Last class in PDX

Final class in Portland. Feeling the loss of this support and the fear of starting with a new instructor. Questioning myself. It’s good. Loss, fear, questioning. All important.

I spent two hours on my last class painting then frittered the last hour. Instructor joked that the grades were already turned in, so do whatever. Which is actually always the case. The grades matter less than the doing whatever.

I played a game where I started with the four earth tones I had (the umber/sienna family), then closed my eye and grabbed the next color. With each color I also had to change tools. I used four different brushes, paper towel, fingers, a clay scraping tool, and a palette knife. Not intentionally, but not surprisingly, my first color and strokes resembled a forest fire (500+ fires burning in BC). Then I started adding paper on top of the painting. Then, I added my signature: a self portrait in grey scale. Sort of tied together the drawing class and the painting class as a final gesture for me.


When I got back home, I wanted to revisit drawing, and drawing what I spent my childhood drawing: horses. I wondered how it would feel to revisit. So I searched the web for images. I know I was no longer interested in the drama poses of my early days: no rearing, flying, fluffy manes!

I came across some nice b&w photograhs of fuzzy Icelandic ponies and chose one.




So . . . A few days ago I was trying out a 1.5 inch “decorators” brush. It holds a lot of paint, covers areas quickly.

That was sort of interesting, but I didn’t spend long painting that day. It was hot and we were in the midst of about 8 days of a terrible amount of smoke from 500+ BC wildfires. Feels like we’re doomed on the climate front. And I felt like I hadn’t had a good paint session.

But then I realized that my meager efforts that day had possibly been quite intuitive – tied to all that was going on. Which is amazing. Which is certainly one of the best outcomes for painting – to include what’s going on – to include me!

I took this orange painting that I did four weeks ago, and started to add different ideas and colors to it. I left it, then days later realized that I ended up creating a smokescreen over most of the painting – unintentionally but perhaps intuitively mimicking conditions outside that were so much on my mind. It’s not that the painting is wonderful by any means – it just came from what was important to me.





This was done on the plastic inside of a bag our vegetables came in last week. I was curious if the surface would hold paint. Probably acrylic works on tons on surfaces. The background is my favorite blue + burnt umber combo. The rest is tonal mars black and titanium white. Figure is about 12” tall.




So . . . I was trying to create colors to match some peaches and nectarines I had. I felt like I had maybe matched one dark color from the nectarines, but nothing else was very close! I did have eight circular test patches, though. So I cross-pollinated all the samples, cut them into peach shapes, added some peachy details, and gessoed them into a collage. First take below:


second version below:


last version below (for now):




Not much time spent painting today. These things were on my mind: a mix of phthalo blue/green shade + burnt umber paired with permanent green + white. Ocean-y colors? Sorta? Anyway, pleasing. I spotted them yesterday when playing with colors.

Also thinking about a painter in my class last Saturday. The class changes as people swap out classes when they miss their regular one. Anyway, the teacher pointed out this one woman and kind of said her motto was “anything but brushes.” She uses scrapers and sponges and a collection of odds and ends. I liked the quality of her figure painting.

So I used a brush, part of a sock, a toothbrush, my finger and a palette knife on this.

class 5

We had a model and worked on that for three hours today.


After a longer exploration to begin, we finished with a six minute pose (above)


A twelve minute pose (above)


And an 18 minute pose. And one thing I remember hearing was that with each figure drawing or painting, you get one more brick of  understanding, until some day, you can stack all those bricks into a figure drawing that represents a lot of work and understanding. But figure drawings bring a ton of feelings with them: sexuality, #metoo, “flesh vases for dick flowers,” (Hannah Gadsby), jealousy, critique.

week 4.3

First stop:


Second stop:


Last stop, all same painting:


Hot weather makes it unpleasant to be in the hot hot studio at home. Tonight, however, there is a pretty awesome breeze coming through!! Exploring with burnt Siena, viridian hue, cobalt violet hue and titanium white.


art & fear & ego week 4.1

bleh. I heard the words, but my little ego popped up and obliterated the messages, replacing the instructions with its own stinky agenda. The instructions were to pick three paintings to study. Study the color, brush strokes, whatever I was curious about. What I did? Tried to see if I could copy it, then was disappointed it didn’t look the same. Instructor just said “that’s just the worst form of self-abuse.”