Going the (Twelve Mile) Distance

A small watercolor for Sunday Sketches over at Blue Chair Diary Blog.


I can never decide which direction to go in creatively.  I’ve signed up to take an online watercolor class with illustrator Alexandra Mac Vean at Blue Chair Diary Blog. I love watercolor used with sketches and illustrations. But I also love the colors and style of painters like Matisse, Auguste Macke and Vanessa Bell. And I love mixed media.  I need to get a few supplies for the watercolor class, so in the meantime, I played around with some acrylics yesterday.  I’m not finished with the curtains and table, and I’m going to add some fruit. If I put it aside for a bit I can look at it with new perspective.


This is an acrylic I did many years ago.


I found an article in The Huffington Post with photos of absolutely amazing street art done by a FEMALE street artist in Afghanistan, Shamsia Hassani.  It is worth going to Huff Post for the article and all the photos.  Here are a few.




We actually got a day of rain this week following one that was 93 degrees. I think everything in nature must be somewhat confused.  Signs of spring are appearing, but we’re all hoping for a little bit of winter before winter is over.


Preparing for the Camino today, I rambled along pedestrian walk ways that run along the sand while looking out at the ocean, through the beach towns of Redondo Beach, Hermosa Beach, and Manhatten Beach to El Segundo.  For middle of February, it looked like a typical summer day.  People flocking to beaches to lay in the sun, walk dogs, and ride bikes. We ended our twelve miles here at this little side street where the walk ways stopped.



“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeing new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”   Marcel Proust

Enjoy a new week of discovery.




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.






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.




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.