Monday, May 31, 2010

Cozy in Big Sur

Here's where we're spending the night -a cozy tent cabin in Fernwood along Hwy 1 through Big Sur. One of the great things about living on the Central Coast is that this magnificent natural wonderland is only an hour up the coast - one of the truly beautiful drives in the entire world.

We'll spend time hiking through the redwoods, visiting the beach and having a delicious BBQ dinner out here on the deck.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Life on the Coast

photo courtesy of Frances West

Here are our local otters, playing in Morro Bay Harbour. We visit these guys every night on our walk, they're so fun to watch! Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Art in the Park

It's that time again! Every year the Morro Bay Art Association sponsors "Art in the Park" a three day weekend gathering of artists and craftspeople. It happens three times during the summer season - Memorial Day, Fourth of July and Labor Day.

There are potters, fine artists, jewelers, mixed media artists, and "so much more!". Even when money is tight we always go to see everything and visit with old friends. 10-5 this Saturday, Sunday and Monday at Morro Bay Park between Morro Bay Blvd. and Harbor St. See you there!

Friday, May 28, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is a wonderful book - full of delicious art by Nick Bantock. But - there's more! An intriguing story accompanies each piece of artwork and a puzzle runs through the entire narrative. It took me several times through before I figured out the answer. I'm usually not a big fan of puzzles (crosswords drive me crazy!) but when figuring out the answer requires deep investigation of a Bantock assemblage, I'm so there!

Assemblage drawers from The Egyptian Jukebox
at Nick's Salt Spring Island Studio, British Columbia, Canada

I was lucky enough to take a weekend workshop with Nick a couple of years ago and I actually got to see several of the pieces that were in the book. It was very cool to see them in person after having spent so much time studying them on the page.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

Erin and her library card in Palazzo San Marco, Venice

In the 20 years I've worked at the library, one of the phrases I've heard the most is "Oh, I don't have my card, I went on a trip to (fill in the blank) and I took all the cards out of my wallet and haven't put them back yet."
I decided to prove that it can be done - it is possible to travel - even to foreign parts - and take your library card with you and get it back home safely. Whenever Margot and I travel, I haul out the card and she snaps a shot of me with it in front of a distinguishing landmark. So in the coming weeks I'll be sharing some of these pictures with you. I have them printed up and on a wall at the library - I don't think it's convinced anyone to leave their card in their wallet, but everyone gets a kick out it.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Folding rulers - I remember as a kid, being fascinated by the folding ruler that my dad always had in his back pocket when he was building things. He was quite the carpenter and made beautiful dining tables, room dividers and even added a whole new room to the house (which for the next 25 years was referred to as "the new room"). Now and then, he'd let me fold the ruler up for him when he was through measuring - what a treat.

They are fun to use as picture frames,the letters M & W, and lots of other vintage-y accents in assemblages or on journal covers. I've found mine at flea markets, swap meets, street faires and thrift stores. I have no idea what happened to my dad's, but I never pick one up without reliving those 50 year old memories.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ship Ahoy!

These are some random shots I took a few years ago when we spent the night on the Queen Mary at her permanent dock in Long Beach. The above was used to flush the head in our stateroom.

Just one of the interesting and ephemeratic instruments on the bridge

Storage area for various signal flags -
love the colours and the angles.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Art and Music and the '80's

Re-reading an Elizabeth George mystery For the Sake of Elena the other day, I came across this passage about an artist: "And always she filled the environment with music. Listen to me, if you stimulate one sense, you stimulate others, she explained, art can't be created if the artist himself is an insensate void. See the music, hear it, feel it, feel the art. And the music would start - a haunting array of Celtic folktunes, a Beethoven symphony, a salsa band, an African mass called the Missa Luba, the nerve-shaving whine of electric guitars."

