Aug 6, 2022

My Canvas Family

 25 years ago I wrote an article for Radix Magazine, a journal on Christianity and culture. The article is an interesting look into my process so long ago when my children were small and I was wrestling with family of origin issues through my painting. It is also a very transparent look at my spirituality at the time. Many aspects of my process and my art as therapy have changed and evolved since then, but this is an interesting record of my early days as an artist. My apologies for the photos--they're scans of old slides.

My Canvas Family

As I paint in my studio behind my house, I can hear my children, ages two and four, inside with their father or their Russian babysitter. When they were tiny, I craved a chance to paint undisturbed, but in the studio all I could paint was them, their tiny hands, their snuggly bodies. Now my work had returned to more metaphorical and narrative themes.

Often ghosts from my own childhood appear on the canvases, uninvited. Often my mother’s face appears, twisted by mental illness. Often my paintings are prayers coming from a deeper place in my heart than the words can reside. I can put on a pretty good fa├žade in my daily life, but I can’t hide when I paint. Sometimes in these corners of honesty, God can confront and heal me as well.

The paintings that follow represent some of the surprises and transformations that sometimes occur in my work.


I wanted to paint a reunion with dear friends I missed. I remembered how, when I lived in the Sierras, the blue mist would rise from the valley beyond my back door, and I put a new canvas on the easel. I painted my friend, Nancy, on her porch, leaning toward me with her arms outstretched, her little girl clinging to her knees. I began painting myself running to her excitedly, but it was too effusive. Instead, I drop my suitcase and look up hesitantly with my hands open but my arms at my sides.

Some people see the figure looking down from the porch as a crucifixion. A few days after finishing the painting I recognize my mother’s face on the woman leaning on the porch about to totter off the step stairs and my own face in that determined child, gripping her knees and keeping her balance. I’m also the visitor, dreading her embrace but longing for it at the same time.

It’s a painting of yearning, longing, and reluctance. It’s a painting of Christ. It’s a painting of my mother. Aren’t they all intertwined as I cloak God in all the twisted definitions of who a loving parent is?


Usually before I paint, I spend a half hour in my studio writing in a prayer journal. My aim is to get to the heart of where I am in my journey with God and to be as honest as possible about my need for him. Those prayers and scriptures that follow often have a strong influence on my paintings.

In an attempt to share with God exactly where I was, I determined to create a painting firmly rooted in the present. There I am, pushing a stroller, silhouetted in blue against the window of a popular restaurant in my neighborhood. Some observers have commented on the whimsy and playfulness in the piece, but one family shuddered and confided to me that they thought it was of a child going to get her father out of a bar—an event that had happened repeatedly in their family.

It took me two months to recognize the faces of every member of my family of origin, both alive and dead, in that restaurant, and myself in three stages of life, passing outside. For 11 years I’ve tried to separate myself from the dance of my family—the entrenched life-scripts we interrelate with—and have felt relief in the distance, but loneliness as well.



I’ve created six paintings over the years of people gathered around a table. Most have started as sketches drawn on napkins when I’m surrounded by friends. In an attempt to prolong the experience of their companionship, I recreate the dinner parties in paint. I can cover canvases with friends, but invariably and involuntarily their faces swirl into the ugly family confrontations of my childhood. Any time I open a woman’s mouth, the others listen in surly, resentful silence.

Make the woman talk. Make the others listen. A woman can speak without being crazy. But the first woman I ever heard was my mother, spewing out rage and anguish. I scratch and claw my way through a painting of people in a restaurant. There I am, speaking calmly, telling a story. Some figures are detached and distracted, but one person leans forward to hear what I have to say. Can God be interested as well?



For months, even years, my mailbox flamed and smoked with furious letters from my mother, writhing in her mental illness. I felt creatively blocked by my own hyper-criticalness. I am on the verge of giving up painting. I’m always on the verge of giving up painting. Why pay a sitter to care for my children so I can go to a small room and be terrorized by a white canvas? I go for a walk, put laundry in the dyer, go into the house for a cup of tea. My children’s sitter, Mira, growls at me in her Muscovite accent, “Why am I here? Go out and paint!”

I begin a new canvas of a woman waving a cloth near burning books and letters. I think I am painting a self-portrait of me faming the flames of anything that represents my mother, the voracious reader. But the woman’s position is wrong. She’s too close. Is she trying to smother the fire she’s started? And what am I to do with my own rage?


