Monday, April 12, 2021

Mt. Humphreys

Mt. Humphreys / Oil on black canvas / 12x36
Please email me at if you'd like to own this painting

ON THE WAY TO TUBAC, Carol and I decided to visit the Grand Canyon. It was out of our way, but not by much. Though we had been there a couple years ago, when Carol came out to do a show in Albuquerque with me, well, it is the Grand Canyon, so we decided to go again. 

We chose a scenic route, a road I've traveled before, that winds along 8,000-foot-high mountains and overlooks ones that are even higher, including Mount Humphreys, the tallest one in the painting. 

It was a cool morning when we pulled off the road by a yellow field to paint. The sun was shining, the air was thin and clear, and it was so quiet that I could hear a raven's wings flapping as he flew past me. 

I loved making this painting, and feel that it captures the beauty and serenity of the spot, and somehow, the enormity of it as well. 

When I finished, we headed on to the Grand Canyon, only to turn back, as there was a two-hour wait to get in. The Indian reservations are closed because of the covid, and the terrible toll it is taking on the Native American population. Because of that, one of the two wintertime gates into the park was closed, and all the visitors - and there were lots of them! - were funneled into one gate. 

So we left, and headed to the Petrified Forest and Painted Desert, and though it wasn't the Grand Canyon, it was a magical spot of color and wonder and incredible beauty. 

Dog of the Day

I'VE SEEN THIS lovely, porky gal around town on nearly all my morning walks. She is a sweetie, and is usually off leash, so she trots her full-bellied trot up to me and greets me every day. 

Thought for the Road

It Is Enough to Enter

the templar 
halls of museums, for 

example, or
the chamber of churches,

and admire
no more than the beauty

there, or
remember the graveness

of stone, or
whatever. You don't

have to do any
better. You don't have to 

the liturgy or know history

to feel holy
in a gallery or presbytery. 

It is enough
to have come just so far. 

You need
not be opened any more

than does
a door, standing ajar. 

- Todd Boss

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Duck Butts

Duck Butts / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping
Please email me at if you would like to buy this painting

I SEE THE DUCKS AND GEESE in Wachapreague in the winters, or anywhere, for that matter, diving into such frigid water, wet and small in the face of the biting, icy wind, and it seems impossible that they don't get cold, that they don't just die from exposure. 

I guess that's part of what it means to be a duck. It is part of the duck's world. And maybe they look at us and wonder - why don't those creatures walk so much - are they just too stupid to fly?  


A Thought for the Road

April is a Dog's Dream

april is a dog's dream
the soft grass is growing
the sweet breeze is blowing
the air all full of singing feels just right
so no excuses now
we're going to the park
to chase and charge and chew
and I will make you see
what spring is all about

- Marilyn Singer

Monday, April 5, 2021

Dry Wash

 Dry Wash / Oil on black canvas / 11x14 / $250 including shipping. 
Please email me at if you would like to buy this painting! 

THE LANDSCAPE OF THE SOUTHWEST always inspires me. It challenges me, forcing me to use different colors, try different approaches, think and see and paint differently. It's exciting, and it's often difficult, and is always liberating - and surprising, too, which is a good thing for me. 

This painting, like so many of the paintings I've made that have turned out to be my favorites, is of a nothing sort of place. There's a teeny shopping plaza up the street, and to get from there to the road, on one side, you go over a bridge that crosses a dry wash. I looked up as we crossed it the other day, and the light was bouncing off the weedy shrubs, the mesquites, the dry pinkish soil, and I knew it was a painting. I could see the painting before it was finished. Before I even started it. 

It's a bridge I've crossed dozens, if not hundreds of times in the decade that I've been coming out here, and it is a landscape I've never noticed. One that I'd bet almost no one notices. But these places, these quotidian, unremarkable, characteristic spots, these are the ones that build a landscape, aren't they? Just as the unremarkable, daily, regular remarks and thoughts and hopes and dreams are what build our characters and personalities. 

Or at least, that's what I think this morning. 

Dog of the Day

I'VE BEEN WALKING around Tubac in the mornings, and making a special side trip to see the burros in a farm/ranch place at the east edge of town. You KNOW this will become a painting! 

