Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Watercolor: Painful Lessons

Watercolor is a very tricky art. I like watercolor because it is unpredictable and nothing can compare with the the complex colors and textures. I hate this painting, but I learned a lot from doing it. Probably the most important thing I learned was I need to splurge and get good quality paper that can handle multiple washes and scrubbing. Ordinary 140-pound paper eventually gives out and starts to pill. The paint doesn't go on smoothly. The death knell for this painting was when my instructor suggested mixing watercolor with titanium white acrylic (Liquitex Heavy Body) to repair the paper in the area of the man's right arm. You can then paint on top of it. I was not happy with the results. I think I would never use this method again except on a very small area.

The Beginning

So I'm keeping this painting for target practice and to remind me of lessons learned. As with everything, their are rules and techniques that need to be learned and then you need to develop the confidence in your skills to know when to break the rules. I'm still very much in the learning phase and frustrated with the slow pace of my learning.

The End

Here is another painting I've been working on. I learned a lot from this painting too but I think I've reached a point where I need to call it finished--while I still kind of like it. I am afraid of tinkering with it any further.

The following painting is still in progress. It needs some more work, but I have to be careful not to ruin the parts of the painting that are working.

In the end, painting isn't any different than writing. You have to have a good basic structure or the whole thing falls apart. You have to be able to hear the rhythm of words and the subtleties of color. You have to be able to recognize a wrong note or a better note. Words and paints are just another form of music.


  1. I like your definition of painting and the comparison to writing. I also paint and sketch; but haven't done much for a few months. I always do sketches of different things when we travel. I find creating art calming, but I need to have several hours of undisturbed painting time. I like the boat painting with the reflection. Very nice!

    1. Thank you. Unfortunately, art (painting, writing or whatever) requires undisturbed time. It's kind of a lonely endeavor--trying to capture the essence of life by separating yourself from all the hustle and bustle around you.

  2. As with all things, learning takes practice. Those are beautiful.

  3. You obviously have talent. Very interesting to see your progress and hear about the technical part of the process. I love the way her hair turned out. I think you captured the vitality of the woman from Nepal! I like this one too.