Thursday, December 10, 2020

Eastern Mockingbird

Eastern Mockingbird / oil on canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


DURING THE SUMMER OF THE COVID, I was lucky enough to be part of a group that had yoga sessions outdoors, under a tree on the front lawn of a church in Pungoteague. 

I loved it, I think we all did, this small community of older women practicing yoga - OK, old women practicing yoga (and here is a question that just popped up for me: Why are "older women" younger than "old women"???) 

In one session, as summer turned to fall, a mockingbird began to sing. He sang and sang and sang, for the entire 90 minutes of yoga, dozens of songs, one after another, a bouquet of joy and sunshine. 

I was telling this to someone, though, and they asked me if I didn't think it was sad that the mockingbird didn't have his own song. 


"The painting has a life of its own. I try to let it come through." 

- Jackson Pollock


Wednesday, December 9, 2020


 Nor'easter / Oil on black canvas / 11x14 / $250 including shipping


THE STORM WOKE ME at 3, a few mornings ago. It was the wind, wailing, yelling, slamming against the windows and the walls and the trunks of the trees. It was the rain, smashing against the metal roof and the windowpanes. And it was the strength and power of the storm itself, the first nor-easter of the season, the line storm, marking the passage from autumn to winter. 

I woke, the dogs woke, and later in the day, I found that many of my friends had also woken, all around 3, nudged into consciousness by the wrath and muscle of the wind and the rain. 

Sleep took me back, and on the way, I vowed to paint the feeling of the storm. My note says that I must paint it BIG (I wrote the word in caps) and this one is not BIG, but it is the storm - and perhaps a study for the BIG one. 

I hope you like it. 


"Every time we say, 'Let there be!' in any form, something happens." 

-Stella Terrell Mann

Tuesday, December 8, 2020

House Sparrow

House Sparrow / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68

IN MY MOST RECENT POST, I WROTE about writing morning pages as instructed by Julia Cameron in "The Artist's Way." 

Today, I'm sharing another idea from the book. Make a list of 20 things you like to do - and then write down the most recent time you've done each. 

Interesting! As I thought about doing this, I wondered if there even were 20 things that I like to do, and I pretty much convinced myself that there weren't, and so why should I even bother to make the list? My life is so empty and I am so driven that of course there aren't 20 things I like to do. Twenty? Are there even 10? Even five? Two? 

This sort of response comes from what Cameron calls the critic brain, the part that tells me that I suck, that I am a terrible artist, that I shouldn't even begin to attempt the painting that I'm making because it will certainly be a disaster, that I don't even have the idea of the skills that I need - and on and on and on. 

We all have the critic brain, and it can be paralyzing. Writing the morning pages helps me shut up that voice. While I'm painting, I quiet the critic brain playing Netflix or Prime.

 The show or movie needs to be vaguely engaging - but not something that I need to look at, or listen closely to. I've replayed "Gray's Anatomy" any number of times, and "Silent Witness" a few times. Right now, I'm playing "Midsomer Murders," which does require a little more attention than I generally give it, so I often replay parts of it at night - but it does the job. 

So - 20 things you like to do, and when you did them last. And then, see if you can make a plan to do one or two of the ones you haven't done in the longest time. 


"Undoubtedly, we become what we envisage." 

- Claude M. Bristol

Monday, December 7, 2020


Pachyderm / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping


THERE'S A WONDERFUL BOOK called "The Artist's Way," by Julia Cameron that I encourage you to read, even if you're not an "artist" in the traditional sense of the word. 

While the book is about finding, feeding and encouraging your inner artist, it's really about finding, feeding and encouraging your soul - the creative drive that is in all of us. 

It might come out in baking or cooking, it might come out in the way you decorate and keep your home. Your creative soul might be in your garden, or in your appreciation of poetry, or in your relationships with your family or your pets or the night sky. 

The book is intended as a 12-week course to help people get unstuck, or unblocked, or find the courage to take the next creative step. These are not issues for me, but the book has been immensely helpful anyways. 

Its main idea and task is to write "morning pages." That is, get up every morning and write three longhand pages, about anything. Even if you have nothing to say, and you write, for three pages "I have nothing to say," the point is to do it. Write your day's plans, your shopping list, the movies you want to watch, the friends you miss, and see, even there, I've slipped from the mundane into the more heartfelt. So, watch for that to happen - and it will. 

The point of the morning pages is to get the crap out of the way. Writing about the stuff that worries you, or the stuff that you're not even aware is worrying you, well, it takes that stuff out of the way. It could be something as simple as you needing to remember to have the car inspected - write it down in the morning pages, and you won't find yourself reminding yourself about it 20 times an hour. Think that repeated reminding gets in the way of creativity? You bet it does. 

Since I started writing morning pages years ago, my creativity has blossomed, my vision has sharpened, and the creative force in me has grown stronger and stronger. 

And you don't show these to anyone. No one. You don't even have to go back and read them. The content is not the point, nor is the style, the word choice, the spelling, the grammar, the handwriting, none of that. It's the transfer of stuff from your head to the page. The emptying of the critic brain to free the creative brain. That's where the magic is. 

I hope that some of you will try this, especially in this time of solitary existence and isolation. Who knows what you might find? 

Next time, I'll share an interesting exercise from the book. 

The Woody Show

I MIGHT HAVE WRITTEN about this already, but it continues to amuse me, so I will post it again. Woody, who is about 15, and mostly blind and deaf, moves his bed several times a day, by scratching and scratching with his forepaws while backing up. The other night, in my bedroom, he moved his little bed from the doorway (where he'd put it earlier) all the way across the 5x8 rug, and then along the wood floor at the foot of my bed to the side where I sleep. 

I think his point in all of this is to place his bed in spots that the other dogs and I have to pass, or step over, when we enter or leave the room. Since he can't hear or see very well, I think he relies on feeling the vibrations from our footsteps, to know that we're leaving. And leaving the bedroom - or the living room, for that matter - means it's time to go out, or to have a meal, both of which are big events in the life of the house here at 18 Bayview. 


"Experience, even for a painter, is not entirely visual." 

- Walter Meigs