Friday, August 31, 2007

Card from NZ!

One year ago this month I had just returned home to Pacific Grove from seeing the house-in-the-desert, exhausted and scared that I'd make the wrong decision when something wonderful happened! Visitors from New Zealand! Raewyn was traveling with two of her ten children and had been to parts of the west coast and was in route to Mexico. The Monterey Peninsula wasn't on the direct route of their travels so I felt honored that they'd made the side-trip. Raewyn sent me this wonderful "anniversary" card to celebrate our meeting. The text on the front reads, "You've got style! You've got class! You've got personality!" The yummy textured background is oil paint squidged between greaseproof paper.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


Magnificent! Clouds have a marvelous way of breaking up the monotony of the clear skies. The clouds arrived with rolling thunder that has been serenading us for the last few hours and with that a few dark clouds slowly made their way overhead and even dropped some rain on us! I was so shocked to see rain that I stood outside under cover of the patio roof and wept! I needed something normal and what is more normal than rain? We had some sprinkles back in Feb. but that seems more like eons ago than six months.

There was a storm last night of another nature. Mom had a complete melt-down. Not surprising after the celebration of her birthday that she sadly didn't remember much of! She went through the cards she'd received and couldn't remember ever seeing them before and couldn't locate the book her sister had given her. The book is non-fiction about manifestation and is outside of mom's level of understanding; she simply can't follow or retain information. Fiction is about the only thing she can read; she may not remember the characters from one page to the next but that doesn't matter. As long as the writer describes things in a very visual way mom is happy. We had a good talk and when I said that it's okay for her brain cells to be missing-at-large because now she can be the eccentric person she always wanted to be she laughed. "So, instead of looking stupid I'll just be that crazy old lady? That might not be a bad thing." She's in a better frame of mind today. I, on the other hand, am limp with exhaustion and patching everyone back together.

A pessimist only sees the dark side of the clouds, and mopes; a philosopher sees both sides and shrugs; an optimist doesn't see the clouds at all--he's walking on them.
Leonard L. Levinson quotes

"There are no rules of architecture for a castle in the clouds."
G.K. Chesterfield

Friday, August 24, 2007


This adorable little girl turned 81 today! Happy Birthday mom!
Mom at 19.

Alzheimer's is robbing mom of so many of her memories and skills; I know that if she really knew how much ground she's lost since her last birthday she'd be more frustrated and angry than she is. My aunt and uncle took mom out to lunch yesterday and sadly mom already can't remember where they ate or what she had; she does remember that she enjoyed the outing. Stacy and I are taking her to dinner tonight and then we'll come home and have Cheesecake!

There hasn't been a lot of quality time in the "studio" lately which always brings on a "case-of-the-crankies." I'm in the midst of hemming a long skirt made from rusted muslin and hope to get that done before we go to dinner. A mandala, felted, that I've been working on for the last few months has me stumped! Where did one of the major pieces for it run off to? I had wrapped a chenille stem with rusted fabric and if I didn't have a photo of the mandala-in-progress I would think that I was losing my brain cells! It seems that I've forgotten to take care of a few things recently which has me a bit concerned. If I haven't had bouts of brain-fog off and on over the years caused by the FM I might become hysterical and assume that I'm heading down the path for Alzheimer's! But seeing how I still have problem-solving skills, which mom no longer has, I'll just assume that I'm stressed over the recent events of dealing with more family health issues.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Balboa Park

This photo was taken in Balboa Park and digitally enhanced; I changed the washed out sky. I could have photographed every inch of this building and not run out of interesting textures or shapes. The lighting on the building was perfect; talk about timing!

Quote: Every artist dips his brush into his soul and paints his own nature into his pictures. Henry Ward Beecher

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Digital Play

Sometimes I'm easily amused. I cut out words from the local newspaper, Banned, Vacancy, Worth repeating, Unlimited Possibilities, Say what?, and Nuisance and scanned them into the computer. Made a brush in PSE and started playing. The result is rather silly; who knew that reds, browns, yellow, and black would end up looking like a Hershey candy wrapper.
This altered image is from a Black and white photo I found in my collection. There is some lettering over the images of faces that I was hoping would be more evident.

In the Studio: I finally finished a sewing project that had been on hold since before the "getaway." The instructions for this particular McCall's scrubs shirt are poorly written, so much so that I needed to figure out how to assemble it in my own way. It's okay, but nothing I'd wear out of the house! There must be a better pattern for a scrubs shirt! All I wanted was a few easy to sew shirts to wear at home, but I got a major headache instead.

