Every place has its unique qualities, its rhythms and sense of self. Being close to the ocean, yet facing the mountains brings balance to my working day. I see the sun rise a little further along the horizon each morning and the shadows growing to envelop the hills at night. The moon chases the sun with a laughing face, and the constellations circle the north star like dancers.
I paint outside, going in when it is cold, wet or too windy. Many a canvas has been carried away by the blustery air, but nothing compares to the experience of just being present beneath the open heaven, listening to the music of the birds and clutching a warm cup of tea.
Sometimes a bobcat will creep by and curl up to rest by the rocks, or a hawk will land on the roof and look down at me. Hummingbirds work the lemon blossoms, and the red-winged blackbirds sing incessantly.
This is where work gets done. Priming canvas, preparing new sheets of paper by painting them black. Varnishing and photographing finished works, laying things out to dry in the sun; moving everything to avoid the cooling shade and of course blessing new surfaces with beautiful fresh mixed color – I call that painting.
As soon as the morning sun drives away the dew I open the doors and start to lay out the materials for my day.
The sounds are always the same, the dragging of trestle tables across the deck, footsteps, banging, the rasping sound of brushes swiping across the canvas, water splashing, interspersed with quiet periods of contemplative looking and thinking.
It’s not very high tech. I don’t use computers in my work, just brushes and whatever comes to hand. I like to think that my paintings are born; they emerge from me and from one another organically, each one a direct descendant of the other.
Someone asked me once if I had a favorite piece. After giving that some thought, I replied, “Yes,” because it seems sometimes that I have only ever painted one picture, one that I add to every time I put brush to canvas. So yes, I have a favorite: my life’s work.