Monthly Archives: August 2018

Lintukoto, 45″ x 45″, acrylic on wood

A lot of people compare paintings to music. I agree. Paintings and music come from the same creative impulse within us. To me, abstract art is like instrumental music. It conveys feelings… emotions without spelling out the whole story for you. Representational paintings (of landscapes, people, objects from the physical world) are more like songs with lyrics.

The natural world is full of abstract images. In fact, everything in the world was an abstract form until we attached labels to it. Not only the way the reflection of the sky is distorted by the moving surface of water. Not only the concentric lines in an agate, or the shifting shapes of clouds. But a flower… Those brushes of color are like little pieces of abstract art.



So I have often said that being you is all you need to be a true artist. We have all experienced things, seen things, and felt things. Do you have the ability to hold a paintbrush or other tool for applying paint? Can you apply it with your hands or feet? If so, you have the ability to paint. You don’t have to record the image of an object, a landscape, or a recognizable portrait. There is nothing wrong with that, of course, but there is also nothing wrong with recognizing what color or shape represents how you feel. A color or texture might look beautiful to you. It might conjure up a feeling that is not beautiful, but it might be a way of telling your story without words. Or the painting you make may help you find the words to your story. There is no “correct answer” when it comes to expressing yourself.

How many moments have linked together to make us who we are today. Your story is different than mine, but that doesn’t make either of them right or wrong.

And we survived difficult times. We got through things we might have thought were impossible. We also saw beautiful things. We laughed and we cried as we traveled the ups and downs of our lives.

We call some moments good and we call some bad, but they are all a part of us. They make us who we are, and they have brought us to this moment.

Now the timeline of my life brought me to you, and the path of your life has brought you to me.


(Should I wander aimlessly?)

Safety, Permanency and Well Being

One year can make a huge difference in your life. One year ago today I stopped smiling and laughing for a while. I made a mistake small. But mistakes can be put right again. You can learn from them and make your life better than it was before.

Things don’t always turn out the way you thought they would. Some plans look good on paper. I think I focused too much on what I thought I would gain, and not on what I would lose.

THANK GOD I am home now. Sinking my roots deeper and deeper in.

I imagine there are people who don’t know where they belong. They don’t have a permanent home. Not me.

How fortunate am I?


I went for a while this summer without painting. I didn’t plan to take a break, and I didn’t worry much about it, even though people were asking for new work.

I keep thinking that I want to try something new. Art is always new, and at the same time, rarely new. We build on the history of human art that has been produced over tens of thousands of years, and each time, we have the opportunity to bring a little of ourselves into it.

I was inspired this summer, by painters with autism. As I’ve said before, art is a language. A visual language. And then I saw a video about a nonverbal teenager who paints with passion, subtlety and nuance. When it comes to intellectual disabilities, mental challenges, or whatever it is that makes you unique, I like to point out that there is nothing wrong with you. We all have challenges! The important thing is to find the gift in it.

We get a lot of messages telling us what we can’t do. In my case, I believed the teachers who had low expectations of me. Without realizing it, I incorporated their narrow mind, misinformation or laziness into my own self image.

It seems harder to believe in your potential rather than your limitations. But there is little that can compare to the joy of embracing your passion. Your talent. Your abilities.

You do have a purpose. You have a unique voice to express your soul whether that voice is verbal or not. You can do something that no other human being can do. You can see the world from your perspective, and you can express that unique perspective. Some of us do it with paint. Some at a piano keyboard. For others, it is the written word. Maybe you possess the gifts of joy and hope shared through an infectious smile.

Let’s not compare ourselves, but complement each other.

I’ve always been envious of musicians. I love music. I long to be able to make people feel the way I feel when I hear a beautiful song. When listening to music, I often say “if I were a musician, this is what I would like to sound like.” This is one of my limitations. Sometimes I listen to music while I paint, and that informs my painting. The sound coming in my ears intertwines with the images in my head and they travel down my arm together and out my fingertips.

Yesterday I was telling an artist friend about my new canvases, and experimenting with impasto. She talked about building up the surface. This was a revelation for me.