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Updated 3/29/12

The Daily Paintings and Postcard-Sized Sketches in Oils and Acrylics

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1 For today's visual imagery, I bring to you an older image that hasn't been on the web site for a LONG time.  It's a nice enough painting with the brushwork, but rather bland in color usage.  What I have planned for April 2 is to take this and repaint much of it with a much better usage of color dynamics.  No foolin' !!
  So enjoy this ancient piece and know that you'll see it again with it's new "color jacket" tomorrow.
2

Today was supposed to be the revised painting I showed you yesterday, but the only time I lifted my brushes today was to paint my beloved mother in her hospital bed.  I just returned home from spending all of today into the evening staying with her and authorizing comfort care.  She's 98, had fallen, and has pneumonia and a fever.  Why did I paint her? I painted her because I could do no less.  It brings out from deep inside me the feelings I have for this remarkable woman, and allows me to really see her--etch her nuances forever fin my mind in these final days.  It gives me something productive to do when one feels so helpless to change the course of things.  I had my plein air gear and just set up next to her and did this little 5 x 7 canvas in oils.  It's a very poor image, taken in almost twilight.  I'll get a better one tomorrow.  I may do another one when I get to the hospital again.  These paintigns are not for sale.

3

   "The Orange Jug" I did make a window of time today to work on the 16 x 12 still life I showed you two days ago. Here it is newly modifed and "improved".
No longer bland, it has better light, better values and better color. Sometimes putting a work aside for a year or two can make a major difference in the end product. You just get smarter. Smarter about what to do to make a painting go from "ho-hum" to "ho-Whoa"!
My choices were to contrast the background with the flowers
and to lighten the values in the vase and foreground cloth. I wanted to consciously stick to the complementary blue/orange scheme, though. The end result is far more intimate than that "other thing".

into the collection of Jean Thomas of Placentia, California

4

"Sunset in Oahu" After coming home from dealing with hospice and details currently filling every waking moment, I wanted to just chuck it all and go to sleep.  But I cannot.  I need to excise a little beauty from the events unfolding around me, and so I spent a goodly amount of time choosing an appropriate subject for today's painting.  It is a sunset, painted with evening light colors, and is of the waters of my mom's beloved Oahu, where, in 1935, she came and began a stay of 12 years, meeting and marrying my dad, and also getting a private pilot's license.  
  It is appropriate as an end-of-day image, filled with the beauty of all of the intervening hours, and the beauty created in part because of the earlier formation of clouds and moisture--like the events that create a full life, creating also a beauty to the finish.     5 x 7 inches on gallery wrap in oil, to Leslie Gerhardt of Anaheim, California.

5

"Mom, Resting"
I spent my day caring for my mom, and as you can expect, brought my brushes. I did this 8 x 10 oil while she was resting. When I look at it, I see so much more in the painting than it's just being a painting. I see technical certainty from miles of canvas, I see good design. But I also see a complete infusion of me, the artist, in the work. Along with that, I also see the reason for the work, the merit of the subject, and what I have been trying to do for many years--connect the work to the world at large and capture a specific moment of living--of life.
"Mom, Resting" will
never be for sale.

6

"Spring Runoff" A painting of movement, yet with the stoic and solid large rocks holding on throughout the torrent. Spring runoff water comes down the creek, washing the winter away, and leaving the stones clean and in place, as the water is transitory, like events in our lives. Original oil on 5 x 7 board.

in the collection of Debre Demers of Brooklyn.

7

"Madeleine Thomas, January 1, 1908 - April 8, 2006" When one chooses to remember a loved one, it ought not be the image of the last moments spent with them, their physical frame hardly recognizable as the specter of death approaches.  Better to remember the light in their eyes, imagery of earlier times, and more.  My vigil continues with my mother, and I brought my brushes again.  Concentrating on the image of my mother as a younger, vital woman distracts me from the reality of the shell of the person I love beside me.  I'm sending this from her room, as I am staying the night, since her time is near.  I do these paintings because I love her, and I need to be here to lift her spirit to the next life.
  This amazing woman got her private pilot's license while living in Hawaii in the late 1930's, and was there for the bombing of Pearl Harbor, too.  I chose a black and white photograph of her in the flying cap and goggles, as I know her spirit will be soaring again soon, to meet up with my father who left eight years ago after 57 years of marriage.  
  Here on Earth I will have her sparkle and smile in this painting forever.  Original oil on board, 12 x 9 inches.  
Not for sale.

