5

Blooms

Here in Los Angeles we are enjoying spring weather, but the East Coast of the US is having a major snow storm as I write this.  They even closed schools in New York.  Snow outside my window would be very fun since we never get it, except in the mountains.  But for now I have  spring flowers to share. This tree in my neighbor’s yard is just starting to blossom.  Soon it will be covered with pink flowers.

A nasturtium in my yard.  The leaves are huge.  They almost hide the flowers.

I’m sharing a flower piece I made a while back.  It is all hand stitched.

In the following pieces I used handmade paper. ( I didn’t make it).  I stamped the colors onto the paper, and added some ink. After stamping the flowers in rows, I cut some up to experiment with different arrangements.

This next “flower” is just a dandelion, but so pretty. The rain brought a lot up from the ground.

And the last is a photo of some Gerber Daisies I gave my mom for her birthday.

“I perhaps owe having become a painter to flowers.”     Claude Monet

“The earth laughs in flowers.”    Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enjoy your week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

2

In The Details

This is the exterior of the Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.  You can see a reflection in the door of the La Brea Tar Pits across the street.  Tar has been seeping up from the ground for tens of thousands of years.  Bones from animals such as mammoths and saber toothed cats have been found in the tar dating from the last glacial period.  Pictures of the tar pits in a future post.

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The exhibit inside the museum was maybe one of the most uniquely beautiful I’ve ever seen.  Artist Binh Pho spent one year in a reeducation camp after the fall of Saigon, seven days floating in a small boat in the gulf of Siam, and eight months in a refugee camp on a deserted island outside Kuala Lumpur before arriving in the U.S. He makes intricate  wood sculptures using dental tools.  I took photos of some of the details on the large pieces.  So many of these individual details could have stood on their own as works of art.

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The color was added with acrylic, but so often looked metallic.

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Some of the pieces were a collaboration with glass or metal artists.

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All the pieces together told a fantasy adventure story written by Binh Pho.

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Well, my small creative contribution seems even smaller after seeing that, but I guess we make “art” in our own way with the skills that we possess, and what it brings to our life.  Often just for the sake of satisfying the yearning to create.  So with that idea in mind, I’ve been finding myself sitting with a “sketchbook” and “sketching” more.  Still a long way from my intention of loose sketching.  But here’s a couple.

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And one more stitched acrylic and applique.  Still need to put a backing or border on the applique.

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No post would be complete without an LA weather update. We had a couple days of cool air, that even brought a ten minute down pour.  But today we are back to 90 – 105 degrees.  A photo taken before our ten minute storm last week.

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Details can be seen in different ways, depending on the situation.  The details in a sculpture or painting can make a huge visual or textural difference.  But in life, what sometimes appears worrisome or trying, is in fact a minor detail that doesn’t really make any difference at all.  When I read Binh Pho’s story, I was reminded of that again.  And everyday when I read about the unimaginable challenges of the world’s refugees.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3

Dog Train

I think the cutest thing EVER, and consequently uplifting, was in an article I saw online about an 80 year old man in Texas who rescues abandoned dogs left near his home.  He lives at the end of a road, and people just leave their dogs when they are no longer wanted.  He takes them to be spayed or neutered, feeds them, and takes care of them on his farm. He currently has nine.  But the best thing about the story was the dog train he built for them.

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They love it so much, that when they hear him start the tractor engine, they run and jump in the little “cars” he made from plastic barrels.  Then he takes them for a ride around town.  The article came with a video showing the dogs all barking as they rode the “train” through town.  Absolutely fantastic!

I don’t have anything I’VE done to top that, but I have been continuing to work on my small acrylic panels and started some fabric appliques.  I’m hoping to make quite a few and sell them at a venue coming to LA in the spring.

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My bougainvillea is monstrous.  Dangling over it’s arbor on all sides like an umbrella.  Actually, like two umbrellas.

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Still jumping around to different mediums, which included a pen and ink sketching class. Primarily a sketchbook class for travel adventures, so I brought some photos from past trips. It was suggested we get a Pentel Precise rolling pen as well as a Pentel sign pen.  My first attempt came out more rendered than sketchy.  Practice, practice, practice.

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You can’t really tell from this little still life taken on my patio that’s it’s still full on summer here, but I had to take TWO water breaks at the animal shelter yesterday, compared with my usual ONE. It was HOT.

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To keep the momentum going from my sketch class, I did a real quick one, trying to be sketchier.  (Below)

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People have always been difficult for me to draw, but I think I could get into this style.  Fun fun fun.

If you want to experience the dog train video go to thedodo.com

and listen…

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0

Spice of Life

There are so many things I see that make me want to pick up a paintbrush, pencil, needle and thread, and make something.  So much creative influence and inspiration.  Can’t seem to stick to just one medium.  Below is a sketch from my recent drawing class with a little ink and watercolor added.

