7

Arrival of Spring

San Pedro is about 20 minutes drive from my house.  The climate often has the feel of the Mediterranean. This past Thursday was one of those days.  The air brushed against my skin with just a hint of breeze blowing.  I drove to a small park that overlooks the Pacific Ocean, and I felt like I was in Greece.

Nearby the park is the Korean Bell.  It is a huge bell surrounded by a beautifully painted pagoda.  It was given to the city of San Pedro by the the Republic of Korea to honor veterans of the Korean War, and consolidate friendship between the two countries.

I’m participating in a monthly art project with blog artists in Germany.  Each month there is a theme, and involves handmade stamps and patterns. This month is spring flowers. I’m thinking of ideas, but in the meantime I remembered an acrylic piece I had made using a linoleum stamp.  I was trying to make each row a shade lighter as I scrolled down the canvas.

I also found this piece of fabric I bought a while back, but haven’t decided what to do with it.

And here, a photo of some beautiful flowers I came upon during my walk yesterday.

“I had always planned to make a large painting of the early spring, when the first leaves are at the bottom of the trees, and they seem to float in space in a wonderful way.  But the arrival of spring can’t be done in one picture.”  David Hockney

Thank you for visiting.  Enjoy your week.

 

 

 

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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Have a wonderful week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

 

4

White Snow, Green Trees

A mixed media piece I did a while back. Acrylic on canvas with stitching and leaf prints.

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I went for a drive a few days ago to an older part of LA called Mt. Washington.  Many of the streets spiral upward and provide special views.  Snow on our local mountains. The result of a thunderstorm the night before.

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The day was very beautiful after the cleansing rain.  Everywhere I looked was green.

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Being that it’s an older area, the trees and plants are lush and overgrown.  I love that.

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And of course the houses have so much character and charm.

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It is pouring right now (we’ve been waiting), although not expected to last too long. I thought I’d practice a small watercolor sketch. It’s from a photograph of a trip I took to the city of Stirling in Scotland. Home of Stirling castle, which houses the sword of William Wallace (Braveheart).

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Here is a watercolor I did a while back.  At the time, I enjoyed trying to paint the details of the chairs and tablecloth.

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Thank you for visiting.

 

8

Going the (Twelve Mile) Distance

A small watercolor for Sunday Sketches over at Blue Chair Diary Blog.

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I can never decide which direction to go in creatively.  I’ve signed up to take an online watercolor class with illustrator Alexandra Mac Vean at Blue Chair Diary Blog. I love watercolor used with sketches and illustrations. But I also love the colors and style of painters like Matisse, Auguste Macke and Vanessa Bell. And I love mixed media.  I need to get a few supplies for the watercolor class, so in the meantime, I played around with some acrylics yesterday.  I’m not finished with the curtains and table, and I’m going to add some fruit. If I put it aside for a bit I can look at it with new perspective.

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This is an acrylic I did many years ago.

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I found an article in The Huffington Post with photos of absolutely amazing street art done by a FEMALE street artist in Afghanistan, Shamsia Hassani.  It is worth going to Huff Post for the article and all the photos.  Here are a few.

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We actually got a day of rain this week following one that was 93 degrees. I think everything in nature must be somewhat confused.  Signs of spring are appearing, but we’re all hoping for a little bit of winter before winter is over.

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Preparing for the Camino today, I rambled along pedestrian walk ways that run along the sand while looking out at the ocean, through the beach towns of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhatten Beach to El Segundo.  For middle of February, it looked like a typical summer day.  People flocking to beaches to lay in the sun, walk dogs, and ride bikes. We ended our twelve miles here at this little side street where the walk ways stopped.

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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”   Marcel Proust

Enjoy a new week of discovery.

 

 

2

Doodling

It’s been VERY warm here.  Today was VERY bright and the sky VERY blue.  Here’s how it looked along the So Cal coast.  They’re telling us to expect an El Nino that will bring us A Lot of rain in the fall.  Fingers crossed.

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Since only one room in my house has air conditioning, it’s been almost too hot to sit down and think of creative ideas.  I don’t keep an art journal, but I scribble on paper or pages from a vintage French book.  Maybe one day I’ll make a journal for them if I amass enough for a journal.  So the following sketches are all I could muster in the heat.  The first, watercolor, the second, colored pencil, and the last oil pastel.

