Friday, December 23, 2011

It's very simple, really
Let's open up our hearts
And let in all the love and light
For that's when Christmas starts

Gather round your family
Your neighbors, foes and friends
Don't leave out a single soul
For that's when Christmas ends.

How ever you celebrate this amazing time of year
please accept all of my best wishes

to you and yours.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Dia de los Muertos

Moving to California nearly 30 years ago has brought many interesting things into my life and the celebration of the Day of the Dead with it's altars, sugar skulls and marigolds has been one of the most striking. This takes the All Saints Day and All Souls Day of my Catholic upbringing to new heights and somehow seems to resonate with me.

Here's what I'm thinking. I miss my Dad and am grateful for all of the jokes and family stories he shared. For his concern if he even thought I was having a bad time. For the most important lesson I've probably ever learned; to know it's never too late to own your past behavior. And I am grateful that when he got older, he started calling me "honey".

Thursday, October 27, 2011

What is as soothing as the crashing sea?

As much as I cherish the wild beauty of Trail's End, I do love to be near the ocean. I'm not so much an "in"or "on" the ocean girl as I love being "next to" the ocean. You know, a shore bird.

Here's a little peak at the two days we just spent in Laguna Beach. Our room hung out over the sand and the waves crashed and pounded the rocks right under us. Magic...

Looking toward Main Beach, Laguna

 May I see a million sunsets and always be stunned.

Just after dawn. 

Nobody up yet!

The Pacific Edge Hotel is all about The Endless Summer, Cowabunga!

I'm thinking that it is only my arrogance that leads me to believe that I can ever know where I am going. It seems that the paths have chosen me and I think that, regardless of my current plotting, it's happening again.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Ride 'em cowboy!

I have mixed feelings about rodeos. Of course there is a sports medicine trailer right outside the ring and the announcer assures us that the animals are safe, all precautions are taken and there are vets on hand in case of a mishap. But it is hard to watch a cute little calf chased down, roped and tied. I always feel better when they cut them free and the little cuties saunter out of the ring with their heads held high. Seems like it's always a win for them. The bull and bronc riding seems a little more fair. The animals are clearly the winners in many instances and it's the cowboys in these events who seem a bit worse for wear. The barrel racing is exciting and the horses look like they are having the time of their lives, the trick riders are a beautiful marriage of horse and rider and the pageantry, the clowns and the verbal acuity of the announcers are most entertaining. Rodeos seem at least a little more animal friendly than a circus and are way less disturbing than the bull fight I saw years ago in Cancun. Now that I think about it, I think I like them better than a zoo. At least the horses, bulls and even the little calves have an opportunity to get one over on the humans.

Having said that, watching a rodeo is also like a living scrapbook to me. It seems that at least some of these guys are actually working cowboys doing what cowboys have done for ages. I am a bit of a sucker for tradition.

                                                             They have matching faces! 

                                              This looks like a Norman Rockwell to me.

I am surprised I got these, the best of the 100 or so I took. Rodeo's move fast and my shutter doesn't!At any rate, some of you will hate these photos and some of you will love them. I'm going to be plumbing the depths of my soul for awhile yet to decide how I really feel about these spectacles. But I did have a lot of fun. That may have had something to do with the fact that I was with the husband and our granddaughter! The granddaughter used my camera for a bit and got some good shots herself.  The next two are hers.

 I never get tired of taking photos of our beautiful hills and mountains. After 28 years of living here, seeing these everyday, I am still in awe. This rodeo was also a reminder to me that Trails End Ranch is right here in the midst of what was once real cowboy country.

It is very late, I should be long asleep. Hopefully I am now tired enough to some shut eye, as the cowboys might say. Here's what I'm thinking; that I'm going to try to cultivate a constant state of wonder, never being too sure about what's right and what's wrong, but keeping my eyes and my heart open while life sorts itself out.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A Day Apart

Yesterday I spent 7 hours in a collage class led by Sylvia at The Art Box in Claremont. The icing on the cake was being there with my darling daughter #3. I finished this piece (boy, I have a black and red thing lately don't I?) and have two more  that are off to a good start but not quite ready for prime time. One of them is simple and needs no more that some cutting and glueing.

The other is a wonderful lesson in expectations. I know that planning is such an important factor for success in many endeavors, but I have never been very good at it and usually get all tangled up when I attempt to "make a plan and follow it." My art attempts are no exception. The lesson is also about investment. Things don't seem to work out as easily for me if I allow myself to be too heavily invested in the outcome, in life as well as in art. And lastly, there is deliberatenessness (hey, it's MY word). If I forget that there is always magic afoot and keep brushing off the stardust that I think is messing up my project I struggle to a disappointing end. When I think of all the art I have done in the past several years, the pieces I like best, the pieces I enjoyed making most, are the ones that seemed to make themselves while I was in some sort of delicious trance.