A Thought for the Road

"Refuse to be average. Let your heart soar as it will." 

- A. W. Tozer

(Thanks to my sister for suggesting this header for the final area. It's the best so far. 
Do you have a different idea? I'm open to suggestions! )

Friday, April 2, 2021

Moriarty, NM

 Moriarty, NM / Oil on black canvas / 8x10  / $120 including shipping

THE FIRST PAINTING of a trip always frightens me. I haven't painted for the days of driving, and usually also for many days before the trip, while I was getting ready. 

Painting came to me out of the blue, and so I often wonder if, one day, it will go away, as fully and as mysteriously as it appeared. The run-up to the first painting of a trip is inevitably filled with these unhelpful thoughts. 

On this trip, I didn't plan this first painting. I didn't promise myself anything, I didn't expect anything. We pulled off in a rest stop in Moriarty, NM, and I looked across the highway at the landscape and decided this would be it. I got my stuff together and I started the painting before I had time to worry myself out of it. 

I painted fast, and without thought, and I was grateful. My best paintings are the fastest ones, and the ones I dither over the least. I love the way this one came out. It is bright, and simple, but has a lot in it, too. 

And for me, the best part was that it was done! The first painting was out of the way. YAY! 

Dog of the Day

Nice gig if you can get it. Saw this cutie in Walmart in Sahuarita, Arizona. 

"Some cowboys have too much tumbleweed in their blood to settle down." 

- Ken Alstad

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Moonday Owl

Moonday Owl / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping
Please email me at if you would like to own this little painting! 

MY FRIEND CAROL AND I have arrived in Arizona, and I have to say, it feels great, so great, to be off the Eastern Shore and out in the world. 

We had a great trip, did some cool stuff, met some fun people, including the couple below - the Langs - who fixed up this school bus and then both quit their regular nursing jobs to hit the road, and work in temporary nursing positions for as long as the adventure continues. 

Here's their bus, outside and in. That's a little woodstove in the back, keeping things nice and warm!

They brought Lars, their Flemish Giant! 

WE HAD GREAT BARBECUE at Tyler's in Amarillo, Texas

HAD FUN SEEING CADILLAC Ranch, outside of Amarillo (and painting a car, too). Click here to read more about this fun public art extravaganza

WE VISITED Blue Hole in Santa Rosa, NM, where would-be scuba divers were being trained...

AND DROVE THROUGH Tucumcari, NM, with its great billboards and funky decorations

What a country this is! 


"Once a year, go someplace you've never been before." 

- the Dalai Lama


Monday, March 22, 2021

Cape Charles Sunset

 Cape Charles Sunset / oil on black canvas / 11x14 / $250

MY KOKO is staying with my friend Susan while I'm in Arizona, and Koko's absence has changed the dynamic of this house more that I ever thought it would. And it's changed my view of her, as well. 

Every morning, when she is here, she comes into the bedroom and greets me, wagging and curling her body around in a circle, so that her wagging tail is close to her nose. Often, she sniffs my butt with that always wet, always cold nose, then stations herself in front of me begging to be petted, blocking me step by step as I try to walk into the kitchen. 

When it's time for breakfast - and she knows the time with remarkable accuracy and certainty - she barks and barks and leaps into the air, spinning around in circles in her excitement. She gets the other dogs all riled up, too. I put down Woody's food first, then I get the Demons into their apartment and put down their food and shut their door, and at this, Koko jumps up, bonks me in the butt with her forepaws, and runs into the kitchen where she barks and spins around in circles before spending all of 8 or 9 seconds devouring her meal. 

Koko knows what time I should go to the studio, and if I seem to not be complying, stands in front of me and barks until I either shut her down or give in. When I pick up my phone , and unplug the computer to go to the studio, she barks wildly and leaps around. Then, outside, she finds a toy or a stick and comes charging at me in her play run, front legs stiff, shaking her head and murdering whatever she has between her mouth. 

At the end of the studio time, when I turn off the heater and the lights, she often jumps up on me (this is forbidden), begging for kisses, and then she barks and spins, so happy to be going inside. 

