Friday, July 31, 2009

#38 of 52 projects

In 2000 I was enamored with antique photos most likely because I was working on a memory book after my fathers death that year; my aunt sent me a box of old photos, plus, that was around the time the use of cabinet photos in altered work was the "in thing." I've never been "in" so it's not surprising that my love affair with the collection I built up died fast. This piece seemed to scream for a focal point so I got out the container of metal ephemera and viola!

Components: pellon interfacing, tissue paper, cheesecloth, perle cotton stitched on, loose threads needle punched on, image on metal, buttons.

Okay, the answer about the image on the metal metal piece is: An altered image, done in PhotoShop Elements was printed onto a transparency and run through a xyron machine, cut out and adhered to metal which in this case is a seltzer water can that was heat distressed. The transparency image is too shiny and raw so it was sprayed with matte spray. The metal piece sewn onto the left of the photo was painted with gesso and blotted off. Nice to have pieces of metal just waiting to be used! (Years ago I played around with ways of applying images onto metal and came up with this approach rather than doing a transfer; gel medium or other types of transfers I tried rarely were successful. When I ran across the ones I did years ago I was blown away by how good they still look.)
PS. my good friend D. just asked me a question about matte spray on the transparency. I wrote an article for a now defunct Zine about Faux Tintypes and this was one of the examples, so yes, this is a great way to create faux tintypes. So much for memory!

Quote: So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains And we never even know we have the key.
Lyrics from Already Gone, performed by the Eagles for their 1974 On the Border album

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Roma, second day continued

Part one is posted below.
Helicopters were circling overhead most of the morning and we were quietly informed that Khadafi was in Rome and security was tight. Okay, maybe not a good day to be a tourist. Supposedly, the first horticulture planned garden was established at the top of the Palatine; in the same spot a garden is maintained.
The statues, columns, and ruins were amazing, but the view from the top of the surrounding area, photos below, blew everyone away! About the Palatine is here:

We needed a taxi back to the hotel; the heat and fatigue overwhelmed us. We believe that we got the only taxi drive who didn't know how to find the Colosseum Hotel, uphill, about 1.5 miles away. He drove in circles and stopped at intersections to ask anyone passing by. Was it an act? We don't know, but he left us off uphill from the hotel that was that way. That way proved to not be the exact direction but we did finally get there. The hotel manager gave us detailed instructions and a map to the autostrada heading south to the Amalfi coast and more adventure.

Quote: Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined. Henry David Thoreau

Roma, Italy

June 10, Wednesday. More of glorious Roma awaited us so we packed up, checked out and put the luggage in the car still parked near the hotel. The hotel breakfast the day before wasn't grand enough for us to show up before the buffet closed. We did stop at a pizzeria across from the Colosseum for pizza and iced espresso. It turned out that this particular place was the pit stop for tour buses who stocked up on bottle water, used the restrooms, and lined up to cross the street. Our sidewalk table was used as a depository for kids or tired tourists.
We had decided to take a tour, if we could find one that wasn't too full. A 20-ish guy talked us into one that was about ready to begin. They look for English speaking people who don't want to stand
in long lines. This particular guy was from NJ and was spending the summer in Italy. He worked for a few hours a day and the rest of the time was enjoying Rome. Our Italian guide was good and even though I don't remember much of what he said the historical aura that permeates the crumbling Colosseum remains with me. It must have been one smelly place when gladiators or animals were kept below the arena.

We missed a little of the second half of the tour to the Palatine; I needed a WC and by the time I walked the .5 mile to and .5 mile back and walked uphill where a dusty hill met us, well, I never got the gist of the ruins. The group that was on this part of the tour was twice the size of the previous one. Photos above, the middle and bottom photos were taken at the Palatine. (continued)

#36 and #37 of 52 projects

First off, thanks for the lovely comments! Much appreciated. Secondly, the Give-away deadline is July 31, leave a comment. And third, I finally worked on two pieces for the 52 projects. I haven't made fabric paper in quite awhile and for some reason whites, ivory, and cream
intrigued me.
Components: pellon, tissue paper, cheesecloth, glue, gesso, and machine stitched. How did I get the stained effect? From not using a clean piece of freezer paper. A mixture of white glue and water was used to adhere the tissue paper and cheesecloth to the pellon, thus lifting some color from the freezer paper and staining the pellon. Click image to enlarge, 5x7 inch pieces.

