working shipyard

Several years ago I started this painting, finally got back there last week. It is a busy shipyard, with workers biking and golf-carting themselves back and forth on the piers. There was spray-painting, pounding, banging and shouting going on.

painting of Bay Ship shipyard.
Bay Ship, 16″x12″

the here and now

Guard at the gate at Golden Gate Fields. I liked the simplicity of this scene, and simplified it even further. Midday. This is a lonely job these days. Many people pass on the new Bay Trail section which follows the shoreline just a few feet away, but few go up the hill towards the race track, mostly trainers, vets, other support people. We chatted for a short time, his wife is an artist, but paints only horses, and more horses. I think he hopes she’ll branch out and try a new subject some time. I may work on this more, add some detail, or maybe not, it is ok with me.

Guard at the gate of Golden Gate Fields.
Guard at the gate.

day 10. Black Lives Matter

I celebrate all those who have raised their voices and put themselves out there to support the African-American community, and our whole community! How can ANY of us feel safe if ANY of us are NOT safe? We are all one. 

One protester’s sign—

“We didn’t come this far to only come this far”

From an artist’s perspective, “black” people have always been beautiful to me. For one, there are so many different shades and tones, it’s endlessly interesting. The first portrait I ever painted was from my imagination of what a beautiful person would look like: an African woman (in Africa, of course). 

So, here, I revisited that theme and painted another African person, a man this time. He was in a story about a man starting a video “theater” in his home town where few had tv’s and there were no movie houses.  A hero of entertainment!

painting of an African man
Ciné

day 9. two tiny

Since these are so tiny, two will count as one. The little bowls were made by my step-mother. She delighted in making tiny vases, small enough for a single flower, tiny cups and saucers for her granddaughters, and these little bowls which were surprisingly useful. She mixed her own glazes, and liked the homemade look. Cherry tomatoes.

painting of handmade bowl 1
tiny pot with tomatoes
painting of handmade bowl 2
tiny bowl flipped to show the painted pattern

day 6. little boats

small boats are almost always charming, in my mind. Even if they’re ungainly or clunky, you can imagine all the utilitarian errands and occasional fun jaunts that they are put to. Those who use them put up with their sometimes flawed condition: broken oars, frayed ropes, leaky hulls. This one happened to be pretty stalwart, and a beautiful color as well. This is a very small painting, maybe 6×8, I don’t remember now, it’s gone home with someone else.

blue skiff

day 4. old school still life

at least, it seems a bit old-school to me! This was from a decade ago at least, but I could take another dive into still-life. There are many subjects which could be fun and informative to paint. This particular piece was done in pastels, maybe worth a revisit as well!

Eggplant, nectarines, garlic pastel painting.
Eggplant and companions

it takes a while, sometimes

it takes a while, sometimes, to see what you want to change about a painting. There is a wonderful vineyard view, with rows of vines tailing into the distance, going over little hills and up into the ridge beyond. I wanted originally to push the colors into an unrealistic color “way” to see if it might spark some new direction or way of seeing, but, ultimately, I just found it sad. Who wants a sad painting around, especially in these times—it practically repainted itself! Below, the old version, then the new. This is 12×12, and, hey, if you wanted it in your life, contact me! My walls are full!

Art Escape Italy challenge

Art Escape Italy recently presented a self-portrait-during-the-lockdown challenge. If you won, you would get a free workshop in Italy in 2021. What’s not to like about that?! I had been to one of their plein air workshops in 2016, so I knew they chose quality instructors and great venues. This was a “stretch goal” for me, to accept the Art Escape Italy challenge, but I figured it was worth it, since the worst that could happen was nothing and the best that could happen was to win a workshop!

It was fun to try, and my first selfie in oils. Although it makes a lot of sense to paint yourself, it doesn’t always feel comfortable as it feels narcissistic or something, so I haven’t done it much. If you don’t want to bother people to sit for even a photograph, much less an actual painting, you yourself are always there…  

They had about 150 entries. I did not win, but was close! The winner was a stand-out and I admire that portrait. Here’s Art Escape Italy’s blog post.

Micaela Marsden self-portrait
selfie 2020