Book Art

The Los Angeles Folk Art Museum is having an exhibit of Book Art.  I went today and came out very inspired.  First, a couple photos of the wonderful old houses near the museum.

There were all kinds and sizes of book art on display.  The first is by Howard Marshall, and reflects his African American roots.

The next one was made by Susan Sironi, who used a surgical scalpel to carve out a delicate sculpture from a book.

This next one was photographed by the famous LA artist, Ed Ruscha. As you can see in the title, it is “Every Building on the Sunset Strip,” which is a very famous street in Hollywood.

The one below, was a book photographed by another famous LA artist, John Baldessari. Read the title, then check out the photo that follows.

A tiny box with rolled up newsprint.

I pulled out something I started a while back, all hand stitched, but never finished.  The second photo shows what kind of detail I need to add to each square.

A look at the sky last night in front of my house.

“At any street corner, the feeling of absurdity can strike any man in the face.”       Albert Camus

But I was not on a street corner.  I was in my house, watching Donald Trump address Congress on TV.

Thank you for visiting.  Enjoy your week.







Looked Like Rain

September didn’t disappoint, it has just saved the heat wave till the end. That’s what we’ve been promised for the weekend, although today still has a nice fall breeze going on.  A few days ago I was in San Pedro.  Unusual clouds that looked like rain, but VERY humid. Here is a photo of the LA Harbor (in San Pedro) where cargo comes in from all over the world.


A view from the hilltop residences.



Now a view on the other side that looks out to the ocean along Pacific Coast Highway.  It’s at the bottom of the hill in this photo. You can drive PCH all the way up the California coast.



A little bungalow, with a seasonal pumpkin on the porch.


While walking in the humidity at day’s end, as the sun was setting, it looked like a giant ball just sitting in the street.  Hard to tell in the photo, but I could see the entire circle.  I’ve never seen anything like it.


Continuing thumbnail sketches and collages.




After walking the Camino, we stayed a few days in Madrid.  I thought I’d show this tiny book I got.  It’s 2 inches by 3 inches.  It has a leather cover “con 25 ilustraciones.” The title is “Granada La Bella.”  It’s a book about the city of Granada in Spain, with 25 pictures.  All along one of the main avenues, there were bookstalls and vendors selling old books.  Of course my eyes were drawn to the smallest ones.



Do you feel fall in the air where you are, or is summer lingering?

Thank you to all who stop by and check out my posts.  It’s fun to share, and also to receive your feedback.  Enjoy your weekend.







The Arrival

El Nino has finally arrived.  No flooding yet.  Tiny intermittent breaks in the downpour, just long enough for Maggie and Lucy to run outside.  Charlie is still waiting for the sun to come out.  Soon I will don my rain jacket for my daily walk.  Last Sunday my two fellow Camino walkers and I finished  14 miles in one stretch, stopping of course to eat some cheese and granola bars. So it’s seeming more doable.  I remind myself that we will cover that distance everyday.  I’ve been reading some books in preparation.  It’s interesting to get other people’s views on walking long distances.  One of them is The Pilgramage by Paulo Coelho.  Kind of a metaphysical read.  The other was recommended by Janet Ghio whose blog is Janet’s Art Play.  The title is The Art of Pilgrimage by Phil Cousineau. The forward of the book set the tone for for what I’m hoping to get from the Camino experience.  “Travel brings a special kind of wisdom if one is open to it.”


One of the 2016 themes in Cloth, Paper, Scissors magazine is going to be Art in Nature.  I submitted a few samples of my stitched acrylics.  They all have a nature theme using linoleum stamps or real leaves.  It will take a few months to find out if they have been accepted.




Looking at the stitched line patterns reminded me of a project I did in school many many years ago. At the time, I took black and white photos of lines on things that were man made or in nature.  So as I was walking recently, I looked for some, although this time the results are in color.







The sun came out for a brief moment, but Charlie still declined to venture out.  There was a fleeting rainbow, but both sun and rainbow left as quickly as they came.  The rain resumes.


Stay dry, and enjoy whatever the day brings you.







Walking, Walking and…Walking

I’m going to walk The Camino!

Tickets in hand, and departing in April with two friends.  We’ll start in Pamplona and walk 453 miles to Santiago de Compostela. That should give me time to build up the amount of miles I am able walk in a day.  Right now I’m walking four miles every evening, and soon will add four miles in the morning for a total of eight each day. When we get to Spain we’ll be walking twelve to fifteen per day, but stopping for breaks and lunch.  The weather is good for practicing now.  Although one cloudy morning (I had planned on two walks that day), I set out with a warning of rain from my husband.  If it rains I thought, it will be drizzle.


