One Rooster, Two Pictures

pen and w/c sketch

It’s always fun to see the sketch alongside the photo of the subject. You get to see what I had time to include (while standing and being jostled in the narrow aisles) and what got left out.

Today I had a wonderful tutorial with my friend Suzanne Edminster on how to go from the art to blog posting, all on the iPhone!  Wonders never cease.  Now I’m really armed for travel sketching!  Thank you Suzanne.


Ready for the Red Carpet

Since I took my Party Chick paintings over for the show at Corrick’s Gallery in Santa Rosa I’ve been missing them.  And luckily a new flock flew into my studio just in time for the Academy Awards tonight.  I wonder what the fashion critics will have to say about their sense of style!


#1 – Acrylic and “skins” on canvas, 12″ X 12″

I do hope you’ll help me with names!  I haven’t gotten that far yet and could definitely use ideas.







And of course they would love it if you pretended you were an Academy member and voted for your favorite!

Happy Valentines

handcaressinginks, gesso, collage, pen drawing, feathers and lace texture transfer on w/c paper, 10 X 11″

Love is leaning against your leg all folded up like a new born calf, soft and subtle and strong as your hands say SAFE.

This one for my valentine and for the men and women lovers in the world.  As I posted this image I realized its connection to the One Billion Rising action today, asserting that our world must stop the violence commited against the one billion women of the planet (one in every 3).  I pray for all women to be able to experience the loving care of men like my husband.  And tonight I will dance with women all around the world in a V-day rising up and demanding an end to this violence against women.

On the art side of this. . .another experiment in relationship collage done in the Muse Groups.  I started out with a quick sketch copy in my hand of a Picasso line drawing.  Ending with the downy inner feathers of a chicken of mine that was taken off by two marauding dogs this week.

Another sad chicken story.  The dogs got two more of my chickens and injured yet two more who are now safe and recovering.  Violence in the animal world as well.

The Heart Trails of ARTrails

Oct. 13, 10am and ready for visitors

The signs have been taken down, the studio transformed from gallery showroom to painting studio and classroom, and the stories of the past two weekends  keep floating up from a richly aromatic memory stew.

There was the young man who proudly sported a hawk feather in his cap, added to his bright green t-shirt, making him look like a modern day Robin Hood.  As he gazed at all my bird paintings and nest collection he shared his story of discovering a fully intact but dead, red tailed hawk at road side.  A native American man appeared and let him participate in the ceremony of honoring the bird and harvesting the feathers for a ceremonial headress.  The magic of those moments for this young man in his coming-of-manhood years rested like a blessing on my studio.

One visitor, a woman who had moved to Costa Rica in her retirement said that she treated herself to a trip back to Sonoma Co. each year during the ARTrails season in order to get her art fix for the year, since she had not found a similarly dynamic art culture in her new home.  She spent quite a while in my studio, took pictures in the garden, and bought my book, Conversations With the Muse, hoping to take it back home with her and find others who would do summon the creative Muse with her.

At one point there was a steady stream of people coming in my door until they were shoulder to shoulder and I was suddenly breathless.  I asked if they had come on a bus together.  One of them explained that they were an extended family, enjoying their annual reunion by driving a caravan of cars to ARTrails studios!

Then there was the couple who stood a long time gazing at my painting Because the World Needs Angels and finally decided to buy a print of it for their home.  But when they spoke to me of their wishes, a torrent of feeling was released that left both them and myself in tears.  The painting was part of the healing they needed following a year of intense family loss. There’s something about this painting. . .a kind of reassurance that even when our loved ones cross over, their spirit will still be accessible to us.  I’m thinking I’ll hang it across from the chair where my 93 year old mother sits each day pondering the gifts of the end of life.

Of course it’s always interesting to see who buys the art.  A little girl in pink is the proud owner of Jester Bird, a pink painting from the Party Chick series, which her mother bought for her.  And an older couple on a fixed income bought Entwined on layaway because it illustrated the creative source for them. A pregnant woman picked my Mother Hen painting from the bin, and her mother bought it for her. It’s a very gentle, serene image of a hen and chicks, not my typical cocky rooster or jazzy party chick painting.

And then there was the lady who had brought her friend and stayed for a while, looking through my books and visiting and planning to come paint with me.  The following day she showed up again bearing a gratitude gift bag of sweet cherry tomatoes and succulent raspberries from her garden, sprinkled with flower blossoms and chocolates-just what I needed to sustain me for the last few hours of the open studio.

On the last day, in the final two hours of open studios a cool wind blew up heralding our first real rain of the season, which left a glistening freshness to everything by the next morning.  I’m left with a feeling of sweet serendipity about this open studio and  gratitude for the way that viewers give my art new life again and again.  Thanks to those of you who are among them.