When I pull out the leashes for our walk, she barks and leaps and spins and stirs everyone up. We often meet Liesl, my walking partner, in the street, and I will drop Koko's leash when I see Liesl coming around the corner, and let Koko run down Bayview to greet Liesl. Koko races down the road, tail wagging, and jumps up on Liesl, kissing her and groaning at her, with funny little throaty groans. 

Whenever visitors come to the house, Koko adores them. She greets with barking, jumping delight, and climbs up in their laps, staying as long as they will allow her. In the evenings, Koko snuggles between my legs on the couch, demanding to be petted, often licking me until I have to yell at her to make her stop. And at the end of the day, she jumps up on the bed, snuggling - and then leaves to sleep in a chair in the living room. 

Her behavior and how I feel with her gone makes me think of my own self, and how Peter must have felt when I went away on trips. Koko is a lot to handle. I am a lot to handle. Koko is loud, enthusiastic, demanding. I am loud, enthusiastic, demanding. Annoying, even. But I miss her loud, irritating, annoying enthusiasm. The days without her have been less colorful, less fun, less full of life. I am pretty sure this is how Peter felt. On one hand, it was good to get a break from me. On the other hand, life was less interesting without me here. 

Until Koko went to stay with Susan, I did not know that Koko was the enthusiasm leader of the pack. I didn't realize how much energy she has, how much delight she pumps into the days. I did not realize that it was her, more than any of the others, who required me to keep living after Peter died. I just didn't know. And while I'm sure I will be irritated with her from time to time when she comes back, I know from now on, I will go far out of my way to adore her, to honor the blessing that she is in my life. 

Above, Koko and Lulu, when Lulu was a puppy

Koko waiting to see Liesl

She wanted that cookie so much, I eventually gave it to her.


Every Dog's Story

I have a bed, my very own.
It's just my size.
And sometimes I like to sleep alone
with dreams inside my eyes. 

But sometimes dreams are dark and wild and creepy
and I wake and am afraid, though I don't know why.
But I'm no longer sleepy
and too slowly the hours go by. 

So I climb on the bed where the light of the moon
is shining on your face
and I know it will be morning soon. 

Everybody needs a safe place.

- Mary Oliver

Friday, March 19, 2021

The Marsh in Spring

The Marsh in Spring / Oil on black canvas/ 11x14/ $250 plus shipping
Please email me at if you'd like to buy this painting! 

IN PART OF "THE ROAD IN," yesterday's entry here on the blog, I found myself using long strokes, full of paint, rather than the short, choppy, juddering strokes I usually use - and it felt like a new world was opening up for me. 

I think that the more kinds of strokes I master and can use in any painting, the more colors I actually learn and know, the more potential my paintings have to be interesting, expressive, reflective.

 I've used long, swirly strokes in the skies for a while, but never, as far as I can remember, for the ground. Making the long strokes in the painting above felt like pulling back sheer curtains to see more clearly the window behind them. The view hasn't changed - it is just more clear. 



The Uses of Sorrow

Someone I loved once gave me 
a box full of darkness. 
It took me years to understand 
that this, too, was a gift." 

- Mary Oliver


Thursday, March 18, 2021

The Way In

The Way In / Oil on black canvas / 16x20 / $500 including shipping
Please email me at if you'd like to buy this painting

TO MY AMAZEMENT, I have started dating. It was a brief experience, and it ended not well but not horribly, and while the whole thing utterly shocked me, it was an important if painful step, and I feel blessed and grateful to have taken it. 

The person with whom I was involved could not have been more different from Peter, and perhaps that made the whole thing easier - though none of it was easy. I wept for taking my heart away from for grieving for Peter. I trembled at what felt, at first, like a betrayal of him. I scolded myself for taking this respite from grief. But I went ahead.  

It was hard to take that big step into living again, and to be reminded, with each inch of road I traveled, that I was edging away from Peter, from grief, from my old life, even, in a way, from my old self. Taking a first, brief journey on what might or might not be a long new road. 

