Bright Shiny Day

There is a hexagon theme at Mullerin Art blog this month. I used a vintage map of the United States to make something to contribute.

The next photo shows some hexagons in nature. Many many years ago I visited Ireland and saw Giant’s Causeway. It has huge natural rock formations that are hexagon in shape.

I went downtown for the Women’s March last Saturday. My focus was impeachment, hoping that Congress would notice how many people want change. But if Congress continues to look the other way, there is still hope. This was a sign I saw at the march.

It was a bright shiny day, but very cold. A lot of children found these water fountains irresistible though, cold weather or not. Shoes came off, and the games began.

The fountains are in a large park in the middle of downtown. The park stretches many blocks and ends in front of City Hall.

A few of the sights as we walked. Some of the old buildings downtown.

Lots of new construction going on.

Probably the most important message today…

I happened to look down, and liked the pattern in this grate. You can see a little bit of my foot and jacket. I didn’t want to stop too long, and was rushing to take the photo.

On the way home my son and I stopped at one of our favorite places to eat near downtown.

I ordered a shrimp taco, shrimp enchilada and refried beans. It was muy delicioso.

A couple neighborhood photos from the last few days. A neighborhood park, and a setting sun through one of my trees.

I recently saw a movie called “The Darkest Hour.” It covered the period of time right after Winston Churchill became Prime Minister of England. It was especially inspirational right now, when we are looking to our leaders to demonstrate integrity, compassion, and intelligence. I found this quote from Winston Churchill:

“All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy and hope.”

Enjoy your week. Thank you so much for visiting my blog. I appreciate it.









Lemonade Days

While I wait for some creative ideas to spring forth, I thought I’d show a few mixed media pieces from the past. I had visited Giverny, the home of Monet many years ago, and included it in a map series I continue to work on. Besides his house, there were beautiful gardens and lily ponds.


I like to mix paper with fabric. The next photo is paper I painted, stitched, cut up, then mixed with pieces of fabric.


The last is part of a series of small quilts that I hand sewed, using pieces I cut from old thrift store clothing. I wanted a lot of texture, so I left the pockets on.


I was out in Santa Monica last week, and I drove past some murals that had been painted in 1983 when I was living there. They are so representative of the coastal beauty of that city.


There is an old merry-go-round on the Santa Monica Pier, and the next two show that the horses have come to life and are running along the ocean.



I also did another historic stair walk, this time in Pasadena (home of the New Year’s Rose Parade). A lot of steps (990), but some going down, as well as up.



As for warnings to dog owners, this wins for the most unique.


You can see, since the houses are built on hillsides, some are rising up, and others I’m looking down into as I walk past.


Being that it’s still summer weather here, (in the daytime), I’ve been experimenting with making different types of lemonade without adding sugar. The first try was almost too sour to drink. I’m getting closer, though, to something drinkable and tasty.  In the pitcher below, I added two lemons, one orange, four frozen strawberries and cold water.  The froth is from mixing it up in a gadget called a NutriBullit.  I liked the taste. It was primarily water with a hint of juice flavor.


Beautiful evenings, with a preview of Fall air, as I walked through the neighborhood the last few nights.


Here you can see coastal clouds rising up in the distance.


It is unusually cool today for August 4th, and those of us who are staying home this Labor Day weekend are enjoying it immensely.

Have a good long weekend.



Mid Week Miscellany

I’ve been on the LA city streets and freeways a lot this week, so I did a map sketch of the general area for Sunday Sketches at Blue Chair Diary Blog.


Next, some mid week miscellany.

Peaches from my sister’s tree.  A+ in the sweet and juicy category.


Kitty in the sun.


Neighborhood Mums. (maybe a giant variety)?


I visited a friend this week who lives in the The Topanga Canyon area. This is a view in one direction from her front patio. In the other direction there are huge trees, but my photo was blurred. Topanga is one of the canyons leading to the ocean and filled with California native plants and trees.  Lots happening there in the 1960’s.