Green Room

Three months ago, my mother had a medical crisis that catapulted me back into close contact with the family I’d tried to distance myself from for most of my adult life. Suddenly we were sitting together in emergency rooms, detox wards, and retirement homes.

My older brother arrives at 7:00 a.m., and we drive together to my mother’s green house in another part of the state. All the way, he talks about how multiple small strokes and medication have softened her, making her gentle and dependent. We spend the day at the house, cleaning and sifting through rooms of books and snapshots and angry letters. So much violence in that house. I was always so afraid. The ghosts are still there, and they cling to my clothes as we leave.

They’re still lingering when I go to the studio the next morning. How can I paint? Five unfinished canvases are waiting for me. Miserable failures all. The ghosts remind me, “You’re Carol Peterson, really, and Carol Peterson is not a painter.”

I put away four of the five canvases, saving a 5’x4’ surface. It’s faded green, the color of my mother’s house. Five birds fly around the ceiling. My mother swats at them with a towel, my brother grabs at her arm, my sister cries, and I watch from a crouched position in the corner. Thirty years later, our roles are still clearly established in painful detail.

I cover them with dull green paint. Instead, a lone girl reaches up her arms as if to imitate the trapped birds’ flight. The room is still green. It’s still my mother’s house. I’d live to leave it, but for now it’s where my heart is. I’ll just have to paint through the green. There’s a mystery about this painting, perhaps a feeling of hope within my mother’s compressed walls.



I painted another hide and seek game. But as I painted it, it became a game gone wrong. Some of those children are really scared. Is it a game at all? What are they hiding from? What thundering knock, what thundering voices are fueling their panic?

This painting was too dark for me. Then, as a seeming afterthought, I give the woman wings as she peers into the dark. OK. God is there, even when I’m terrified. I add a child crouching under the bed, ready to watch what will follow from a safe place. And I, too, am crouching in the safe place of my painting, sensing God’s protection as he illuminates for me those feelings I try to keep under cover, feelings of longing and reluctance and rage and loneliness and hope.

Jul 24, 2022

My Birth as an Artist

I never went to art school. Although I've taken lots of classes, I don't have an art degree. But I had two pivotal experiences that propelled me into painting and guided me into the work I've continued doing for the last 30 years.

Through a series of miraculous events, my husband, Ed, and I became English teachers at a Chinese university in 1986-87. We had been married two years and were greener than green, but we were also desperate for a new adventure and distance from our small town. We traveled to Zhengzhou, Henan Province,the People's Republic of China, and were provided with an apartment in a building for Chinese faculty. For the next 14 months, we taught English writing and conversation and traveled extensively throughout the country.

It was a challenging time to be in a central Chinese city. Our apartment didn't get over 40 degrees for three months, and Ed and I each lost 30 pounds over the course of the year, subsisting on rice and cabbage and pancakes through the winter. There were more horses than cars in our city of one million, and I could create traffic accidents by letting my blonde hair blow freely as I walked down the boulevard (a rather heady experience).


On my first day of teaching, I skirted around puddles of standing water and past broken windows in the languages building. As I entered my classroom, 30 brilliant graduate students in khaki Mao jackets and caps rose and stood respectfully at attention. My life was never the same again. Over the next year, these students and another class of university faculty opened their hearts to us, told us stories of growing up during the Cultural Revolution, and shared their impossible dreams for the future. Ed's and my apartment was full of guests every night. I felt flooded with the strong impressions, like we were on a different planet.

How could I process all of these exeriences? I had packed pastels and watercolors in my suitcase, and I began illustrating our students' stories and my own gut responses. The word got around that I painted, and soon I was joined in my living room by several classically trained Chinese artists. They taught me that the drive to create transcends borders and that art happens even in unheated rooms with the simplest of materials. When we returned to the USA, I had refined a personal visual language, but, more importantly, I saw art as a vital lifeline for expressing burning, hard-to-resolve emotions.

Returning to the US was a bumpy transition for me. Ed and I moved to Oakland and struggled with new careers, tight funds, and my family of origin in crisis. I hit a major depression almost immediately and found myself in a therapist's office, pulling out a couple of watercolors and explaining, "I don't know how to use words to describe what I'm feeling, but it's a little like this..." For the next three years, I took her one or two paintings a week and we discussed the feelings behind them. Those three years became a kind of MFA program, and in the end I had a body of 300 paintings, the birth of my life as an artist.

I am grateful for that Chinese experience and the deep friendships that happened there and the artistic expression was born in that unheated apartment. And I'm grateful for the therapist who helped me paint my way out of a very dark place.

