Thursday, July 31, 2008

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


yeah, that describes my time away! great food and happy times with friends, most of whom i rarely see. there were five of us, and NO one was inclined to do anything other than what was purely fun and celebratory. my, how refreshing that is!

we all fell in love with 'mama mia'... if that doesn't make you wanna put on your dancin' shoes, i don't know what will! the cast is fabulous and the choreography impeccable, but what moved me most was meryl streep's performance. that woman inspires me! now i need some ABBA tunes... : )

i drew this the night that i got there... it's quite the long story, but it has to do with giving a homeless person money. the sadness on his face when he saw it was only a dollar; the sadness in my heart that i didn't give him one of the other two bills in my wallet at the time-- a ten and a twenty; the shock that the person in the car behind me was laying on the horn because i didn't immediately bolt when the light turned green-- no time out for giving. and lastly, the feeling i felt when i saw how quickly he tried to conceal his disappointment at a mere dollar. he didn't want me to feel bad about only giving a dollar... one other interesting little thing is that i'd stamped 'practice random kindness and senseless acts of beauty' on the background before i left home... it's the first and only time i've ever stamped words on a background.

i painted quite a bit while i was gone, even though my plan to buy the perfect small light on the way failed. i bought a book light at barnes and nobel but it wasn't nearly bright enough... back to the drawing board on that. good light for painting is hard to come by when you're traveling. if anyone has suggestions about a good traveling light, i'd love to hear them.

so much more i could write, but i'll end for now, leaving you with these oleander blossoms. thank you all so very much for your kind comments to last weeks post-- i appreciated every one!!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

bits and pieces

after much sighing and staring, i decided that the only thing to do with yesterday's painting was tear it up into small pieces... i'd backed myself into a sort of quadrant thing, and it did not make my eyes happy-- and i couldn't see any way that it possibly ever would! so i ripped it up and put the pieces on the front and back of two new pieces of watercolor paper.

i've cropped out most of the white-- it's blinding! this whole photographing of paintings thing is perplexing me. scanning sucks the life right out of them, and outside light is often not the best... hmmmm.... will keep investigating... having spent many hours in front of a photo tent taking pictures of glass beads, i'd rather not get too serious about photographing anything again. well, that kind of photographing-- i'll willingly give myself to hours of random picture snapping!

each 'page' now has a little painting on it like this...

a close-up...

a beetle has his own page...

three pieces together...

and my journal is gathering other stuff besides paintings and pebbles... feathers and a page of text now. i'm writing down words that i want to be reminded of-- things i've read in books recently.

on sunday i made this mala ... i'd seen a hand mala somewhere on the internet earlier in the day, and knew i wanted to make a short, hand mala. they're supposed to have 27 beads, but my design wouldn't have been balanced with 13 beads on one side and 14 on the other.... more sighing and staring. would the mala gods reject all repetitions done on a 28 bead mala?!!! seemed unlikely... so aesthetics won. as if there was ever any doubt! the best part is the sound the copper tag makes tinking against the beads!! i sawed the copper tag from 26 gauge copper sheet and stamped the mantra with my largish letter stamps. i think i want to take the plunge and buy a set of 1/16" letters. there's something very satisfying about stamping out words... the beads are 12 mm rutilated quartz and pink opal. the 'dagger' is a tibetan ritual item symbolic of cutting away delusion. i can't remember the proper name for it... it's also rutilated quartz.

looking at the rutilated quartz in the mala this morning got me thinking about the wondrousness of rutilated quartz, and this crystal in particular...

i'm leaving tomorrow morning to visit friends a few hours south of here, and will be back early next week. before i leave, though, i have one very important thanks to pass on... the WAY talented robyn at 'art propelled' has given me another award, and i'd like to say a heartfelt thank you for that honor. it's actually quite staggering to me that talented artists like seth and robyn would pass these awards on to me. it feels, well, wonderful!! thank you so much robyn!!! if you haven't checked out her blog, please do!

as i sit here typing, planes are zooming around and smoke is blowing in from the southwest. a tanker plane's made two passes not far away, which is making it somewhat hard to concentrate! so i'll say goodbye for now... and see you next week!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

sunday love

sitting outside for a long time this morning-- taking pics, having an extra cup of coffee, talking, and enjoying the sunday quiet...

this rock was my big find of the weekend. i heard it calling to me yesterday, so i went looking. went to all of the places where there are pockets of pebbles on the creek bed, nothing... then a spot under my chair caught my eye and sure enough, second handful, there it was. aha! i held it up in triumph and went inside to show it off!

shasta lilies drying... i'm pondering how to put them in the journal.

this is my attempt at taking a picture of the smoky northeastern california air. people write and ask how smoky it is here, and how far away from the fires we are. we're a good hundred miles from most of the fires now, but the air is still smoky almost every day. if you look through the trees you can (sort of) see it. i think of this as 'the smoky summer'. it's been like this since the lightning storms swept through on the summer solstice.

drying grass and flowers near our front door... a photoshop twelve step program perhaps?

