Sunday, December 13, 2015

Between Storms

Collage on painted matte board, 7 x 10 inches
Here are another couple collages I did in the last few weeks, both on previously painted matte board.  I do have a couple new paintings in process.

It must be in the air, because I was just led to another good article about healing the mother (or father) wound.  Here it is.

That "cold" I thought I've been suffering with for nearly four weeks is sinusitis.  I'm not sure yet whether it's acute or chronic, since it just came on recently...but four weeks seems to be the outer limit for acute cases.  Apparently sinusitis is a common result of allergies.  I never had allergies before I moved to Rose Cottage, but this place is so incredibly dusty that I'm not surprised that after living here for nearly seven years, I've now got chronic sinus problems.

The only thing bothering me is a sometimes-stuffy head and a sometimes-runny nose, both largely on the right side of my head.  No sore throat, no cough, no lung/bronchial congestion, little sneezing, no fever, no aches, and no sinus pain or headache.  I'm sure I don't have a sinus infection.  There's no cure for this, only symptom abatement.  This might be my new normal.

Collage on painted matte board, 8 x 8 inches
It's that time of year when the darkest days are upon us, always a clue for me to turn inward even more than normal.  Toward that end this will be my last blog post for 2015.  I have three minor have-tos over the next few weeks; otherwise I'll be in, hunkering down with BeeGee, painting, reading, taking care of myself, and not even unlocking the front door on days when I can get away with that.

I don't know yet what next year will hold for me.  I'll definitely continuing blogging, but may cut back on posts again.  We'll see what develops.

I wish you all a very happy, warm, cozy, peaceful holiday season and new year.

May you dwell in the open heart.
May you be free from suffering.
May you be awake in this moment, just as it is.
May the awakened heart be extended to all beings.


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

The Rainy Season

Well, it's looking like the rainy season is upon us now.  I don't know how the rest of the state is faring, but on the North Coast, it's wet and predicted to be for the next week at least.  (If you're in CA and/or merely interested in our weather outlook, check out CA Weather Blog.)

The winner of last week's giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to all of you who entered this past week as well as all the previous weeks' contests.  I'll be taking a break from giveaways until early in the spring.

These two images are ATCs that I made (read: cut up) from early acrylic paintings on watercolor paper.  I like them so much better as tiny pieces of art.

And now I've got a bunch of goodies to send to my mail art peeps.  I haven't mentioned mail art in eons...I'm still doing it and enjoying it.  And I have a couple new exchange pals.

As a follow up to my last post, another two good sport-related films I saw recently are 42, about Jackie Robinson, and The Damned United, about soccer (football) coach Brian Clough.  Both great movies.  The young actor who played Jackie Robinson in the former, also played James Brown in the biopic Get On Up, which I saw a couple years ago and really enjoyed.

I was in Eureka yesterday for my monthly trip.  It was surprisingly dead in town.  I'm just really glad I don't have to face Eureka again until after the holidays are over...because that's one crazy place.  I'm also mightily grateful that I don't live there any more.

I'm planning (hoping) to do another painting before my next post.  When it's rainy, though, about all I want to do is read.

Hope you have a good week.  Blessings to you all.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Stuff and Nonsense

Acrylics and paper on cradled panel, 11 x 14 inches
My latest collage painting is 11 x 14 inches on cradled panel.  The completely flat surface was a real challenge.  I purchased several of these panels a few months back, when I was doing a different style of painting, at a time when I wanted a really flat surface as well as a deeper finished painting than I could get on a 1/8-inch thick canvas panel.

However, the challenge was good for me.  I'll do the next painting in this series on another cradled panel.

That cold I mentioned 2 weeks ago:  I still have it.  It keeps coming and going.  On the days that I feel well, I have absolutely no symptoms.  On the days I feel not so well, my head is stuffed up horribly.  Meanwhile, I haven't had any sore throat, no fever or aches so I know this isn't a flu -- just a really stuffy head on some days but not on others.  Weird.
Acrylics and paper on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches

In case you didn't see it last Wednesday, this week's giveaway is a small painting on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday December 9 and I'll email the winner directly.  Don't hesitate to enter; your chances of winning are excellent (only two entrants so far since Wednesday).

I've seen a number of good films since my last movie report.  These were all from Netflix.

