One day in May of 2004 my hubby Joe and I – on a whim - walked into a real estate office in the little town of Koloa on the island of Kauai, not knowing I was meeting someone who would become my amongst my dearest of friends. Stephanie showed us some houses on the market and we left for home in contract to buy one. Joe became friends with her partner and their house became a second home for us on our regular trips to Kauai. In fact, I think our trips to Kauai became regular largely because of them. Steff dug in the rich volcanic earth to put in a veggie garden on the land up above their house one year - and grew these eggplants – then we ate them as eggplant parmigiana! So perfect, they reflected all the green growing around them like a mirror. In the summer of 2016 I led a “Special Saturday” with the theme of “shiny things.” When I went looking through my images looking for something shiny in my world of flowers, fruits and other edibles this one jumped out at me as the one to paint. It’s really curious how something matte, not at all reflective, can appear as if it shines. It’s fun to see what we can create with shape and shade and color to fool our eyes and brains! As I was painting this one, I was consoling myself as I struggled by noticing that this might be the most challenging thing I’d ever painted. Seventy something big paintings in and I felt like I was taming a wild animal in getting the colors to merge and have smooth edges, while staying clear and distinct. I keep challenging myself – in another way - by looking for single-word titles for these paintings. These are “globe” eggplants – and this along with the fact that we can never be reminded enough that we all live on this one blue-green sphere flying through space together, and the name popped out.
22"x22" - June 2016 - Original available - contact me for details
My brother Mike and his wife Julie have just moved into a pilot's row house in the Presidio. Originally built for army aviators, these houses have drop dead views of the Golden Gate bridge and the San Francisco Bay. But I'm hanging on to their sweet oasis in San Anselmo. Though they've been gone from there coming up on two years, I've still got images from their little garden to paint. So far, all my paintings of Zinfandel grapes and my big dahlia painting (Touched by the Sun) originated in that little garden behind their Crescent Road house. I took the image that has become this painting on a bright Saturday morning early in tomato season. This was just such a nice arrangement of the little tomatoes and their star-shaped sepals. And then - of course - the light! I started this painting last summer (2014) for a "Fuzzy Background" workshop - a day I will never, ever forget! I was frazzled working to get six students' going on their drawings. Two hours had gone by and everyone was still waiting to see me demonstrate how to work with the paint as I'd told them about. There they all are standing around watching. All but one, this was their first experience of me. I wanted to use some Chromium Oxide Green paint right out of the tube and the cap was stuck. Being the impetuous Sagittarius that I am, I used my teeth to open it. The cap cracked and broke, squirting toxic paint IN MY MOUTH!!! I dashed to the bathroom, swished and spitted until there was no more green coming out. And then had to re-start. OMG!! It's taken me a year to want to pick this painting back up again. Time is a great healer and it is tomato season again after all. There is a wonderful sense of satisfaction in finishing another painting that has been kicking around my studio like "that old thing." It's a sort of resurrection. I was in Dostal Studios - my framer - working with Matt - the designer - to order the frame in anticipation of it being completed. He said they looked like the Sun Gold variety of orange cherry tomatoes. I'm not sure there's a way to know if this is actually the variety, or if Mike would even remember if I asked. But no matter - when Matt said it, I heard the "ding, ding, ding" - he gave me the name: Sungold.
22"x22" - August 2015 - Original available - contact me for details
My dad has planted a vegetable garden every year of my life. There were organic gardening magazines lying around the house when I was growing up, when the word "organic" was still exotic. The house we moved to when I was a year and a half old was on a quarter acre and he planted a huge corner of the lot with fruit trees and an enormous vegetable garden every summer. My three brothers and I spent our summers barefoot, sticking green bean leaves to our clothes, eating raw beans off the vines - and cucumbers, still warm from the sun, peeled and dunked in a mug that had our own concoction of oil, vinegar and ketchup. But the most special treats from the summer garden were the corn and the home-grown tomatoes. Fat, juicy, sweet - there's nothing like them. These are Dad's tomatoes from last season (2010). It was fun to paint them this year just at the time when they're coming in by the bucket-full. I had a couple of them sitting on my painting table so I could see the color they really are. This was fun to paint - all the abstract shapes in the background - and it seemed so small and easy on the heels of painting "Hallelujah" last month. Yesterday I was at work at Light Rain, to capture this one for prints and I asked Suzy Simms, a friend of my boss, Steve's to help me name it. Suzy is a kick so I knew she'd come up with something good. It took her about a second and a half - she said "Ripe." She's so right! Ripe they are, and "Ripe" it is! Now I'm headed out to my folks to help Dad harvest this year's crop!
22"x22" - September 2011 - Original sold
Beneath an Olive Tree
My father planted this tree in our family yard in the early 70's - it is now quite a tree. This image came from a November day when my niece, Amanda and I spent some time taking photos in my parents' garden. It was gently warm and the light was soft. The blue-black of these very ripe olives combined with the grey-greens and ochres is a new, somehow more masculine palette - a welcome addition in my body of work. I finished this painting while on vacation in Tahoe with my parents. It was really fun to share the process with my dad. And, he helped me name it over coffee one morning with his reminiscences of being a young boy sitting up in the immense olive tree at his grandparents' in the Central Valley and of a song from Kismet about a fool sitting beneath an olive tree.
22"x22" - July 2009 - Scott and Nancy Eckert
Beneath an Olive TreeVegetables
Squash Blossom and Bee
This painting came from an image I've been living with for a while. This is a squash blossom (maybe zucchini) from the vegetable garden growing in the front (!) yard next door to my friend Karen's vacation place in Nevada City. It's such a sweet town that time seems to have left largely alone.
This is the second painting that has come of a summer weekend that Vicki and I stayed with Karen - the first is "Blueberry Symphony." I loved painting the bee in "Honey Bee and Rugosa Roses" and have been longing for another image that would be worth making into a painting. This one is that. The bee is headed into the center of the blossom - all those sunlit specks of pollen!
I grew up eating squash blossoms. Mrs. Bianchi, who lived across the street from us on Pine Avenue in Woodacre made them for us. She simply dipped them in beaten egg, fried them in olive oil until they were golden brown and seasoned them with salt. They are so pure eaten this way. The have the taste of the zucchini they share the plant with, but are just so delicate. This painting fully qualifies to be in the vegetable gallery here!
22"x22" - April 2012 - Original Sold