Quote, or thought for today: A clever person turns great troubles into little ones and little ones into none at all. Chinese proverb.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Gifts From The Garden

I can't imagine not having a garden, even if this new one is proving to be more challenging than I often have patience for! Sometimes the greeting I receive from the garden makes all the difference of how my day begins. The gifts in these photos greeted me today. A leaf had blown into the much-used garden clog that was weighting down a piece of burlap; a perfect still life with a little self-portrait thrown in. Much can be gleaned from items in a person's life without ever seeing a photo of the person, thus creating an interesting self-portrait.

The close-up of the philodendron leaf will remind me how perfect the plant was before becoming a victim of the heat; optimistic aren't I? And the cheerful Alyssum is nestled next to Portulaca (the ground-cover find) that has added brilliant color to the garden. Once we discovered how well this little plant, aka as moss rose, handled the heat we bought them by the dozens. Portulaca has the remarkable ability to change color as is evident in the photo. The current blooms are white but red blossoms are on the horizon. The same plant was a mixture of yellow and orange a mere two weeks ago.

Yesterday at 3pm exhaustion struck without warning and just before I fell asleep I noticed that the sky was filled with rain clouds. When I woke up a few hours later the sky was clear. In the newspaper today there was mention of sprinkles in Palm Springs along with lightning that had people running for cover! Weather never ceases to amaze me with its exclusive selectivity. We're a mere 40 minutes or so from Palm Springs and yet we didn't get a smidgen of the dramatic storm.

Quote: Painting is a nail to which I fasten my ideas. Georges Braque, 1882-1963. (from the Art Museum, Balboa Park)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Philodendron Leaf

After receiving a few emails suggesting that I allow comments to be posted on this blog I've decided to give it a try again. The comments will be moderated in the hopes that spammers don't take advantage once again.

Quote: Color is like food for the spirit -- plus it's not addictive or
fattening. Isaac Mizarani

Sometimes I just have to go with black-and-white which seems to feed my spirit.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Balboa Park, San Diego

The 4-night getaway, while primarily a vacation, was a scouting expedition; thus we didn't spend much time at any one location. We need places to visit that are within driving distance where we might be able to spend an occasional night away from home. After spending the first night in "the grungy hotel" the goal was to find a decent hotel in a decent part of town. The Holiday Inn on the bay didn't have a room, but they had a golden phone number! The person on the other end was only to happy to book us into the Cabrillo Motor Lodge in Point Loma, a mere 8 minutes from the Gaslamp Quarter where we planned to have dinner. Strange as it may seem I had spotted the Lodge on our early morning search for Balboa Park and had pointed it out as a possibilty. Must have been destiny.

Upon arriving at Balboa Park (BP) where the San Diego Zoo resides, we found parking to be next to impossible! After circling many of the parking lots for what seemed like hours we did find an almost empty lot near the Veterans Memorial building and luckily the lot was on the tram route. The tram took us directly to Casa Del Prado and the first find of the day. Terrace dining at The Prado restaurant!

The photo is the mirror image of where we sat. I couldn't figure out how to photograph the perfectly situated table until just before we left. Directly opposite of us was the empty table. We were treated to a first-timers-dessert. Cheesecake flan!

We had hoped that the Japanese Garden at BP was going to be outstanding, sadly it wasn't. The garden was nicely landscaped but short on visuals. The Botanical Building, however, was outstanding! The outside of the building is one of many architectural wonders in BP. I couldn't resist taking a shot of the dome from the inside.

BP "Is one of America's largest urban cultural parks and is the legacy of two Expositions. The combination of the two Expositions created the excitement and beauty of BP starting with the 1915-16 Panama-California Exposition and ending with the 1935-36 California Pacific International Exposition. "

The sculpture garden find , above, was discovered in the shadows of a metal piece. The black lines are shadows in shallow water at the base of the metal sculpture.

I don't remember what this building housed, but the textures, motifs, and decor stopped me in my tracks!
We sat on a bench, to rest our weary bones, and looked to our right and caught this view! Southern CA has more palms than I remembered; can't seem to leave them behind in the desert.

The security line for the Dead Sea Scrolls exhibit didn't look inviting in its length, plus the heat and sun were getting to me. We considered returning the next day to see it, but headed north instead. We did see the Impressionist Giverny exhibit at the Museum of Art, also in BP.

My photo of Giverny, Aug, 2000, seemed to pop up in many of the paintings in the exhibit! Not much had changed in the village since the time of the paintings, 1885-1915. A grand soothing hour was spent in front of the Impressionist paintings before checking into the hotel.

I wasn't able to photograph the Gaslamp Quarter, not enough daylight by the time we arrived, but the scene was touristy, exciting, and felt like another country rather than San Diego! I love it when I feel like a foreigner/visitor without going too far from home. After browsing the preview menus at a vast variety of restaurants we opted for one where an outside table was waiting for us. The dinner at the Blue Luna was excellent! Halibut with a potato crust at its best. "Sidewalk cafes and open air restaurants, jazz clubs, late night dancing, resident artists and micro breweries can all be discovered in the Gaslamp Quarter."

