Saturday, November 28, 2009

सम कोलोर फॉर

With finches on my mind I painted this little study showing my new Calicarpa (Beauty Bush) that I love so much. The painting is only 5"x7".
The title of this blog post is turning into some other language as I type it. I wonder what language it is...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

His Eye Is On the Sparrow

I have been working through the stormy weather as the rain blatters against the studio windows and the furniture on the roof deck rumbles around above me in the wind. This is weather for anguish. Weather for heartache. The glowering clouds sometimes part at sunset revealing a bruised sky of such breathtaking beauty it is like a revelation.

I cut some sunflower stalks and brought them into the studio. One is seven feet tall and I keep walking into it by accident, crashing it to the ground in a machine-gun spray of little black seeds and twisted leaves. It's a mess up there.

I have been listening to a church song, though I am not a believer in the comforts of religion. I do believe in music and in nature and in friendships. "His Eye Is On the Sparrow" is about finding solace in a difficult environment.

Why should I feel discouraged, why should the shadows come,
Why should my heart be lonely, and long for heaven and home,
When Jesus is my portion? My constant friend is He:
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;

I sing because I’m happy,
I sing because I’m free,
For His eye is on the sparrow,
And I know He watches me.

Whenever I am tempted, whenever clouds arise,
When songs give place to sighing, when hope within me dies,
I draw the closer to Him, from care He sets me free;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me;
His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me.

You can see the great Mahalia Jackson sing it here.

This painting will be shown at the opening of a new store here in Seattle called "Finch and Sparrow", so I painted the two birds as friends having a conversation in their beautiful surroundings. (There will be an opening party for the store Friday, 27th from 4-8 and you are invited!) I hope that people don't find these dead sunflowers too sad. To me the complexity of the leaves is so much more gorgeous than the simplicity of summer perfection. This is a painting about what is really beautiful. Not sugar - but spice.

(I haven't moved the arbutus mural out of the studio yet and am waiting to do so before I photograph it. I haven't forgotten to post it)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


It isn't raining today! At least not yet. I took this picture this morning looking west at sunrise. The sun was rising behind me and lighting up the whole sky toward the Olympic mountains.

This sky is also in the west but at sunset. It has been a stormy November and I feel inspired to paint some clouds. Such inspiration just by looking up!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Nature's Cocktails

I am going out tonight with some friends to help ward off the gloom of this wet stormy weather. There'll be live music, cheerful conversation and cocktails. But what to order...

maybe something on the rocks with a twist...

or something fruity

or something with bubbles.


The rain tumbles down day after day and storms blow in off the sea. It is November in Seattle, darkening by 4 o'clock but not cold. The streets are wet with puddles that reflect the suddenly bare branches of trees.

The wind comes in gusts.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Someone Needs a Hug

I have noticed some trees with warm sweaters lately, like these in Arizona.

The one on the right from Ohio and the one on the left, which is the Seattle Monorail and not a tree.

This one from a blog I like to read from Sweden.

And this one from my own neighborhood here in Seattle. The world is a cosier place with this public art.

So Perfect

I found myself this morning standing in a busy pet shop talking out loud to a cage full of mice. We were having quite a nice conversation. They were only the size of my thumb and it seemed impossible that they had all the right body parts - whiskers, nostrils, fingers - all so tiny and perfect. I almost came home with some of them...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Baby is Born

Aren't these Norther Flickers gorgeous birds? When they fly you can see that the underside of their wings is bright orange. The female is also in this mural, foraging for food on the ground. I'll show her in a future post.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


During the First World War the muddy battle fields of Europe changed, seemingly overnight, to fields of poppies once the fighting had ceased. Blood red "Papaver rhoeas" thrived in the disturbed soil and became a symbol of lives lost and now of remembrance.

I wear my little plastic poppy with sadness for wars past and present and with hope for a more peaceful future.

(These photos were taken by someone in the Google universe. Thanks.)

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Green Leaves on Silver Leaf

The mural continues. I got a bit bogged down in the many many leaves on the tree and the many many hours it took to paint them. But I have turned the corner and soon will get to the really fun part - painting the berry bushes and finally painting the birds. The weather has made it harder to work too. It is so dark these days. But I turn on all the lights, fire up the heater and turn on my audio book (currently Sarah Vowell). It becomes so cosy in the studio that I can work into the darkness of evening, with the cats curled up beside me. At lease until the kids need dinner. Poor things. They are used to eating at 9pm lately.

These segments are about four feet across and if you click on them you'll see them a little bigger.

Oregon grape and Salal wil grow around the these arbutus trees.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


I almost drove off the road yesterday when I saw these mushrooms.

They are growing in the middle of the city under an evergreen tree. So unexpected. Why aren't there crowds visiting them?

I have only ever seen this kind of mushroom in children's book illustrations. Oh Richard Scarry how I miss you. (I think these are Amanita muscaria, which are either "deadly poisonous" or halucinegenic. Interesting cafe Mr Scarry.)

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mouse Study

I'm still working on my big arbutus mural but took a break to paint this little mouse as a study for an upcoming painting. How strange to work on something measuring twelve feet across and something measuring 5 inches across on the same day.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Autumn Reds

Looking like the inside of a zombie's throat, this is a seed pod of Paeonia obovata, shiny from the Vancouver rain in my parent's garden where we visited yesterday. Earlier today I posted that it was stinking Iris but my Mum has set me right. Thanks Mum! Your garden is full of wonderful things.

My mum has planted Doll's Eyes in her woodland garden. I love them.

Though we don't have many red autumn leaves here on the west coast, there is plenty of scarlet and crimson in the garden.