Some of the paintings I’ve mentioned here are in my online gallery if you want to see them.

Origins of Flight

“Origins of Flight”, acrylic, collage on canvas, 24″X24″

It started out with wanting to build a nest. Why should only the birds be allowed to do this?  I collected materials, even tried weaving my own with dried grasses and other plant materials.  They fell apart.  I didn’t have the DNA for it.

But painting is what I do. So I took my two dimensional surface and started with powdered graphite, collage and image transfer and then the color starting working its way in, and now many days later, the fledgelings are ready to fly.

Next week I’ll be hanging this painting and a multitude of other for the ARTrails open studio art sale.  Hope you can come by for a visit, Oct. 13, 14, 20, and 21, 10am-5pm.  You’ll find me on the map, Studio #68 (download here).

View From Under

(transcribed from scribble writing in the journal balanced on the belly under the sycamore)

Gazing up through leaves half gold, half green, I lie half prone, half sitting, half at rest, half in motion, half at peace and half in agitation. For what can one do with only a half?

The day before my leg surgery (vascular)last Friday I packed a box with art supplies, sketchbooks, journals, paints, pens, etc and made a nest of pillows and electronics on the living room sofa, with piles of books to read and listen to on CD, videos to watch, not to mention all those wonderful free online videos.  All this bribery seemed necessary to keep me still and prone for a week so my leg would heal.

Prone.  I thought of Frida Kahlo making art history while she painted for months while prone in her sickbed.  After I’d spilled the contents of a couple of meals, lovingly prepared and served to me by my husband, down my front while trying to balance a tray on my belly, my esteem for Kahlo soared and my sketchbooks remained untouched.

Today, Day 7 after surgery.  Last day to lie low and then emerge slowly, like a butterfly carefully drying its wings before take off. A hummingbird perches directly overhead making tiny cheap cheap murmurs just audible over the fountain’s gurgles.  For a moment I drop the trying to sit half and lie fully under the blanket of what’s above.  The swoop dancing play of a pair of hummingbirds now, the purple finch at the feeder.  The goldfinches bathing and drinking at the fountain where yesterday they came and perched while I took a moment to fill it with water.  Less than a foot from my face, for all of 30 seconds of wild eye to eye exchange of. . .what could it be but mutual gratitude?

And now that I’m “up” for the few moments at a time I’m allowed, I can stop and have a conversation with my chicks, always willing to direct that round eyed sharp beaked stare at me, or to send feathers flying as they flap over to me in hopes of a treat.

Why, from this upward viewing spot beneath the tree I can almost begin to catch snippets of bird dialogue.  I am utterly enthralled and must accept that here in midday Friday the world is quite complete with hardly an ounce of activity from me.

A Dreamer on a Walk

crinkled masa paper, sumi collage, inks on w/c paper

she’s a dreamer on a walk
and always the birds
and the wondering
the movement at her feet
a nest of quail so careless
to build a home so low
she will be their protector
but how
how to secure life
without smothering it
how to let it be free
and still safe

I have a baby chick who is not well. I even lost sleep over it last night I think. Kept picturing its eyes half closed, so still, and me the only creature to keep it safe and well, but how?  It’s a bit better today, but I will take no credit for this.  Time is what’s needed and a safe place.

These concerns always work their way into the art.  This piece was a demo in last weekend’s SAturday Muse Group where we worked with crinkled Masa paper, painting onto its damp surface and later using it for collage over the first piece.

Songs for the Oceans and Skies

Photo Booth self portrait with collage and acrylic, 10 X 11″

cheep, cheep, cheep advice
cheep, cheep, cheep tricks
grab a fishphone and join the chorus!

let the chickies show you how it’s done
make fish eyes at the audience
open your beak wide
and turn the volume up high

your song is for the oceans and the skies
and everyone is listening

If your studio or office were surrounded with chicks, chickens and other feathered friends, you might start wanting to sing too. Maybe this is how singers get their start?

Cheep, Cheep

Andrew with our new baby chick

Oh, the bliss of baby chicks!  It’s been a couple of years since we introduced some new members into our flock.  Nighttime predators had reduced their numbers to only two and Bob started complaining about the paucity of eggs.  So with Andrew at home to help socialize the babies (which he’s quite well suited for) we decided to go chick shopping today.

Now my studio is filled once again with cheep cheeping.  We brought home a Silver Laced Wyandotte, and pairs of two breeds we haven’t had before – Delawares (like the one above) and Speckled Sussex – 5 total (though I may add a couple more tomorrow).  They are about 2 days old and so sweet – happy to be held and snuggle into your palm or folds of clothing and fall asleep instantly.