8

About three hours after I sent all of you yesterday's portrait of my mother in her pilot's cap, she passed away. I was with her when her heart slowed and stopped. I will miss her so. 
  Today's painting is an on-location study of a creek near our home, and the babbling water was restful and a good escape from accepting what's happened.  I'll freely admit I'm in the first stage of grief, which is denial (For example, "Oh, here's my Mom's watch in my purse, I'll have to give it back to her.") 
  So I met my beloved husband at this stream, and while he napped, I painted this 8 x 10 oil.  It may not be the most spectacular work I've ever done, since I'm so exhausted, but it eases my eyes.    Now I'm going to sleep, for I only had about an hour last night.

to my dear friend Betty Billups of Priest River, Idaho, who gave it back to me, saying "You'll need this painting later on."

9

"Flowers from David and Suzanne" When we came back to our gate this afternoon, there was a bouquet of beautiful mixed flowers waiting by our lightpost, with a card from dear friends, artists with both guitar and brush. Their kindness and my daily painting come together with selections from the bouquet. The roses lie here horizontally, more appropriately representing the passage of a life. Yet their beauty reminds me of the strength of friendships. A huge amount of paint on this 8 x 10 oil, as I used both palette knife and brush to paint these messages of love and friendship.

10

"Quick Study--Foot" Take a limited palette (white, cad red light, alizarin, ultramarine blue and yellow ochre) and do some quick studies of your own anatomy. Great savings on model fees! All you need is a mirror and yourself--and a spot warm enough to keep you from seeing goosebumps. Makes you think, makes you see, and for me, makes me realize that I am starting from the ground up--"On a new footing". Sometimes the simplist images convey the most poignant message. Original oil on unstretched canvas, 9 x 6 inches. Oops, forgot to sign it. Ah, well, too tired tonight, and besides, it's just a sketch.

11

Today my siblings and I removed all of Mom's things from her assisted living apartment, and it was wonderful and yet sad. do you know I saw my sister and brother with new eyes?--seeing how much each reminds me of either Mom or Dad, and enjoying their company knowing that in being with them, I am also enjoying many of the characteristics reminding me of my folks. Mom's wit, Dad's dry humor and so much more. We are beginning to plan the trip that will provide closure for us--to take their ashes to their beloved Hawaii.
So today's painting points my "foot" in new directions. Kinetically posed, ready to step off, it is a study of light and dark and flesh tones on a mirrored image, backlit. About 6 x 8 inches, on un-stretched canvas. Moving onward.
And new directions it is! Tomorrow I go to San Diego's Balboa Park to the museums for my Art Appreciation online students (who are not aware of all that's gone on), and see more of the continuity of human art-making at the Timken and San Diego Museums of Art. Then I start the new commissions that are awaiting my brush--1) Wolfy, a German Shepherd, 2) a landscape of the Santa Rosa Plateau for a most patient collector, and 3) a still life for the San Diego County Fair Educational Pavilion, due May 1. So for my 100th painting of the year, new directions is most appropriate!
Life (and living it fully) is grand.

12

Ever get a spring cold?  I've got one now, and it's slowed me down a bit.  Couldn't get the commissions finished, so I gently lifted out a lovely tulip from a bouquet and put it in this bud vase.  Of course I went to Balboa Park today, and walked through the botanical gardens--perhaps that's why this tulip whispered, "Paint me tonight".  In any case, I hope you'll enjoy the intensity of color against many different grays, showing that, to make a painting sing, contrast is one good way to do it.  
Original oil, 7 x 5 inches on gallery-wrap (no framing needed).  $100

13

"Wolfy" A commissioned 16 x 20 painting, Wolfy was a challenge for me, as the source material was an assemblage of indoor photographs, outdoor sunshine and flash photography. Whew. Solving a lot of those problems occurs when you put the dog in a formal background, and having looked thousands of times at dogs in general. Wolfy's owner came to me after seeing the other dog and cat portraits on my site. Original Oil.