Jul 17, 2022

Partners in Crime

Ed and I met 41 years ago via a U-Haul truck. I was moving to the Sierras to teach first grade, and he kindly offered to help. After six hours in a truck cab, we were intrigued, maybe a little smitten, and after two years of letters and visits, we got married.

Fast-forward 40 years. It's late on a Sunday night after an Open Studio at Hunters Point in San Francisco. Our two Hondas are loaded to the roofs with paintings, lights, tables, and curtains. We are both dead tired as I pull my car up beside Ed's, roll down the window, and ask him, "Would you have offered to drive that U-Haul 40 years ago if you'd known you'd be schlepping art for the next four decades?" His eyes dart shyly to one side and then look back at me as he grins--the same look that grabbed my heart so long ago.

I couldn't have imagined a sweeter partner in crime. He stretches my canvases, photographs my paintings, poses when necessary, and listens to my kvetching. He participates in artist residencies with me and has transported paintings over thousands of miles. He has approached ever challenge with curiosity and a sense of adventure.

Once we loaded up a show into both of our cars and headed over the Bay Bridge. The Honda blew a timing belt mid-span and coasted into San Francisco in a haze of smoke and steam, our aging Volvo following close behind. We limped off the bridge and into a car repair shop, tied the canvases from the first car onto the roof of the Volvo, and sold the Honda to a mechanic for $100.

Ed is a gifted photographer. To see examples of his work, go to Perhaps you'll be smitten, too.


Jul 9, 2022

Get Out the Art Group

 About six years ago at Laura Van Duren's birthday party, I looked around the room and was swept over with feelings of inferiority towards all the cool artists in their sophisticated clothes, gathered at the pizza table. In a burst of determination, I approached four of them, including the host, and asked them to help me start a Get Out the Art Group, where we could strategize about showing our work. Surprisingly, they all accepted, and we've been meeting every 4-6 weeks ever since, with some gaps due to Covid. One member left, and another has joined, and it's become a delightful and insightful tribe.

This group is not a critique group. We're more focused on overcoming hurdles to getting out work out in the public eye. We gather at each other's studios or at an outside table at the Paradise Park Cafe. Perhaps you have seen us there, laughing and gesturing wildly. Sometimes one of us will set a timer so each member can have a guaranteed 20 minutes to kvetch and strategize and share whatever they want. Through them I learn about museum shows and new galleries, and we compare social media tactics. They are a sounding board for finding new venues and discerning best practices with galleries. We have worked through shipping and pricing questions.

We have listened to each other's artist's statements and crafted elevator pitches--short three minute explanations of our work that we can recite if we get the ear of Someone Important at an opening or studio visit. We have also become loyal attendees of each other's openings, so if the gallery is sparsely attended, there's someone to talk to.

We keep count of the rejections. Whenever I get a Dear John letter from a gallery, I think, "I can't wait to tell GOTA about this!" We're aiming at getting 100 closed doors.

In the past year, I have reached out to four new artists who do amazing work but are just beginning to show it to the world, and GOTA 2 was born. It's a kinder, gentler group, incredibly affirming. In this group more time is spent showing the new work people are making and sharing how to overcome creative blocks.

This brings to mind a question I've been thinking about a lot since I turned 60: is art important for the art's sake, or is art important for the way it draws people together? I'll be sorting that out for the rest of my life. Right now, though, I know that I am very grateful for the companions I have for the journey.

Do you have an art group that has helped you to be creative? Are you interested in starting a Get Out the Art Group? Here are my suggestions: keep it small--no more than 5 or 6 people. Invite artists who are at a similar point professsionally as yourself more or less. Celebrate attempts rather than representation or sales. Perhaps set a timer so everyone has a chance to speak. Be loyal--go to each other's openings and open studios when you can.

If you would like to see the GOTA groups' work, follow them on Instagram: @leahkorican, @danazed, @laura_van_duren, @quitecontrarypress,@gretchendailydrawing, @wheatfield43, and @debraacollins. Their websites are,,,, and

Jul 3, 2022

Open Studio How-To's


Guidelines for Visiting an Artist's Studio:

  • Greet the artist. If you're visiting a large artist building and decide not to enter a studio, but the artist catches your eye, wave.
  • Be polite like your mother taught you. Don't make a bee-line for the food. Don't ask how much the studio rent is. Don't talk about your cat. Ask permission before you photograph.
  • Don't assume that the prices are negotiable. Don't come at the end of the weekend and ask for a discount. Art is a luxury, and if you can't afford it, don't go fishing for bargains. Don't ask for discounts unless the artist is driving a nicer car than you are. 
  • If you've seen the artist's work at a gallery, tell them, and don't try to get a better deal by going around a gallerist. The artist will have to pay the gallery their commission whether you bought it at the gallery or their studio.
  • Share what the work makes you feel, what pieces communicate to you and why. Tell stories that they bring to mind, even if they are heavy.
  • Thank the artist when you're leaving.

