6

Just the Way You Are

We have been getting a lot of rain after our drought last year. It started earlier than usual as well. I have an area in my back yard where I have plants, with rocks filling in the open spaces.  Every winter, it fills with grass and clover.  Initially, the green of the new growth is so beautiful.  It looks like velvet.  But as it gets nearer to spring, it becomes overgrown and brown.  Each year when that happens, I tell myself that I will just leave it be.  But at some point, I begin digging up a little each day.  I’m going to see what happens this year.  In the meantime, here are a couple photos of the winter growth.

I visited the Folk Art Museum in LA last week.  It is one of my favorites.  There was an exhibit by a fiber artist named Kay Sekimachi.The first piece is a bowl made with flax and Kozo paper. It’s laminated with silver and gold leaf.  The second is made with leaves.

The next two are examples of her weaving.

As for myself, I have been playing with designs that I can use with linoleum or fabric.  Here is one.  I keep looking at it to see where I could break it up or where it needs altering.  I used water color to fill it in.

A couple of items made by my journal making friend Toni, because I love how she uses recycled materials.  The one on the right is a mini journal made from a cereal box.  When you open it, the inside of the front and back covers are the outside of the cereal box.  I love the maps on the label on the left, along with the plastic motorcycle to enhance the theme of travel.

A hand stamped card arrived from another blog friend in Germany today.  It is such a fun surprise to open the mailbox and find a hand written greeting.  We rely so much on emails, that the mail box is usually just filled with bills and advertisements.

A couple shots from my walk early this evening.  Fruit is appearing on citrus trees.  Angels are appearing in gardens.

When my son was little, I’d watch a show with him called “Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood.”  To an adult, Mr. Rogers seemed almost too nice. The songs, kind of silly. But the main point that Mr. Rogers made EVERYDAY was that he liked us (the viewers), and other people can like us, “just the way you are.” I think he probably was very helpful in conveying this idea to children.  I found a quote of Fred Rogers, who in real life apparently was the real deal, a VERY nice person.

“When I say it’s you I like, I’m talking about that part of you that knows that life is far more than anything you can ever see or hear or touch.  That deep part of you that allows you to stand for those things without which humankind cannot survive.  Love that conquers hate, peace that rises triumphant over war, and justice that proves more powerful than greed.”

Perhaps the show’s lessons were not just for children.

Have a wonderful week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

Looking For Joy

I am creatively idea-less. Possibly spending too much mental energy on ways to resist the oncoming negative changes after January 20th.  I had always meant to keep my blog posts light, but because of this president elect, I have never felt the concern for my country, and the world, as I do now.  It also feels strange to talk about my fortunate life, knowing there are so many Syrians struggling for survival.  But there is a joy in doing this blog, and I think doing joyful things sustains us.  I think we actually have to look for joy and be open to it.  I find it so often in situations with animals.  I saw a video of shelter dogs at a pet store choosing their Christmas toy from under a tree and then bounding through the store with it. Just looking at happy dogs makes me happy.

Below is a photo of Oscar, a dog at the shelter last week.  Fantastic dog.  I took him out to the play yard and laughed watching him chase after his toy.  I showed him to everyone that came in.  Hopefully someone adopted him and he won’t be there tomorrow when I go.  I can’t take him because I’m maxed out.  It would be difficult to provide for any more than I already have.

I received some special surprises in the mail recently that brought joy.  One was a hand stamped card from a blog friend.  It was not only exciting to receive the card, but going to my mailbox and finding a hand stamped envelope with postage stamps from Germany was like finding a small treasure.  When I was in elementary school my brother and I had a stamp collection. It was at a time when people didn’t do a lot of traveling like they do now, and the stamps represented exotic and mysterious places that we could only imagine in our minds.  Although I’ve been able to visit many countries as I grew into adulthood, I still love stamps from other places.

Another treasure I received was from my journal making friend.  A tiny one inch by two inch “treasures” book. Inside are equally small envelopes for treasures.