And this piece, which is now a disappointing mess, pretty much covers all three of those lessons. I ignored my instincts, followed the rules instead and lost my mojo. The subject is near and dear to my heart and I  planned it to be a gift. I have some doable ideas on getting it back on it's proverbial feet, then I'm going to get into one of those trances and let it finish itself. Yes I am. Hopefully you will see it here in the next few weeks. (That doesn't sound like a plan, investment or deliberatenessness does it?)

I have also been in a writing mood. Here is what I was thinking just the other day. Seems to belong in this post.

Falling in Love

I am finally falling in love with my own spirit,
slowly losing the ability to judge 
myself or others, falling in love 
with all things eccentric, eclectic, 
odd, beautiful, foreign and mysterious.
Discernment and propriety 
are silently slipping away.

Daily life is becoming perfect serialized fiction
in which to lose myself in the beautiful, 
the hideous, horror, knowledge, 
humor, intrigue, lust!
When I'm through I close the book and place it 
in the glass-doored case of my collections
where I can appreciate its exquisite bindings.

Be well my tender friends and remember, it's all GOOD!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Just to let you know

I am still alive! And still blogging! Things have been crazy for me, a bit of traveling, some fun-some not so fun, and a very stubborn cold. Got lots of good things cooking and the plan is to keep you up to date a little better from now on. (I never get tired of promising this.)

Remember her?

Well, she is hanging in a Southern California Collage Society show in at the Filipi Winery in beautiful Rancho Cucamonga Ca. Just a little tale of self discovery regarding this piece. I love her. She is on distressed cardboard, a technique I discovered while visiting Katie Kendrick's wonderful blog. But when I saw her hanging amongst the very beautiful pieces in this show, I had that icky feeling that I know some of you are familiar with. You know, the "who-the-heck- thought-I-should-be-in-this-show-anyway" feeling. I know, I know, but I had it BAD.

So I hung out on the bench facing the wall my stuff is on and now I not only appreciate the art I have created, I have a new poem as well.

The Artist Observes Yo Soy Flamenco

"Look at this", he said,
standing before the
artist's favorite,Yo Soy Flamenco,
with a look of a man
who treasures old
sweaters and worn out

The artist sat, unobserved,
on the bench meant for
contemplating the exhibition
with the look of the person
in a dream who shows up
for school late, lost and

Sighing, the woman left the finely
crafted and expensively framed
piece that held her captive looking
like the reluctant bride
who has been
given by her father to his

"It's cardboard," she hissed
as she approached
Yo Soy Flamenco
affecting the look of a woman
wearing Jimmy Choos
who just stepped in
dog do.

"I know, that's what makes it so cool"
he said waving his arms
with enthusiasm
looking like a man
who just found the '57 classic
convertible of his carefree teen-age

And for the first time that day
the artist smiled with the look
of someone who realizes that her
art does have a voice and that
she actually belongs in this

lm 9/2011

Here's a little disclosure: If you are this couple, I apologize for the poetic license taken with the facts. I'm a writer, I embellish. What is 100% true about this encounter is that this is exactly how I felt! And in my little corner of the world, that's how we grow.

Here is the rest of my work at this show.

another piece on cardboard. I LOVE doing this! My husband says our trash has decreased significantly since I've started mixed media upcycling.

This is a collage journal that I made to be a piece of experiential art. I just got got a wild idea and thought this show would be a good place to try it out. Below is my message to the viewers, if you click on it, I think you can read it. I will be anxious to see if anything comes of this. So far, no emails :(

This is a statue I finished a couple of weeks ago based on what I learned in the wonderful sculpture class I took from Healing Woman in August. More on that later.

I always enjoy the first time I take what I've learned in a class and use it on my own. I'm pretty happy with how this turned out. Not perfect, but not too bad considering it's my second sculpture.

Be well my friends and make art, your kind of art. Maybe it's the art of smiling at strangers, just make art! The planet needs it.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Thursday, August 4, 2011

More good things

I have so many exciting things on my horizon the next few months I am close to bursting! Here is a piece that is mostly finished that I will put in the collage show in September. Most of you know, I am crazy for book arts and this is a collage show. I just got rolling and the next thing I knew I had a piece of hybrid art!

The Humanities in the back is the front cover of a wonderful old book, which was already in pieces, and the collage pages are between the covers of another recycled oldie.

There are a total of 16 collages in here. Some still need a coat of gel medium and some need a little text. I feel really happy to have figured all of this out. Normally, I would have just settled on an easy application which would mean I settled on a finished piece that was not exactly what I wanted. The book is bound with rings that go through the Humanities board so it is secure and won't flop around when people go through it. Believe me, it was a huge achievement for someone as technically challenged as I am.

There is a hanger on the back of the Humanities board so it can be hung up. I am trying to imagine how I can include a sign encouraging people to look through the book. I recently read an article that reminded me of the theory that simply observing a thing actually changes that thing. I want to invite people to "change" this exhibit simply by looking at it. Tossing and turning on a sleepless night last week, I went so far as to imagine a traveling exhibit of somethings like this by a variety of artists with the theme being "Look and Change: a challenge for our times."

