Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Though this is a blog about the paintings I make of my garden I want to mention the withdrawal of American combat troops from Iraq today. 100,000 Iraqi civilians have died so far in this shameful war. More than 4400 American troops will also never come home. As I sit and paint in my quiet studio pretty pictures of my own emotional ups and downs I know how lucky I am to have the peace and safety to do so. A salaam waleikum to all the people in Iraq. I wish and worry for a more peaceful future.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Usually, when I paint a landscape, I inhabit it with some small creature - a bunny, a mouse, or a weasel. This landscape though is a picture of absence.

Or at least that is how it started. As I painted this piece of gravelled ground, inspired by the alley outside my studio door, I found that what appeared to be an empty space was in fact filled with beauty and complexity. Each trampled blade of grass casts its own shadow. Each speck of gravel catches the light.

The flowers I added are from Ophelia's 'crazy' speech known as Ophelia's garland. Rosemary, pansies, fennel, columbines, daisies and, of course, rue.

This painting is oil on clay board and measures twelve inches square.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


The peaches are ripe! These two are having a snuggle. You can see how they looked a couple of months ago here.

This little study is oil on birch panel and measures 6"x8".

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Gallery Show

These three paintings will be shown at Woodside Braseth Gallery in Seattle with an opening on Thursday, 12th August from 5:30 - 8:30. Why not drop by and say hello! Here is the gallery link.

Time Flies

Why does it feel good to fly through the sky on a swing? The world blurs
past so quickly that I feel freed from responsibility. I can't stop and
rescue a worm. I can't water the plants. I can't worry about what my
children are eating. Or about whether the rest of the world has enough food, peace, safety. I just fly.
Freedom from interaction with the world. Freedom from responsibility. This sort of freedom is necessarily temporary, but sweet because of its brevity. Just like childhood.

This is also a painting about the speed of life passing - living, flowering,
dying. This painting is called 'Time Flies' or more traditionally 'Tempus
Fugit'. Maybe being on a swing takes away the sting of mortality.

I used my daughter Isobel as a model for this since swings are often part of childhood. I remember teaching her to use them when she was very small. Such a shame that swings on playgrounds now have those uncomfortable, but safe, soft seats. The flowers are hollyhocks which also evoke memories of my childhood in Canada and Britain.
The painting measures 18"x36" and is oil on clayboard.