Monday, May 30, 2011

A Very Special Dog

I recently spent some time in the Methow Valley of Washington, with the help of the Methow Arts Alliance. What wonderful scenery and so many fruit orchards in that area around Wenatchee. I'll go back in peach season.

I went to Twisp to deliver this painting to my new friend Megan who is a councilor at the elementary school. This is her dog, Snags, who helped her to work with the children.  I think that Snags' snaggle tooth sideways smile helped the kids to feel that being different is still being lovable. Very sadly Snags died recently and Megan asked me to paint her wonderful friend to help her and the kids remember Snags in a happy way.

We also did some art workshops with the kids and got fabulously messy with chalk pastels. It was such an intimate experience helping the kids to draw their own animal friends. Megan and the kids have a new dog - Stellar - and some of the kids made pictures of her during our workshops. I don't know if it helped them with their grief but I do know that we had a lot of fun. I hope to visit again soon.

Last Chance in Sodo

My show at Macrina Bakery headquarters in Sodo was wonderful fun. I got such a positive response and some very touching letters. But I'll take it down tomorrow, Tuesday 31 May. Not to worry! Some of the paintings that didn't sell will be rehung at Macrina in Queen Anne for the month of June. Yay!

Web Site Update!

My talented friend Chris Munson has updated my website for me. You can see it here. It is quite exciting to see so many little pictures of my work gathered together and I still left out many paintings. I think I've been busy!
If you would like to contact Chris for your own exciting web work why not visit his web site.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Dreaming of Blue


As part of my experiments with natural colour sources I planted Indigo and Woad yesterday. Here are Indigo seeds looking like lentils. I think they are the same family or some kind of pea.

Its a bit crazy since they need 75 degrees to germinate and even hotter to grow. But they are sitting beside my gas fire with their little pots wrapped in plastic. I'll feel pleased even if all I manage to do is germinate them

Imagine all the history contained in these seeds! Indigo has been cultivated for centuries and exported around the world. Probably on donkeys and camels and all kinds of wooden sailing ships. Once the intense blue dye was available in Northern Europe it displaced woad as a source of blue. Poor woad farmers! I like to think of all the rich and exotic stories these seeds suggest to me. 

This is woad and I planted it outside since it is more suited to the Seattle climate. I think it can become invasive so it is growing in pots and I won't let it go to seed. It will be fun if it grows well enough to produce blue dye. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


I started a painting of a donkey being ridden by a child yesterday. And remembered that painting people often requires painting the folds of their clothing. Some old masters' studios employed people who painted only clothing, leaving the faces and bodies up to the master or someone else. This was called drapery painting, and is more complex and fascinating than one might think. Art schools used to offer courses in it. I wonder if they still do.

I laughed at this clip from the BBC about the new Frank Gehry building in Manhattan. "Do you know the difference between Michelangelo folds and Bernini folds? Of course!" Well I did not and had to look them up.

Bernini on the left. Michelangelo on the right. I am still not sure I see that Bernini's fold are sharp and Michelangelo's are rounded. But if Frank Gehry says so...

Here's a sneak peak of the donkey painting. First with a large woman wearing black. Next without the woman. But the child is too small... And I need to find a model for an older child to stand behind the donkey. Does anyone have a ten year old kid who will pose for a photo?

More work is needed today. I am also still working on the herd of goats and a couple of other pieces too. Too many ideas and not enough time!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


A little study using an old canvas with lots of texture. It is about 8x10 inches.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Lots of Goats

I'm not sure what direction this painting will take. I wanted a frieze since it is so wide and narrow. I think I'll get rid of the dark parts and add some more goats and maybe some plants. It is three feet wide and quite fun to paint so big.

This is a frieze from the Elgin Marbles.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A New Show!

I have a show at Macrina Bakery in Sodo for the month of May. You'll find it at 1943 First Avenue South in Seattle.

Here are some of the pieces you can see there. They range in price from $350 - $700.
Don't forget to buy some potato bread! And some rosemary raisin buns...