Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Odessa 1905

Odessa 1905

A clatter of hoof beats, the clang of drawn swords, loud voices in the night. Once more, to leave home, to become strangers in a strange new place. A postcard titled simply Odessa 1905 sparked the inspiration for this piece done on canvas prepped with gesso, cheesecloth and pumice gel. Muted blue, muddied cream and red iron oxide acrylics provide the background for a xerox copy of the torn postcard. Fragments of prayers anchor two corners and a gleaming gold Star of David, a symbol of hope and faith rests in the middle atop a scarlet scrap of cheesecloth.

I was quite pleased with the way the gessoed cheesecloth and splattered acrylic took on the textured look of old walls. The walls of a beloved village, a home, now in memory only.

Available at Open Studios this October.

Monday, August 30, 2010

A House Divided

A House Divided 10 x 8"

Two flags, two faces, and much too young to bear arms against each other - the heart breaking tragedy of the American Civil War that tore families apart. I started with canvas prepared with gesso and an over-all covering of cheesecloth.Acrylic paints; blue on one side and gray on the other, with a stripe of burnt sienna through the middle. The organza flags float atop period studio shots of young soldiers. A xerox copy, on parchment, of a letter dated 1862 links the brothers.

The background colours were splattered across the surface and worked into the cheesecloth along the edges. As I look into these faces, I'm mesmerized, and struck, once again, by the pity of war.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Life on a Different Coast - Florida

An island near Sanibel and Captiva off the western coast of Florida. Uninhabited, a shell seeker's paradise. Warm water, warm sand, warm breeze - something nice to remember in the midst of our summer fog here in Morro Bay.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

All aboard, anchors aweigh and don't forget your library card.
The Queen Mary in Long Beach.

Friday, August 27, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is a fascinating autobiographical look at the life and art of Nick Bantock A compendium of his life's work from early times through the publication date (2000). Nick tells of growing up in England, his days in art school, his first big break doing paperback cover illustrations, his immigration to Canada, and the world -wide attention and acclaim that followed the release of Griffin & Sabine in the early '90's. A must read and "see" for all Bantock fans.

And for those you close to Denver - a huge treat in store. MOA opens a Nick Bantock exhibition on Sept. 18, Griffin & Sabine ...and Beyond - A Nick Bantock Retrospective.
"The exhibit will consist of around 250 pieces, large and small, old and new and will fill the museum's 4000 sq ft galleries for six months. If you have the opportunity, please do go and see the show, it could well be the only time all of my works appear together."

Usually my Colorado buddies are wishing they were out here so we could go to the museums in San Francisco and Los Angeles together - but the shoe is definitely on the other foot this time!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Une Rose pour votre Coeur

A little shabby chic piece done on a weathered board from a squirrel feeder that fell apart. I used upholstery tacks to fasten on the deliciously rusted metal (a gift from our good friend Dawn up in Port Townsend) and then threaded the stem of the silk rose through the holes in the metal.
I love the colours - the vintage weathered green and the soft pale pink of the flower both such a lovely contrast against the harsher rust. One more for Open Studios.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

This one's labeled "Page Accents" and is full of a myriad of mostly metal pieces - everything from frames to keyholes to scrapbook accents. It's a fun box to rummage through when looking for one of those "finishing touches" that just make a piece come together.

And I was very glad I decided to use it for this week's Cigar Box Wednesday - I'd forgotten all about that silver fleur di lis! I have just the place for it.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Carry On

Carry On 10 x 20"

"Keep Calm and Carry On", this slogan was prominent throughout the early days of WWII in England. This piece features a xerox copy of a photo of one of the original posters on a brick wall, surrounded with Fresco Flakes adhered with heavy gel medium.

The canvas was prepared with gesso, cheesecloth and pumice gel and then covered in muted blue, red and cream acrylics. St.Paul's stands above it's bombed surroundings, covered with an organza Union Jack. Bits of rusted hardware are attached with narrow gauge wire, one topped with a period copper penny. Other pictures show bombed neighbourhoods and gas mask instructions.

The strength and resiliency of the English populace during the Blitz was truly monumental. "Keep Calm and Carry On"

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Siren's Song

The Siren's Song 7 x 24"

My friend Joen, as I've mentioned before, is always an excellent source of beach detritus. But this was one of the best things she ever brought me. A very distressed wooden box, with some blue paint still attached, interesting holes and worn places, and rusty hardware. I knew it would need some wonderful items to fill it, so I've held onto it for a over a year, trying different things and then letting it sit for a while.

