Tuesday, December 16, 2008

This could be your lucky day!

I love Green Chair Press and have purchased and received as gifts several kits for making books from this talented and informative lady. A prod from a friend sent me there this morning and here's what I found. I can imagine having this stack of paper, (the ultimate Chiyogami sample pack, an 8.5x11” sheet of every Chiyogami paper these folks offer in their online store – 637 patterns in total (retail value $1911.00) for my very own. Go to The Paper Place to enter. I don't know why I'm sharing this, I'm cutting my own chances to win!!! It must be because I love you.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Christmas is creeping closer

Although this may not look like Christmas to a lot of you, the SoCal contingent will recognize one of the magificent sunsets we get in these late months. They reach their fingers into the house and turn everything golden. I look forward to winter for these.

This is one of the many paths here and it seems to beckon me. I have the feeling that a walk in here will involve magic.

This is a little camera fun with my treasured Nativity Set. While putting it out this year, I realized that I have had this for about 27 years. There is a serenity around it that makes room for me during this often hectic season.

While my efforts are well underway, I panic if I let myself think of what isn't done. One of the three parties I am responsible for went off without a hitch. Tomorrow night is number 2. Approximately 50 people here for dinner, a riotous white elephant exchange and the wonderful company of good friends.

The last is a party with my Kiwanis Club. I am all excited about this because I have a surprise for the members. Shhhhh, don't tell them.

Now, I'm off to the showers to get ready to be a guest at a party. Last night, we attended an Elizabethan Dinner complete with Madrigals. It was fantastic. Sunday morning, we are having bagles and coffee with friends we do not see as often as we would like. All in all, a season of love, appreciation and connection.

Wishing you magical walks, golden sunsets and the blessing of friends.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Post Turkey Post

Here I am on the last day of the Thanksgiving Weekend, relaxing. I can hear the husband out there moving fence while I'm sitting here, at the open windows watching the sun begin it's swan song for today. The temp is mild and everything is looking pretty fresh from the recent rains.

Turkey Day was delightful. My daughter hosted the whole tribe for a wonderful dinner and lots of fun. See her blog for some of the activity she put us to.

If you look back a bit you will see the bounty I received for my birthday. Well, lucky, lucky me, it continues. Look what showed up in my mail from Randi

This journal, like everything Randi, is so beautiful and tactile. I have several other things etc. that she has sent me, and left me when she moved away. I love them so I tend to use them as decorative pieces. This journal came with a strict admonishment to USE it. And so I will.

After all, who could resist painting and sewing and scribbling on pages like these? Thank you so much Randi. She knows I have a big place in my heart for her, just because of who she is and because she is the person who got me started on all of this altered and mixed media fun.

I do have an excuse for not starting on this baby yet. Several posts ago I shared a journal of security envelopes inspired by Mary Ann from Dispatch from LA.
I have been at work in this wonderful messy crackly thing.
It has an addition to it's cover. The flower was on a birthday card I received from another Mary Ann, a very special friend. What I love about this is the way each page becomes part of another because of all of the windows. Journaling is usually a planned activity for me. I have been struggling to be more spontaneous and this encourages me. It sits right on the desk, handy for doodling or random gluing of whatever scrap I discover in my hand. None of these pages are probably finished. They just keep evolving. But I thought I'd share a bit of where I'm going here. I find it very satisfying.

This left page has a clear pocket with the 1000 Journal Pages card in it. It is a fold over so it is like a little journal in a journal. Do you have any idea how much that tickles me? So odd, how we have these little 'things' that don't really have words to describe them, but that are such powerful parts of our inner works.
I have been including the waxed paper I use when I am painting in the pages of journals that I make. Another one of my favorite things.

Do you work in several journals at once? The orderly part of me wants to finish one before I start in another, but the want-it-all-want-it-now part of me loves jumping around.

