Personal style...

I’ve spent a few weeks going through all of my paintings and drawings in an effort to document the early ones from as far back as gradeschool ~ obviously before I understood how important record keeping is for a working artist. It’s a miracle any of the work survived the frequent moves and mayhem. Most of the childhood pieces are on 8.5” x 11” typing paper from a manilla file folder that somehow stayed with me for five decades. As a result of traipsing down memory lane I’ve learned some things I’d like to share over the next few posts.

The question of developing a recognizable personal style keeps some of us up at night.  Not me, I sleep very well, however, you know what I mean. We want to insure we come up with a technique the collectors and galleries will notice as unique to us. 

Here’s a graphite drawing of a model from thirty years ago and a recent oil bar self-portrait posted late last year, reduced to black/white for comparison.


The same raw, brutally honest drawing style I seem to have hit the planet with is evident in both pieces. While my work has been informed by teachers and experiece, and there is always much more to learn, the rendering is clearly mine in both portraits. Whether anyone else thinks they are “good” drawings isn’t my concern.  The issue is to keep making drawings, paintings or sculpture. 

I’ve come to believe if we continue to put one foot in front of the other, do the work as frequently as we’re able and take the next intuitive step in our process, we’ll end up with our desired result ~ a personal style we can enjoy, have confidence in and share. 

Believe you can ...

Time flies when you’re having a good time.

Two months ago I passed an empty space and briefly thought it would make a good gallery. The First Friday in July, my gallery, In Bocca al Lupo opens. A quote attributed to Goethe, some say William H. Murray has influenced my intentions for several decades now:

“…the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man would have believed would have come his way. (I’ll refrain from comment on the gender typing.)  

Whatever you think you can do or belive you can do, begin it. Action has magic, grace and power in it.”

An idea has almost effortlessly materialized into reality. And help has been there. I’m touched by the support and encouragment of the business community, neighbors of the gallery and the artists who participate. Friends are cheering us on. Magic indeed!

Literally everyone I’ve spoken to or interacted with has been positive ~ grace personified. There are times when consternation blooms if I allow myself to consider what I’m doing. At those moments, I take a deep breath and consciously relax into the stream of life and creation knowing the Universe is moving in my behalf and thus the behalf of others. Flow. I feel awe and wonder at how well things work if we get out of our own way and trust a bigger picrture. 

Hope you will come celebrate with us!



Eternal Memory...

St. Nicholas Memorial Chapel built in 1906 over the graves of Father Igumen Nicholai, Makari Ivanov and a monk whose name is not recorded. I painted this structure when I was very young and now have the opportunity to paint it again. Most of the homes where I spent early childhood were destroyed in the earthquake or burned. This humbly elegant building remains ever constant.

Cork Rooftops

Segment of Cork Rooftops, 12” x 12”, Watercolor pencil on BFK

These drawings are part of an experiment.  I came home  from Europe with the idea of making a book based on images from the trip using media and supports I’ve not tried or don’t feel very confident employing. I cut 12” x 15” supports from all of the papers I had scraps or pieces of (from rice paper to canvas pads) and began with this watercolor pencil and marker sketch and the intention the drawings/paintings would resolve at about a foot square. The left over three inches of surface is reserved for notations and binding.


Sketch on BFK with colored pencils, 5” x 5”

Learning to use Adobe, a scanner and printer in addition to getting the work done. Hence, the cutout of the Lynx when I was attempting to remember my CS5 class and clean up the sketch done on a triangle of folded paper.

Totally opposite, equally lovely...

Or perhaps not, depending on your point of view. Although there’s plenty to be said for the life giving vitality of the city, if I had to pick, I’d take the quiet by a river with coyotes and deer wandering through any day.  A weekend of slowing down enough to see. The freedom of sketching is in taking the subject the way it comes and not having a perfect rendering when I decide to stop.  The drawing is good enough the way it is.