Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Colours of Burano

The beautiful, brilliant colours of Burano - a tiny island 7 km north of Venice. The vaporetto ride there takes you past San Michele (the cementary island), Murano (the glass-blowing island),Isola di San Francesco del Deserto (the island with the deserted monastery) and finally into Burano.

The houses, that line the small canels or surround tiny campos, are all painted in different colours. Fishing boats set out every day, but the major industry is lace-making. This ancient art has been handed down through the generations, some of the finest hand-made lace in the world comes from this tiny bit of land surrounded by the lagoon.

There is a fascinating lace museum, and several lace makers that demonstrate the how-tos of their art. And of course it's a painter's paradise - the wonderful houses and that famous Venetian light.

A sleek Burano cat watching us watch her!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Camden Town

We visited England in the fall of 2006 and while in London spent a Sunday in Camden . Shopping at the Camden Lock Market - great used book stalls and jewelry, eating wonderful ethnic food and reveling in the hip, young atmosphere.

Lots of edge-y boutiques, and shoe stores. Margot was busy taking notes and sketching ideas for Sassy Feet

I was writing in my journal and snapping pictures like crazy. Loved all the bigger-than-life advertising sculptures. Camden was definitely a feast for the senses.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

In Flanders Field

Another painting on that wonderful red rosin paper. This one called In Flanders Field based on the famous piece by WWI poet Lt. Colonel John McCrea.

I used lots of cheesecloth and some netting embedded in the gesso. The colors I chose; olive green, burnt sienna, burnt umber, and red set the sombre tone. Poppies were stenciled on and xerox copies of poppies and of a soldier's face were coloured with oil pastels and affixed with matte medium. Bullet casings, chain mesh, and scraps of vintage WWI postcards were attached with heavy gel medium.

In Flanders Field

In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.
Ypres - 1915

Monday, April 27, 2009

Elephant House

Fascinating book - Elephant House or The Home of Edward Gorey written and photographed by Kevin McDermott.
Who among us in the artistic/mixed media world doesn't love Edward Gorey? This is a compelling look at his much loved and "oh so Gorey-esque" dwelling place.

The two things that delighted me the most were the sheer impossible and amazing amount of books in all the rooms! and the lovely vignettes on tables, window sills, door moldings, etc. of random and weird stuff.

If you love Gorey's work, you'll love this heart felt and beautifully photographed tribute.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Room with a View

My web wizard Destiny and I were playing around at the computer and came up with this - tres cool, n'est ce pas? It looks like a camping apartment complex - 9 rooms and everyone with a killer view. Margot and I will be enjoying this view later this afternoon when we meet friends over at Morro Bay State Park, we'll grill steaks, have a glass of wine or two around the campfire and listen to the herons settle in the tree tops as dusk falls. Ah! Life on the coast.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Exciting News!

Barbara and Blanche Rose

I received an e-mail a few days ago from Kathryn Miller who is writing a book entitled Libraries Going Green in Our Environmentally Conscious World. One of the chapters will be about using discarded books and she wants to feature photos of my altered books. Wow! How 'bout that? It's being published by the ALA (American Library Association) and since I'm a librarian that makes the whole thing especially sweet.

Young England

These are three of the images I sent in. I tried to show a variety of techniques as well as different types of books -a discarded library book, a thrift store book club edition, and a fantastic find from a charity shop in Stow-on-the -Wold, England.

Frida y Mexico

Friday, April 24, 2009

Check it out!

I am now officially represented on the Arts Obispo website in their Artist Visual Gallery. Find me here - contact info, artist statement and four photos representative of my work are featured. We are a county of less than a quarter million and it is heartening to see how many artists are registered with Arts Obispo and how their mixed media category is growing. We have a thriving art scene here in San Luis Obsipo County, one of the reasons it's such a great place to be.

Path to Hades - one of my pieces in Arts Obispo Visual Gallery

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lisa and Lynne -such a deal!

Rusted Roots - Lynne Perrella

Lucky, lucky me! This August I will be attending Lynne Perrella's "Color Catalyst" 2 day workshop! Click on the link for details of this exciting new class. And also check out Lynne's website for more info and a full-sized picture of the work above. And in the current (May/June) issue of Somerset Studio Lynne's article features the white version of this printer's tray piece. She has plans to do one in every color - and who better for that task then the "True Colors" founder herself!

