Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Warrior Princess!

Statue of Boudicia by Westminster Bridge London

Ah, warrior princesses! You gotta love 'em! So powerful, so commanding, so hot! I was able to snap the above photo on our England trip in 2006. The mighty Celt Boudicia - she who almost kept the Romans out of England. And of course, Xena; bad scripts, bad acting, but that never stopped any of us from watching did it?

Xena -Warrior Princess (photo -boxoffice.com)

I once had a spiritual healer who told me I possess warrior princess energy - cool! I don't know if I do or not, but my car sure does!

Monday, March 30, 2009


Found Stacks and The Great War
The above tableau is by my desk in the workroom at the library. The top piece is by local artist Carol Jean Attoe, a ceramic plaque called The Great War. The bottom four are mine, a selection of my Found Stacks series (detailed here). I love the way they all look together and enjoy immensely having them by my desk during the work week.

detail from The Great War

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Mellow Yellow

Scotch Broom

Sour Grass

Wild Mustard

The lovely, sunny, yellows of spring. Three shots taken yesterday in Cambria on my lunch hour. Yeah, it doesn't get much better than this! Enjoy your weekend.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Shakespeare & Company

"Time was Soft There" and pamphlet from Shakespeare & Co.

"Time was Soft There" - a memoir of Jeremy Mercer's sojourn working at Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris. A tale of the City of Lights, eccentric characters, time gone by, and books, books, and more books. This is a story of George Whitman who revived the bookshop, in 1951, 10 years after the original (founded by Sylvia Beach in 1919) was closed down by the Nazi occupation. It's the story of thousands of young men and women who have passed through the shop, staying and working for a few months, on their way to everywhere in the world. It is the story of a love of books, a love of people, and a love of Paris.

Me in front of Shakespeare & Co. - 2004

Friday, March 27, 2009

Book Stacks

(from gallery in Chipping Campden)

On our trip to England in late summer 2006 I spotted this delightful piece in a gallery window in Chipping Campden. It was early and not open yet. There was no title or artist listed - at least not on view through the window. I would love to know, to give credit to this talented artist, so if any of you out there in Blogland have a clue please tell me. As a book lover and altered book artist I was fascinated with this wonderful stack of books. The next spring I created my own - using discarded library books, which I gessoed, then painted and splattered in a variety of pastel arcylics, finishing off with painted twine and a wooden apple atop the stack.

A Smattering of Knowledge

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Box #5

An Evening at the Opera - Box #5

This is my submission for the latest Somerset Studio Challenge - anything Andrew Lloyd Weber.
So, for inspiration, I went to "Phantom of the Opera" , the musical of his that I like the most.
"The glamour of the Paris Opera; long gloves, black tie, the opening bars of the overture, a lift of the opera glasses – and what’s that – did you spot movement in Box #5? Could the tales of the phantom possibly be true?"
Created in an old backgammon box, collaged with pages from the score of "Faust" and embellished with gloves, opera glasses, a fan, and a diminutive bottle of champagne - everything is in readiness for An Evening at the Opera - Box #5

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

It Must be Spring

Lupine along Highway 1 near Cambria

Even though it's been colder the last few days - lots of wind off the ocean - even had frost on our morning beach walk yesterday, I know it must be spring. I saw the first lupine on the way to work. I stopped and took some pix to celebrate the season. Of all the glorious California wildflowers, lupine and golden poppies are my favourites. So much so that I have a tattoo of them intertwined on my left calf

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Fascinating, fun, Florence!

"The Red Leather Diary" is the magical story of a 75 year old diary found in a New York apartment house dumpster by Times reporter Lily Koppel. I don't know how I missed it in January 2008 when it came out in hardback, but am very glad I found it now. Koppel tracks down Florence Wolfson, returns the diary and has the blanks filled in by this lively nonagenarian who penned the journal from 1929-1934 in Manhatten's Upper Eastside.

