The Little Yellow Ferry

The coolest thing about The Netherlands is that there are more significant and momentous historical and cultural points of interest per square meter than anywhere else in the world. The country is so tiny that you don’t have to go anywhere overnight to visit ANY of them because they’re all within a couple hours’ travel time from Amsterdam, the ideal base camp—itself a wonderful old, fun city filled with art and history. My darling niece Lindsay lives in Amsterdam with her family, and whenever I visit, she greets me at the door with a long list of things I need to do/see. … Read more

HOME ARCHAEOLOGY: Closet excavation is a big, tiresome job, but it isn’t entirely unrewarding…

The archaeological project referenced above started about two years ago. The dig site is my house, and the artifacts I am discovering are buried in layers of accumulation in my cupboards and closets. There are always surprises in archaeology, and a recent one in this dig turned up at the bottom of a cardboard box that sat on a closet floor, under a stack of cardboard boxes that almost reached the ceiling. When I burrowed into this box, I found some paintings that I did decades ago when I was first learning watercolor. … Read more

The Red Church of Sonora: An Ironic Painting Story

A must-do road trip for anyone who loves California and its history is to travel the length of CA Highway 49. This road wiggles south to north through the Sierra foothills, starting at Oakhurst, sixteen miles south of Yosemite, and following the Mother Lode vein of gold through dozens of Gold Rush-era towns, all the way to the northernmost one, Nevada City. The road actually veers east at that point and ends at Highway 70 in Vinton, a place that almost doesn’t exist—it has no zip code—and though it has the distinction to lie along Highway 49, it’s too remote from the Mother Lode to cash in on the Gold Rush

The Mother Lode was, of course, the impetus for the California Gold Rush. … Read more

A Florida Friend I Didn’t Expect to Meet

Do you know what this little guy is? My friend Carole, who works at the Miami Zoo, didn’t. A specialist in exotic animals (“the expert lady”) who found him in a Miami street dragging a leash around, didn’t. And certainly I didn’t! But I did after Carole told me his story.

I went to Florida in April to visit Carole, a long-friend from college whom I hadn’t seen since last century, and after that to visit Jan and Terry, my sister and brother-in-law, who had recently moved there. … Read more

AN IMPERTINENT IMPERSONATION OF MONET
(or: My Demo for the Santa Clara Watercolor Society: A Step-by-Step Description)

I was invited by the Santa Clara Valley Watercolor Society a few weeks ago to do an hour’s watercolor demonstration at their annual show and reception. The general directive they gave me was to show “wet-into-wet” technique—something aspiring watercolor painters are likely to learn on their first day in art class.

I vacillated and dilly-dallied for weeks about what to do for this demo, and while most of the things that came to mind would have been okay—that is, they could have given people information of some reasonable value—I really couldn’t get into them. … Read more