Monday, December 7, 2009


As a painter, I am largely self taught. Yeah, yeah, I went to art school, but I wasn't in the painting department and I ended up getting a BFA in sculpture. But that's another story.....

This post is about process--my process and I think it's important to share this belief---THERE ARE NO RULES. REALLY. I kid you not--and the sooner you figure that out, or start to believe it, the more fun and satisfaction you're gonna have. I mean, isn't that why we do art? Sure we'd all like to be hugely successful, but that's not the primary motivation for making art. There are easier ways to make money.

Well, these goofy pics of my painting table are the illustration of this post and the importance of finding the right equipment that works for you in your very own individual artmaking process. Acrylic on canvas is one of the mediums I use. And I don't use acrylic how most people do, and so the traditional "artist's palette" has never worked for me. I thin it down and use layers of paint, much as I do with my gouache & watercolor paintings. I used to use this plastic thing that looked like an egg carton, which I got on my freshman year of art school--a LONG time ago. It worked pretty well, but was hard to clean & stuff dried up too fast, even though I covered it with foil. So last year, I decided that I deserved (and needed) a new system and started hunting through all my various art supply catalogues. Well, I found this groovy little piece of equipment in the pics. It's called "Double Take" and it was designed for watercolors. But it works great for acrylics as well. And it comes with all these little plastic cups with lids that fit in spaces around the edge. (You can also order these separately if you need more) And the plastic lid fits over the whole shebang--and it keeps things pretty workable. The lid also has 4 trays of workspace you can use, although I have yet to avail myself of them.

Best of all it's easy to clean off & start over. I think I may have gotten mine at ASW, but I'm not sure (it's been awhile)
Anyway, just wanted to share that info. People always wonder when they come to your shows--"How did you do that?". Well, it's a long answer with many small parts. And usually as artists, we don't think about the funny little stuff we do that helps us to get from A to B. So there you go.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Images: Front and back covers of the American Art Collector
Front cover of Inquiring Mind
Lots of stuff happening!
I just received my copies of the "American Art Collector", which I wasn't expecting until the end of November. I am excited to be a part of it--the book has turned out very nicely. This was a juried competition, and the book is published by Alcove Books in Berkeley, CA. It includes over 300 artists from all over the US, working in 2D and 3D formats. There is quite a range of styles and overall the work is of very high quality. These are distributed to art galleries nationwide, and are also available for sale at bookstores. And there are 3 of us featured in the American Art Collector who are part of Point Reyes Thanksgiving Open Studios! Myself, photographer Philip Loring Greene and ceramicist Carolyn Means.
The latest issue of Inquiring Mind arrived about a week ago. Inquiring Mind has been using my artwork for several years now & I have a large image of the "Mountain Lions" painting in this issue. IM is published in black and white only, but the I love the large format and each issue is really beautiful and the writing is superb. Subscriptions to Inquiring Mind are by donation and it is published twice yearly. It is produced for and supported by the vipassana community and is a non profit venture.
I will have both of these publications displayed at my Thanksgiving Open Studios for your perusal--& copies of the Inquiring Mind to give away to those who are interested. And just so you don't forget, here is the scoop on Open Studios:
Point Reyes Thanksgiving Open Studios
Friday Nov. 27 through Sunday November 29
11:00 AM to 5:00 PM each day
Group Exhibition at Toby's Feed Barn in Point Reyes Station
Opening Reception on Saturday Nov. 7 from 2:30 to 4:30 PM
Brochures with maps are available at local retailers and at artists' studios OR
on our website
We have over 20 artists participating and you can see their work and read about them on the website. So check it out and plan your holiday weekend!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


And here's the finished piece.


