Saturday, July 31, 2010

Flea Market Here We Come

all photos courtesy of Snake Jake J

On vacation for a whole week and no flea market yet? Well, we're about to rectify that. Midgley's Country Flea Market just south of Sebastopol, Saturdays and Sundays 6:30-4:30.

I love flea markets! I have a running list of stuff I'm always looking for to use in my artwork, but am wide open to the surprises I inevitably find.

I'll post pix of my delicious score in a few days. Wish me luck!

Friday, July 30, 2010

From the Bookshelf

These are two delightful little books by Elizabeth Hardin and Adelene Fletcher. Even if you don't do watercolour and never paint flowers, it's worth taking a look through these. The colour charts alone have an amazing amount of valuable info and the instructions and tips for recreating the many different flowers and leaves are fascinating,

Book 1 and Book 2 are both widely available, not that costly - and a joy to to peruse.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Impressionists - from Paris to San Francisco

Today we are driving into San Francisco to visit both the de Young Museum and the Legion of Honor California Palace to see wonderful early impressionistic art on loan from the Musee d'Orsay in Paris.

In these difficult financial times it's great to get another chance to see this glorious art without having to endure a 11 hour plane ride, to say nothing of the security lines!

Not much could have pulled us away from our total relaxation mode, but ...
And after, we will top off our "day in Paris" with a delicious dinner at Zazie in Cole Valley, C'est magnifique!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Hundreds of blank tags, big ones, small ones, every colour in and under the rainbow. The quintessential mixed media add-on.

I've found them on e-Bay, on-line shops, hardware stores, flea markets, swap meets, garage sales, paper stores... not only quintessential, but apparently, ubiquitous as well.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Birds! The Birds!

photo courtesy

Yes, that's Potter's School House - remember the children running down the steps and out into the town while flocks of birds circled overhead with mayhem on their minds? It's now a gift shop and museum and looks quite safe and welcoming on this bright sunny day. But, wait, did I just spot a murder of crows flying by?

Monday, July 26, 2010

Atomic Lemon - On the Road

You didn't think we'd take a vacation without Atomic Lemon did you? Her bags are packed - and from the look of them, she's quite the world traveler!

Sunshine, a deck surrounded by leafy trees, a good book and a glass of champagne (no lemonade!) - ah, vacation.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Life on the Coast - Berkeley Style

On our way up to Sebastopol, we spent the better part of Saturday enjoying Berkeley. Yummy breakfast at Bette's Diner, and even yummier shopping at Castle in the Air, Tail of the Yak, Juniper Tree, Dick Blick, Artist and Craftsman Supply, and stocked up on provisions at The Cheese Board.

A great start to a great vacation!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

On the Road Again

When do you need a vacation? When it's been 18 months since the last one! The current economy has curtailed our travel abroad for a few years, but living in California provides a myriad of wonderful opportunities within a few hours drive. We're spending the next 10 days in Sebastopol house-sitting for a dear friend. A gorgeous house, at the end of the road, surrounded by the woods. A hot tub and sauna steps away from the deck. Dozens of antique stores in the area, great restaurants, a weekend flea market and San Francisco just an hour away.
Big plans to read, relax, journal and share lots of laughter together.

Friday, July 23, 2010

From the Bookshelf

In This Garden, a companion volume to Angela Cartwright's and Sarah Fishburn's In This House is a delightful romp through more than a dozen gardens done in book form. Real gardens, fantasy gardens, gardens by the sea and gardens only in the mind of the creator. As before, lots of tips and great insights from all the participating "gardeners". Massive amounts of eye candy too!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

927 Alternative Art Show

An Altar-ed Book 11 x15" (closed)

It's that time again! Allied Arts of Cambria 927 Alternative Arts Show. Where anything goes and usually does. Art unleashed and titles that are sheer "punishment". My entry this year is An Altar-ed Book. I used an 11 x 15" 2003 commercial atlas discarded by the library, attached round ottoman feet to raise it off the ground, painted the outside a rich blue, and brushed the outer pages with gesso to glue them shut.

The front cover is embellished with a huge metal cross from Michael's homeware department and two small wooden crosses painted with acrylic and adorned with metal crosses. This lifts up to reveal a collage of an altar piece found in San Francisco's Grace Cathedral, a fragment of a resin angel and several more of the wooden crosses. I gilded the edges of the book with Golden's Heavy Body Acrylic Iridescent Medium Gold (fine)- one of my favourite paints.

An altered book that's An Altar-ed Book. What will they think of next? The 927 show runs this weekend at the Cambria Vet's Hall and is always a lot of fun.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Get your tickets! Every type of ticket you can imagine and probably some you can't. I never throw away a ticket and now, everyone I know never does either - they give them to me.

