Windsurfing Paintings Series & Fall Update

September 2020

I painted two fun new water paintings this month. They are available as prints and gifts here. Click on images to order prints or gifts*. Thank you!

Please note that Fine Art America DOES NOT ever tell me who ordered a print from me. It is an anonymous system, so if you do order something and want to let me know you purchased my art, I'd love to hear from you! You can always contact me directly, here.

"Windsurfing into the Wave"

"Windsurfing with Pelicans"

Both images are inspired by my love of windsurfing, which I shared with my only husband. When we separated, I wrote to him to windsurf. "Follow your bliss", basically. I knew he always wanted to surf on the ocean waves. We had windsurfed on a lake for years, and made it onto the San Francisco Bay once together. It was on the route where the ferry boats would pass back and forth into Larkspur, California. We windsurfed across the channel from shore to marsh grasses and back again, sometimes, right infront of the ferry. That was pretty exciting, but far from actually surfing into and over waves.

I have since surfed, SUP'd and sailed, but I have not windsurfed in a while. I definitely miss it! There's really nothing like the feeling of sailing fast while standing up. Someday... but for now, I am enjoying painting scenes of waves and surf in this series as a tribute to my best friend, who acheived his dream of windsurfing on big waves. The color and light in the waves, and the motion of the sport are captured here. I really like how these two images turned out and I plan to continue this series.


Personal updates... (not all fun, so don't read this if you don't want to hear the bad stuff. Buy a print or piece of art instead, which will definitely support me during this time).

I'm alive. I'm physically not better yet, and there is more on that, below if you care to read that far. I really don't like to talk about it, so I put it all down here in case anyone is wondering. It's not my joy to share my unhappy stuff, but getting it out here at least forces me to be honest and present.

I heard that my sons are each taking two online classes this Fall, and they are all music classes. I'm glad for them, but like all parents with college-aged children, I wish they were able to attend a full-time college and enjoy a truly immersive learning experience and continue to play in live bands rather than have to do all their learning online. 

In just 8 months, there have been 1 million deaths worldwide from Covid. It is a absolute tragedy, and we are still in the midst of this. I created an infographic this week to mark the sad milestone.  Click the image below to learn more about this project. I had been keeping a Google Sheet with some of the worst wars and pandemics to see how Covid compares. I knew we were going to pass 1 million deaths soon, as the rate of deaths in the world is fairly steady, averaging about 5 to 8,000 deaths worldwide per day. Until we have a vaccine, this will not stop. It may lessen due to what we have learned. More people survive because we have some treatments now, but a vaccine is still needed to end the pandemic.

Today, I have been wishing deeply that this year didn't happen. Covid, fires in California, missing my sons very much and having to have major surgery and live in a place I don't want to be. I don't feel great yet. My hip still hurts, even 3 months since the surgery. I'm sitting in a bed, which is soft, and my rear on the side where my hip surgery was hurts. It's a dull ache, that sometimes twinges enough to be a throb. Sitting in the car to drive hurts too. I can't lie on my right side to sleep at all. I can still only lie on my left side, back or stomach. I can't walk properly, with ease or great balance. People who see me walking might not be able to tell how I feel. I feel unstable, like I could fall or slip if suddenly bumped or caught off-guard. I can't run. I can't lift things that are heavy. I feel rather useless compared to my former, physical self. Being an athletic person my entire life, this last year has been absolutely horrific to go through.

I do believe I will acquire more strength eventually and be able to do most of the things I used to be able to do. I wish I had someone in my life to give me a massage when I am aching instead of feeling like I need to take another Advil and ignore it. None of this has been fun, but a few things have really helped me survive this time, and this post is dedicated to those saviors.

1. Technology

My iPhone, my iPad(for painting) and my MacBook. Online tools, like Adobe Creative Suite and other Apps for my iPhone.

All Essential tools that have allowed me to:

  • communicate by email and social media
  • create and record music (I wrote 11-13 songs during the pandemic so far... but I'm not a professional mixer so I need someone to help me master my ideas. Can't wait to work with others again!)
  • tune my guitar, see and view music to play and practice
  • paint and edit photos
  • share photos with others
  • write
  • learn new tech skills, like Github and Salesforce
  • be entertained and learn via podcasts, online news, film and video: YouTube, Apple TV movies, and livestream concerts like "Farm Aid" ( , Monterey Jazz Festival, and others have carried me through each day. Sometimes, knowing that a concert event is coming up, even if it is only online, still helps give me something to look forward to. Hardly Strictly Bluegrass is coming up too.

2. My Guitar (plus music books, music and musicians)

I never would have made it through the last few years with out my guitar. I have played my guitar every evening for over 3 years. It's kind of like saying bedtime prayers, but singing them or serenading myself into calm. The same feeling of disappearing into something beautiful I had when painting can be replicated when I play guitar. It's magical and the best form of escape from a mad world and cruel people. I can not handle the amount of negativity and cruelty online or in politics. I would rather make music or art and sing, ride my bike, be in nature. The intense sadness and amount of change in the world from this pandemic has really been too much to handle for so many. I know I wouldn't have survived so many days with out my guitar and the hope and peace that music brings. Seeing musicians online, sharing their music and how they feel right now has helped me very much. I want to be a better guitar player and keep learning, so every time I see others playing, it inspires me and makes me want to get better.