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I think I’ve mentioned how much fun oil pastel is.  It’s like coloring with crayons, but you can smear it a little.  Even more fun.

I’ve been continuing my trips to Starbucks, but it’s actually been too hot for hot chocolate.  I’ve been getting chocolate milk with ice. Very tasty. There’s a small counter against a wall at Starbucks where they have the napkins and straws.  Above the counter is a bulletin board for flyers of adoptable dogs and local events.  But recently, in the middle of them, there was a tiny pen and ink drawing on a napkin.  It was such a pleasure to stumble on this spontaneously created piece.  No artist signature.  Just there, held up by magnets for people to see and enjoy.

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A long time ago I painted a little acrylic picture, and put some random words on it that I saw in a magazine layout for a yard bake sale.  Like a garage sale, but baked goods.

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I liked the effect, so along with my sketches a few days ago I made another small acrylic with lettering.  (Something that didn’t take a lot of thought in the heat, but kept me in doodling form).

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Enjoy these continuing summer days and keep doodling.

P.S.  Charlie says “hello”.

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0

Midsummer Day’s Dream

Some quiet time.  My backyard.  Warm air.  Breeze.

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a rusted chair.

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a painted chair.

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a trough I made that included a plastic pony.

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an old painting I did of a Joel Meyerowitz photo from his book “A Summer’s Day.”

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an even older painting I did from my apartment balcony when I lived in Santa Monica.

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lucy, getting more silver as she nears her second birthday in five days.

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a surprise visitor.  I was concerned about his little wing not being at his side, but he flew to the bush and then flew away.  I’m hoping all’s well.

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A midsummer’s day.

 

0

Art, Rain, and Empty Cupboards

I was working simultaneously on a colored pencil drawing and a painting in my art class.  We needed to choose an animal picture to draw from.  I found one in an old National Geographic.

For the painting I used acrylics and tried layering color for the desired effect, staying away from black.

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For the pencil drawing we used gray paper and ad markers to establish the light and dark areas.  The markers also help attain the darker shades, because the colored pencils tend to saturate the paper.

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We have been having chillier weather than usual for May, but very beautiful.  Our governor has called for cutbacks in water usage due to the very small amount of rain we got this year.  But, lo and behold we got some last week, in MAY.  Still not enough to resume using water as usual.  But it brought some beautiful puffy clouds when it ended, which we also don’t get to experience a lot in LA.  Below is a photo of the end of the rain, and end of the day magic hour, an expression coined by my photographer husband’s co-worker, also a newspaper photographer.  It’s very appropriate to explain the way the sun illuminates the foreground against a dark background.

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With the moisture came some mushrooms. These were not there in the morning, and just a few hours later there was this whole colony.

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I’ve been trying to “get rid” of so many things that I’ve been saving just for the sake of saving.  I do this every so often, but this time I really want to make a dent.  I’ve actually  EMPTIED a few cupboards.  A lot of what I’m going through are “saves” from my childhood that my mom saved, and gave to me, to continue saving.  But there just isn’t any need to hold on to things that only sit in cupboards and drawers.  A FEW things, yes.  For example, I have some very old Little Golden Books.  I even started going to flea markets and bought more.  But at this point, I don’t need to keep them all.

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As I’ve been going through some of the books, the pictures are still so familiar, as are the covers of Nancy Drew.

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I’ll probably have a little yard sale, and some of the things I’ve been saving will make their way into someone else’s life, and eventually wind up in another yard sale, or flea market, or thrift store, and then…ah, the fun of recycling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Exploring Without A Map

Further exploration in my quest to see new local places, led me across the Vincent Thomas Bridge to Long Beach.  It is a port city that receives a lot of international freight.

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With this kind of exploring there’s no need for a map.  Just drive (or get out and walk) and observe. Long Beach is pretty large, so there are a lot of distinct areas that are different from each other. The part I was in is old and artsy.  Here’s a courtyard of an apartment complex. So picturesque.

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Plants growing out of the SIDE of an office building.

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A Cambodian Buddhist Temple.

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This next picture is something I haven’t seen in ages.  After resisting, I finally had to get a cell phone for emergencies, because I no longer could find any pay phones.

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These jacaranda trees are in bloom everywhere right now.  Here is one in front of a quintessential Southern California palm tree.

