Tag Archives: mysterious art



 Pearl 017

“Pearl”  24 x 30 inches.  Acrylic on canvas.

“Pearl” began life with the ocean in the background and a house beneath her feet, holding hands with her mother and the painting was to have been called “Pearl’s Mother.”  One afternoon I was staring at the unfinished canvas knowing it was all wrong, but couldn’t figure out what to do about it.  The parts worked separately, but all together they didn’t say anything.  So I took a palette knife and began painting over most of the painting with white paint.  The palette knife was a new experience, and I really liked how you could build layers of colors one on top of another!  I painted “Pearl” fairly quickly with the palette knife then went back and added details and painted over with the palette knife again until I liked what was happening.  The Great Blue Heron in the right upper corner I had already painted in and I left it, and the redwood trees beneath it.

Grace 002

She is holding a eucalyptus branch.  I was thinking of the central coast of California, with the redwoods, the eucalyptus trees and the great blue herons, that are glimpsed only occasionally, these days.  I used to see them flying very high like  great long-legged angels moving across the blue skies.

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I preferred Pearl without any hair.  I did paint some in, but it took away from the intensity of her gaze and I covered it up.  It summarizes her essence  more this way.  Her very human longing for some unspoken thing hidden behind her eyes. I’m not sure if Pearl is yet a child, or if she rests carefully on that cusp between woman and child.


Nyx – Greek Goddess of the Night



“Nyx”  36″ x 48″ Acrylic on Canvas

Nyx was named by the Greeks as the goddess of the night.  She was said to be mysterious, beautiful, and more powerful than Zeus.   One account I read online stated that she was said to be often wrapped in mist.  I’m not sure why I didn’t give her any hair – she just seemed more powerful and beautiful without hair. The idea for this painting began about 3 years ago from a journal sketch. 

Even a journal doodle can sometimes turn into a finished painting!  Someone had given me the moon stamp and I used it in my journal, then drew the figure in after I had stamped it.

It took me a long time to finish this painting – I just couldn’t seem to find the way.  I always think when I begin a painting that its already there,  just waiting there for me to discover a way to bring it out.   This is the last unfinished painting I set myself to finish for 2011, there were two others.  Now I can begin with new thoughts!

 I only used four colors for this painting.  I tried to set a feeling of night,with  the only light coming from the cool light of the moon.  I used Titanium White (Liquitex), Unbleached Titanium (Liquitex), Anthraquinone Blue (Golden), and Payne’s Gray (Grumbacher), which I like because it has a very blue tint, more so than other brands of that color.

Nyx – Goddess of the Night

“Scarlet Bogonias …”


“Scarlet Begonias” 9″ x 12″ on Bogus Rough 70# brown paper, gouache, charcoal, oil pastel, collage papers, tea bag paper.

I had this song running through my mind for several days, Grateful Dead – Scarlet Begonias.  One of those times when the lyrics keeps repeating every time I let my mind quiet, so  I started to sketch a face to go with the words.

“She had rings on her fingers and bells on her shoes.

And I knew without askin’ she was into the blues.

She wore scarlet begonias tucked into her curls,

I knew right away she was not like other girls….”

Before I began sketching I glued down random pieces of paper left over from other projects and after they were dry I covered them with a  coat of gesso.  Then I roughly sketched in the face with pencil.  When I thought I had pretty good proportions I began painting in the face and hair with gouache.  When the gouache was dry I used oil pastels repeating the color and using other colors on top of the orignal drawing/painting.   After a day or so of drying time,  I coated the surface with matte medium.   The oil pastels are very satisfying to work with, and create this painterly look without much work other than smearing around with my finger.


“…Well there ain’t nothing wrong with the way she moves.

Or scarlet begonias or a touch of the blues.

And there’s nothing wrong with the look that’s in her eyes.

I had to learn the hard way -I had to let her pass by…”

Lyrics – Robert Hunter

Music – Gerry Garcia

The Mermaid’s Hands


“The Mermaid’s Hands”  24″ x 36″ Acrylic on canvas

Unfinished canvas #2 is finally finished!  I am really happy to be finishing these ghosts, bringing them to completion and daylight. ” The Mermaid’s Hands” began with a whole mermaid.  My neighbor suggested upon viewing it that I add some glitter;  I think that’s the moment I wasn’t waiting for! I began by painting it over with black gesso and wiping and blotting it off while it was still wet, as the hands began to emerge I realized I didn’t need the whole figure – the hands were less “Ariel” without the body!  No glitter needed! (ha)

I have one more large canvas to finish and I will be finished with the unfinished.  I don’t usually leave artwork unfinished, so these three were really bugging me.  The last one is quite large, but not a lot of color, hopefully it will go fairly quickly and I can begin something new!

(detail) “The Mermaid’s Hands”