In The Details

This is the exterior of the Folk Art Museum in Los Angeles.  You can see a reflection in the door of the La Brea Tar Pits across the street.  Tar has been seeping up from the ground for tens of thousands of years.  Bones from animals such as mammoths and saber toothed cats have been found in the tar dating from the last glacial period.  Pictures of the tar pits in a future post.


The exhibit inside the museum was maybe one of the most uniquely beautiful I’ve ever seen.  Artist Binh Pho spent one year in a reeducation camp after the fall of Saigon, seven days floating in a small boat in the gulf of Siam, and eight months in a refugee camp on a deserted island outside Kuala Lumpur before arriving in the U.S. He makes intricate  wood sculptures using dental tools.  I took photos of some of the details on the large pieces.  So many of these individual details could have stood on their own as works of art.



The color was added with acrylic, but so often looked metallic.





Some of the pieces were a collaboration with glass or metal artists.


All the pieces together told a fantasy adventure story written by Binh Pho.


Well, my small creative contribution seems even smaller after seeing that, but I guess we make “art” in our own way with the skills that we possess, and what it brings to our life.  Often just for the sake of satisfying the yearning to create.  So with that idea in mind, I’ve been finding myself sitting with a “sketchbook” and “sketching” more.  Still a long way from my intention of loose sketching.  But here’s a couple.



And one more stitched acrylic and applique.  Still need to put a backing or border on the applique.



No post would be complete without an LA weather update. We had a couple days of cool air, that even brought a ten minute down pour.  But today we are back to 90 – 105 degrees.  A photo taken before our ten minute storm last week.


Details can be seen in different ways, depending on the situation.  The details in a sculpture or painting can make a huge visual or textural difference.  But in life, what sometimes appears worrisome or trying, is in fact a minor detail that doesn’t really make any difference at all.  When I read Binh Pho’s story, I was reminded of that again.  And everyday when I read about the unimaginable challenges of the world’s refugees.










Carpet Weaving

I saw some inspiring pieces at a museum in LA a couple days ago. It was also a good place to escape the heat.  This first one, my photo of a photo, looking through a window, could have passed as a painting.


One of the exhibits was called the Afghan Carpet Project which was a collaboration between a non profit group, American artists, and Afghan carpet weavers to help revitalize the traditional carpet weaving industry in that country. This first photo is a segment from a carpet called Blue Burqa.


An entire family works together weaving the yarns to make one carpet.  The next photo is a segment from one called Kite Fight.  Amazing skills…and patience.


The monthly book sale at one of the nearby libraries was yesterday.  This particular one has a considerable amount of very old books.  And even though I have read the ones I purchased, I was so drawn to them, I bought them anyway.  A whopping $1.00 each.  Not only is it extremely interesting to me that they are so old, and that they survived to this point, and I like to wonder who else has owned them, but they are like little art pieces.  Old leather covers with “Ernest Hemingway” embossed in a 1940 edition of For Whom the Bell Tolls, and an ancient photo of Robert Louis Stevenson in a 1928 mini edition of Treasure Island.



Working on my 10×10 panels.  In the meantime, this is a larger one I did a while back, using leaves for stamps.



I’ll leave you with a little LA sunshine (with a small amount of heat relief under a table umbrella).


Hope you are enjoying your September days.







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.







It will soon be time to take down the decorations.  Decorated rooms look bare when accumulated treasures are all removed and packed away.  But displaying them once a year makes the process of unpacking next Christmas like a treasure hunt of baubles and memories.  This little snowman is over 50 years old.  I was in the Brownies and it came on top of my Secret Santa gift.



I have not been consistent in doing a daily sketch, but here is a small pastel drawing I did from a Van Gogh painting titled “The Yellow Chair.”  It is so enjoyable when you can focus on something creative.


A finished mixed media piece.



Fabric, paint , paper, acrylic, ink, linoleum stamps, and stitching on canvas.  I like piecing square shapes together. In choosing the pattern, I was influenced by contemporary quilts.


We visited family for Christmas gatherings last week and last night, but today is quiet.  Nice for creating and reading.  Charlie is taking advantage of some downtime in front of the TV.


“We must have reasons for speech but none for silence.”