Guidelines for Hosting an Artist's Open Studio:

  • Send out postcard invitations, emails, Facebook notifications, and Instagrams. Be the squeaky wheel. There's a lot of competition out there.
  • Hang up your very best work, stuff that's personal and real, art that would hurt if it sold. Don't paint to sell. 
  • Have good lighting and signs. Make a good music playlist, songs that deepen the art, and have good speakers. Label everything and have a guest sign-in sheet.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and stand as much as possible. Don't read, and stay away from sugar.
  • Greet your guests as they enter, and let them know you are the artist.
  • Pray for one honest real interaction and know that that's enough. Give yourself permission to not listen to the cat lady, but remember that everyone coming through is made in the image of God.
  • If the guests initiate conversation, then you can talk freely about the work.
  • Remember that the guests are not coming for the food or to see what you're wearing. Don't waste your energy on those things. They are there to see the art.
  • Observe which pieces attract attention.
  • Never reduce your prices.

 I've written before in this blog that my paintings are like my children, that they aren't complete until they've gone out in the world. Open Studios are a place where they can speak and have a life independant of me, whether they are sold or not. I am deeply grateful for everyone who has come to my open studio and shared their stories, such as the couple who looked at "No Visible Means of Support" and told me about their cancer year, the man who saw the flying woman and told me about his late mother, the woman who cried when she saw the mother and child painting and told me how her mother had died when she was eight. Those are sacred moments. I am humbled when I see how art can transcend barriers between people, can stop us in our tracks, can catch at our throats and remind us what life is really about, that we all have souls.

Jul 1, 2022

Sanchez Art Center--50/50

I've been invited to participate in the Sanchez Art Gallery's 50/50 show. Artists are invited to create 50 6"x6" paintings in 50 days.
I'm going to do 50 small paintings of people touching and connecting. Here are images of the first rough starts, five days in. I'm excited about putting a lot of ideas out, fast and free.


Jun 26, 2022

10 Rules for Working Artists

 One of my great delights has been to get to know Michelle We met at church 4 years ago, and when she told me she was painting in oils in her bedroom, I offered her a work space in my basement. Covid put a stop to that for awhile, but it's been wonderful having her back this past year.

Michelle is the same age as my kids, and we have many converstions about life as an artist. I recently thought I should make a list of some of the things we have talked about. These guidelines don't apply if you want to show at top-of-the-line galleries, but they've been helpful for me to create and move my art out into the world and pay my bills as well.

Here goes...