Muscle Shoals -- another excellent documentary about the mid-20th-century music business.
Annie Liebovitz: Life Through a Lens
Everlasting Moments -- Swedish film
Million Dollar Arm -- great sports-related film
The Hundred-Foot Journey
McFarland, USA -- another excellent sport-related film

I've never considered myself much of a sports fan -- but I find that I really love sports movies...because they're always good human interest stories that are about way more than just sports.  One of my fave movies sports or not is Bend It Like Beckham, which I've seen maybe half a dozen times.

I have had my sports-loving moments, though.  Like watching this year's Superbowl online (thank you NFL) so I could see The New England Patriots and Tom Brady win another Superbowl.   Although I don't regularly follow any team in any league and probably never will again.

Have a good week.  Thanks for reading! 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Blog Post Mind

Collage on matte board, 5 x 7 inches
Here are two small collages I completed during the past week.  The backgrounds were painted months and months ago.  I have a stack of UFO paintings and collages that I'm working my way through, addition to making new work.

Often, between blog posts, and usually while I'm trying to meditate, I'll have thoughts or ideas that I want to share here.  And then when I do post, I can't think of much to say.  So, no stories today.

The winner of last week's pen giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to those who entered.

Collage on matte board, 5 x 7 inches

This week's giveaway is a small painting on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches.  The giveaway painting is the last image below.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday December 9 and I'll email the winner directly.  Don't hesitate to enter; your chances of winning are excellent.

Acrylics and tissue paper on hardboard, 6 x 6 inches

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Feeling Mighty Grateful

Acrylics, magazine images, handmade paper on stretched canvas, 12x12"
It's Thanksgiving Eve here in the States, and I'm feeling especially grateful for all the goodness in my life...which includes all of you, dear readers.

This painting was on my studio table when it collapsed a couple weeks ago.  I finished it this week in addition to the one below.  This one is 12 x 12 inches, the lower one 6 x 6 inches.

The bird painting began, as many of my pieces do, as a substrate to catch all the leftover paint on my palette.  This strategy seems to work for me; I often like the results of these on-the-fly pieces better than the original paintings -- but not in this case.  I like these two equally.
Acrylics, magazine image, handmade paper on stretched canvas, 6x6"
And I'm loving the textures I'm creating lately.  A friend asked me recently what it is that informs my art, what am I trying to achieve or capture?  Her words were different, but this is how I interpreted the query.  I've thought about the question a lot and realized that what it is for me, is creating art with a wabi-sabi feel.  New work that looks old.

My friend's question was also about whether I have any particular plans for artmaking this winter.  My response is no, not entirely. I do want to keep painting in line with my recent work, which I'm enjoying creating in addition to loving the finished paintings.  In February, though, I'll be taking Jane Davies' 100 Drawings on Cheap Drawing Paper online class, which I'm looking forward to. 

In other news ~ I ran across a very beautiful, very poignant article this week about the mother wound, which most women in our culture have operating in their psyches to one degree or another...that very wound that I spent this past summer healing.  Here's the article -- highly recommended.

The winner of last week's giveaway has been notified; thanks to all who entered.

This week's giveaway is another -- the last -- set of Jinhao fountain pens, medium nib.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday December 2 and I'll email the winner directly.  Don't hesitate to enter; your chances of winning are excellent.

If you're in the U.S., I hope you have a lovely, peaceful, safe Thanksgiving.  And I wish the rest of you a lovely, peaceful and safe week.  Thank you all for reading.  Blessings to you.

Sunday, November 22, 2015


Acrylics and handmade paper on canvas panel, 8 x 8 inches
I had a big surprise on Friday morning, when a sweet young man knocked on my door and said he had a table for me -- the table that wasn't supposed to be here until next Tuesday!  How often does that happen?

So I'm all set up again in my newly-put-together studio.  I love this table -- it was a terrific investment, and it actually didn't cost very much.

The early arrival, though, did set my recovery from a small head cold back by a couple days.  I haven't been sick at all in three years, but this cold will be fully gone in a day or two.

Before I got sick early last week, I thought about going to a free community Thanksgiving dinner in Fortuna on Thanksgiving.  But have since decided against it.  Living as reclusively as I do, it's easy to forget that most people are sick with one thing or another half the time.  I typically spend Thanksgiving alone anyhow, so this year will be like previous Thanksgivings -- just another Thursday, albeit one on which to feel more grateful than usual perhaps. 

The little painting above was done close to a year ago.  Just a fun little thing with acrylics and handmade papers on a canvas panel.  

