Done! Anchorage & Irene

I finally finished my pastel “Anchorage! You can see the progression in the below posts. It has come a long way, and it took me a long time to finish but I fell in love with the subject even more so than when I began. The light in Anchorage in the evening is the most amazing light I have ever seen. I have also finished a little drawing called “Irene”. I had some fun with this one adding abstractions and atmosphere to it. Now it’s time to start new work. that is always a little unnerving.

I am going to do a large drawing in the style of :Reverie” or another girl reading a book. I already prepared the drawing board and it is just waiting. It is going to be approx 18×24 in graphite, charcoal and Conte Noir. I am also starting two pastel still lives and an abstract snowy landscape of Anchorage again. And I am still working on my little grisaille still life. I want to start a new painting so bad I can taste it. In color even!  Anyway, here is “Anchorage” and “Irene” . I really hope you like them!


On the easel today…

On the easel today — a painting of a woman with roses. The reference for this is a cemetery statue. It is a umber under-painting. The detail in the eyes and flesh will be worked in at the color phase.

I am using a new medium – water soluble oil paints. I just started experimenting with them last Wednesday. I like them very much more than the acrylics I have been fighting with for so long. They are buttery and work into a nice consistency or glaze when using the thinner and mediums made for it. They are not quite as nice as regular oils but it is real oil paint with a real oil paint feel. This makes me very, very happy and is a solution to a quandry I have had for a very long time. Next challenge – how to do multiple oil paintings in a tiny studio environment.

Also is a pastel I just started today of the redwoods in Henry Cowell park. This one has a long way to go too!

Salt – A New Poem

A new poem from the workshop I am in right now. One of the books we are using a book called In the Palm of Your Hand: The Poets Portable Workshop by Steve Kowit. I have found it really useful for accessing forms of poetry that one might not be used to writing about. In this case, it is a memory from childhood. I have never written about memories so it is new for me, and quite rewarding once it was shaped into a poem.


Long dunes slide into crags where the water’s beat
Wears deep grooves between sand and rock.
The air salty cool and grey. I can hear laughing
Over by the big rocks. Far ahead my brother
And sister jump through caves that look
With hungry, cracking eyes and pointy teeth.

I never could keep up with them, though I tried
With everything I had. My legs would not move
As fast or jump as far. But I was almost there.
A few more rocks, one more jump and I could
Play with them and they would smile at me.
I did not even look down.

I reached hard, stretched my legs hard to find
The ground but it was gone.  All I could taste was
Spinning salt. Rough bites of rock clawed at my
Little arms and legs. Fists clenched sand and water

A warm, huge hand found me, a limp, wet doll.
I was pulled up and out of the churning water,
Softly sprawled onto hard rocks. My father
Slapped my back with soft, hard thumps.
I coughed out the sea. Everything was salt
And so cold. He stripped me of my wet clothes,
His giant green windbreaker swallowed me
With comfort and warmth. I heard them playing
Still and I started forward again
To the only place I ever wanted to be,
Wherever they were, my big brother and sister.

“You are too small for those rocks.  Here take my hand
And walk with me. I will walk with you.” I looked way up
At my Father’s careful eyes looking down into my tears,
Little fingers wrapped around one of his.
The wind whistled through the crags.
He found a tide pool with a starfish.
The distant laughter slowly faded,
Fading like a longing fades when you first learn
That there are places not meant for you.

Sandra Walton 2013