calligraphy, desert landscapes, odd animal portraits


Palindromes all week


I haven’t been posting so much. These last weeks have been horrific. The last moments of Pluto in Capricorn, to be repeated May-January, so we’re not out of the woods yet. At least it is familiar territory, but, gak, already.

The power was out for a mere 24 hours, it was blowing like a pig and rain, rain, rain. Happily, I had solar camping lanterns, a bag of ground french roast, sweaters, blankets, hot water, and gas stove burners, and a new laptop charger. My oven is digital, so I couldn’t use it, for heat or cooking. It occurred to me that if it was on, and the electricity went out, how would I turn it off? I’d have to get Art to bring the power pack to plug into, or turn the gas off, try unplugging it. Scary.

A branch from one of the redwood trees hit the roof and shattered, a large twig is still on the roof of the porch. I went out to see what the noise was, heard a clunk–just missed it, whew.

I also reassessed my bug-out bag and found it lacking, so added and extracted things.

I took the laptop to charge on the inverter in my van, but further adventures, I needed to replace the fuse to the cigaret lighter. Pro tip, I discovered that 8 amp fuse #8 controls my brake lights! Slot #7 holds a spare. Planned to go get some dry ice for the freezer, but found a solid 8# bag of ice; $8, included a tiny yellow bic lighter. Around 3 PM the power came on. Now I have camping ice, so 8 threads are coming together.

I haven’t been doing any drawing whatsoever, but I have been playing with my ink collection, contemplating and admiring my calligraphy practice. I think it has been a month, let’s just call it a fallow period. The new table, tho! After the storm passed, and the power was still out, I went for a walk and found a cedarwood bookcase on the curb, 28×36, 3 shelves 8″ apart. I cleaned it up and switched out the smaller shelf for boots by the door. It suits the theme better, all the pine furniture, minus the big white book case.

Also pulled out my giant 5″ thick Webster’s Dictionary, on the advice of a speaker on the Global Walkout CA zoom call last night. Are you saying what you think you are? BTW, there were 21 people there, two people I recognize. TMI, maybe.

Meanwhile, I wait for the Coder Kids to reprogram the demon robot dogs to dispense ice cream and Solfeggio tones.

The Looming Anniversary of the Great Demise. Maybe I’ll save that for another day.

I just want to bask in the glory of Now for a while.

Woke up weary


There is no inanimate object in my universe. I wake up in gratitude to the 500,000 new cells in my body, a new sun rising through the rain. Everything is moving, everything is alive. The sink, the air, the water in my bath. I love you, water. I love my legs, I love that I can still walk. Where would I be without my self, mice elf, who has brought me so far?

Russel Targ said, Above all else, each morning, put your little paws on the coverlet and give thanks for the new day.

I woke with a headache, be it too much popcorn, too much emotional input, sad stories and beloved friends. I went back to bed and took a nap, woke at 1:30 PM to black coffee and a hot magnesium bath, and a bit of soup.

Heading out tomorrow to tend a friend with the saddest news ever.

This week, a breakthrough. How to draw heads, I thought I would never figure this out. In three sketches, my trajectory is visible. Life is good, if you have it.

Who’s house

Abandoned, a house, a shed, another shed, a cat, two greenhouses, a pine tree, an apple tree, clutter and more, and more indeed. A long driveway. Room for a garden. A view of “mountains” and the moonrise. A dream. A beautiful dream.

Manifesting a Work Table


Out with the round black table I bought from Conran’s for my apartment on Emerson Street in 1981. Took off the legs and rolled it into the hallway closet. I had to move out stuff to make room, two boxes of JD and Pearl, et al, into the Underhouse. Also my vintage Ludwig snare and stand. Why not consolidate, the bass drum is out there.

I set up this pine work table I found last year, abandoned on the street by a painting student. I had to scrape and sand off quite a bit of paint to make the surface flat, leaving it pre-loaded with a patina of artistic energy.

I now have about 3 sq. ft more space in the room, as this table is also an inch taller and fits closer to the treadle/printer table. Someone warned me that rectangles are bad feng shuy, but not if it makes more room to ease through the space.

Already I feel a creative upgrade. It was easier to paint from these old photos of Death Valley near Racetrack, 10.03.03; and a view of upper warm spring in Saline Valley, circa 1997.