I have been working on this painting of a barn owl in a persimmon tree. It is close to being finished (I think) And I have been having encounters with REAL barn owls since I started working on it. (This is what always seems to happen to me--somehow I "call in" what I am painting to where I am seeing & experiencing it up close & personal.....always interesting & always a thrill.
And I "discovered" that I have a timer on my camera (who knew?) & I figured out how to use it (imagine that!) so that enabled me to take this "self-portrait" of me working on the painting. Those of you who are technology-challenged, like myself.....will understand this---the rest of you can just roll your eyes. :-)

Friday, October 16, 2009


Well, maybe I shouldn't say "New Directions"--I have done ceramics off & on since the 1970's. But it had been AWHILE--like since 1997. YIKES. And I missed doing it, but I didn't realize how much I missed it until I started again. (Funny how that works) And the most interesting thing to me is remembering how the ceramics and the painting complemented each other & bounced off of each other---& what an incredibly fertile time it was, when I was doing both at the same time. And now that is coming back--how wonderful!!! It feels just right.
And I will be debuting my new pieces (whatever I can get finished) at my Open Studios on Thanksgiving weekend. (That will be the Fri.-Sun weekend of Thanksgiving from 11-5 at my studio in Pt. Reyes Station) After that, I will be adding ceramics to the rest of my display at the Farmer's Markets.
The pieces pictured above are all hand made in either Navajo Wheel or Hawaiian Red clay---fired to cone 5 and glazed with blue and green cone 5 glazes in an electric kiln. Some of the raw clay is left between the glazed areas. I love that look & feel.
I am experimenting a lot, so it's hard to say what you might see in the upcoming months. Come by & check it out!

Monday, August 24, 2009


I have been showing with the Marin Farmer's Markets Association for about 5 years now.....

They just started a new market this summer in the Stonestown shopping center in SF.........

It is held year-round, on Sundays from 9 AM-1PM--in the parking lot behind Macy's.....

I was there a couple of Sundays ago for the first time.......

It is a small market at this point, but quite varied--these pictures will give you a little taste...

There was live music and vendors selling prepared foods, as well as fruits & veggies....

The neighborhood is very excited about the market & the turnout was pretty good....

The location is near my old neighborhood in the city, so I felt quite at home....

It was foggy and cool that day, which was perfect for me as I had Joey (my St. Bernard) in the truck.....

Here's what my booth looked like....

And here are some paintings done by my friend Mike, who was next to me....

Hope you enjoyed seeing these pictures.....

Stop by & check it out some Sunday when you are in the neighborhood!

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Os Gemeos (meaning "twins") is the name of two twin brothers from Brazil, who are "so called" graffiti artists. They recently created this mural in NYC & this photo is taken from the article in the NY Times. They have done major pieces all over the world, but this was the first time I had heard of them. I am totally ENCHANTED with their imagery and imaginations--but also blown away with how they are creating these paintings. Yes, it is spray paint, but they have come up with ways of using things like templates to create a hightly detailed and incredible world. There is a slide show on the NY Times website, showing various aspects of this work and also them at work on it. You can see that here. I googled them and there are lots of links with pictures of various projects they have done--also a very profound and moving interview with them which you can see here. Check it out--it is worth seeing! You will be amazed.
In other news, my etsy shop is coming along nicely. I have been working on it since the beginning of July--it seems non-stop. I am getting closer to having it pretty together as a site----but then, of course--your shop is never really DONE. Go here to see my updates. If you have any comments, suggestions or whatever--I would be happy to hear them!

Thursday, August 6, 2009


I joined ETSY in the beginning of May, but didn't start to post any items until July. For those of you who are unfamiliar with is a website for artisans and retailers who sell handcrafted items and art, vintage clothing and accessories and craft supplies. It has been around for a few years and has become quite a phenomenon. I liked the idea of it, and I like the fact that it is so community oriented. There are forums and conversations that members can participate in, and ongoing workshops and a blog with tips on selling and creating your shop. Sellers get their own online shops----Etsy provides templates & instruction on how to create your look. Paypal is available as are the options of accepting checks or money orders. There is no fee to have a shop--there are minimal fees to list each item (.20 for 4 months) and a small percentage taken on each sale. It is perfect for me as an addition to my website and blog--giving me a venue where it is simple for my supporters to drop by, check out what is available & order cards, magnets & prints---even some originals--and just pay securely online with a credit card.
Setting it up has also been a challenge and a learning experience for me in computer-land. I am getting more practice with Photoshop (which I desperately needed) and I am feeling pretty proud of my improvements in that area. I am not totally "set up" yet, but I am on my way.
I hope you all will stop by and visit my shop and check out the rest of as well. You will be amazed at the range of things that people are doing!
Image: "Pelican's Dream" gouache and watercolor with gold leaf on paper 16" x 20" This is a new painting and is currently being shown at The Pelican Studio Gallery on Hwy 1 (main street) in Point Reyes Station.

