Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Art House Co-op sketches continued

The 'largest sweater ever' page...and the moving page..."I have moved about 26 times or more. A few times across the ocean, a few across the United States and a few around Nairobi." Two more pages done in my Art House Co-op sketchbook. I need to speed up my sketching and get focused...I have 22 pages left to fill!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

We Wear Armor

One of my paintings at Dandelion Communitea Cafe was adopted (sold) and it won't be hanging much longer. I  didn't include it in my last post of the paintings from the show, so here it is now. It's 9.5x27.5", India ink and gloss gel medium varnish on paper on recycled wood panel. It's called "We Wear Armor" and the story is: "Sometimes armor is needed in the wilderness of life." Thank you to everyone who came by to see the art, there are two other great artists showing as well...Maisy May Mars and Brendan O'Connor.

If you get a chance, also stop by one of my favorite artist's show at Stardust. Jessica Early has an amazing art show up there. Extremely beautiful and inspiring. I am adopting one of her paintings that I adore. It's called "Something New Is Being Born Into Me, And I Yield To It".

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Another page in my Art House Co-Op sketchbook

"I grew up thinking that all skies were like this. It was as if the weight of the East African sky had flattened the tops of the Acacia trees--encompassing everything and connecting the Universe together."

This is another page from my Art House Co-op sketchbook titled "Forever in a Nutshell." It has become stories from my life, my forever so far.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Paintings at Dandelion Communitea Cafe

Where the Eagle Landed 42x26" Water soluble oil on canvas
To Be Inspired 26x34" Water soluble oil on canvas

Suddenly he appeared and very loudly said, "Let me tell you a story." 30x40" Water  soluble oil on canvas

Unity Tree 16x20" Acrylic on canvas

"You Can't Buy the Moon." 22x28" Water soluble oil on canvas
Floating Rhythms 30x30" Water soluble oil on canvas
In My Dream 7x26" Acrylic on paper on wood panel

These paintings are currently up at Dandelion Communitea Cafe. They all have little stories attached to them that you can read if you go there. Also, I have some new India ink paintings for sale in my Etsy shop.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Back to India ink

After getting very distracted by my water soluble oil paintings, I have finally returned to my India ink paintings. I worked enough hours in a row to sufficiently sink into the mindset of where I needed to be. It's frustrating being away from an art project a while because it takes me a while to settle back down into the mental and emotional state of the paintings. Particularly if I am switching back to a different medium. I am happy about where these are going, and one of them is actually finished (possibly two but I haven't decided yet), apart from varnishing and finishing off the back.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

See the new paintings in person...

Join us for stories, paintings and paintings about stories. Brendan O'Connor, Maisy May Marrs and I will have work at the Dandelion Communitea Cafe next Wednesday, December 7th from 7-10pm. It's going to be fun, great food, live music by Matthew Mendel and lots of art.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

First pages of my Art House Co-op sketchbook

I have begun my Art House Co-op sketchbook. It has turned into a sort of sketchbook/journal. So far it's a lot of fun. I will have messages to some of my friends on different pages. Since the sketchbooks will be travelling around to different cities, I am hoping they will get to read the messages first hand. I don't want to ruin the surprise though, so I am not going to post the messages here. I will say, however that the last image is of the moon rising over the Indian Ocean.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I just started my arthouse co-op 2012 sketchbook. I will be updating images from the sketchbook as I go along, but I am excited about the beginning cover.  Painted gesso on the cover, then used India ink for the writing and finally created an ink transfer using gloss gel medium varnish (one of my favorite mediums). It's difficult to see in the photo, but I love the contrast of the matte rough cover, and the shiny slick ink transfer.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011


The story man is finished. What would be interesting is for people to write down what story they heard him tell, and then send it to me. I know he tells a different story to each person he encounters.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Suddenly he appeared, and very loudly said, "Let me tell you a story."

I found another painting to paint over. I painted for a long time until a sort of a man showed up on the canvas. I could almost hear him talking. This is layer one, with two detail pics. The canvas is 30"x40" and it is painted with water soluble oils.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Finished India Ink Paintings

I finally finished this batch of paintings. They are all India ink on gessoed wood panels 5"x7". The top one is called "If I Could Give You the Sky", followed by "Weightless and Grounded", then "Let's Live in Tree Houses". The last painting is called "The Moment Just Before" and I included a few images of it's layered progression. Enjoy! They will be available for adoption soon.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Destination Journal again...

