Category Archives: Watercolor Paintings

Painting is a healing art. I would put it in the same category with ointments and salves. Anyone wanting more peace in their lives should take up painting. I’m excited to share my paintings with you.

Keeping Up With My Own Evolution: Reality

Perhaps, just maybe, the one thing I can say with a reasonable amount of certainty today is: “Reality is Individual”.  I no longer look around and think that I see my surroundings the same way everyone else sees them and especially that we feel the same way about them.  I also recognize that I see and feel about them differently from day to day. So not only is my reality different from the others around me; but, minute by minute, it is different for me myself.

I can accept that my reality is always changing.  For instance, at 7:00 a.m. this morning the sky around me was a bright hazy peachy-apricot color…..luminescent.  Twenty minutes later, clouds had accumulated so thickly that the sky was dark, grey and threatening.  Obvious, right?

But, what about the sunny day that I see as cheerful and then minutes later view the same bright blue sky as boring, or even worse, depressing? That had nothing to do with the sunshine or sky and everything to do with how I felt.  How I felt changed my perception, my reality.

Okay, this is the thought I am trying to let crystallize.  My beliefs are changing, evolving.  As they change, my reality changes. And….. I am beginning to recognize that how I feel means everything to me.   As my feelings change, everything about my reality changes.  I am causing these changes by being aware of my feelings and caring about feeling good, and feeling better, and even feeling great.

My mind-blowing conclusion is that my reality coalesces around me based upon my perception.  I love that word:  coalesce.  I love the images and feelings I have as I just even think the word.  As all of the relationships and things I want swirl around me, and congeal, coalesce, they become my reality.  How does this happen?  I have no idea.  I only know that it does.  I witness it happening every day.

Lately, I’ve been enjoying the paintings of surrealists of the late 1800’s, early 1900’s.  I’m enjoying reading their biographies and seeing how their paths crossed with each other and the intellectuals of their time.  I feel them speaking directly to me as I patch together  their observances and quotes.

Salvadore Dali said, “One day it will have to be officially admitted that what we have christened reality is an even greater illusion than the world of dreams.”  When he used the word “officially”, he couldn’t have meant world-wide…..could he?  Because reality is individual and no two humans have the same reality.  It is inconceivable to me that a large group of people could agree on such a thing.   We are all in such different cultural, social, political, economic and physical circumstances.

Dali’s friend, Rene Magritte, is quoted:   “If the dream is a translation of waking life, waking life is also a translation of the dream.”  Waking life is what we realize as our reality, our conscious life.  The dream, our subconscious.  We are riding on a constantly twisting ribbon of dreams, imagination, subconscious and conscious flow.  We are carried along, if we allow it, to greater creativity and satisfaction.

Another of their buddies, Pablo Picasso, said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”  I agree.  Focus on what you imagine and it will expand until others can see it is real also.  That’s what reality is.

These surrealist artists allowed their beliefs about their dreams and subconscious minds to flood onto their paintings, untamed, in order to present a perception of reality that would cause the viewer to question his own perception and even the perception of the whole culture in which he lived.

I want those who view my paintings to question my inspiration, my intention, my sanity… doesn’t really matter…..just question.

Analyzing My Evolution


I enjoy blogging.   I enjoy writing about things that interest me.  I find that the more I think about a subject, the more interested I become.

This world is full of fascinating things, people and ideas.   Once I get an idea, I’m like a dog with a bone.  I don’t want to let it go.  I talk about it.  I write in my journal about it.   I google it.  Once I goggle several aspects of it, it expands. I see references to it everywhere.  How or why does that happen?   ???   I just does.  It’s a fact.  It’s the Law of Attraction at work.

Then these ideas seem to dovetail over time with each other.  It’s a natural evolution.  I just sit back and watch them expand.  And not just expand, but deepen, become richer and more meaningful.  Life is just like that.  Everywhere around me I see beauty and fascinating  life.  I’m surrounded by a beautiful dance…..It’s a dance, a do-si-do of people and animals, nature , weather, constant movement.  The music we move to is always changing, the rhythm, the beat, is exciting and compelling or relaxing and soothing…..always changing.