If you missed last Wednesday's post, I'm having a giveaway for a textile postcard.  Here's a link to that post.

See you Wednesday.  Peace and blessings.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Some Rain

We've finally had some rain over the past few days, thank goodness.  Not a lot, and certainly not enough, but hopefully it's a start.

This little piece, 6 x 6 inches on board, was what I created with the leftover gels and pastes on my palette when I got done with the other couple of pieces I painted a few weeks ago -- the ones which turned out horribly.  I like this one the best anyhow.  That black stuff is Liquitex Black Lava Gel.

The winner of last week's ATC giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.  Even if you didn't win this giveaway, keep entering.

This week's giveaway is a textile postcard, 4 x 6 inches.  I'll send it to the winner in an evelope so you can send it on yourself, or just keep it.  Just write on the back in permanent ink, and stick a first class 49-cent stamp on it for domestic mailing, or $1.20 for international mailing.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday November 25 and I'll email the winner directly.  Don't hesitate to enter; your chances of winning are excellent.

Have a good week.  Blessings.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

It's Always Something...

Acrylics, paper, pastels on stretched canvas, 10 x 10 inches
This is the third piece I did a couple weeks ago in a little series.  I like it the least of the three although it still engages me.  I did it on Hallowe'en; kind of looks like I might have.  The first piece is here, and second here.

My main studio table collapsed on Monday morning, for the second time in a few months, this time not to be fixed again.  I've got a real, workbench-type table on order and I'll take delivery on Tuesday, November 24.  So, no painting for a couple weeks.

I suppose it's part and parcel of my previously semi-nomadic lifestyle that such things as worktables and shelving units have frequently been jury-rigged, Rube Goldberg-type affairs.  Not too many steps above bricks-and-boards, like we all used in college. 

Such was my big worktable:  2 Black & Decker plastic (vinyl?) adjustable-height sawhorses, on which sat a 24x80" hollow-core door, on which sat a 36x84" piece of 1/2" plywood, on which sat my shelves, themselves constructed of plastic crates with 1x10" lengths of wood.  Well, the shelves will be the same in future, but they'll sit on a sturdy, heavy-duty, steel table with adjustable-height surface, the surface being 1-1/4" formica laminate, the table able to bear 1600 pounds.  This puppy isn't going to collapse.

I wouldn't mind having a real shelving unit on the other side of the room.  What's there now is a grid-panel unit I built out of flat grid panels and plastic connectors, 4- 14x14" cubes across and 3 down.  It's kinda wobbly, although it has its advantages.  It's actually just fine for now.  Maybe when I move I'll replace it; maybe not.  

Okay.  The winner of last week's 2-painting giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to those who entered.

This week's giveaway is a set of three ATC's (artist trading cards) that I made a while back.  These are 2-1/2 x 3-1/2" each.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday November 18 and I'll email the winner directly.  Don't hesitate to enter; your chances of winning are excellent.

Have a great week.  Blessings.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Busy Working

I'm online today for the first time since last Wednesday.  What a glorious three days I had with zero reliance on my computer.

This is a painting I completed on Friday.  Acrylics, papers, pencil on canvas, 12 x 12 inches.  Things really clicked with this one; I'm real happy with it.

I've also been fooling around with watercolors.  The piece below was done with watercolor pencils on canvas panel prepped with watercolor ground; 6 x 8 inches.

I've been collecting watercolor materials for eons, and thought I'd start messing around with them.  Some of the media I have goes back 25 years.  About time I used some of it, huh?

There's a giveaway in process now, winner to be drawn this coming Wednesday.  See this post if you'd like to enter.

Have a good week.  See you Wednesday.

Watercolor pencils on canvas panel prepped with watercolor ground, 6 x 8"

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Going in Circles

Acrylics on stretched canvas, 20 x 20 inches
This is a 20 x 20 inch piece I painted at least a month ago.  It might be finished but I'm not sure.  Part of me is uncomfortable with all that white space; part of me is beguiled by the painting and doesn't want to change anything.  So I guess I'm calling it done, for now.

In the past few months, since I began awakening, I've been making amends to people, mostly people I'm no longer friends with.  Humbly apologizing for my unkind, dysfunctional behaviors in the past.  Taking full responsibility for what went wrong -- because I can now see others' behaviors towards me as simply each person's best strategy for dealing with what I was dishing out. 

