13

Strolling and Exploring

Sketch for Sunday Sketches at Blue Chair Diary Blog. My son had put a pepper in a green bowl on the kitchen counter, and when I walked in, the colors were so beautiful together.  The photo I took is at the end of the post.

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It rained last Sunday night. When I set out on a walk the next morning, fluffy clouds were still wafting across the blue sky, covering and uncovering the sun. I came to a small park.

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Most people were already at work or school. I became aware of the silence as I walked. My destination was a large park. It has a trail specifically for walking, and a few people were already out for a stroll when I arrived. The large green grassy areas that are usually filled with picnicing families, were empty. There was a cool breeze to top off the serenity, along with an official welcome to the park.

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Too cute.  This little guy and his friends were greeting everyone as they walked by.

Next to the park is a mini railroad track with real steam engines that adults and children can ride.  Each person sits on an individual little engine. Here’s the track through a fence, since it wasn’t open at the time.

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Thursday I drove to another older section of LA called Echo Park.  This street was so steep, I was too afraid to drive down.  My iphone photo doesn’t really show how steep, but the top of the street in the background is what it looked like from where I was standing.  Like going over a waterfall.

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Echo Park is one of the areas that has some of the old historical stairs.  I found one so I stopped and walked up, and down. 198 steps.  I need to go back with my stair walk guidebook to find more.

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Photo as promised.

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“You can judge how advanced a civilization is by the way it treats its animals.”  Mahatma Gandhi

I read an article recently about the dog meat trade in China and South Korea.  I’m hoping to find ways to bring awareness in hopes of bringing change.  Check into it if you are inclined, I welcome your thoughts.

Have a compassionate week.

 

 

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.

 

3

Walking on Horse Trails

The south bay area of Los Angeles where I live has many diverse sections.  One of them has homes that include space to keep horses.  Winding behind these homes and corals are over 25 miles of horse trails.  My fellow pilgrims and I walk the trails some Sundays.  It’s very picturesque with many horse sightings as we go.

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I thought this outdoor chandelier was a great idea.  Don’t know if it’s only for decoration.

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I had to drop my car off at the Honda dealer for a checkup today, so I decided to walk the mile home, and walk the mile back to pick it up when it was finished.  It’s interesting to walk past businesses on busy streets.  I’m always in my car. I’ll check out pedestrians at the crosswalks when I come to a red light.  But since I’ve been walking, I relate in a different way to the world of drivers and pedestrians.  I notice different things than when I’m in the car.  I feel like I’m relating in a more personal way.  People I pass say hello.  A friend once said about driving the freeway, that it felt like we were all encapsulated beings.  I know in European cities people walk more, and also in other large cities in the US.  But everyone in LA has a car.  They are just starting to put in metro systems that will cover larger areas.  That is the problem. LA is VERY spread out.

I had to go through a couple of residential streets on my way today, and I saw this house.  It looked like a Lego or Barbie house.  I was very glad it isn’t across the street from me.  I wouldn’t want to look out my window at it everyday.

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Right before I left, I was playing with my new watercolor set.  I added some oil pastels as well (below).  But surprisingly, the colors in the house above, reminded me of it.

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Finally, a little bit more color from the neighborhood.  I liked the speck of blue chair with the yellow flowers.

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When I visited Monet’s house at Giverny, the entire kitchen was yellow and blue.

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“When you go out to paint, try to forget what it is you’ve got in front of you, a tree or a field.  Just think: here is a little square of blue, an oblong of pink, a streak of yellow, and paint exactly what you see.”   Claude Monet

It SOUNDS easy… have a creative weekend.

 

 

8

Blue Skies

I’m participating in “Sunday Sketches” through Alexandra MacVean’s blog, Blue Chair Diary Blog. Below is my small water color entry.

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Three days ago I drove up to Ventura to visit my sister.  It is a beach town about an hour and a half up the coast from my house.  The sun was shining and the air was hot like a summer day, the sky a brilliant blue.  The cherry blossom trees were in full February bloom again this year.

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This is a hill at the end of my sister’s street.  It is covered with rows of avocado trees, minus avocados.

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We sat on a bench overlooking the Pacific while we ate our sandwiches.  It actually got too hot and we had to move to some shade.

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But before we moved, we enjoyed the company of these two, who waited expectantly for us to share our lunch.

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Working on (finished?) another mixed media piece using some very old vintage fabric.  Didn’t know exactly where I was going with this piece, so it kind of unfolded as I went.  The photo makes the line in the mountain appear huge, although that’s not the case in person.

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Enjoy all that you can this week.

“We think about the universe as an intellectual playground, which it surely is, but the moment you learn something that touches an emotion rather than just something intellectual, I would call that a spiritual encounter with the universe.”                                 Neil deGrasse Tyson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4

Art, Nature, Travel, and the Meaning of Life

ART

I finished a mixed media piece.  A small canvas, using vintage fabric, acrylic, leaf prints, hand stitching, buttons, and a few strips cut from an old book.

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NATURE

This guy was walking around the parking lot at the beach the other day while I was walking.  I’m aware of the importance of his beak, but it looked uncomfortable.  His head, though, was so soft and fuzzy looking.

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TRAVEL

My niece and sister-in-law are going on their first trip out of the country. Destination: Paris, France.  I’m giving them a few ideas of places they could visit right outside of the city.  One would be Giverny, home at one time to Claude Monet.  For artists, it is a must see if you visit Paris.  The gardens and water lily ponds at Giverny were the subjects of many of Monet’s paintings.

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As for the ongoing gathering of necessities to walk the Camino, this arrived in the mail.  It’s the official pilgrim’s passport.  It needs to be stamped at each town along the way until you get to the destination of Santiago De Compostela.

