An honest take on life and parenthood

Fences – a series in brilliant inks

on June 28, 2017

It’s never too late to indulge a long-held desire. For me, that is painting.

I started painting just a few years ago, in my early 40’s. I took a single drawing class in college when I was 20. More than twenty years would pass before I tentatively signed up for a watercolor class at a local art school in Providence, the Eastside Art Center. Although watercolor and I never became best buds, I did fall in love with inks, reveling in their intensity and rapid application.

I took a drawing course this past winter to increase my precision. I then returned to my favorite medium, brilliant acrylic inks, and worked to balance my love of energy-filled marks and abstract images with more controlled, geometric pieces.

I chose the following photograph as the springboard for a series I created over the course of several weeks this spring. These are beach fences in snow, photographed by master photographer Alan Ross, who studied with Ansel Adams.


Beach fences in snow – credit:  Alan Ross

First, I traced the photo many times with tracing paper to imprint the dimensions on my mind and train my hand. Then, I took out a snowy piece of cold press 400 lb. watercolor paper and poured out a gleaming black pool of sumi ink. I dipped my brush and rendered the image in black and white.


Fences. Sumi ink, 10″ x 14″

I took a deep breath, and moved to color. I drenched the background of the paper in the colors of fire, and painted the fences in sumi ink.


Fences on fire. Acrylic ink with sumi. 9″ x 13″

My professor then challenged me to move completely out of sumi and completely into color. I hesitated, then dove in. I worked in brilliant acrylic inks and gouache.

Here is the progression:


Celestial blue fences. Acrylic ink with gouache,  9″ x 13″


Fences at sunrise. Acrylic ink with gouache, 9″ x 14″


Fences at twilight. Acrylic ink with gouache, 10″ x 13″

This was my first time working on a color series, and although it scared me, I ended up enjoying myself immensely.

In these polarizing times, these interpretations of beach fences give me hope that we will always find a way to communicate with each other in spite of our differences.

Peace, my friends.



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