Jackrabbits, 2024

Jackrabbits, 2024, Oil on Yupo, 60" x 63"

The jackrabbits leap up, signaling, fighting, and alert to coyotes on the Llano Estacado. On this great table land shared between New Mexico and Texas, the plants are low and dry, the colors subtle and puzzling. Water is forbiddingly scarce. Cozy for jackrabbits.

Oil on Yupo, 60″ x 63″

Green Light, 2023


Green Light, 2023, Oil on Yupo, 26" x 40"

At dawn, in mountain valleys. after the lightening has passed. the sky pours down a green light.  It might be heaven making a visit.  The light wavers, green until the sun stops it, baking it out of the air and pulling it back to the sky.

Turner at Marathon, 2023

Turner at Marathon, 2023, Oil on Yupo, 26" x 40"

We can pretend that JMW Turner visited Greece. His watercolors of the Acropolis and the Gate of Theseus tell us of his sympathies for Athens. To make those, he studied drawings by artists who had been there. If we want, we can imagine that he visited Marathon. With his back to the bay, he walked toward the plain where the sunset was trumpeting the old battle, Golden grass shone on the Tomb of the Athenians. He could make a watercolor right there.

Or we might ask what he would think if his spirit strayed to Marathon, Texas. It can look just like this.


Oil on Yupo, 26″ x 40″

Wetlands Cafe, 2023

Wetlands Cafe, 2023, Oil on linen, 24" x 30"

Out over the Gulf, rain clouds are building. Soon they will drift in over the pink beach and overfill the pools in the wetlands. Blue pickerelweed and water plantain grow there in wide patches. When the rain comes ashore, we can shelter in the Wetlands Café, where the rice is too spicy and the moonshine treacherous.

Oil on linen, 24″ x 30″

Study After Giacometti, 2022


Study after Giacometti, 2022, Oil and graphite on Yupo, 53.5" x 48.5"

Behind the table where jars and pots hold plants that are slim and dark, where cloths of blue plaid and pink drape the table edge, a figure steps forward energetically, anchored by the block under his toes. This walking man, sere and lean as a branch in winter, strides in to meet the black plants. They welcome him as a fellow creature, turning their blossoms in his direction. One can hardly match Giacometti’s anxiety, but one can imagine his energy field.

Mesa Road, 2023


Mesa Road, 2023, Oil on Yupo, 26" x 40"


It’s a surprise to see beds of violet button snakeroot on Mesa Road. Snakeroot is the old treatment for the bite of rattlesnakes. The land here is dry, but there is a little green lawn beside the big adobe house. The snakeroot grows its violet plumes on the runoff. We are on the mesa, though the house itself looks like a mesa. Indigo clouds tell us a storm will bring a little more water.

A Hollywood Party

I was there because my cousin’s best friend was a producer, and I had been swept along because I was visiting. It’s nice to go unnoticed at this kind of Hollywood party, where everyone is in the notice-me business. I wanted to be almost invisible, and I was. The grand, central room for the party, in this big, big house, was the two-story tall, mustard colored living room, filled with guests and with many sofas, most of them plum or maroon. On the walls, everywhere, were bad paintings, many of them by the host. This follows the universal fate that all actors eventually take up painting. I think that I saw Willem Dafoe, who, at that time, had not taken up painting. Later, naturally, he would. There was a very large and celebrated woman who would be noticed anywhere, in the center of the mustard room, wearing a squeaky green dress. Cocktails that I thought to be gimlets were being served to everyone from trays. The stemware was pale blue. The ghastly paintings, and so many of them, promised to give me a headache very soon (gimlets might speed the onset), so I wandered a bit.

I turned a corner into a tiny office – just a delicate French desk surrounded by gray silk wallpaper – and above the desk, on the wall, was a small work that reshuffled my knowledge of painting’s possibilities forever.

Who knows how long I was there, sitting in the desk chair. Long enough to understand this: I may have been seeing a landscape of emerald and wild yellow lawn, but it was much more. Behind yellow trees, a field of gray-violet stepping back on the right to a violet tree the color of a dusty raisin. And, near the center, a hanging flow of sparkling aquamarine – the very reason the painting was made, I think. It was both mountain and forest, spreading from ground to sky. Closer, those three thick fans of yellow trees. A suggestion of pink figures walking their dogs. Above, perhaps a sky at morning – lemon against which periwinkle clouds flew upwards. All the sensations were of food or jewels. Emerald on the ground, very cool. Egg yolk in the tousled trees, lettuces and turquoise, iron and wood. It was a high view over a park. I was held in a kind of charm that might make me a better painter.

Possible spaces in the image multiplied. The surface was knit together and compact. Every edge, where color met color or light met dark, was laid down with care, but often the color assumed to be behind was swelling forward. Dark set out as purple or chocolate in very narrow blocks; light held in the flow of the big aquamarine tree, in a mysterious blossom of white and blue at the left edge, and in the speckled lemon sky. It was as if a caravan of jeweled bundles traveled on its way across the land.

This work was about paint itself. The clusters of marks were not so much clouds or foliage or fences as they were the material, acting on its own. Where a field was grassy, chunks of coral dirt intruded. Blue greens met lime yellow greens as neighbors. Every form had its moment of focus, but then gave way to another.  In tiny letters in dark green at the bottom: B O N N A R D.

My cousin just then appeared behind me and took my arm. “Come with me,” he said, “you have to see this.”

“Wait, wait,” I said. “You have to see this!”

“Good, OK, paintings later. This is happening now,” he said as he pulled me into the hall.

One last glimpse of the Bonnard, and I was hurried down the hall to the great mustard room. A crowd was cheering the very large and celebrated woman as she took off the squeaky green dress. Very soon, near naked but for green shoes, she was dancing.

My cousin’s best friend, the producer, declared that we had seen the highlight of the party now, and could leave. There were other parties just beginning somewhere. Out we went into the soft Hollywood night, driving under the silhouettes of palms, leaving behind forever the best painting in California.

Wall with Petunia


Wall with Petrunia, 2022, Oil and acrylic on Yupo, 60" x 108"

Wall with Petunia, 2022, Oil, acrylic, and ink on Yupo, 60″ x 108″

Against the weedy, vegetative, imaginary pattern on the studio wall hangs a dark petunia in its own poster.  Perhaps the poster celebrates a famous artist. This petunia is the plant form, black and precise, that invites our discovery of other things. Color navigates through structures, making space and asserting the presence of things awaiting our recognition. First shown in Santa Fe at Strata Gallery, 2022.

Summer, 2022


Summer, 2022, Oil, acrylic, and graphite on Yupo, 31.5" x 60"

All summer, the tapestry maker found herself weaving a story she had read.  In the story, men and dogs could share souls. English fields under summer skies welcomed doggy adventures like the pursuit of rabbits. Orchards bore fruit. Royal Tokay wine was often drunk, and reincarnation seemed likely. By August, the maker’s tapestry panels all reflected the book she had been reading: My Talks with Dean Spanley by Lord Dunsany.

Coyote Pond, 2021

Coyote Pond, 2021, Oil on Yupo, 26" x 40"


The trail in this red canyon is long and dusty. At the furthest point, the red rock walls capture a warm, shallow pond, fed by a tiny spring. In the afternoon, we and the birds and dragonflies wade in. The water feeds willows and makes our air feel cool while our eyes are stunned with warm light. In the night, the coyotes drink here. They have run in from the desert, through a gap in the rocks, fresh from hunting jackrabbits.