to collector Frederick Cabanes of Irvine, California

14

"Easter Lily" On Wednesday, when I went to the San Diego Museum of Art, I saw three original Georgia O'Keeffe paintings. Her detailed brushmarks were a powerful message for the abstracted florals on the wall. Since Easter is Sunday, and since I have one of my commissions out of the way, I thought I would detour into this lovely blossom from one of the bouquets. Original 6 x 6 inch oil. $100

15

"Another Lily" In the United States, citizens are looking at today as the day to pay taxes.  And I recalled line about the "pound of flesh"  (was that Shakespeare?) and renovated a life study I had.  I love the pensive look of this lady, and also the loose brushwork.  This study probably was from a 15 minute pose, as that was the length of these studies.  I highly recommend taking a life drawing or life painting course, as this kind of disciplined finish-it-now regimen will prepare you to capture the essence of whatever you need to paint in the future.  This is an oil study (I cropped out my signature for better design) of a model named "Lily" 14 x 11 and it was done with thin layers underneath before the thick lights were laid on in the second pass.
  I wish more of my work would get like this.  But it seems to work best for quick studies only.  Tomorrow I have another commission to do.

16

"Shallots" Today's bigger commission painting isn't falling off the brushes with the ease I'm used to, so I detoured into another nicely colored image of those boiling onions, or shallots, or cream onions--regaional names for the one-inch-sized onions you can buy at the store for a myriad of recipes. this is an original acrylic, on gallery wrap, and is 4 x 6 inches. I like the positioning of the three onions. Nothing casual about the story there. $100

17

"Still Life, Commission" I finally finished the commission for the Del Mar Fair Art Education Presentation. I was selected to do the still life that all the artists are doing, but mine is in acrylics. These 20 x 16 canvases will be collected and framed and shown together to show the public how artists approach the same subject and end up with unique personal visions from the same starting point. Not for sale--being donated to the Del Mar Fair Arts Committee. Here's the source image:

18

"Rolling Along - Sea Otter" Cleaning the studio today, I came across some images I'd taken when I was up on the ocean in Monterey Bay. The sea otters are tame enough to get some good imagery. This fellow is floating on his back, washing his face, in the relatively clear waters of the Pacific. I like the design of this acrylic 5 x 7 piece, as the lights and colors work so well. Yes, the roofers are still here, but at least they finished the studio today.

$100

19

"Patch of Sunshine" Today has been the day of cats. I spent most of it painting ceilings (Michaelangelo? I don't think so!) while the roofers finished up outside. It is slow work, but gives great satisfaction. Rollers and plastic drop cloths... thus the connection to the cats, and today's painting. Pesto, the young calico (half sweet and half nuts, like a Hershey bar) has decided that plastic makes great noise and pouncing onto it is great fun. Those shenanigans annoyed the heck out of the painting process to the point where I had to finally shut her out of the room, much to her consternation. Very vocal, that one. Listening to a Brother Cadfael audio mystery, I had the volume up loud.
I'm painting the ceilings white, and I have paint spatters from here to tomorrow afternoon on my hands and arms. So today's painting is a white cat, perhaps the result of falling in the paint bucket?

This is a 5 x 7 acrylic.

to Johanna Howard of Lake Elsinore, California.

20

"Io Valley, On Location" Several years ago, my husband and I went to Maui and Oahu for a vacation and conference. I spent a lot of time painting on location while there, and enjoyed what my parents experienced in their beautiful Hawaii. As we plan the memorial and honoring their wishes to have their ashes co-mingled and spread off Diamond Head, I thought that revisiting one of those balmy days would be appropriate. I'm looking forward to the trip, as I will again get to paint on location. I hope to do some plein air with Roger Whitlock, who lives there, as we've painted together several enjoyable times. Original oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches.

Not for sale

21

"Hustle (Del Mar)" There are breakthroughs in painting, we all know exactly when they happen. This painting represents a breakthrough for me, with groundwork laid on yesterday's figurative piece. What's the breakthrough? Utter freedom! Piles of paint, the essence of the subject, no worrying about details, more shapes and color fields. This painting was pure fun. I am looking forward to tomorrow's, too! Original oil on canvas, 9 x 12 inches. US $ 300

22

"Earth Day Light" What better for Earth Day than a celebration of light uplifting the soul on a glorious morning? this is a 5 x 7, and came off my acrlyic palette for several reasons: 1) I'm an optimist and know things are going to be OK, 2) it is wonderful to be alive and enjoy such sunrises, regardless of not sleeping great, and 3) I'm looking forward to another commission (Fritz) and a major show next weekend. So life is good, and you and I can bask in the sunbeams. Original acrylic on canvas, 7 x 5 inches.