It is enormously freeing to do this, although it comes with a lot of pain, the pain associated with finally allowing myself to see just how misguided my actions were in the past, and feeling, viscerally, the impact of the harm done to others.  Painful, but the right thing to do. 

The winner of last week's pen giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to those who entered.

This week's giveaway is a duo of small circle paintings, 5-1/2 inches square, on watercolor paper.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday November 11 and I'll email the winner directly.

Have a good week.  Blessings.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Turning Over a New Leaf

Acrylics, pencil, handmade paper on stretched canvas, 10 x 10 inches
I actually have started painting again -- three pieces since my last post.  This here is one of them.

I'm challenging myself to do something every day, to at least work on a piece each day.  We'll see how long this lasts.

Once I break the ice, then I'm good to go, until I stop for one reason or another.

Once again the "heavy" rain we were supposed to get on the North Coast has all but fizzled out.  Of course the day's not over yet, so who knows.  But the last few forecasted rains have been more like the sky spitting for a few minutes.  There's still the El Nino prediction for BIG rains here from January through March or April.  Keeping my fingers crossed.

If you didn't see/read last Wednesday's post and you're a fountain pen geek, I'm having a giveaway.  Go here to enter.  Drawing this coming Wednesday.  xx

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Out of My Mind

Acrylics and stenciled papers on stretched canvas, 10 x 10 inches
This is a piece I did a couple weeks ago...and I haven't been inspired to paint since then.  Part of me wants to keep trying different things, and that's the part that tends to keep me from painting at all...because I frequently feel uninspired to do whatever's next.

The part of me writing this post at this moment says, "If you paint something you like (like this piece), then do more like it and see how things evolve over time."  Think I'll start listening to that voice.

The winner of last week's stamp giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.

This week's giveaway is another set of fountain pens.  These are both Jinhao pens from China, both medium nib.  They come with a converter, meaning you can use whatever ink you like.  If you're unsure by looking at it how to fill the converter with ink, refer to JetPens website for instructions (like the last pen giveaway winner did).

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday November 4 and I'll email the winner directly.  

Personally I prefer the Platinum Preppy (Japanese) pens.  They just work better for my hand.  Although I suppose you could now call me a fountain pen aficionado, the truth is, I'm more interested in having a lot of different ink colors to write with than having a lot of more-expensive pens to write with.  The Preppys, as well as the Jinhaos, are at the bottom of the line, price-wise.  I admit to having more than 20 Preppys now, and more in my cart at Jet.

In addition to JetPens, I've recently been turned on to Goulet Pens.  Goulet has several more brands of ink available, in unbelievably fantastic colors.  I'm building an order for inks there.  

Okay, the Out of My Mind part:  I've discovered that a HUGE part of Buddhist practice is getting in touch with one's body.  I never imagined that that would be the case, even as I flirted with Buddhism for years before actually beginning to practice.  Practice isn't about having "peak experiences," or becoming permanently "enlightened," or becoming a saint, or, or, or...  It's about experiencing reality, the sensation of our life at this very moment.  And those sensations are happening in our bodies.

All of us, though, us humans, spend the majority of our time in our heads, and not in functional thinking either...but in self-centered stories, melodrama, opinions, judgments, fantasy conversations and arguments, defensiveness, thoughts of retribution, etc., and ad nauseum.

How interesting is this -- when we say something like, "Are you out of your mind?!", we're typically referring to something that someone has concocted with their mind, something that sounds out of the ordinary, and we say that thing as though "being out of one's mind" is a bad thing.  In reality, to not be in one's mind, to be focusing on what's going on with one's body, is a good thing.  Although good and bad are judgments and that's not the point I'm trying to get across.  It's just interesting to me that what's really so is not what we've been led to believe.  Most of what we've been led to believe about life isn't true, actually.  We have to find out for ourselves.

I bring up this whole thing about practice being focused on the body because I, like the rest of us and especially like us women, was raised to hate my body and to not trust it.  It's been a very long road for me making peace with mine, and that's only happened in the last few years.  I suspect that one of the reasons it took me to long to get to Buddhist practice is because I wanted so badly to be "out of my body."  To transcend my body, which is what a lot of folks think Buddhism is about, although in reality it's just the opposite.

A lot of words...but it's good to talk now and then.  Have a great week.  Thanks for reading.  Blessings.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015


I was inspired late last week to make a set of two dozen greeting cards, with old photos, stampheads, and book text bits.  It was a blast.

