Mar 4, 2015

Leap, Winter Sky

Leap, Winter Sky
30"x20"
I was in Sacramento last month during a most beautiful twilight. It brought back to me all sorts of memories of walking home from school or hiking along the American River. A wonderful place to be launched from.

Mar 2, 2015

Beach Twilight

Beach Twilight
36"x48"
My favorite beach these days is Rodeo. We can get there and back after an early dinner, driving over the San Rafael bridge and through a one lane tunnel. In 45 minutes from home, I'm away from everything, the phone, the computer, the to-do lists. When I look at this painting, I don't even need to get in my car; I'm instantly there.

Feb 24, 2015

Three on Porch

Three on Porch
20"x16"

Your kids leave home, and they come back, and they leave home, and they come back. And even though they are much taller and faster and sharper than you now, they still have a grain or seed of that child who lived with you long ago.

Feb 20, 2015

painting group


On Thursday evenings I host a painting group in my home. People arrive at 7:00 and work until 9:30.  They are at all levels, but everyone has a playfulness to their work. I feel so energized by their creativity, and they treat me like a queen. If you would like to join us, send me an e-mail.

Feb 17, 2015

Welcome with Stairs

Welcome with Stairs
36"x36"
The Boonville Hotel has a beautiful stairway by its front door, which was the initial inspiration for this painting. But what then? I painted a party in the next room, kids running down the stairs, various women coming in the front door, but settled for something quieter. Thank you, Johnny, for letting me come and be inspired at your inn.

Feb 15, 2015

Dance Party #2


Dance Party #2, triptych
12"x42"
I used to wonder when Chagal would have dates on his paintings that would span multiple years. Maybe he kept pulling old paintings out of the racks to push them farther. I love doing that. Sometimes I end up completely repainting them, which makes my family angry. On this painting the older version is on the bottom, the newer one on top.

Feb 13, 2015

Mountain Path

Mountain Path
16"x20"
I went to Yosemite a couple weeks ago. I was flooded with memories of a trip there in college with friends. They taught me I'm never alone. 

Feb 11, 2015

Quite Safe, Quite

Quite Safe, Quite
20"x16"
A very personal painting, done to remind myself that I am safe and loved. A valentine.

Feb 7, 2015

Dancers, Red Room

Dancers, Red Room
One night after a potluck dinner, we pushed the table to the side of the room, and everyone danced. I scooted around and shot photos, one of which became this painting.

Feb 5, 2015

Come a Long Way

Come a Long Way
This painting went through several evolutions--a little house at night to a broken down car on the side of the road to me being carried safely. At each stage I am totally present on the journey, coming to a place of hope.
One of my first painting teachers told his class, "If you're going into painting as therapy, forget it!" I think he was wrong.

Feb 3, 2015

Arms Akimbo

Arms Akimbo
19"x11"
I have a new gallery! If you are in the Elmwood district of Berkeley, please drop by The Collector at 2950 College Ave. My paintings will be there until March 2, and we're having an opening on Feb 13 from 6:00 to 8:00. If you'd like to meet up for an early dinner beforehand down the street at Shen Hua, let me know. I'd love to see you.

Feb 1, 2015

Hard Shoes to Fill

Hard Shoes to Fill    


My dad had a ritual of always polishing his shoes on Saturday mornings. I remember him teaching my older brother how to use the buffer and rags.
A few weeks ago, my brothers and I packed up Dad's bedroom. In the back of his closet was a pair of reddish brown wingtips, worn at the heel. I brought them home and did this painting of them. He is here, but he's not. So intimate and personal. An emptiness remains.
Dad died on Thanksgiving Day. After leaving the hospital, my brothers and family came here for dinner. I invited my older brother to sit in Dad's place at the head of the table, but he just covered his face with his hands and refused.

Jan 31, 2015

Solace

Solace
18"x15"
Maybe 10 years ago, I was approached by a thin, tight-lipped man at an open studio. Russell left me his card, and I visited his shop in Hayes Valley, San Francisco. Zonal was crowded with suede sofas and funky furniture rescued from midwest homes, and on one wall he had an impressive collection of Canadian mountie figures that he refused to sell.
It was the start of an amazing partnership. Over the years, I would pull up and double park with a carload of panels, which always seemed to attract every meter maid in the City. If I could find parking and linger a bit after unloading, Russell always wanted to know about my kids, and he'd give me updates on his "mini-me" nephew up in Canada. When my son moved to Boston, Russell gave him a warm wool coat from his own closet.
Many times when Russell would hand me a check for a sale, it would be just enough to cover some big bill that was looming. And if one of Russell's collectors came and bought from me directly, I'd write Russell a check, and more often than not he'd say, "This will help with the rent." There almost seemed a kind of holiness about the transactions.
Last Valentines Day, Russell asked me to do a solo show of all types of couples. It was a stretch for me, but I was pretty happy with the results, and the sales were amazing. Just in time, too--I spent Feb 14, 2014, in the hospital, and my bill was neatly covered by the Zonal show.
Zonal closed its doors last week. I double parked one last time on Hayes Street and loaded 30 paintings into the back, gave Russell a hug on the curb, and pulled back onto the Bay Bridge. Russell, you are one of a kind. You will be very missed.
To read more, go to http://hoodline.com/2015/01/after-24-years-zonal-will-close-its-doors-this-month

Jan 27, 2015

Vantage Point #2

Vantage Point #2
36"x46"
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
12"x8"
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

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
12"x12"

"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

Trailer

Trailer
36"x46"
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
10"x12"
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
8"x12"
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
25"x11"
Such a broad vista, just when I was feeling so hemmed in.

Nov 30, 2014

Candle Lit

Candle Lit
24"x24"
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
14"x8"
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
20"x16"
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
20"x30"

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.


Headlights

Headlights
24"x45
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

Sign

Sign
24"x60"
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
10"x12"
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

Whispers
14"x8"
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

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
30"x20"

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!