10 Rules for Working Artists 

  1. Paint (or sculpt or write...) as if no one is going to see it. I often tell myself, "This one is just for me. I am going to do a very personal piece, working out risky emotions or vulnerable places." Then when it's finished, I tell myself, "Surprise! Out you go!"
  2.  Guard your creative time. Create without apology, and don't hesitate to tell everyone, "That's my studio time; I can't get together then. Are you free afterwards?" Light burning sage and resist the sink of dishes, the piles of laundry, and the bills to be paid! (I'm reminding myself of this right now.) Do post your work  on social media, but don't let it encroach on your studio time.
  3. "Yes, and..." This is a fundamental rule of improvisational theater, like when one actor says, "Is it hot in here?" and the other responds, "Yes, and why are we in this handbasket?"  In art, if an opportunity comes up, I almost always say, "Yes, and..." Can I mount a show next week in place of an artist who has just cancelled? Yes, and I'll invite a cellist or stage an arrival with suitcases of art or promote it on Instagram and Facebook.
  4.  An artwork isn't done until it's out in the world. Sohlzhenitsyn wrote all these accounts about the Soviet gulag privately for himself, but eventually he needed an audience. People all over the Soviet Union started typing copies of his books and passing them around. In a way, that happened for me, too. I painted privately for 2 years, but eventually the paintings felt like stillborn children. They needed to have a chance to communicate, and I said yes to some less than prestigious venues. The painting sales from a furniture shop on Hayes St in SF paid my mortgage for a couple of years. A basement that tended to flood was my primary source of income for two decades. Now a hotel in Anderson Valley has become vital to my survival. If galleries aren't biting, hang in cafes.
  5. Prove yourself to be a person of integrity with all the galleries and venues that you deal with. If they expect a commission from outside sales (people who come to you directly but first saw you at the XYZ Gallery), write the gallery a check for their commission. Never undersell a gallery--if the gallery sells a 3'x4' canvas of yours for $3500, don't sell that size for less at your open studios. Be on time. Keep meticulous records.
  6. Be everywhere at once. Go to openings. Enter competitions via Apply to residencies. Follow artists you like and contact their galleries and apply to the residencies they've done. Hang at your church or synagogue. Make friends with other artists and go to their openings and get together for coffee and brainstorming. Invite them over when you're stuck on a piece. Find a life drawing group or join a printmaking collective.
  7. Create your own events. One of my favorites was when I rented a hall with three other artists and invited musician friends to perform Broadway love songs on Valentines Day. I also have loved opening up my home for art salons, inviting other creatives to share their music or dance or poetry or art, ending with a potluck dinner. Art is a connection point, a chance to draw people together in fractured times. Art is a way to give love back to the world.
  8. Never reduce your prices. Collectors need to trust you. Start with prices low enough that the work moves out the door, but when you can't keep up with demand, gradually raise your prices. If some work just isn't as strong, paint over or destroy it. It's rather exhilarating, like destroying the evidence.
  9. Be impractical sometimes. Create a large painting for a church you love, free of charge. Donate something beautiful to a women's shelter. Paint a mural where it's needed. Take risks. I've had 5 paintings stolen from galleries and open studios. Four of my paintings were defaced in a lobby. I'm still glad I hung them there (although I won't do that space again).
  10. Just because it's hard doesn't mean you're on the wrong path. Being an artist is hard. That's just the way it is. But look for companions for the journey, other artists who understand and can celebrate the victories and listen when you're discouraged.

Jun 12, 2022

A Personal Artist Residency

 I love going to established artist residencies, meeting other creatives, and working furiously towards some culminating event. But there are also advantages to just getting away and painting at a friend's cabin or beach house. The pressure is off, I'm free from obligations, and I can explore places for new inspirations.

Right now I'm in Pacific Grove for a week with my husband and daughter. Last night we snuck into Point Lobos after hours and watched the sunset from a bluff over a beach full of sea lions. This morning we had Garrapata Beach all to ourselves--white sand and aqua water. We've also prowled around lighthouses and up Mermaid Lane in the fog. It was great to stop by Jennifer Perlmutter's new gallery in Carmel and give her a hug. In between outings, I've been painting by the dining room windows.   

I can't be an artist in isolation. Thank you so much, Chris and Dave, so sharing your home with us. The paintings that emerge from this place are dedicated to you.

May 18, 2022

Color Recipies

 Before Covid, I hosted a painting group once a month in my dining room. Last Saturday we had a mini reunion, and one of them asked me what I do if I just don't feel like painting. I told her, "When I was a child, I couldn't leave the dinner table until I had eaten everything on my plate. I use that memory in the studio. If I don't feel like painting, I put on some good music and fill my pallette with paint. I can't leave until all the paint is used up. After a few minutes, I am back in the zone."

They asked me about the colors I mix. I have some favorite recipies, using Golden's Acrylics.

The first mixture on my pallette is 5 parts Zinc White to one part Titan Buff. This creates a warm mixable white.

Pink is very central to my painting (another hold-over from childhood). I use it as a base coat and also mix it for flesh tones and skies. I use 5 parts Zinc white, one part Titan Buff, two parts Naphthol Red Medium, and one part Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold.

Mix this pink with an equal amount of Cerlean Blue, and it makes a warm sky color. Lighten it with the white mixture.

Golden's Green Gold is a wonderful glaze. Mix it with Dioxazine Purple and it makes a dark, dark brown. Add some more green and some of my soft white mixture to make softer earth tones.


Lately I've been having fun with grays. Mix one part Permanent Green to one part Light Violet and lighten it up with the white mixture to the darkness you want.

Golden's Quinacridone/Nickel Azo Gold is another wonderful glaze. Add it to the white mixture for beautiful honey tones.

If you have favorite colors or mixtures, let me know!