I have missed a lot of Destination Journal sessions, which are a wonderful few hours where I purposefully work in my art journal. I have been going to Destination Journal sessions off and on for about four years now. Dina Mack, a wonderful mixed media artist, leads a group of us with inspiration and journaling techniques. She is the person who gave me my journal book, which is an atlas book of maps. I love maps for all sorts of reasons, and they are the backdrop for my journal entries. Each time we meet for DJ it's at a different place. This time we were planning to go to Leu Gardens, but because of the rain we relocated to Stardust. Sometimes I bring bits of things from my life...papers or tickets or napkins...to create a journal page with, but this time I used a bit of Dina's shimmery ink and some of Summer's gold tape to create a view of the environment, with the colored lanterns strung across the ceiling, along with some scribbled thoughts.
The image of the airplane is from a few years ago...just another example of how I like to experiment in my journal. Every year my journal gets bigger as I add things to it...it has several pockets in it as well, and I ripped out the spine a while ago to accommodate everything I want to put in it. I think I will start documenting how thick it is every year...looks to be about four inches this year.
I highly recommend Dina's Destination Journal sessions, they are always a lot of fun and we all share materials and techniques.

p.s. more India ink painting photos soon :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011


I worked back into the eagle painting finally bringing it to a conclusion. I think I have managed to stop at a point where the painting retains the energy and feeling of freedom both in composition and in brush stroke. This is a painting I am happy to look at. And now to play around in India ink...

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Layer 2 and 2.5

Finished the second layer of ink on these four paintings today. One of them (with the purple circle) just didn't look right, and I discovered it was a proportion issue. So, I sanded off some of it and then gessoed over it. I really like how it looks now...just with the gesso and some of the texture coming through. I am tempted to leave it super minimalist...but, I am driven to see this image in real life. It was burned in my mind so vividly, now I have to paint it in reality. One of the paintings, the one with the larger leaves, might be finished already. Sometimes I feel that a painting needs more and more layers until it is done. But, other times if I keep painting past a point I lose the essence of it's beauty in the moment.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

And Again

I have returned to my India ink. I am still working in water soluble oil, but there is something exploratory about ink that I just don't get in oil. I also enjoy working several pieces at once in small scale. The small works are more intimate, but there is still a lot that can go into them. This is layer one of these four pieces. I hope they all take me on a long adventure from where they begin.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Where the Eagle Landed

Instead of painting over an old painting for this one, I found an old piece of unused canvas and stretched it onto an old stretcher frame. I am having the time of my life painting broad messy strokes...like my ink paintings only blown up in size. I took some advice I got recently at an art critique as well, and painted some with a palette knife as well as an old toothbrush. This is the first layer, but I am very excited about it. I felt like this one started painting itself, and that hasn't happened in a long time.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Watching Paint Dry

Oh the wonderful feeling of new possibilities! My first batch of 5x7" wood panels are drying their second coat of gesso this second. I am going back to the lovely world of  layering India ink on gessoed wood panels. My oil paintings will still be happening, but I have a feeling that having several paintings going at once will  be more interesting.

And now, to check if my paint is dry yet...

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Internal Landscapes

So, I have finally finished the cave painting. It's still so strange to me how mediums sometimes dictate how you paint, as well as the history of how you painted in that particular medium. Somehow when I painted this I kept reverting back to the way I used to paint with oil...very serious and very subtle colors. Once I figured out I was doing that though, I was able to continue and paint with all of the bright colors that I love now.

The original painting that I painted over was an internal landscape...I painted what I felt and it became a place. I have been thinking about internal, as well as emotional landscapes for a while now...and that is what this painting has become. I think of caves as places of safety and reflection, but there is also a vast open space full of energy and living growing things.

I have included two other images of my palette. I love the ritual of scraping old paint off the palette and starting over again. I am also about to re-stretch a couple of old paintings onto stretcher bars and begin new paintings. I am finding that the more old paintings I paint over the more liberated I feel in creating. Plus, I am recycling, which makes me feel like I am at least not destroying lots of new material resources.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

A New Cave

I have been looking at my painting for a while now, and just couldn't bring myself back to the painting. I finally figured out that I didn't enjoy looking at it. I had to ask myself, if  I don't enjoy looking at my painting, why would I ask anyone else to? Don't get me wrong, I am not painting only for an audience, but I am aware that I have a desire to share my expressions.
So, I repainted the cave into a space I wouldn't mind going in to. And now that I can look at it again, I will be able to come back to it and continue painting.
It's strange to me the way different mediums inspire different ways of working. I haven't figured out how to capture the immediate emotional intimacy in oil that I have done in India Ink. India Ink inspires a light and hopeful raw expression from me. Oil seems to create a heavy, tedious tendency to bring up every serious thing to the surface. If I could somehow merge these two things together, I might have something.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Trading Art with Ralph