And I realized how true it rang for me. I love music, I was a music major in college and graduated with a degree in both vocal and instrument music, along with a teaching credential. I played trombone and was in all types of ensembles from brass choirs to an all girl jazz band. I also spent part of my life as a dramatic mezzo soprano singing semi-professional opera. So, as you can see, my music tastes are many and varied.

The interesting thing is, evenings at home relaxing will find me listening to Vivaldi, Jack Johnson, Joni Mitchell and Cecelia Bartoli, among many others, but when I'm creating I hone in on stuff with a beat, and not just any beat, that crazy, retro, dance-mix '80's beat. ABBA - bring 'em on, Duran Duran - oh yeah, Men Without Hats - you betcha! Nothing works better for all the dripping and splattering that I do.

My older daughter gave me a wonderful Christmas present of a four disc set of the best of the '80's - so with that and my Mama Mia album I'm all set to create away!! Not generally the sort of thing one likes to admit, but as Chris would say, "You're my peeps - you deserve to know!"

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Life on the Coast

From the pines to the sea - it doesn't get much better than this!
Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

13 Journals - Sunset Fairies

The second of the 13 Journals that had fairies in its theme. Another chance for wings - but remember, it was 2005, they weren't quite as passe yet. The sunset part of the colour choice brought out the reds, oranges and yellows, including the gorgeous paper in the above spread that has gold foil running through it.

The velum over lay was printed with a recipe "to enable one to see the fairies" found in an old herbal. A nod, on the page below, to the flower fairies, this page featured strips of textured yellow and orange heavy paper, copper tape and a charming wooden feather.

It's been fun re-visiting this project and sharing it with all of you. This was my only round robin experience so far and I enjoyed it very much.

Friday, May 21, 2010

From the Bookshelf

I recently listened to this old favourite and was struck anew, not only by how fresh the narrative seemed (it was published in 1912) but also by how very good the writing was. My well-thumbed copy disappeared long ago, but I was able to find a picture of the cover of the edition I had and loved. A few months ago Margot and I re-watched the 1959 movie, loosely based on the story - not near as wonderful as the book - but when you get to watch Fred Astaire and Leslie Caron dance you forgive things like that.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Si Tengo Alas Para Valor

Si Tengo Alas Para Valor 18 x 24"

Always fun and rewarding to do another Frida project, this one came to mind while I was looking through a book of photographs of Kahlo by Nickolas Muray
A riot of Mexicolor on a gesso-textured prepped canvas. I used higher grade acrylics on this one because I wanted the colours to really POP! Cheesecloth and netting were embedded in the gesso and highlighted with Portfolio water soluble oil pastels. The title comes from Frida's quote "Pies, para que los quieros, si tengo alas para volar"- "Feet, why do I want them, if I have wings to fly". I printed this out from my computer using a script font, then coloured with the pastels and tore into ragged shapes. These, some pink and green flowers and the large central photo (a xerox copy of one of Muray's photographs) of Frida were adhered with matte medium. I dripped watered-down acrylics horizontally and vertically to form a grid and used stencils in two different splatter patterns. For the final touch all colours were spattered over the canvas.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

photo courtesy of Aya Brackett

It's still Cigar Box Wednesday - but - a look at someone else's cigar boxes. These lovely vintage stacks reside in Wendy Addison's Theatre of Dreams in Port Costa, California. There's a great article and slide show here on the Country Living website. What beautiful graphics and can you just imagine all the delights held within?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Sew Vintage

Sew Vintage

This one was a lot of fun. I had the small crocheted berries for years and then a couple of weeks ago at the antique faire I found the matching doily. A raid on the sewing notion box turned up the buttons and bobbins. All mounted on a canvas board painted in pinks and greens and collaged with vintage sewing advertisements. Our fashionable 1890's girl poses in the center accompanied by a brass stamping fan and velvet leaves. I affixed the berries with light blue map pins and finished off the piece with brass corners. And it's all "sew" vintage! You guessed it - one more for Open Studios!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Idylls of the King

