paintings, especially my still lifes, so they have a luminous quality to them.  I usually use safflower oil to glaze with.  It's non-toxic, doesn't yellow, and is lovely and fluid.  But glazing takes time.  Each layer needs to dry before the next layer can be applied.    For the Pomogranate painting I used Windsor and Newton's Liquin to glaze with.  It dries super fast, keeps the colours pure and rich, and also doesn't yellow with time.  This was also painted on watercolour paper instead of linen or canvas.  I've painted on paper before.  It absorbs the oil from the paint quite fast and can not be fixed quite as easily as on a traditional surface.  But there are many instances where the old masters used paper and it is a convenient way to experiment while staying archival.  This piece is 6" x 12".  

To see more of my still life paintings  click on the link.