Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Shoes in Paris

My daughter Jenny and I both had these shoes(mine were light brown) and they were so comfortable. We loved those shoes - so much that we took them to Paris and walked all over the City of Light. Jenny thought there should be some pictorial proof that the "shoes" had actually been there, so she laid down on the square in front of Notre Dame and snapped this. The ultimate picture of the shoes in Paris.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Cowboy Standard Time

When I was a kid cowboys were my passion. Every Christmas brought a new hat and a new set of six-shooters. And when I wasn't outside playing with those, I was inside playing with the little 2" plastic cowboy figures. For me it was always Cowboy Standard Time!

This is the front of the cigar box I used. I painted it with cream and blue acrylics and adhered the old brand list to the box with matte medium. Rubber stamp letters spell out the title.

Margot found me this great cowboy ribbon that I criss-crossed over the inside of the cigar box lid after painting it with cream acrylic. The rusty star is from an old spur (an e-Bay score).

And here are the cowboys, arranged clock style around a wooden wagon wheel topped with a Wells Fargo badge. I painted the back in burnt sienna, then put globs of Vaseline here and there and over-painted with cream. When I rubbed off the Vaseline, I got this very cool peeling paint look. Caps line the top and bottom.

I used the same paint technique on the back with blue and cream and added the perfect cowboy applique (another Margot find!). More cigar box fun - this one's available at Open Studios coming up on October 9-10.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


Margot and I were having brunch a couple of weeks ago at a favourite little French bistro. When I shook out the napkin to put it on my lap, we both noticed how delicious the colour of the napkin was against my orange jacket. Margot grabbed the camera and now you can see the glorious colours as well.

Monday, September 27, 2010

XYZ $ 5

X Y Z $ 5

Here's the second half of last Monday's post. Same techniques, just different letters, numbers and symbols. Though it doesn't show that well in the photos, the Lumiere paint really catches the light and pops. I especially like the oil pastel squiggles here and there on the canvas.

These, individually or as a set, also available at Open Studios -
October 9 and 10, 10-5.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Life on a Different Coast - Cornwall

Living on the central coast we are accustomed to seeing surfers; on my morning walks along Moonstone Beach in Cambria and our evening strolls by Morro Rock. So it was like old home week when we were in St. Ives, Cornwall and saw the signs for surf lessons. The fact that the day was overcast and foggy made it even more like home!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Relaxing by the Palms

After we spent a week in La Manzanilla ,on our trip to Mexico a few years ago, we went to a wonderful little hotel right on the beach in El Manzanillo - 30 minutes south and about 110,000 more people. We were there for a couple of days and relaxed to the max; we swam in the pool, napped read, wrote in our journals and drank margaritas. The above was a view from my chaise lounge.

Friday, September 24, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This description (from Amazon) of Susan Tuttle's book is so good, I am reprinting it here:

Within the pages of Exhibition 36, readers will enter a virtual art exhibit featuring thirty-six mixed-media artists whose collage, digital, assemblage, altered and re-purposed art adorn the walls and pedestals of this unique gallery. The artists are "present" throughout the exhibit, answering questions, sharing their thoughts, talking about their work and offering instruction. The tour is structured to provide insight into the creative process of the artists whose work is on display and the reader will be delighted with the plethora of inspiration, articles, techniques and general visual candy. As a final bonus, many artists featured in the book have contributed imagery as a gift to readers for attending the exhibit to reuse in their own creations.

I love the concept and feel it was well executed. A wide variety of artists are represented and there's enough eye candy and technique sharing for us all.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ah, Those Redheads!

The Bath - Alfred Stevens

Last August when we went to the Birth of Impressionism Exhibit at the deYoung in San Francisco, I fell in love with this painting. Alfred Stevens was born in Belgium in 1823. He received more family support than most painters of the period and his art received greater acceptance in the official exhibitions of the day. His works fall into a transition area between the formality of the Ecole des Beaux-Arts and the freedom of the impressionists. Especially striking, seeing this in person, was the soap dish - the highlights of light reflection looked exactly like ceramic, I felt if I'd touched it, it would have been smooth and cool to the touch.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

This week, not something stored in a cigar box, but something you can do with a cigar box. I made this Frida shrine at a workshop with Lynne Perrella 3 years ago. Starting with a small wooden cigar box I used craft acrylics to paint all the surfaces. Using matte medium I adhered the picture of Frida and the door image. Cheesecloth embedded with printer's ink provides a scrim over Frida's face and an embellishment in the upper right corner. Skulls and jewelry pieces adorn the shrine and narrow painted twine forms a grid over the right side. The twine was also used as an embellishment - pieces tied together to form a shock. The quote on the left reads "Painting completed my life". This was one of my first assemblage boxes and I am still pleased with it. Just one more thing you can do with the ever handy cigar box.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fun @ Camille and Dawn's

Belle Epoque

Margot and I spent the afternoon yesterday with our good friends Camille and Dawn, for an art afternoon. While they were busy painting silk scarves, I did the above collage,
Belle Epoque, a celebration of life in early 20th century Paris. This is the last piece for the upcoming Open Studios Tour, October 9 and 10.
I'll be spending the next 2 weekends doing the "other side" of art. Mailings, cleaning, attaching hangers, cleaning, printing up price tags, cleaning, finding the credit card machine, oh and did I mention cleaning?! Actually it's a lot of fun and I'm eagerly anticipating having my studio open for the art loving (and buying) public.