Today I drove through LA to Hollywood to see a juried exhibit of local artists. A lot of strange stuff.  Here are a few that I thought were interesting. The first, was made to honor the strong spirit of the Chinese artist, Al Weiwei. The Chinese government took away his passport for 600 days, and as protest and art performance he put fresh flowers in the basket of his bike in front of his studio each day.  The piece below, consists of 3000 porcelain flowers, many hanging from the ceiling.


One wall was covered with paper that had been folded in an origami style, spray painted, then unfolded. This was just a small section. It resembled a kaleidoscope.


A house size structure made of plastic ribbon.


And finally, an upside down book, hanging from the ceiling with thread attached, and titled, “Book of Rain.” (shadow behind). I did not write down the author’s name, and there was no explanation for the odd title, but after perusing the internet, I’m wondering if perhaps it was taken from The Grateful Dead song, a “Box of Rain.” The song had been written by one of the musicians for his dying father.


There was a children’s art exhibit going on in another building.  I loved this cat.


Enjoy your week. I hope you find fun things to do and the weather is pleasant.  We are expecting a heat wave for the next couple days after a week of overcast skies.






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.



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.


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.



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.


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.


A photo below of the Black Forest.


And another of Bacharach.


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.







Make Way for Ducklings

Some red, white and blue, leftover from July 4th.  The first is an old t-shirt I got at my favorite camping spot, Kings Canyon National Park.  It is next to Sequoia National Park, maybe a little more known.  But they are identical in beauty and magnificent ancient trees.  Some of the tallest and oldest in the world.


The second, just a sampling of cookie cutters I’ve used to make zillions of cookies over the years, for every holiday.  The tiny bird cutter came with a group of mini animals that were also used to make play doh critters when my son was a toddler. I think I loved playing with play doh as much as making cookies.


On the day after the July 4th festivities, the animal shelter gets a lot of stray dogs whose owners have not taken care to make them feel safe from the noise of fireworks.  Extra volunteers were called in to assist.  As I was leaving the shelter to go home, one of the officers brought in a mother duck with her tiny babies found in someone’s pool.  Although I do not live in a rural area, there is a very large marsh near my house that is protected by the city and maintained by volunteers. So on the way home, a friend from the shelter and I delivered mama and ducklings to the marsh.  What a joy to see them make their way out to their new home.




My map art continues. I altered, condensed, and added to my map piece of Camargue this week.


A final note on ducks. As I was driving mama and babies to the marsh, I noticed that the ducklings could not Quack, but rather, made a very tiny almost inaudible peeping/chirping sound.  Quacking must be something acquired along the way like the bark of a dog as it grows out of its puppy stage.  But I did find that a duck’s quack is translated into different sounds depending on a person’s language.

Bengali: gack-gack,     Danish: rap,     Dutch: kwak kwak,     Finish: kvaak kvaak,     Norwegian: kvakk kvakk,       Swedish: kvack kvack,     French: coin coin,     German: quack, quack,     Hebrew: ga ga ga,     Italian: qua qua,     Russian & Ukrainian: krya, krya

Now you will know at least one word if you visit countries speaking these languages.






Train Sightings

I’ve been continuing my work on my map series.   Many years ago I visited the house where the painter Claude Monet had lived.  He established an artist’s colony at his home in the village of Giverny.  His gardens and water lily ponds were the subject of many of his paintings.  If you are visiting Giverny, it is a short train ride from Paris to the city of Vernon.  Besides cutting up maps, I’ve used a large variety of materials in the series.  This one is primarily fabric.


I’m not quite finished.  I need to embroider a lot more flowers for the garden, along with some stitching in the lily pond.


Today, while cruising the neighborhood, I drove through the adjoining city of Lomita.  It has a lot of charming older homes.  But right in the middle of the residential streets, is a small train museum.  It actually seems like the setting for Thomas the Tank Engine’s Shiny Time Station.  All the elementary schools in the area go on field trips to the little museum.  I remember accompanying my son’s class many years ago.



