Friday, June 30, 2006


Wet Canvas is having a Charcoal Wildlife class. I wanted to pull out the old charcoal again, so I have chosen my wildlife. She stands... well... tall enough to check out my kitchen counters. This is proving to be quite fun, and a distraction from real life. Which has swung me around for a loop lately.

A Corner Slice

I have been working on some architectural abstracts lately. I have just begun this one. It is based on a corner, under a stairwell,at my sons High School. I doubt many people even walk in this space. There is such a beauty in the shadows, shapes and angles. Most people walk right by such a view without giving it any thought, and yet I am drawn to these corners. Here is the beginning of my first....

Monday, June 19, 2006


Finding myself in extreme complex environments with William, I come home wondering how I can pursuede my eyes to simplify. I am drawn to the simplicity of Michael's work. He pulls together a few objects and voila, a light filled still life, or a stunning interior
Today, in my inbox, is a little gem, that I will remember as I am on the search to my personal simplicity.

In character, in manners, in style, in all things, the
supreme excellence is simplicity.
-Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882)

Our life is frittered away by detail. Simplify, simplify,
-Henry David Thoreau, Walden

It is the sweet, simple things of life which are the real
ones after all.
-Laura Ingalls Wilder (1917)

What's real? Schedules, deadlines, hassles, arguments,
conflicts, fine print, details. Those things sure command
our attention - but are they real? Or do they take us away
from what is really real? Where is the love? Put your
attention there. Ahhhh, that's better!
L. Coffey

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Where House District

Yesterday, it took me a while to find my three values. I tend to get myself all confused when I choose complex views. William says, "Do a thumbnail, and work fast", it does work, and I don't mean to fight it, I just don't always see it right away. For instance, the shadows on my buildings were darker than then sky. How can I lay in the building as one value? How do I choose that color as there are so many shouting for my attention? Mary would have said let the colors define the surfaces. Somehow I want to integrate these two voices.

Love the blue stack and searched for a view where I could include it in my painting. It didn't end up being the focus of my work. I think I would have to move a block or two away to make that happen. William finds the most interesting places. It is always fun to see what everyone chooses to paint.

Okay, so I finally figured out the values, and then up pulls this truck. Not a bad thing, as the color was an added bonus. Certainly not as hot as we expected, but 5 hours standing wears me out. Today I still had energy to do some sketching and work on a large piece I have on my easel. All in all it was a good day.

*** yes, I do know how to spell wearhouse, I just liked the play on words.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Abstracting Life

I am very fascinated by shadows and abstracted shapes found in architecture. I am working on a series based on such shapes. Using my new color knowledge I am going to create paintings. I know it would be so much easier if I flipped through color swatches in Photoshop, but it is so much more fun smooshing paint around the canvas.

Because I have not finalized the colors for my first painting, I have posted a grayscale oil sketch of it.

Friday, June 16, 2006


Everyone has talent.
What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark place where it leads.

Erica Jong

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Mulberry Pond

I think I slipped into the advanced class today, when I chose this view. The thought was to narrow my vision to a smaller area than I normally do. Figured I was safe with a four foot radius ...yeah right! Five hours and I think bearly scratched the surface.

What an incredible place to set up today. It is a new pond at Descanso Gardens. In the attempt to create a water ecosystem, they have created a gorgeous pond with a dozen or more different type of water plants. The koi are at least 18 inches, and there is a four foot waterfall at one end. I would guess the pond is 30 feet from end to end. The size of a large pool and is about two feet deep at the deepest. It is extremely clear, so you can see the koi easily. Two actually jumped out of the water. I believe they were after dragonflies, which were around in the afternoon in pairs. I could paint in that one spot for weeks. Everytime you turn your head there is a perfect picture. The Descanso Family would be very proud.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Palms

Watch out it is still wet...
Today a group of us went to the Arboreteum in Arcadia. It was beautiful. I found a group of palms that were waiting to be painted.
I was thankful, because the first view was scraped.

Monday, June 05, 2006


In my journey to overcome obstacles I have set up in my creative process, I am pushing myself to work on figure drawing. For now, until I can begin a formal class, I have been working from stock photography. It is not the best, but allows me time and patience to get a grip on this subject.
I apologize if it offends anyone.
graphite in my 5x8 moleskine


We've heard it time and time again, in a million different
ways: we reap what we sow. When we plant apple seeds,
we get apples. When we plant broccoli seeds, we get
broccoli. It's the law of nature and we all understand it.
Now we need to take it to the level where we understand that
when we plant seeds of encouragement, that's what we
receive in return. When we spread happiness, we get
happiness back. When we give love, we get love. There's no
mystery to it, that's just the way it is!

-Lissa Coffey

To all of you that tell me I have been an inspiration,
or have been encouraging, you must know I receive it in return.
I thank you for that.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Saturday's Study

Today I went painting with William at Whittier Narrows. Allen and Bill were along as well, and Rich came by for a visit on his way out. William had been worried that it might be too hot, but he found us a wonderful spot in the shade at the edge of the lake. Across the lake a heron sat in its nest. Young geese came by for a look, but when their mom called they went back in line and into the water. Other water fowl were spotted, but since I am not educated in that species, I could not tell you what they were other than one had a blue beak.
It is difficult sometimes narrowing down what I am going to paint. It is all so beautiful that I figure if I just pull back, view it from a distance, I can put more into my painting. This however does not make for a strong painted. A dark shape, near a light will have the contrast that I powerful.
The others were in agreement that I had a successful painting here, but of course, as always, there is much I would change.
But then again.... it is just a study.
9x12 oil on canvas board

Thursday, June 01, 2006

What makes YOUR heart sing?

Part of our purpose in life lies in our creativity. We are each
an individual expression of God, and we each have a special
contribution to bring to this planet. What makes your heart
sing? What do you love to do? When you are doing that, you
are expressing the divine presence within you. It's joyful, it's

Lisa Coffey