So this is from healthy pots of succulents and imagination… no ceramics were injured in the making of this painting. I have had an idea to paint a crushed terra cotta pot, but with its inhabitants finding a way to thrive in the new situation. I find that sometimes titles are hard to pin on a painting, but for this one the metaphors were waiting in line in my imagination as I laid down the paint. “Catastrophe and Opportunity,” “Fragile Planet,” “Microclimate,” “Heroic Voyage,” “Hatched,” “Branching Out.” You get the idea… I let “Looking on the Bright Side” rise to the top.
Here are two small recent oil sketches. One was made in out backyard when the chard in the garden was looking like stained glass, the other is from the upper path at the Botanic Gardens and the third photo is just to give a sense of scale…
14×18″ oil on canvas– The California Poppies are taking over the garden in an orange carpet. As far as herbal medicine goes, they are clearly good for the eyes– it makes you happy just looking at them. After finishing the painting we ate that ripe artichoke in the background… yum.
Acrylic on Canvas–18×24″– This cool rustic shed caught my eye as I was walking on our local urban farm looking for a view. The chickens were happy to be out foraging after the rain… this girl was my buddy and hung out during most of the painting.
I’m excited to have one of my paintings on a special run of a 2013 Pino Noir donated by Ken Brown wines for a fundraiser this weekend from 3-6 at the Marriott in Buellton by an organization called People Helping People who are working to help farm and vineyard workers. The event is open to the public and you can find more information here.
This one might be a sentimental one in a few years… one of those places where the kids have spent a LOT of time climbing and swinging. The last few patches of grass are surviving the drought. Some day we’ll sheet mulch and put in food and natives. Acrylic on Birch Panel 12×12
Oil on Canvas 2’x5′
I finished a commission for a really nice young family of the view from the wharf. It was painted from a small casein plain air that I made in December. The last shot is just to show the tomatoes coming still in the middle of January. If we don’t get too much more frost I think that plant might lap the calendar. : )
Gardeners of the world unite! Let’s slip out in the full moonlight with seeds in hands and watering cans And garden spades stashed out of sight!
For our first organic plot, lets sneak into a parking lot and plant fruit seeds so folks won’t need To go indoors for apricots.
Street medians we will reclaim, This public land won’t look the same, We’ll line each route with herbs and fruit Overflowing into the lanes.
Three sisters: corn and squash and beans, Are now sprouting outside Dairy Queen, They have no clue, that it was you, And nice touch with those collard greens.
And if we have any luck, Children will soon learn to pluck free string beens, climbing the swings, And extend recess and save a buck.
Once we’ve pulled out all the stops, Who’ll want those corporate monocrops? No genetics here, And we’ve got beer- Once we harvest that creekside hops.
We’ll pry concrete with fig tree roots, We’ll enlist scrubjays as recruits to plant an oak at every stroke, And give new meaning to “grassroots.”
Let’s plant city parks and vacant land, With a living, humming garden stand, Let’s teach the youth with food and truth, That what sustains them is in their hands.
Let “Compost! Compost!” be our cry, It’s a freedom none can be denied, To love the ground, and help it rebound, Gardeners of the world, unite!
Cul de Sac Here you see a fifth acre of desert scrub. A black plastic weed barrier buried under decomposed granite with soggy cactus, overwatered mesquite, and Mojave natives poking their heads through circular holes. A tall century bloom swarms with hummingbirds. Next door, you find a formal lot imported from colonial England, with gingerbread epoxied to the stucco. A trimmed lawn with an ornamental plum sprouts bushes and hedges trimmed like lollipops. A red-brick walkway sways pleasantly to the red front door. Apparently, a fifth acre chunk of Hawaii has been excavated shipped overseas, and dropped into the plot next door... Plop! Bermuda grass, palm trees, ginger flowers and trailing bamboo... (the curse of colonial England next door) all flank a pink mailbox in a pad of black lava rock. Down the street, an awkward crispy orange pine tree and some ceramic squirrels create the high mountain ambiance of a Swiss glen. The Dutch annuals explode along the sidewalk like red, yellow, blue and green fireworks (miracle-y growing so far from their Nordic relatives) with their plastic name and care tags sprouting from the salt-and-pepper soil like fuses. The Hawaiians, Mexicans, English and Swiss gossip in their driveways, rolling eyes and cursing the house at the end of the block, so flagrantly violating the HOA... Just look at its weedy, unwatered yard going to seed: an unpruned wild oak planted by jays, dandelions, chickweed, lambs quarters, Red Maids and coastal sage overflowing the mowing strip... No gardeners here but the wild birds. Look at them munching wild seeds, checking their migration maps, and wondering “where on earth are we, anyway?”
I made this painting last Friday at the ribbon cutting for the newly re-opened farm stand at Fairview Gardens. I was painting with artist friends Chris Potter http://chrispotterart.blogspot.com and Kit Boise-Cossart http://kitboise-cossart.com. Stop by when you get a chance and pick up some beautiful locally grown produce. The paintings are for sale in the stand and half of the proceeds benefit the education programs at the farm.