What could be more perfect in a journal or altered book? An entire world of travel, music, theatre and bonne chance in a flat minuscule package.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

6 x 6 for Arts Obispo

Musical Standoff 6 x 6"

In conjunction with this fall's Open Studios Tour, Arts Obispo will be presenting a 6 x 6 exhibit in their San Luis Obispo Gallery during the month of October. Participating Open Studio artists will present a variety of paintings, assemblages, sculptures, jewelry and more - all no more than 6 x6 x 6".
Musical Standoff is my entry. Two small (3x3") storage boxes were glued together and then collaged with torn scraps of sheet music, inside and out. The border around the front and back was painted with red acrylic. I gave the sheet music a wash of Golden Acrylic Creme Glaze. The two combatants are interesting bits from the inside of a piano, they were adhered using E-6000.
Quirky and fun!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Art News

Water & Stone 16 x 20"

July has been a busy month "art-wise" as the Mad Men would say. I have this piece Water & Stone in the current Allied Arts Show in Cambria.

Harmony Hills 16 x 20"

Harmony Hills featured in last month's exhibit at the Allied Arts Gallery sold!

The Baker's Daughter 24 x 36"

On Sunday the Morro Bay Art Association and the OPAG (Oil Pastel Acrylic Group of San Luis Obispo) present Brushworks - their annual juried show. I was fortunate to be chosen to exhibit The Baker's Daughter. This show runs through August 22 at the Morro Bay Art Center.

Le Petit Voyage 5 x 7" (closed)

To top it off, I've been asked to add three of my altered books to an exhibit for the annual Book And Author Festival in San Luis Obispo in September and Allied Arts have offered me a solo exhibition next April. Whew! I need to get to the studio and get busy!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Life on the Coast

One of the prettiest drives here on the central coast is along Los Osos Valley Road from the outskirts of San Luis Obispo out to the town of Los Osos. And extra pretty this time of year when there are fields and fields of yellow and orange marigolds being grown for seed. Gorgeous colour!

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

A little hard to see, but yes folks, that is my library card, firmly clasped in my gloved hand (it's cold in Seattle in March, when this picture was taken). Further proof that you can take your library card on vacation with you. Margot actually sat down in the street to get this shot with the entire Space Needle. That's love!

Friday, July 16, 2010

From the Bookshelf

Jane Wynn is a wonderful bundle of dichotomy. Blonde and petite, her assemblages are filled with teeth, birds, two headed creatures and rusty nails galore. This book takes you through several projects, with massive amounts of eye candy, and tips and tricks of the assemblage artist's trade. I enjoy her writing style and have had a great time pouring over these pages.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Atomic Lemon Celebrated Bastille Day!

Who knew Atomic Lemon was a Francophile? I've got my eye on that Fleur de Lis when the lemon's done with it!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Bits and bobs of toys, some vintage, some new. Found in thrift stores, at flea markets, in Christmas stockings and Boxing Day crackers. Fun to use in assemblages or the perfect touch in an altered book niche.

And yes - that is Xena Warrior Princess in the top left hand corner!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Cri du Coeur

Cri du Coeur 10 x 20"

This is one of those pieces that marinated for a long time in my mind and then just came together. The large Fleur de Lis was a flea market find, the wooden heart from Michael's, the canvas a $3.00 bargain from a local garage sale. The beautiful hand-dyed silk ribbons a recent purchase from Lina G's here in Morro Bay.

I used gesso and cheese cloth on the canvas, then covered it with craft acrylics in blue, white and red. Drips formed a semi-grid over which I collaged two Xerox-copies of vintage photos of the Nazi army marching into Paris. I stenciled Fleurs de Lis and then splattered the three colours of paint over the entire surface. Small Fleur de Lis brads are scattered across the piece. The brass Fleur de Lis is anchored to the wooden heart with red wire and the heart is nailed to the canvas frame with gold tacks reading "1940". The ribbons are attached with another tack, "6" to represent June, the month that Paris fell that year. In honour of Bastille Day, celebrated tomorrow. Vive La France!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Punter's Holiday

Punter's Holiday 16 x 20"

This was fun . I raided my stash of vintage English ephemera and then picked out what went well together. Many of the pieces in this collage came from a scrapbook of a 1952 trip to Europe that I found at a Flea Market several years ago. I used a deep gold silk paint on the ribbon (we picked this up on our trip to the Cotswolds in 2006) to give it an aged look. The vintage cigarette cards are also finds from our trip.