Also the current view out the back window from the table.

Winter weather

Crazy rains, wind, trees down, houses sliding off hill tops, king tides, cliffs collapsing, beaches eroding, an ant invasion, and me in my little possum holm. Heaven. A bit of hiking the streets between the storms, where I found some cool kitchen things in a free box. A (sweet) potato masher, which I need, a 1/3 cup stainless steel measuring cup, always handy. Several wide mouth pint ball jars, yay, and a red coffee mug I can contribute to the Sunday Salon. It’s a full life.

I made some soup from the meaty carcass of the Christmas turkey, with shiitake mushrooms and fat Italian egg noodles. So good. Also tasty and festive are small chunks of wild salmon, gold potatoes, green beans, broccolini, pink lady apples, coffee and cream, from hikes to B. Bowl.

More little sketchbook play, with opera rose and white gouache, white Signo, micron, Kuretake brush pens, french ultramarine, various greens, yellows, and random watercolors and stains from old messy palettes.

xmas haul


Back from the north, where we visited an abandoned, boarded up house with a shed and a garage, and an empty lot on each side. I so want it! Imagine the garden, and the painting studio! How many millions will it take?

The best deal of the season was a stack of sweaters, three turtlenecks and a zip-up cardigan from mimi’s stash of donations. I also bought a long gray skirt at Goodwill. Gift are so unnecessary.

On returning home ahead of the storm (before NYE, which I slept thru) I hunkered down with my new sweaters and youtube, covering up sloppy swatch charts in old sketchbooks, inspired by screen shots from Marina Willer, and previous grid play.

Another Andie Class


I’ve said too much. Just an image.

What could be happier than this window full of sky, sunlight and squirrels, me and youtube, old sketchbooks, brushes and paints?

What better than unending days of not watching a clock. Just this.



Took a fun workshop in luminous landscape watercolor with Andie Thrams this weekend. I LOVE the juicy yellows, the square format. Many thumbnails and color tests.

Oops: edit: caveat: didn’t mean to hit the Publish button yet.

Some notes: Engage with your subject: why did I choose this subject? What am I seeking? What is my hope? What is the viewpoint? close, far, big, small, hard, soft, gestures, detail, mood, flavor. Be present. Consider the possibilities.

Shake out the hands, roll your neck, mix little color swatches, then pools of color.

Meanwhile: Complaining shrinks your hippocampus.

Gratitude boosts endorphins to produce a euphoric rush. It can boost oxytocin, the love drug (like rubbing the ears of cats). It can boost seratonin to make you happy and calm. It activates the brainstem to produce dopamine. It boosts the immune system, lowers stress and blood pressure.

“Perfection is a stick with which to beat the possible” –Rebecca Solnit

Be peace. Be love. Be here now.


October 25/eclipse 2022

My friend gave me a little Mexican-made chest of drawers as a gift for helping her in her studio. Just in time! because now instead of having my acrylic paint tubes and bottles in open trays, subject to terrorist assault by hungry rats, I can keep them secure. The chest had been left outside for a bit, sufficient to have the drawers stucky and wonky. I sanded them all down and got them working nicely, and touched up the outside with successive grades of sandpaper and a coat of Feed-N-Wax.

Meanwhile, I found four aforementioned chewn-open and partially eaten tubes of paint resting atop a container of some dolls–I found the hair of Pocahantas in the paint-tube tray. Titanium white, Neutral gray, phthalo blue, and for good measure silver, turned out to be just the colors I needed to mix and match the “cape cod blue” I had used on the floor last month. Squeezed what was left into jars, and started mixing; way too much white, so I ended up adding a few drops of carbon black, dang close, I’d say. The rat had also chewn into a bottle of bronze paint, and I tried using that as a stencil color, but it was too faint, so back to the iridescent blackish, and done.

By the way, I had been painting most of the interior in this patchy style, using Zinsser 1-2-3 due to the history with mildew. On the window-well walls here I pulled out some interior latex, which turned out to be what I had used on the ceiling “Summer Sky” almost imperceptibly sky-blue. I love the way it gradually moves from blue to white as it goes from the floor and up the wall.