Saturday, February 27, 2010


This is a portrait of Jerome who belonged to a friend of mine. Jerome was a house rabbit who liked to lie sprawled on the floor like this. I enjoyed painting the falling petals which are echoed in the spots of rabbit fur. I still may add some pea vines for Jerome to eat and to make the setting more like a garden but I think the painting is already quite busy. I'm still considering.

Friday, February 26, 2010


The blog has had a lot of words and not many pictures lately so I'll share with you the view from the sidewalk in front of my house this afternoon. I am painting these blossoms and will post the painting tomorrow, if it goes well. I wonder if my neighbor saw me snip a little twig and steal away with it. It was small. Really.

When Isobel was a small baby lying in her stroller I would take her outside under a tree like this and slowly turn the stroller in circles so all she could see were the blossoms swirling above her. She is sixteen now but I made her stand under a tree like this the other day, look up and turn slowly around. Poor kid.

Ok Mum. I know you're reading this. Are these plums or cherries? I am thinking plums.

Update: My Mum says that cherries and plums are the same genus (Prunus) so it is hard to tell them apart. Wikipedia says "The name 'cherry' may also be applied to many other members of the genus Prunus. The fruits of many of these are not cherries, and have other common names, including plum, apricot, peach, and others."

Maybe I will call these ones "ch-ums". They are all over the neighborhood and are turning it into a wonderland.

बरस अरे गुड Too

While I am delighted to be showing at so many really good coffee shops this year I have also entered my work in an open call at Grey Gallery, which is actually a bar and one of my favorites. They have comfy seats, great drinks and some wonderful wall space for art.

Here is the blog site for the competion they are holding. There are lots of entries and it is fun to look through them all. If you scroll waaay down to #27 you can see my work and leave a comment. They are hoping for feedback from the public. Put in a good word for your favorites and enjoy the art!

You will see that my work is very different than the rest. Hmmm. There is a vibrant realist/pop surealist movement here in Seattle but I am not seeing evidence of it here. Perhaps my work is too quiet, intimate, for a bar setting? What do you think? My work has thoughtful meaning, as I explain on this blog, but with a casual glance it might seem simply pretty?

By the way, my blog titles keep being translated into Hindi. I have decided to embrace it. This one says "Bars Are Good Too"

Sunday, February 14, 2010


My calendar is filling up with some wonderful things this year and I am feeling pretty great about life and art. So far, probably because the weather is so warm, I haven't even been stricken with the usual winter blues. This is a good thing since I will need a little positive energy to make enough paintings for the four Seattle coffee shop shows I have booked this year. Here's the schedule:

April - Fuel Coffee in Montlake
May - Fuel Coffee on Capitol Hill
July - Fuel Coffee in Wallingford
September/October - Fiore Coffee in Queen Anne

I have decided that I like showing in coffee shops rather than galleries! Coffee shops don't usually take a commission so I can keep my prices low. Galleries charge a 50% commission and provide support and advertising in return. I seem to have enough support and a wonderful mailing list so I am doing it on my own. It feels a little subversive.(This blog is a big part of my support system and I value the friends and comments it brings me) I also like the intimate atmosphere of coffe shops. My paintings are about intimacy so it feels right. I conduct all the sales myself which means that I get to meet some wonderfully sweet customers. Besides this is coffee-land. For now I will take my art with a tall skinny double latte, extra foam.


I am excited by some upcoming lectures in Seattle this spring. There is a wonderful art history series at the Frye Museum by Rebecca Albiani who shows great slides and seems to have a boundless amount of information in her head. Both her series are sold out but I always show up at the door and buy a ticket on the spot. I just saw her speak about the mosaics of Ravenna and it was marvelous. The next in the series in a lecture on Van Gogh on March 11. I am looking forward to her series on Vermeer which starts on Feb 24th. I hope they can find me a seat.

I have never been to any of the events offered by Gage Academy but I just filled up my calendar with tempting lectures there. Tomorrow, 21 Feb, is one in a series about color looking at Impressionism. The following Monday will be color and Picasso/Matisse. Since I am unfamiliar with this venue I think I'll call them first to make sure they have room for me.

I have been wondering lately if I should be living in the suburbs so that I have more gardening space but when I get excited about events like these I remember why I like living in the city. Last week I popped out to Rebecca's lecture and popped back in time to make dinner for my kids. City living is great!

Friday, February 12, 2010


My cat Opal turned out to be a good model for this painting of quiet contemplation. (She is actually quite manic but I have calmed her down here). As I mentioned in the previous post I had difficulty painting only the dormant hydrangea and hibiscus plants while my garden is actually erupting with bulbs and fat furry blossom buds. It is such an early spring here but I wanted this painting to be about that earlier time of year when perennials and shrubs are dormant, invisible or apparently dead. There is such peace in dormancy. I have painted that feeling I get when I watch the sun set and I feel completely alone with the sky. I am not achieving anything tangible. I am not engaging or performing or displaying myself in any way. I feel peaceful and dormant but so happy.

I was going to call this painting "Sweet Silent Thought" after Shakespeare's Sonnet number 30 but I don't like how he says that in times of quiet contemplation he realizes that his life has sucked and only love can rescue him from his misery. My painting is much more positive than that.

When to the sessions of sweet silent thought
I summon up remembrance of things past,
I sigh the lack of many a thing I sought,
And with old woes new wail my dear time's waste:
Then can I drown an eye, unused to flow,
For precious friends hid in death's dateless night,
And weep afresh love's long since cancell'd woe,
And moan the expense of many a vanish'd sight:
Then can I grieve at grievances foregone,
And heavily from woe to woe tell o'er
The sad account of fore-bemoaned moan,
Which I new pay as if not paid before.
But if the while I think on thee, dear friend,
All losses are restored and sorrows end.

Sorry William. I will call it something else...but what?

Friday, February 5, 2010

Mouse or Cat

This painting, barely started, is only 12 inches wide. A much smaller scale than my last four foot winter scene. My garden is full of dead plants that have such wonderful shapes and textures like this hydrangea and I want to capture some of them even though I am being tempted by new spring flowers already. The helebores, snowdrops and daphnes are blooming but I will try not to be distracted until this new one is finished.

I put a little mouse watching the sunset but I think I might change her to a cat, using Opal as my model. I find it very hard to imagine the anatomy of an animal and get more satisfying results working from observation.

Spring is strangely early this year. It's nice but odd.


I added some shadows to the snow which was fun. I will hang this painting at Finch and Sparrow in Fremont if you would like to visit it. (or buy it!)

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Almost Finished

It's almost finished. I still need to add some snowberry leaves and some more dogwood twigs.

I usually wait for my last painting day to add the whiskers but couldn't resist this time. So much fun to put in the finishing touches. The snowy ground was also nice to paint, especially since we haven't had a flake here this winter. I worked from photos I took last winter.

I hope to finish up today but I will be at the Garden Show this afternoon so I'd better get up to the studio this morning.