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Finally, a sleeping cat with a squirrel who cannot decide if that cat is going to remain sleeping so he can make his move.  I watched the squirrel stick his head in and out of the fence opening but never made it any further.

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Further explorations in future posts.

I worked more on my acrylic painting in the style of Wayne Thiebaud.  It’s further along, but still not finished.

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It’s actually raining, which has been so rare in California this year.  So as I watch it through the windows, I’m going to use a cool idea from “Tall Tales from Kansas,” the blog of Carol Moss.  In one of her posts she made some teeny tiny quilts to patch some holes in a pair of jeans.  I’ve got a pair in mind that needs repair.  And I love quilts and anything tiny.  When my son was little, I got him a series of books called “I Spy.”  Each page was a gorgeous photo by Walter Wick of an assemblage of tiny things, and the reader had to try and find specific items.  I always wanted to create some of my own, but it would not only take MANY tiny gathered things, but also different BACKGROUND SETS, as each one was a different theme.  Kind of a Visual Exploration, in a Book.  Again, no map required.

Here is a photo of just a handful of tiny things I’ve collected.  But you must check out the I Spy books.  Each page of each book is mesmerizing.

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Go exploring.  It can give you new perspective on a bad day, and a make a good day even better.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Seeing Red… and Blue and Yellow and Green…

In my drawing class which is now painting, I did this a couple days ago.  It’s not finished, but I’m excited about the style we’re learning.  A lot of layering, and some reference to Wayne Thiebaud.  I’m enjoying playing with color.  It’s always interesting and sometimes breathtaking to see something that’s not the color we are used to seeing.  A lavender sky, a turquoise ocean.

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I’ve been watching the birds in my neighbor’s and my yard.  She’s got the feeders and I’ve got the bath.  Love to see the different colors.  The brighter ones are the males.  Lots of beautiful hummingbirds, but no pics yet.  In this area we get ones called “Anna’s” hummingbird.  I also need to get pictures of the “Mourning” doves that come around.  Their coloring is pale, doesn’t stand out.  But if a bird can have a sensitive face, then these are the ones.  Maybe that’s where they got their name.

Some morning activity…

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No birds here, I just liked the bark.

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Afternoon activity…  A Cooper’s Hawk in the birdbath.

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And late afternoon… Can you see the moon?

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When you see reds, blues, yellows, greens, subtle or bright, natural or unusual, how does the color of something make you feel?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

0

Circles and Squares

First, a little nature.  The birdbath in my yard draws birds in summer and winter.  I love to watch them dunk their heads, then arch their necks when they come up, so the water runs down their back and through their feathers before shaking it off.

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It’s kind of difficult to see because the ground is the same color as the birds, but there’s three coming in for a landing in this picture.  A lot of sparrows and finches.  Sometimes they’re lined up around the entire edge of the bath.  But when a larger bird comes, they scatter to the trees.

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Next, my winter bulbs have bloomed.  I don’t know the name, but each small flower has a little green DOT on each tiny petal.  The dots look like they were painted on.

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I have been working on a new mixed media piece.  Here is a sample of what I’m using.  Each piece (paper and fabric) will be in a SQUARE shape, and I’ll be hand stitching a lot of CIRCLES.

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I have been very inspired by the creativity on some artist’s blogs I’ve been following.  So many mediums used so beautifully.  Acrylic, textiles, watercolor, hand stitching.  I feel like I’m spinning with ideas and options, trying to decide which direction to go in, because I like working with all of them.  Yesterday I just wanted to paint without having to think too much, and use a lot of color, so I went through some of my art books.  I came to “The Woman with the Hat” by Matisse, and decided to give it a try with acrylics.

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It was a lot of fun.

I like piecing SQUARES together, like in a quilt, but not just with fabric. I enjoy using squares made with paper and creating patterns.  A few years ago my husband and I took a winter trip to Rome.  When I picked up the pictures after getting them developed, an extra copy of each was automatically included.  I didn’t need the extras, so I starting cutting, into squares.  Each square either had people, architecture, or something sculptural.  I put an individual backing under them, and put them in a “floating frame.”  To avoid the glare, I removed the top layer of glass for this photo, but when it’s hanging, you can see through the glass in all the areas where the table is showing.

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CIRCLES, SQUARES, DOTS, LINES.   Choose your fave and create something.