Oh Bay Area I Love You, and You are Crazy

Volunteers pose naked against eucalyptus trees at the Grinnell Natural Area of UC Berkeley on Saturday July 18, 2015 to show opposition to a FEMA-funded tree-clearing proposal. Photo: Ted FriedmanNaked tree huggers. Oh Bay Area, “You so Crazy!”

Considering that (a) eucalyptus are not native to this region and (b) they are fire hazards, wouldn’t it be better to remove them and plant indigenous trees like for example, California live oaks?

Photo credit: Ted Friedman

Landscape Painter Extraordinaire

I cannot get enough of Lois Dodd’s paintings! Here are some more of them. These images are from Hyperallergic’s article, “Beer with a Painter.” (I first introduced the artist here.)

Dodd’s cow parsnip painting makes me think of the works of Jamaican painter, John Dunkley, and also of Alice in Wonderland. I have a few sketches of cow parsnips in one of my early Bay Area nature journals. These plants are on many of the Mid-Peninsula Regional Open Space’s lands. They will probably show up in some of my future paintings.

“Millbrook Village, Fall”


“Cow Parsnip in Early Stage of Bloom”


“Self-Portait in Green Window”


Closing Exhibition, Feb. 27, 2015

You’re invited!

FEB. 27, 2015, 5:00-7:00 P.M.



Capture3Enjoy a Friday Night Out With Us!

Come join us for complimentary wine and food at Café Gabriela, 988 Broadway, Oakland, CA (between 9th and 10th Streets). Featured Bay Area artist, Kay Rodriques, will be in attendance to discuss her work with you on this, her closing night.  Enjoy the reception, view the paintings and support the artist by making a purchase for your collection. For more information about Kay and Café Gabriela, please visit:

If you’re in town, please mark the date, Friday, February 27, 2015, 5:00-7:00 p.m.

We look forward to seeing you there!

capture 1

Seed Pop

seed pop
“Non-native Breadfruit” (from the Jamaica Series), Pen and inks on paper. 4 x 4 in © 2015

Recently I’ve been doing research on the plants of Jamaica. This is for a series of artworks that I’m working on. Many plants that are now on the island were actually introduced by its two colonizers, the Spanish and British. This drawing is of the breadfruit; it was brought to Jamaica to feed the slaves. The plant has no nutritional value whatsoever. As a cheap food source, it served its purpose of keeping the slaves alive at little to no cost.

On another note, there is a Bay Area company that is doing its part to save the bees. It creates and sells seed bombs. The idea of seed bombs comes from Guerrilla Gardening,  a method of planting begun by environmentalists who would simply throw balls of seeds and fertilizer into fenced-off neglected spaces like brownfields or land that was in zoning limbo. Hmmm, I’m looking at you, fenced off lands near BART stations! Read more about seed bombs and saving the bees here: Save the Bees With Seed Bombs

Writing an Artist’s Statement Is Hard!

Posing2For the past six weeks I’ve been slaving over my artist’s statement. It turns out you’re not a real professional unless you have one. I looked at other artists’ statements, and didn’t see any that I liked. They were so hifaluting (spelling?), filled with art-speak and treated me as if I was too much of an imbecile to figure out what their work was about. It was maddening.

An honest explanation of why you do what you do takes real brain work. You really have to turn your noggin on and think, think, think.The best analogy I can think of is the genius of a small child caught in a lie. You call them on it and ask, “Why did you do it?” And what do you get from the kid? A little face all scrunched up as (s)he tries to think up yet another lie to cover the first one. You watch that little genius face at work and you just know that you are about to get a fantastically unbelievable story about how they didn’t actually do what you just saw them do. It takes that kind of brain power to write you own artist’s statement. No easy task that. So here now, is my explanation of why I create and how and what I create. Your comments, suggestions, criticisms are all welcome.

*****          *****          *****

Color is My Personal Symbolism

Jamaica’s Blue Mountains did it and now the Bay Area’s ridges and valleys are doing it again! Colors unfold, vibrant and vivid, take hold and send me rushing to my studio where I feverishly squeeze paints from tubes, freeing images I have conjured up during my mountain and coastal hikes.

      Often you will find me sketching atop a grassy mountain knoll or on a dune at Ano Nuevo. From my perch I draw things I encounter during my hikes — plants, insects, birds or the scenery before me. If I sight a coyote, badger or mountain lion, I sketch as quickly as I can, trying to capture it before it heads for cover in the woods.

      In the studio, sketches transform into paintings: there are today’s golden California poppies, ruby throated hummingbirds and green, brown and gold Bay Area hills; and there are yesterday’s women ambling through Blue Mountain towns. The outcome is my highly texturized process paintings and detailed miniatures.

