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Roadside Attractions, one of the last oil paintings from me

Roadside Attractions, Oil on Linen, 9” x 12”

It is true, this is one of the last oil paintings I have because I no longer paint in oils.

I loved painting in oils. The gooey, squishiness and luminosity were the things I loved most about it. The things i didn’t like was how hard it was on my lungs.

In order to get the effects I liked, I tried a lot of different mediums to increase the transparency, build texture or build glazes. Unfortunately, oil paints didn’t like me. Slowly, over time it became harder and harder for me to breathe. So I modified my set up, painting indoors for 3 hours max, then 2 hours, then one hour with the windows open and a fan going on high. Nope, my chest just tightened up again and again.

Finally, I tried only painting outdoors. At times, a hysterical sight: long johns, jeans, sweatpants, double socks and ugg boots and that was just the bottom half! That way I could paint outside on the side of the house at night, with a strong cross breeze going. Sometimes, there was no breeze and then my lungs would close up. Boo.

So, I made the ultimate sacrifice and gave all of my oils, cold wax and various potions to a friend in February. I knew if I didn’t, I would sneak out and use them again. So goodbye oil. Goodbye to teaching in oils too. I can’t even be around them, the wicked things. Copd is a rare condition but I developed it. Georgia O’Keefe had the same problem and had to lay off painting for a year. That is impossible for me. A year? Nope!

Art about Agriculture

Here is a painting of where I live. I live in the tiny city of Fillmore, population 37,000. We are know for our avocados, oranges, lemons, limes, honey, antiques, bread, trains and small town feel. Films are shot here all the time because we are so darn cute. So when there was a competition for Art and Agriculture at the Santa Paula Art Museum, I had a lot of places to choose from. I decided to paint my first impression of Fillmore, how I saw it driving by before I moved here.

Paint what you know

So I did. I started with a warm wash of burnt sienna as a sketch. That way it unifies the colors and imparts a warm glow. Painting fruit trees in a simplified manner with rim lighting is what I chose to do. I did three plein air studies of the fruit trees at a friend’s farm to get the grouping and mountains right. Plein air is when you take a small easel and paints out and paint on location. A tradition started with the Impressionists. Before that, artists would do sketches of trees they had seen or remembered and then paint them in their dark studios. It is really quite amazing seeing the Traditionalists, next to the Impressionists, it is really something to see.

Painting on linen is a luxury for me and I will have to do it more often because it is a lovely, pleasing texture. This painting was in the last fully run show at the Santa Paula Art Museum before the coronavirus hit. Aw, how young we were back then! This painting comes framed in an Italian dark wooden frame with gilt edging. The story of the painting is on the back with a certificate of authenticity as well. I enjoy this painting but it is all ready to go to a new home and I hope it will be yours.

This painting was chosen for the 12th Annual Art About Agriculture show pamphlet at the Santa Paula Art Museum, in Santa Paula California. I wish someone had told me my painting would be the cover art because I almost fainted when I came to the reception. I get a little keyed up about showing. Anyways, thanks for stopping by and ask me anything about painting and I will happily answer you.

Keep creating,


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Crashing Wave, the tale of a Heavy Wave

Crashing Wave, A Journey

Crashing Wave 20 x 20” Made of concrete… well digitally anyways
Crashing Wave looks like it is made out of the impossible material of concrete. The paint strokes look like stucco. She is a Heavy Wave.


This is a personal wave. A wave about my body image and how it has changed.

The novel coronavirus has been a terrible gift we have all received. On December 16th 2019, I came down with the flu and copd and I am just now getting getting over it in May 20th of 2020. My doctor’s still can’t figure out what exactly what it was but the investigation continues. Since I am finally getting better, I am not that interested anymore. I just thank my lucky stars that it wasn’t the coronavirus. I should know, I have been tested three times.
What were my symptoms?
Basically, I couldn’t breathe or talk. Or move that much. I had a fever in December and I lost my sense of taste.  The more I rest the better I feel. Resting is nearly impossible for someone who was jogging and lifting weights in early December 2019. Now, it’s May 2020 and I have begun taking 10 min walks. I am moving around though, so I am happy about that.
But that isn’t what this wave is about. This wave is about weight gain. “Crashing Wave” is meant to reflect on my ballooning weight and also on everyone’s battle with weight gain, in our new normal. I get it, it’s easy to add that extra 10, 20 or 30 pounds from inactivity and feeling overwhelmed.
For me, when I start gaining weight, I usually start eating more salads, taking long walks or go on a plein air painting mission. What have you found that works?  Do you walk? Do yoga? Or, are you having a hard time like me? Sometimes, it’s just too much.  Right now, my lungs aren’t ready for anything that rigorous. Mild little walks is where it’s at right now. I could eat salads but the length of time it takes to make a salad that is tasty is still beyond me. So, raw fruit it is!  

That’s crazy

Up until May 20th, I was planning my attack on the stairs. Usually with a rest break or two along the way, with my new friend – the inhaler. Yeah, it’s been bad. The one good thing is that I started painting my digital wave series before I got sick, on December 12th. That has kept me sane. The release of working on a large, ever evolving series, has been my escape from the coronavirus.  Now that I am well, I am starting to finish them.  I am now focusing on finishing 25 paintings.  The next step will be to look for a place to show them.  Ideally, I would like to find a place to show them together.  I think that would be really fun for people to see.  
I started counting them but when the number went beyond 200, it got a little scary, so I stopped counting! These times are so frightening. I find myself  eating comfort food, to rally my spirits. I am also giving myself permission to lose the weight and balance my emotional needs.
I have started to control myself and I have lost 10 lbs. Last night, I wanted to make a second tri-tip sandwich and then I remembered how tight my jeans are. So instead, I drank water and ate a teensy weensy pile of baked beans. I ate them slowly and before I knew it I was full. Yeah! I am doing it.
So? What do you do?
Seriously, I need to crib from your notes. So, what are you doing in ” the new normal”? Do you exercise regularly or think about exercising? Do you stretch, run or swim? Well for me, work is my coping mechanism. Everyday I sit in bed or on the couch and work away from 2pm – 2am on my digital wave series. It has kept my panic, frustration and saddness at bay but that’s me. How do you cope?
Thanks for reading the story behind the heavy wave made of concrete.