calligraphy, desert landscapes, odd animal portraits



2016 year end review

A quick delightful spurt of journaling with pens, watercolors and lovely sketch paper quickly gave way to incessant journaling.  I spent a lot of time coloring and painting highlights and entries, but really, non-verbal art-making is just elusive.  The Year To Clear What Is Holding You Back has not resulted in very much being revealed as I had hoped– but I am still 45 or so days away from the end, or re-start.

Here are some scribblings from Mid-August.

I signed up for three online watercolor and acrylic painting courses, and was following a couple of art blogs that inspired these three images, executed from the safety and warmth of my custom-made semi-loft bed.  In November I began a new journal which I have lost somehow, and in the missing journal there are some pages of color mixing, using a split palette of warm and cool primaries.  This is very fun and has refreshed my excitement about using color–Pantone 15-0343 Greenery is the color for 2017.

I play in three different bands a minimum of three days a week, one of which is on the Mondays I used to reserve for painting and drawing.  Also, I am on facebook pissing away two or three hours a day, and had spent a lot of what could be creative time shopping for jewelry on Etsy.  I am pretty much sated with that now.  Also there are still six gardening jobs that get me out of the house a few days here and there for creative and exercise purposes. Also, I have plans to engage with my friend and neighbor Jean W. for some arting and tea.

The studio on Howe Street has issues that hold me back from utilizing it: barking dogs, bad air, no insulation (too hot/cold) 2-hour parking restriction, interruptions from the homeowner, who is a dear friend and likes to chat, and for now, the immobility of the rolling door over the cracked and lifting concrete floor that makes it nearly impossible to get in and out.  The fact that it is within walking distance somehow doesn’t  register.  I have begun clearing there, and brought in some electrical cords and tools that will focus me more on things I cannot do at home.  With the new year and returning light I will be going there at least on Fridays, after my weekly trip to my Oakland job.  




Eight months ago, I began almost exclusively using my brother’s laptop, a mac book Pro.  I never used it for blogging, and I am not sure why not.  I don’t know the password  .  .  .  haven’t even tried.  Since this computer has a no-longer-supported operating system that I am loathe to change, for the most part I have kept it offline.

I started a journal on the mac book, and in January I started an online course, I am on Day 143 of A Year to Clear what is Holding You Back, and have been using that in completion of emptying out of my storage under the house, the crawl space, and the stuff from the shed that we tore down at the exact wrong moment–there were a couple cease and desist and emergency clean-up letters from the landlord’s lawyer, and Paul B, Ann and Art came and helped me clean up the yard–there is now a pile of wood debris that has been settling on the property line since mid-April, with no indication that it will ever be taken away, unless I do it.

I have kept notes on much of the stuff I have gotten rid of, a long list of monitors, tools, clothing, books, kitchen stuff, debris, garden tools, furniture.  I have made huge changes in my life–I wish there was a way to “tip in” pages here.  A lot of big change in what I am now calling the studio- the rat-shit-garage framing shop, much cleaned, and updated.  Art and I moved all Jude’s things out of my side, I rearranged the tables and brought in my red rug at  I am gradually moving most of my art supplies there, and adjusting my view, spending more time there than when I thought of it as the Frame Shop, and the stink and dust was so bad.

re studio

May 2016, more spacious after moving tables

studio rug

June 2016, a little paint, a rug over the cracked floor

3 years

Since I lost Steve, sold the shop–and moved my stuff here.  Is that what it’s about?

Just did a big redo of the “Frame Shop”, or whatever it was.   That dog never did hunt.  Now it is a space, a few blocks from home, that I dedicate to leisure and puttering, but still had been avoiding  .  .  .  .  why?  Hunkering like a recluse in my little bed-sit. Never mind.

Jude wanted her stuff up front, so Art and I moved a big sideboard and some other heavy things. I was conscious of all her paint cans and milk crates of mysterious old stuff from previous people who used the space crammed in the corners and under the bench.

I have done some rearranging, finding projects and materials that just may come together in this little sunny space.  The #1 change is my approach, experiencing process as it unfolds, instead of judging it, with trepidation, in advance.  This may be at the root of my lack of “output”.  There has been an avoidance of adding more “stuff” to my cluttered life, but in shutting down two storage spaces and giving almost everything away, I have come across enough unfinished panels and canvases, and unused materials, that I could paint for months without adding a molecule to the pile of stuff I have already.  The plan is to transform the garage into my Painting Studio.

green bird painting

Green Bird-  acrylic on panel 2003

Grief again

Having just returned from my deceased brother’s house and environs in Bothell, Washington about 72 hours ago, I am in a state of delayed reaction.  This is the first chance I have had to spend time at home alone for more than a week.  I spent all day today cleaning out old files and clippings.  I recycled a shopping bag-full of paper.  I also had already gone through my Old Magazine Collection, and put out stacks of (1940’s and 50’s) National Geographic, Arizona Highways, and Artist’s magazines I had stacked and shelved and never sorted.

