Jan 27, 2015

Vantage Point #2

Vantage Point #2
I am in a show called "Serenity" at the UCSF Women's Health Center at 2356 Sutter St., San Francisco. My work is on the 5th floor. It is up until April 14, and we're having an opening next Wednesday, Feb 4 from 5:30 to 7:30. I hope you can come!

Jan 19, 2015

Safe Arms

Safe Arms
I just want to be in a safe place, wrapped in confident arms. If I paint it, maybe I can remember.

Dec 22, 2014


Together, 20"x20"
Another prayer painting for a couple who are very dear to my heart going through hard times. Blessings on your family, your daughter, and your grandsons. I wish I could do more than paint, but maybe today that's enough.

Dec 20, 2014

Golden Thread #3

Golden Thread #3, 10"x36"

When my children were little and my husband was out of work, I read them "The Princess and the Goblin" by George MacDonald. Through the story, the princess follows a golden thread, given to her by her wise Grandmother. "In a hundred directions she turned, obedient to the guiding thread..."
A dear friend just lost his job. I'm praying he'll find that golden thread.

Dec 18, 2014

Still Waters

Still Waters, 20"x20"

Throw it down! Throw down the oars! Just do it! What's the point of paddling all the time? But am I alive if I don't?

Dec 11, 2014

Flowered Armchair

Flowered Armchair

"Oh, how cute! She's playing peek-a-boo!" Well, actually, it's one of those comfort paintings, after my dad died. Just made me feel better doing it. But if someone sees playfulness in it, that's good, too.

Dec 10, 2014

Life Drawing

Tuesday night life drawing. About 20 people gather at Sebastian's house in West Oakland every week from 7:00 to 9:00. Wonderful music and a steady buzz of conversation make it different from other life drawing groups. The caliber of the other artists is quite intimidating.

Dec 9, 2014


I'm not sure what this one is about. Beauty in limitations? Something more vast than my smallness?

Dec 7, 2014

no fear of heights

If you're an artist, people assume you are more skilled at climbing out on ledges and hanging garlands at Christmastime. At least that's the way it is at my church...

Dec 6, 2014

I Can Fly

I Can Fly
Am I the only person who gets anxious when I travel? I always clean the house before I go, just in case I die on the highway or in the air. I don't want my brother to have to enter a dirty house. I did this painting before a weekend away, and I didn't worry about someone finding the mess later.

Dec 4, 2014

She's Yours

She's Yours
Another one of those prayer paintings, putting my daughter into God's hands. I could paint one of these everyday.

Dec 2, 2014

All I Need

All I Need
Such a broad vista, just when I was feeling so hemmed in.

Nov 30, 2014

Candle Lit

Candle Lit
Light in darkness. Safe harbor after a twilit forest. Circle of friends when you need them most. Thank you so much to everyone who has reached out to me after the death of my dad. You all are truly a light in a dark wood.

Nov 28, 2014

Out of My Hands

Out of My Hands

Another attempt at letting go of things I have no control over...

Nov 26, 2014

Hold Tight

Hold Tight   

If you painted God, what would He or She look like?

Nov 24, 2014

Letting Go

Letting Go 

When I painted this, I stopped worrying about an especially large and troublesome bill. Somehow painting my prayers hits me on a much deeper level.

Nov 21, 2014

Good Hands

Good Hands
I started compulsively worrying about someone I love, so I painted putting her into God's hands. Without realizing it, the anxiety lifted, and I felt so light. 

Nov 19, 2014

Beach Embrace

Beach Embrace
I could spend all my time painting embraces. There I am in a darkened studio, light focused on the panel on my easel, and as I paint the couple entwined, I can feel the arms around me.

Nov 17, 2014

Crossroads #5

Crossroads #5

This is based on a trail at Patrick's Point. I was hiking with family, and when I paused at a fork in the trail, they all exclaimed, "It's a Carol Aust painting!" Art and life intertwine. Themes reoccur again and again. We all have our turning points. Everyone on that hike had decisions to make. The job of an artist is to make story of random events, to put them all together and say that our lives have meaning and poetry.


This painting went through many evolutions--a dinner party, kids playing crack-the-whip, a big group approaching a car. In the end, I had to paint my happiest moment, the end of a trip, knowing I made it, and being greeted by a tight embrace.

Nov 15, 2014


The debate at my house is what the sign should say. I tried various captions but then decides to leave it blank. Any suggestions?

Nov 4, 2014

Visual Prayers

Beach Kiss
When I miss my kids, I do paintings like this. I think they kind of become visual prayers, yearnings I can't put into words.

Nov 3, 2014

That intimacy of a whisper, skin brushing your cheek, a quiet sharing that results in a knowing nod, a touch.