Friday, July 18, 2008

they all live in trees

it's been a bit of a rugged week creatively... the Groove seemed to be just out of reach for most of it. i had some good picture taking days, and that was good, but the painting muse was making itself scarce.

i started out the week painting the flowers and snake above... i paint these flowers a lot, just for the joy of it-- the colors, the shapes... but it wasn't so satisfying this time because what i *really* wanted to paint was something that i couldn't quite get to.

midweek i painted this, and in retrospect i'm *pretty sure* that's me gasping for creative breath there! i took heart in the fact that some sort of Help seemed to be coming my way. : )

i need to order some more white pens. i seem to want one every time i turn around lately.

yesterday i felt i was beginning to touch what i'd been trying to reach ...

i altered a couple of pages from the original book for writing on-- should have spent more time doing this and just forgotten about the painting. i'm loving the fact that this kind of journal keeping has room for all kinds of art making. making these pages is fun and easy... the pic of the car came from the latest 'free people' catalog. i LOVE these catalogs for collage material. besides cool layouts and photography, you get the words 'free people' three or four times! go to to get on their mailing list.

a few more pics from the week...

a bear and a heart from the creek...

more pebbles, and...

jerry and amelia

keeping track of things...

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


the gracious seth apter of 'the altered page' has presented me with two awards... i tried to talk him out of it by pointing out that i've only been blogging for a mere few weeks, but he wouldn't budge! thank you seth! you exemplify all the best of the art blogging world! i'm passing this award on to all of the artists in my blogroll-- there's no way that i can decide on just 7... i've gotten so much from your blogs over the past year and i thank you for that!

on another note, yesterday was a picture snappin' day. some days are like that...

an early morning shot of the creek. that's my chair down there... the perfect place for perusing lynda barry's 'what it is' and dawn devries sokol's '1000 artist journal pages'.

the road to alturas, CA, on our weekly grocery shopping trip. 40 miles of wide open spaces. i never get tired of this drive, or of taking pictures of it...

tiles outside the door of an office building... alturas is full of old buildings with things that people don't do anymore, like put tiny tiles outside the front door.

standing at the tiles, looking west at the hardware store and this cool truck. what the heck are those things?!

looking south now. this light is one of my favorite subjects-- it always looks great!

and finally, looking north... this street light. i think it really looked better before i did the watercolor thing to it, but hey, i've always wanted to do the watercolor thing.

and then back home. the camera finally seemed ready to rest! : )

Monday, July 14, 2008


jesse reno on painting... if you paint/draw/create, watch it! (thank you kelly for telling me how to embed a video!)

next, bobbi s. of cobaltika fame recently posted photos that she took on a quick trip from kansas to california and back. absolutely amazing photography. go here and click on the text under the photo. each one is a gem.

and finally, i saw these last night... tony blackwell of Zoa Art is casting in bronze and shibuichi. check out the blue patina on this bronze wing and this bronze skull and crossbones pendant. everything in their etsy shop is gorgeous, but these two are my favs.

okay, i'm off to see if the quinoa is done. this is the first time i've fixed it in years and directions from various internet recipes were conflicting...

Sunday, July 13, 2008

bird ways

this weekend's journal page... it's on a small (4" x 5") piece of st. armand watercolor paper. if you use it you know that this is a dream paper-- handmade, with just the right amount of sizing, and a beautiful texture to boot. the watercolors were painted on heavily before i lifted/rubbed most of the color off with a sopping wet paper towel. and still the paper is gorgeous and ready for more action.

my weekend's work... the pebbles are awfully addictive. they've got me thinking about pebble art.

the inside of the journal cover with pebbles and small rocks that i'm oooohhhing and aaahhhing over. i can't believe it's taken me all these years to start putting rocks, bones, twigs, feathers, etc. in my journals. what have i been thinking?!!!!!

a friend's cultivated lily... the shasta lilies are drying on their stems now.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

beautiful book

the cover of this beautiful old book will be the container for my new journal... it truly is a gem. the title is 'wild flowers of california', written by mary elizabeth parsons and illustrated by margaret warriner buck. women writing and illustrating a book in the early 1900s... yes, i love that.

(maybe) my favorite thing about it is that its previous owner was an artist. there are images drawn and painted throughout...

and copious notes... it's filled with notes about the medicinal properties of the flowers.

i carefully removed the pages-- with a few snips all of the pages came out, still more or less bound together. the thread in the binding is the most fragile part, the pages are not brittle-- you can bend them and they don't break or crack.

after a couple of tries making a pocket to hold my old daily book (below), i decided that i needed to somehow 'attach' it to the inside of the front cover. here's the progress that i've made toward that so far. well actually, as i sit here typing i've made further progress. the buttons have been sewn on the muslin and most of the velcro has been glued down. once that's finished i'll put the book in a safe place to live until the rest of the contents are ready to move in.

tiny creek pebbles... this is the first summer i've really studied them. my plan is to make a vellum envelope for them so they can live in the new journal.

we're having a heat wave so i'm spending a lot of time in the creek with pebbles and rocks!

and finally, i talked to a friend yesterday who's had to evacuate her home near paradise, CA because of the fires. i'm sending All The Big Love out to everyone everywhere who's had to leave their home because of floods or fires or tornadoes or...