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thoughts on THE MEANING OF LIFE  (a quote from Neil deGrasse Tyson)

“Maybe the meaning of life is something that you create, that you manufacture for yourself and others.  Have I learned something today that I didn’t know yesterday?  Bringing me a little closer to all that can be known in the universe.  Just a little closer, however far away all the knowledge sits.”

Just sharing.  Have a good weekend.

 

 

 

2

January

It was amazing to look at the snow scenes of New York City yesterday on CNN.  All transportation stopped, and people out walking, taking pictures.  Here in So Cal today, it looked like this.

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This was at the start of my ten mile walk today.  We went along some trails in these hills and down to the ocean.  Out in the distance you can see the Catalina Islands.

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Our January has been quite a mix of weather.  The El Nino started, but didn’t stay too long.  I think it will return though.  It left some snow on the local mountains.  Here is a view with the Port of LA in the forefront.

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In between days of rain and sun all colors and kinds of clouds filled the sky.

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And some plants continued to blossom.

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Being January, middle of winter, I thought the other day of one of my favorite quotes.  It’s by Albert Camus.

“In the depths of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer.”  I found this quote a long time ago when I needed it.  I hope that everyone who needs to, will find their invincible summer.

 

 

 

 

 

2

A Little Ocean, Earth, Sky

No works of art or craft to share. Only a little photo gallery.  Hoping to get back to “making” real soon.  Here, some amazing creatures at the Long Beach Aquarium that I visited recently.

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This is a creature (below), not a plant.  Taken by my friend Alex, with her fantastic Olympus Digital camera.  Much clearer than the other two (jellyfish) I took with my iphone 5C.  But I like the colors of the jellies.

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Continuing my walking.  Sharing some things I saw along the way, at different times of the day.  I did not create the image in this first one, but I’m assuming someone did.  Even though it was very windy that day, it would be too much to think the wind did it.  All my walking photos also taken with my iphone.

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The air has been very crisp and cold.  December a couple days away.  Christmas carols in the stores.  Plastic Santas and sparkling reindeer making their way out to front yards. All this walking gives me time to ruminate.  I think about the world.  I am reminded how fortunate I am.

I hope you are enjoying your days.

 

 

 

2

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.

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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.

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Below are two residents of a house with nine cats.

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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.

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

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

1

Observations Near And Far

Drove up to Northern California for a couple days.  It was raining in some areas, and we were lucky to see this double rainbow.  It was not only double, but a whole arch. Unlike the ones we get here in LA that are partial and last a minute, this one followed us from town to town. It was impossible to capture the whole thing with my camera.

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Being November, the honey color of the fields was dramatic against the dark sky.

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The drive was long, and with daylight savings time, it was dark when we reached our destination.  In the morning, the sunshine and view from our hotel window reminded me of a scene from the movie “Enchanted April”. One of my very favorite movies.  The women in the film traveled from England to Italy, arrived on a stormy night, and woke to a gorgeous sunny vista.

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The beaches had enormous serpentine seaweed, nothing like what we see locally.

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And then there was the tiniest “coffee shop” ever.  Drive thru only.

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The area was a beautiful mix of redwoods, vineyards, sprawling meadows, old barns, and cliffs along the Pacific.

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Before my trip up north, I found quite a few cocoons in my yard.  I checked each day for the emergence of the “sulphur” butterflies. One after another, they made their way out into the world.  Amazing.

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Not a lot of time for working on art lately, but I have done a couple sketches.  I’m enjoying this whole sketchbook thing. The first two from photos, and the last one from a vase of flowers on my table.

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In the last few days I got to experience warm November sun while looking out at golden fields, November skies filled with billowing clouds, sunny beaches with biting cold November wind, and a November downpour. Ahh… California.

I hope you are experiencing some exciting seasonal changes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

“Los Angeles Is 72 Suburbs In Search of A City”

After a lot of heat, it was cloudy enough to go on a stair walk today.  They are historic stairs built on LA hillsides, before there were streets in those neighborhoods. The one today was in an area called Silverlake.  Up and down we went along the edges of front and backyards of old cottages surrounded by green.  It’s a different world from the flat world of suburbia that most Angelenos live in.

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This particular section of stairs had 183 steps.

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I love climbing these stairs, looking out over the city, being surrounded by so much green, and enjoying the styles  of old cottages and homes.  Some of them were designed by famous architects during LA’s early days.  It’s also a good workout.

When I went to the Folk Art Museum a couple weeks ago, there was a second, less impressive exhibit than Binh Pho, but it had some interesting pieces.  All were made using only paper. This first one had the pages removed from a book, and then reinserted as strips.

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Lino stamped paper made into lamps.

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Almost continuously throughout the year, there are small-ish lemon yellow butterflies in my yard. They are a joy to watch.  There’s always a pair, or pairs.  One time I counted ten.  Their flight patterns are different than Swallow Tails and Monarchs.  The movements are like ballet dancers or those acrobatic airplanes that make circles like the hands on a clock.  They’ll sweep right past your face.  They appear happy to be alive.  I came across one of the cocoons.  It is only attached to this plant holder at the very tip, but neither rain nor wind can pry it loose.

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Lastly, (wasn’t sure if that was a word, but I looked it up and it was), I have another fabric house I’m working on.

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After my stair walk I was looking for a nice quote about Los Angeles.  I couldn’t find any.  People seemed to have a lot of negative things to say.  I liked the one I used for my title, by poet Dorothy Parker.  And I found an interesting one by the artist Ed Rusha:

“I’d read about LA and this fact stuck in my mind: That the city gained 1000 new people everyday. In 1956! A thousand people everyday! I felt: I want to be a part of that.”

That still seems to be the case.  Most Angelenos have moved here from somewhere else.  I rarely meet someone who was born in LA.  But the diversity keeps life interesting.