My daughter and I came across the cement mermaid head one night walking home from dinner, the clarinet section was a swap meet score. The shell I found in New Jersey. I raided my drawer of rusty leaves and then attached everything with a combination of Liquid Nails and small gauge wire. I'm rather pleased with the way it turned out - well worth waiting for. Thanks, Joen.
Available at Open Studios this October.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Life on the Coast

White sand, luxurious palms, blue water - no it's not a tropical paradise. It's a local paradise. Only 90 minutes away, Refugio State Beach just north of Santa Barbara.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

Standing outside the famous Faneuil Hall Market
in the heart of Boston.
Another great destination to take your library card.

Friday, August 20, 2010

From the Bookshelf

A myriad of wonderful art journals based on letters and numbers. Once again Lynne Perrella pulls together an amazing group of mixed media artists for a delightful collaborative that is a typography lovers dream come true. As always, the eye candy will keep you entranced and provide loads of inspiration. Everything is fair game to these artists - lunch boxes, slide mounts, chalk boards and brass stencils and, as they say - "so much more!". This one's in my top five.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Lemons of Summer

The smell of hot dogs, the roar of the crowd,
the ump's mighty "Play ball!!"
Atomic Lemon enjoys the national pastime.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

This week's box is full of angels - gilded, cream, brown. Made of papier mache, resin, ceramic, and stone. Collected from the usual spots - thrift stores, flea markets, and rummage sales. One was discovered at the San Francisco Center of the Book holiday boutique.

I use them in shrines and assemblages.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Their Finest Hour

Their Finest Hour

The evacuation from Dunkirk, June 1940. 300,000 British servicemen brought home across the channel, in every boat the country could muster. In one of his most famous speeches Churchill said of the British people "This was their finest hour." Canvas prepared with gesso, cheesecloth, netting and pumice gel, then painted, dripped and spattered with craft acrylics and highlighted with oil pastels. Xerox copies of photographs from Dunkirk were adhered with matte medium. Embellishments include, rusty metal, wire and bullet casings. A silver shilling and organza Union Jack are the finishing touches. For this autumn's upcoming Open Studios Tour.

A bit of cheesecloth covered in orange printer's ink
topped with rusty wire

Monday, August 16, 2010


Liberte! 8 x 10"

An image from the Eugene Delacroix 1830 painting Liberty Leading the People inspired this piece. Done on canvas prepared with gesso and cheesecloth and then painted and splattered with cobalt blue, cardinal red and creme acrylics.

detail from above

Tiny fleur di lis brads dot the canvas and a large wooden one, painted with Golden's Iridescent Medium Gold Fine, anchors the lower left hand corner. I also used this colour in a few places in large globs for highlights. Two hand-dyed silk ribbons flutter from the top.

Available at Open Studios this coming October.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Life on a Different Coast - Mexico

Sunset shot from the hills above La Manzanilla in Jalisco, Mexico. Just about to sit down to a dinner of fresh shrimp quesadillas, saw the sky and had to stop to get the shot.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Don't Leave Home Without It!

The Empress Hotel in Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Another spot around the globe where you can take your library card. I don't, however, advise having tea there. It was around $50 a person and the hostess definitely had her nose in the air. We found a delightful little old fashioned tea shop about a mile away and feasted on scones, clotted cream and strawberry preserves (and tea of course) for a grand total of $17.83. The ambiance was lovely and the staff charming.

Friday, August 13, 2010

From the Book Shelf

Here's a summer salute to another childhood favourite. Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons ( and all the books that came after), the summer adventures of 6 plucky young English sailors; the Swallows-siblings John, Susan, Titty and Roger and the Amazons- their friends Nancy and Peggy. They sail, they camp out on their own island, they find buried treasure and elude pirates. In short, they do everything we wished we could do. Even though these beloved books are now 80 years old, the spirit of fun and adventure holds true. The fact that most libraries still have copies is evidence of their staying power and sheer magic.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Book and Author Festival

Absolutely Alice 13 x 10"

The annual Book and Author Festival held in September is sponsoring several displays of book art across San Luis Obispo County. These will run for about a few weeks and then on the weekend of the Festival all the pieces will be available for viewing and sale at the Art Center in San Luis.

