Sunday, October 21, 2012


A mural commission for a cancer hospital. The request is for a tree of life, using gold leaf and these are details of the beginnings. I am trying to imagine being a patient, signing in at the front desk where this will be hung, and what would I want to see? Probably not this bear who ended up looking so wise but so sad. I'll try to cheer her up. Maybe I can make her look wise and happy. There are tricks to change facial expression like lowering her eyebrows and raising her cheeks to scrunch her eyes shut a little, which happens when we smile. She looks sad because her eyes are too open.

Should I cram as much life as possible into a crazy rococo cornucopia? This image will have to be structured and quietened for it to bring solace to anyone. Somewhere between the mania of this riot and the introspection of the solitary bear detail I hope to find a life affirming image. I have a lot more work to do. 

Friday, October 12, 2012

Cherry Tomatoes on the Roof Deck

I have signed up for the 30 Day Art Challenge here in Seattle. I have 30 8x10 canvas boards and am supposed to deliver 30 pieces of art at the end of the month. There will be an exhibition at the Toshiro Kaplan building in early December. Normally the "painting a day" concept isn't right for me as I prefer to take care and time to make a piece of art. But I am experimenting with more spontaneous media like pen and ink to see what happens. It suits painting en plein air too, which these were. I squeezed the last drops of summer sunshine out of the day on the studio roof deck yesterday - and today the rains have begun.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Cloudy Day on the Farm

I'm not sure what crop is under the white fabric. I'm guessing that it is being protected from bugs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Mixed Farming

From left to right there is red lettuce, baby green lettuce, French chard, rainbow chard and kale.

Mixed agriculture is very decorative. But of course it is beneficial for the environment  - important for bees and in the natural control of pests and soil management. I just watched "Queen of the Sun" - a documentary about the state of bees around the world. The aerial footage of 600,000 acres of monoculture almond farms in California were sickening. Bees are shipped in from far and wide in blossom season and then shipped out again. They cannot survive after the blossoms die since there is nothing else to eat. It's really a wasteland. I don't feel very good about buying almonds any more.

Poplar trees were planted by long ago farmers as wind breaks and are usually found in rows. This one is missing its partners.

Old Giants

A sunny morning at Local Roots Farm. The giant stump was shaded by its neighboring tree. The plowed field and hills in the background were in bright sun. By the time I finished this painting the sun had reached around to light the stump. My friend Tina brought me a picnic lunch and took these pictures of me for scale. 

I am standing upright in this picture. The grasses were six feet tall. And the blackberries were scratchy. Yes, I'm a tree hugger.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Monday, October 1, 2012

Local Roots Pen and Ink

A pen and ink of Local Roots Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley - very much inspired by Van Gogh's drawings - even the dots in the sky.