I had thought I'd be alone forever, that love would live only as a memory, and that that would be enough. And who knows? Maybe this small and, in the end, unhappy romance was the only one that will come my way between now and whenever I am too old. But maybe it's not. 

And even with the pain of failure and breakup - a pain I haven't felt or considered for 40 years - I hope it's not the only one. But if it is, I still believe it was important to do this, to wager my heart on the hand of love. 



Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mind.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again. 
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting - 
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things. 

- Mary Oliver

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

Cardinal in a Dogwood Tree

Cardinal in a Dogwood Tree / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68
Please email me at if you'd like to buy this painting

THE CARDINALS HAVE BEEN FLOCKING to the feeder, and it makes me happy to see them.

The males catch my eye, always, but it's the females I find myself watching, and enjoying their subtle colors, the way their plumage blends with the still wintry, mustard-colored grass. In fact, thinking about them this morning, the way they flit and flash and tilt their heads, feathers showing orange and yellow and even a hint of green, thinking about them has spurred me to make another painting of a female. 

IN A WEEK, if all goes according to plan, I leave for Arizona for about a month. This is my usual winter trip to visit Dad and Paula, though this time, it will be different. 

For starters, I usually head out in late January. I've never been there in March and April, and am hoping to see the desert in a little bit of bloom, and the country, in fact, in a little bit of bloom. 

Usually, I choose my route to avoid snowstorms and ice storms. And while they are still out there, or were, this week, it will probably be spring storms, thunder and lightning, tornadoes, that I'll be trying to avoid.

My friend Carol is coming with me this time. I've never made the trip with another person in the car, and while I am a little hesitant about it, and about not having those long, lonely hours on my own, driving and watching in silence, I think it's probably good this trip to not have those long, lonely hours on my own, driving and watching in silence. 

We will stay for a few weeks, spend lots of time with Dad and Paula, and I will paint, on the way, out there and on the way back. I am not doing a formal painting trip this time, but will post the paintings and the story of my travels, here on the blog. 

I have a lot to do before I leave, but it will get done. I am so hungry to see and paint and drive through a different landscape, I can barely wait to go! 


"I am seeking. I am striving. I am in it with all my heart." 

- Vincent Van Gogh

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Spring Fields

Spring Fields / Oil on canvas / 18x24 / $650 plus shipping
Please email me at if you'd like to own this painting! 

SO MUCH RAIN HAS FALLEN that now, even after a week of sun and wind, there are puddles in the fields, and in the lawns and throughout the low places in the woods. I love the way these bits of standing water pick up the colors of the sky, and put them where they should not be - a little bit of heaven in the middle of a field. 

I noticed the other day that around the puddles in some of the fields, grass or clover or whatever is planted there has started to green up, in a beautiful circle around the puddle. Water of life, certainly. 

I love painting fields, with the furrows leading somewhere - usually to a house or barn in the back of the field. But on a drive to Frederick, Maryland, this past weekend, I noticed fields with furrows leading off obliquely, and in patterns. 

Different, for me - and I like it. What do you think? 


"It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold; when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade." 

-  Charles Dickens, by way of my friend Lisa Zander

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Bluebird with a Blueberry

Bluebird with a Blueberry / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping


A COUPLE OF MY DAFFODILS have bloomed - and I celebrate this today, but the process has been excruciating. I've watched them every day, sometimes, it feels like every minute, waiting for the green to turn to yellow. Finally, today, it happened. 

I feel eager for so much. Impatient. I am the watched pot, or maybe I am the watcher. Either way, it's a journey of degrees. Inches. Moments.

And all of it goes against what I'm trying to learn in this time of Lent - to live, balanced and complete in this moment. 

I can't stop myself from imagining, from waiting for the end of the covid, of the isolation, the imposed solitariness. The presence of my family in my visual and tangible life, after more than a year. 

I'm waiting for the wind to warm, for vegetables to be bright and fresh, for fruit to be sweet and juicy and cheap and plentiful. I'm watching for the perennials to start poking their heads through the weedy mulch, promising color after all these drab days of winter. 

I am impatient, yearning, hardly able to contain myself. Aren't we all? 