There’s a cute park across the street where you can eat your lunch, if you bring one.


But it’s pretty unique to have a train museum on the same street as your house.


My parting shot is looking out of my little house (studio).  I was sitting in there today looking at a book of Vermont called “The Soul of Vermont” that I got from the library “books for sale” shelf.  It has gorgeous photos by Richard Brown that include all the seasons in Vermont.  We have had beautiful weather here, but we don’t get to experience real true “seasons”. Our seasonal changes are very subtle. Vermont has been on my places to visit list for a long time, but now I feel a real push to go.



“Most parts of the country enjoy robins and pussy willows in March, but in Vermont we get mud”.

Richard Brown, “The Soul of Vermont”









That Night He Had a Stomachache

Back from another drawing class.  Today was a landscape using pastels.  I’ll finish next week and post a photo.  I’ve been trying to finish some of the pieces I started a while back.  That would include my map series.  Some of them are maps made with different mediums and some are pictures made with maps.  This first one is a map made of old postage stamps.  I put the continents on the kind of paper I remember my mom using to mail packages.  Instead of twine though, I stitched with a shiny, metallic looking thread.  I’m still deciding if I want the strands to be thicker.


Probably, because you have to get up fairly close to see them well.


The next one I used old maps and arranged them to look like a quilt.  I’m not quite finished.  I need to add some “binding,” (made of paper).


This last one  also needs some a binding, but with fabric.  Old maps and paint chips, fabric and stitching.  Another quilt.


I’ve been jumping around using different mediums.  I decided to attempt an acrylic of my first sheltie in an expressionist style. I’d been looking through books on The Fauves.  He was primarily black with a little white.  My teacher said that black should never be used, but rather a mix of dark colors.  It was too late for that, because I had already finished.  But my son approved, telling me it looked like an Eric Carle painting.  He’s the one that wrote “The Hungry Caterpillar.”  OK, I’ll go with that.


To keep with children’s animal themes, I’m finishing up with a photo of a very quirky planter, (actually two).  One does not hold a plant at this time, but the plant in the deer continues to thrive despite the VERY small space to grow.  It even flowers every spring/summer.


On Saturday he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon.

That night he had a stomachache.

Eric Carle,   “The Hungry Caterpillar”



Enjoy the Detours

I started a map series a while back.  I have finished some, and others are still in the works.  I’ve always loved maps.  I guess it’s the same reason I loved collecting stamps as a child.  The names of places are intriguing and I always want to know where a place is located.  Not only were the names interesting, but the different types of patterns to depict things like vegetation, forests, mountains, rainfall, and climate on different continents were also fun to compare.  This first piece is my take on such a map.  As always, I used a mix of materials.

Africa, using acrylic and hand stitched embroidery thread on canvas.


For this next piece I made four linoleum stamps of one section of four continents.  Again with acrylic and hand stitching on canvas.


Orange (eastern part of Asia with Japan), Green (northwestern part of South America), Yellow (southeastern part of Africa with Madagascar), Red (southwestern part of Europe).  I found it interesting how they fit together like one continent.  I will post more pieces as I finish them.

I read a beautiful book ironically titled “The Names Of Things,” by Susan Brind Morrow.  The author is a translator of contemporary Arabic and ancient Egyptian folktales into English.  Doing research in Egypt and Sudan from 1988 to 1990, the memoir describes the months she spent living with nomads, her base in Cairo, and her experiences as a woman traveling alone in an Arab country.


Maps and books on foreign countries remind me of the places I’ve been and the places I would like to go.  Of the places I’ve been, there were magical times.  But I remember times when I tried to ask directions, and didn’t speak the language, so I wound up being sent in the opposite direction. And another time sleeping in the airport because my flight was so late that no more were leaving till the next day. Frustration usually set in.  Recently I found a quote by an unknown author that I truly believe, because in looking back, getting lost or getting stuck for a night at the airport just added to the adventure.

“The real happy person is one who can enjoy the scenery on a detour.”

Enjoy your detours.