Quote: If you pray for rain, it is only common sense to carry an umbrella. Ernest Wilson.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Digging Deeper!

Seth, Altered Page, continued this exciting blog collaborative for Round #2 of Buried Treasures .

This piece was first posted on Feb. 9th and can be seen here. It's 6x6 inches and remains on exhibit on my gallery wall.

But, even if that's a favorite piece it's the 52 projects that started out as weekly ones that I treasure. When the project is done in Sept, celebrating my birthday, I'll have 52 mini quilts; that's a lot to celebrate in itself. I should be on week 45, but if you go to my PictureTrail site here, you'll notice that the last one posted is number #35. Yep, I'm running late, but the travel journal comes first. My favorites are #27 and #32.

Note: anyone who posts a comment before July 30th will be entered for a give-away as posted on July 3rd and the 11th.

Quote: you couldn't ask for better circumstances than you are in to learn the things you need to learn. Sally Huss

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Roma, part 2A

I hate it when posts are out of order. This one follows the one below so you might want to read that one first.

Photos: Lost-in-Rome. The two in the middle are, left, building detail across from the restaurant and the horse is on a fountain in Piazza Navona.

So, wandering around Lost-in-Roma, or Rome, is mind-boggling. Everywhere you look is something to savor, but, when ones feet hurt and the stomach is empty a chair is the only thing on the mind. The eyes of a restaurant hawker, my term for those who stand outside of establishments trying to draw you in, met mine, he nodded toward a table, I nodded in agreement and was heading for my chair when R. said, "How does this place look." "The lady has already had her mind set." Not only was Ziro Ciro the perfect outdoor restaurant to people watch and observe shop owners closing up for the day but the food still has us talking! Who knew that a plate of gnocchi and a plate of sausage could be so delicious that we nearly cried over the last bites? They do have the best tomato sauce in the world in Italy and the sausage is a house speciality and was served grilled with lemon slices. We now have our sausage with lemon juice, but nothing compares to the flavor of that sausage.

The waiter pointed in the direction of Piazza Navona, "two blocks that way, go right, and there you are." I'm absolutely certain that Italians are clueless when it comes to "there you are." About a mile plus we finally did enter the Piazza. Too bad that it was dark, but on the other hand, I think that it was more romantic. Portraitists were putting away their easels for the night; this was the first time we'd seen artists at work. There were numerous restaurants surrounding the square and the lighting on the fountains and buildings glowed. Of course we'd walked off the dinner so we allowed a "hawker" to sit us at a table near a fountain. Dessert of chocolate truffle ice cream was slowly eaten while we watched the night-life. This was a Piazza where people in neighboring apartments brought their kids to ride bikes and play. The sounds echoed through the Piazza.

Happily, there was a taxi stand just outside of the Piazza and twenty minutes after climbing in one we were back at Hotel Colosseum purring over the day.

Quote: Most of my treasured memories of travel are recollections of sitting." –- Robert Thomas Allen

Roma, part 2

Still June 9th. The exception to "never having expectations about something" was the Sistine Chapel. I was going to see Michelangelo's extraordinary universally known piece, The Creation of Adam. I pretty much wrote about this on the first post waay down below. In hindsight, we should have taken a tour, or at the very least gotten another audio tour, or carried the guidebook with us in order to know what in blazes we were looking at! Lots of room in the Vatican Museum leading up the grand finale of the Sistine Chapel. After St. Peters nothing quite measured up, though, the Sistine Chapel was amazing once we got over the shock of how tiny the famous painting is. The numerous museums were over-crowded and some of them took hallways or stairs to get to; just felt too disorganized.

Photos above: in route to the Sistine, which is a mile walk from St. Peters even though it's directly next door. The upper left is the close route to Sistine, but pedestrians aren't allowed.
Actually, the angel is out of place, we saw that later that day. The bottom two photos were taken out of an open window in one of the museums.

The bottom left and right photos were taken in the room just outside of the Sistine on our way out. The statues were photographed somewhere before the Sistine, and the window is a duplicate of one below; I used 2 copies for a page layout.