Then there is this:

a journal made from the cardboard "sleeve" that Amazon sends your books in. Inspired by my friend Aleta who saw the potential in that bit of trash. I'm going to enter this as well; it is not filled with collage but it is a journal that IS a collage.
The black and gold paper covering the back board is over 200 years old, courtesy of my friend who sells antique prints. So, this piece is a repository of things and people that are dear to me.

There are two facing journals inside. Sort of the Drost effect.

This can be taken from the wall to write or art in them.

The frosty piece of glass that holds the book closed was a find made by my granddaughter. As you know, we had a huge fire up here several years ago and our greenhouse burned to nothing. Now bits of this amazing glass are working their way to the surface. The technicalities of making this work as a closure were suggested by the husband.

Here's another bit of thinking I've done.

The potential of the butterfly
motivates every caterpillar
and the wisdom and patience
of the caterpillar must be honored
by every butterfly.

I'm probably the last person on the planet to "get" this. Of course I have heard all of the metaphore, but for some reason I just GOT this bigger (or is it smaller?) picture.

This art and this writing are entwined in my mind. I feel like I am moving to the next place. It's not that I am dissatisfied, it's more like differentsatisfied.

Oh how I babble on. Thanks for listening while I self- obsess.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer at Trail's End

Thanks to all my friends and family for the nudging to post!!!!

We have been keeping cool thanks to our solar panels. We run the air night and day and have the satisfaction of sending even more power back down the grid. You are welcome.

In August, I will perform my first wedding. Yep, you read that right. I have attended several weddings officiated by what I call "Yellow Page Ministers" and I always thought how wonderful it would be to do this. After much procrastinating and with much urging from friends, I got what I need in the State of California to perform legal weddings. I am excited and have a few butterflies, this being the first and the fact that it is for good friends. Wish the beautiful couple all the best which means wish that I will do as good a job as I want to!

The day after this great affair, I am off to Roanoake Va. to attend a sculpture class with the most talented and gracious Cheryl Dolby. Take a peek here at her lovely blog and click on the side for a look at her Faces Sculpture Classl. You WILL be jealous.

Several months back, I went to Malibu for a class with another art goddess, Judy Wise and I have been working in the journal I started there. It is a bigger book than I usually make and I am getting used to having more page to work on. Here are several examples in various stages of completion.

Any thing you read on my pages are the seeds, the embryos of poems. I go back into my journal for writing prompts. It seems that the drawing inspires the writing, never the other way around. For me, that is. How about you?

Then there is the doodling! I have evolved and learned to love my doodles enough to move from scrap paper to painted journal pages.

And, the iPhone camera is still my pal. Always there, in my pocket, ready to get as excited about an image as I am when we happen on one.

See, the iPhone camera and I are still clicking away at 2 A.M.

Let's just say "several" years ago I delivered my first baby. How could I have known that gifts like this would be showered upon me from then on?

Lovely Laura demonstrates what the Husband calls the Recessive Sewing Gene. Actually, it just skipped a generation. My grandmother sewed up a storm and my mom spent her time at the machine. This lovely case, which makes carrying your favorite drawing instruments so convenient,

is actually a little quilt. Two of the strips are my journal pages that Laura printed on fabric.

This whole thing just touches my heart. It's not even my birthday or anything! A JUST BECAUSE present...Thank you little Katie!

This photo captures one of those moments that remind me that I am on an incredible journey of discovery. This guy would not budge. We tapped his tail, etc. He would just look at us. Click to enlarge and take a look at that face! He did not seem injured and moved on of his own accord later. Here is Spirit Come to Take a Look, as my old friend Martha Lou used to say.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

What a wonderful Spring

we have been having here at Trails End.

Too much rain, too many clouds for some, but not for me. It may be because I'm from Cleveland, but I need rain and some overcast days. And the lush, green results are a sight to behold.

This next photo is one of my car shots, attempting to capture the magic of all of the screaming yellow on the hillsides and road sides in SoCal in the Spring. Wild Mustard and Scotch Broom everywhere. Needless to say, roaring down the freeway is not the way to capture these golden wonders. So I had some fun altering one of the shots I did get.

I'm thinking of painting this. Maybe adding a Tuscan villa in the background.

Easter was all about flowers here. I got these beauties from a dear friend

and these are from the husband. I am so lucky, I get roses all of the time.

And, we all know how addicted I am to shadows. Each season has a distinct quality of light and a distinct nuance of shadow, something I never noticed until I lived here on the ranch. Another gift of this magical place, along with the views and the opportunity to meet the nicest people on the road.

I love TED and this clip really moved me. I found it interesting and entertaining as well. It certainly is a worthy hope.

Speaking of right brain, I wish I was 5 again. I would so wear my granddaughter's shoes.

It is my intention (but we all know about intention) to blog more frequently. Next time I have some art to share with you.

Right now, I'm thinking of all of the blessings that Spring and life in general have brought to me. I'm so grateful for all of you and your kind words and encouragement. Join me in a nice cuppa?