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I finished my large mixed media using paper, fabric, acrylic, colored pencil, thread, and stamps I made from linoleum.

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On my very first post, I had a photo of an applique I made from a Cezanne painting called “Basket of Apples.”  It was all hand sewn onto a piece of fabric in the shape of France.  It was part of my ongoing map series, but I just recently sewed it to a backing.

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While perusing the internet I came across some beautiful envelope/postcard art.  I love the whimsy and colors on each of these examples.

The first is by artist Amy Rice.   The second is by Viv Sliwka whose blog is called Hens Teeth Art.

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This third one is a postcard Pablo Picasso sent to Jean Cocteau in 1919.

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So wonderful.

Well, I didn’t have any vintage envelopes or postcards on hand, but I had a 1941 book of French literature, in French, that someone had written a lot of notes in, also in French.  I thought I’d practice with some quick sketches and then used oil pastel for color.

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I’m definitely going to do more.  Maybe try watercolor.  I like the addition of the handwritten notes.

Perhaps trying a variety of things that bring challenge and fun IS the spice of life, even if it’s as simple as paint, pencil, needle and thread.

 

 

0

Creative Beginning

It started when I was a child with coloring books and construction paper.  Playing with crayons, pencils, and paper.  That sense of creative play has stayed with me, but throughout my life it has become food for my soul.  When I could make time to create, or even go to a place and look at other people’s creations, it brought a sense of joy, especially during life’s challenges.   Being in a museum and looking at my favorite paintings is like entering a Medieval Cathedral.

Awe.  Peace.  Beauty.  Quiet.

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This is St. Paul’s Cathedral in London.  My husband and son and I were lucky the day we visited.  The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra was actually rehearsing for a performance they were going to do that night.

Painting of St. Peters in Rome by Giovanni Pannini 1735.

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All my life I have been influenced creatively by everything around me. One idea leads to another. In my blog I want to share my ideas and some of the people and places that have inspired me and continue to feed my soul. I hope in reading it, that you will be inspired to find what feeds your soul and pursue it. When I attended California State University Northridge I took some printmaking classes. In one of them we cut images into squares of linoleum. Ink was rolled over the linoleum, paper was laid over that and both were put through a printing press.

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Years later I experimented again with linoleum. A friend had brought me an apron from Paris and it came with a small catalog of the company’s tablecloth designs.  An Idea. I would make some repetitive patterns of my own using canvas, acrylic paint and linoleum. I wanted to experiment with colors, and I wanted the areas in each painting to be separated by sharp lines like you would find on a tablecloth.  Each painting represents a section that would then be repeated, like squares on a quilt. One of the designs on the pink canvas is sewn using embroidery thread.  This is a technique I continued to use in later pieces.

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One of my favorite painters is Paul Cezanne.  I like the wide brushstrokes in many of his paintings of nature.  They look like cubes of color.

“View of Chateau Noir” by Paul Cezanne.

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The warm colors he often used inspired me to do a couple of art pieces but rather than paint I used fabric.

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Here I appliqued a still life scene from his painting titled “Basket of Apples”.

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The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery (in Hollywood) is one of my favorite places in Los Angeles.  You drive up a hill planted with olive trees.  At the top you can see L.A. in all directions, but once you are outside the gallery, you’d never know the city was so close.  There are rows of pine trees and you are at once transported to a meditative environment.  It’s quiet.  You cannot hear the city below.  Across from the gallery is Frank Lloyd Wright’s Hollyhock House built in 1921.

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The gallery exhibits the work of contemporary L.A. artists.  I went to an exhibit recently.  Here are a few of the pieces I saw.

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“Early Girl” series by Jessica Roth 2013.  Monoprinted lithographs taken from ads in the Burpee seed catalog.

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The following are beaded works by Cory Stein titled Gray Bear and Donut Nation.

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My yard provides ongoing inspiration.  It is like a constant work in progress.  A canvas that is never finished.  This plant is a Mexican marigold.  When I am out watering and I spray it with the hose it has the most phenomenal smell.  It is very difficult to find a comparison. The closest thing would be lemon, but sweeter.

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I made some planters using many different containers as molds.  For the square one I used a plastic box that Legos had come in.

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Dogs.  I love them.  They are such a wonderful presence.  So peaceful (the older ones) and so boisterous (the young ones).  I had three incredible shelties who have passed away.  Now I have three lovable mixed terriers, in large part because I volunteer at an animal shelter.  The story is long, so I will  share it in another post.  But for now I will introduce you.  Lucy. Charlie. Maggie.

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