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.







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.


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.




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



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.


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.


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


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…






How’s The Weather?

That was one of the first questions I would teach my beginning level ESL students.  It was necessary to first explain the contraction How’s, and then the weather vocabulary.  Warm, sunny, cool etc.  Most of them already knew the word hot. That’s how it’s been here again in Los Angeles. Near 100 degrees.  Even at the beaches. With huge cumulus desert clouds that broke up into bunches of tiny ones last night.  For some parts of the country, clouds are probably a regular occurrence.  Not here.  So I went back and forth from back yard to front yard watching the entire sky move and change. I took a lot of pictures as it morphed into different colors and shapes.  It looked like the sky in a Dutch landscape painting.





Today, though, we had the ultimate in LA weather phenomena.  I had gotten home from the animal shelter, where I made sure that all the animals had water, among other tasks.  A short time after walking in the door, it started POURING.  No rain type clouds indicating this was going to happen.  A moment of wonder, watching it bounce off the street.  Rain like that always reminds me of being in elementary school.  We used to get tons of rain.  The streets would flood, and we’d listen to the radio as they listed which schools would be closed, hoping to hear the name of ours.


“Weather” is so exciting in Los Angeles.

I had gotten out some of my Linoleum stamps and was going to try them on paper, which I did, but I didn’t like the result.  I’m going to make a series of small ones  (10×10) on canvas with acrylic.  After I’m finished with the images, I decide where to add some stitching with embroidery thread.  I have two completed so far.



I plan to do a lot more, and in between, some applique with fabric.

The rain has stopped.  Almost warmer in the house than before the rain.  Waiting to see what the rest of the week brings.

The ending of the Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert seems like so long ago, but we finally got to experience his wit again last night as he started his new job as host of the The Late Show.  What a joy.

I hope you are having a wonderful “weather” week.  And check out the Late Show.






Something Old, Something New

While I’ve been out and about, I’ve stumbled on some old stuff that caught my eye.  While sitting in my little house, a few old things also caught my eye.  Old, but in different ways.  Some, because they were things that I acquired long ago.  Others I acquired recently, but they are old objects.  It’s interesting how we accumulate.  I go through things that fill cupboards or closets quite frequently, and get rid of what I haven’t used in a while, or I’m not sentimentally attached to. I figure if I don’t use it, am not attached, or have no room to display it, then I don’t need it.  It’s refreshing to declutter.

Richards Welsh and English Dictionary and The Scarlet Letter I purchased at a flea market in London in 1975.  It was my first trip outside of the U.S.  They are very old as well.  1919 and 1925.


A post card I bought in Paris in 1978.


I got this book yesterday at a library book sale for $1.00.  It was published in 1948.  I think I might sell it on ebay.


A blouse I found recently at a thrift store.  It was originally from a store that we had here in LA in the sixties called Casual Corner.  Someone took really good care of it.  It looks like new.


An acrylic painting I did several years ago.  I made a linoleum stamp of a ram.  It was in a picture of a cruet from the 10th century.  I want to start/make a series using images from ancient civilizations.


Finally, I have a photo of the sign outside the animal shelter I volunteer at.  The shelter was built in the 40’s.   l

I don’t know about the sign.  But I’ve been given permission to get high school art students involved in painting something more wonderful.  Something NEW.




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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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


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


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.


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.


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


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



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.


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





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.