Friday, July 3, 2009


I feel like the White Queen in Through the Looking Glass, who told Alice that you have to run very fast just to stay where you are, and twice as fast if you want to get anywhere else. Lots of stuff happening & I hardly know where to begin.

I wrote in an earlier post about plans to collaborate with my friend Jackie in her ceramic studio. Look here. (I can't believe that was the end of Jan.!) It took us a while to get going, but for the last several months we have managed to meet every week or every other week. Sometimes it has just been Jackie and myself, and other times we have had up to 6 people participating in various projects. It has been great fun and lots of exchanging ideas and information, as this group has a wide range of expertise. I have been experimenting with various kinds of clays, working with rolling out slabs and forming shapes on impromptu "molds". I have been working with oxides and mason stains to paint on pieces. I have also been doing surface decoration on some of Jackie's thrown pieces.
I haven't come up with any finished pieces yet that are really what I want to be doing, but I am getting closer. I also have been looking at a lot of other artist's work, trying to figure out what I want to be doing. Yesterday I attended the Clay and Glass Festival in Palo Alto, CA. It was a huge outdoor show at the Art Center there. I had never been before--my friend Molly Prier does that show and recommended I check it out. She is a fabulous potter and has been teaching ceramics classes in the Bay area for years. It was a wonderful show and an incredible array of styles and methods of using clay. (I didn't really look at the glass--there was so much work there that I was overwhelmed) I went around and collected business cards (for further research) and took some notes (so I would remember what I saw) and talked to a few artists who weren't busy with customers when I was in their booths. There was also a booth there selling supplies and tools, so of course I spent some money there!
Jackie is traveling this month, so I am not going to her studio every week. So it's a good time to catch up on some other projects and plan my next steps in the studio. I have several pieces that have been bisqued & are waiting to be glazed, and some test glazes I haven't seen finished yet.
There are several things I want to learn how to do--one is slip casting and mold making. I have been playing around with slabs and forming plate and bowl shapes using existing items. But I would like to make some interesting and unique forms to paint on that could be slip cast, so that I would have multiples. Clay is so much FUN!
And last weekend, I found a great book on Kurt Weiser's work. It is the catalog to a show of his work which is currently at the Erie Art Museum & is traveling to some other venues. The book is titled "Eden Revisited: The Ceramic Art of Kurt Weiser " and it is incredible! I had seen some of his work in a magazine before, but I didn't know anything about him. It just blew me away. Check him out.
And, yes, I AM still painting and have been working on quite a few pieces. The image above--"Crow with Persimmons" is a fairly new (this year) piece. Acrylic on canvas 11" x 14". I have some other new paintings finished, but not photographed yet. Will be posting some new images very soon.
And other new exciting news coming up..........Stay tuned.

PS--I heard that Bravo is doing casting calls for a new reality TV show on artists. Who is watching this stuff?

Wednesday, April 29, 2009


Last night was the SFMOMA film screening of "Pirkle Jones: Seven Decades Photographed"--a wonderful film by Jane Levy Reed. I went with my friend Jennifer McFarland, the director of The Pirkle Jones Foundation and my friend Catherine Lyons--- another photographer and friend of Pirkle's.
Jane spent more than 3 years working on this film, which covers all aspects of his work, and is narrated by him, so that you feel as though you are sitting in his living room talking to him. The film is about 30 minutes long and beautifully done. I feel that the music that they chose for the film was especially good, adding to the feeling created by Pirkle's photographs and creating a flow from one section to another.
This is Jane's second film about the life of a photographer. Her previous film was "My Eyes Were Fresh: The Life and Photographs of John Gutmann". Jane's website is
You can see the sequence of stills for Pirkle's fim on Jane's website---it's not as good as seeing the film in its complete state, but the photographs are wonderful and you can get a sense of the range of work covered. To see the stills go HERE. And you can order the DVD at her website as well.
The image shown above is a famous shot of a Black Panther protest during 1968 that was made into a poster and widely used in the Black Panther's "Free Huey" campaign.

