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″

Online Group Show at the O’Hanlon Center

I am honored to be included in the O’Hanlon Center’s online group show of self-portraits — “Me to Myself”. The O’Hanlon Center for the Arts is continuing, despite the current circumstances, to exhibit artists and connect people in many ways. The center is in Mill Valley, California, and the show starts today June 8, 2020.

View the show here: https://www.ohanloncenter.org/exhibits/current/

show graphic: Me to Myself

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 5. freeways in the “free” world

The freeways that we drive on are much-ignored marvels of engineering. They are (mostly) angled to shed water properly, amazingly smooth, have occasional beautiful (yes, beautiful!) overpasses and truly amazing tangles where major routes cross each other. Plus, they have safety structures, signs, striping and lighting. We are so lucky, and (mostly) we don’t even know it, and never think about it. As a kid spending some time in Mexico, I marveled at these roads each time we returned home. These giant structures support the south side of the Carquinez Bridge, in Crockett. Some of these pillars sit next to modest houses, making an interesting juxtaposition.

painting of freeway supports.

day 3. painting in the fog

a few years ago my plein air group and I took a trip up to the Guerneville area. We rented a cabin on the Russian River and spent three days eating, painting, socializing and generally having a blast. One of the days, we headed out to Goat Rock, along the coast. As we got closer to the coast, the fog became thicker and thicker, until by the time we arrived at our destination, it was a thick blanket you could scarcely see through. Some of us continued south until we could find some clearer skies, which we did, but I returned to Goat Rock determined to paint that almost-island. Still socked-in, but I set up my gear and focused on a nearby bramble tangle. It turned out to be an abstract, and super fun.

Goat Rock painting
Not Goat Rock!
Goat Rock painting detail
detail-so fun to push the paint around

day 2 Point Pinole

An alla prima painting from this past Sunday – yes, that HOT Sunday. Staying cool in the shade of a grove of eucalyptus begged the subject of the sheltering trees. These trees shed their skin continually it seems, and they have interestingly shaped trunks if you take a few moments to look at an individual or two. This is a little wet, there may be a few more things to add later on. I’ll not nominate anyone for this challenge, because I want to allow my fellow artists to continue on their journeys at their own discretion and in their own time.

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