Le Petit Voyage 6 x 4.5"

I have been asked to be part of the displays this year and will have 3 of my altered books on exhibit. There will be several forms of book art including hand-made books and book illustrations.

An Altar-ed Book closed 15 x 11"

I've spent my whole life reading and loving books, but I never realized until just a few years ago, how much fun it could be to alter them!

An Altar-ed Book open

These three pieces, if not sold at this event, will be available at October's Open Studios.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Those little tear off stubs on the bottom of restaurant checks - why collect those you say? Well, they have wonderful numbers on them. Official looking 6-7 digit numbers that add just the right touch to a journal spread or altered book.

I've used them to number faux specimens in an archeology altered book and to label insects in an entomology assemblage. And you get the fun of eating out before you collect the stubs!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Things Go Better...

Ah, the pause that refreshes! Just what Atomic Lemon needs on a warm summer day. I mean, it's not like A L could have lemonade is it?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Age Shall Not Weary Them

Age Shall Not Weary Them 8 x 10"
Canvas, prepped with gesso and cheesecloth, then covered in acrylics in brick red, creme and toffee brown. A vintage WWI picture covered with an organza Union Jack anchors the top right hand corner. Paper "Remembrance" poppies and bullet casings are scattered across the canvas along with a miniature British War medal.

The title comes from the poem For the Fallen by Laurence Binyon composed in 1914 following the Battle of the Marne. The third and fourth verses (below) have been used for over 90 years as an "Ode to Remembrance"
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

This piece available at this October's Open Studio.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Life on the Coast

View of Morro Rock from the Cayucos Pier

Yes, occasionally the fog does lift in the
summer here and then it looks like this!
Well worth waiting for.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Vacation Score!

I have to say that our trip last week to the Midgeley Flea Market was a big disappointment. A scant handful of vendors and only one with anything that caught my interest. We got there around 8:30 (it opened at 6:30) on Saturday. Maybe we should have gone later, maybe Sunday is better - anyway - not so much with the good stuff at this one.

But, we did hit four thrift stores in nearby Santa Rosa and a Restore the day before, and drove around on Saturday morning looking for garage sales and found a bunch. So that's where this bundle of delicious loot came from - not the flea market for which we had such high hopes.

Biggest bargain was the two vintage suitcases at only $5.00 each! Gotta love it!

Friday, August 6, 2010

From the Bookshelf

One of the things I had time to do on my vacation was delve into the new book by L K Ludwig. I had it sitting on my pile for several weeks, but purposely saved it for vacation to have time to really savour every page. It didn't disappoint. Great tips, loads of eye candy, interviews with several well-known mixed media artists and loads of techniques to get you started or help you continue on your art journaling adventures.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Penny Plain, Two Pence Coloured

Last Thursday in San Francisco whilst dashing from museum to museum indulging in impressionism, we also went to the Museum of Performance and Design, located in the Herbst Theatre building next to the Opera House. I had been tipped off that there was a marvelous exhibition of vintage toy theatres there.

And there certainly was - more than a dozen of complete theatre set-ups with prosceniums, scenery and characters representing the best of England, Spain, Denmark, Germany and Mexico. These were in large free-standing glass cases so you could get very close and examine all the detail. And the surrounding walls were covered with framed sheets of scenery, curtains, flys, and characters. When these were first published the black and white versions were sold for a penny and the coloured sheets were two pence. Slightly more now that they are treasured antiques.

Many of the pieces for the exhibit were originally from Pollock's in England, one of the premier publishers and sellers of toy theatres over the last 150 years. I was lucky enough to get to visit Pollock's shop and museum on Scala Street in London a few years ago. It was a joy to get to see several of these pieces again.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Tickets! Movie tickets, game tickets, tram tickets, metro tickets. raffle tickets, lottery tickets, museum tickets, train tickets, plane tickets, parking lot tickets, claim check tickets, circus tickets, opera tickets, fair tickets, AND so much more.

A very few of these were found on e-Bay or Etsy, but I would guess at least 90% of my collection I used myself or was given to me by friends and family. What could be more perfect to use in your travel journal or an altered book? Tickets, get your tickets!

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

A Day in San Francisco

Here's a spread in my journal from our day in San Francisco last week. Mementos of museum trips and the best macaroons I've tasted outside of Paris - mmmmm. Back home and now comes the unpacking, picture downloading and getting caught up with reading over a week's worth of all your blogs. Good to have been away, but good to be back.