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!

May 1, 2014


Waiting, 24"x24"
What is she waiting for? A bus? Daylight? True love? You tell me.

Apr 30, 2014


Garden, 24"x24"
I love my garden. Sometimes it feels like a subversive act.

Apr 29, 2014


Homecoming, 18"x48"
Today I'm flying to LA and driving home with my son. He's finishing a college internship and is graduating next month. I'm so proud of him. It seems like yesterday he was smaller than me...

Apr 27, 2014

Bedtime Story

Bedtime Story (diptych), 12"x24"
After 30 years, I continue to learn new things about my husband.

Apr 25, 2014

Woman in Desert

Woman in Desert, 12"x24"
I love the clarity of the desert. Everything is made very simple and clear.

Apr 23, 2014

Night Dance

Night Dance, acrylics on canvas, 36"x46"
"To love someone is to see him as God intended him."  --Dostoevsky

Apr 21, 2014

Orange Room, Blue Light

Orange Room, Blue Light (triptych), 12"x42"
A painting of contrasts--orange and blue, warm and cold, togetherness and lonely outside.

Apr 19, 2014

Helping Hand

Helping Hand, 45"x48"

I was hanging a show in Virginia City, Nevada, when I came down with a bad case of altitude sickness. I had a seizure and was unconscious for 24 hours. After I got home and was feeling better, this was the first painting I did.

Jan 3, 2014

Do you have pivotal points in your life where some little impulsive decision changed everything? This painting has a few of those--a phone call, a weekend at a bird sanctuary, a ride in a U-Haul truck, the job that sent me yearning for more... Different modes of flight...

Dec 26, 2013

It's All a Miracle

It's All a Miracle, 12"x70"

Sometimes when I can't sleep, I remember all the miracles in my life, but lately I've been forgetting some, so I thought I'd paint them.They're intensely personal, but maybe there's a universal thread there, too. This one has the car that broke down as we coasted to a house in a new town that we'd never been to before, volunteer movers who came to empty that house 30 years later when I couldn't lift another box, and the life that happened in between.

Dec 5, 2013

Found #4

Found #4, 26.5"x12"

"Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you. See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands: your walls are always before me."-Is 49:15-16

Dec 3, 2013

Friends, Skyline Gate

Friends, Skyline Gate, 16"x16"

"All art is solitary and the studio is the torture area."--Alexander Liberman
Many thanks to Dana Zed for getting me out of the studio last week, painting out in the hills.

Nov 25, 2013

Three Boys Arm in Arm

Three Boys, Arm in Arm, 12"x12"

I'm dropping off new paintings today at the Studio Shop at Burlingame. It's like my children leaving home.

Nov 24, 2013

Keeping Watch

Keeping Watch, 18"x18"

This is a redo of a painting I first did when my son left home. The feelings are still there, 34 years later.

Nov 23, 2013

At the Boonville Hotel

Many thanks to the Boonville Hotel for hosting my work with such style, and for hosting my husband and myself for a wonderful weekend getaway. I can't imagine a better place to escape the Bay Area, just 2 1/2 hours away. --

Nov 21, 2013


Breeze, 24"x60"
Sometimes I paint from ideas in my head. Other times photos help. Then I can take out the wrinkles and sags. A cheap face lift.