Saturday, March 21, 2009


My friend Pirkle Jones (far right in blue sweater) with Mary & Tim from California Orchids.

I have worked for Pirkle for almost three years & we had become very good friends. He died on March 15. The following is an excerpt from his obituary.


Noted photographer and educator Pirkle Jones died on Sunday, March 15 in San Rafael, California at the age of 95. The passing of photographer Pirkle Jones marks the end of an era. He was one of the few remaining artists who studied with Ansel Adams and became known for his exquisite black-and-white prints whose subject matter ranged from the beauty of the California landscape to the politics of the Black Panthers.

Pirkle’s photographs defined the Bay Area. San Francisco skylines with the fog rolling in and cloudscapes appear. Pirkle honored the working man: grape pickers, migrant farm workers, and cattle herders.
He was attracted to the abstract compositional elements he saw in construction where he photographed workers dancing with concrete and I-beams.

Pirkle’s love affair with the San Francisco Bay Area began when he came through San Francisco on his way to the Pacific during World War II. After the war, he returned to San Francisco to enroll in the new photography department at California School of Fine Arts headed by Ansel Adams. This brought him into the circle of Ansel Adams, Edward Weston, Dorothea Lange and Minor White. The creative energy of the time was electric. Pirkle met Ruth-Marion Baruch who was also a student in the photography program and a poet. They were married in 1949 at the Yosemite Valley home of Ansel and his wife Virginia. Adams said “I think that Pirkle Jones is an artist in the best sense of the term. His statement is sound and resonant of the external world as well as of the internal responses and evaluations of his personality. His photography is not flamboyant, does not depend upon the superficial excitements. His pictures will live with you, and with the world, as long as there are people to observe and appreciate.”
Pirkle’s enthusiasm for art and life led him from his tenure as a student and assistant to that of a collaborator and teacher. Pirkle was a renaissance man---a master of his own ideas as well as having the gift to inspire and nurture the creativity of others.

“I am not concerned about style for style’s sake.
Style is as natural as breathing.
If you are true to yourself, you’ll be original.”
Pirkle Jones

Jones’ life encompassed almost a century and his time in photography represented 70 years of work. Pirkle’s legacy was his ability to bring together and express the diverse elements of the world as he saw it, and to communicate his excitement and love of creativity through collaboration and inspiration. He was a great pollinator—buzzing with ideas, touching many people and spreading his infectious enthusiasm. Pirkle was “percolating” all the time. Pirkle Jones chronicled the people, politics and landscapes of Northern California. Photography historian, Nancy Newhall has written that “There are a handful of photographers who have achieved the stature of poets, and Pirkle Jones is one of them.”

Some of Pirkle’s outstanding contributions include:

The “Death of a Valley 1956” a collaboration with Dorothea Lange, which documented the final year of the Berryessa Valley slated to be flooded upon the completion of the Monticello Dam. Published in 1960 as a single issue of Aperture magazine under the name Death of a Valley, this essay remains a powerful testament to the price of progress.

“Walnut Grove 1961”a collaboration with Ruth-Marion Baruch that recorded the portrait of a dying California town.
“A photograph is not real.
The moment we make a picture we become political”
Pirkle Jones

“Black Panthers 1968” a collaboration with Ruth-Marion Baruch that characterized the changing political and social upheaval sweeping across the country from the Bay Area in the Summer of 1968.. Pirkle and Ruth-Marion connected with the Black Panthers through their involvement with the Peace and Freedom Party. Their Panther photographs become the iconic face of the Panthers and carry both a significant beauty and compassion. In 2001, Greybull Press published Black Panthers, 1968 with an introduction by Kathleen Cleaver.

The “Gate 5” series which documents the counter culture houseboat community of Sausalito, California during the late 60’s to early 70’s.

