Friday, April 29, 2011

Follow Your Bliss

This was painted for the Calypso Moon Artist Movement challenge, Art in Music. It took me quite a lot of consideration to pick the music and an image. I wanted to pick some slightly obscure music that you probably haven't heard, in the hope of giving you something new to like. The inspiration is Po' Girl's song, Follow Your Bliss. It's roots music with lyrics that say something. The painting is in a slightly primitive style in gouache on watercolor. There's a line in the song referring to that wonderful fact about stars - they are so far away from us that by the time we see them they might be gone. I think moths are sad and beautiful in the same way as distant stars. They are fragile and short-lived. Some even have no mouths. They don't eat; all they do is seek a mate. Nobody knows for certain why moths fly toward light. Theories are that it guides them in their navigation and brings them toward a place of safety or other moths. Perhaps it is because the light is beautiful and brings joy to the moths. Follow your bliss sums up a philosophy of doing the thing that you love, and harmony, success or whatever you need will derive from that. Painters mostly get that. Musicians get it too. Go on. Shine.

I was stumped trying to figure out how to embed the YouTube video, so I'm accepting tutoring. Here's the link.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Dog Named Sam

If you share your home with a dog, you will know just how much your life is enriched - with affection, humor, empathy, playfulness, joy. It's uncanny, magic even, how the dog settles into the comfortable spot in your heart. I went many years of my adult life without a dog. I didn't know it then, but I was a poorer and sadder person. This isn't my dog; Frankie is my dog.

There were three people who convinced me to get a dog. They know who they are. But there was also a dog that convinced me - this dog, our neighbors' ever-present friendly happy lively dog, Sam.

I'm happy with the portrait. I worked from a black and white photo, and I spent more hours drawing than painting, to get the likeness. I always thought it would be difficult working from black and white, but I actually think my colors are better than they would be if I had a colored picture as a guide. I had to think about the colors more and try them out. It amuses me how the unfinished bottom of the picture makes me think of the Gilbert Stuart portrait of George Washington

Monday, April 11, 2011

Monday Morning Macro

My interest and confidence in photography has been growing. Particularly close-up shots of small things. So I thought I'd participate in the Macro Mondays of Lisa's Chaos. Here is a ladybug without spots. A little out focus.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Old Mill, Now and Then

I painted this afternoon at El Molino Viejo. It was a beautiful day, with the sun ducking in and out of clouds and spring well underway. The painting looks very similar to the one I painted last summer. I chose to paint the same view since I knew it worked. I think I might like the new one even better. It has more color variations and the appearance of depth. I'm very fond of the simple trees in the background. However, my thoughts were on an entirely different picture of El Molino Viejo. This one:

I remembered seeing this photograph on the internet, and I got a huge kick out of it, because there is this woman well over 100 years ago, doing just exactly what I do. I'm betting she didn't go home and blog about it though. In my quest to find the picture again, I also happened to learn who is pictured. The seated woman is Elizabeth Putnam, a Los Angeles painter and art teacher. Looking over her shoulder is Gutzon Borglum, whom Elizabeth married. He was 20 years younger, and she left him in Europe. His best known work, by a long shot, is Mount Rushmore.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Ernest Debs

This is my painting from yesterday at the Audubon Center at Ernest Debs Park. Ernest Debs was a former Los Angeles County Supervisor from 1958 through 1974. Coincidentally, these are the same years I was a child. L. A. County supervisors have enormous power. There are only five of them in a county that encompasses over 4,000 square miles (or 10,000 square kilometers) and close to 10 million people. A few of the functions county supervisors oversee are flood control, beaches, criminal prosecutions, jails, hospitals, museums, the board of health, emergency communication and disaster relief. The Board of Supervisors passes ordinances with the force of laws. Although we elect them, we tend not to pay much attention to our county supervisors. Only once ever was an incumbent defeated. The names of the supervisors are somewhat familiar to us, but if they didn't have things named for them, they would pass into obscurity in a short time.

We remember Ernie Debs because he had a park named for him, although the land for the park was set aside before Ernie's time. Debs was famous briefly in the 1960s when he launched a law enforcement campaign against the counter-culture that was thriving at music clubs on the Sunset Strip - an unincorporated (hence county) section of Sunset Boulevard adjacent to Hollywood and Beverly Hills. Ernest Debs also signed and presented a proclamation naming Louise Huebner the official witch of Los Angeles County. This is true. Louise's husband was Mentor Huebner, a film industry illustrator and fine artist. Here's a view of Los Angeles painted by Mentor Huebner.

Friday, April 1, 2011


Lessons from flowers: be open, be colorful, be fruitful, sow your seeds, follow the sun, seize the day.