      Recycled bits of metal, scraps, feathers and straw are given new life in my works. I fold them into gessoed surfaces then bathe them in paints, pigments and inks. Some paintings are whimsical; others move from the realm of the real to the unreal. A woman, for example, can be transformed into a California Quail.

      Unsurprisingly, the unifying thread throughout my works is the sun infused colors of  the Caribbean and California. I could not have created these paintings without these two muses. I nod in appreciation to both.


Professionally Yours

From the series, The Two, or California Loving

From the series, The Two, or California Loving

I’ve been working on my series of postcards and paintings. I have also written my Artist’s Biography and am almost through writing my Artist’s Statement. Tonight my Website went live. You can view it here. If you are up to giving feedback, it will be appreciated. Thanks for reading my posts.


My Crazy BART Story

May 2014

I finished my story and read it in front of a live audience a few nights ago. Here is the revised and final version. You can see the draft here.

hanging figureThe Things on BART Today

BART is crazy. You get on and there’s a guy with a knife frantically cutting up his backpack — with a knife, a short thick one like scuba divers use. You escape to the next car and find yourself seated next to a woman with no pants on! Just a top, with a long jacket is all she is wearing. You decide you had better strike up conversation with the crazy. You don’t want to anger her by leaving as soon as you get there. So you say hello, hoping she ain’t as crazy as you think she is. Maybe if you treat her like normal, she’ll act like normal. She asks if you have a cell phone she can borrow. Aww hell naw! If I give her my phone she may run off with it. I lie and say I don’t have one. She looks at me suspiciously, eyes narrowing. Aw shit, I’ve made her mad. “You must not have kids,” she says. “Cos if you did, you’d have a cell phone.” I lie some more and say I left it at home and only use it for emergencies anyway. That last part is true. The knife guy in the other car could be an emergency. Hell, this lady might be one too. You know what would be a real emergency? Being stuck on BART with no phone when shit goes down, and you just know shit’s gonna go down when you’re on BART.

Uhh, what is that guy doing, the one who just came from the knife car into ours? He is going straight for the red emergency button. Did knife guy do something even more bizarre than bring that knife out into the open on the train? New guy goes straight for the red emergency button. Is he going to make the train come to a halt like it does when you pull the emergency cord in New York City’s subway trains? If yes, that’s not too bright, because then we will all be stuck in an immobile train with knife guy.

Aw hell. I don’t believe what I’m hearing. New guy, who looks like he is as high as a kite, is asking the train operator for a band aid because he cut his finger. What kind of lunatic cargo is BART carrying this morning? Well, at least pulling the cord didn’t make the train come to a standstill.

Pantless wonder is still talking next to me. “I was in Russia. Got jacked every day. It’s worse there than here,” she says. Uh huh. Now I’m thinking, lady, why don’t you just get off this train already?

The train is pulling into a station. I look out. Fruitvale. I was planning to get off at the next stop and wait for another train. But Fruitvale? No thank you. I ain’t getting off here. A new set of crazies get on. One just plopped herself right down on the floor next to me, as if it’s a regular seat. Maybe I should have gotten off at Fruitvale afterall cos now that girl on the floor is starting to twitch and jerk like she’s crazy. Pantless wonder leans over. “She’s having a seizure,” she says. “Move over. I know what to do. I used to have them too.” “Lady,” I say. “This better not be more of your bullshit.” I yell for someone to pull the cord and let the train operator know we have an emergency. People are starting to stare at the girl and at my pantless lady. Aw jesus. I hope she didn’t come on the train without her underwear. She loosens the girl’s blouse and tells the people standing nearby to move over and give her room. I think she truly knows what she is doing. The girl is slowing down, thrashing about less. After a little while, she stops twitching. My pantless lady looks up at me and smiles. “Don’t think I didn’t see you pull out that phone just now,” she says. I respond, “I told you, I only use it only for emergencies.” “Well there’s gonna be another emergency if you don’t lend it to me now,” she threatens. Aw hell. I hand it to her.

Between Art and Nature

Photo credit: Mike Kepa, The San Francisco Chronicle, 2013

Earthscape Art by Bay Area Artist, Andres Amador

Some of my favorite art is temporary and outdoors. Such is the art of Andres Amador. Here he is at work by the seaside. Besides nature, the artist’s only tool here, is a leaf rake. His media is the beach/sand. Watch as he creates a mandala at Ocean Beach in this less than three minute long vimeo:


Note: Although the vimeo is only two to three minutes long, it took an entire day to create the work.

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