Friday, August 28, 2015

The Meaning of a Rose

The dress had been patched many times, but she hoped that wouldn’t be noticed too much. At least the lace shawl was clean and white. Her bare feet only showed when the cold wind blew her skirt up, daringly high around her ankles. But the only ones out here on this long, dark pier were even colder and hungrier than she, having been far from home for so long. Here was a lonely soul walking her way now...

The girl gave him a shy smile over her shoulder, and he followed her, for a mile, it seemed, when he noticed the bare feet in this cold, along these rough streets. She paused in a doorway, eyes cast sideways, then they entered together. He spent the night tracing the strange and sinewy fish and flowers around her ribs with his fingers, ending at the rose on her thigh.

This painting was inspired by a story told to me by my mother who was told it by her father, a sailor. He was walking alongside the great Liverpool docks when a woman gave him a glance and he followed her for some time before he noticed she wasn’t wearing any shoes. This was in the days of long skirts, when the sight of a woman’s ankle was something really exciting. I have tried to conjure up that woman for just the briefest of moments in which we are all sailors in the night, along a pier somewhere in the world.

Acrylic on canvas, with cotton, silk, linen, sand and broken shells, beads and antique dress. 48 x 72"

Friday, September 26, 2014

One In Every Port

Acrylic on canvas with reverse painting on mica, wool, silk and cotton with scrimshawed mother-of-pearl.
 16 x 20"

Detail of scrimshaw mother-of-pearl "buttons"

Monday, August 25, 2014

The Sailor's Wife

She waits on the dock, with her scalloped lace collar, as much a part of the sea as any of the shells caught in her net. As warmly mammalian as any cetacean, and as much of a beacon home as any lighthouse. 

Acrylic on canvas, silk, cotton and linen, with glass beads, pearls, Chinese blue and white ceramic beads, fishing net, broken shell and carved bone. 36 X 48"

Friday, July 25, 2014

The Thinking Mermaid's Mirror

Upon reflection, it might be better to use fine instruments of navigation, and a compass pointing to a true North, than a mere silvered, and deceptive, sliver of glass.

Acrylic on canvas, silk and linen with beads and bone. 11x 14"  (27.9 x 35.5 cm.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The Captain's Wife

Acrylic on canvas , cotton and linen, with mother of pearl, 23K gold leaf and tobacco.
11 X 14" (27.9 X 35.5 cm.)

Monday, July 14, 2014

Port of Call

Acrylic on canvas, cotton, linen, silk and leather with beads. 30 X 40" (76.2 X 101.6 cm.)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The Navigator

Acrylic on beer bock paper with cotton, silk and sand. 12 x 12" (30.4 x 30.4 cm)

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Searching For Gold

"Searching For Gold" watercolor on Arches paper, 18 x 26 cm (about 7 x 10 1/4") She scans the ocean floor for pretty coins. Meanwhile, a school of golden fishes swims by in the dappled sunlight.

Friday, December 20, 2013

The Inner Mermaid

Acrylic on paper, silk, and cotton with sand and broken shell, paua, and glass beads. 
7 x 11" (about 18 x 28 cm.)

The Fish-Eyed Mermaid

Watercolor on Arches hot-pressed paper. 18 x 26 cm. (about 7 x 10 1/4")

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Dance With The Flowers Of Night And Day

Acrylic on paper and silk with glass beads, butterfly wings and 23K gold leaf. 10 x 13" (24.5 x 33 cm).

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

To Dance Between Sea And Sky

Acrylic on paper, silk and cotton, with glass and semi-precious beads, sequins, 23K gold leaf and butterfly wings. 10 x 13" (25 x 33 cm)

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Two Ships

Acrylic on paper and silk with broken seashells. 11 x 22" (28 x 56 cm).

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Talking Over Our Heads

But the speaker's head is full of holes.

Acrylic on paper, cotton and leather with beads, pearls and 23K gold leaf. 7.5 x 11" (19 x 28 cm).

Monday, October 21, 2013

The Hurricane and The Butterfly

Hang onto your hats! 

Acrylic on paper, cotton and cotton/linen with broken shell, butterfly wings (found) and 23K gold leaf. 7.5 x 11" (19 x 28 cm.).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Very Young Mariner

Before the painted ship, upon a painted ocean. Before the dice, the mast and the Albatross. His wanderings are just beginning.

Acrylic on paper and silk (recycled Jerry Garcia tie) sand, broken shell, glass, ceramic and bone beads, and labradorite. 11 x 15" (28 x 38 cm.)

Monday, October 14, 2013

Odysseus and His Siren

We all have our favorite and most flattering songs. And She'll sing you anything you want to hear.

