Bridge at Kensington

Bridge at Kensington

Friday, August 31, 2007

Greetings from Brevard, North Carolina

Hello friends and visitors.

I arrived in Brevard, NC, yesterday late afternoon after two days of driving. Wednesday I drove from metro Detroit to Cincinnati, a five-hour trip, then drove about seven hours on Thursday from Cinci to NC. It's the first time I've traveled that far down I-75, a common trip for many people I know. For orientation purposes, I'm about 45 minutes south of Asheville in Western North Carolina. Hello Blue Ridge Mountains!

I spent Wednesday night in a fabulous old house in one of Cincinnati's old neighborhoods. Built around 1850, it has a fabulous staircase with a glorious golden-yellow stain glass window at the top of the stairs and antiques and original art throughout. My hostess has made some stunning renovations in keeping with the spirit of the house -- the bathrooms made me feel I had stepped into a Restoration Hardware catalog! I slept in a four-poster bed. Sigh.

The home I am staying near Brevard at is at the end of a dirt road, nestled into gardens and woods on 5 acres. It's less than 10 minutes from town. The central section of the house, the living room and kitchen, is a great room with skylights. The lady of the house is a gourmet cook and caters, so the kitchen is well-equipped and the pantry is full of interesting oils, vinegars, salts and mustards. The large, screened-in front porch has a bed suspended on chains in one corner -- I slept there last night, swaying and listening to the crickets and cicadas. The cat, Simba, is a mellow 10-year-old male with long black hair. I'm using the husband's woodshop as a studio. You may see numerous paintings and studies from the gardens.

My intent is to use this blog to update my friends, with paintings, photos and messages. So please, follow along! Leave a comment here, or email me at

Talk to you soon!

Friday, August 24, 2007

Storm Sky II

This is the second of the paintings I did that stormy summer evening on Belle Isle. I'm not sure which I like better.

For those reading this blog who are not from Michigan or the Detroit area, Belle Isle is a gorgeous island park in the middle of the Detroit River. Owned by the city of Detroit, it has a +100-year-old conservatory with a fabulous plant collection, the Dossins Great Lakes Museum and used to have a riding stable and, I believe, a casino early in the 1900s. The Detroit Grand Prix was run on Belle Isle for several years.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Storm Sky I

This piece was painted on a summer evening on Belle Isle in the Detroit River after a windy, stormy day. The wind was relentless and seemed to blow straight from the river. I have never painted so fast, chasing clouds, chasing patterns and swirls, chasing colors. I did this piece, and the piece I'll post this coming Thursday, in rapid succession.

It was an interesting evening as well. The group I was painting with attracted numerous visitors. Two friendly Detroit police officers stopped by to check out our work and wish us well. A group of high school graduates stopped to have their picture taken with the Detroit skyline in the background. A man picking through the trash watched from a respectful distance. And a man in a van, who said he was a painter himself, stopped to see what we were doing and tell us about what he was doing.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Kensington Pond

This was great fun to paint. It was one of the first hot, hazy days of summer, with a pleasant breeze. There were sandhill cranes feeding in the shallows of the pond off the right side of the canvas. The two swans were lazily feeding all morning.

Kensington Metro Park was busy that day, with bus loads of kids on field trips. I had many kids come up to look, ask questions, say "Wow! Nice picture." About halfway through the painting a camerawoman from the local public television station came up behind and asked me if I minded her taking a shot of me painting. I don't know if it ran that night, because being a non-TV watcher I forgot to watch. Oh well. Immortalized in paint and pixels.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Mill House

This painting was an interesting challenge. I can tell you from first-hand experience that it is possible to paint with oils in the rain. The oils get stiff and difficult to move on the canvas, which is slick with water, but it is possible. The family of ducks on the right bank were in their element. This old mill, in a park in Milford, Mich., has been restored. I want to go back and paint it in summer, autumn and winter from the same small bridge straddling the river.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Lupine Field

This field of purple lupines, wedged in a quiet field between two stands of trees flowing down to a lake, is one of those brief moments of color you catch out of the corner of your eye while driving. It was a stone's throw off the jogging/biking path at Kensington and I wonder how many of those sprinting past really noticed it.

The choices seemed endless that painting morning, with a high-contrast composition of graceful trees against straw-colored grass to my right, lupines in the center and more ideas beyond to the lake.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Rowboats in Summer

This painting was painted on a hot summer weekday morning. The sky was clear and beautiful and the small marina, at Kensington Metro Park in Milford, Mich. was quiet except for a few gulls. I expect it's quite different on the weekends.

There were lots of painting opportunities here. The lake, without any boat traffic, was fairly clear and the dancing shapes of the underwater weeds and sunshine were fascinating to try and capture.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Welcome to A Painting Journey

A Painting Journey is about moving, moving from words and a keyboard to paint and a brush.

This blog is about honoring process. As a writer, I understand what it means to trust the process and surrender to it. Show up, sit your backside in the chair long enough and the work will come. It won’t always be great on the first go, but it will arrive. Making art is the same. The only way to grow as a painter is to push paint around, just as the only way to grow as a writer is to push words around. Consistently. Persistently. Patiently. Passionately.

I’ve worked under deadlines my entire career, yet only lately come to love them. Deadlines make you get things done whether you want to or not. Things happen. Look for two new paintings a week.

Creating limitations is another new love. Fewer colors on my palette, a small canvas, a limited amount of painting time before the outdoor light changes and the impression vanishes. In writing, Haiku is a perfect example of elegance created by limitations.

Writers and painters are observers and interpreters of the world around them. This blog is an opportunity to combine parts of my life that have been separate – words, writing and deadlines with paint, light and the web.

Because I can’t deny the writer in me, I’ll record thoughts in words as well as pa
int. I don’t intend to
wander into hyperbolic art speak metaphor. Hopefully, there will be a good number of my former colleagues – professional writers, journalists and editors – who will be interested enough in my wanderings to subscribe to this blog. I expect they will relish the chance to catch me straying into jargon.

Like a good story, a painting should speak for itself.