I went to Disneyland, California Adventure, Universal Studios on one of those park hopping passes with my family.  About the third day, don’t even ask me which park it was…’s all a blurr, I was pushing a stroller with two grandkids through a maze, a mass of fun-loving families, and two people suddenly cut diagonally across in front of me.  I jerked back on the stroller to avoid clipping off their ankles.  They were totally unaware of the danger they had dodged.  And…..a man with a stroller coming from the opposite direction also jerked to a stop to avoid a head on collision with them.  Ours eyes met, registered the situation, and we burst out laughing at the same time.  He said, “It’s a dance”, as we passed by each other.  At that moment, I felt at one with the world.  Happy and satisfied.  It is a dance.

That’s the way I paint.  Moving to an unseen cadence that carries with it moods, emotions, feelings.  I love my life.  I love the time I spend painting.  I love seeing the way I feel splashed down on paper.  Sometimes it’s quick, sloppy movements, sometimes it’s careful, deliberate strokes.  I can look over a painting several inches at a time…..a finished painting and feel the emotions and interest with which I laid down the paint.

I live my life the way I paint.  Sometimes I slap-dash.  Sometimes I’m more deliberate.  It’s all in my mood.Sometimes activities require more attention to detail.  Sometimes I’m trying to  figure something out.  Other times I’ve set an intention beforehand and am more or less acting by instinct, moment by moment, letting feelings and emotions carry me.

I’m coming to realize:  It’s all good!  I’m coming to accept I’m doing the best I can with what I know.  And that’s okay.  It’s enough!  What I know keeps expanding and through that process, I realize I’m appreciating more.  I’m appreciating the inspired moments; and, I’m appreciating the downtime, the contemplative moments.  They all combine to form the dance of my life, the rhythm and joy of my life!  Can it be any better than this?

Bowie Paean

The myriad of personas that David Jones, David Bowie, Ziggy Stardust, Aladdin Sane, The Thin White Duke, donned on the stage and screen only begin to hint at his creative genius.

This past January, David Bowie died.  I began noticing articles in magazines about his death featuring pictures of his concert costumes and talking about his contribution to music, culture and the fashion world.  Many names of famous rock stars, musicians, fashion models and actors were listed as his collaborators.  I got caught up in reading about his music and then his lyrics and then about his fascinating life.

I’ve enjoyed watching one homage after another by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, Elton John and Jimmy Fallon on TV, and listening to them give him credit for the influence that he was in their lives.  He was an entertainer through and through.  And the entertainment they provided in his honor was flashy, bold and uniquely their own.

i am intrigued by descriptions of how he created a back story, lyrics, wardrobe and makeup for each new personality that he became while in the spotlight.  Over these past few months, I’ve been painting skulls.  I’ve become completely obsessed with them.  So I couldn’t resist painting one more.  In my skull painting tribute to him, I’ve combined some of the elements from his most famous photos.  This is my Bowie Paean.


Meditation?  I was encouraged to start a simple meditation for 15 minutes everyday. Immediately an image of a cross legged, religious person in robes sprang to mind.  No, no, forget any preconceived notions.  This is just you, by yourself.

Dress comfortably, I was told.  Sit comfortably.  Close your eyes and focus on your breathing. Breathe in, deeply, but comfortably (don’t try to hard), and then breathe out, feeling your breath move through your body.  These were simple instructions.  So I decided, this must be doable.

Initially, I set the timer on my phone, relaxed and settled into my breathing.  Then, thoughts, worries and to-do-lists, one by one, popped into my mind.  I was told this would happen and not to worry about it…..just recognize the thought, dismiss it and refocus on my breathing.

The first few weeks it seemed like I wasn’t making much progress; but, gradually, those thoughts were fewer and it became easier for me to refocus quickly.  The only reason I kept with it was the wonderful feeling that encompassed my upper arms and torso.  It was a sort of tingling feeling…..a very wonderful feeling.

The one caution I received was to meditate without an agenda.  Don’t expect answers to questions.  Do it with a completely open mind.  Do it to relax my body and allow my mind to connect with my source, my God, my soul.  What a beautiful thought.

I’ve known that there are activities that are meditative.  I recognize as I paint that often I’m lost in a place without thought.  Many people describe their experiences while concentrating on these sorts of activities as being in a time warp. They are so focused that it’s as if they’ve lost time.  Scientists, artists,  musicians, athletes, well, creative people in any area, talk about “coming to” and realizing they’ve been totally absorbed in their process for minutes, sometimes hours at a time.