$100

23

"A Rose is A Rose" Out to the garden after a wonderful dinner with my sister and brother and spouses, brother is a gourmet cook and does amazing things with food.  So the plans move forward on Mom's memorial, and we enjoyed a wonderful, laughter-filled evening.  Earlier today I had noticed one of my beloved Grenada roses coming into bud, and so when we returned home, I cut it and have painted it for you on this 6 x 4 oil.  Interesting, in painting it, I wanted to really push the paint and put a lot more paint on the surface, but I haven't broken through to that level yet.  I will, though.  
  As artists, we are constantly (ought to be anyway) testing our limits of expression.  We ought never to paint the same thing twice.  I look at work I did years ago, and see tremendous growth and change (sometimes, "Egad, did I really paint that...um... ulp!").  The more you create, the more depth can get into your work.  Even when I lift brushes this late at night, I never forget that each work is a stepping stone to new ways to express my vision.

$100

24

"Fritz" I had the pleasure of meeting Fritz in his later years, the dog of a long-time friend. Fritz is gone now, having done his service in raising a young boy and taking care of his family. This commission is an opportunity to bring his spirit back for a small moment to light up the dark place of sadness we all have when we lose one of these very special animals. Fritz' portrait is a 12 x 9 commission, and will be delivered to the Bay Area in a couple of weeks.

to repeat collector Barbara Barton in San Francisco

Commission, will yours be next?

Comment from Collector: "I just saw Fritz & can hardly type because I'm crying. You did a wonderful job in capturing him & the setting is perfect. Michael is going to love it. Thank you so much!"

25

"Lost Child" I got a call a few weeks ago from an arts organizer saying there was one of my paintings still hanging and would I like to come get it? I did, and discovered this gem--well, it wasn't a gem 'til I got it back in the studio and tweaked it after not seeing it for...um... five years (!). This is one of my Greek boat series, and one of the few I still have--perhaps because it was a "lost child" for so many years. The color in a Greek island wharf is something. All the houses are white, so the boats carry the color. Original oil, 14 x 18, found again. US $425 to give it a permanent home.

26

"Hart Park (from my camper window)" What a long day! Pulling the trailer to Hart Park, with 55 boxes for the show in it, unloading and organizing the panels and unpacking the boxes. Whew. I'm parked beside the hall for the duration of the show, in my camper. Tonight, after chasing everyone out and locking the gate, I have the whole place to myself until tomorrow morning. William S. Hart Park is beautiful, rugged and with the recent rains, very lush. The evening sun just came through to light the grass before clouds chased the scene into twilight. Original oil, 9 x 12. US $225

27

"Suzanne at Hart Park" I mentioned that I had received flowers right after my mother passed away, and they were from Suzanne and David. I have always wanted to paint her, and today I had the opportunity, as she was in attendance at our Women Artists of the West and always a cheerful and funny lady. I never knew she was so fidgety until I needed to capture her in one pose! It's going to be given to David when he comes to the Park Saturday to play guitar with the Lost Canyon Rangers. I think he'll be surprised. As for me, it is pure pleasure to paint another nice painting from life. Original oil, 12 x 9.

and in the colleciton of Dave and Suzanne Fergeson of Simi Valley, California.

28

"Last Light" Sitting an art show is NOT my favorite thing. I would rather be doing something, and so of course, I paint. This little oil is completely out of my head (some of my collectors agree--she's out of her head) and is exercise in capturing the evening light of a sunset. Fun. I've already started tomorrow's painting--my husband! Original oil, 7 x 5. $100

29 "Aikido en Esposo" My beloved husband, finally painted in a way he appreciates and with my assuredness that I won't botch it up, he appears in the traditional dress of the Akido man in balance. I will need to add the Japanese characters to the upper left, when I receive them (I'm here, he is there, and I don't have them here.) Original oil, 20 x 10. In the collection of the artist.

30 "Badlands Brush" There are areas near Redlands and San Bernardino that are called "The Badlands" because of the incredibly steep terrain. Covered in grasses, scrub oak and brush, these remote areas have a beauty all their own. Original oil, 12 x 9. $200