I Couldn’t Find a Turkey – I Found a Swan


Looking through my photos and drawings I couldn’t find a turkey for Thanksgiving, but I found a swan.

One day my grand daughter and I spent a couple of hours down by the river Thames drawing and painting the Queen’s swans.

I have lots of little accordian books of drawings to remind me of that day in Windsor.

And this one to remind me of a sunny day in Calistoga. It looks like you need to click on this one to see it ! Happy Turkey Day !

Ghost Horse – Where the Red Line Came From

click on image to see detail

Walking up to the top of the hill in Calistoga, California, I sat down on a path in a stand of trees. It was quiet. I thought about being present while I sketched the space between the trees. I sketched the silence and breeze surrounding the space.

Back in the studio I translated into painting my interpretation of the space, the breeze,  around the trees. Then I needed to put the trees in. How did my body respond to those tall trees all around me? I know too much. I know how to paint a green forest. Instead of painting the same old thing, I wanted to grow. I wanted to take risks. After painting two abstract blue tree trunks, I added a red wood plank.  Leaving the painting, then coming  back later gave me some distance from the piece. Something was missing. It just wasn’t very interesting. The strong blue and red had taken over the marks of silence.

I looked out the open door next to my painting corner and a white horse walked by. That’s it! I grabbed a piece of charcoal and quickly added the horse to my painting. The horse was perfect in that space. The light application of the horse brought attention to the quiet breeze. The painting was now balanced. ‘Ghost Horse’ was finished.

This painting was to be the beginning of a series about animals. A year and a half later it ended up being the first in the Red Line Series.

Chairs – Grace Cathedral


How do I compete wtih those colorful chairs taken at Flora Grubb Gardens, a  nursery in San Francisco? A friend of mine said the chairs on the wall reminded her of upside-down bats. I love it. They do! It’s like when you see a whole display of silk scarves from India dyed in every color of the rainbow. You want to buy them all.

These chairs were set up in the Cathedral, a concert was performing there in a few hours. I’m packing for a trip to Europe. My drawing supplies are ready to go. Maybe I’ll make a Book of Chairs, or a Book of Doors or .. Image

It will be interesting to see how my drawing has evolved. Brandy was drawn when I was in my twenties. You can see I’m a fan of Matisse.

Do You consider a painting more important than a drawing? Why?


11″ x 14″ acrylic on paper

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Willie with the Curly Horns

9″ x 12″ charcoal on paper

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I consider my drawings to be stronger than my paintings. I prefer to draw. Participating in discussions during my college years, my idea of a drawing as being the primary art piece was always shot down. “Great drawing. Now take your sketch and paint it bigger.” Why???? What makes a painting more valuable as an art piece? Why paint big? I’m not talking about a Rembrandt. I’m talking about visual arts now. Write to me. Let’s have a conversation.

Here’s Looking at You Kid – Calistoga

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What is it they say? Take something, change it and change it again? Make art.

I saw a cow and a goat grazing in a field. Deciding to paint the scene, I came back with a presized piece of canvas.  I put in down on the ground and started to paint.  The two animals came right up to me (probably wanted to see if I had some carrots for them.) I grabbed a stick, dipped it in a bottle of ink and sketched my two curious friends. Back in the studio I made a hipstamatic photograph of a detail of the painting. Here is the result. Maybe I’ll make a large print of it and change it again.

Sketching a Gauguin Painting in Seattle

Deux Femmes/La Chevelure Fleurie (Detail) 16″ x 6″ acrylic on paper

click image to enlarge

One hundred and ten years after Paul Gauguin was painting in Polynesia I  copied some of his paintings. Making some notations in my moleskine sketchbook,

Gauguin La Chevelure fleurie

Gauguin La Chevelure fleurie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I was blown away by the way Gauguin used color, the way he drew space using shapes and line. I sketched very quickly and noted the color of his simple shapes with the idea of going back home and painting a little rendition of a Gauguin.

Miles Vonmises

From our son’s email:

Miles had good innings. He always managed the most comfortable chair
in the room, and then convinced you to move it closer to the fire.

In his 87 dog years, Miles successfully peed on every other tree in
four area codes.

Miles was a good boy, and a dear friend. He will be missed.

In the meantime, however, he’d like us all to go outside for a walk!