This started out to be a page on which I cleaned up the last bits of paint left from another project in the altered book I'm also using. She has crazy lips and her hair looks like mine felt the day I did this. A nice space all ready for some words.
This next page stinks. No really, it smells. I was in one of the corrals with my granddaughter awhile back and she began picking olives (we have a literal forest of olive trees) and squeezing the juice onto tree trunks, rocks, fence posts and the like painting pictures. The color variations impressed me so I picked up a baggie full and decided to use them in a journal spread. This is particularly meaningful to me because there is evidence that they used to grow and cure a large quantity of olives here on the ranch.
While I had fun experimenting with all the different shades and just smearing this juice all over the pages, it wasn't so fun trying to get the color out of my finger nails! Then, a few days later I discovered the smell. I have some of those perfume samples that come in magazines and I've actually been planning to put them into some of my pages. This seems as good a time as any to do it.

I think I've bent your ear and strained your eyes long enough. I'll leave you with this fragment from the Journal of Jules Renard (see earlier post)..."To seize the fleeing idea by the scruff of the neck and rub it's nose on the paper."

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Joy and Satisfaction

This has been an amazing week! The historic and momentous events that came to a climax last evening reminded me to sit for a moment in the gratitude I feel for simply being alive right now.

My birthday continued last evening when, as mentioned before, we headed to my favorite Thai place for dinner and MORE presents all wrapped in the love of the rest of my brood.

and these
were a gift from daughter #2 and Miss D. They came from laralewis

Because they know how much I love earrings, I got these from daughter #3

I love reading the blogs and always get inspired when I do. A few days back Mary Ann of Dispatch From LA showed us a journal she made from security envelopes and a padded mailer. For some reason that got into my head and I couldn't rest until I'd put one together.

It's all nice and fat and crinkely. Here is a peek at the pages. Can't wait to start pasting.

Like the song says, "there's gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day."

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Off To a Great Start

Birthdays are big business in our family and yesterday my family made sure mine was super. Go here to see my first surprise.

Then, the husband and I celebrated my birthday with my daughter, her husband and the Divine Miss O, and my son and daughter-in-law. My son-in-law, who is a fabulous cook, made his famous Chicken Parmigiana which was followed by a yummy carrot cake, courtesy of my son and his wife. Of course there were presents! My daughter gifted me with a subscription to "cloth paper scissors" and the perfect apron.
Also, a pair of leather earrings made to suit by my daughter-in-law.

Tonight, I'm off to my favorite Thai restaurant with my other two daughters and my other granddaughter, the Growing-up-so-fast Miss D. And still there is more! The husband and I have a date to go shopping for a new camera. I need the rest of the week just to count my blessings.

Last Thursday, I practiced more face painting. One of the eyes is totally messed up, but I'm going to leave it. Otherwise how will I ever be able to see my progress?

This one I tried to shade as if the light were coming pretty much straight on. I also felt a bit more fanciful, thus the color choices, very different for me. Except for sketching out the features, I went on automatic and just slapped the paint and layers on. A friend was creating with me and commented that she sees me differently when I am painting. More freedom in my whole self. Makes perfect sense since that's exactly how I feel when I'm having at it.
"Waste not, want not", my mother always said and this is what happened when I attempted to use up all of the paint left from the Blue Haired Goddess. Sharon, who knows a lot about painting faces, has got me hooked on using napkins in my art so I added one of my favorites. This page is just waiting for some words. Just like this one

was the first time I posted it to show off my new Indian wood blocks. Although the Sunday L.A. Times has gone all stingy in it's coverage of books, what is now called Arts and Books is still my favorite section. Two weeks ago, they reviewed The Journal of Jules Renard and I fell in love. Do you find yourself madly attracted to something, for reasons you cannot fathom, to the point of feeling that the information has come screaming through the entire Universe just so you would find it? No? Uh-oh. I assure you I'm relatively harmless. Yes? Ah, a fellow eccentric. Please read on. I immediately ordered the book, which explains the little note on the lady's dress, and can't believe I don't have it yet! In case you can't read the quotes, here are my new, favorite philosophies:

"It should not be thought that laziness is unproductive. Within it, you live intensely, like a hare listening. You swim in it as in water; and are brushed by the grasses of self-reproach."

