For Love (and Birds)


People often ask me about my paintings and what my work is about.  I’ve shortened my answer : “I paint about LOVE”. That’s the honest truth. That is the “What” and the “Why”.  LOVE. …  

 I paint to express connections to those I care about.  I paint the frustrations I encounter as I try to get close to another person….or the fear it brings up in me.  In the studio I feel the visceral pains of loneliness ,  rejection, or disappointment   when things do not go my way. ..Separation.  Change.  LOVE.. The simple joy I feel lounging on my back porch inspires me…the  hummingbirds or the cool  breeze ona sunny day.  Avocados.  Red Shoes.   Water.  Massive skies.  The Infinite.  LOVE.

The Birds that appear in my paintings are messengers for LOVE.  To me, they represent ascension, flight,and freedom. They are social, they are committed parents, and they are colorful.  Birds can singand dance, they fight and some cry out loud.  They play games and they steal  things.  Birds have compelling names : the Mourning Dove, the Laughing Gull, or the Lark. To me, they captivate and demand a closer look,  a quality I know is also true about LOVE.

 The Birds and the colorful, multi-layered surfaces on my paintings lend themselves to the idea that beneath the surface is a multitude of surprises. My intention with my work is to continue to inspire you to look deeper into the appearances of things, to examine what you see and experience without drawing instant conclusions….to give yourself that moment where you allow yourself to  feel and know ..within.. the amazing, inexplicable nature ofour lives..which to me is the what LOVE is about.          


Encautic Mixed Media  18 x 24"


The White Eagle-We Can't Do This Alone


So this June I had  the amazing opportunity to go to Juneau Alaska and teach my PAINT BIG class and vist my looong time friend Debi....My  total awe started when the plane decended into Juneau  and flew over the Mendenhall Glacier...a breathtaking unbelievably emormous white river of ice...and the wonder continued day by day ...the endless mountains and skies, the verdant  rain forests, whales and the EAGLES..everywhere..

I 've been pondering the bald eagles since I've been back home because they were so spectacular..and yet so ordinary in the Alaskan landscape.  Then I got to thinking about how the eagle is our national mascot...and next..(it crept in.) our current political climate  seems so far from what the eagle represents -integrity, unity, and freedom -which are challenged daily by a bunch of old un-informed white guys in Washington DC 

Next, my mind thought back to those amazing Southeastern Alaska vistas where th eagles stood together, like a flock, and how they were probably scoping out the next meal.  I realized that in order to deal with the current crazy politics people should find themelves in a flock too,  and so should I...Like the eagles, magestic  loners, we are all better off in a group.

Hence my third inspiration for the White Eagle painting above...I researched writings about being alone verses being in a group and I was lucky enough to come upon the poem by Maya Angelou called ALONE which sums up what I was trying to get to when I made  White Eagle..that no matter how regal you think you are, nobody is better off alone.

If you break up the word ALONE you get AL-ONE, that's where we really are.


by Maya Angelou

Lying, thinking
Last night
How to find my soul a home
Where water is not thirsty
And bread loaf is not stone
I came up with one thing
And I don’t believe I’m wrong
That nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

There are some millionaires
With money they can’t use
Their wives run round like banshees
Their children sing the blues
They’ve got expensive doctors
To cure their hearts of stone.
But nobody
No, nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Now if you listen closely
I’ll tell you what I know
Storm clouds are gathering
The wind is gonna blow
The race of man is suffering
And I can hear the moan,
‘Cause nobody,
But nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Alone, all alone
Nobody, but nobody
Can make it out here alone.

Rain... Rain on Me

I live in Northern is February 2017 as I return to this blog...and it is still raining...still flooding other parts of the North State but not my place...we're just getting wet and all my plants are getting very green.

Have you ever stopped to think how incredibly amazing it is that water falls from the sky ?   How does that happen? I know there is the scientific aspect about evaporation and precipitation...but come on, tons of water are carried around the atmosphere then drop down to earth in massive buckets!!....water in buckets...think how heavy that must be! And all that water floats  in the sky!  Try carrying water buckets and feel the weight... and God bless all those who actually DO carry water buckets every day...just to survive.

I digress.  I am enjoying the rain and the water.  Perhaps I should start a painting about water falling from the sky because Im amazed enough to write these words...It's not the HOW of rainfall that blows my mind, or even the WHY of rainfall that Im interested's simply the fact that IT FALLS.  Rain, like LIGHT, is not human!  It is nature is pure spirit... it's a miraculous gift from the wonderous inexplicable creative force behind all...ALL...things.

So....the painting.? would I go about painting the Spirit of the Rain.?..well, first I would just throw out uncensored  words and images that come to my  coolness, wetness, blues, grays, Alaska, protection, moisture, sex, fertility, clouds, motion, lines parallell, angled, ruthless...??  Then Ill look around the studio for a surface to paint on..or Ill go make one...I see this piece and being long and narrow..I will make a texture (like raindrops?) to start painting on, and maybe write on the painting, or include words about how I was rained out in Alaska and sang songs about rain for two days...or how I watched the purple rain in Taos blanket the red hills...or how I snuggled under colorful cozy blankets with another warm body as it stormed outside...

and then the muse will arrive and bless me with colors and shapes and tools and objects and I will create something lovley..I hope.  Hmmmm... I better get started.  I hear the rain on the roof.