And then on Monday I made a bunch of little graph paper notebooks using paint chips as covers.  Also fun.  The holidays are coming...
The winner of last week's 8x8 inch painting giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.

This week's giveaway is a pile of old postage stamps, about three-quarters of which are stampheads. To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday October 28 and I'll email the winner directly. 

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Growing Up

Paper collage on painted matte board, 8 x 8 inches
Now that I've shared with you what I spent my summer doing, and had and shared my big breakthroughs (the mother of all awakenings, in my case)...

I'm feeling like being quieter again, less wordy.  I am feeling a lot of joy now, and an aliveness that feels new to me.  An up-on-the-edge-of-my-seat-ness about making practice my life and working with everything that comes to pass, without judgment. 

However, I do have a lot of things to giveaway, so I'll continue doing weekly giveaways for the foreseeable future, whether or not I feel like talking.

The winner of last week's pen giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.  There'll be another pen giveaway in the next week or two.  A note about entering:  If something I'm offering appeals to you, please do enter.  Your chances of winning are excellent.  Not that many people have been entering.  I don't think I've ever won anything in anyone else's blog giveaway, but I suspect that's because so many people enter those -- like upwards of 200 or more.  You've got a really good chance here, so do enter.

This week's giveaway is a painted collage with handmade paper on an 8 x 8 inch canvas panel.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday October 21 and I'll email the winner directly.

Also -- if you're interested in a list of the best of the Buddhist-practice books I've been working with, email me for that.

Have a great week.  Blessings.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Other Matters

Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x16 inches
I have been painting, as my last posts have indicated despite my missives being few and far between for a while.

Spent a week or two a few weeks back previewing a variety of acrylic texture gels and pastes, for my own edification.  Most of what I created I subsequently didn't like -- in fact, I threw out two panels that were unrecoverable after slathering them with a number of different gels/pastes, following to the T one of Golden's demo videos.  Yucky mess.

This painting isn't any of that.  I did this a couple months ago.

Before I go any further, I want to welcome back a handful of readers who got dropped from my in-house email list way back in September 2014, when I switched email programs from Windows Mail (no longer existent) to Mozilla Thunderbird.  This only came to my attention last I manually added them again.  My apologies to those of you in this group.

The winner of last week's giveaway has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.

This week's giveaway is a fountain pen duo.  The one on the left is a Platinum Preppy from Japan, medium nib, that uses cartridges.  It comes with a couple extra cartridges.  The pen on the right is a Jinhao from China, and it has a converter so you can use any ink you want.  This one is also a medium nib.  Additional cartridges for the Preppy are available at JetPens.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday October 14 and I'll email the winner directly.

I haven't read any novels in the last couple months, but I've seen some cool stuff via Netflix or online.
  • Silk -- Brit legal drama from a couple years ago (I streamed it but it's also available at Netflix)
  • Gerhard Richter Painting -- documentary on Richter's life and painting
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • John Adams -- HBO miniseries
  • The Wrecking Crew -- documentary about studio musicians from the 50s, 60s & 70s
  • Patrik, age 1.5 -- heartwarming Swedish film
  • The Salvation -- Danish western in America

Have a good week.  Thanks for reading.  Blessings. 

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Fertile Ground

Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
As I mentioned in my last post, things are moving very quickly...

Once I grasped that I had become all those things I disliked about my mother, I soon realized that deep inside I've been hating myself for those very things for a very long time.

I've only recently opened my heart to myself -- to have a generous spirit, loving-kindness, and infinite compassion for my own suffering and pain.  It's true that once we open ourselves to our own pain, then we naturally open to others' pain, to the pain and suffering of the world. 

And thus my huge opening now, is that I have begun looking at my mother through eyes and heart of compassion and lovingkindness.  Overnight, she has transformed in my mind from "my god-damned mother," to "my poor mommy."  The reality is, everything that happened to me also happened to her.  She couldn't have been any different in raising me than she was, because she was also raised by a crazy person, she had no good role models, and she had no skills to deal with any of it.  She did the best she could. 

What really made me get serious about Buddhist practice, at the tail end of my first year of committed meditation practice, is this:  I could now see that since my mother had become mentally ill/emotionally unstable, and since my grandmother too had been "off" emotionally, I stood a very good chance of also becoming mentally ill if I didn't get a grip on my own unskillful personality characteristics.  Personality is what each of us devises as a coping mechanism to get through life.  What we put together for ourselves is based primarily on early family experience, and cultural conditioning.  All that stuff I didn't like about myself could possibly lead me into narcissistic and borderline personality disorders if I didn't wake up.  I could already see some of the symptoms presenting in my personality -- in my thinking, my speech, my behavior.