"Every time I want to settle down to work, literature gets between."

"Five o'clock in the evening. Silent, slow struggle between shadow and sun. Shadow gains ground. The trees have it up their waists, their crests still in the light. At the top of the field, the oxen dazzling with whiteness."

I love alliteration. Just ask the people in my writing group! I'd never heard of Jules Renard before that Sunday. Anyone familiar with him? I also like the idea that maybe, someday, someone will be going through my things and find this journal page of mine and will follow the clue to find the book in my library (which, at current rate of expansion will be HUGE). A bit of immortality for Jules and me. See what happens when I take my mind off leash?

The miracle I referenced in a previous post seems to be still in progress, so all things considered, I'm having a bountiful week. And my wish, for you my friends, is that you experience the same.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Let's face it...

I've been very interested in the blogs I read by artists who do a variety of faces and after taking a wonderful class with dj pettitt where I learned a lot about shading and highlighting etc., I felt ready to give it a try. Here's my first real attempt since the one I did in her class. I painted another today and will post that in a day or so, after it is dry enough to scan. I'm learning that I can be patient or continually clean the scanner. More will be coming as my sketch book is filling up with a cast of characters.

This mixed media piece features a cut out of the old ranch house right after it was built in 1916. The end of the veranda, where the man is sitting, was enclosed years before we got here and is actually where I am sitting right now. The other end has also been enclosed and is our bedroom. I can't stop looking at this photo, I wish I could step into it and visit with the man on the porch (whose last name is, coincidentally, the same as ours) and his wife, standing in the front. He was the CEO of a new company called California Edison and he built the place as a hunting lodge and weekend get away for his family. From what I can tell, it was later used as a retreat and hunting lodge for Edison execs and was eventually sold to the family we bought it from. I'm going to try to come up with a good label that might attract someone who can tell us more about the place. I'll keep you posted.

Today, I got to participate in a miracle. It's a long story but it is just one of those things you pray for and believe with all of your heart can happen, then it does, and you get to be part of it. So, I wish you all a peaceful night and days filled with miracles.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Autumn is my favorite season

and that's a good reason to put up a new banner. I took this photo right out of my studio window. As often as I, lucky girl that I am, get to see these guys up close and personal, they always leave me breathless. Something ancient and Druid stirs in me.

Because California is such a diverse place, within an hours drive I can be out of the canyon and at the beach. The next photos came from La Jolla, which is more like a 2.5 hour drive. We enjoyed a lovely overnight last Saturday.

These beaches are famous for their seals. People are very near by but they seem nothing but bored by all of us. Can you see the sandpiper in the foreground? I remember, when still living in Ohio, seeing an Elizabeth Taylor movie about a beach and something to do with sandpipers. Does anyone remember the title? The first time I saw one of these birds, I thought of Liz Taylor. I'm not sure if that would please her.

Purple seems to be THE color in La Jolla this fall.

My children make terrible fun of the fact that I cannot resist taking photos of rocks and water. I dedicate this next one to them. Amazing how they have no appreciation of how many shots and how long it takes to get these just right.
And here is a lovely little couple who had been having quite a spat. I like to think I caught them in the process of making up.
As if a beautiful weekend were not enough, today I was invited to watch my youngest granddaughter, Miss O, at her ballet class. All I can say about that is, priceless. I will share my good fortune with you here
Aren't those the cutest little legs and slippered feet you have ever seen? Ok, except for your own children and grandchildren. Oh, and equal to the cute legs and feet on my other granddaughter. Have I covered all bases? And, I must confess, I am pretty pleased with my photo editing skills. I have great plans for this to morph into something, ummm, bigger! More later.