The apartment building cleaned out its storage basement in 2003 and dozens of old steamer trunks were piled by the dumpsters. Koppel stumbled onto this sight on her morning trek to work and spent the day rescuing as much as she could. The pages that tell about this are what every collector dreams of and a real vicarious kick to read.

Monday, March 23, 2009

File under Tile

Around the World in 80 Tiles

I love to collect tiles - especially when we travel. I bring back one or two that remind me of the wonderful places we visit; Mexico, Paris, Scotland, Catalina Island, England... Last fall I finally got around to arranging them. Good friend Jim Bonez helped with the backer board preparation and grouting and now they hang on our back deck where we can enjoy them along with the ocean view.

Seeing Lisa's post yesterday, with her fantastic house number mosaic, gave me the push to go out and take some pictures of this piece.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Oh the possibilities!

I love tiny buildings - cabins, sheds, huts... I think somewhere in the back of my mind there lurks a thought that they can all be turned in to studios! Both of these are on my daily commute to work. The first is a small log structure, fairly new, nestled in the green hills between Hwy 1 and the ocean. The second close to the road; a derilect shed, that has seen better days, but weathered to a delicious shade of silvery grey. I can't help it, every day when I drive past I fantasize about turning them into studios. I have a wonderful studio in my home (actually at times, it seems like the entire home is the studio!) but still I see these tiny buildings and I start outfitting them with storage bins, counters, tables and tons of supplies and ephemera. Tell me, do any of you share this affliction with me? I bet you do!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Paint like Pollack!

I created the above at http://jacksonpollock.org/ , a funsite where you can paint like Jackson Pollock (well - sorta) by using your mouse. A double click changes the color, resting the mouse makes the "paint" pool. It's a lot of fun and rather addicting.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Mail Jackpot!

I hit the jackpot with yesterday's mail delivery! The new issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors's Studio, Sarah Fishburn and Angela Cartwright's sixth-edition of their Quality Art Zine - Pasticcio, a postcard announcing Anne Bagby's new show in Dallas, and three very small, very rusted madeleine molds all the way from Provence -courtesy of Corey Amaro of Tongue in Cheek. Am I a lucky girl or what?!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Return of the Swallows

St. Joseph's Day and the swallows return to San Juan Capistrano. A few scouts arrive early and there are always some stragglers, but more often than not flocks and flocks actually come back on March 19th.
As a child I found this fascinating and one year we got to go to and watch the birds wheeling and dipping and dancing in the sky above the old Mission. It's one of those memories that will never fade.

Dance of the Swallows

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Beach Weather

Cayucos Pier
It's been real beach weather the last few days. The kind of weather that anywhere else people would say "It feels like summer!" But here in Morro Bay, summer is cool and quite foggy (very Lisa Hoffman weather!) Our best weather is fall through spring, and this week it's been out-doing itself .
So these pictures are of where I'd like to be today, instead of at work. I don't swim and don't tan (which as it's turned out has been a good thing - who would have guessed back in the '60's?) so the beach to me has always meant piers and boats and boardwalks and time to journal and sketch. And the ever-changing, never-changing magic of the sea.

Morro Bay Harbor

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Taos News, Too

The Taos News, Too

I've always been intrigued by Sas Colby's The Taos News - a diary of sorts, that she created from found object street finds on her daily walks in Taos. She affixed them to the front page of several editions of The Taos News.

detail from Sas Colby's series "The Taos News"

When I was in Taos, I thought it would be fun to do my own small tribute to her marvelous series. One cold early morning I left the Mabel Dodge Luhan House around 6:15 and went off into the snow and ice to see what I could find. In the course of an hour's walk, I was able to fill a bag full of delight detritus - but found it was sometimes hard to pick things up with gloves on, so my fingers ended up very cold! Also found, that a few of the best things - including a wonderfully rusted bottle cap - were frozen in the dirt and wouldn't come out. I stopped at a cafe for a latte and to warm up, and what should also be there but the new edition of "The Taos News". It all came home with me and was finished yesterday.

