Before heading to Santa Rosa to teach another workshop I spent a day painting at my favorite place in San Francisco, California Academy of Sciences.

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Of course I headed straight for the weedy sea dragon. There are now two in the tank, not just one! My goal for the day was to attempt to capture the playful nature of the flittering tropical fish in one of the large aquarium tanks, the one that replicates a Philippine Coral Reef.

Drawn first in ink with fountain pen followed by watercolor.

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I’ve returned from California having remembered what fuels me as an artist.

Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus equus

Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus equus

In November I visited California Academy of Sciences and saw the Leafy Seadragon.  I scheduled to teach more workshops in Santa Rosa as quickly as I could.  Why?  I wanted to spend an entire day drawing seadragons.

Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus equus

Leafy Seadragon, Phycodurus equus

Reason number two for returning to California so quickly was to paint the steep rolling hills surrounding San Francisco, spotted with Live Oak, Black Oak and cattle.

Cattle Grazing along Calaveras Road, Milpitas, CA

Cattle Grazing along Calaveras Road, Milpitas, CA

Sugarloaf Ridge Park, Santa Rosa, California

Sugarloaf Ridge Park, Santa Rosa, California

The bonus was sitting along a path at Mussel Rock in Pacifica, watching Mike fly through the sky with other paragliders while painting the hills and the sea.

Paragliding at Mussel Rock, Pacifica, California

Paragliding, Mussel Rock, Pacifica, CA

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, California

Mussel Rock, Pacifica, California

These are the experiences that nourish my soul and heal the wounds inflicted by life’s challenges.  I now return to my studio, well-prepared to begin the new body of work focused on Healing through Art.

Images:  Drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor.  Seadragon drawn live, beside the tank at California Academy of Sciences.  Mussel Rock images painted en plein air.

I need to do about a dozen of these before I tackle a 36″ x 48″ sheet of watercolor paper.

Sailboat Races No. 2, Watercolor 11″ x 22″

Eventually I will be working from photographs Michael has taken during his racing adventures both in Florida and in California.  I am currently working from black and white photographs I found among Betty’s reference materials when I merged her studio with mine.  I’ve been trying to identify the photographer to no avail.

Color Study in large, watercolor, leather bound sketchbook, drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor

I certainly feel as if I’m popping Alice’s pills lately.  In the morning I work small and tight, in the evening I work large and wild.

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Elephant Teacups, ‘Afternoon Nap’

Along with working small in the morning, I am playing The Color Scheme Game backwards.  I am looking at reality and deciding what color scheme that reality comes closest to.  I then alter the least amount of reality necessary for it to fit into a color scheme.  I am shocked at how uncomfortable I am with this process.  I will continue to play this way until it become second nature and I can wave the magic wand at will to create the images that are screaming to get out of my head and onto paper and canvas.  I need the facility to create both realism and abstraction along with complete understanding of color interactions.  That’s not too much to demand of myself!

Though fighting my way through my limitations is frustrating, once I break through, the joy of painting and drawing is doubled or tripled each time I reach the other side.  Naturally, there is another barrier in my way.  That only means that I’ll have even more fun when I get through that one.

I am having a blast!

Painting:  drawn first with pencil, followed by watercolor.