I am so excited, I just traded art with Ralph Giunta. He is an amazing prolific photographer who documents his life through the lens. I traded him my "Two Joyful People" for his "Welcome Home".  Definitely check out his work, and click the link to see the work he traded. I love the photo he traded for so many reasons. Of course there is the obvious brilliantly balanced composition and fantastic contrast...but my favorite part is the path that disappears around the corner. Every time I look at it I think about something great happening just around the corner. It's a peaceful space to occupy even without going around the corner, but that just adds to it and becomes three dimensional in more than one way.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Other Painting

I started this painting weeks ago, but have only managed to come back to it recently. This is my second attempt to paint over an old painting from a long time ago. So far, more of the old painting is incorporating itself into the new painting than in the first painting I painted over. But I am only on the second layer, so who knows what could happen. I have been thinking a lot about inner spaces, and will elaborate on that more later. For now, here are my first two layers of paint on the old painting.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Giving you a moment to view the inside of my mind

Because so many people have asked me about the meaning of this painting, I have decided to allow you a moment to view the inside of my mind. The painting I am discussing is the deer painting from my last post. I usually talk about what my paintings are about on here, and I didn't do it with the deer painting. The main purpose for this painting at the beginning was to conquer my fear of painting over an old painting that I have had for a long time. To just paint, and be willing to paint whatever came up to the surface. The things that came to the surface of this painting were products of real things that recently happened as well as books I had been reading and subjects I had been going around and around in my mind. I don't want to get into everything, because some of the subjects I am still thinking about and still planning to work into future paintings.

The deer painting contains the subject of a real deer who had tried, and succeeded in getting into our edible garden for at least a month. We had tried several things to keep the deer out, but he kept getting in. The trees on the bottom of the painting are Moringa trees which we planted more and more of along the fence and grow fast and will one day become a living fence, thus keeping the deer out. We have since added a top part to the fence and the deer no longer visits the garden. So, that is a literal aspect of the painting. But, at the same time I was influenced by these books I was reading about human behavior in prehistoric times, along with images of these caves in Cave of Forgotten Dreams .

None of that was an intentional conscious inclusion, but all of these images surfaced from my mind because they had been circling there and creating a life of their own. There is also, always I think, an inner conflict between old natural ways of doing things---organically aligned with everything on the planet, and the current destructive way that we live now—driving cars, building structures that do not contribute to the smooth natural flow of the ecosystem that has existed for so long. So, the under painting managed to squeeze itself into the new painting because it was the modern and the ancient battling behind the deer. I don't often bring all of the background of things I think and struggle with in my paintings, because I think it's easier to present one theme or one idea. Sometimes there is only one theme or idea, but usually there are things that went into the painting or are associated with it that I don't feel are necessary to explain. They have been transferred energetically into the painting, and give it a weight that it otherwise wouldn't have, but they don't need to be spelled out. I also don't want to overwhelm the viewer with too much of my own mind. Like always, I feel that the viewer brings their half of perspective and associations to the painting, and that is what completes it. The viewer in a sense finishes the painting by bringing their own personal meaning into it.  

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


The deer painting is now finished. The last few things I did to it are very subtle, but they are enough to make me feel that it is complete. I love the feeling of accomplishment when I finish a painting, especially if I have been working on it a while. After it's finished though I also feel slightly empty, and there is only one cure for that. Start another painting! I found another old canvas to paint over and will be starting that soon.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Second layer Deer painting

Day two, continuing with the deer painting. All still water soluble oil paints on canvas. 16x20". I like that water soluble oil can be mixed with water and water soluble linseed oil so I can get that messy drip line. The contrast between controlled shape and placement with haphazard brushstrokes and textures is something I am trying to keep. It's so easy to accidentally paint out the interesting textures by reworking a surface smooth.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

New and Brave

I am still working on my cloud painting, but while I am in between layers I thought I would start a new one This time I am painting over an old already complete painting. I have lots of old oil paintings which I have held onto for years, including ones I don't really love. I always meant to paint over them but somehow never had the guts. I have to say, though, I should have done it ages ago. It's such a liberating feeling. Plus I find it an interesting contrast between my old style and color palette to my newer stuff. It doesn't seem an extreme bravery to paint over something, but I think sometimes it really is. Letting go of the past and diving into some unknown that could be much better or much worse than what you started with. Let's hope it turns out to be much better.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

                                                       layer 2
                                            layer 3
                                              layer 4

I have decided to keep evolving this painting for a while. It has gone through some dramatic changes since I began. I just started adding the clouds, and I am not sure if I am finished adding them or not. The main thing I am focusing on is color and just the act of painting itself. After spending so much time painting small ink paintings, I am enjoying the larger scale and the oils.