Archive | Paintings

((new portrait)) Red Balloons For Ryan

red balloons for ryan

I cannot even fathom what it would be like to lose my daughter.

When I learned of Ryan’s Cruz’s sudden and unexpected death, I had no feelings. Blank. I stopped and realized that the loss parents Jacqui and Dan must be feeling, this loss, this pain, it was something I knew nothing about.

I did not click through a million links and posts, staring at the car wreck by the side of the social media road. I put down my phone, hugged my daughter. And I was grateful.

Then a friend approached me about donating a painting to an auction to help support Ryan’s family, and I was completely on board.

The high bidder was Shelley Lemaire, and her portrait is now complete. You can find her on instagram, or you can read her blog. I would like to share the finished portrait with you here.

Thank you Shelley for being a part of this auction.

And thank you Jenifer Walker for organizing the auction on instagram, which raised $14,115 to benefit Ryan’s family. I am amazed that the instagram community was able to come together to support a grieving family in this manner. In addition, over $60,00 has been donated to the family.

In preparation for writing this post, I read Jacqui’s latest post on her blog, Baby Boy Bakery.  Her openhearted healing and tender heart took me aback. I’m not going to lie; I started to tear up. I am touched by her hope.

I find hope in the generosity of everyday people. I find hope in the unwavering kindness of strangers. And I hope that the life and death of Ryan Cruz has opened up other’s eyes to the everyday tragedies and needs that are right in our backyard. Who do you know that is facing loss? Who do you know that has needs? That might need comfort?

Let us build compassion on compassion, like one brick after another, creating a haven of rest. Let us grow in gentle strength. Let us be strong with the Spirit of God.

^_^ Erin

This is the photograph Shelley asked me to paint:

shelley photo sunset silhouette

^_^ And here are close-ups of the painting:

kids silhouette on the sunsetkids silhouetted on the sunsetkids silhouetted on the sunset watercolor painting

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((new portrait)) Laughing Stars


For years I searched for something;
then you found me.
I travel deep into your eyes,
my little laughing stars.
Those tiny ears and tiny toes
anchor these rusty bones.
You smack your lips,
and life rushes,
whispering, out of me;
surprised, I abandon my fears at the door.
I do not know how to sing,
but your name is my song.
You were my redemption all along. (more…)

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((new portrait)) Encouraging It Forward, a portrait for Jess Judkins


When bad things happen, it’s easy to wallow in your troubles.  When things are going well, it’s easy to forget that others might be having a hard go of it. What I love about Jess Judkins is that she is a hopeless encourager. She and her son, Judah, often write encouraging notes or bake cookies and distrubute them to people. Jess also knits and crochets adorable hats and banners to give away (she also sells her creations in her etsy shop: mycharmingcolors). She has even been known to take off the cute handmade earmuffs she’s wearing and give them to a complete stranger, just so that she can encourage them. Jess calls her project “Encouraging it Forward.” (more…)

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Stay Awhile

pumproomnook Cair_Paravel

Don’t ask me to save the world.
I burn my toast,
I forget my keys,
And I can’t keep a plant alive.

But I can do this.
I can sit here and breath.
I can feel your chest
Against mine.
With you at my breast,
I can fill your round little belly.

I know things ain’t perfect, but
Sweetie, let’s just stay awhile. (more…)

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((new portrait)) The Church’s Homebirth

IMG_1817My latest portrait is now complete and in the hands of its lovely family. Chris Church is a sweet friend of mine, and her second son was born last year, at home, in a birthing tub.  I was honored when Chris asked me to paint a portrait of her family commemorating his birth. (Chris is a designer and editor; you can find her through her website:

There were no photographs with all four of them together, so I used two separate photos, and made slight tweaks to the placement of the subjects in order to tie the overall image together. While I often choose to go heavy on black ink outlines and shadows, I opted for a softer execution on this painting, given the tender moment and watery atmosphere. (more…)

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A decade ago, I was addicted to creating collages.