In the Tao of Physics, Fritjof Capra said, “During periods of relaxation after concentrated intellectual activity, the intuitive mind seems to take over and can produce the sudden clarifying insights that give so much joy and delight.”  I love that description.  I think he’s as much a poet as a physicist.

We all use words to try to interpret our experience, based on our belief system.  More and more, I’m using “intuitive mind”, imagination, inspiration, soul, source, God, inner being, and still small voice as descriptions of the same thing.  I want to listen.  I want to receive the inner peace and knowing that listening brings.  The problem, for me, is the noise, the everyday noise of everyone else, the radio, TV and my reaction to them.  That’s where meditating comes in.  It provides the quiet.

After months of meditating I can’t imagine ever stopping.  When all of me is quiet, wonderful ideas, exciting ideas burst onto my mindscape, sometimes as thoughts, sometimes as images. I get goosebumps all over my body.  I highly recommend it.

And, so, the thing I’ve learned and the thing I want to share with you is that meditating is fun.  After meditating, I feel more relaxed, happier, more clear about what I want and full of exciting and satisfying ideas.  What a blast!

Skulls Are Like Chocolates

One day last October, I walked my regular route up and down the hills in my neighborhood enjoying the fall colors and the crisp, cool air.  Many homes were decorated for Halloween so there were lots of pumpkins on porches and cobwebs stretched across doorways.

As I passed one home, the lawn decorations caught my eye…..crawling out of the ground was this happy-go-lucky gentleman, his fingers clawing at  the grass as he laughed at me.  I smiled back and asked him to pose for a picture. I explained that I wanted to paint his portrait.  He didn’t object.  In fact, he even held his pose as I walked around him to get a good shot and even as I finally disappeared down the street and around the corner.

For some reason his happy demeanor begged for bright colors.  Once I got started, he was mesmerizing.  His bone structure, his pearly whites, that glint in his eye kept my brush moving around his head.  I thought dark hollows would be more appropriate but no…..he was on fire.

Phosphorescence 22"x30"
Phosphorescence 22″x30″

I have found that skulls are like chocolates.  I can’t paint just one. By the time, I got mid-way through Phosphorescence, I already had another drawing finished.  It’s so much fun to have a subject become so interesting that the ideas just keep coming.

It’s infectious.  One by one, these skulls have materialized.  I know their thoughts, amusements and intentions.  I’m excited about their futures.

I have one final skull in the works.  David Bowie just died in January.  I’ve enjoyed watching tributes to him by Lady Gaga, Madonna, Elton John and Jimmy Fallon.  And, so, my offering will be a paean to David Jones, Bowie and Ziggy Stardust.

Red Sprite

Lightning is such a fascinating phenomenon.  I live on a mountainside where, as storms approach, I can watch them come across the valley to the west bringing their towering clouds and lightning with them.  The bolts are often bright, jagged and searing…..very dramatic as they light up the clouds above them and attack the ground below.

At the same time that we are able to see lighting below clouds during a storm,  there are sometimes massive, but weak, luminous flashes above the clouds.  They are described as large scale electrical discharges high above cumulonimbus, normally reddish-orange or greenish-blue with hanging tendrils below and arching branches above.

The first photos of sprites were obtained by accident in 1989. Since then, thousands of photos have been taken from the space shuttle and aircraft.   Early research referred to them as “upward lightning” or “cloud-to-ionosphere discharges”.  Now because of their whimsical, fleeting nature, they are simply called sprites.  I think it’s so much fun that “scientists” would give what sounds so serious, a Transient Luminous Event or TLE, a wonderful, full of personality and life name.  I imagine them dancing around above storms sometimes singly and sometimes in groups like nymphs in the moonlight.

There are some subjects and ideas that just grab a hold of me and I want to know as much about them as I can.  I love living in the day of the computer.  So much is being discovered and shared…’s so exciting!  I kept thinking about these red sprites and decided to bring them to life with my paint and brush first with small studies and then a large painting.

