Thursday, June 12, 2008


My favorite spot at my mother's house is the back porch. A trellis supports wysteria vines that completely surround and roof the patio. We can sit out there and read and talk, oblivious to the fact that it is 85 degrees and humid. In fact, I don't want to leave the porch for painting, so here you have my view from under the trellis.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mentor, OH

Rick and his mom have gone out to visit a garden. I sneak out the back with my paints and a chair, and notice again the pattern of sun on the meadow next door. This time I include a different tree at the edge of the woods.
The colors feel more natural today. I wonder if painting is like writing. You write every day, whether it feels difficult or effortless. On the difficult days you find, on later reading, that the writing is just as good as on the effortless days. The experience of the writer doesn’t translate into quality. (However you might debate this point, it’s been my experience, and that of many professionals.)
Is this true of painting? I imagine it depends on whether the difficulty of the process changes your behavior. Do you hurry through the painting on a difficult day? Do you go with your first choice of color, instead of second-guessing your choice? Do you put down shapes too simplistically?
Today is an automatic painting day, and I enjoy it, never mind the results.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Lake Erie, OH

We have come to the beach to swim. There is the usual chop and steep break at the shoreline, and a brisk wind is blowing up the beach. The water is cold. Even the kids who have come to swim are popping out after just a few minutes. The temperature on the beach is pleasant, at least ten degrees cooler than at Mom’s house. I wish we could stay here for the afternoon, but we haven’t brought any lunch with us.
Casting around for painting subjects, I am once again attracted to the line of trees along the right-hand shore. The cottonwoods stand forward here. A line of cumulus clouds is stacking against the shore, a sign of the thunderstorm expected tonight.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Cleveland, OH

Rick’s mom’s house is set on a lovely wooded lot, with lots of maples in the backyard. I’m particularly attracted to the line of trees that border the meadow next door. Golden-green grasses show through the trunks of the trees. I try to capture the pattern of grasses and trees, creating a dark fence out of the trunk patterns.
I am challenging myself to make more interesting color combinations. Shadows need some variety in the darks, and I’m even tempted to add a touch of white to get them out of the black range. What about a little zinc white? I don’t carry it, but maybe I should try it out. I am painting today with Lead White Replacement, which is working beautifully in the hot weather. It seems less chalky than Titanium White, but I’ll need to try it in the Oregon chill before becoming attached.