Monthly Archives: September 2023

Self Portrait

Every painting I do is a self portrait. It is made of brushstrokes that create an image that only I can paint.  They are recognizable as my brush strokes, and the painting will be something that only I can create. 

The top layer, the visible layer, is what your eyes can see. The other brushstrokes lay hidden under layers of paint.  They are still contained on the canvas, and their influence made the visible layer possible. 

I don’t think of it that way while I’m working on an image. I’m communicating something that I want to share with you. The subject or theme could be anything. Could be trees. With or without fish in their branches. It could be a street scene or portrait of a person or an animal. Whatever it is, it is something I chose to paint. Does the image look angry?  Frustrated? Peaceful?  Chances are I was feeling that way when I applied the color. 

We don’t control everything we say. Our body language will give away the truth, and so will the marks we make on a surface. 

Enjoy the Ride

I’ve had a lot on my mind lately. I feel like it’s just major life changes catching up with me over the past nine months. 

The changes have been good. 

I had been wondering if change was possible, but then things sort of clicked, like when your car on the roller coaster engages with the chain that pulls you to the top of that first big hill.  The wheels are in motion, and you can’t stop it or control it. Just enjoy the ride. 

Rides may take you beyond the reaches of your comfort zone. This can be intimidating, but I can see it as an opportunity.  Once I go to the unknown place or do the uncomfortable thing, it becomes part of my life’s experience, and my circle of comfort expands. 

We want things to stay the same, but they just don’t. 

Minute by minute, hour by hour, year by year, we’re learning new routines. In the moment, I’m just coping. I’m getting through the next task. Later, when I look back on my life, I say oh yes, I went here and there, I did this and that. It’s not scary, it’s just my life. 

That’s also what it’s like to paint. I might struggle with brush strokes, and question my progress. That’s part of the journey. Later on, I’ll likely say oh yes, I painted that. It was easy. 


I know that the things I think a lot about manifest themselves in my day to day life.

Thinking about a painting leads me to create an image on canvas. 

After seeing the Green Hornet movie, I found myself with a 1965 Imperial Crown. 

The best example I can think of, though, is how I ended up in my new house and community. I walked around the blocks on google earth. I imagined riding my bike around the local lakes, and traced the path of the Mesabi Trail through my neighborhood. I was focused on being here, and now I am here. 

When things aren’t going the way I had wanted or expected them to, I need to understand.  I need to talk or write about it so that I can either change it or accept it. 

Sometimes the “negative” thing is actually the better option for me. I can only know this by exploring it.

Dark and light are both necessary and inevitable. I don’t have to hide, deny or keep silent about anything that I feel. 

I wrote earlier about the scary things in my life. They are part of me, and worth investigating so that I can move ahead. 

It’s not good enough for me to sweep things under the rug and pretend they are not there. Those uncomfortable things, those intimidating things are just outside of my comfort zone. It is no reflection on them, but on my understanding of them. 

Just as there are valuable antique bottles buried in outhouse pits, there may be priceless artifacts in the pits within my life. 

So I probe and dig cautiously. Still, I dig.