Wrong.  After two miles and my Starbucks hot chocolate in hand, DOWNPOUR! I looked like I’d jumped in a pool with my clothes on.  Since I was only wearing a t-shirt with jeans, it was cold.  I called my son to pick me up, but by the time we found each other, the sun was out.  I sent him home and I continued on foot.

Since the rain, we’ve had some cold wind.  But the cold air, combined with warm sun shining on my face while I walk, has been kind of heavenly.  Some photos from my walks.



Below are two residents of a house with nine cats.


Besides walking, I visited a new museum in LA called The Broad.  A contemporary collection of the man who built it, Eli Broad.  Below is a graphite drawing by Ed Ruscha.  Phenomenal.


“Tulips” by Jeff Koons.  (out of focus, but I liked the photo)


One of El Anatsui’s pieces that looks like cloth but made from the foil on wine bottles. Gorgeous


The architectural elements on the building were also very contemporary.  Here is a window looking out at the Disney Concert Hall downtown with the San Gabriel mountains in the background.


There was a small dark room covered with mirrors and little hanging lights. The platform that you stood on was surrounded by water, so even the floor was sparkling.


If you are interested in reading about The Camino, there’s an entertaining book written by a German comedian describing his walk from the Pyrenees in France to Santiago de Compostela.


Finally, as excited as I am about my travel plans, it is impossible not to feel grief about the insanity permeating the world.  One of the victims of the Paris assault was a young woman from the same university that my son graduated from in Long Beach, Ca.  I can imagine how excited she was to be doing some of her studies in Paris.  How unimaginable that she would die in this horrific way.  I’ve read that one of the intentions of the terrorists was to create a backlash against the flow of refugees pouring into Europe.  I hope that governments continue to see these tired and desperate refugees, who have been forced to leave their homes, with compassion.








Carpet Weaving

I saw some inspiring pieces at a museum in LA a couple days ago. It was also a good place to escape the heat.  This first one, my photo of a photo, looking through a window, could have passed as a painting.


One of the exhibits was called the Afghan Carpet Project which was a collaboration between a non profit group, American artists, and Afghan carpet weavers to help revitalize the traditional carpet weaving industry in that country. This first photo is a segment from a carpet called Blue Burqa.


An entire family works together weaving the yarns to make one carpet.  The next photo is a segment from one called Kite Fight.  Amazing skills…and patience.


The monthly book sale at one of the nearby libraries was yesterday.  This particular one has a considerable amount of very old books.  And even though I have read the ones I purchased, I was so drawn to them, I bought them anyway.  A whopping $1.00 each.  Not only is it extremely interesting to me that they are so old, and that they survived to this point, and I like to wonder who else has owned them, but they are like little art pieces.  Old leather covers with “Ernest Hemingway” embossed in a 1940 edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls, and an ancient photo of Robert Louis Stevenson in a 1928 mini edition of Treasure Island.



Working on my 10×10 panels.  In the meantime, this is a larger one I did a while back, using leaves for stamps.



I’ll leave you with a little LA sunshine (with a small amount of heat relief under a table umbrella).


Hope you are enjoying your September days.







Bird In A Bath, Dog In A Bed

I’ve always loved the kind of illustrations that you find in the Madeline series by Ludwig Bemelmans and The Babar books by Jean de Brunhoff.  Whimsical, pen and ink, color washes.  I went to a library recently that had the equivalent of two rooms full of used books for sale.  Priced to sell.  Like one dollar, or two.  They were organized into categories, fortunately.  I looked through the children’s and adult vintage sections.  I love the look of really old books and the feel of the paper.  I got a small book published in 1896.  Stories by Honore de Balzac.  I had actually read one of the stories from it in my book club.  We have a very eclectic book list.  But I bought it because the cover and pages are just so soft.  It feels like a little treasure.  My favorite is a book published in 1950 called The Paris We Love. Each chapter was contributed by a different writer and tells the history of the different quarters throughout the city, starting with the Middle Ages.  I will glance through the writing, but the reason I bought it was for the pictures.  Lovely illustrations that look like little watercolors.


And beautiful illustrated maps of each quarter.


