Monday, November 30, 2009

Telephone Boys

A successful trip to the swap meet yesterday morning. Picked up several nice wooden frames, old gasoline pump metal tags, some very cool flat metal buildings (that we'll talk about more in another post) and the piece de resistance - these wonderful telephone boys. Ceramic, made in Japan, probably in the late '50's - aren't they the best? Don't you love the pullover sweaters, the white sox and the tidy haircuts? And you won't believe this - $.50 for the pair! SCORE!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Life on the Coast

Big waves off the Cayucos Pier

Lovely weather for the Thanksgiving weekend. Time for lots of beach walks, harbour walks and pier walks- where we saw these beautiful big waves.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

You Can't Go Home Again

We've been waiting with bated breath for several months here in Morro Bay for the opening of
Bob's Big Boy restaurant. I grew up and went to college in Southern California in the Los Angeles area and Bob's was a staple during my four years at CSULA. There was nothing better than a double decker hamburger, onion rings, salad with ranch dressing and a big chocolate malt.
So, that's what I ordered a few days ago when we went for the first time after their grand opening.

I'm not sure if Thomas Wolfe was right when he said "you can't go home again", but I guess you can't go back to Bob's. The funny thing is, when I think about it, the food probably does taste just the same. But the 57 year old Erin is not the one of 40 years ago. A lot of food under the bridge, so to speak, since then. They are doing standing room only business every evening and I cheer them on. But it is interesting as we get older, to find more and more memories that are better left that way

Friday, November 27, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Wendy Addison's Theatre of Dreams - the name of her amazing studio and the name of her handmade,letter press, limited to 400 copies, book. I was lucky enough to see the book last Christmas season when we visited her enchanting studio in Port Costa. There are still a few copies left, check out Wendy's blog for info on ordering.

Today and tomorrow are the beginning of Sawdust & Tinsel , her 3 holiday open houses. 10-4 each day. If you can't make it this weekend, there will be two more chances, Dec.4-5 and Dec. 11-12. If you are anywhere within a day's drive of the East Bay area it's definitely worth the trip. Plenty of reasonable motels in nearby Berkeley if you need to stay over night. The Theatre of Dreams is a magical experience that you'll never forget!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Lenses - in eye glasses, in magnifying glasses, dark glasses, doll's glasses

Waiting to bring that fine detail in a journal or assemblage into focus.

In this cigar box, the "eyes" have it!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Curiouser and Curiouser!

This is the current bulletin board in our children's department here at the Cambria Library. "Alice in Wonderland" - done by my colleague Destiny Carter. Using the John Tenniel illustrations from the original edition, she drew them in various sizes and put them together with playing cards of different dimensions and 3-D tables.

Alice being chastised by the Red Queen

"Off with her head!"

"Eat me, Drink Me."

A Mad Tea Party

Needless to say, children and parents alike are delighted with Destiny's work, She has turned our children's corner into a real Wonderland!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Amazing and Extraoridnary


"Brian Jurgen (b. 1970, Dunne-za First Nations/Swiss-Canadian) uses mass-produced goods to make sculptures that are simultaneously fake and authentic, playful and political, common and extraordinary." This is the introduction on his website and then you are taken into a world of amazement and wonder. shapeshifter a whale skeleton made of plastic lawn chairs.

blanket no. 7

Professional sport jerseys provide the material for blanket no.7 and waste disposal cans are used to create carapace below.


Brian's works are currently on display, until August 8, 2010, at the NMAI on the National Mall, Washington, DC.
All photos courtesy NMAI

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Early Morning Beach

Cayucos Beach, just after sunrise, long, long shadows and cool, crisp air.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I'm In!

The Winter 2010 edition of Somerset Gallery will be hitting the newsstands on December 1 and if you turn to page 97 you'll see my piece entitled The Perry Girls Ride the Range.

It's made in a wooden cigar box that I painted and papered and embellished.

That's my 4 year old self in the Hoppalong Cassidy shirt and my older sister Becky, looking like she might rather be somewhere else. Every Christmas when I was young I got new six shooters and a new cowboy hat - but the addition of the shirt was extra special.

This was an extremely fun piece to work on as it brought up wonderful memories of a very happy childhood.

Friday, November 20, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Altered Curiosities

Altered Curiosities by Jane Wynn is a treasure trove of fascinating, unusual and remarkable art. Remember this is the artist that uses wisdom teeth in her work! And puts animal heads on human forms - I mean, you gotta love it! The title pays homage to the Cabinets of Curiosities from Victorian times that included bones, eggs and all sorts of flora and fauna. Loaded with glorious eye candy and wonderful projects, this is a "don't miss"!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Young Naturalist

The Young Naturalist

This piece was complied in a vintage 35mm slide box - very well-worn, complete with rusty hinges and torn leather- that belonged to Margot's family. I went wild and filled it with everything I could think of; test tubes, old bottles with cork stoppers, bottles with droppers, dried pods and foliage, a glass display box holds butterflies, bees and other assorted insects (all found expired), bits of bone and wood, and a fascinating eBay find - a 1937 toy microscope of cast iron. In the lid, a Cavallini & Co. file folder featuring butterflies and a 7 Gypsies specimen bag containing sketches and field notes.