Two Magpies Enjoy Purple Rain



Comments on Comments


I can imagine that other artists procrastinate too.  That's what I'm doing.  Maybe I can get away with calling it "perculating".  But all I want to do is to sit in a comfy chair in my colorful blooming spring time yard , have a coffee, and watch the two blue jays court each other, argue then make up.  Today I planted some tiny sprouted wildflowers in a place where part of the lawn used to be..and it would be great if they grow..

I like planting things..because it fosters positive anticipation..something that I do not have to work at when considering the growth of a flower..but given the the chance to ponder other aspects of my life and work..and anticipate the results as confidently as I anticipate the blossoming of a flower...that is not easy. 

I started to write this blog awhile back, because I was told by business advisors..who think of things like speak directly to those who are interested in my work, to reach out and create a bit of intamacy.  To my surprise, I found that I enjoy writing but for no reason other that I can!  I always have ideas swirling around my head about art and inspiration and the oddities of life and love.  One thing that I didn't really consider was the fact that other people ACTUALLY READ this site and for that Im grateful.

 It's been a trip talking to people about my paintings, classes and even this blog.  For the most part I think that at least I have fostered discussion which is a goal probably many artists share.  I have had people so happy with thier purchase of a painting that they have left a gushing note or flowers at my door.  I've had people say "Oh, I don't know you ..but I know your work!" I have had folks tell me that they loved something and I have forgotten what piece they are taking about.  Some have been moved to tears.  Others went into couples therapy.  I get thanks from my college students all the time.  

And its not always the most positive commentary.  Recently I had a student write that he was very dissappointed in my class because it wasnt hard enough, another called me out on my obvious need to be better organized....A commenter wanted me to remove a blog post because  it bothered them..(so  I did) and I even had a comment/request to  remove a painting from my website (I didnt) .  People have returned paintings, demanded paintings, given a few to thrift stores (as I found out later), cried when they saw a piece that moved them..and some comment by taking one look at the work I make and making a beeline for the door!

I have a freind who is a musician who says "Every morning I wake up and ask myself..Am I still interested" ?  I think thats what I appreciate about any comment regarding the work I have done so least it seems that, once in a while,  I generate what I cant be sure.... but at least its a conversation starter.




2017 Art Calendar

I have created an amazing calendar, if I do say so myself!!!  It's 9 " x 11",  printed on semi-gloss high quality Bristol style paper and has many of my new images from my summer adventures in Northern New Mexico.

And I have them for sale!!  You can buy one right here!


Have a great year us all!!  xoxo 

How Many Calendars?



Back in the Groove

Have you seen what happens to the back roads in New Mexico after it rains and then the soil dries up?  The tire prints on the roads turn into deep grooves that can be a foot deep.  Once your car slides inside those are pretty much stuck to the groove, and the groove steers your car and you just follow along and hope it is in the right direction.  It felt so wierd not being able to drive out of the groove, though I probably could have but I was paranoid about getting stuck in the middle of nowhere.  So how I coped with driving in the grooves was to relax...and  look up feeling profound reverence for the land and especially the sky.

Now Im back in Chico, working , teaching, and living with a friend till tomorrow when my summer tenants vacate my home and I can move back in.  I was wondering why I wasnt feeling thrilled to settle back in to my colorful home..and after accidentaly listening to a talk by Pema Chodron..I figured out why..

Sometimes we attach the notion of comfort to certain things outside ourselves....a good cup of coffee, money in the bank, soft skin..a house, a job, prestige...but when things fall apart, or change..we turn to those notions of comfort but they just dont cut it...and we feel cheated, lost, empty, worthless..all those responses we feel when we just cant seem to find comfort.  

Pema Chodron reminded me its always an inside job, discomfort is.  We get to live with it, honor it and journey through it..without blaming others, without lashing out or turning inward and doing some self destructive thing to find comfort that isnt there..until it is ,again..perhaps from a different place.  

That's how I'm feeling about my house in Chico, and my life..which is very good and so full of blessings..The groove doesnt feel the same now that I'm back ...The old groove feels weighted down.  But I have to remember that that was then, this is now and I'm doin good...great in fact.  Thanks to my brave  adventure to the land of enchantment and lots of paintings, I have created a new groove.  This one now  has color and surprises, and I am actually free from any grooves that I've followed before.  

And come to think of it, maybe my  friend was correct when she  asked

"Are you sure you want to be in another groove?"




New Mexico Summer Looking Up

I was called to New Mexico for the summer and I answered the call.

Three weeks in the spectacular mountains above Taos.  10 paintings finished about the sky.  Three big encaustics and three small abstracts and two sculptures. Two Weeks in Albuquerque with my soul sista Eve, another art therapist who is very inspiring to be around.  Brilliant too.

