Nada Monster


Nada Monster in an Abstract Landscape

Click on the image above for a larger version.

This digital decalcomania is the most recent one that is built on a montage of fragments from a painting on masonite titled Ghost Girl’s Legacy. I began that painting in 1992 and after struggling with it I decided to abandon it.

I hung it on our south fence behind a large quince bush and forgot it about for almost 25 years. After a pruning, the quince bush let the old painting peek out at me. I was struck right away with how beautiful it was… so full of potential. I took many digital photos of it that I have used numerous times to build the decalcomania layer in my digital paintings.

It is a very rich resource that quickly prods my mind for imaginings. I always need to paint what I have not seen before, yet this old recycled decalcomania resource has proved to excite my eyes every time it shows up. It feels like it is brand new.

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Baybark Face(es): a digital decalcomania


Baybark Face(s)

Click on the image above for a larger view.

The bay tree outside our kitchen is more than 100 years old. On the north side of its thick trunk is a huge healed circular scar. The way that the bark healed some time long ago it created a most beautiful mandala. I photographed it with my digital camera then manipulated the image in Painter 2018 by actively drawing or painting into the existing content whatever it suggested to my imagination.

Sometimes I think of this method as a kind of oracle: showing me a dream while I am awake.

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Twig Study: any side = Up!


Digital Decalcomania: Twig Study, April 2018

Click on image for larger view.

Above is my most recent digital decalcomania project. I took several quick snapshots of my wonderful stripped birch twig collection. I montaged them together using heavily  feathered selections to create new possibilities and to make sure the various snapshots worked well together. Then I used the resulting image as the decalcomania texture to stimulate my imagination and on which to build the finished digital painting.

In Painter 2018, I used the brush named: Just Add Water and the brush named: Digital Airbrush Detail to massage the decalcomania texture until it pleased me. The whole time I worked at 200% magnification so I could see any artifacts and be certain of the quality of the edges I was giving to the twigs.

Next I printed a hard copy. That was when I discovered that this image can be viewed with any of its four sides up and the composition remains successful.

Blogging footnote: I cannot believe how much time has elapsed since my previous post!

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Coloring Book – Decalcomania


Redwood Rail Fun Guys – click on image for larger view

This decalcomania began as a photo of fungi trails and stains on a redwood deck railing. After a couple Photoshop operations to isolate and emphasize the patterns, I opened it in Corel Painter where I used my favorite brush, “Just Add Water,” and after two days of coloring this almost empty world appeared. Hardly any faces here.

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A bit better piece


This is titled “Decalco Fields Galore.” It was done right after the REJECTED image. The artist likes it much better than the rejected image. Click image for larger view.

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The Eyes Have It – final

Here is the final state of my digital decalcomania twig-based project. It was great fun to do.

When I begin hallucinating on the decalcomania layer, I never know what visual themes will show up, let alone dominate, the composition. This time it was “Eyes” for sure. Hence the title.





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The Eyes Have It – digital decalcomania


The Eyes Have It (detail of digital decalcomania project 300 ppi)

This digital painting was begun over a photo of a portion of my Twig Collection, which has recently filled my studio with visually exciting wiggly white lines of varying diameters and length – all are birch and holly twigs obsessively and lovingly stripped of their bark back in the 1990s.

I smile every time I see them. They have always made me feel wealthy.

My next post will be the full composition.

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Digital-Decalcomania Resumes

After a long slog seeing my book to completion, I am finally picking up where I left off and am very happy to be back to image-making – Digital Decalcomania to be specific using Corel Painter and Photoshop via a Wacom tablet and stylus.


The Ghosts Dancing in My Twig Collection (300ppi, detail )

When NFMOA proper was closed for remodeling, all of the collections had to be disposed of or stored in one way or another. I gave away boxes full of assemblage materials, but when it came to my Twig Collection I was unable to part with any items at all.

In the 1990s, I  lovingly and obsessively stripped each twig of its bark after a pruning session in our yard or after actually cutting a tree down. They are varying shades of white and faint ochers. Gorgeous to look at.

The larger ones have found homes in our garden and all of the smaller ones, probably close to 1,000 individual birch and holly twigs of very diverse length and shape have been assimilated into my upstairs studio. It is VERY crowded in here now.

I have started photographing some of the twigs and am now using the results as the basis and stimulation for digital decalcomania. The above photo is a detail of the first painting begun after the book.

I will be posting photos of my progress with it in coming days. Because the twigs are SO amazing to look at and have filled a lot of the physical space in my studio, I spend a lot of time looking at them, ergo I have a lot more digital decalcomania to do.

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The Four Triptychs of the Nada Farm Museum of Archetypes – the book!

The Four Triptychs of the Nada Farm Museum of Archetypes

By Robert Comings


Well… I finally did a book about my Museum (NFMOA). It is in honor of all the people who have supported my work over the past 5 decades. It is not a comprehensive account of all the stories in the Museum, but it does give a fairly good idea of what the Museum experience is about.

Click on the photo of the book’s cover above to preview parts of the book. Click on the book title link to purchase and/or preview the book.

You can purchase one or more copies of  the book for $24.90 + shipping. There are discounts for orders of 10 or more copies.

The actual NFMOA museum building is presently undergoing massive remodeling. The building was sinking into the earth and we (mostly Linda) are saving it.

I had fun doing the book. It took me several months to put it all together and makes me want to do a second volume that will tell more of the NFMOA stories and contain more photos.


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Absent but Still Here

I had a visit this weekend from Bay Area artist Les Phillips. We had great fun reminiscing about art and teaching, then he gently reminded me that it has been far too long since I have posted here. Hence, what follows below:


Dreaming that I am awake, 1983, oil on canvas

For the past several months I have been in the final stages of editing/proofing the book about the Four Triptychs of the Nada Farm Museum of Archetypes (NFMOA) and preparing to put all of my attention on the completion of the website I am building to support the book, where I hope to also present comprehensive portfolios of my work in various media. It was in that latter pursuit that I came across a slide of the above painting, which I have not seen since the 1980s. It is in a private collection.

As soon as I saw the image I wanted to see it more. I created a large digital color print of it and am having it framed so I can enjoy it all the time. The above image will be in the “Paintings” portfolio of the new website –

This painting toys with the mind of the viewer, providing bits and pieces of recognizable parts of the human (?) face. Just as soon as we decide where its eyes, nose, mouth, ears are located, another way to read the image pops onto our internal screen as the first one dissolves. This is a way of working that permeates the Four Triptychs and a lot of other works I have created in different forms and different media. And is key to the way I work with decalcomania in any medium.

The title Dreaming that I am awake describes the psychic tension and elusive balance that the painting generates. That state of mind is my hometown.

I hope to get back to more regular posting here fairly soon. The book has been uploaded to the printer and should be available in about a month. I need to finish the website ASAP. I will be posting various works that catch my eye as I transform them into webfood. I am so eager to have the book and the website behind me.


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