It occurred to me earlier this week:  What If my mother had had the slightest inkling that she was sinking into mental illness, but she knew she was powerless to do anything about it?  My heart just melted for her when I had that thought.  I am so sad that she was in so much pain inside for most of her life.  I'm healing my pain now, but I'm also healing hers.  I've made a vow to do this healing for both of us, and for the benefit of all beings who suffer.


The winner of the last giveaway (the two small paintings) has been notified.  Thanks to all who entered.

Here's another giveaway -- this pair of earrings made by me, hmmm...maybe 15 years ago.  Chinese turquoise, glass seed beads, gold-filled earwires.  The earrings are 2-1/4 inches from top of wire to bottom center bead.

To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday October 7 and I'll email the winner directly.

Good luck.  And as always, thanks for reading, thanks for being on this healing journey right along with me.

Sunday, September 20, 2015


Acrylics, handmade paper on stretched canvas, 12x12 inches
Things change...everyday.

I've come to a point in my seclusion where I feel almost too-cut off from the world.  You all are an online community for me, of kindred souls and spirits, art- or life-wise.  And I've been missing you.

So I'm here, today.  Over the years, so many of you have been supportive of me, my art, my personal growth -- especially the few of you I've "gotten to know" virtually.  I want to let you know what I've been up to.

I read one spiritual book in particular a few months ago, that really got me thinking about my life -- by which I mean the experience of being in my life, on the inside, way more than anything else.  And I made some interesting discoveries, essentially that who I was being in the outside world and how I imagined myself to be were two different entities.  My persona didn't match who I thought I was.

This in turn lead to more startling discoveries; like that basically I have/had become my mother.  All those too-numerous-to-mention hated-by-me characteristics of hers were now mine.  I was being her, in my life.  The way I've related to people, how I've related to everything that happens in life, my attitudes about life in general are/were not who I want to be anymore.

I've been blessed/cursed with the gene for honest self reflection, which means that being aware of my failings only makes them more difficult to embrace.  But I can't just shut my eyes to the truth, go forward in life continuing to act out a script that isn't who I am inside, and say, "Screw everybody and everything."  That's not what I want for the last third of the journey.

I've immersed myself in the past month in contemporary Buddhist materials.  I am so grateful that there are so many teachers out there now, of all Buddhist stripes, who are articulating the Buddha's teachings for modern ears.  I just recently decided to commit myself to The Path.

Meanwhile, things have been happening in my life lately, situations where I've gotten to see "my stuff" in action.  It's been eye-opening...and painful.  Most of the pain is in the suffering I experience inside my own head, as a result of what's happened.  THIS is one of the forms of suffering the Buddha refers to -- the stuff inside our heads, the stuff we do to ourselves in our neurosis.

The only way out is through.  In other words, the only way for me to become the person I want to be is by fully embracing how I am just now.  And this is where I am just now.  In this open place, this place of groundlessness and insecurity.  Not sure what's next.  But it's a beautiful day outside.

"Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -- I took the one less traveled by.  And that's made all the difference."

Thanks for reading, thanks for your interest.

And now, another giveaway!  This is a set of two 5-1/2 inch paintings on watercolor paper.  To enter the drawing, either leave me an email here, or include your email address in the body of your comment to this post.  I'll do a drawing on Wednesday September 30 and I'll email the winner directly.    

Acrylics on watercolor paper, 5-1/2 inches square


Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Hello!...and a Giveaway

Acrylics and handmade papers on stretched canvas, 12 x 12 inches
Just stopping by to say hi and to give something away.

Life's been good, and I'm truly enjoying being on retreat.  I plan to spend the rest of my life on retreat/in seclusion, actually.

But I don't want to drop the ball here, so I'll most likely just touch base with you all periodically rather than have regular weekly or semi-weekly posts.  That's my thinking at the moment, anyhow.

I do think about you guys.  Interestingly, I've had as many, if not more, regular daily page hits since my last post than when I was posting regularly!  Go figure.

Okay, the giveaway part ~ I have a copy of Kerr Grabowski's fantastic 2-disk DVD tutorial on Deconstructed Screen Printing.  I watched it twice, several years ago.  I no longer have dyes or silk screens, so it's time to pass the DVD along.