And- I will get to spend time with fabulous artist and e-mail & blog buddy Lisa Hoffman! - since the workshop is being held in her neck of the woods. Counting the days - this is going to be a heck of a lot of fun!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Weekend, Part 2

Passage to the Orient #1
More photo mat collage, these three from a 5 part series called Passage to the Orient. The thin pieces with the red and black dots on the ends are Mah Jong counters. A fortuitous find last summer at the Santa Monica Flea Market.

Passage to the Orient #2

Passage to the Orient #3

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

How I Spent my Weekend, Part 1

Desert Sands

While Margot was away teaching Sassy Feet Classes I spent my weekend (after the swap meet) making more of these collages in old photo album mats. I now have 16 ready for Open Studios this coming October. They are fun to do, and while listening to Madeleine Peyroux, the time flew by.

Magic Carpet #1
The form seems to lend itself to doing serial work(u-oh! a serial artist!). The three here have a Egyptian/Syrian influence. Throughout the week I'll post others from Passage to the Orient and A Vintage Life.

Magic Carpet #2

The weather was delightful Sunday and Monday - low 80's (which is like a heatwave here on the coast), nice breezes and an ocean the colour of your favourite denim jeans just before they fade too much.

Monday, April 20, 2009

$10.00 Score!

Up early and to the swap meet and brought home the goodies above for less than $10.00. A nicely worn little vintage suitcase, old ruler, pipe, 2 vintage fuse boxes(including fuses), a fishing lure, a "headless" George Washington figure (the silly seller seemed to think this made it less valuable!), a rusty hinge, a bottle opener, porcelain hot and cold handles, and a metal name plate.

And here's what I found on the street on the way in: rusty wire, worn piece of wood with white paint, cigar band, crumpled metal and a big heavy piece of industrial metal -all for free! Good haul.

On a note of ever-increasing consistency -the latest Somerset Studios has arrived - without my artwork inside. This issue did not feature my An Evening at the Opera Box #5. But hope springs eternal, I have three more entries already awaiting their decision for the next three issues. And I have until August to decide if I'm to going to go on doing this for a second year. It does get rather frustrating when people keep saying "Oh, what's your art been in - you should be published!" and then when you try ... The two things that keep this in perspective are; 1.) I know they get hundreds and hundreds of submissions for each issue and 2.) I know there are lots of people who are just as frustrated as I am.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Sunday @ the coast

The pier is grey with silver slivers
Dark with verdant damp at the waterline
A lonely sentinel guarding the cove.

Scrubby marsh grass waves in the late afternoon breeze
Salt tang hangs in the air and encrusts the pilings
The blood red sun sinks slowly, swallowed by a slate-caked sea

Saturday, April 18, 2009

On the 18th of April...

Listen my children and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere
On the 18th of April in '75,
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

Paul Revere statue Northend, Boston - Artist Cyrus Dallin, unveiled on Sept. 22, 1940

Friday, April 17, 2009

Book Bonanza!

It's always exciting when a new book by a favourite authour comes out - but when 2 come on the same day it's a Book bonanza! Lisa Scottoline's Look Again and Donna Leon's About Face both arrived for me today. I love mysteries and I love both of these best-selling writers. No need to ask what I'll be doing this weekend-well, after I play in the studio that is!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Street Collage

spread from Philly in the Fall

On a trip to Philadelphia 4 years ago to visit my daughter Bronwyn(who was attending design school) I created the above collage in my travel journal. Everything in the piece was picked up off the street during the course of a walk across the central city. I was thrilled - there's lots more street detritus in a big city than here where I live. My daughter, however, was horrified. "Mom! What are you doing?!" I guess at her age I would have had the same reaction if my mother had been picking up trash off the street, but geesh! - this was great stuff!
Now here's the punchline: later we were having lattes at an outdoor cafe and I was busily arranging and affixing all my finds. A man walked by and then stopped and came back and complimented me on my collage. Turns out he was a professional photographer and had published several books. I had discovered art journaling and mixed media only a year or so before and it was great to receive this kind of affirmation. But the best part was the look on my daughter's face!
(In all fairness I have to say that Bronwyn is one of my biggest supporters - but we all know how mothers can embarrass us!)

