Back at the Easel Again

Waiting for my newest clay pieces to dry, I was moved to work on a couple of paintings. Here it is already a third of the way through April, and I only have 2 paintings completed this year to date. This past week I was able to complete another two that I’m posting here now. If you follow me on FB you’ve already seen them.

As a point of reference, in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, I made 85 paintings. Nothing else to do, really, so I threw myself into painting and enjoyed every moment of it.

In 2021 I made 61. That summer was when I got my pottery studio up and running. It was quite distracting! In a very good way. It’s a separate building we put up years ago that was intended to be a music studio for the BLP and me, but we never really used it for that. It remained easier to just practice with our band in the living room. It still is. So when a friend of mine traded her pottery wheel for one of my paintings, we just ran with it. We scoured Craigslist for people wanting to get rid of kilns and found two. One of them is electric and I use it for all my clay firing. The other, we configured to run on propane. It sits outside the pottery studio, and we use that for “raku” firing.

But didn’t I say this post would be about painting?
See how distracted I get when it comes to clay?
Back to the topic at hand…

There’s this “thing” that happens with painting. My combination office/art studio is always set up and ready to go. The lovely and evocative aroma of oil paints and solvents is always there. I teach my classes online from that room, do all my design work for ceramics and other art activities- printmaking, drawing, video editing, and a lot more stuff for the art gallery I belong to. Eventually, the idea for a painting becomes harder and harder to put aside, and grows into an actual yearning to make it happen. It feels very much the same as each time I was expecting a child, as the delivery dates drew closer, that feeling of wanting and needing to hold that baby in my arms.

When it becomes irresistible, I make it happen.

The first image below comes from some photo references I took last July in Port Townsend, Washington. I usually have a month-long annual art show at a venue there each summer, and setting up the show requires me to be there early in the morning. The light and marine layer drew me in. Port Townsend has been an inspiration for probably over 20 paintings over the last several years. Between the waterfront and ships, the Victorian era buildings on the main street, and Fort Worden, there is always something that catches my attention.

Serene Morning, Port Townsend
Oil on board
10″ x 8″

This next image is based on many photographs I’ve taken of Sinclair Inlet and Rich Passage on the Puget Sound. I live close to these places and have many opportunities to see them at different times of the day all year round. It’s never the same twice.

Soft Sunrise
Oil on board
12″ x 24″

PS The featured image for this post, The Schooner Merrie Ellen, was painted in the summer of 2019. I included it here because it is another Port Townsend painting. One of my favorites, actually. I love the contrast between the elegant (and pink!!!) Merrie Ellen and the clunky container ship in the background, waiting for her turn to dock in Seattle.