deatil from my tribute to Sas - The Taos News, Too

Monday, March 16, 2009

Found Object Combo

"You want rust with that?" Why yes please, I do. Nothing like rust for us mixed media types. These are all bits and bobs I found on the street, under the studio table and in other strange places. I keep a cigar box in the studio that receives all these treasures and every once in awhile, I pull them all out, make stacks and attach them to drift lumber that I collect on the beach

Bottle caps, sea glass, shells, rusted jewelry findings, cheesecloth - anything and everything can and does end up in a Found Object Combo. Each one is a small vignette, and then 5 or 6 of them attached to the weathered piece of wood, become a story of sorts - that is different for every viewer

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Ah! The Weekend!

photo - http://www.wildliferanger.com/index.php?f=data_yellow&a=0
Kick back, sleep late, read in bed with coffee, brunch with friends, time in the studio, warm sun, cool breeze, beautiful ocean - it doesn't get much better than this.

Boardwalk on Moonstone Beach, Cambria

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Oodles of Poodles

Kind mit Pudeln

One of the most amazing things I saw at the San Francisco MOMA was the above piece by artist Katharina Fritsch Kind mit Pudeln (1995-1996). Yes, that is 224 black poodles surrounding a baby lying on an eight pointed star. The poodles are arranged on the points of the star in perfect symmetry. It fills the room and is quite a sight as one walks in, unaware, to be confronted by this mass of doggy alignment. I love museums!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Not just a rotunda!

I had seen pictures of the Palace of Fine Arts all my life, but never been there. I had no idea there were all these wonderful columned pathways leading away from the center building.

It's amazing to think of the craftsmanship that went into the building of this magnificent structure, constructed for the Panama Pacific Exposition in 1915, and extensively restored in the 1960's. Read the entire history here.

I wonder what they're looking at?

Thursday, March 12, 2009

1000 Journals

The 1000 Journals Exhibit at the San Francisco MOMA was delightfully interactive. It featured photo montages of scores of the journal pages as well as 3 of the actual journals that have traveled around the world and back again.

A section of the wall held dozens of new journals that had been installed for the exhibit with an invitation to write, draw, collage - pencil, markers and glue sticks available for use. While I was there a class of fourth graders came by and were fascinated - soon most were leaving their mark in one of the available journals.

As did I, before leaving to visit my favourite Rauschenberg.

Collection 1954 Robert Rauschenberg

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What's Your Sign?

One thing I love to do when we travel is capture great old signs in my camera lens. I've made the mistake of not getting a picture and then finding the sign gone the next time I go by. So now I point and shoot the minute one catches my eye, just in case it's not there later. The top one is, apparently, 4 blocks beyond the Capri Motel in the Marina District of San Francisco.

And who couldn't love "Pawn Dog" in Oxnard, California? What a jaunty grin!

Sadly this institution just south of Ventura, California, is now closed and waiting for the wrecking ball. It's been around forever, but soon will be just a memory. I was able to get this picture just in time.

Discovered this beauty in Seattle near Pioneer Square on a trip up for Art Fest. What mixed-media artist could resist that lovely weathering?

And on the other side of the country, here's the Lobster Pot in Provence Town on the very end of Cape Cod. So, what's your (favourite) sign?

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Paul's Hat Works

Well, we drove down Geary Street til we hit 25th and started looking and there it was - Paul's Hat Works. Established 1918 and now going out of business and selling off 91 years of stock! We approached the door and read "Tuesday-Saturday 9-6". I'm sure we saved an awful lot of of money, because if what we were able to see through the windows was any indication - it was a vintage dream!
Margot stood behind me and tried to shade the windows so I could get pictures (she did pretty well). These shots give you just a tempting idea of what we could see. Fantastic hat boxes, old machinary, blocks and forms. I still have no idea what an exploding Empress Eugenie is, but maybe its better that way. I'm sure my imagination has made it much more fun than it really is.

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