Another book, published in 1942, called Van Loon’s Lives, has stories about a variety of people from Plato to Thomas Jefferson.  Again, I’ll skim through the writing to check it out, but it was the pictures that caught my eye. Some in color, some delicate pen and ink, or etchings.


I love the one below of Don Quixote.  I got to see hilltops lined with windmills while driving through the Andalusian region of Spain.  It is an awesome place.


Illustrations like these are not only delightful to look at, but creatively inspirational.

My remaining photos are some observations that caught my eye, in and just outside my house in the last couple weeks.  Hence the title of this post.  A bird in a bath.  (Thinking about it).


And taking the plunge.


A dog in a bed. (Sounds Dr. Seuss-ish).


And lastly, a plant in my neighbor’s yard that adds colors as it grows.


And then flowers at the tips that include all three colors. The colors make me think of popsicles.


Enjoy your week.  And be on the lookout for delightful things.


Fireplaces and Shade Trees

Still stitching my large mixed media, but I brought home my pastel landscape from my drawing class.  I remember first using pastels in the fourth grade.  I made a drawing of a cypress tree silhouetted against a pink and purple sky.  It was fun.  Working with pastels recently was still fun.  There are some mediums that seem to be more fun, compared to others that seem to take more hard work in creating the image or scene you’re aiming for.  I’m sure everyone has their favorite.  This one was done on pink paper.  The photo doesn’t allow you to see the pink coming through as it does in person.  If you click on it, you can see the pink a little more.


I had mentioned a graphic novel I was reading for my book club in another post.  The title is “Persepolis,” by Marjane Satrapi.  It was excellent, and the stark black and white drawings, also by the author, lent to the feel of the story.  A true story, it begins when the author is ten years old in 1979, as Ayatollah Khomeini comes to power in Iran.

At the end of the book, she is fourteen, and her parents send her to live with friends in Europe.  I want to read her second book which continues where “Persepolis” leaves off and takes the reader into her adulthood.

I purchased some other good books at the library’s book sale.  (Very inexpensive).  I had read Ernest Hemingway’s “A Movable Feast”  twice before.  Once in college and once recently.  Your perspective of a book is really influenced by the age you are when you read it.  I loved the story both times I read it, but responded to it a little differently the second time.  A true account of Hemingway’s life in Paris in the 1920’s.  At the library book sale, I found a novel based on his life at that time while married to his first wife, Hadley.  The title is “The Paris Wife,” by Paula Mclain.  I like non fiction, but “The Paris Wife” has the actual events mixed with the author’s take, so it’s interesting.


Another book from the book sale that I got a while back is “The First Man.”  It is an autobiographical novel by Albert Camus.  I loved it.  A lot of events from his childhood in Algeria.  I also love non fiction that takes place in foreign countries.  I was lucky last week at the library sale, because I found “The Stranger” and “The Plague”  by Albert Camus.  Both works of fiction, but supposed to be excellent.  On the list to read as soon as I finish “The Paris Wife.”


I came across some more “finds” at local thrift stores.  It can be very hot in the summer here, so I purchased some blouses that had long sleeves, cut them to be short, and hemmed them on my sewing machine.  The last three days have already been short sleeved weather (very hot) so I took these last couple pictures outside for a little summer ambiance.  A friend emailed me about the snow they are having in Connecticut.  It must be so beautiful to see it outside your window,  although maybe a little overwhelming if it’s blizzard weather.  I’ve seen a few blizzard photos on some blogs I read.  Wow.

What drastic differences across the country.  Some people reading in front of a warm fireplace, and some of us reading in the cool shade of a tree.




Patiently Waiting

It seems sometimes that so much of life is filled with errands and maintenance.  The summer-like day today propelled me outside to the little house though, so I put off all errands and maintenance.  I decided to practice some drawing before I go to my next class in a couple of days.  I have never been able to draw people or animals (that would include faces, hands and feet) so I don’t know why I decided to give that a try.  Well, maybe.  I was thinking about my beautiful sheltie, Jasmin, and thought I’d make a really serious effort to draw her.  She passed away at 15 years of age a short time ago.  We got her from a rescue group, and she had been so tramatized by whatever she had gone through, that she had lost her hair.  It took her awhile to get comfortable with us and then people that came to the house.  But she became the most perfect dog.  And beautiful, physically and in spirit.