The weather people tell us we are heading, once again, to high temperatures and a return of the nasty old Santa Anna winds which come from the desert. As many of you know, we are only too familiar with the fire danger that brings. These are hard days for me, please keep me in your thoughts. For now, I'm going to focus on the beautiful stag and think cool Fall thoughts.

Peace and Abundance to all.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Today I made mad, passionate art!

Do you ever just get into one of those moods? I got home from sort of a stressful morning and took out the paint and the journal and just let myself go. It is actually hard for me to wildly paint, cut and paste without a plan of some kind, but I'm working on being spontaneous and authentic. And here, my dears, are the fruits of my labor.

This one was a real stretch. I'm fighting the urge to call it "messy" because I do kind of like it. It will become something else after it gets some good journaling in the open spaces. Some of the layers are old, old, old Yahtzee score cards. My kids names are on them in that wonderful grade school cursive. It makes me happy to know they are under there.

This blue is, I guess, is as close to pastels as I get. See the pretty stamp? Made these with some very yummy old India wood blocks. Sunday, the husband and I went to the famous Rose Bowl Flea Market in Pasadena and found an entire basket of these for sale. Of course I wanted them all, but settled on three and am having a great time experimenting.

This is my favorite. The design in the background is a transparency transfer of a large doodle I did unconsciously while I was on a long telephone call. The photo fragment is from an anniversary card we got describing marriage as an adventure.

Here is the facing page with the imprint of another of my new wood blocks. I layered lots of paint onto the block so that the print has texture.

To round out my day of creative release, I worked on a poem I roughed out last night when I couldn't sleep. I've learned to catch up on my podcasts or to get up and write, read or sketch instead of tossing and turning and am always excited the next morning when I see what I produced. I'm going to share this poem because it seems that several of you are struggling with a loss. My Dad passed 4 years ago and it is still a tender place for me.

I Was Raised on Adages

"If you believe it, you can achieve it"
has tortured my mind
as surely as the head busting
plummet from the garage roof,
as incredulously reported by my father,
temporarily scrambled the brains
of his younger brother
who believed that
the towel tied around his neck
looked enough like Superman's cape
to enable him to fly.

"There's no such thing as a free lunch"
was an often repeated mantra
of my father's
that I thought of while,
parked at a highway rest station,
I watched him scurry from his camper
to bring a lunch plate,
piled high with his favorite foods,
to a man he saw
eating from a dumpster.

"If it seems too good to be true, it probably is"
reverberated through
the halls of my memory
like a slammed door
as I woke, clutching at the trailing hem
of a vanishing dream
in which I sat with my father,
at the old kitchen table,
laughing and eating ham sandwiches
feeding scraps to my best
and now angelic dog,

"There's no use crying over spilled milk"
returns to me as
I finally experience
the cleansing relief
of unrestrained tears
set free by the memory
of keeping vigil
as the life spilled from my dying father
like a pure white puddle
spreading it's way to eternity.

"Out of sight, out of mind."

lm 10/2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Seems I am on a once a month posting schedule.

Some work book covers left over from my consulting days have come to an excellent use! Spent last evening doodling with my oldest granddaughter, Miss D. Per her request, I am putting up our creations. I think her art is actually quite involved for a 7 year old. And mine, well lets just say I was under her spell.
Notice that the girl on the far right is waving. The D has discovered movement in her art.

Notice the wagging tongue.
Exploring ways to put our names and initials in our pictures.

I love to doodle! Amazing how much fun it is to spend time with a kid.

Here is a little piece that was inspired by weekend family camping (I use the word loosely, we were in our son's very nicely appointed camper) at Newport Dunes. A few palm trees, a heavy marine layer and a little digital manipulation.

More later, I have actually made a bit of art. Hope all is well with all of you.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

I have been missing but...

I have not been idle.