When I imagine our world, our universe, I imagine life… from the smallest particle to the largest expanse… that composes the air we breathe, life that forms our sun and stars and the life responsible for and embodied in the red sprites that dance above our storms.

Dec 7=15 035

Cropped photo of Red Sprite 34″x51″.

In Progress

I am plugging along on a painting and pleased with its progress.  It’s pleased with its progress.  I know this because it all but said “ta-dah” as I stood back a ways and checked it out.  I get to a certain point and get anxious to be “done” and start something new.  But, one thing is for certain:  a painting is not done until says it is.

I’ve realized through the years though that once a painting is finished, I lose interest in it.  My enjoyment comes in the doing, in the painting, in the mystery of not knowing what it will end up being.  In this case, there is no question it will be a pink rose.  But there is the potential of it being much more.  It could evoke an emotion or a feeling or a memory of a feeling.  It could draw you in closer only to divert your attention to something lurking in the background.  There’s really no way to know until it’s through with you.

pink rose 001

It’s occurred to me that everything is in “progress”.  Everything in life is always unfolding and expanding. And, it is in the becoming that we find the fun…..the joy.  It’s our job as the creator of our life to lighten up, relax and listen and enjoy the progress.

Ruby Red Rose

I’m constantly amazed at the places, people or objects that catch my eye and beg for their image to be captured in paint.  I can look at sunset after sunset and marvel at its’ beauty but seldom feel it’s speaking to me.  Others, can’t get to their brushes fast enough.  I admire mountains in the distance with their snow capped peaks but have little desire to paint them.  Maybe it’s just because I’m near sighted.

This rose looked back at me when I looked at it.  It gave off an inviting vibe.  It said:  Come on, get involved.  You’ll get lost in my curves, hills and valleys.  It felt juicy…..a lot like a tomato.  The rose scent was warm and full and I couldn’t resist painting her.

final ruby red 001 Here she is.  February 8, 2015.  She’s pretty proud of herself.  I am too.  The Ruby Red Rose  22″x30″

The Fry Zone

I’ve started painting again.  I took my time gathering all of my supplies from nooks and crannies in the garage and basement.  I had forgotten that part of my life…..the brushes and tubes of paint, of course, but the staple gun and boards the wet paper is stretched on and dried…..the boxes of resist, graphite powder, sketch books, art books and things I don’t even remember using.

Another thing I had forgotten:  the fear of the blank white paper.  Like writer’s block, it can be paralyzing.  I’ve heard of a teacher telling a student “Put your paper on the driveway and run over it with your car tire.  Now, it’s already ruined.  Paint your heart out”.  So, mentally, that’s what I did.

Else and Bob and pink rose 003

Two sessions of sketching and painting and my brain hurts.  It’s fried!  I’m so out of the habit of serious focusing.  Don’t laugh.  The Fry Zone is a real place.  Haven’t you ever been there?

The Yellow Rose

Several days before Thanksgiving, I bought some beautiful yellow roses to use as centerpieces on the table.  It took a couple of days for them to unfold.  Slowly they made their way from compact buds to full flower.  I kept taking pictures of them, moving them around in the sunlight.  With each move, the light bounced around and kissed the petals in a new way and cast intriguing shadows.  Wow!  They were inspiring!

Since I’ve started blogging, I’m taking a lot more pictures…..of everything.  It’s as if I’ve got to somehow document everything I’m doing.  At first, when I noticed this, I thought it would wear off or at least slow down.  But not so far.  In this case, I’m glad I did.  It’s fun, for me, to see how The Yellow Rose progressed.

1152015 paintings 001 1152015 paintings 019 1152015 paintings 020rose and blogosphere 002

This is the finished The Yellow Rose.  January 22, 2015. Watercolor 22″x30″

final rose 003

I often wonder just what it is about a subject that inspires the artist, the writer, the sculptor, or the inventor.  I’ve had friends tell me that an idea “struck” suddenly…..out of the blue so to speak.  We use so many phrases like let’s brain storm to come up with an idea.  You know, blue meaning sky, ether; storm…, electricity, lightning, thoughts.  Then there’s the whole light thing.  It’s light and lack of light that defines shapes and how we see them.

Actually, what we need to fully investigate these deep thoughts and musings is a glass of wine and a few philosophical friends.  Probably a Pinot Noir.