Cloud Appreciation Society Newsletter

You never know when the CAS newsletter is going to turn up, but one just did.  I’m looking forward to seeing who won the poetry competition next week…..

(That’s definitely a skyscape I would love to paint for someone on the newsletter!)

Inspiration in an odd place.

While I was setting up my booth in Menlo Park, outside Walgreens, I briefly glanced a young lady with dyed hair driving away her beat-to-hell Civic – or something similar.  This inspired the following poem.


are eighteen trying to look twenty-one.

is twenty-two wishing she were three.

Before that rear-end crump
you don’t even know about,
wishing she were younger than twelve or fifteen
when replacement panels started being transplanted
regardless of color
and the angry tire-kickings, followed by
days at the mechanic began
and her paint peeled in the sun.

are eighteen with multi-colored dyed hair
thinks you had done to match her.

is your first car,
a gift that nevertheless came
with the responsibility of complete care
for another individual.

takes you to work, knowing
this is how the two of you
buy gas, insurance, pay
mounting mechanic bills.

exhaust her getting to Coachella

is thrilled to give you so much fun,
feels terrible about the shredded tire
in the median on the I5 on the way home
when you’d yet to learn how to change a wheel,
hadn’t known how to tell you
she needed new shoes more than you did.

take on extra shifts
to catch up with the bills,
date the mechanic’s assistant
learn to change brakes and spark plugs,
inflate tires, check oil,
save for the down on something newer.

quits dreading feeling unwell
learns to love the name you gave her
different than the one her first owner did,
is delighted when you move to a smaller apartment
with an overhang garage
so she doesn’t have to sleep in the rain.

hit a truckload of spilled melons
on the freeway
wreck her into the sound wall.

saves you with her airbag,


Newer Work #68

I’ve long wanted to see the Aurorae, but cost and logistics have always prevented it – plus that pesky old unalterable – the cold!  Nevertheless I can be inspired by the photos that others post.  The tough one about painting the aurorae is that it’s light on blackness – something that can’t be easily done in watercolor, and the soft swirls can’t be done easily in acrylic.  So this is one of my most impressionistic skies.

If you love it – it’s small enough to ship easily, still gift sized and ready to go on the wall.   Others that I’ve posted recently were from a batch of matted pieces.

Refractured watercolor painting

#1256 Aurorae II. Refractured watercolor on flat panel, acrylic edges. 11×14″, $180.

New Poem

Thought I would put a poem up instead of artwork today.  This one didn’t make the cut for my latest book but will likely be in the next one.  This is entirely from my imagination, I last built a snowman in January 2001 and it was not so big, I only had an inch of snow to work with.


Off with the frozen gloves, so stiff with ice,
Off with the cozy beanie from my head,
unravel the scarf that’s wrapped around me twice
and the earmuffs so ugly they’re only fit for bed.
Off with the coat that’s the warmest thing I own,
off with the sodden Uggs that are starting to sweat,
wiggle the toes that are still in the frozen zone,
peel off the socks so the toes can start to melt.
On with the kettle, get the cocoa out,
splash in some vodka for an extra treat,
sip it while I admire, without a doubt
the fact that I’ve built the best one in the street.
Under the porch light my five-foot snowman glows
with coal black eyes and a big fat carrot nose.

Imperial County Tourism



Not many people think of Imperial County California – one of the poorest counties in the nation, and one of the more sparsely populated – as a tourist destination.  But there’s actually an amazing amount of things to do here. Yesterday Doug and I went to fill him in on some of the places I’ve taken others when he’s not been with me.  First we visited the mudpots, then stopped in Calipatria for lunch.  We recommend Archie’s – on the east side of 111 about a block north of the stop sign.  You can’t miss this totem pole!




goldrockNot only did we have a fun time, but we found an new spot – the Gold Rock Trading Post and Museum.


Sadly the extra time we spent exploring Gold Rock meant we had little time at the Center of the World, but they’re both places we’d go back to. I’m compiling a list of Touristy Things in Imperial County on my website which I’ll update from time to time as I find new things – and I’ll work on timings and places to stay in between.  I am figuring it would be very easy to spend a week here if you’re not into simply lounging by the pool.

Park Ranger and Salton Sea

This is at the State Park, just south of North Shore

If you are, then in answer to a question many people ask – YES! – you can swim safely in the Salton Sea and here is Park Ranger Jose Renteria who does just that quite often.

Newer Work #67

Wow, has it really been a week since I’ve been not-busy-enough to put a post on.  I know I’ve looked at my followees recently.  Actually been working a lot on developing various classes.  Summer is coming up and working on summer classes for a couple galleries.  So,  five minutes for a post…

This is the last of a batch of refractured watercolors that I did recently.  Clouds are wonderful!  But as we approach summer, they come fewer and further between.

Refractured watercolor sky painting

#1250 Softly into the light. Refractured watercolor on foamcore, 10×8″ matted to fit 14×11 frame. $105.

Newer work #66

Had the inspiration to put a little land in this one.  And of course, trees always reach up to the sky.

Refractured watercolor painting

#1249 Three trees on the hill, Refractured watercolor on foamcore 10.5×8″ in mat to fit 14×11″ frame. $105.