Idylls of the King
Canvas board was covered with floral and script scrapbook paper that I scrubbed with light green acrylic. Matching ribbons, one polka-dot, criss-cross the board. Gypsy lassies were aged with sandpaper. A vintage leather book cover gives the piece its name and is topped with a tortoise shell buckle which then is topped with a copper metal hand. Brass stampings anchor the four corners and a floral stamping echos the leaves in the background. A handful of old English coins is the finishing touch. Available at this year's Open Studios Tour.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Life on the Coast

A riot of bougainvillea along lower State Street in Santa Barbara

How's that for colour? Enjoy your weekend!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

13 Journals - Chocolat

Who doesn't love chocolate? That was the colour choice for this entry in the 13 Journals round robin project. I used a handful of vintage chocolate labels embellished with small metal picture frames, a fold-out library pocket filled with more chocolate images and coordinating ribbons.

And even a couple of contemporary labels taken from Swiss chocolate that daughter Bronwyn had brought back from a trip to Switzerland a few months before.

Friday, May 14, 2010

From the Bookshelf

I chose the above book, for this week's From the Book Shelf, in honour of Seth Apter's Book Guild posts this week. He is currently featuring the fabulous artists who made up the original True Colors team. For me, as for so many of us, this book became our bible of mixed media nirvana. If, for some bizarre reason, you haven't delved into this marvelous compendium, do so now - you're 16 amazing journals and 7 years behind!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

8 x 8 Show

Grand Tour - London 8 x 8"

This Friday and Saturday Allied Arts of Cambria is having their Spring fund raiser at the Cambria Vets Hall. This year all the entries are 8 x 8" and priced at $75.00, a third of the profits going to fund various Allied Arts scholarship programs.

Grand Tour - Venice 8 x8"

For my three pieces I chose to take the "grand tour" and visit London, Paris and Venice. I used red rosin techniques directly on the small canvases, gessoing in cheesecloth for texture, using craft acrylics and then embellishments - including marbled paper, a Laduree business card, English tram tickets and various vintage coins.

Grand Tour - Paris 8 x 8"

It was fun to work small, about a twelfth the size of my usual red rosin paintings, and of course, always wonderful to revisit Paris, London and Venice!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Girl Scout memorabilia -not mine - I was asked to leave my Brownie troop, but that's a whole other story! The above stash was scored at thrift stores, e-Bay, and swap meets. As always, great for journals, assemblages and altered books.

Even though I chaffed at the rules and hide-boundness of the regimented lifestyle - I have to admit now that they generated fantastic ephemera!! Ah, the beauty of hindsight.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mon Petit Bijou

Mon Petit Bijou

Canvas board covered with scrapbook paper and vintage book pages. Brass stampings hug the corners and a hand-crocheted dresser scarf runs down the center. Vintage postcards from Paris, velvet leaves and a small frozen Charlotte add to the charm. Pale pink and green acrylic were used as highlights and crackle paint embellishes one section. A worn spine from a "French Grammar" book is adorned with a fleur de lis and the subject of the title looks out at us from another time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

In Nativitate Domini

In Nativitate Domini 18 x 24"

The spark for this piece came from the Santo in the upper right hand corner - a poster for an exhibit at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art a few years ago. I made copies of it enlarging the face and then coloured them with Portfolio water-soluble oil pastels and topped with Victorian scrap crowns. I prepared the surface of the canvas with cheesecloth and netting embedded in gesso, then covered with various colours of acrylic; then lots of dripping, splattering and globbing.