3. My Bikes

About a week ago, I finally walked on the beach here. It was fairly empty during the morning, mid-week and I walked with out my hiking pole. It was awkward and painful. I had to stop about every 30 to 50 feet or so and stretch my hip joint. This made me pretty depressed. When I finally got back on my bike, I went for a long ride and felt a lot better. When I bike, my hip does not hurt. When I try to walk, it does. I have been trying to do a combination of walking and cycling, but I wouldn't be as strong or positive as I have been able to be at this time if not for my bikes. The cruiser and my road bike have been an integral part of my physical recovery from hip replacement surgery and my mental health. The cruiser helped me stay upright in an 90 degree angle with out breaking precautions set by the doctor and PT for the first 3 months. I have transitioned back to my road bike now, and am using those different muscles once again. It definitely has been a lot of physical and mental work to rehabilitate my body, even to the point I am at now. Definitely would not be here with out my bikes. When I say this, I mean that I wouldn't want to exist with out these things. I would feel more anxious, angry and unable to exist as a sane human with out these tools to heal my body, soothe and uplift my mind.

4. Books

I have been reading mostly music memoirs and nature memoirs during the pandemic. They are uplifting and educational and also a great escape from the news and stress of healing and living where I don't want to be.

That's about it for now. I hope you all are doing well and stay safe until we have a vaccine, new President, and life returns to better, safer times. I truly believe we will get there because I believe in science and I know today's kids will demand change and create the change they wish to see in the world. We must work with them to get there. Peace, love, music! -Colleen : )

Bubblegum Rain (Pandemic Song #12)

I bought this fabric at SewGreen in Ithaca, NY for my Mom who has been sewing facemasks. It reminded me of bubblegum and seemed happy and fun. After my Mom made a facemask with this, I had a dream I put it on and bubblegum was falling from the sky and then Covid was over. This pattern, and a few other music occurences this week, inspired me to write a new song I call "Bubblegum Rain".

I had just watched Margo Price's second night livestream from Brooklyn Bowl, Nashville. She currently has the #1 Song and Album on the American Chart. The livestream was really well done. There was a full stage, colorful lighting changes, and the fans were streamed onto the walls around the theater. Margot's musicians were all impeccable and to see and hear her play with a full band that moved fluidly between rock, blues and jazz, with meandering solos and extended play sounding sometimes like Phish, the Grateful Dead and even Tedeschi Trucks Band... was something you don't hear on Margot's albums. This was really enjoyable. I had only heard her live once in New York, at Carnegie Hall. That is how I became a fan. Her voice is much bigger than you can imagine from online performances and records. In any case, I was excited she played with Lucinda Williams and the song "Joy", with the hook being, "You stole my Joy, I want it back" was so good as a duet with Margo and Lucinda. Despite my total appreciation for the effort of livestreams, I still wished Margot had a big, happy audience and covid was over. Livestreams are not really a live music experience to the fans, and I'm sure the musicians miss their fans too. 

Suzanne Vega released a new album on September 11th, "New York Songs and Stories". Here songs have been with us for thirty years and they are like old friends, but I have even greater appreciation for them now, as I have been learning guitar, trying to write my own songs and also escape domestic abuse. One of her songs that became very popular in the 90's "Luka" speaks of domestic abuse, but most people know her song, "Tom's Diner" as an instant classic. The way in which she tells a story that we hear and visualize unfolding, moment by moment, makes this song memorable and placed her in the category of singers who create magic through descriptive and poetic storytelling.

Oct. 7, Grammy Award-winning artist Suzanne Vega will celebrate the release of her new, career-spanning live album, An Evening of New York Songs and Stories, w/ a livestream event from New York’s iconic Blue Note Jazz Club.  Details here:

After looking out the window with the bubblegum facemask, hearing Margo and Suzanne's new album, and practicing blues guitar from a new book I have, I started to think about how the clouds would open up and candy would rain down from the sky like a piñata. I wrote this and started a guitar part. I sang the voice into a voice recorder on my phone, and added a guitar part. I will try to combine them in Garage Band. I wish I was fluid with Pro Tools or Abelton so I could really edit this work, but even better would be to collaborate with someone who really knows what they are doing. Be safe all! Thanks for listening. -C

Bubblegum Rain (A pandemic ending celebration song)


Had a dream that my facemask was magic
Put it on and it suddenly got quiet

Everything around me seemed to spin and shake,

Then it rained... Bubblegum and candy all day.

Swedish fish were swimming in the fountains
Gummy bears were running down the mountains

A lady with a baby ducked into a cafe
and sat by the window as Suzanne Vega played

A boy with an upside down umbrella
caught a chocolate bear and they danced in a puddle

His eyes filled with sunrise
as if he'd found a lost friend

An old man with a cowboy hat
tipped his wide brim
as he opened the door and the lights once dimmed

He exclaimed outloud
"Well, I'll be damned"
"If this isn't the strangest weather
We've ever had"

and the trees in the skies
continued to sway
as it rained.... Bubblegum and candy all day.

Verse 2

Lollipops like polkadots on every rooftop
A woman ran faster
when a bag of jelly beans dropped

Kids peered out windows with watermellon smiles
and a lady with a shopping cart caught
a hundred chocolate bars

The bubblegum skies took away all our pain
and we danced in the streets as live bands finally played

A couple kissed publicly
it was the sweetest victory
as we flung off our face masks
and praised pink clouds for bubblegum rain


Had a dream that my facemask was magic
Put it on and it suddenly got quiet

Everything around me seemed to spin and shake,

Then it rained... Bubblegum and candy all day.


Now I have 12 songs written during pandemic. I hope to do something with them. It is horrible to feel like you have all this creative story telling and a voice, and you don't know how to perfect it and get it out into the world. I hope I can find someone to help me. I wish music technology came easy to me and I could do this all myself, but I think it would be more fun to collaborate and learn from others who know how to do this.