Some of these have already been posted. The angels, upper left, are in the room just beyond the Sistine Chapel and I'm pretty sure that the foot is too. Our feet, on the other hand were waaay before the Sistine as was the self-portrait and the Fleur de lis.

Overwhelmed and not knowing what to do we headed back to the tour bus pick-up spot and were informed when we boarded that this was the last run, so wherever we got off we'd have to find our way back home. Okay. We got off near the Spanish Steps of which we didn't find, but it's also "the shopping district" for those with oodles of money and who love to shop. We kept walking and photographing and hoped we were going in the direction of Piazza Navona, which I understand is in the movie "Angels and Demons." (continued, only because I forgot to add the next batch of photos!)

Photos: A diptych of a round building. A sign that intrigued me, Replay. And PSE'd photos of Piazza Navona.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009


Monday, June 8th, after Tarquinia. The approach to Rome was serene with Villas perched on rolling hills and some industry here and there and then bam! We were plunged into a whirlpool of confusion. Which road to get of off the autostrada, oops, looks like we didn't make a good choice! We're stuck in traffic at 6pm and the map is absolutely no help nor are the road signs. Everyone knows where they're going except us which must be similar to how mom feels every day when she wakes up, like she's been planted in some strange land without the brain cells or problem-solving skills to figure it out. But, we don't have Alzheimer's so surely we can figure out what to do. Keep driving is about the best answer until we end up somewhere. The "newer Rome" didn't excite us enough to turn into one of the many hotels. As usual we ended up exactly where we mean to to be, this time in the heart of Ancient Roma, tho, it took almost an hour before that happened.

We circled one block chock full of hotels until we were dizzy, no parking, and ended up blocks away where a few spaces were available. Of course the walk was uphill and being that I was completely out of breath all I could do was point down an alley. Three star hotel looks good enough to me. Yes, they had a room for two nights and parking is available in front, most of it requires feeding a machine. Collecting the car wasn't easy, one-way streets, congested traffic, and what was the name of the alley? We parked the car on the opposite side of the hotel and the manager said, "You're lucky, you found a space that is free." We didn't move the car again until we left Roma.

The upper two photos are: the view out of the hotel room, not the best, but the room was quiet being that it was off the main streets. Notice the satellite dishes and roof-top gardens, that is when you click on the photos to enlarge. The upper right photo is the restaurant we ate at; the only disappointing meal on the trip.

June 9, Tuesday. Hotel Colosseum was, yep, not too far from the Colosseum where we had decided to get on a tour bus. (The remaining 4 photos above are in route to the Colosseum and buildings near it. We found the sign for the tour bus pick-up and waited and waited and then I thought, Hm, shouldn't there be people lined up, shouldn't there be someone taking money, shouldn't there be? I took the brochure from R. and started to find answers. Seems we were at the vacation pick-up spot, not the daily one that is way over on the other side of the Colosseum! Long walk and of course we got there in time to see the tour bus pull away. Next one is in an hour! But, wait, there is another tour bus company that goes to the same places. Seats galore!

Suddenly it was imperative that we go to Vatican City even though we'd discussed staying on the bus for it's entire route rather than get off at various stops; the purchase of a day pass allows one to get on and off. Did I mention that Rome had blown me away the night before? After dinner we walked quite awhile, I love balmy evenings when people are out until very late. The night life in large cities would be the only reason I'd consider living in one, nope, not a good enough reason. Near the restaurant there were ruins, churches, old building,s and statues all lit up and if fatigue hadn't overpowered us we probably wouldn't have walked back uphill to the hotel at 11pm

Vatican City! (Last week I re-read Dale Brown's "Angels and Demons" mostly because it was set in Vatican City and Rome and because I couldn't remember the story! One of the main characters, Vittoria responded to the question, "Do you believe in God?" "Science tells me God must exist. My mind tells me I will never understand God. And my heart tells me I am not meant to." That about sums it up for me.) I never have expectations when I go somewhere, that way I'm not disappointed so I wasn't expecting the emotions I felt as we approached St. Peters and stood in the square surrounded by Bernini's columns. Awe? No, more powerful than that. The line to go through security wasn't too long and once through that we got audio tours and ended up in the line for the grottoes. Rather than write a history lesson go here to read more about St. Peters.

