Mar 31, 2011

City Trees

These are based on my bus sketches. I used acrylic paint instead of ink so I could continue my experiments with layered gesso. The paper I made with old spices, the coriander pods were especially interesting aesthetically and of course, the paper smelled really nice. Some sheets have torn up sketches of trees in them so this batch of paper seemed especially appropriate for this project.

Mar 30, 2011

Trees in Transit

Instead of complaining about the fact that I don't have enough time to make art I decided to start sketching on the bus. Tri-met don't pull over for an indefinite amount of time at the sight of each beautiful tree, so it is a challenging endeavor. The clockwork schedule does have its benefits: I get to work on time (Portland has SO many gorgeous trees no one would get anywhere if I were driving,) and I don't get caught up in trying to draw the whole tree or drawing realistically. I'd like to think I am studying the essence of tree shapes. And because I made my sketchbook out of tracing paper the layered sketches make irresistible photos!

Mar 28, 2011

"Love is" and Other Accidents

I can't make myself paint over the piece above. It is not one of the strongest layered-gesso pieces, but I love the shape of the back paper I glued on it. The text underneath was a speculation that love is as ocean to fish, but between people it is an unclassifiable, unpredictable organism that simply can't be defined. I wrote it in response to one of Dale's posts. Moon, Rain, Diligence is still one of my favorites and I still have a couple more layers for it. One Lone Crow bit the dust and I'm not sure if it can be resurrected other than to totally obliterate it like The Darkness of Each Night. We'll see what happens.

Mar 26, 2011

Holding Color

I couldn't help myself from painting in watercolor even though I know it is just going to smear all over the place when I paint more gesso on top. For the one below I thought I'd try colored pencil instead:

Mar 25, 2011

This Apple: A piece from the archives.

This apple breaks its skin under my teeth, cracking wet percussion mingles with Ma* pouring Bach into my rain-lit room. I sit cross-legged, red-socked, in thick corduroys and an old chair,
* Yo Yo Ma

This is a large painting in tempera on banner paper. I find it interesting that I was painting crows back then, too. I never really decided to paint crows all the time I just kept working with poems that starred crows, and my poems have always come from what I notice around me that I find particularly beautiful.

Mar 24, 2011


Some pieces are hard for me to paint over because I like them just fine after the first painting. A few I have kept as they are but some I paint over anyway and then I get to try to make it interesting again. So far this is one that I think has worked the best...not that I'm done with it.

Since I don't have the internet at home right now, I've been making all my posts at once and scheduling them out. It makes me feel like a robot, but also, it feels that my blog has a life of its own, which I like. I also spend a lot less time puttering around with things I don't need to since I have such precious little time to get things done.

Mar 23, 2011

Mar 20, 2011

Giving Way to Flowers

There are a couple of problems with my layering process. One is that I like to use water-based mediums which smear when they contact another water-based medium. some smearing can be nice but sometimes it just obscures too much of the piece. The other is that the gesso obscures a little more than is ideal, I should experiment more with acrylics but I just don't like the feel of them that much. It is like wearing polyester instead of wool and cotton.

I am in the process of selling my car. What that really means is that my car is at my brother's house and he is selling it for me since I know nothing about cars. For a day and a half after getting back to the city without a car I felt a little panicked and odd. I'd been pretending I didn't have a car for several months, and felt confident enough fulfill this dream I've had for years of not owning a car. It did feel a strange at first, though. Now I am delighted. I feel more tuned-in to the weather, seasons, birds, and the trees of course. It also slows my life down in a really pleasant way. I read on the bus, I organize my time more purposefully and I don't have a large, expensive chunk of resources parked prominently in my list of things I should care care of but don't. One day while I was on the bus I thought I saw a silver deer out of the corner of my eye and thus the piece above.

I don't think cars are pure evil the way I did in my 20's, and I have no issue with using a zip car or a rental. But I do think the whole thing has gotten out of hand. We put too much into owning personal cars and arranging our cities around them when we could be improving public transportation and creating more human-friendly spaces.

Mar 19, 2011


I've been very interested in layering things lately. I keep painting gesso over drawings and paintings and writing, then drawing and painting and writing some more, then more gesso and on it goes. It's like an archaeological dig in reverse and I feel compelled to document as many of the layers as possible because I often bury things so deep they get lost or just generally take things too far. 

Mar 17, 2011

Mar 4, 2011

New Stars: a piece from the archives.


My fiery fingers unfurl into the night leaving new stars on the sky.

This is one of my early attempts at illustrating poetry. I think the line is charming but there was a magnitude of unfounded arrogance behind it that is a little embarrassing and very amusing. I especially appreciate that I had no compunction to make the woman's form make sense visually, why is that so hard for me now?