May 11, 2022

At Zoe's Cabin

 I am constantly on the prowl for new imagry, so I was very excited when my friend, Zoe, agreed to a painting trade for a week at her family's cabin. Adding to the sweetness is that the cabin is a couple miles from a school where I taught first grade a lifetime ago. I spent the week hiking through oaks and painting what I saw.

If you have a vacation home and are interested in a trade, let me know!

May 8, 2022

Lighthouse Inspiration

As an artist, I'm always looking for new imagry. One wayto get fresh inspiration is through travel. In February I stayed in the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage at Point Cabrillo. It was magical. We could watch whale spouts from the dining room table, and at night the beams from the lighthouse would sweep past our windows. 

I love lighthouses but am cautious to avoid cliches. I hope in these paintings I've been able to embrace the metaphor without easy answers or platitudes.

I am excited to be entering a new stage of life in which I have the flexibity to explore places for new ideas.


Feb 23, 2022

Painting Dreams

One of the delights of painting away from home is painting little jewel-like panels, often 12"x12". They feel very playful to me. I can explore whimsical themes or darker ones that might be too intense for a large canvas. They feel like dreams to me.


Feb 19, 2022

Visual Gifts of the Dorland Artist Residency

At the Dorland Mountain Arts Colony a steep path leads to a patch of level ground overlooking a string of mountains beyond a valley with a stone spiral like a labyrinth. I returned to this spot almost every day and did two paintinggs of it (so far). Having a new spiritual symbol, another emotional landscape, is one of the gifts of my time at Dorland.
The green desert hills were another gift. They loomed up any time I turned around and will appear in my paintings long after I return home, a symbol of the journey.

I am excited about how going to residencies give me fresh inspiration and am eager to do more.

Lake Ticanu

Dorland Mountain has a spring that goes up its core. The delightful result is a couple of ponds on the grounds of the art colony there plus water for the residents. When I first found Lake Ticamu (actually the size of a small pond), I was so excited about a little blue dory on the bank. Ed grumbled that it was too heavy, but Chris was as enthusiastic as I was and photographed us for paintings. Thanks, Chris!


Feb 18, 2022

Old Ideas and New Ones

Dorland Mountain Artist Colony is our third residency. One thing I've learned from experience is to have some ideas sketched out and ready to go so I can hit the ground running while working out new ideas. These two bed paintings are a continuation of a previous series. Working on them freed me from the pressure while I was sketching out new ideas, like this one, Cairn, inspired by Joshua Tree boulders.


Feb 12, 2022

Privacy and Community

 Dorland Mountain Art Colony's primary purpose is to provide creatives with uninterrupted time for their work in a beautiful setting. Dorland stipulates that residents are not to initiate contact with other residents. Initially we saw more of Duchess, the German Shepherd, than the other artists and writers. I m so grateful for this time apart.

The exception is on Friday evenings when there's a meet-and-greet. The five of us gather with Janice, our host, and share what we're working on. David Gilette is focused on finishing a novel based in Colorado; he had us all riveted with the passages he shared. Edith Hornik-Beer is a journalist, writing an article about the interdependency of socialism and capitalism; be watching for it in the New York Times.

Natasha Harrison is a glass artist, suspending petals and seeds inside blown glass pods which she then suspends in clusters. 

Chris Allen is beading morning to past midnight, exploring a new line of bracelets as well as continuing her sculpture pieces. 

And Ed has been continuing refining old work and writing new poems for an upcoming collection.

The Poet, Adrift on the Antarctic, is Angry   

because the work he ends up doing

to pay bills and feed his family

is lonely beyond understanding,

and he knows he could have done better

had he known in the beginning 

what he knows now of the world,

but he has drifted too far on this chunk of floating ice

to start over, and time has whittled his face 

into the shape of a sphinx,

and for love he stays put,

and for caution he stays put, 

chest into the wind,

hands clenched and eyes wide open,

for with time comes wisdom

with its great green eye,

and with wisdom 

comes a kind of peace,

like the fluid in the back of the eyes,

and with peace 

comes a love so hot

no ice can hold it,

and so this story ends

with the ice finally melting

and the poet in flames,

strolling, to his amazement,

across the surface 

of the waters. 

Feb 11, 2022

Circling a Theme


Nearby the cottages here at Dorland Mountain Arts Colony there's a stone spiral, somewhat like a labyrinth at a spot called Sunrise Point. It's been a place to greet the day and to inspire new work. Chris Allen added her beaded rocks to the center, and I made this painting our first week here. Be watching for more paintings on this theme.