So this picture is NOT finished, and has a long way to go.  For clarification, she’s got her feet up by her face which is on a pillow.  I’m going to take it to class on Tuesday for some guidance from the teacher.  It was a major effort.  Art should be fun, but it is also difficult when you’re taking on something really challenging.  I’ll definitely post the finished piece when I get there…


My book club is starting an unusual type of story, called a graphic novel.


The title is Persepolis and is a memoir by Marjane Satrapi set during the Islamic Revolution In Iran in 1978-1979.  I like stories that give a first hand account of a specific period in history.  And the fact that it includes these comic book looking pictures makes me very curious.  Another thing I will post about when I have finished it.

So to add a little color to my so far black and white post, I’ve got a couple of water colors I painted in a class I took a while back with another excellent teacher/artist.  I have found that to be a rare combination.  Most art teachers are good artists, but they don’t know how to teach.  It’s a separate skill.


Everyone I showed this to, thought these people were sitting on the edge of a cliff looking at the sky.  But in fact they are sitting on the sand looking at the ocean.  Painting/drawing is an ongoing process.


This painting I attempted four times and I was still not satisfied.  But this fourth try was way better than the first three. I finally decided to leave well enough alone.

Here is a photo of beautiful Jasmin.  She gave us so much with just her gentle presence.  I think of her always…my Jazzygirl.


“The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.”

WB Yeats








Today I started a drawing class with an excellent teacher, who was the instructor in another class I had taken.  We jumped right in and attempted to draw our own face, with charcoal, while looking in a mirror.  Faces, hands, feet, always difficult.  Actually more than difficult for me.  So the experience and challenge was fun.  My unfinished drawing is still in the classroom, so I can’t show it yet.  But I do have a picture of a bird drawn with colored pencils on black paper, that I did in the last class.


The day continued to bring small enjoyable discoveries.  The public library is next to the the Cultural Center where the classes are held.  They always have used books on sale for a couple of dollars.  It’s one of those treasure hunt moments.  I found two.  The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke, and junk style, a picture book of how to incorporate your flea market/thrift store finds into your home decor.


Next I went to Just Luigis for pizza and salad.  I ate outside even though it was an unexpectedly cold day after the warm days we’ve had lately.  Just Luigis is in “Old Torrance,” which is what it sounds like, old, but very nice ambiance. So sitting outside, although chilly, was very pleasant.  A mural at Just Luigis.


Upon arriving home, after greeting Maggie, Charlie and Lucy, I headed out to my “little house” to continue drawing.  It’s really a studio my husband built for me, but it’s always just referred to as the little house, because that’s what it looks like.  I sketched a whole page out of the junk style book, and then added a little water color, colored pencils, and ink.  But I only liked the rusty faucet…


Wednesdays I volunteer at the shelter.  It’s quite a lot of physical work, but I’m ready after a very leisurely Tuesday.







Enjoy the Detours

I started a map series a while back.  I have finished some, and others are still in the works.  I’ve always loved maps.  I guess it’s the same reason I loved collecting stamps as a child.  The names of places are intriguing and I always want to know where a place is located.  Not only were the names interesting, but the different types of patterns to depict things like vegetation, forests, mountains, rainfall, and climate on different continents were also fun to compare.  This first piece is my take on such a map.  As always, I used a mix of materials.

Africa, using acrylic and hand stitched embroidery thread on canvas.


For this next piece I made four linoleum stamps of one section of four continents.  Again with acrylic and hand stitching on canvas.


Orange (eastern part of Asia with Japan), Green (northwestern part of South America), Yellow (southeastern part of Africa with Madagascar), Red (southwestern part of Europe).  I found it interesting how they fit together like one continent.  I will post more pieces as I finish them.

I read a beautiful book ironically titled “The Names Of Things,” by Susan Brind Morrow.  The author is a translator of contemporary Arabic and ancient Egyptian folktales into English.  Doing research in Egypt and Sudan from 1988 to 1990, the memoir describes the months she spent living with nomads, her base in Cairo, and her experiences as a woman traveling alone in an Arab country.


Maps and books on foreign countries remind me of the places I’ve been and the places I would like to go.  Of the places I’ve been, there were magical times.  But I remember times when I tried to ask directions, and didn’t speak the language, so I wound up being sent in the opposite direction. And another time sleeping in the airport because my flight was so late that no more were leaving till the next day. Frustration usually set in.  Recently I found a quote by an unknown author that I truly believe, because in looking back, getting lost or getting stuck for a night at the airport just added to the adventure.

“The real happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

Enjoy your detours.