"One never learns by success." 

-Josephine Preston Peabody

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

House Sparrow

House Sparrow / oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68, including shipping
Please email me at if you'd like this painting

LAST WEEK, I heard a spring bird, singing wildly, singing beautifully, repeating her song again and again as night spun off into dawn. 

She made me happy, this one bird, singing as though there were no tomorrows and no yesterdays, as though everything that possibly could be right in the world was indeed right in the world. 

She made me smile, and made me realize that, in my heavy, plodding two-footed, wingless life, in fact, everything is as right as it could possibly be. 


"Ambition is the spur that makes man struggle with destiny. It is heaven's own incentive 
to make purpose great and achievement greater." 

- Donald G. Mitchell


Tuesday, March 2, 2021

My Octopus Teacher

My Octopus Teacher / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

A WHILE AGO, I asked friends on and off Facebook to give me names of what I call "feel-good movies," which, in my mind, are generally (but not always) smaller movies, generally but not always with lesser-known actors. 

My friends assembled a great list, which I've included below. I'm not sure that all of these qualify as "feel-good," but I've included even the ones that I think maybe are just comedies, and not necessarily feel-good movies. I'd put "A Fish Called Wanda" in this category, for instance. 

I am not sure that "My Octopus Teacher" qualifies as a feel-good movie, mainly because the octopus dies. The narrator (who is the only other character in the movie) tells you right at the beginning that the octopus is going to die, so I was prepared. But I have avoided all sort of movies because it is clear to me, sometimes even from the titles, that the dog/cat/squirrel/whatever was going to die. 

The movie so enchanted me, octopus death notwithstanding, that I made this painting. 

OK, here's the list. If there are movies on it that you sort of remember from a while ago, but haven't seen in a few years, I encourage you to go back and take a look. I've been delighted when I've done that. 

Big Night

The Thomas Crown Affair

My Octopus Teacher

The Birdcage

Enola Holmes

Bread & Tulips (available on YouTube)

Legally Blonde

October Sky

Shirley Valentine

American Dreamer

Must Love Dogs

City Island

Strictly Ballroom

Tin Cup

Radium Girls

The Goldfinch

Don't Let Go



Just Mercy

Penguin Bloom

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

A Model for Matisse

Waking Ned Devine

Billy Elliot

The Englishman Who Went Up a Hill

Four Weddings and a Funeral

Big Little Farm

Little Miss Sunshine

Funny Farm

Keeping Mum

Lars and the Real Girl

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Baghdad Cafe

Harold & Maude

Notting Hill

Love Actually

Dear Frankie

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

Mrs. Palfrey at the Clermont

Tea with Mussolini

Madame Souzatska

A League of Their Own

Hunt for the Wilder People

Whale River

Garden State

School of Rock

Julie and Julia

Something's Gotta Give


Inn of the Sixth Happiness

The Holiday


Hamlet 2

What About Bob

Someone Like You

Crazy, Stupid Love



Silver Linings Playback

The Fisher King

The Princess Bride

When Harry Met Sally

My Cousin Vinny

Joe's Apartment

Angel in the House




The Station Agent

The Dig

Nobody's Fool

Keep On Keepin' On

The American President


Romancing the Stone

Please Don't Eat the Daisies

The Hundred-Foot Journey

A Knight's Tale

The Intern


It Happened on Fifth Avenue

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Operation Petticoat

Some Like It Hot

any Studio Ghibli film


Planes, Trains and Automobiles

While You Were Sleeping

Sleepless in Seattle

When Harry Met Sally

Finding Your Feet

Grumpy Old Men

Peanut Butter Falcon

Second Hand Lions

The Proposal

Nothing to Lose

The Magic of Belle Isle

Slumdog Millionaire



Fool's Gold

Blow the Man Down

Shakespeare in Love

Book Club

Enchanted April


Under the Tuscan Sun

Mr. Holland's Opus

The Secret Garden

The Full Monty

Two Family House

Say Anything

Begin Again

Truly, Madly, Deeply
Singing in the Rain

Heaven Can Wait



"Your aspirations are your possibilities." 

- Samuel Johnson