Perhaps it was something about the deconstruction and reconstruction of language that appealed to me. My obsession with deconstruction should have come as no surprise. Ever since I met Jacques Derrida, I became obsessed with this quixotic Frenchman, with his fedora and pipe, and his rambling evasive discourses. The day I met him, I was a young bird with stars in my eyes and I had no idea how to spread my wings to fly.

But I did fall in love with the principles of cutting and pasting. So I would collage. Mind you, these collages were not “scrapbook my BFF memories” types of collages. No. They were inspired by the likes of e e cummings, poet extraordinaire, and Jean Kilbourne, who floored me with her revelations about images of women in advertising.

My collages were poems. They were my version of  “found poems.”

Would you like to see one?

Click on the image below and it will link you to a full size of the poetry collage. After the image, I typed out the text of the poem; it is edited to remove confusing grammar and  improve general readability, but the gist of the poem remains.

If you want to read more of the found poems, tell me so in the comments below!



The most unusual fresh peach,
she spends every minute in the kitchen,
safe in a drawer,
to make water over in red or deep-sea blue
and breathtakingly beautiful.

I knew her voice instantly: home,
both literally and metaphorically.
(I was right but did not believe myself,
denying an irresistible attraction.)

You may not know what’s in the water but you do know:
sleep isn’t enough.

Who understood her vision?
In her own simple words, Rosemary could and did.
Suddenly, everything began to click,
especially when someone would hang a picture
crookedly on the wall.
It was the sentence I had longed for—forever.
It is the sentence that compelled me.
You don’t think about nothing.
It’s like saying a prayer,

rising to the surface, and for a while, it worked,
while she was living. She willingly walked into the role,
the roof of her mouth would peel off, examining ideas,
time, talking.
Bring the skin on your feet back.
Blush everyday.
She’d lost her shoes.
You get a complete essay.
(To me it’s very wild. Do you have to leave now?)

And That Was Then.

I couldn’t be with her,
cold water between our fingers flow;
I love her. And
when she got so sick,
I would leave,
dead in the middle,
glass ceramic,

She planted flowers, painted,
revolved around cooking and eating,
a bright spot of color to keep

I sit on my roof and watch,
ready to handle the dead.

(Sometimes I see her on the street,
I wish I could talk to her forever.
And sometimes when I look at her
or when she talks on the phone, I can just tell:
she feels happy or she feels hurt.
I can just about feel it myself.)

Smooth your silhouette.
Inside this air is a fresh form.

Born prematurely, (I could tell, in her voice,
printed on thick silver).
At the time, she was chirping
and the sun seemed so innocent.

Curfews earlier than noon
pulled down her eyelids.

There is no preparation.
I was also killed that day.

Under all that debris, the bowl was full of
water and little fish were swimming around.

I don’t name them.
I will never forget her.

By Erin Wetzel
© 2014 ekwetzel. All Rights Reserved.

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New artwork: fruit & veggies for the kitchen

My friend, Cedar, posted this adorable picture of her daughter wearing a hat & cowl that Cedar just made her. I swooned.

Then I asked her if she’d be interested in a trade: knittery for artwork. Much to my glee, she accepted! We’ll give Phoebe a set like this for christmas, in red & grey, knit by Cedar. I’m THRILLED.

Check out Cedar’s blog here: … It’s awesome.

For Cedar’s painting I did a watercolor om 11 x 15 inch 140 lb cold press watercolor paper. The painting is for her kitchen, and features a yummy rainbow of veggies and fruit, several of which are heirloom varieties: beet, sungold tomatoes, lemon, avocado, blue potato, and purple carrot.

Without further ado:

By Erin

Posted using Tinydesk blog app

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New Artwork: In the Foothills of the Headlands, silhouette painting with Beatles Yellow Submarine inspiration

I loved the Beatles movie The Yellow Submarine from the moment I saw it. The pop art in that movie has had a huge influence on my own artwork ever since high school. My favorite Beatles album is Revolver, and I also love St. Peppers and Magical Mystery Tour. If I was a Beatles song, I’d probably be Blackbird.


Here is my latest painting. I’ve had it rolling around in my brain for quite awhile. I’m happy with how it turned out, and I am anxious to do more paintings like it. I haven’t settled on a title for it yet, so for now I’ll dub it: “In the Foothills of the Headlands.”