Since I am currently idea-less, I have a couple of older pieces of mine to share.  This was an old linoleum print I made. I carved a linoleum tile and then used printing ink.  Later, I painted a canvas with acrylic, and also applied acrylic to the tile to transfer the image.  I  added some hand stitching with gold thread and a few tiny beads.

This was something I hand stitched for my mom one Christmas.  I was reminded of it when I went to her house and saw it hanging.

No post is complete without an LA weather update.  We’ve actually had some rain and very cold days.  One night the wind knocked out our electricity.  I had to gather candles to put throughout the house.

And our local mountains are covered with snow.

Wishing you joy this week and in the coming New Year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

7

It’s Coming On Christmas…

Christmas is covering the neighborhoods.  These soldiers were made by putting four terra cotta pots together.  They were about three feet tall.

img_3073

img_3067

This display was at a shopping center.

img_3076

Maggie, Charlie, and Lucy are ready for our cold night walks.

fullsizerender

And a recent photo of Sophie.  She’s about four months now, and looking quite a bit bigger than the day I brought her home. She likes to be with the dogs.

img_3079

A new mail art piece, with a little vintage embellishment.

img_3102

I was going through some lino stamps I made, and pulled out this piece I had used some of them on.  It is acrylic on canvas. The deer stamp I made from a photo in an art history book.  There is some hand stitching and glitter added.

img_3103

We had some beautiful sunsets a few days ago.  This is a view from my front yard.  The lights in the left corner of the second photo are lawn ornaments.  People love to put giant inflatable Christmas decorations in their yards that light up at night.

img_3059img_3060

“It’s coming on Christmas

They’re cutting down trees

They’re putting up reindeer

And singing songs of joy and peace.”           Joni Mitchell

I hope you are enjoying your days.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

 

9

Light In Winter

This first photo I’m sharing with Macro Mondays.  Although our nights are very cold, recent days have been beautiful with soft, warm, air and light.  I was giving my yard a little water, and this droplet stayed on the nasturtium leaf.

img_2977

I found some interesting old envelopes at a flea market.  Here is one that I made into mail art.  I noticed how perfect the handwriting is on the address.  It reminds me of how we were taught to write in school.  These days, people’s writing is very different, sometimes difficult to read.

img_3058

I participated in a boutique at a friend’s church. I sold mini cakes and breads along with some tiny succulent plants in equally tiny pots and cups.  I’ve always liked miniatures.

img_3037

The boutique was downtown, and although I’ve been to the area many times, I stumbled on some old amazing apartments a few blocks away.  They looked like classic LA buildings from an old movie.  Some have been made into condos.  I looked up the year they were built when I got home.  Built in 1922.

img_3042

img_3045

img_3041

img_3048

The end of each day has brought a warm glowing light that shines on the houses.  Some photos during my walks through the neighborhoods this week.

img_2983

img_2981img_3027

I put some lights on a fruitless olive tree in my front yard.  When I first started doing this, the tree was very small.  Now I have to stand on a ladder, throw the lights around to the other side, get down from the ladder and repeat a few times.

img_2998

“You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own”.                     Michelle Obama

Trying to stay hopeful as our country’s leadership changes.  Have a great week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

7

November Chill

We had a very cold day here on Sunday, with wind and drizzles on and off.  A friend and I had planned last spring to get a booth at a flea market for that day.  It is usually so hot where the flea market is held, we decided November would be a good month, and last year brought us little rain, so no need to worry about bad weather.  It was a fun day in spite of the cold, and rain, and wind.  We had a covering for part of the space, and had to move anything perishable to the center.  We brought hand made items and vintage wares. This photo shows just one side of our selling space.

img_2970

A couple days before the flea market, I saw a unique play in downtown.  It was three Latina friends getting together for Christmas, and sharing stories from childhood family Christmas gatherings.  The stories were funny, sad, hopeful, and all true. The theater itself only held about forty people, so everyone was very close to the stage.  But the lobby was enormous and beautiful.  The building had been a bank about a hundred years ago. A lot of the old buildings are being restored and made into apartments.

