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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Dog Watching

It’s Black Friday. The mid day air has been hot here in LA for a few days.  But as the temperature cools by late afternoon, the fall light becomes very soft.

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Christmas reminders appear everywhere.  Sights, sounds.  I was at my mom’s house the other day and even the spacing of the oranges on her orange tree looked like balls hanging on a Christmas tree.

 

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They won’t be ready to eat until February or March.  The tree is very old. FIFTY YEARS old.  But it continues to produce amazingly delicious oranges year after year.  It’s one of those constants in life.  It is always a sweet moment to look out her kitchen window and see it still thriving.

 

I am completely finished with my items for the Christmas boutique.  I took another picture of the mold ornaments with some additional embellishment hanging on a wooden tree I made to display them.

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Some parting shots of Lucy as she watches through the front window for any neighbors, dogs or strangers that might be strolling through the neighborhood.

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“Why does watching a dog be a dog fill one with happiness?”

Jonathan Safran Foer   (author, Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close)

 

Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

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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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