There are two ways you can enter:  One, leave me an email message HERE.  Or two, leave a comment on this post, below...but if you leave a comment, YOU MUST write your email address in the body of the comment

I'll select a winner next Wednesday, but I won't post it here.  I'll contact the winner directly ~ which is why you must leave me your email address, one way or the other listed above.  (If you're not hip to this yet, when you leave a comment to a post, in most cases the comments come to me without a valid return email address ~ which is why you MUST write your email in the body of the comment if you expect me to get back to you, like if you win.)

Over and out.  Have a wonderful early autumn!  xx

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Get Real

This is the painting project I mentioned last Wednesday.  Seven 6 x 6 inch hardboard panels honoring ROY G BIV.  They were finished off with gloss varnish, which is why there's glare on a few of them.

I'll be taking a break from blog posting for a while.  I'm going further into seclusion for the foreseeable future.  Will still be online two or three times a week, keeping in touch by email, reading others' blogs, etc.  But I want to stop talking here.

What suddenly realized that for much of your life there's been a wide gulf between the way you see yourself in the world and the way you really are, the way you actually show up? 

What discovered you aren't who you always thought you were?

Don't believe everything you think.

See you when I see you.  Ciao.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015


Acrylics on canvas panel, 9x12 inches
I created this piece a month or so ago, the last time I was focusing on neutral colors. 

We're having a heatwave on the North Coast.  It's already 79 degrees in Fortuna (up at the little airport near where I live) and it's not yet 10am.  Going for 89 today.  That's REALLY hot for here.  I've already got all the windows open and two fans set on high. 

I'm working on a painting project that's been on the back burner for a year.  Finally, on Monday, I jumped right into it.  Will post on Sunday.

My intention is to paint more.  Because why not?  What am I waiting for?  Metaphor for life, of course.

But today I'm having myself a "theater party," watching Malcolm X on DVD.  When I requested it from Netflix, I had no idea (read: didn't remember) that it runs over three hours.  I plan to sit in the cool dark and watch it today.

Just saw a hawk fly by overhead.  One of my neighbors is quite the birder and has been pointing out just how many different birds we have here.  I love birds.  But between you and me, except for the big, obvious ones (ravens, hawks, turkey vultures, egrets), the little ones all look alike to me as they whiz by.  Said neighbor has a camera with 30x zoom and she's been delighting me with images of more birds than I can name at the moment.  All beautiful. 

And speaking of birds...I've got a new zine in the works, featuring bird stamps from around the world.

Enjoy the rest of the week.  xx

Sunday, July 26, 2015


Acrylics, pencil, crayon on canvas panel, 12x16"
"Don't worry about unity from piece to piece.  What unifies all of your work is the fact that you made it."

Love that quote from Austin Kleon's Steal Like an Artist.  So apropos of me.

So this painting was done for the last lesson of 8 Great Paintings.  The task was to create a collage out of paper, then use that to inspire a painting.  Well, instead of making a new collage, I chose one of the hundreds I did a few years back.  Although Julie (Pritchard, class instructor) used totally different colors in her painting than in her original collage, I pretty much followed the original colorway on mine...because I liked it.  This piece of mine is way more literal than her painting was.  Which is just fine.  I still like mine.

At first I thought I might do a bunch of these, even went through a couple of sketchbooks and marked numerous collages that I thought would make good paintings.  And then I UNdecided to do that.  I'd rather move forward, wherever that is, than look to the past for inspiration.

I'm back to reading novels.  Just finished a terrific book, The Professor of Truth by Scot author James Robertson.  Now reading Russell Banks' The Darling, and loving it.

Hope you're having a good weekend! xx 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Pencil It In

Acrylics, crayons and pencil on stretched canvas,
16x10 inches
I pulled this painting out of my imagination the other day.  It's 16 x 20 inches on stretched canvas.  I'm loving including pencil marks and crayons ~ wax or pastel ~ on painted works.

I've experimented a lot recently with pencils and crayons on different surfaces, largely to test whether or not they are waterproof (i.e. whether they bleed or not) under acrylic media.

The white colored pencils I tried all work well and are waterproof on very smooth substrates except for the Stabilo All, which is essentially a watercolor pencil although it's made to use on glass and other impervious surfaces.  None of the white colored pencils work well on canvas textured surfaces.

All of the regular (graphite) pencils work well on virtually any surface, including the  "black" Stabilo All.  Charcoal pencils don't work at all -- meaning they bleed.