Many adventures to share. First, I have been playing with my camera again. Don't you just love running around for 15 minutes taking shots of whatever gets in front of you?

This is the view from my laundry room, which is an old enclosed porch, looking into the kitchen. The open door to the left is where I play and paint and write. To the right, you can see the last of the daylight through the dining room window.

Now I'm going to get weird. This is probably the biggest spider web I have ever seen. It went from post to post, ceiling to bricks on the front veranda. The interesting part is that when I put this up as my desk top, and it gets blown up reallllly big, you can clearly see numbers and letters resembling old fashioned type on the filaments and at the junctions. Remember, I'm the one who had so much fun showing you the hidden pictures in the fish photos?

I was sitting on the patio one evening admiring this little pixie I love so much. She was a gift from my Mom who said it looks like me, all into a book. Suddenly, all I could see was this, right out of the DaVinci Code. I know, I know. My brain is clearly begging for more creative time. Maybe I'll work this into a little story.

We run this old ranch on a bunch of solar panels and managed to keep 3 houses going all last year, in So Calif. where you NEED to run the air conditioning, for a total of $9 and change. That was the electric bill for all of 2007. And most of that was all the taxes and fees. When we are not using all the power we make, it goes back down the grid. Our power company does not pay for the power you supply them or else they would have likely owed us money. I pass this tower when I turn onto the road at the start of the canyon and could not resist this interesting shot.
Still here? OK, I'll keep going. When I was a kid in Ohio, the Goodyear Blimp used to fly over the house quite regularly. Advertising I guess. I was always fascinated by this huge balloon. Well, life is filled with surprises and the husband and I got a chance to take a ride! It was a real thrill. I felt like that little girl the entire time.

We flew around for about an hour. The pilot explained it is just like traveling in a submarine, only you are moving through air, not water. A once-in-a-life time treat.

THEN, we had a lovely evening at the Hollywood Bowl with friends. We usually manage one trip a summer and I look forward to them. The program was Les Miserables and, as usual, I was crying at the end.


Off to the Science Museum to see Body Works. All I can say about the exhibit is WOW. If you haven't seen it, do. I was a little hesitant because it seemed a bit disrespectful of the dead, but when I saw how well it was done and reminded that these people are bringing an incredible educational opportunity, I relaxed and was completely mesmerized.

No photos of the displays, for all of the obvious reasons, but wanted to share the museum buildings. The use of material, shapes and reflection make just walking up to the door art.

Then it was off to Pleasanton Calif.

for a great weekend with my daughter at the ZNE Convention. Besides really enjoying the visiting time with my girl the 6 hour drive up and back provided, we had a wonderful class with dj pettitt. She is a very generous instructor and I learned a lot from her. Here is my project, or as much of it as I could get to scan. The bird has a tail and there is a bit of detail missing. You have seen this lady before on a journal page and I was pleased to learn to replicate her in a larger piece. Per DJ's suggestion, I am shopping for a piece of upholstery fabric to stitch her onto. I'll do a proper photo when I'm done.

So many photo ops that weekend. There was a convention of antique car buffs sharing this charming little town with us. Here is one of my favorites.

Now for the big news. August 31 marked 40 years of marriage for the husband and I. We met in high school and dated for 4 years before getting married, so we have been together 44 years. Our wonderful children gathered the whole family together at an excellent Mediterranean restaurant where we ate an indescribable feast. They showered us with gifts and love. By now, you all know that Katydiddy is my very creative daughter. You can always count on her to dress up any occasion with a piece of art. She provided all of us with these special Anniversary Wands. She wanted everyone in the restaurant to know it was our celebration. They did, because we had these beautiful wands
and because we made soooooo much noise!

OK, you have been very courteous and paid wonderful attention. I'm working on a few things and will share more a bit later. Have a wonderful Fall, it was always my favorite time of year in Ohio. While not as dramatic in So Cal, things still get interesting in these last months of the year. Peace to all, love to all, life to all.