Newer work #30

Refractured watercolor

#1199 “The Greening II”. Refractured watercolor 11×14″ in mat ready for 16×20″ frame. $195.

Somehow the circles are always so soothing – especially on a calm morning scene over the water.  This little lake or pond could be anywhere.  Your favorite morning walk…. a memory of a relaxing vacation….

X marks the spot…

X marks the spot

The one I don’t* understand is the “top left” part of the X. But then physics was so long ago.

… the years I’ve lived here, I’ve come to know lots of ways the light plays through the house at various times of day or year.  Although it’s late October, I’m still finding it necessary to slant the blinds to deter sunlight in the afternoon, in order to avoid needing to run the A/C.  I guess I just had one slat out of place, creating a shaft of light way over in the dining room and out the back door, and reflecting back inside to make an X.  Never seen this one before and likely won’t again…

Newer work…. a rework.

Wiest Lake painting

Wiest Lake – the original.

Wiest Lake is my favorite fishing hole.  If you’ve checked out my website in the past you may have noticed my painting of it.  It bears the following inscription along the bottom:  “When we came to the lake with our rods and nets and went to open our tackle boxes, we paused with bated breath – the beauty had hooked us and the peace had reeled us in.”  The location is a blue gem amidst farmland.

Wiest Lake mixed media painting

Wiest Lake – Mixed Media painting, 48×48″. $4030.

Well, I decided it was time for a revamp. One of only two paintings where I have added the refractured watercolor part after painting the surrounding/underlying acrylic painting.  Now it looks like this. Just a little more magical now.

Newer Work #5

Peace and Turbulence

#1138 “Peace and Turbulence”. Acrylic on gallery wrap canvas, 20×16″ $270.

When I hold a paint-n-wine evening, I end up with a duplicated painting.  This time I decided the class would paint “Dark Water, White Wave” an existing oil painting that I love.  So at the end of the evening I end up with a new version of this – in a slightly different size and shape, and this time in acrylic instead of oil.  It is a day view looking east across the Salton Sea.

Water, water everywhere.

Movement, stillness.  Refractured watercolor

#1093 – Movement, stillness. Refractured watercolor, 14×11″ in white mat to 20×16″. $175

A couple of years ago I did a commission for a couple, based on their triptych of a scene looking east across a bay at sunset.  They weren’t sure if they wanted horizontal or vertical wave cuts so I did one of each so they could choose. Also, I did some slight color variations for them to choose from.  As a result I ended up with quite a bit of leftovers.  No worries, the pieces formed a cohesive scene that I could reuse, and I had their permission to use the leftovers.  Waste not, want not, recycle, go green – or in this case some beautiful shades of peach, salmon, blue and mauve.

Just chillin:  Refractured watercolor

#1094 Just chillin. Refractured watercolor, 11×14 in white mat frames to 16×20″. $175

So far the leftover pieces have featured prominently, if not exclusively in at least 12 further refractured watercolors or watercolor collages.  I was starting to think that the things were breeding in the box overnight.  Over the weekend I sold two of the resulting refractured watercolors, and created two more that are in mat and frame to 16×20 and a couple of small collages.  So here are introducing the two new larger pieces – they will be at the show in Hermosa Beach with me this weekend.


Wow that looks better.

Sea Crest Dawn #33, 24x18", $540.

Sea Crest Dawn #33, 24×18″

Sea Crest Dawn XXXIII has been hanging out at the Pioneer’s Museum in Imperial for the last couple years.  Having work hanging in a museum all the time may look good on the resume, but that’s not always the best way for a painting to find its new home, so I persuaded the museum gallery director to let me trade out.  Well, two of the frames were broken (I guess they did have an interesting time there…) so I decided to remount all three refractured watercolors on panel, rather than reframing. This is the last of the group.  I ordered a 2″deep panel from Cheap Joe’s Art Stuff and today the UPS truck stopped at my house. Spent the afternoon at the delicate peel-n-restick process.  Hopefully I will never have to do that process again.  But it was worth it to see the result.  Still have to put acrylic glaze on, but couldn’t wait to show the world the new look.  I love it.

The Speed of Light

House - by James Youse - about 8x10, watermedia

House – by James Youse – about 8×10, watermedia

For the last three years I’ve created a painting for Alzheimer’s Association for the fundraising – and one of the interesting aspects of this is that I get to do a painting in response to the painting of an Alzheimer’s patient.  This year I happened to be in San Diego around the time they started this year’s project, so I was able to see all the available patient’s artwork instead of a small selection of images emailed to me because I’m so far away.

Many paintings spoke to me, but one spoke louder.  I am very aware when looking at these pieces of artwork of the decline of life of the artists, and this aspect alone significantly alters my response.  The painting is by James Youse, and is on the right.  It is simply titled ‘House’ – and is on the right above, but the part that struck me was the difference between the house and its reflection in the water.  My initial urge to respond was with a poem, which I did, and then created a refractured watercolor, including the poem on the painting.

    The Speed of Light.

