Here’s Looking at you Kid – Swimming with Whales in La Jolla

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I’ve had this piece of paper around for years, a favorite drawing of a harbor seal – oil paint on paper

Being nutty about ocean swimming, I even sketched while looking at videos on TV.

Graphite on faded newsprint

The seals popped up next to me when I  ocean swam. Their dark, shinny eyes looked like the eyes of puppies who were coming up to check me out. One would swim with me for awhile then duck under water and be gone. They slip through the water effortlessly and fast.

Two times I swam with whales. The first time I was having an ocean swimming lesson because, at that time, I was scared of the sea. My teacher, wearing fins, would go down to the ocean floor and bring up anything that frightened me. I could touch it and  see it wasn’t a monster then I could move on. One day a whale popped up next to us. My teacher left me. I didn’t have fins. After I got over being terrified, I decided to tread water and enjoy my experience. He measured about 5 trucks long, a baby. He circled me, very close. I could see barnacles near his eyes. He finially left and I swam back to the cove.

Another time I was swimming a very familiar route – one I had swam every day for years. I noticed a very smooth grey rock  just a whisper away from my hand pulling the water as I swam. I thought, I don’t remember a smooth grey rock here. Then it sunk in. He could flip me out of the water with his fluke, tail fin! I headed to shore. I thought, I’m going to swim as fast as I could. I already was swimming as fast as I could. When I got back to the beach I asked the lifeguard if there was anything out there. Yes, you were swimming with a baby grey whale who had gotten lost and had ended up close to shore.

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.

Drawing with a Stick

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While waiting to drive back from a painting workshop in Calistoga, I sat on the ground watching a cow and her son, “Tiny” who was a huge black bull. Using two 6″ x 8″ pads of paper I sketched the animals. Both sketch pads were open so while one ink drawing dried I sketched on the other pad. Holding a long stick, I dipped the end into a bottle of India ink and started to draw. Here are some of the results. I’m thinking of making it into a book. Maybe I’ll reduce them to the size of a cell phone, keep them separate and let people play, making up their own stories about these guys.

Quick Sketch Done Outside my Tent – South Africa

It was hot. I sat under the shade of a tree and watched the red Lechwe watch me.

This is one of six drawings I made while on safari. I find I can only concentrate on one medium. After these drawings, I chose my Canon with a telephoto lens. In my pocket I had a little Canon Elph. This way in a minute I could take photographs when I wanted a more normal perspective.

Lion Camouflage

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The night before we heard the male lion’s roar near camp. I got a glimpse of him in the darkness as he walked by. Early in the morning we went out in a beaten up old dusty green two door Toyota Land Cruiser. Our guide was in the front seat. My husband and I shared the back seat. This lion blended in with the landscape so well that I didn’t see her for about five minutes. I had been looking out in the distance, camera ready, when I looked down right in front of me. There she was, looking straight at me. We had a photo session together, then she quietly stood up and walked away.