Photos: left, taken from the steps of St. Peters looking out on the square and beyond. The dome. Middle left, the Pope's High Alter. Swiss guard guarding the entrance to the Pope's lair, and if we'd known that one can approach a guard to get tickets to Wednesday morning seating when the Pope speaks, well, it would have been a nice memento. Bottom left, a pope in the grotto. Columns in the square.

Inside St. Peter's is vast, spine tingling, the art!, jaw dropping, the art!, dripping with history, too dark for photography, and did I mention the art? We spent more time there than we imagined we would in what seemed like acres of splendor! When we stumbled back outside we discovered that it was drizzling. Food sounded good and up the street we found a pizzeria with very few tables available. A waitress picked up someones back-pack from a chair, separated two tables and plopped menus on the table. "sit!" Okay! I don't think I would have been pleased to return to my table and find my back-pack on the ground, the gal who was sitting there took it in stride. "Hi." when we returned the "hi" I think that the three of us were thrilled that the waitress had commanded we sit there. Diane was from Sarasota, FL, traveling alone, about 40'ish and after 14 days in Italy was going home the next day. She'd been to Venice so we shared experiences, Tuscany, we were still hopeful about having that experience, Cinque Terr, we'd done that, and Portofino. The pizza wasn't great, but the wine and company was outstanding.

The sky had cleared up and we were off to the Sistine Chapel. (to be continued)

This quote is perfect for Roma! Traveling is almost like talking with men of other centuries." -- René Descartes

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tarquinia, Italy, continued

June 8, Monday, in route to Rome. We couldn't figure out how to get off of the road taking us to Rome in order to visit a hill village so we did the only thing we could do, took an off-ramp to Tarquinia where it seemed that visitors were welcome. It's one of those towns that built up around the ancient ruins; the mixture of Etruscan and post war was a bit unsettling. We settled for the ancient village and scouted for parking. A square where two of the photos above were shot, left and bottom, offered spaces. We braved a dark entrance into a restaurant and realized that we were the only English speaking people in the place. Where were the throngs of tourists that the guidebook cautioned, "the partly walled village is overrun with fellow visitors."

Info about Tarquinia is here:

Lunch was excellent! We ordered, by pointing to our choices, two different pasta dishes. Little did I know that one of the more humorous adventures was about to take place all because I was in need of a bathroom. It would help if signs are written in English, but then we don't help visitors to our country, and it would also be a good thing to not leave a key in the doorknob.
I turned it. I washed up and tried to tidy my hair and I guess that I'd spent a little too long in the bathroom; suddenly there was knocking on the door. I turned the key, it didn't unlock and then it hit me. I was locked in! The two waitresses on the other side of the door tried to get me to
understand them, language barrier at its best. At least they knew I was locked in and it wasn't until one of them shoved a napkin under the door that I realized that they needed the key. Ah! I dropped the key and after some fumbling with the lock I was free. The three of us burst out laughing, language barrier gone, and hugged! Roger missed the excitement but he was aware that something was amiss but had no idea that I was in the midst of it.

Photos directly above: left top, crumbling section of a ruin. Right top, my feet parked in a marked parking space. Middle left, clothes drying down a side street. Right middle, same clothes drying photographed in a safety mirror for blind corners. Bottom left. sign on a shop. And the last one, decorative paving in the square.

The village is mostly grey stone and not colorful which could be why I worked harder to get interesting photos. I think that some of the images that I got in Tarquinia will afford themselves to other mediums, fabric, paper, etc. When we returned to the car we were puzzled by interest in the fountain. People would stop their cars, dump out water from their plastic bottles and fill them with water from the fountain, the same fountain that was in the post a few days ago with the pigeons perching on it and in the left photo above. Others would slurp directly from the flowing water, and a few shop keepers filled watering cans for their plants. Miracle water? Nope, not taking a chance even if it is the cure!

