Walking Up Stairs

A colored pencil drawing for Sunday Sketches at Blue Chair Diary Blog. It is from a photo my friend took while we were walking the Camino. I considered water color, but I can play more with pencils. I’m still working on my water color techniques, and it’s kind of hit or miss. I haven’t found a creative direction since I returned home, so I pull out my sketchbook when the mood strikes.


Here in Los Angeles, there are about 42 historic stair walks.  Most were built in the 1920’s and are in the older areas of LA.  They were originally the only way for people to get to the houses constructed on the hillsides.  There is a famous Laurel and Hardy movie that shows the two of them trying to get a piano up one set of stairs.  Each stair walk has a different amount of steps. When you reach the top of a group of stairs, you walk a short distance on the paved streets that exist today. Then you come to another group of stairs. You get to experience different kinds of neighborhoods with each stair “walk.” I went on one today.  It was about three miles, and had 664 steps total.  The longer sections had 163 steps in one, and 134 steps in another.


It’s a great way to see parts of LA that you would never get to see otherwise.  Here’s a couple sights I saw today.




A (blurry) peacock.



The Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery has an open call for art once every couple years. This year they added the theme of “play.”  I submitted a mixed media piece that I made after my dad passed away a couple years ago.  His garage looked like the hardware department of a Sears store.  He played out there building shelves, sofas, bird houses, and pieces of furniture that fill his children’s homes.  After he passed, I went through many containers of nails, washers, and bolts, and found some tiny round metal objects.  They were so delicate compared to all the heavy tools and equipment.  I decided to make something with them.  The days I spent sewing them to canvas was play for me, the value of which I learned from my father. The submitted piece was accepted.  The La Municipal Gallery is one of my favorite places.  It’s on a hill in the middle of Hollywood, but when you are up on the top, you’d never know you were in Hollywood. A photo below.


And a photo of the piece.  I hand sewed the buttons as well as the metal rings to the canvas.


I’ll leave you with a rose from a walk in my neighborhood.  It’s the color that made me stop.  Of course my phone didn’t capture it exactly, but it looked like a “big stick” popsical.  If you don’t have them in your area, this rose is pretty close to the color.


Enjoy your weekend. If you’d like to see more photos of the historic stairs and surrounding neighborhoods, there’s a related catagory in the sidebar. Just click


Observations Near And Far

Drove up to Northern California for a couple days.  It was raining in some areas, and we were lucky to see this double rainbow.  It was not only double, but a whole arch. Unlike the ones we get here in LA that are partial and last a minute, this one followed us from town to town. It was impossible to capture the whole thing with my camera.


Being November, the honey color of the fields was dramatic against the dark sky.


The drive was long, and with daylight savings time, it was dark when we reached our destination.  In the morning, the sunshine and view from our hotel window reminded me of a scene from the movie “Enchanted April”. One of my very favorite movies.  The women in the film traveled from England to Italy, arrived on a stormy night, and woke to a gorgeous sunny vista.


The beaches had enormous serpentine seaweed, nothing like what we see locally.


And then there was the tiniest “coffee shop” ever.  Drive thru only.


The area was a beautiful mix of redwoods, vineyards, sprawling meadows, old barns, and cliffs along the Pacific.







Before my trip up north, I found quite a few cocoons in my yard.  I checked each day for the emergence of the “sulphur” butterflies. One after another, they made their way out into the world.  Amazing.



Not a lot of time for working on art lately, but I have done a couple sketches.  I’m enjoying this whole sketchbook thing. The first two from photos, and the last one from a vase of flowers on my table.




In the last few days I got to experience warm November sun while looking out at golden fields, November skies filled with billowing clouds, sunny beaches with biting cold November wind, and a November downpour. Ahh… California.

I hope you are experiencing some exciting seasonal changes.






















Something to Marvel At

It is wondrous how nature just does what it’s supposed to do.  On it’s own.  Without our help.  Animals are the same.  When It came time for Maggie, (who started out as a foster from the shelter) to deliver her puppies, as sick as she was, and emaciated, she just did what she was supposed to do.  I have a few bulbs scattered around my front and back yard, and completely forget about them throughout the year, until a day like today. There they were, not just poking ever so slightly up from the ground, but UP.   Something to marvel at.



I found my poem for January that I had mentioned in my last post.  It is by Alice Walker, and is about three women writers who wrote during the twenties and thirties.  At some point in their careers, each left the “career” of writing and went searching for the heart of writing, Life itself.  One lived in a one room cabin and raised her own food, another became a Quaker and country philosopher, the third, a nurse.

The poem is titled “Light Baggage”

there is a magic

lingering after people

to whom success is merely personal.

who, when the public prepares a feast

for their belated acceptance parties,

pack it up like light baggage

and disappear into the swamps of Florida

or go looking for newer Gods

in the Oak tree country

of Pennsylvania.

Or decide, quite suddenly, to try nursing,

midwifery, anonymous among the sick and poor.

Stories about such people

tell us little;

and if a hundred photographs survive

each one will show a different face.

someone out of step. alone out there, absorbed;

fishing in the waters of experience

a slouched back against the shoulders

of the world.


In between my mixed media pieces and caring for shelter animals, I’m trying to sketch.


I used some watercolor pencils, which I hadn’t tried before.

Poetry, art, literature, music.  Find something to marvel at.