Pirkle Jones's other achievements include the Photographic Excellence Award from the National Urban League and a National Endowment for the Arts Photography fellowship. His photographs have been exhibited at museums nationwide. Jones retired from teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997; he led workshops in California, including Yosemite workshops with Ansel Adams. In 2001, the Santa Barbara Museum of Art mounted a retrospective exhibition Pirkle Jones: Sixty Years in Photography. The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art exhibited Pirkle Jones and the Changing California Landscape in 2003-2004. In 2004 he received an honorary doctorate from the San Francisco Art Institute. His most recent exhibition in 2009 was “Looking for Mushrooms: Beat Poets, Hippies, Funk, Minimal Art, San Francisco 1955-68” at Museum Ludwig in Cologne, Germany. Jane Levy Reed completed the documentary film “Pirkle Jones, Seven Decades Photographed- From Pictorial California to the Politics of the Black Panther Party” in 2009.
Pirkle lived in Mill Valley, California for over 40 years. He retired from 28 years of teaching at the San Francisco Art Institute in 1997. Upon the passing of Ruth-Marion Baruch in 1997, he established their archive and endowment at Special Collections, University Library, U. C. Santa Cruz. Pirkle leaves behind an extensive network of friends, colleagues, caregivers and former students. .

Saturday, March 7, 2009


'Nuff said.
Happy Spring!

Thursday, March 5, 2009


"Night Persimmons" is one of my new small Affordable Originals. It is acrylic on gallery wrap canvas and the image is continued around the edges, so it does not have to be framed. Size is 11 x 14. The price on this is $350. To see more of my Affordable Originals Series (smaller paintings under $400) go here.
I am having fun doing these--hope other people like them as well.

Sunday, March 1, 2009


Feb. just FLEW by. It is a short month, but still.....

I wasn't posting.

I was..... starting a book on my work....learning how to scan my slides.....taking a Photoshop class....planning some collaborations with my friend Jackie....getting together with some friends I hardly ever see......upgrading my computer.....painting......reading......walking Joey......making soup.......watching the rain

I finished several new small paintings, soon to be posted.

I have been reading some great books---I just finished "The Thirteenth Tale" by Diane Setterfield. I couldn't put it down and it was one of those books that just sucks you into another world--so that when you stop reading and look up, you're not sure who you are anymore, or where you are. It was beautifully written and very evocative. I enjoyed every minute of it!

I have created a link to a set of "AFFORDABLE ORIGINALS" on my flickr page. These are small acrylics on canvas for under $400. You can go HERE to check it out. I will put a link to it on my sidebar, so that you can drop in and see what's been added. I am hoping to add 2-4 new paintings per month.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


This is my friend Jackie in her ceramics studio. She is a multitalented wiz. She makes beautiful and comfortable tableware and candles--she is also a healer, massage therapist and fabulous cook. She also happens to be an incredible friend. I went up to Petaluma to visit her the other day & we had a lovely time visiting, going for a walk, eating, etc. But one of the most important things about our friendship is that we inspire each other and support each other in our creativity and growth. And we have been talking for a while about actually working together in the studio. We made some plans while I was there--and she has two other women friends who would like to join we are going to see if we can have some "play time" in a small group. Everyone has different talents and the plan is to start in her clay studio & see what happens & how we will inspire and learn from each other. I am very excited about the possibilites and have been wanting to do some work in clay again.........I have LOTS of ideas.
New stuff for a new year----remember how to play!

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I can't believe that this is my first post of 2009. It has been a busy month. However, NOW it REALLY feels like New Year's to me--a brand new world and a clean slate. I am immersed in Inaugural Bliss!

And to honor this New Beginning, I am presenting a fabulous offer from now through Feb 14:

40% off all Limited Edition Giclee Prints I have in stock!

These are my beautiful large size (11' x 14'' image size) giclee prints--created with archival inks and printed on watercolor paper. Regularly priced at $124 each--for this limited time I am offering these at only $75 each. There is only one print of each image in stock, so order quickly for your best selection.

To see the selection of what is available go here.

Click on each image to enlarge, see the title and description of each print.

This is your chance to have one of my beautiful large format prints at an incredible price.

Here's how to order:

Call me at 415-663-9646 or

Email me at or

leave your order in the comments section below.