This is in a glass (front) and acrylic (back) frame held together with thin black metal strips. I adhered the ephemera with glue dots to the piece of acrylic, placed the glass on top and then slid the sidepieces on. The back piece has its own hanger - which would be great if I hadn't done the collage upside down!! Oh well, I'll figure something out.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Life on the Coast

photo courtesy Frances West

I send the energy of love and gratitude to the water and all the living creatures in the Gulf of Mexico and its surroundings.

To the whales, dolphins, pelicans, fish, shellfish, plankton, coral, algae, and all living creatures . . . I am sorry.
Please forgive me.
Thank you.
I love you.

Dr. Masaru Emoto
Scientist from Japan researcher and author about the characteristics of water. Among other things, his research reveals that water physically responds to emotions.)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

A bit windy, at Cape Elizabeth Lighthouse on the coast of Maine. It's just outside of Portland, where we (and our friend Franny) spent a lovely time visiting the art museum and finding treasures in a incredible used book shop a block away. And, by golly, another spot on the globe where you can take your library card!

Friday, July 9, 2010

From the Bookshelf

Always a treat when a new Vicki Leon book comes out. This time the author of the Uppity Women series delves into science and superstition in the days of ancient Rome, Egypt and Greece. 101 (almost) ways to use honey, a variety of evil substances to dip your sword in to ensure a slow gruesome death and dozens of other amazing and titillating facts from our ancient forebears. If you ever get a chance to hear Vicki talk - don't miss it. "Living history" has never been as interesting and as much fun!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Atomic Lemon - Gets Sassy!

This week Atomic Lemon gets ready for a night on the town with a pair of Sassy Feet glitter shoes. Not only will AL look fabulous. but there's no worries - Sassy Feet glitter paint will not shed. And yes, this is a totally unbiased pitch for my wife Margot's wonderful creations.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

We all hate to take our car in for service, right? It takes time and it always costs more than you hope it will - but at least as mixed media artists there is one compensation. Those great numbers they put on your car and keys! Perfect for journals, altered books and mixed media collage.
So when you're writing out that more than expected check, you are getting some art supplies along with your car repair, albeit, rather expensive ones.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Studio Redux, Two

So I had three nights and one day to make the studio transformation while Margot was away. I pulled out all the diagrams, drawings, plans and lists I had come up with in the previous two weeks and got started. Assembling stackables, moving cigar boxes, some things down to the garage, somethings up to the great room, tweaking, arranging - for 3 long evenings. But, after all, who needs sleep? By Sunday morning, most everything was done and it was just the finishing touches and sweeping the, now empty, half of the sunroom.

And here's the punchline to the story - Margot was so wiped out from three days of teaching and driving, that she didn't notice until she'd been home for about an hour! But when she did, she liked it and loved the fact that she had lots of lovely new space in the sunroom to spread out.

I guess it comes down to this - the space in one's home is there to use - do you keep a pristine dedicated guestroom for guests that come once or twice a year, or do you turn it into a shoe studio/client room? Do you keep a big empty space in the great room so there's room for the Christmas tree for two weeks in December or do you set up an art studio? We're very happy with the decisions we've made (and, so far, all our guests have been fine using an airbed in the office!).

Monday, July 5, 2010

Studio Redux

About 6 weeks ago a chance remark by Margot that it would be fun to have the whole sunroom for her sewing studio was an AHA! moment for me . Looking around I realized that I was already using the sides of the western third of our huge great room. My desk, printer table, library cabinet, bookshelves, art table, and other storage boxes lined the walls. I took a good long look at the empty space in the middle of the area and it hit me - I could move the art table to the middle, surround it with stackable shelves and wheeled carts(to hold everything I was storing in the sunroom) and have everything in one place - right to hand!

I wanted to surprise Margot with the cleaned out sunroom and have my stuff in place so she could see what it would look like. She was scheduled to be away the first weekend in June for several days teaching Sassy Feet classes, so that was my window of opportunity to make the transformation. The next two weeks were spent drawing plans, measuring (and measuring twice more), clandestine trips to Home Depot to pick up stackables, and generally having a blast planning the whole operation.

Continued tomorrow...

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Life on the Coast - Independence Day

The coast of Baltimore, Maryland, the bombardment of Fort McHenry - during which Francis Scott Key was inspired to write "The Star Spangled Banner". It's not always easy to be patriotic here in the 21st century, when your government - that government founded on the principles of equality - refuses to extend that equality to 10% of its population. But looking at how far this nation has come in 234 years, I hold out hope that "dawn's early light" will soon break on a nation that keeps its promises and extends equal rights to all citizens, regardless of race, color, creed or sexual orientation.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

The Liberty Bell in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, one more travel destination you can take your library card to. Was quite a thrill actually getting to put my hand on the bell. Quite the appropriate picture for this Independence Day weekend!