California – Oil on canvas – 32 x 51 inches.

Perhaps the title of this painting seems inaccurate. After all, the image many people have of California, especially those who have never been here, is one of beaches, Hollywood, palm trees, convertibles and sunny skies. When I painted this scene from the side of a hill years ago however, I was more interested in other visions of this state that has been my home for more than half of my life.

But that was then, and I haven’t returned since to the hillside to see what the view looks like now. Undoubtedly Route 160 still exists, and so does the power plant and, in the distance, the Antioch Bridge crossing the San Joaquin River. Without the slightest doubt, there are more cars on the freeway.

Perhaps the lunar landscape carved out by dirt bikes and ATVs in the center of the painting still exists. But California being California, I imagine the orange trees and everything else have all been plowed under and paved over with housing tracts and strip malls. Does a hillside still overlook the view? I wonder if I should return and paint it one more time.

Study for “A Portrait”

Study for “A Portrait” – watercolor – 9 x 12 inches.

My names are not important, nor his. I am a mystery he has loved for years. We swim in the sea together like twins in a womb. When he forgets that I am present within him, there is no joy or laughter in his life.

I feel warmth from the sun and a breeze from the sea that brushes the curtains against my skin. He tells me Winter will be here soon. But I am indifferent to hours and afternoons. Days pass into years without my notice or care. The towers above the cliffs will crumble into specks of powder and drift in the wind. The cliffs will plummet back into the sea.

I am beyond passing. My hair has never lost its glow. My waist will not thicken, my breasts will never sag, my beauty does not fade. He will die, like all my loves. I will not. I am as old as I will ever be.

Cloud Cover

Cloud Cover – Watercolor and acrylic on paper – 10 x 14 inches.

For Tierney

Sometimes, in darkness, wings sprout from his
shoulders like clouds and he soars above the birds
to float on invisible rivers of air.

Sometimes, a wide valley of geometric fields opens
beneath his wings, breathing in its green skin,
as full of life as he is.

Sometimes, a river threads its way from mountains
to an ocean waiting patiently at the edge of
some other valley far away.

Sometimes, he rises above the mountains and drifts
above the next deep valley, hidden underneath a
membrane of cerulean clouds.

Sometimes, full and overflowing, he flutters
down into the world below the clouds hoping:
If only, if only I do not have to awaken.