Together In The Thorns

16″ square oil on gessoed Masonite panel

I painted a gauche version of this painting a couple of years ago. It was titled “Nesting Pair”. I painted at the hospital again today, and I watched countless couples walk by. I watched men push their wives in wheelchairs, or wives walk while their husbands were wheeled down the hall in a hospital bed. I thought about how illness might be a thorn in their lives. There are all kinds of thorns that pop up in relationships: finances, work problems, even internal problems where the thorns are coming from the relationship itself. I really admire couples who work to stay a nesting pair despite the thorns that pop up in their lives.

Rejoice Because Thorns Have Roses

20″x16″ oil on panel

“We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorns have roses. “Alphonse Karr (1856)

I had the pleasure of painting in the Plaza of Baylor hospital in downtown Dallas today.

As I painted I experienced so beautiful it took me a minute to place what it was. It was a cello, warming up.

The cellist was just out of my view, but his music blessed my painting, and the lives of those passing through one of the busiest corridors of Baylor hospital today.

I am so grateful to be part of the Arts and Medicine program. I bet I talked to a hundred people today as I painted. I am touched an amazed by how many people talked to me and shared stories of the artists they have know to their diagnosis.

Creating an Art Habit #5

I personify my art supplies. I imagine they talk to each other the ways the toys in the cabinet did in “The Velveteen Rabbit.” The brand new ones are snobs acting fancy, but the much loved art supplies know that they really aren’t worth much as art supplies, their true value lies in the potential art they may become.

These pastels might feel sad as they lay in a box as bits of chalk, however, they become joyful and proud as they become a meadow, a flower, and a sunrise.

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Creating an Art Habit #4

What are your excuses? I have heard: If only I had enough time, if only I had a studio, if only I could retire, if only my kids were grown…

Guess what? If you wait to cross all those things off your list, you will forever be waiting. Learn to use the time, space, and materials you have to make something today. Then do it again tomorrow.

My minivan studio during an hour long ballet class.

Call Back List

10″x8″ mixed media sketch

You know this feeling…waiting to hear. Perhaps it was a job interview or test result not a cast list you waited for, but the feeling is the same. I love how this image captures patient girls on the left and a warm hug on the right. It could have been a hug of condolence, or strength to read the names, or maybe even celebration. Next time you are waiting for big news, remember how important it is to have someone to hug when it comes, and invite someone to wait with you.

Whispering Secrets

6″ square pastel and charcoal on Akua ink

This is a quick sketch, made more interesting because it was made on top of a piece of an abstract made with Akua ink.

I love to personify poppy’s. These could be parents noticing their little ones had finally nodded off for the day. “They are asleep, I love you” they might whisper to each other as they tiredly bump heads.

Year of color

This is what the colors of my 2018 paintings boil down to. If you do a google search, there is a program that will boil all your Instagram posts into simplified color chart- Year of color. Since I only post my art on Instagram, this is a color summary of my painting year.

I am delighted by all those circles of color. The analysis seems spot on, and if you look close there are some tiny turquoise dots that are so wonderful. I also note, there are a lot of neutrals for someone who paints so much color. You need those to make the color really sing, and here is proof that I have remembered to include them.

Creating an Art Habit #3

Find a teacher. Then be a good student. Listen to the instructions, and do your homework.

12″ square. House paint and chalk marker

I took a workshop recently from Doug Walton. It is good for me to get out of my head and habits and follow someone else’s instructions. Every year I try to take at least two workshops, and during the workshop I try to leave behind what I know works and try whatever method is being taught. It is awkward, like writing with your non dominant hand. The results usually aren’t that great, but during the process you grow and when I get back to my studio I have some new trick or technique in my tool belt.