Stencils of crowns and circles were also used and strips of Gregorian chant - one of which provided the title. Another work ready for this fall's Open Studios Tour.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Six Years of Happiness

Green Awnings on Rue Moufftard - Elaine Moynihan Lisle

Six years ago today Margot and I were married (the non-legal wedding) and flew off the next day to celebrate with a honeymoon in Paris. We stayed in a tiny hotel on the corner of Rue Moufftard and Rue Pot de Fer. Imagine my delight when, perusing the web one night, I came upon this painting of the exact corner, showing the hotel entrance and upper floors above the corner cafe.
I quickly found the artist's website, unfortunately it was sold. Elaine Moynihan Lisle has painted not only in France, but Ireland, New York New England, the western US and many canvases featuring Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on her native Philadelphia.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

13 Journals - Fairies

What is the colour of fairies? Every participant in the 13 Journals round robin was able to interpret this in their own way. I pictured the forest and did one page in spring colours and one in autumn. Wings and a title page from a vintage book of fairy tales added interest.

I also included this group of pages from A Midsummer Night's Dream - the ultimate fairy tale! - I distressed with ink and added ribbons.

Friday, May 7, 2010

From the Bookshelf

If you don't know Barbara Hodgson, you're about a dozen books behind. She creates illustrated novels that take you completely into a parallel universe - where everything is almost real, but not quite. Her use of ephemera in her books is masterful and adds verisimilitude to her tales. The Tattooed Map follows a young woman on her travels through Northern Africa, geographically, and, through time as well. A fascinating book - a great read and delicious eye candy.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Old Mam'selle's Secret

Old Mam'selle's Secret 11 x 14"

The back ground of this piece is an upholstery sample ($1.00 at a local fabric store) adhered to canvas board with heavy gel medium. Gold metallic lace lines the left side and beaded trim fills the "window" of the Cafe des Fleurs. Velvet leaves and a silk flower adorn the upper left hand corner and a vintage book cover, that gives the collage its name, graces the right. Two scraps of rusted metals add to the mystery of Mam'selle's secret. Available at this fall's Open Studios Tour.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Beaded trim - flash of colour, feel of silk, the soft "chink-chink" of beads hitting together. They feel like water flowing through your hands - and look great on a journal cover or for that special touch in a mixed media collage.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Poems in Pink

Poems in Pink 12 x 16"

This piece started with a canvas board that I collaged with old book pages and then scrubbed with light pink and apple green acrylic. Then a length of mattress ticking-dyed in strong tea, an old book spine, velvet leaves, a rolled ribbon flower (thanks Margot!), coffee dyed lace, a splash of beaded trim and the absolutely perfect book cover. And then you have Poems in Pink.
Available at this October's Open Studios Tour.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Score - Antique Street Faire

Each May and October Cayucos hosts an Antique Street Faire. It spreads along Ocean Avenue for 3 blocks and provides a wealth of enjoyment for hunters and gatherers of every ilk. Margot and I, along with daughter Jenny, had a delicious breakfast at Old Cayucos Bakery & Deli
and then went foraging to add to our respective stashes.

Here's my takings for the day. Old photos, wonderful folding measuring sticks - a steal at $3.00 each - vintage Mah Jong pieces, 1950's crocheted doilies, a card of buttons and an old rusted metal something.

Find of the day!!

A couple of shots of things I didn't buy, but brought home on my camera!

Beautiful weather, good food, lovely company and a great score!

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Life on a Different Coast - Cornwall

The Three Mackerels - Falmouth, Cornwall UK - photo courtesy

Here's a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon - on the deck of The Three Mackerels beach cafe in Falmouth, Cornwall looking out on the Lizard Peninsula. Love the colour of the water, and wouldn't a pint of Betty Stoggs ale and a fish pie go down a treat?

Saturday, May 1, 2010

13 Journals - Fjord

This one of the 13 Journals was entitled Fjord. I was stumped for awhile but during the month it was waiting at my house someone donated a stack of sheet music to the library and in it was a copy of the Norwegian nation anthem "Ja, Vi Elsker". Using that as my starting point I raided a stack of atlases for various maps of Norway, put them on a painted blue background and overlaid them with portions of the sheet music and dictionary definitions of fjord. Page pebbles in several different colours of blue were the finishing touch.