It is not an exaggeration when I say I have been painting, painting and painting for the last few months. I have been painting inside and outside. I have had paint all over myself, paint cans, brushes, the living room floor, on old wooden panels, concrete blocks and on canvas. I have painted so much I can’t use my painting apron and some brushes anymore.
My latest and biggest project has been to paint the full set for the Wonderland musical production for Beach Nuts Theater. And finally, now that the production is underway, I can share the real work with you here.
The set consists of 22 4 foot x 10 foot panels and about 6-7 weeks worth of solid outdoor work in buggy, muggy and rainy Costa Rica. I loved every minute of it and mostly I have loved the kids reaction to them. Those kids put so much energy and love into this epically entertaining production, they deserve every amount of joy I can give them back.
A tree and climber tend to each other while conjuring private magic.
One offers height, an ever changing maze, adventure, and endless possibility of another world. The other lays hope before her, curiosity and this secret; to understand what lays in her own hands. With each strong grasp and successful push she learns she is capable, again, again, and more.
In a tree’s magic cradle.
Watercolor 24″ x 18″
Original Sold (Commission)
Customized Limited Edition Prints: $65
Did you know that a baby sea turtle isn’t much bigger than a ping pong? And they are dark, almost black. From afar, they could be wet bark and then they move. Amazing. As they grow they stretch that layer thin and the green reveals itself.
Seeing one is witnessing a breathing miracle. The one in Mexico was deadly persistent in its pursuit of the sea. A wondrous role model. Sadly, it didn’t make it. There were many factors against the poor thing, including the crowd of tourists, the daylight, the gentle-ish yet inconsistent surf and the pelicans circling overhead. The survival rate of a baby turtle is about 1% and humans contact lower these chances more. Yes, we can kill them with our love.
It did not escape my daughter, Dana, that this was a and uncommon and momentous event. She drew the experience and then steadily persisted that I paint her drawing.
I’m grateful for sea turtle markings which are like an unique topographical map, and gave me some artistic freedom. Dana wanted a golden head. So gold she had it and though I was challenged by it, I’m thankful to not have to map that artistic decision.
Although I’m an abstract and illustrative artist sometimes I find myself struggling with the seen and seek permission to break through the literal. Why do I need permission? Why do I feel like my painting must look like what is? That makes me laugh. I insist there is much we don’t see. I’m very interested in making the invisible, visible. And yet, I struggle. It is a human bind.
Every choice is very deliberate in art making, even when it seems arbitrary. This turtle tested the balance between symbols, color, memory, relationships and art. Because in part, it had to be a turtle as you and I know it while more fantastic to satisfy my child and the child in all of us.
Inspiration comes from the most unexpected places. This drawing is my son’s most recent dragon. A dragon that spits fire, water, rainbow, stars, snow, and anything else that comes to my boy’s mind. I love the energy that went into his frenzied inspiration as he drew and told the story of this dragon. I love the large lower jaw and teeth, the chicken legs and ultra-fancy wing. The composition of the body is a dragon meets T-Rex meets Tasmanian devil without arms. Fierce but friendly, a dragon that means well, powerful and ultimately scary but awe-inspiring. As I watched this dragon unfold, and listened to Daire’s story, I knew I had to paint this one.
Been working on adding more basic decoration to all of the dragon, working in one green for the body with the intent to bring in other shades later for depth. The wings are shades of pink, purple and cobalt blue and all shades within in but I’ll come back to them and bring more shading in as well.
I’ve deepened the coloring in the body and wings and started coloring in his fire, water, stars breathing capability. I haven’t decided if he is sitting on a cloud, a rainbow, the moon, a tree, a flower yet. I just can’t seem to decide, maybe I will ask Daire himself.
My friend wrote a children’s story, Bear in Ballard, based on the true story of a bear spotted on the streets of Ballard a few years ago. The story depicts the bear as it cavorts and explores major landmarks in the area like Cupcake Royale and the Locks. She flattered and intimidated me when she asked me to illustrate it. Though I had my doubts, I love this friend and admire her spirit and vision. I wanted to work with her so I agreed. I finished two illustrations. Bear and Dragon is an interpretation of an elementary school playground. Bear in Sprinkle Park takes place by the library being led by the moon and followed by a police dog.
Unfortunately, we didn’t finish this project. But the project taught me how to merge my style with story telling, a true challenge.