I've also tried several brands of pastel pencils, and all work well on smooth surfaces but not well on canvas textured surfaces.  They all break/crush with pressure.

Caran d'Ache Neocolor I crayons are highly-pigmented wax crayons, kind of like Crayola Crayons on steroids.  They work well on all surfaces (there are some Neocolor I orange lines in my painting above) and are waterproof.  The Neocolor II crayons are watercolor crayons.  They can be covered over with medium but will smear a bit.  Of course with water, they disperse their pigment quite readily.

I have a set of Niji Oil Pastels that I love.  Not only are the least expensive (set of 36 from Blick for under $7.00), but they're fairly creamy so I like them a lot for use on paintings.  Oil pastels in general can be fixed with acrylic medium; chalk pastels cannot be.  You must use spray fixative for the latter, which, like regular spray paint, I hate using.  Caran d'Ache NeoPastels are also good, although they're more expensive and I personally don't like them as much as the Niji's.  However, where the Niji color line is lacking, I've filled in my palette with the NeoPastels.  I've also tried the Sakura Cray-Pas pastels but find they are too hard, so they require way too much pressure to get anywhere near the color load of the Niji's or the NeoPastels.

I'm reading, among everything else, Steal Like An Artist by Austin Kleon.  Short, wonderful, quirky, inspiring. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Days Later

Acrylics on stretched canvas, 11x14 inches
This is my painting for lesson 7 of 8 Great Paintings.  It was another opportunity to work with the "heavy on the bottom" format, which is actually rather challenging.  It's difficult to see here, but the bottom has wonky circles etched into the dark paint, with red underneath.  Click on the photo to enlarge it.

This piece is 11x14 inches on stretched canvas.  I had another start for this lesson, on 12x12 inch canvas board, but after numerous unsuccessful redo's, I threw out the panel.

Onto the next, which will be the last lesson for this online class.  Then I'm going to go it on my own for a while.  I've got all the techniques I need, I just have to paint.  But if I don't do it or do it often enough (whatever that is), no pressure ~ I'll do what I do when I do it.  The reality is, once or twice a week I have the inspiration to paint, so that's when I've been doing it.  Not pushing myself otherwise.

I started reading A People's History of the United States by Howard Zinn.  It's quite enlightening to read about this country, its founding and development since the get-go based nearly exclusively on pretexts, its abhorrent treatment of anyone who wasn't (isn't) white and rich...

Just reread Voluntary Simplicity by Duane Elgin.  This book was one of my early inspirations for off-the-grid (metaphorically), under-the-radar living.  Another early influence was Ordinary People As Monks and Mystics by Marsha Sinetar.  I also recently read for the second time Wallace Stegner's novel, Crossing to Safety, his last book, written six years before his death in 1993.  A really beautiful book.

I'm truly enjoying these summer days.  Making the most out of each one.  Hope you're having lovely days as well.  xx

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Heaven is NOW

Acrylics, vintage and painted papers, cardboard on
canvas panel, 11x14 inches
This is the other piece for that recent painting lesson ~ 11x14 inches on canvas panel.

Rather than titling this post "Wordless Wednesday," my news is that there's not much to say.

As I meander farther into silence and solitude, I'm gradually detaching myself from "being" my story.  And from letting that illusory story guide and direct my conversations, those both inside my head and out.

I no longer have the energy for overreaction borne of aversion to anything and everything beyond life as it really is.  I'm not interested now in verbal jousting, self-justification, defensive posturing, ego-driven oneupsmanship.  So much of our conversation is about propping ourselves up, propping our egos up, actually.  When you take all that away, what it all boils down to is that there isn't much left to say.  And nothing to complain about.  Life just is what it is.  No amount of complaining or worrying or teeth-gnashing or ceaseless story telling has ever changed anything.

What I'm doing in lieu of all those habitual thought patterns is spending as much time each day as I can in conscious awareness of the moment ~ feeling it, relishing it, loving it, sensing my connection, making the most of it, getting all the joy I can from it.  Especially because nothing lasts.  This particular blissful time won't last forever ~ it will be followed by future blissful moments, but not this one specifically.  Everything keeps changing ~ I'm sure you've noticed.  You can't step twice into the same stream, as some Zen master once said.  Appreciate it now...because it'll soon vanish.

Am I getting too airy-fairy for you?  I hope not.  Heaven is NOW.