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Catalina Tile

The Casino at Night
One of the delightful things about a trip to Catalina Island -"26 miles across the sea" - is the abundance of wonderful tile work throughout the entire town of Avalon. On store fronts, on fountains, on sidewalks, on walls - everywhere you look. There was a tile factory on the island in the 20's and 30's and the original pieces are now collector's items.

Along the Promenade
This first two are set in a long sweeping wall that goes from downtown out along the path to the Casino. It features dozens of tile pictures and designs. The bottom is a beautiful fountain on a restroom wall in Avalon.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Busy Weekend of Art

Spent Sunday doing a large painting on red rosin paper entitled Saints and Crosses ( a nod to those in the UK who would "get" this reference - the painting features a grid of drips and then images of saints and stenciled crosses. Noughts and Crosses is the British name for our Tic-Tac-Toe.) No picture of this one yet.

Then on Monday (day two of my Sunday-Monday weekend) Margot and I had five good friends come over for an art afternoon. We call our group "The Creative Urge" and try to meet once a month. Everyone brings their latest project and we all sit around our big dining table (though I really can't remember the last time we "dined" at it - who am I kidding - it's an art table!) and do art and talk and laugh and have a wonderful time. I did up several of the collages below using photo pages from a vintage album that I picked up at an Antique Street Fair a few years ago. They are fun to do and don't take very long. I'm hoping they will be a crowd-pleaser at Open Studios this coming October.

Memory's Architecture

Nest Egg

Monday, April 13, 2009

The Golden State

California is called "the Golden State" for several reasons; the 1849 Gold Rush, the colour of the hills after the green of late winter and early spring has faded, and poppies. Luscious, beautiful golden poppies - California Golden Poppies. Our state flower and one of the prettiest of wildflowers that bloom every spring. I love the colour and the delicate thiness of the petals, that dance in the slightest breeze.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Big Sur

One of the many perks about living on the Central Coast is being so close to Big Sur. Less than an hour's drive up Hwy 1 and Voila! Views like the one above. All these shots were taken by our good friend Fran West from Boston who was out visiting several weeks ago.

Tunnel Rock Formation at Pfeiffer State Beach

My lovely wife Margot at Pfeiffer State Beach

And one of the best things about visiting Big Sur is going to Nepenthe - wonderful shop, delightful cafe ( a great place to sip a latte, and journal and sketch for an hour or two) and a renowned restaurant. And the views are literally some of the most spectacular in the world.

Sketch from Cafe patio, done with Faber-Castell Pitt Artist Pens - brush tip

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Ultimate Seaside Cottage

When I lived in Cayucos (a small town 4 miles up Hwy 1 from Morro Bay) several years ago, I was in a small second story dwelling above a realty office. The inside was all white and blue and natural wood, there was a deck with a view of the ocean from the Cayucos Pier to Morro Rock, and it was the first time I'd ever lived on my own (heady stuff at 50!). I always referred to it as Erin's Seaside Cottage.
But then, I discovered the one above, on the coast of Brittany. Talk about getting away from it all! Cozy, snuggled in between the rocks with the ocean for your front and back gardens. Can't you just imagine sitting up in bed, with a cafe au lait and a good book, gazing out one of the upstairs windows, watching the sea and reveling in the solitude? Truly the ultimate Seaside Cottage.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dream Diner

I never managed to eat at this diner when it was open. It's located just north of Buellton on Hwy 101. We drive past it every time we go to Santa Barbara or Los Angeles. and it fascinates me. Much as the tiny sheds do. My friend Susan has always wanted to buy it and set up an antique store. She's a master picker so it would be a fantastic shop! Anyway, the old trolley cars call to me - one of my favourite books as a kid was "The Trolley Car Family". The family in the story lived in a street car (that the dad used to drive before the town switched to buses) for a summer. Ah, those compact, delightful little spaces.