Wednesday, January 20, 2021



Hawk / Oil on black canvas / 5x7 / $68 including shipping

MY FRIEND SUSAN MCGUIRE and I are have launched a painting-project page on Facebook. Susan is a wonderful painter, who uses all media but mostly, these days at least, watercolors. So our page is called Oil & Water, and you can find it on Facebook. Everything on the page, her work and mine, is $68 including shipping - and for you bird-painting fans, there are some bird paintings there that I haven't posted here yet. Click here to go to Oil & Water on Facebook! 

Some of the bird paintings on the new page come from a challenge I gave myself, early in January - to paint 10 birds in a day. I did it - but just by the skin of my teeth (and that is an odd phrase, if you stop to think about it!) 

You artists might consider making some nearly unattainable challenge to yourselves, especially if you are feeling dull or blocked. I had been painting a lot, in November and December -  all commissions. I love commissions, but a steady stream of them - painting other people's ideas, other people's desires - can blunt my own ideas, and somehow shorten my sense of direction and flow. For me, at least, there's nothing like a huge challenge to kick out the jams. 

And it needn't be a challenge of numbers, of quantity. I've challenged myself to use odd colors, minimal colors, only yellows, only large knives, only small knives, only straight strokes, only curving strokes, only 30 minutes, only 60 minutes. 

Once I tried to make a painting with strokes that went in a huge spiral out from a spot that was off-center. My aim was to stick to the pattern, while putting the colors, light, shadow in the right places. It didn't work, but continues to interest me as an idea. I think it involves too much planning for me, and feels too much like math. One of you might like to try it. Please send me the photo if you do! 


An Old Story

Sleep comes its little while. Then I wake
in the valley of midnight or three a.m.
to the first fragrance of spring

which is coming, all by itself, no matter what.
My heart says, what you thought you have you do not have.
My body says, will this pounding ever stop?

My heart says: there, there, be a good student.
My body says: let me up and out, I want to fondle
those soft white flowers, open in the night. 

- Mary Oliver

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