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Captains of Our Souls

I’ve been out and about in different areas of Los Angeles this week. I went to a miniature show in Anaheim, home of Disneyland.  I’ve always loved things in miniature, but I’ve never seen tiny things as amazing as some of the items at the show.  Everything was made by hand.  One woman had made tiny fruits, vegetables, and bread.  Each piece was about a half inch or smaller in diameter.  They were totally realistic looking.  You could cut them in half with a tiny knife and the insides looked real also.  You could even peel the skin off of these avocados.

The photos are not in focus, but I only had my phone with me, and picture taking was difficult with everything being so small.  You can see the seeds inside of the bell pepper, and in the bottom left, the orange peel is peeled from the orange.

Another seller, who came all the way from Dresden, Germany, made TINY houses, trains, clocks etc. out of wood. These tiny bears and children were about a half inch long and had arms and legs that moved.

The show had everything tiny you could think of.  There were also miniature paintings.  When I got home I decided to make something tiny.  I came up with this miniature “paper” quilt.  I used water color, acrylic and some lino stamps, then sewed the pieces together.  It is four inches by four inches.

Next I went to an area called Century City to see a photo exhibit.  It has a lot of very tall office buildings similar to downtown.  I used to work there many years ago before I started teaching.  The days have been beautiful, and the buildings were all reflecting off each other.

On to South LA for the weekly meeting with my grassroots political action group.  We sat in an outdoor area of a cafe where the shadows created some nice imagery.

We’re staying vigilant amidst the daily onslaught of unconstitutional acts by the new administration.

We are still masters of our fate. We are captains of our souls.       Winston Churchill

Thank you for visiting.

 

 

5

City of Angels

I haven’t had time this week to do any art, but I’m showing a piece I did a while back.  It is on canvas, and the background is painted in acrylic.  I wanted the borders to look like tiles, so I cut some small linoleum squares that I used as stamps. The idea for the center was taken from a book of drawings by Claude Lorrain, born in 1600.  I used watercolor for the tree and then highlighted it with some hand stitching.

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The air is getting a little chillier at night.  We actually had more rain yesterday.  During this time of year, a temporary outdoor ice skating rink is installed in the middle of downtown Los Angeles.  It is an enchanted scene at night with the lights from the tall buildings.

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I protested peacefully last week with 8000 other Angelenos who are distraught about what is happening in our country.  I had to park quite a distance from the starting point of the rally, so by the time we marched and got back to our car, we had walked nine miles.  All the practice I did to prepare for the Camino last April made it very easy to walk those long distances in Spain.  But now I’m only walking two or three miles a day, so getting back to the car after the rally was a challenge.  It was worth it though.  It was good to be there.

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The waitresses in this restaurant came out to show support.

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Finally, I went to a Christmas sale at a thrift store a few days ago.  I think they had saved all their Christmas donations from the last year for that day.  It was packed with stuff and shoppers.  I bought this little embroidered mat, and a six inch tree covered with tiny  hand-painted Santa faces.

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“Only in the darkness can you see the stars.”  Martin Luther King

Enjoy your week.  Thank you for visiting.

 

 

 

6

Urban Salvage

Trying to get a flow going after walking every day on the Camino. Still walking several miles each day. Took a drive downtown today to see an exhibit of furniture. It was all made by a group called the LA Box Collective who use reclaimed materials and urban salvage. In this case it came from a 2011 storm in LA. The winds reached 100 mph and damaged nearly 5,500 trees just in Pasadena. All of the furniture had a pure but elegant quality. The top of this small table was so smooth, but contrasted well with the jagged edge left in its natural state.

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I loved the odd shape of this large table, and the heavy but refined look.

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And an indoor lounging chair.

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The artistry was inspirational.

I have a blog friend who loves finding charming houses while exploring. I do too. The designs and ambiance stir the imagination about its history or remind me of places I’ve been or would like to go. So often I’d love to be able to knock on doors to see inside. The folk art museum I was at today is on a busy street called Wilshire Blvd. It’s not directly downtown, but in the downtown area. Lots going on there, like the ever growing Los Angeles County Museum of Art. It’s next to the La Brea Tar Pits. A place that once trapped prehistoric animals who got too close thinking it was water. The tar is still bubbling to this day. Anyway, there are new restaurants and large business structures, and down all the side streets are very old classic apartments and houses. Here are a couple of the apartments.

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While I was in Spain I checked out all the styles of houses we passed in all the small towns we walked through.

This one was on our second or third day.

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I haven’t picked up a pencil or brush since I returned from Spain. I’m posting a little sketch I made in my travel journal when I was there. We were staying in an old house from the 1700’s. It had been owned by generations of the same family since that time. We stayed in a couple old houses that had been restored, but this one was pretty much the way it had been in the 1700’s.

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I am still processing my time on the Camino. As with any time you spend away from your routine, it seems further away as you resume your life back home. But I must say, I felt how Joseph Campbell once described life:

“It’s not the meaning of life we’re after, it’s the feeling of being fully alive.” I felt fully alive.

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El Centro de Ciudad

I drove to downtown LA today.  I took some photos from my car as I looked for a better parking deal than $3.00 every 15 minutes.  While looking for parking, I also had to navigate the one way streets as I attempted to get to my destination.

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There are a lot of new modern high rise apartments going up in downtown, but there are also lots of old small shops selling wares at discounted prices.

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I finally found parking for $6.00 flat rate.  What a deal.  And very close to The Last Bookstore, where I was headed.  It’s a funky place with literally millions of used books.  But the funky part is how the books are arranged, and the decor that’s made with books.  In the picture below, I’m standing on the second floor.  The design above the window is made with books.  The second floor is like a tunnel that goes on and on with shelves everywhere.

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I knew I’d be hungry for the ride home in Friday rush hour traffic, so I got a quick bite at Starbucks.  A sandwich with melted mozzarella, pesto and tomatoes.  Besides many high rise apartments, there are a lot of artists lofts. I think most of the tenants must have a dog.  Lots of dog walking going on.  A nice day for walking.  Kind of balmy.

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I’m working on another piece for my map series.  Many years ago, while hitch hiking through Europe, a friend and I stayed in a youth hostel in the Black Forest in Germany, and then took a trip on the Rhine.  In the city of Bacharach, the hostel was actually a castle on a hilltop.  For the piece below, I primarily used fabric, except for the map itself.  I still have some stitching to do.

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A photo below of the Black Forest.

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And another of Bacharach.

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Still a lot of lands to see, but a visit to El Centro de Ciudad is always balm for a soul yearning to wander.  Hope you have time for wandering this week.

 

 

 

 

 

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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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