Sunday, February 28, 2010

Life on the Coast

A Pier's Eye View
After a week of on-again/off-again rain storms, some sun today and a blue, blue ocean. Late winter on the California Central Coast.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

13 Journals - Ocean

The 13 Journals round-robin project grew out of all of us attending the True Colors Workshop at The ARTbar in Santa Ana, California in June of 2005. This remarkable gathering featured the artists of the True Colors collaboration that was chronicled in the book True Colors - A Palette of Collaborative Art Journals published by Stampington & Co.

The workshop was a three day event featuring the amazing artists who had participated in this collaborative. There were classes, lectures, and a chance to actually see the 16 True Color journals in person. Also sign-up sheets for those of us who wanted to do our own round-robin of colorful journals.

Since there were 13 of us in the group, in a hearty burst of anti-superstition, we decided to call ourselves"The 13 Journals Group". For 15 months our books traveled around the western United States as we filled each other's books with pages of the chosen color. Several of us were able to re-convene at The ARTbar when the journals were done for a wonderful visit and reunion.
The top photo is the cover of my journal Ocean, and the bottom one my spread from the same. Over the next few weeks I'll be sharing my pages from all the journals. Another wonderful outcome of that workshop was my friendship with the fantastically talented and all-round crazy person Lisa Hoffman.

Friday, February 26, 2010

From the Bookshelf

How to Keep a Sketchbook Journal by Claudia Nice is a wonderful book, full of lovely illustrations and great tips on embarking on the joys of adding sketches to your journal.
This prolific author is a well-known artist and teacher. Even if you don't plan on keeping a sketchbook journal, looking through this book is a visual delight.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

New Website is Up and Fabulous!

photo courtesy of

The all new and improved Altered by the Sea website is up and running! If I do say so myself it looks great. And so easy to do with Other People's Pixels. If you are contemplating a new site or changing your current one - you should check them out. Go over and give my new site a look-see, let me know what you think. I bet you'll be as pleased as I am. Wasn't this a humble post?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Brass stencils, delightfully used and worn. Rusted, painted, bent and used.

Great to use as stencils, or stunning page or cover elements for altered books and journals.

Found on e-Bay, at local swap meets and garage sales. I mean, yeah, you can buy new ones at your local hardware store - but, they look

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Two Things I Love... our wonderful house of many colours. Above, the walls in Margot's office. She stenciled the words "Fame, Success, Abundance" all around the top edge of all four walls. The words are done in gold on "cherry cobbler" walls.

And the floor in our sun-room studio. 12" squares of linoleum in orange, coral, lavender and red. It looks like a giant patchwork quilt and brightens up even the foggiest Morro Bay day.

Monday, February 22, 2010

New Website...

... in the making. Spent most of the day yesterday and will spend several hours today as well. A tip of the hat to Stephanie Hilvitz of Rodrigvitz Style. She blogged about Other People's Pixels a few months ago, so I went and checked it out. Great for artists! They do all the computer-y stuff. After you get started, it's basically as easy as doing a blog. And looks great. I spent several years dealing with Front Page and going slowly crazy - so this is heaven sent. The new web should be up later this week. I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Life on the Coast

Every February, this gorgeous tree behind the library bursts into bloom, seemingly overnight. We when returned from our long weekend - voila! Beautiful pink blossoms covering the branches. While I'm behind the circulation desk I have a wonderful view of this lovely site.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

More Type Tray Fun

Another view of the type tray I've been playing with, lots of various and random treasures to arrange. This is proving an excellent creativity exercise and lots of fun pulling out different bits and bobs to use.

Friday, February 19, 2010

From the Bookshelf

And now for something completely different. I can't review this book, I can't tell you where to buy it, I can't even tell you what's in it. But... I love the cover! I came across this with some other on-line ephemera and was enchanted with it. The vivid colours, the children painting, the older sib helping the younger one, the soft glow of the lamplight. What fun it would be to find a copy somewhere.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Type Tray Fun

This is a section of a large type drawer I found awhile ago at the local swap meet. I've been having fun putting random things into the openings. Not with any thought of permanency - just to spark ideas and get the creative juices flowing. It's interesting to rearrange the items and see what the different juxtapositions bring to mind.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Jumping Jacks, those simple, yet magical toys from Christmas past. There was always one in my stocking, and each year, different. Soldiers, cowboys, clowns, even, once, a horse!

Here's one I used on the front of Circus, an altered book made from a vintage 78 record album.
I was fascinated as a child by how they could possibly work (mechanical things have always baffled me - and don't even talk about radio or TV, to this day I still maintain it's all magic!)

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Gifts of a French Nature

There's nothing as wonderful as having someone in your life who "gets" you, as Michelle Ward says. And when that someone is your loving spouse - life is very good indeed!

These are photos of one of my birthday presents from Margot, a vintage wooden box that once held building blocks.

French building blocks - "Jeu de Construction". The illustration on the lid is pure 19th century. Found in an antique store in Sebastopol.

And this is a delightful reproduction of a French Market Birdcage - my Valentine's gift from my darling wife. Even more special, because we saw cages such as these at the Bird Market on the Isle de Cite on our honeymoon in Paris.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Speaking of Pam Sussman...