While clearing out all this paper I started seeing all the dross, great ideas and sketches mixed together.  Last Thursday in my hotel room i pictured all my paints, how my art supplies are all nearly hidden, put where I can almost reach them.  and thought about consolidating and bringing them all together, somewhere.  I used to have my painting studio in the kitchen of this small apartment.  It was a pretty good arrangement that I just now realize I lost when Steve died.  His kitchen was for cooking, his front room for eating, visiting, band practice and watching TV.  My area was for sleeping, my quiet space, office, and painting.

Dealing with my grief for my brother has opened up the unhealed wound of Steve’s sudden death and the turmoil of everything that followed.  I am able to delete his out-of-focus digital photographs for the first time in 2 and a half years.

Kind of sad, looking at what I took photos of, and the bare walls–realizing this was during the time I had the shop.  Many of my paintings were there, too.  I think maybe I will move back into my painting kitchen now.

Dave's Nikon 024Dave's Nikon 0305.27.12_00


It’s so sad, my baby brother has passed away.  I see now a photograph of him, taken just last fall.  Gaunt, haunted.  I had looked away.  If I had only known the pain, but yes, I did, I lived it.  I couldn’t stay in it with him.  I am so sorry Dickiebird.

Canyon weekends

It appears I am doing absolutely no drawing or painting, although I am doing a lot of Art.

I am seldom at home, or in front of a computer, so the timeline has broken down somewhat.  Art and I spend a lot of time in Canyon.  He moved out of El Cerrito the day before we left for the festival in Iowa.  There was still some furniture and instruments that he finally got moved by the end of September.  Much of his stuff is still in boxes, rare instruments and treadle machines- one for sewing, one with bellows for accordion tuning- are in my storage space.

A friend gave me an iPhone in August, and my photo collection is mostly there now.   To get an image for posting I must email it to myself.  This weekend I drove to Canyon after work on Friday and came back to Essex before going to work Tuesday.  While there I helped Art dismantle the roof of the wood shed.  It will be leak free and cosy on a rainy afternoon, with maybe alternating clear and brick red corrugated panels.


Art, the big truck, and Good Cat

My brother died unexpectedly on September 21, the Autumnal Equinox, but it is numbing, and affecting how I spend my time.  It hasn’t quite hit me yet.


Now that I have spent a little time there, I see my vision for BSPco here, a community effort, alternative press, local projects, artistic, politically involved people.  It is somewhat of a miracle.  So valued there already, I was asked to oversee the “benefits” program, where I would coordinate resources for members who want to do their own printing projects.  What could be cooler than this?  Maybe staying at home, reading in bed with a cup of tea?  Or gardening, for $40 an hour in the fresh air and sunshine and weeds? We shall see.

On the other hand it seems a little cult-y, and like so many things I jump into, I wonder if I will need to jump out.  Like the Dharma Publishing volunteer gig, there are skills to learn and quantities of nutritious food.  Unfortunately, the big-screen TV news is on at meals, very bad for digestion   Last night, though, intending to leave early, I stayed for the movie, Cradle Will Rock.  I had seen it before but hadn’t focused on all the theatrical twists and turns.  I really enjoyed it, and there was a good bit of interesting discussion of context and WPA history before and after.

Sort of feels like high school.

I got to use the letterpress to score covers for the book of poetry they designed and published, then tape and put the covers on the bound poems Nate had done the layout for.

Also this weekend I did a little painting, and now I feel like I have a watercolor kit that works for me–the design colors, Kolinsky brushes, watercolor pencils, a bucket for water, and a brush pen.  Throw in a couple of random pens, one waterproof and one not, and a clear zip bag, and I am set.

cactus painting5kb.

Well, this is from a bad photograph of a painting, pastels and ink, that I gave to Jean Hooker some years ago.

UPDATE Summer 2016  I quickly lost interest in this project when, like Dharma, like BSPCo., I found myself working with solvents and toxic substances.  That was the limit–the TV at lunch was intolerable, and really there was nothing there to do.  The cult atmosphere was undeniable, and after Dickie died I just lost interest.