Quote: "Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversations." -- Elizabeth Drew

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Sunday Musings

Last week was full of interesting episodes including filling up the tank with phantom gas! The pump said that the tank was full, but the gauge in the car, yes, it works, said otherwise. Why is it that the person you need to talk to is never available or, that you can't reach anyone by phone? Perhaps message loops were invented to make you feel that something can be done when in reality they wear you down until you give up and take whatever has been dished out. "We're sorry that you're experiencing a problem, please press #3 to hear the options."

One thing I know for certain is that I've got to start taking better care of my mental state or I'll end up in bed for days on end fighting an infection. Caregivers need diversion from care giving in order to stay healthy; I thought that my art work was that diversion. But, I think that it's better to take a mental break than an active one that might wear me down to the point of exhaustion.

While working on the never-ending travel journal I ran across a photo of a paper artist whose generosity blew me away. (click on photo to enlarge. Front and back journal covers, bundle of paper and the artist who looked away when I took this photo.) Amalfi was once known for it's paper industry and when I saw a pulp mixer in the back of the shop I nearly swooned! Real paper making, not the blender type that I do. I wanted to run my fingers through the wet pulp in the vat. I must have looked like a crazed person wandering around the shop fingering journals, notepaper, cards, and bundles of paper, but the artist must also have sensed a kindred spirit. When we made a purchase of 3 journals, 2 for gifts, she added a bundle of 5x7 inch paper to the bag, "for you." The paper is perfect, something I've never achieved, and I imagine that it will remain bundled for years. That memory stopped the crazed mental state I was in last week and opened the door for peace to enter. When did the peace that I was going to work on this year leave? (Note: we watched a few customers making purchases and she didn't add anything to their bags.)

Yes, art heals!!

Quote: One good idea deserves another. Keep thinking. Sally Husss

Friday, July 17, 2009

Summer Heat

I'm told that it's 115 degrees outside today which is reason enough to photograph from inside of the house. Grape vines growing toward the pergola; afternoon sunlight with blurred mountains in the background. We have glimpses of the mountain range behind our house, the best views are now blocked due to the growth of the neighbors trees.

I'm itching to get back to working with fabric and continuing the 52 projects that has been derailed for nearly two months now. SOON!

Quote: Happiness hides behind every difficulty, waiting to be discovered. Sally Huss

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Buried Treasure

Another Seth treasure from Altered Page. Post a Buried Treasure from your blog.

So, after reading most of my blog starting in 2005 I was struck with how often my posts have been way too personal, but of late that's changed which is a good thing. I nearly deleted most of the older posts that have nothing to do with art work, but my life is what it is and not every event is creative; I won't apologize for the ramblings.

The original post is below. A full-frame photo was posted in 2007, Sept. 9th, Sunday musings. I've lost track of the photo, sadly.

Why did I choose this particular post? I ran across this piece earlier in the week while searching for rubber stamps to use in the travel journal and realized that this tiny 5x7 inch mixed media (isn't there a better term to use?) was the turning point in my work. It was the first abstract that pleased me and nearly two years later I can still remember the feeling I had when I finished it. Whatever that myterious thing is be it following my muse, being in the zone, or perhaps it's allowing the "what if" mode to flow I realized that if I just show up ready for the ride something exciting will happen.

-------------------Original post: I've been working on this 5x7 inch piece off-and-on for months. I'm finally happy with the textures and color palette. The starting point for most of my current pieces is text torn from books that I glue vertically onto a surface; I have a lutradur, lace, and cheesecloth piece in the works that also has the addition of text. During a recent culling of magazine clippings I noticed my fascination with vertical lines - what's with that? Why not explore it? The difficulty with this piece was figuring how to apply paint in vertical lines without hard edges. I wanted the result to look like paint had been dripped on without actually dripping the paint; why do answers appear at 3am? The second goal for this piece was incorporating the cast clay face into the piece rather than "on" the piece.

Thanks Seth! Browsing through my blog was an eye-opener! More art!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Give aways

Just as I suspected, not many want to play along when it comes to listing things about themselves. Perhaps it's because blogging isn't very private, or? I tried to not say anything personal when I answered but I did get an email from someone who thinks that Neil Diamond should retire; I think that's what the email was about. BTW, I did get the tickets to see Cher in Sept. so I'll be in Las Vegas on my birthday weekend.

