March 30, 2013

Van Gogh's color of the sun

8 x 8, oil on canvas
Today is the 160th anniversary of Van Gogh's birthday - 
What day could be more perfect for color intensity, vibrancy, and yellow chi?

"How lovely yellow is.
It stands for the sun."
Vincent Van Gogh

March 26, 2013

A Spring Tea

10 x 10 , oil on canvas
My calendar has spring written all over it, 
and yet outside my window is a swirling snow globe! 
Fabulously fickle March.
Perfect for pale, soft colors
and a cup of tea.

"Drink your tea slowly and reverently,
as if it is the axis 
on which the world earth revolves-
without rushing toward the future."
Thich Nat Hahn

March 23, 2013


~Just wanted to share a couple of little discoveries. A few months ago I found these KOI BRUSH pens for value sketching.  OH MY. They are the coolest ever, do not bleed through regular sketchbook paper like every other pen I have tried, and are less messy than charcoal or pencil. I was immediately  hooked.

(birthday girl)
~So that discovery led me to seek out their pocket field study sets in watercolor. Below you can see how small they are (pocket or purse size, for sure) but my favorite feature is the brush-pen that holds water - surprisingly enough water to complete the three studies below with plenty of water to spare!  Admittedly it has been years since I played with watercolor, so this is probably old news to most - but I wanted to share in case anyone else is looking. They may just be the perfect exercise in zen for children of all ages! And perfect for traveling light! 

~And...years ago when I painted in watercolor,  I studied with artist Judi Betts (Click on her name to see her work and read an interview) who approaches life as one wonderful discovery after another, seeing creative possibility in all situations. I thought of her when I bought the little watercolor set because she keeps The Most Inspiring Sketchbooks that are beautifully rendered diaries of her thoughts, her day, her travels, even her dinner! In fact her creative spirit and sketchbooks were my original inspiration to start collecting quotes. The personification of joy, she is an excellent teacher who generously shares her energy and spirit. 

~And below are a few watercolor sketches inspired by beloved family photos (my latest obsession).

"A photograph to me is always a reminder of how the person was on a certain day
 in that certain light fixed. 
When I look at a watercolor of that same person, it seems to me alive, 
more open than a photograph."
Francesco Clemente

March 19, 2013

push pull

9 x 12, oil on canvas

Ever "coax" spring branches? I think bare limbs in old jars are lovely just as they are, but if you choose to invite early budding, here is how it is done: Cut stems 12-24 inches in length (depending on the height of your container) cutting at an angle. Then split the ends (or slightly crush with a hammer) to allow for more water intake. Place them in a solution of warm water, floral preservative (or lemon lime soda) and a spritz of bleach (to kill the bacteria). They should be placed in a room with minimal indirect light until the blooms start to appear. Easiest to coax where I live are forsythia, flowering quince, redbuds and any flowering trees like cherry, apple and pear or tulip tree. The buds started appearing after only a few days!

"The artist is the confidant of nature,
flowers carry on dialogues with him 
through the graceful bending of their stems 
and the harmoniously tinted nuances of their blossoms. 
Every flower has a cordial word which nature directs towards him."
Auguste Rodin

March 16, 2013

fine, thanks, anjou?

6x12, oil on canvas

"She turned to the sunlight
And shook her yellow head,
And whispered to her neighbor:
"Winter is dead."
A.A. Milne

March 12, 2013

green day

9x12, oil on linen

"The world is full of magical things
waiting for our senses to grow sharper."
W.B. Yeats

March 8, 2013

slivers of white

6 x 8, oil on canvas

"How could I put everything down on paper?
It seemed impossible.
No matter what, the majority of life would be left out of this story,
this sliver of a version of the life I'd known."
Dave Eggers

March 3, 2013

beet red

6 x 12, oil on linen

"Most of our childhood is stored not in photos, 
but in certain biscuits,
lights of day,
textures of carpet..."
Alain de Botton