If you are interested in commissioning a painting like this, the cost would likely be $300-$500…there is a LOT of design and detailing that go into this work! I’d be willing to do a single sihouette in this style with a white (ie unpainted) background for $100. Contact me if you’re interested in any commisions. Goldenavalon (at) gmail (dot) com.

By Erin

Posted using Tinydesk blog app

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Do you want me to paint your picture?

Hi there!

I recently opened up my etsy shop and added a dozen paintings. You can check out my listings here.

In addition, I am doing watercolor portrait commissions, but I currently have nothing on my docket. If you are interested in having me paint a portrait from one of your photographs, please email me at goldenavalon (at) gmail (dot) com.

Some examples of my recent work:

KendraToni aWhiteapples aThank you,




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First Fruits: Selling My Artwork

I am announcing the inaugural sale of my watercolor paintings! My original artwork will be posted for sale on Memorial Day morning, to my etsy shop: . For the first week, ALL SALES WILL BE DONATED to our local church planting fund for Mars Hill Church in Tacoma. That means: for a $50 art piece, all $50 will be donated to our church plant (the extra shipping fees will cover my shipping costs).



Matt and I are passionate about the Tacoma area and about being on mission in our region. We currently attend the Mars Hill location in Federal Way, but we have yearned for a church in our Tacoma home ever since we were married five years ago…and I have hoped for a local Mars Hill location since I became a member in 2005. This dream has been a long time coming.

Our church has now purchased a building off of Wright Park, one of our favorite parks in Tacoma. When we walked through the doors of this building for the first time, it felt like coming home. We were giddy with excitement. We want to be a part of the restoration of this building. We want to make this a home for our children…and our children’s children. We want this building and the church of Christ’s body that worship and serve in it to bless this region that we love.

You can read more about the restoration of our church building at the Mars Hill Tacoma blog … The long and short of it is that we bought an old building at a killer bargain, but it needs a lot of repairs. We have no deep pockets in our church body to help fund the restoration of this space, so it falls to all of the ordinary people with average incomes in our church to find creative ways to contribute to the restoration.

Matt and I talked about it. We prayed about it. And we believe giving our fruit fruits in this way will glorify God. And we are thrilled to do it!

bokeh heart


I have always loved the idea of giving first fruits. In the past, whenever I got a new exciting job, I always wanted to be able to give my entire first paycheck to church or charity, but something seemed to always get in the way.

The seed was planted in my head at a young age. Growing up, I read “The Pineapple Story” (published by the Institute in Basic Life Principles) about a missionary who planted a pineapple field and struggled with the natives who were stealing his pineapples. After much heartache, the missionary decided to give the pineapple field to God. When the natives asked why he was no longer angry when they stole his pineapples, he told them they were not his pineapples; they were God’s. This transformation entered other areas of the missionary’s life…he was less possessive of his time, his family, and his belongings. Once the missionary gave up worrying about all his stuff and let Christ’s love shine through him, the natives responded in kind and opened up to the missionary and his message of Christ. And they stopped stealing the pineapples. Everyone ended up sharing them.

I like having faith in God to meet my needs.

And I like the idea of giving extravagantly.

This is a picture of one of my originals (right) compared to the art print (left). Even here you can see the poor quality of the print.

This is a picture of one of my originals (right) compared to the art print (left). Even here you can see the poor quality of the print.


I will not be selling art prints.

I have been holding out on opening my etsy shop for business because I wanted to sell art prints; however, I have run into great difficulty in making quality art prints. Even the best prints that the local print shops have to offer are subpar, and I would not feel right about selling them. Therefore, I will hold onto the original pieces that I want to keep trying to make art prints from.

I will sell some original works.

I will sell some reproductions of originals that I’m keeping for future art prints.

I will also sell one commission.

All told, I hope to have ten total paintings, plus one commission, up for sale.


I’m excited to open up my etsy shop with artwork for sale. I hope you enjoy what you see, and I hope you find something you like! If you do not want to buy artwork, but would like to donate to our Tacoma church plant, you can do so at

Thank you!

By Erin

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