Tuesday, October 27, 2020


I've had quite a few folks comment about my ability to paint these last few months. Comments about how world events have them worried, anxious, sad and angry. 

As if I'm not feeling any of these same emotions. 

Most days, in the small space that I inhabit, I wake up, check the news of the morning, email and messages. I wonder if I should go back to bed. After bargaining with myself, I go from my bed to my kitchen where I make a cup of tea and think about what needs to be done for the day. Then I go back to my bed (which also serves as a couch) and grab whatever book I've been reading. 

I've been trying to learn from the artists who've gone before me. How did they get through pandemics, world wars, desperate times and horrible leaders? What did they do to survive? How were they still able to paint, to love, to exist?

They did their work.
They loved.
They existed. 

So, with that tucked under my bathrobe belt, I go to my easel. 

I put my earphones in and I listen to artists talk or talks about artists. I rarely listen to music while I paint as I don't want the lyrics to influence me (or get stuck in my head.) I'll allow other painters' voices in, for some reason. (Perhaps it's because I've grown to think of them as working companions.)

I'll pick up my brush or painting knife and start adding a color. From there, I settle on a palette and start covering the page, doing the work, trying to survive the day.

 "It is thanks to my evening reading alone that I am still more or less sane." -W.G. Sebald

Friday, October 23, 2020


For the past few months now, I've been trying to work in new ways. In the past, I haven't felt comfortable working in multiple journals. Now, as I explore a (new to me) way of working, I want to start fresh. 

In an effort to try to push myself out of my comfort zone, to try to get more work done, and to keep my hands moving, I'm exploring working in two journals at a time. 

Both are journals that I made. I have the smaller book with an already painted cover that I made and loved from months ago (more on that later.) For the larger journal, I started by working on the cover as I usually do. Working small has always been more challenging to me than working large. It's even more challenging when trying to work small while standing at an easel!

I'm working page by page, back and forth between the two books. I'm not dating the pages individually like I usually do. (I plan on either dating the inside cover when I began and when I finish or I'll date the first and last page.)

The new work has been challenging but I'm trying to remember that it should be that way. It shouldn't be easy. 

I've been reading a lot of books about artists from the past as well as listening to podcasts and people talk about art. Jenny Saville called it, "working with a companion artist." It feels a little less lonely when you know that others have felt the same way staring at a blank substrate. 


Supplies used:

Journal I made from hardcover book and 100 lb Accent Opaque cardstock size 13 1/4 x 20" opened

Acrylics: Holbein, Sennelier, Utrecht and Golden

Stabilo Aquarellable black pencil

Painting knives 


Princeton Catalyst Tools

Looking at: Cezanne 

Wednesday, October 21, 2020


My preferred way of working for many years has been one journal, one page at a time... In an effort to push myself, I'm trying something new (to me.) More soon....

Friday, October 16, 2020

Care to Join Me?


Painter Bill Koeb is offering a two hour paint demo on using a limited palette on October 24th at 1 pm EDT. Anyone interested in watching with me and discussing work? 

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

"I am with Cezanne"

I started reading Alex Danchev's Cezanne a Life. My sagging shelves prove that I'm forever seeking juicy art biographies or monographs. Over the last few years I've focused on picking up books about artists whose work I'm not very familiar with.  I'm very lucky to have built up a small library of art books at my disposal. 

Cezanne has a reputation for being a curmudgeon but the man gave his life over to painting (thanks to his father who left him a small fortune.) Painting was his work and his life. 

Here's a quote from a conversation with Vollard in 1896.

"Painting certainly means more to me than everything else in the world. I think my mind becomes clearer when I am in the presence of nature. Unfortunately, the realization of my sensations is always a very painful process with me. I can't seem to express the intensity which beats in upon my senses. I haven't at my command the magnificent richness of color which enlivens Nature...Look at that cloud; I should like to be able to paint that! Monet could. He had muscle."

Have you read any artist bios or monographs recently that you'd recommend?

Monday, October 12, 2020

Unexpected Places

Each mark, each stroke, each color sets us down a certain path. It's all a part of the journey even when we end up in new and unexpected places.

Monday, October 05, 2020


"I trust the symbol that is arrived at in the making of the painting. Meaningful symbols aren't invented as such, they are made or discovered as symbol later."-Richard Diebenkorn 

The above images are all from the same piece at different stages. I add a layer and remove a layer trying to unearth something new. 

Friday, October 02, 2020

Working with a Companion Artist

I've been listening to my new favorite podcast, A Brush With. It's the kind of podcast that one can listen to on repeat as they work. You glean little tidbits. (Some of us write them down right on top of our drawing board!)

The episode with Jenny Saville has been on a loop the last couple of days. One of my favorite things that she suggested is that one work with, "a companion artist." In other words, look to the artists of the past and learn from them. 

Chantal Joffe mentioned Maria Lassnig in her interview. So, I pulled her book, The Pen is the Sister of the Brush, off of my shelves.
I've decided to take Saville's words to heart. Before I begin my work, I'm going to select an artist and try to read something from them before I begin as part of my practice. I'll also look at their work and try to see what I can learn from them. 

This is something that artists over the years have done. I've done it myself over the years (Van Gogh, Kahlo, Diebenkorn, O'Keeffe, Gorky, Cezanne, etc...) I just really liked how Saville worded it, "work with a companion artist." I thought you might enjoy it, too.

Lassnig and I are off to work now. More soon...