Acrylic on Arches paper, leather, string, cotton and embroidery with 23K gold leaf.
11 x 15" (28 x 38 cm).

Friday, September 20, 2013

The View From the Crow's Nest

Acrylic on canvas. 36 X 48" (91.4 x 121.9 cm). Palette knife painting.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Joe's Gift

I just did this book cover for Joseph Alff, MSW, for his latest book, "Joe's Gift". It is a lovely book of his thoughts on making a more fulfilled and loving life. I'm excited about the way the cover came out and thought the title and all looked really wonderful. You can find both the print version and the e-book version on Amazon.

Friday, June 28, 2013

The Practical Navigator

She’s seen a lot of ports of call.  The beauties of the Orient, scent of rare perfumes, spices. She’s carried silks and gems, books, delicate blue and white ceramics. Tea, wool and grain. Heard the languages of the whole wide world.

 But she keeps her mind on the practical nature of her work. Eyes only to the horizon, the line between blue and deeper blue or the grey-green of storm. Heeding compass and chart, sextant and astrolabe.

Sometimes, though, the lines seem to bind, not to spar or canvas, bowsprit or martingale, but to a nearly transparent wave of memory. A cloud takes on the shape of a vessel with full sails. She feels the tug, the swell of the Heart, and she is aweigh once more.

Acrylic on canvas with silk, cotton, linen, broken shell, Chinese ceramic beads, carved bone, pearls, glass beads, tiger’s eye, agate and 23K gold leaf.

48 x 72” or 122 x 183 cm.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Her Gaze Upon The Waters

A painting to be donated to the Navy League Ball raffle, June 22 at the Detroit Yacht Club. 16 x 20" mixed media on canvas.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Planting an Idea

Found black galvanized metal planters at Ikea for $44.- and got two to paint. The front porch needs a big-ish feel. These are 24" high and 22" across the top. The big imagery will help them in that spot on either side of the front door. Now just need a clearcoat of protectant.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Monday, April 1, 2013

Blood Groove

The sample, in its crystalline vial, was snapped shut, mixed carefully, sealed into an envelope, sent to the lab and the results arrived in an email a few weeks later. The centuries fell away in crisp black and white and the reel of history was played out in the graceful curves of a double helix…

Across the thirsty land, two men – nearly brothers - faced one another. Horses snorted and reared. The sunlight glinted off iron. Swords clashed, blood was spilled… The cross took the place of the crescent as a cloud cut over the face of the Moon…

We are never more distant from one another than 50th cousin. DNA tells us a different story than churches, temples, banks, and men in power. It is time to read, and to believe. The truth, this time around. We share the same Heart.

Acrylic on canvas with upholstery fabric, cotton, silk, polyester, leather and bone.
24 x 36” or 60.9 x 91.4 cm.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Sea Chantey

Calling all Sailors! From across the waters of the world comes the Song… You must listen very carefully, because it runs so quietly through the seashell of the ear and brain.

It is the Song of those who share our nature and the sea-salt composition of warm blood. Its soft, plaintive undercurrent is difficult to detect over the din and cacophony of embarkations and arrivals, the tapping-out of messages, the ringing-in of profits, assurances of security, in boardrooms and banks, and over the ticking of omnipresent Clocks.

Navigate with mindfulness of the kith-and-kindred nature of what sails alongside of you, unseen but always there.

Acrylic on canvas with upholstery fabric, silk, cotton, linen and gold leaf and mica. 30 x 40" or 76.2 x 101.6 cm.

Friday, February 22, 2013


A sort of doodle done while waiting for glue to dry on another painting. Chac-mools are normally depicted with their heads turned to the side, but this just struck me as a Chac-mool. And here comes the ship...

Acrylic, house paint and fake gold leaf on watercolor paper and upholstery fabric with photo transfer.

8.5 x 10" or 21.5 x 25.4 cm.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Lady and Her Camel

Deep in the chintz, the Aynsley patterned sleeves, lace collar. Mouth of Africa, tiger's-eye, and a camel for her arms. She inhabits the globe without ever leaving her drawing room.

Acrylic on paper with cotton, wool, white metal, bone and glass beads, old watch. 10 X 13" or 24.4 x 33 cm.

The Devil And His Kiss

(He'll promise you anything).

Acrylic on paper with glass and stone beads and 23K gold leaf. 10 X 13" or 25 X 33 cm.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

A Fool For Love

The Jester pokes fun at everyone and everything, but when he is in love he is truly a Fool. Meanwhile, a Camel passes through his Eye and enters a desert oasis in the soft background...

Acrylic paint on paper with leather, silk, wool, copper leaf, glass, bone and ceramic. 11 X 15" or 27 X 38 cm.