I also made a small altered book to fit in the assemblage using a child's board book - old pages from vintage field guides, photos and drawings of insects and ink stained graphs and charts - all held between covers decorated with dragonfly embellishments. In short, everything the "young naturalist" needs!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cigar Box Wednesday

Saints and Crosses - a very "holy box", full of great pieces for assemblage boxes, shrines and collage.

I've picked them up at swap meets, thrift stores and on-line auctions. As a lapsed Catholic, I must admit I enjoy being able to use these pieces in my art - and see and enjoy them as art - in the same way I can still enjoy listening to the beauty of Gregorian chant or a Palestrina Mass.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Oriental Holiday

Oriental Holiday

This assemblage starts with a cardboard case from Ross, done in black and red with an Asian theme. I collected all my bits and bobs from the Far East and spent a very fun evening arranging and re-arranging them. Asian coins, chops, game pieces, Mah Jong tiles and cards, metal and bone jewelery, currency, art papers and book pages. Items were attached with PVA or E-6000.

The carved box contains ceramic and cinnabar beads. The little bottle to the left with the blue top is a reproduction snuff bottle with Chinese scenes painted on it. A happy find, decades ago, at of all places, an antique store in New Orleans' Square at Disneyland.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Rust and Velvet

Rust & Velvet

Or "Hinge-man" as I call him in my lighter moments! An ornate frame from a rummage sale, velvet backing from a gift box, wooden spacer from a cigar box, screen and rusted wire - street finds from my enablers at work, the delicious rusty hinge (the inspiration that got the piece going) found by #1 daughter Bronwyn in San Jose, the hands, feet and face (made of bone) from a bead vendor at the Long Beach Quilt Show - - put them all together and Viola! Rust & Velvet.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Pierless Views




Cayucos Pier, from several angles, early on a November weekend morning.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Workshop with Nick

After yesterday's mention of the workshop with Nick Bantock, I thought it would be fun to show you a couple of the pieces I did there. The one above is a landscape collage, using tiny bits of torn postage stamps. It took most of us in the class awhile before we could rip with impunity - but once we got started, it was quite fun!

This collage had us working on layering, layering,layering - constantly covering up and painting over with just bits of previous layers showing through. This is a sticking point for me, so it was a good exercise. I know it's what makes a piece like this interesting, but it is hard to lose things under the layers. I have to keep telling myself that they're buried in the piece and giving it it's final form, even if they aren't visible.

Nick & me

Friday, November 13, 2009

From the Bookshelf

Urgent Second Class

Who amongst us doesn't love Nick Bantock? I remember how intrigued I was when Griffin and Sabine first came out almost 20 years ago. Not only the fascinating artwork and inter-active letters and postcards, but the mysterious story that left us wanting so much more. And even after another 5 volumes, still wanting more. This book is full of glorious eye candy of Nick's wonderful collages, drawings, and mail art. And, not exactly instructions, but more like hints and suppositions of how they are created. I had the great privilege of studying with Nick at his Salt Spring Island Studio off Vancouver Island a few years ago. It was very much like this book - filled with dry British wit, gentle guiding and unforgettable art.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Last Leaves

Upper Kimball Pond, New Hampshire

The last few leaves of autumn, bursts of colour, spinning by, a final feast for the eye. At once a nostalgia for days past and a drawing in against the winter chill to come

Philadelphia University, Pennsylvania

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

On the Eleventh Day of the Eleventh Month

In Flanders Field

The above my tribute to all who fought in and were affected by the Great War, the war to end all wars, WWI. At the eleventh minute after the eleventh hour on the eleventh day of the eleventh month - Armistice. This red rosin piece has bits of correspondence from my Great Uncle Lou who was stationed in England and fought in France during the last two years of the war.

Never Forget

Twenty years later war clouds darkened the horizon again and the world found that war had not ended, but now, was even more horrific. My dad served for 5 years in the Army Air Corps in North Africa, Italy and France. And came home to marry my mother and start a family. Many were not as lucky. To them, to all men and women who have served, in any capacity - thank you. On this Veterans' Day, a grateful nation honours your sacrifice.

P.S. Cigar Box Wednesday will return next week - don't touch that dial!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

From Ah! to Arrr!

Snicker-doodle (the blue tortoiseshell) and Pookie (the handsome black cat) - aren't they sweet enjoying the sunshine on the deck.

Everything's still fine, just a little stretching,

and licking,

but wait a minute...


Monday, November 9, 2009

Clean Studio!


For the first time since going to Colorado last July for Lynne Perrella's Color as Catalyst Workshop at the Artists' Nook, I have had a chance to clean my studio, clear off my art table, put everything away that's been stacking up here and there, file things, store unbought art until the next show and actually see counter tops and floor space!!


The push to Open Studios in the last few months resulted in not much time to organize - which actually is one of the parts of my art life that I really enjoy. I've been told I'm an interesting mix of right-brained left-brained and I guess it's true because I love to organize and put everything away in its own little cigar box, LOL! This is the first chance I've had for an uninterrupted 4 hours to tackle the job. But look quick - because we all know it won't look like this for long!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Life on the Coast

One of the two great blue herons we visit on our daily walks along the harbour here in Morro Bay. They stand still as statues, waiting for fish, and then strike with lightning speed to gobble up a meal. They are grace personified and watching them take to the sky, leaves your heart in your throat to see such beauty. The "grak-grak" of their call is so unexpected and jarring - the one disruptive exception that makes their elegance even more breathtaking.