latclobby

After sketching a few window scenes a couple weeks ago, I thought I’d practice painting from some Henri Matisse prints in a book I have.  I started out a little small, and the details were difficult to do in acrylic, so although I started sketching on canvas, I finished them with colored pencils. The pencils were fun, though. I had never used colored pencils on canvas.

img_2974

img_2973

Soon I will be filling this spot above my fireplace with Christmas decorations, but I noticed this wonderful shadow one day as the light came through a window.  You can see the shadow of the bottle on the left, but the shadows on the right seem to be coming from the etchings on the glass bowl next to it.

img_2964

“The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you.  If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.”    Barack Obama

Thank you for visiting.  Have an excellent week.

 

 

 

5

City of Angels

I haven’t had time this week to do any art, but I’m showing a piece I did a while back.  It is on canvas, and the background is painted in acrylic.  I wanted the borders to look like tiles, so I cut some small linoleum squares that I used as stamps. The idea for the center was taken from a book of drawings by Claude Lorrain, born in 1600.  I used watercolor for the tree and then highlighted it with some hand stitching.

img_2966

img_2963

The air is getting a little chillier at night.  We actually had more rain yesterday.  During this time of year, a temporary outdoor ice skating rink is installed in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.  It is an enchanted scene at night with the lights from the tall buildings.

img_2910

I protested peacefully last week with 8000 other Angelenos who are distraught about what is happening in our country.  I had to park quite a distance from the starting point of the rally, so by the time we marched and got back to our car, we had walked nine miles.  All the practice I did to prepare for the Camino last April made it very easy to walk those long distances in Spain.  But now I’m only walking two or three miles a day, so getting back to the car after the rally was a challenge.  It was worth it though.  It was good to be there.

img_2942

The waitresses in this restaurant came out to show support.

img_2921

img_2954

Finally, I went to a Christmas sale at a thrift store a few days ago.  I think they had saved all their Christmas donations from the last year for that day.  It was packed with stuff and shoppers.  I bought this little embroidered mat, and a six inch tree covered with tiny  hand-painted Santa faces.

img_2967

img_2968

“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”  Martin Luther King

Enjoy your week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

8

Forty Four

I’m coming out from the haze of despair after the election. Tomorrow I will put on my walking shoes, drive downtown, and join in peaceful protest. Although the outcome has been decided, I cannot just forget all the hateful language used during the campaign.  Already acts of hate have increased because the perpetrators have been given approval to act out.  It turns out that 48 per cent of the country didn’t vote.  Maybe people will realize the importance of participating.

img_2902

I’ve only done a little sketching lately. This first one made me think of wallpaper around a window, so I made another very QUICK sketch with that in mind.

img_2906

img_2907

I’ve always loved the window scenes of Raoul Dufy and Henri Matisse.

images

images-1

Our weather has reverted back to summer.  Warm days, but very pretty light at end of day.

img_2896

img_2881

I didn’t realize until I got home and looked at this next photo, how the shadow is an extension of the tree.  The tree is actually planted in the middle of the circle of newly mowed grass.

img_2874

The kitty is now officially part of the pack. We adopted her. I think she might be thinking she’s a dog at this point. They all play together. And if they go out, she goes out. When they come back in, she’s right behind them.

img_2888

President Obama met with the president elect at the White House a few days ago to explain things to him and assure a peaceful transition of power.  He knew some of us were disappointed, but he said we had to pick ourselves up and brush ourselves off.  What a class act. Such dignity, offering whatever assistance he could to a person who rejected the legitimacy of his Presidency. I will truly miss the 44th President of the United States.

p1030345-1024x683-2

 

 

 

9

Global Art

I have not made a lot of art myself this week, but I have seen some magnificent work by two other people.  The first was an online article about Nidaa Badwin, a Palestinian woman, who spent 20 straight months in her 100 square foot room creating art.  The day before she went into exile, she was leading a youth program in Gaza, and was taunted by officers who criticized her clothing and eventually hit her.  She took a series of gorgeous Baroque looking photos using only what she had in her room: newspapers, vegetables, egg cartons, sewing machine, typewriter, and bedspread.  I have a few to show, but there were many more if you want to check out her story.