So, to keep the Give away going until the end of the month simply post a comment on this post or any of the posts about Italy or participate in the last post.

A Give-Away was announced this week on one of my favorite sites, Two Creative Studios, so if you'd like to participate in that one as well go here:

TARQUINIA photos, more about them later. (click on photos to enlarge.)

Friday, July 03, 2009

Award and Give-away!

Thought I'd give you all a break from Italy! Rather than completely follow the rules as provided below, nominating 7 blogs to receive this award, consider yourself Kreative because you are! and simply list 7 things on your blog about yourself that others might find interesting. Post a link back to this blog and leave me a comment on any of the posts about Italy. Why? Anyone who leaves a comment will be given a chance to receive something from me. Right now I have no idea what that might be, but it could be a small quiltie with imagery from Italy. Deadline to do this is the last day of July.

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award - You will love Marilyn's inspiring blog!
Thank you Marilyn for this honor, I'm touched!
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog (and it's okay to brag).
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award. (that would be me, Gail, ExpressionStudio)

4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
1. In the 80's I took aerial photos of the Montery Peninsula for publication in
the Pine Cone. (I got terribly airsick; it took hours to walk it off. But, because
the photos were published I reconnected with my oldest cousin who was passing
through Carmel.)
2. Interviewed Clint Eastwood in the mid 80's when he ran for mayor of Carmel.
Three friends and I were thinking about writing a book on creativity. Clint was
gracious, funny, and flirty. (the book idea fell apart.)
3. I've been a passenger on a Harley.
4. I've seen some of the greatest sights in Europe, but have never been to the Grand
Canyon which is practically in my own back-yard!
5. Over the years I've been to 4 Neil Diamond concerts and 2 Celtic Woman and am
hoping to see Cher and Lord of the Dance before the end of the year.
6. I lived in a rustic cabin in the Big Sur area for nearly 5 years. Chopped wood for
heat and had a large vegetable garden. We didn't have TV or radio and needed to
drive 1/2 a mile on a dirt road to get to the main canyon road and then 4 miles to
Highway 1. It was a 30 minute drive to Carmel so if you ran out of something you
made do! (Now I can't live without AC, the Internet, and multiple TV channels!)
7. If it isn't obvious - I teach myself everything I want to know about!
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers (you're all nominated!)
6. Post links to the 7 blogs your nominate. (post your link when you leave a comment
letting me know that you've posted 7 interesting things about yourself.)
7. Leave a comment on each of the blogs, letting them know they have been nominated.
(feel free to either list blogs, #5, or create your own give-away.)

Note: if you don't have a blog you can list the 7 things in under my comments. Also, if
you need directions on how to copy and paste the logo and award info to your blog
feel free to email me:

Have fun with this! I look forward to reading your posts!! And remember the give-away!

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Cinque Terre

Click here for info about Cinque Terre There are five villages hanging to the some of the steepest hills imaginable. The terrain is magical but I can't imagine anyone having the tenacity it took to terrace the land and make it habitable. In 1998 Cinque Terre became a national park and accessible by train or buses; only residents can drive into the villages. Just as we feared Riomaggiore was packed solid with parking only available on the steep hill making for at least a two mile hike; goats we aren't. The second steep road didn't look promising so we tried the third turn-off and found a space to park the car. The parking attendant told us that it shouldn't take us long to reach Vernazza. Long meaning what? A mile straight downhill but the road was definitely more interesting than the twisty road had been down to Riomaggiore. The air was citrus scented, a stream ran alongside the road and s0me of the dwellings seem staged for tourists. (above, left middle and bottom are two examples.) Click on photos to enlarge.

At the end of the cobbled street, Via Roma, the village met the sea and enthralled found seats in an outdoor restaurant. The meal and view from our table are below. The pesto was made from basil and pine nuts grown locally and was outstanding, even better than my recipe! A hint of lemon?

When I think about Cinque Terre it's with mixed emotions. It's definitely touristy and over-run with people even if it's difficult to reach, but Vernazza was the Italy we'd been hoping for. Peeling paint and plaster, laundry hung to dry from windows, the scent of citrus, church bells ringing, and terraced hills threatening to crumble; our trip to Italy had finally begun!

Quote: A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it." –- John Steinbeck