At the edge, after my day is done,
sense of fulfillment resting in my heart,
my body’s atoms coming all apart,
returning to the dirt from where they’ve come
I’ll stop, before I dip these aching toes
into the water of the after life
(my soul arrived before the speed of light –
I don’t know how, but that’s the way it goes),
So I can see the breadth, the depth, the height
I leave behind, before my dive will break
the surface and destroy what others take
to memory, being slower still than light.
The vision in that lake will, by and by
return to stillness, leaving only sky.

The Speed of Light. Refractured watercolor with poem on float panel, 8.5x28.5"

The Speed of Light. Refractured watercolor with poem on float panel, 8.5×28.5″

Finishing up in the studio

"Upcoming Storm".  Watercolor collage 10x8" in white mat to 12x10". $80

“Upcoming Storm”. Watercolor collage 10×8″ in white mat to 12×10″. $80

Here’s the watercolor collage I started 9 days ago at Red Brick Gallery.  I had put down all the pieces, just hadn’t put on a foreground.  As with many of these creations, it really doesn’t come together until that stage.  Many people commented when I was at Red Brick that they like the three-dimensionality, the depth, that the foreground gives to the background.

The way that the paintings finally start to exist in these very last stages reminds me of the paintings that Rolf Harris did during a children’s show I used to watch.  I had to go to wikipedia to remind myself that it was called ‘The Rolf Harris Show’.  Towards the end of the show, he would do a huge painting on a roll of paper about 10’x10′ hanging on the wall, and from big brushes with pots of house paint, set in a line at the bottom of the paper.  The paintings always consisted of a number of seemingly meaningless marks of different colors (at least I assumed they were color, we only had a black and white tv) which built up over the course of about five minutes.  It was only in the last 30 seconds or so of the painting that it became apparent what it was.

In my collage, it’s not until I look at again a week later I see that there are little blonde reeds growing underneath my signature, that the mountains have more layers than I was aiming for and that the reds in the skies on the left reflect more realistically in the water than I had thought they would.


"Comma Moon".  Watercolor collage on panel, 12x9". $135.

“Comma Moon”. Watercolor collage on panel, 12×9″. $135.

It’s always interesting to get feedback from viewers of my artwork.  Sometimes they will see faces or other items ‘hidden’ in the clouds – that I never intended to put there.  I remember in particular a painting of a winter solstice dawn in Salton City, the time of year that the sun comes up out of the water, it seems.  In the painting the sun was about halfway above the horizon, and the long bright reflection reached towards the viewer, getting narrower as it came closer.  It was one that I particularly liked.  One day a little girl (about three) came in the booth holding her father’s hand and pointed to this painting, which was on the lower half of the wall, just at three-year old eye level.  “Oh Daddy, look at the ice-cream!”  Of course after that I could never un-see the ice-cream.  The painting did sell not too long after, and I hope the new owner never sees the ice-cream, it did detract from the view.

Recently I had one follower comment that she liked my paintings that included moons, and is currently considering a purchase, but I seem to have pretty much sold out of moons.  Indeed it was true – there were only two.  Well, red rag to a bull, now there are three.

A modern fairy tale.

"The Greening".  Refractured watercolor on gallery wrap panel.  20"x48".  $1680

“The Greening”. Refractured watercolor on gallery wrap panel. 20″x48″. $1680

A couple months ago in Fountain Hills, I spoke to a woman who said she knew of an artist who had done a painting kinda-sorta like my refractured watercolors, in particular like ‘The Greening’.  She couldn’t remember the artist’s name and apparently he had only ever done one painting like that, but she thought that it was a much older man who lived in Santa Barbara, CA and promised to email his name to me when she returned to her home in the Midwest in May.  I have not yet had that email, but I will tell you of her story.

Once upon a time, she bought a condo, and after a while decided she needed artwork.  A friend suggested she go to the local framing store, as he also sold art, so she did.  On walking in, there it was, hanging at the back of the store, The Painting To Surpass All Paintings.  She Must Have It.  She asked the store owner to pack it and tell her how much the check should be for, because She Must Have It and money was no object.  No, he replied, it’s not mine to sell, it is only here for framing.  Then, she said, I don’t care how unethical this seems, but you must give me the owner’s phone number and I will make him a better offer.  The store owner sighed.  It’s pointless, I know, He Will Not Be Parted From It.

Months later, she was in a hardware store.  She said while she was telling me the story that she could not think why she would possibly have been in a hardware store, but she was and she met another customer and they fell to talking and he could think of no earthly idea why he was in the hardware store either, but they talked and they got along well and eventually he asked her for a date.

They went on a date and got along very, very well and another date and another date and some weeks later he invited her to his home.  To her astonishment, there it was on the wall, The Painting To Surpass All Paintings and She-Who-Must-Have-It had unknowingly been dating He-Who-Will-Not-Be-Parted-From-It.

There was only one solution.  They must marry.  So they did.  And the three of them lived happily ever after.

However, She-Who-Must-Know-Who-Painted-It is still waiting….