57ff9bc2170000bc16acbb3d

57ff9bbf170000bc16acbb3957ff9bc01b0000df1cef6cf9

57ff9bc0170000c316acbb3a

The second was a documentary called “Sky Ladder,” about artist Cai Guo-Qiang.  He was a young boy during Mao Tse-tung’s rule of China, and the story follows his life as an artist leading up to his work using fireworks and his dream piece called Sky Ladder. His thinking is truly innovative and remarkable. I recommend watching it if you have the opportunity.

We got another night of rain.  It’s wonderful to have rain so early in the season since our summer was so dry.  I don’t have any rain photos, but here are a couple of my favorite autumn photos from last year.

IMG_0436

IMG_0435

I went to a local flea market yesterday.  Lots of fun things to see.  I bought an old globe.  I love maps and globes, but globes are usually expensive. This one was only five dollars.  Our world has gone through many changes since this globe was made.

img_2872

A lot of vendors had vintage Christmas decorations for sale.

img_2857

img_2859

I have continued to play with watercolors.  The first one was a couple of sketches I cut up and put together as a collage.

img_2873

img_2866

Enjoy this last week of October.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

7

Beautiful Day

I’ve been making some new linoleum stamps, but I’m still putting ideas together on how I will use them.  In the meantime, here are two pieces I did a while back.  The images were cut from linoleum and then stamped onto canvas using acrylic. The first one I used a repetitive pattern, like something you might see on an ancient wall.

img_2824

This second one also has a repetitive pattern, but more like what you’d see on a tablecloth.

img_2828

I’ve been doodling and sketching also. This started out as a sketch of a tree, but then I decided to play with the watercolors.

img_2844

This one was an idea I got from a magazine. The sketching is with pencil.  I might take both sketches and expand on the general concepts.

img_2846

It actually rained last night, and today was BEAUTIFUL.  Cool breeze, warm sun, bright colors. The light on my neighborhood walks has been very conducive to picture taking, and the leaves are looking very autumnal.

img_2840

img_2854

img_2852

img_2851

img_2835

The foster kitty is nearly eight weeks old.  I will take her back to the shelter for adoption in another week, (unless we adopt her ourselves).  My dogs, Maggie, Lucy, and Charlie have accepted her as part of the pack, and we find her pretty endearing.

img_2843

Have a wonderful week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

 

11

Print Making

I went to an exhibit at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art two days ago.  It was the 50th Anniversary of a workshop in LA called Gemini GEL (you can look up its history on the internet). Started in 1960, it brought together artists and master printers in the printmaking field.  People like David Hockney (below).

lithograph and screen print

img_2780

Jasper Johns,  lithograph from his numbers series

img_2777

Roy Lichtenstein, woodcut    (out of focus) ( argh)

img_2781

Joseph Albers, lithographs

img_2778

There were many others.  It was exciting to see the work of these artists. I’ve always loved all forms of printmaking.  Below are a few I did many years ago. The first one is a woodcut.  I photographed it in my window so you could get the effect of the light coming through the curtain.

img_2797

The next is a photo etching series of my brother skating on the boardwalk at Venice Beach.  There is a series of six images in color, and six images in white with a touch of water color.  I’m only showing three from each set.

img_2798img_2804img_2805

img_2801img_2802img_2803

Coming home from the exhibit, I drove past downtown as the sunlight slowly faded. As much as I love visiting other places in the world, I love living in LA.  Recently they have been building more high rise apartments and offices, as more people are choosing to live downtown.

img_2787

A few photos from tonight’s walk. Autumn was definitely in the air.

img_2812

img_2814

img_2816

img_2820

img_2822

Wishing all a wonderful week.

Thank you for visiting.