Spring Collection 2020
This current collection of painting/collage art is derived, in part, from my frequent walks around the island as I get up, don my mask and move--so needed after the hours of sheltering in place. I am struck, as I walk along, by the diverse beauty of trees in all stages of flowering; the bright and braggadocious tulips; and the other splendid greens of spring. Added commentary for each work will allow me to place it in a more specific context and give the viewer another means to connect with my art.
Soon it's Gonna Rain 17"x14" acrylic/collage on over-marbled scientific illustration NFS
The title comes from the 1960's musical The Fantastiks, a favorite of Beth's and mine. This overarching tree a made-to-order shelter in a time of need. Painted in honor of Beth's 75th birthday on April 10.
Home Sweet Home 23"x 15" Acrylic/collage on marbled shoji paper
My childhood home, in Santa Rosa, California was built in an established apple orchard in 1947, I loved climbing in our Gravenstein apple tree, (especially to get high off the ground) and pick the fruit for pies and apple sauce. On one of my daily walks this week I saw the characteristic bark and branching of an old apple tree. It tugged at my heart. My real love of trees began with the apple tree from my boyhood. This painting expresses my gratitude for the bounty and safety it embodied.
Gli Ucelli, 19" x 13" acrylic/collage on marbled paper
Where to begin? I am counting on staying close to nature these days. Constantly reminded of my childhood, playing outdoors--at the creek, in the fields and orchards; hiking through the coastal foothills of Northern California. There were few if any boundaries that prevented a total immersion into my surroundings. Robins were fellow-seekers. They move me to paint their enduring presence.
Easter Tulips 15 1/2" x 15 1/2" acrylic/collage on marbled paper
Mouth watering tangerine,
Burgundy.... all came out for a celebratory day
in the sun.
Remains of the Day 26" x 19" acrylic/collage on marbled paper
This spring brought one of the most beautiful tulip gardens, ever, in our yard. As March days passed I tracked the tulips' development from--tiny, emergent green tips; broadening to clusters of leaves and a singular stalk; to the thickening and opening of each singular bud. The waiting time, well spent. In this painting I wanted to show the tulip's triumph, sounded almost as a musical chord expressed in color. It is painted as an ensemble with the surrounding greens playing an essential, supporting part.
Once they finish blooming I shall move ahead--do some weeding and set my sights on the Japanese iris and peonies that are next to bloom.
The remains of the day keep changing and so will I.
Sunrise at Hummel Lake 20" x 13" acrylic/collage on marbled paper
A decade ago I painted plein air with Tom Hoffman for one week on San Juan Island. The week-long experience--painting on farmland; at the shore; on bluffs; or in the barnyard (with insects, farm animals and salty air all mixed together) kept me enthused and painting each and every day. Today I am home, painting in my living room--not making forays out unnecessarily. This scene from my stay on San Juan Island of trees and water reflections brings me right into the flow, its movement and vibrancy filling my cup and bringing the past into the present.
Cattails and Maple Trees
Sperry Pond, Watertown Connecticut
19"x 14" acrylic /collage on marbled paper
Actually the original canvas was a watercolor of two chipmunks that I painted in 1998 during my year's
study of scientific illustration at the University of Washington. The critique from my professor encouraged
me to "go back and saturate the colors of the chipmunks. They're too pale."
Well ... after all these years I came to a different conclusion. I would pass on his suggestion. Instead I would paint a landscape over it. I turned it upside down and began--an interpretation of a 1982 calendar photo, saved in my album. Hence, another way of bringing the past forward.
White Rose 16" x 14 1/2" acrylic/collage
In November of last year I photographed the last of the roses in my yard. The subtle transition of pastel pinks, to soft yellow, green and white on its petals is something I gazed at and wondered--how will I ever capture this delicate coloration?
My hand and eye then, an industry unto themselves, took over. Put down a color, glaze over it. Add peeled paint for the eye to touch and so on. I reached a "sticking point" (inevitable) and paused...
Such is life.
Chintz Vase and Bouquet 19" x 13" acrylic/collage on marbled paper
Nothing brings me more delight than a fresh flower arrangement for our dining table and to imagine one
painted on one of my wonderful marbled papers keeps me growing and evolving as an artist. Bringing the outdoors in--as a painting--requires constant observation and appreciation of the diversity of the plant world. That becomes my cup of tea.
There are No Minor Players 26"x 19" acrylic/collage on marbled shoji paper
Watching the new growth of sword ferns unfurl can't be beat. I have studied and drawn it as a scientific illustration where, accuracy and exactitude are required to replicate all that is observed. Getting the outward form just right.
Well, now I'm seeking something beyond that genre. Here I want to open up to the "heady" way of it all, the spilling out of the uncoiling fronds. I am pushed off center. A kind of disequilibrium. Satisfying nonetheless.
Meadow Muse 20" x 14 1/2" acrylic/collage on marbled paper
Hike with me to a grassy meadow and sit amidst sprays of wild flowers. Listen as bird whistle calls from adjacent woods and feel a warm-scented breeze tucking in and around you. This scene grew from two sources: first-a piece of yellow and lime green marbled paper and second-a recollection of one of Elizabeth Mowry's ethereal landscapes. My aim: to fall into this dream and paint my way out of it.
Plum Blossoms 16' x 11" acrylic/collage on birch board
Blossoming plum and cherry trees are to be seen everywhere as I walk the byways and streets of Bainbridge Island. I stop to soak in their goodness-delicate white and/or pink five-petalled flowers, lace-like or fluffy cloud-like canopies which draw my eyes upward to the entirety of their branches cutting into the blue sky. I'm made whole in this moment. Enjoy a bit of Pacific NW landscape as I experience it. Sending along my thoughts for a peaceful and healthful day ahead.
Brewer's Blackbird- 8" in diameter acrylic/collage on handmade, marbled paper
Craig and Lois Johnson's Puget Sound Birds and Habitat features gorgeous photos of forest, field and water birds. I referenced one of them (for my painting) of a male Brewer's Blackbird taken on Whidbey Island at Eby's landing. A wonderful place to hike along a prairie habitat.
Wallace Stevens poem- 13 Ways of Looking at a Blackbird, verse V:
I don't know which I prefer
The beauty of inflections
Or the beauty of innuendos,
The bird whistling
Or just after.
Beth 26 x 20, acrylic/collage on marbled paper
In the summer of 1993 Beth flew to Morelia, Mexico where I was doing a month's homestay and studying Spanish at the Instituto de Idiomas. We celebrated our wedding anniversary there with my new friends and then traveled by bus to Patzcuaro to visit the site of the Monarch butterfly migration. The vibrant palette of my marbled paper gave me the chance to express Beth's exuberance as we traveled together.
Haven't You Noticed 18 x 18 Acrylic/collage on marbled paper
Just around the corner and down the road, here on Bainbridge Island, there is chicken coop with a single rooster and a flock of hens, all black. When they are out of the coop they have a large tree-shaded lot to roam. As a child growing up around farms in Santa Rosa, California my Nanna would ask my older brother and me to go collect eggs from the chicken coop, inside the barn. It took a while for me to have the courage to forage in a hen's nest for an egg when all the scurrying about of clucking hens made me very anxious. Eggs aside, I find chickens' inimitable sounds, movements and coloration worthy of my interest.