I See London I See France

... here are the books that I made in Pam's classes two different years at ArtFest. The one above is a dos-a-dos book - two books in one that meet in the middle. The theme was London for one book and Paris for the other (what fun digging through the ephemera stash). Pages were made of Lucite, copper mesh, book board and copper sheets, finished with a Coptic binding.

detail of above

Wrapped and Woven

This one has covers we made by weaving decorative paper strips and fibres. After assembling several signatures of luscious handmade paper, it's finished off with a running stitch binding that is then woven through. Result - a handsome blank book just waiting for pen and brush!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Life on the Coast - Valentine's Day

photo courtesy The Beach Hut

Happy Valentine's Day!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Daniella Woolf - once more

Another piece by Daniella Wolf that we saw at the exhibit in Santa Cruz.

It was akin to looking through a forest

In this case, you couldn't see the forest...

...for the ephemera!

Friday, February 12, 2010

From the Bookshelf

I've been lucky enough to study with Pam Sussman twice, each time I came home with a wonderful handmade book. She is an amazing teacher. Everything laid out step by step, logical, understandable and do-able. Anyone who can make Coptic stitching make sense is extraordinary indeed! This delightful "how-to" takes the book/journal and adds fabric, ribbons, trims, buttons, anything you take a "notion" to add in. Great instructions, beautiful eye candy. Until you can sign up for a class - this is the next best thing!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Daniella Woolf

Here's one of the fantastic pieces by Daniella Woolf that we saw at the

It spans the entire 3 stories of the building,

and consists of strips of sewn-together ephemera that has been coated in encaustic wax.

It was so much fun to climb the stairs and get a close look at all the different bits of paper incorporated into this massive and amazing piece of art.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Receipts, some old, some new, most hand written - 'cause that's more vintage. Many are local, some from abroad, there are ones from e-Bay or antique stores and many are from our dry cleaners or the mom&pop curio shop down the street.

And all are fun in a journal or altered book, as a page background or accent. An interesting, and usually, very inexpensive pleasure.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

It's Been a Year!

photo courtesy of
Actually a year and a week, but I was a bit remiss in my remembering. It's been so much fun sharing life and art "by the sea" with all of you. "Life on the Coast", "Cigar Box Wednesday", "From the Bookshelf" and all the rest. I spent some time a few days ago looking back through my posts and was delightfully surprised, both with things I fondly recalled and a few entries I had forgotten about. Thanks everyone, for visiting and all your comments. I love inviting each and everyone of you into the studio to join me in this artful, altered life by the sea.

Monday, February 8, 2010

February Birthdays in Blogland

Ginny Carter Smallenburg of Small Studio

Corey Amaro of Tongue in Cheek

and today's birthday girl, the usual suspect - Marylinn Kelly

Marylinn and I are practically birthday twins, mine yesterday and hers today. Corey celebrated a few days ago with a give-away a day for a week, and Ginny's is towards the end of the month, though she's said that she'll be having her birthday all year by attending all the wonderful workshops she has planned at Small Studios. I generally look at the entire month of February as my birthday. I mean, it is a short month after all. Interestingly enough I seem to have talked my family and friends into this!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Life On the Coast - Pacific Grove

A beautiful ocean

Colourful Houses

A cozy room in a seaside bed and breakfast

Happy Birthday to Me!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Exhibit Time in Santa Cruz

Daniella Woolf

Daniella Woolf's art will intrigue and amaze you. In a coincidence that is also intriguing and amazing; 1.) the latest issue of Somerset Studios features Daniella in an in depth article by Rice Zachary-Freeman. Accompanied by gorgeous pictures of her artwork and details of her encaustic techniques the story mentions that her work is currently (through March) on exhibit at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.

Paper Sculpture - Daniella Woolf

And there's coincidence 2.) we had already planned a long weekend in Santa Cruz and Pacific Grove for my birthday during February! As I was reading the article I kept thinking "this would be cool to see in person" and I reached the end and found out I would! We drive up to Santa Cruz today and will catch the show this afternoon, and then to Mobo for delicious veggie sushi, Lisa remembers this!

Friday, February 5, 2010

From the Bookshelf

The Easy Drawing Book

Before Ed Emberley and his thumbprints, before Lee J. Ames and "Draw 50..." there was Peter White's little, unassuming The Easy Drawing Book. First published in the early 1950's he taught tens of thousands of youngsters how to draw "all the things you see everyday and many, many more". I picked up my current copy from Amazon where you'll find them ranging from $.01 upwards. It's fun, it's instructive, it's The Easy Drawing Book.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

In Vogue - Encore

The next spread features vintage cards of tiny white buttons, a decorative lace ornament and a large ceramic floral button all on a background of lace drawings. Pink and green ombre ribbon is tied through eyelets.

Oriental style - old Chinese coins, stickers of fans and vases, and pictures of colourful fashions. Vintage ivory Mah Jong counters add the perfect touch.

Simple, classic dress designs topped with printing plates from old patterns. A fun piece of work, now in the mail off to Somerset Studio. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Remember the old 45's? You know pre- mp3 and Ipod, pre- CD's, even pre- cassette and 8trak. What we listened to in the "olden days", the '50's and '60's.

Every Saturday I'd take my allowance, walk to the record store and put down my 99 cents for the latest Beatles or Beach Boy hit. Then dash home and spend the rest of the day playing it over and over.

Beach Boys spread from altered book - Beach Time

Now, they make great page elements, and never fail to bring back a myriad of wonderful memories of growing up.