Now Im off to Santa Fe to paint.  And I am willing to discover the reason why I am here.  I know part of the reason that I fled my life spending a few months in northern New Mexico is because of the sky.  My tank was empty and I looked up when I got here and that was all it took



Ride and Glide

So my new series of paintings have bicycles and birds.  I had the urge to throw in a bicycle in one of my pieces awhile back...I didn't question it, I just let it appear.  I wonder why I question everything else that appears in my life? 

At some point I wondered what  those bicycles were about..and it occured to me that bicycles and birds have something in common...they both GLIDE.  That's what I like to do..glide along...not like a slacker but like a person who is free from resistance and allows the current of life to carry them along..

Except that birds don't seem to have to question whether they are gliding, they just gllide.  They feel the current with their bodies, not their brains.  Unlike humans who not only fight against the current, but also are destined to have to RIDE in order to glide.  We have to engage.  We have to put in the , dare I say it...WORK.  Just get on that bike and ride.   Then, after the effort, the strain, the trudging and the heavy breathing...we are rewarded with the GLIDE.   Hmmm,  the breeze brushing our cheeks, the ease, the feeling of accomplishment. 

And it is my choice as to whether I want to glide.  I am not a victim. I can choose to get on the bike or not.  Birds just fly....Im not sure it they choose to fly or not..but as a human being I decided to put the effort in to go feel that glide.




Talk Talk Talk

A while back, I watched the video of the young college student who recorded a litany of his sexual frustrations, and then proceeded to open fire on his peers with an assault weapon that he collected without a license. Then he offed himself.

Like most, I thought, “What’s this world coming to?” and “What if my child was in Santa Barbara; it could have been my kid!” and “What an ungrateful, spoiled ass!” He had a history of different labels to describe his behavior. I heard “high-functioning autistic,” meaning, in my experience, awkward people who rub others the wrong way.

This is a clinical catchphrase to describe a group of people who, for various reasons, have nobody to talk to. That’s an awful place to be. You feel like an idiot to begin with, then your peers reinforce your social difficulties by avoidance, ridicule or that look of disgust and the pitying eyes. Social isolation is solitary confinement with a happy face plastered on it.

The kid drove a fancy car and he’d probably been handed everything he wanted. A new word—“affluenza”—describes how privilege without responsibility and accountability creates kids without conscience. But this young man’s parents proved to be educated, compassionate and on top of it (so it seemed), since they took as many pre-emptive measures as they could to help their son.

Typical interventions for “socially awkward” individuals involve talk … talk to the counselor, talk to the parents, talk to the doctor, talk, talk, talk. Find someone the kid can “trust,” then the isolated youth should feel safe and loved, which should propel awkward folks toward acceptance, popularity and sex appeal.

Does anybody ask the question, “What if a person doesn’t know how to talk to someone?” Or how about, “What if, even if I could talk to a person, I have not the slightest idea how to express what I want to say.”

In my opinion, the young man needed the arts. Sometimes talking just doesn’t cut it. I can show you study after study proving that arts participation increases school attendance, keeps people from returning to jail, helps addicts stay sober, gives seniors meaning, and in general triggers a deeper happiness in most, from preschool to nursing homes, from Yale to jail.

People are getting burned out. We need to express ourselves in creative, nonverbal ways. Let’s make creativity and self-expression available to those who are tired of empty words but who still want help



Have you ever noticed that the word "HANG" floats inside the word CHANGE?

Something to ponder...I identify with the connection between hanging and changing..

I am not one to embrace change.  You'd think, being the creative type, that I would fling

myself fearlessly into new ventures...confront the unknown with excitement and instant right action!

Not.  (yet?)

When I am faced with changes my tendency is to resist.  Resist...

:to fight against : to try to stop or prevent

: to remain strong against the force or effect of  : to not be affected or harmed

: to prevent yourself from doing something that you want to do

And what does resistance feel like...??  Well, it can sometimes feel like zoning out...avoiding the next right thing..just HANGING there....Honestly I know resisting change feels uncomfortable but I can honestly say that sometimes limbo...hanging...doesn't feel as bad as my imagination tells me a big change may feel...

I recall what I learned about the tarot card "The Hanged Man"...The card represents indecision, pausing, being in limbo...yet when you look at the illustrations describing the Hanged Man, he is usually hanging upside down with a peaceful grin....In other words..he is enjoying limbo!

That's probably insane, I know..and as I follow this train of thought I realize that change is also a LOSS and losses can and do bring pain...thus fear of change can equal fear of loss....and taking it one step further...fear of change (and thus loss) is ridiculous because to resist change is like trying to tell the sun not to set...

Time to refocus...time to change the direction I am looking in once again...Loss can be another way to say "release"..and release is good..Release worries about changes, about other people, release of old ideas and even old paintings that don't cut it...Ahhhh...a simple change in perspective! 

 Look at his serene face

           This Painting is about CHANGE,

           with a hanging heart   (2008)--------->