A quote from the Museum of Art exhibit that sums up the day:
One must keep on drawing; draw with your eyes when you can't draw with a pencil. Jean Auguste-Dominique Ingres, 1780-1867.
The day spent at BP was full of "drawing with my eyes."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Villagefest, Palm Springs

Finally! A break from the routine was just what my spirits needed! I met my friend at the Palm Springs airport on August 6Th and we headed toward San Diego. Who knew that there wouldn't be one room available on a Monday night, not us that's for sure! We ended up in El Cajon in the worst possible place imaginable; visualize the grungiest hotel room you've ever seen in a movie and then picture something even worse and you might have a general idea! Strange enough though, the bed was very comfortable and the AC unit worked even though it's probably older than I am! The toilet shook the floor when flushed and nothing could convince me to take a shower in the cracked tub/shower combo that didn't look like it had ever been cleaned! Note: San Diego is now the convention capitol of southern CA. Make reservations!

The last night of our getaway was spent in Palm Springs rather than Idyllwild which we would have preferred, but the 2002 Mercedes that belongs to my friend had other plans. It simply wouldn't go up the steep mountain. After a few sputters and stalls we turned around , coasted downhill and ended up in Palm Springs at the foot of Idyllwild. 108 degrees at 7pm but after reading about the weekly Villagefest we ventured out into the heat to discover for ourselves why it's popular. It's basically a street fair with musicians/singers selling CD's, artists demonstrating their art in the hopes of making a sale and food stands. We opted for a corner restaurant where the mist system raised the humidity to an uncomfortable level. An entertainer on the corner dressed in a Viking outfit kept us amused throughout our chicken Caesar salads. Directly across the street from the restaurant a crowd had gathered and once we finished dinner we joined the crowd. There in the midst of cans of spray paint was a whirling-dervish spray paint artist! Tossing his shoulder length hair back from his face he was in constant motion as he spray painted a background, then added ships, a moon and topped it off by spraying a stencil he had created of Tinker Bell. I imagine Disney wouldn't be too happy if they knew he was using one of their trademark characters in his artwork.
Some of his work.

In the center, angled to the left, is the Tinker Bell is the painting we watched him create. He had a lot of tricks that he used to create lines, suns, moons, mountains etc. Fascinating to watch; I wish that I'd taken notes! He used manila folders to cut stencils out of and had an entire file box of them. He did use the mask hanging around his neck when he sprayed on the background but when he got down to the details he removed it. It almost seemed to be a part of his "act" rather than something he used in order to not breathe in the paint fumes.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Computer Stencil

Self-portrait for a stencil.
Reading glasses seem to be a fixture on this tired looking face! Fatigue has a grip on me so tight that I feel like I'm choking on it.

Merv Griffin died yesterday. Because he's been a local resident of La Quinta for the past 25 years the coverage of his passing was extensive. I love this quote: "You have to be constantly turning the page, which prevents me from getting caught up in any negativity. I just keep moving and enjoy the ride." Griffin 1925-2007.

BTW, my friend says that I look like Ben Franklin in this altered image. I thought I just looked tired not Franklinish.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Finished Funky Journal Cover

I can honestly say that even though I've been dying to make a funky journal I never would have created one if it weren't for the amazing kit Linda sent me! It was the incentive I needed. I finally have a funky journal cover for my small journals. I decided to make a slip-on one so that I can remove it when I'm slopping on paint, plus I can use it on any of my small journals.

I added a little hand-stitching and dimensional paint to the front cover to bring out the organic lines that Linda had painted. I scrunched up the dyed cheesecloth from the kit and placed it under the ceramic button that is attached with copper wire and added some beads.
The backside is a piece of Lutradur that was color washed in blues and greens with white gesso drizzled over the surface. There is a piece of the distressed fabric left-over that might be the base for a hanging.

So, do keep an eye on what Linda is doing:
Kits can great jump-start creativity!

Friday, August 03, 2007

Journal cover

View of inside of Pellon journal slip-on cover. The rug hooked spine has been adhered to the outside. On hindsight, I wish I had painted the Pellon a dark blue or black. All of the edges of the slip cover have been folded and glued in place. Note: make sure to leave a pocket open to slip the journal into.

The second pic shows the journal inside of the slip-on cover. The next step is to glue on the front cover piece and the painted Lutradur for the back of the journal. I'm having a difficult time cutting the beautiful piece of distressed fabric.

Here is a great tutorial about Lutradur.