Oct 31, 2014

Where magic happens

Now this is where the magic really happens--an old clinic table with a broken leg, used label sheets on a clipboard, and hundreds of dollars of Golden's paint.  I mix a lovely pink with zinc white, titan buff,  naphthol red medium, and quinacridone/nickel azo gold.  Dioxazine purple and green gold make a deep, deep brown.  Sometimes if I don't know what to paint, I just fill the pallet and wait. The early indoctrination of having to always clean my plate before I leave the table still works.

Oct 29, 2014


Torch 36"x36"

The idea for this painting came to me at a political meeting in an East Oakland church. I sat in the front where all these young activists were springing to their feet and applauding. I felt a little out of place, but I loved their passion, and I sketched this painting on a pew card.

Oct 27, 2014

Art Pregnancy

There's something so overwhelming about a white panel or an blank canvas. I have to approach them sideways, stockpiling big quantities so they aren't too precious and covering them with bright base coats so some decisions are already made. They are daunting but also full of promise, an artistic pregnancy. Many thanks to Galen who takes my orders, builds them in an unheated workshop in Nevada, and drives them down.

Oct 25, 2014

Birthday Cake in Red Room

Birthday Cake in Red Room

This was a hugely challenging painting. It started with a sketch I did in Annette's dining room, but the people were all wrong. Thank goodness acrylics are forgiving. I repainted the people multiple times, added a cake, got someone to look away, added highlights.  I kept having to make funny faces in the mirror by my easel in order to get the mouths right. All this in order to create a painting where I'm remembering  those I love who are far away.

Aug 12, 2014

Woman in Doorway

On Tuesday nights I go to a life drawing group in West Oakland. It's in a dicey neighborhood, a nondescript house, packed with artists of all ages. They sit on old sofas or the floor or stand in the back at tall tables. Sebastian plays an amazing collection of music, and people chat as they draw the models. One of my drawings made its way into this painting.

Aug 9, 2014

Blue Bathroom

I had a magical time with a friend down by LA. Four days at her little cottage by Venice beach, sketching and checking out the galleries. Thanks, Kari.

Jul 26, 2014

Hillside Sunset

My daughter is going to college in the fall, two states away. I'm so excited for her but a little sad, too. I think I'll be doing a lot of paintings about her and us this summer.

Jul 20, 2014

Story by Firelight

It's summer. I have camping gear all over my dinning room table. Need I say more?

Jul 8, 2014

Another painting leaving home...

Another painting leaving home... This one was a gift from a grandmother on her granddaughter's 16th birthday. Letting go deepens the work; it's no longer about my story. Thank you, Anne!

Jul 6, 2014

Lighter Than Air, triptych, 12"x48"

Yesterday I went through old Kodachrome slides with my dad and brothers. Somehow this one wasn't among them.

Homecoming #2, triptych

Another triptych where I'm trying to contrast being home with where I've been.

Jul 5, 2014


A cautionary tale...
Sometimes I need long deliberations with all the rationalizations. Sometimes I just need to know I can't cross that line.

Jun 26, 2014

So Good to Be Home

A painting of contrasts, inside/outside, orange/gray, love/loneliness.

A quick update--this was snatched up the day it was posted, to a lovely woman who is eagerly anticipating her husband's release from prison after waiting for him for 27 years. It's hard to let artwork go, but it is so deepened when it goes out in the world.

Jun 24, 2014

Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayette

I don't find working a room at openings easy, and art talks can almost push me over the edge, but last Saturday's at the Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery was very fine. Thanks to everyone who came and listened; and thanks to Laura and Jennifer for their kindness and insight.

Jun 22, 2014

Shelter #2

Another painting about loving and leaving. Never easy, but, oh, so important.

Jun 21, 2014

Art Talk Tonight

I'm giving an art talk tonight at the Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery in Lafayette. Even though I was a teacher for 7 years, I always get a little nervous before these things. Painting is so personal and private, but there's this public component where art becomes a connection point, where I discover I have so much in common with complete strangers. We're all on that journey.

Jun 4, 2014

Family Huddle

Family Huddle
I have a new show with Laura VanDuren in a new space--"Belonging" at the Jennifer Perlmutter Gallery, 3620 Mt. Diablo Blvd., Lafayette. The opening is Saturday, June 7 from 7 to 9pm. Please come and wish me happy birthday!

Jun 2, 2014

New Road

New Road
It feels like a new season, my son graduating from college and my daughter excited to leave in the fall. So is this woman my daughter or me? Who knows...

May 31, 2014

In Your Arms #2

In Your Arms #2

I'm so glad beach weather is here. I'll have sand in my shoes until September.

May 3, 2014

Crescent Moon

Crescent Moon, 18"x15"
Today is my open studio at Hunters Point. Please come by!