Monday, September 20, 2010

ABC & 7

A B C & 7

These were a lot of fun. Grabbed several colours of craft acrylic and splashed them on 8x8 canvases in random blobs, stripes and diagonals. Then using a big stencil (a $1.00 score form a garage sale) I applied Jacquard Lumiere in Super Copper, Pearlescent Magenta, Pearlescent Blue, and Citrine to add another layer. Then 6" individual stencils for the centers. Smaller stencils - 1/2" and 1" - were used to as a fourth layer.

They will be offered individually, but look cool as a set as well.
Fun, colourful and available in a few weeks at Open Studios!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Life on the Coast

Ah, Sunday morning - bring on the cafe au lait!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Journal in the Round

This is a journal I did a few years ago on a trip to the Pacific Northwest. It's made from a sample pack of mat boards - the kind of thing they have in art stores to show you all the colours of mat board they can get for you. When our local mom and pop hobby store went out of business they were selling everything and I picked up a couple of these for under $5.00.

The first picture is the front side that chronicles a few days in Seattle, a weekend workshop with Nick Bantock on Salt Spring Island and some time spent in Victoria on the tip of Vancouver Island. The next view shows my Art Fest journal, done during the second week of that lovely art-filled vacation. It was a challenge to work on such tiny surfaces, but fun too. Whenever I took it out to work on it, it got a lot of attention.

Friday, September 17, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is a great starting point for those who have been thinking about using metal in your art pieces. Linda and Opie take the "mystery out of metal" and provide plenty of projects to get started. Easy to follow instructions, good explanations of a variety of techniques and, oh yes!, lots and lots of that lovely eye candy. If you've wondered about taking the plunge into working with metal, this is the book for you.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Happy Birthday, Sis!

That's me and my big sister, Becky,
in all our western finery, over 50 years ago.
Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

A few shots of my cigar boxes on their new shelving. Actually shoe shelves, available from Home Depot in two different lengths. I used 6 of the 24" long ones and am very pleased with how it's worked out.
The boxes are stacked 2 (or in a few case, 3) high and only 1 box deep on the shelf. They are super easy to access. The different sizes leave some cool little spots in which to secret smaller boxes or tins.
Of course, even with 6 shelves I didn't quite get all of my cigar boxes on them. So last week I put another shelf on an opposite wall for the overflow!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Atomic Lemon Leans to Port

Here in Morro Bay, these colourful buoys are a familiar sight, guiding boats and ships through the mouth of our harbour. Atomic Lemon gets "in the swim" so to speak as he comes into shore.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Fun in the Sun

A page from a watercolour journal I kept when we visited La Manzanilla, a small fishing village on the Pacific Coast of Mexico about 90 minutes south of Puerto Vallarta. The people are a tad misshapen I admit, but I was rather pleased with the beach umbrella and the distant hill.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Life on a Different Coast - Large and Small

The English Coast, along the Channel. Above, a very large seaside cottage - the magnificent Brighton Pavilion. And below, the smallest seaside cottage in England,

- on the beach at Porthcurno. Maybe best to try for something in the middle!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Which painting would you pick?

Paris Kiosk 10.5 x 14 (unframed)

The current House Beautiful asked several designers if they could pick any painting in the world to hang in their house which would it be? Lynne Perrella passed this question on to several of us and started quite a lively discussion on what and why and where and who.

My pick was Jean Beruad's Paris Kiosk, painted in the early 1880's and now residing at The Walters Art Museum in Baltimore, MD. It was on loan last spring to the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and I was privileged to get to see it face to face. It seems to me to the quintessential painting of Paris. If I can't be in Paris, it would be fun to have this hanging on my wall as a reminder of one of my favourite cities.

What painting would you pick and why?

Friday, September 10, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is fascinating - pictures, floor plans, and architectural details about the grand and glorious apartment buildings of Manhattan in the first third of the 20th Century. These were palaces, 19 rooms, two (or even) three floors (per apartment), servants' quarters of 6 bedrooms and a servants' hall. Fireplaces, ballrooms, rooftop terraces - the mind boggles! The emphasis was on luxury to convince the upper class that apartment living could equal the mansions they were used to. Manhattan was running out of room for the huge individual home.

Of course as I perused the book, I picked out my favourite. The Beresford, above, on Central Park West, and it looks like I could move in for around $20,000,000!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Le Petit Chef Francais

For several months now Castle in the Air, a magical shop on Fourth Street in Berkeley, has been featuring these wonderful vintage post cards on their monthly calendar.

From recalcitrant lobsters to a lapin that looks suspiciously like a chat,

to an omelette souffle that requires some extra air,

our petit chef is one busy boy in the kitchen.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Look at these wonderful cigar boxes and cubbyholes from the studio of Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made. And if you go to this post she shows you how to turn a cigar box into a wonderful washi tape dispenser. Ah, the myriad uses of the ubiquitous cigar box!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

77 Rue de l'Aubergine

77 Rue de l'Aubergine 7.5 x 9"

All set to move in! And every colour of purple you can imagine. I raided the craft acrylics for all the shades and my stash of tiny treasures to fill the empty spots. A paper clay medallion looks down from the attic on dried rosebuds, miniature scoops, chalk pastels, bits of jewelry, paint chips, a vintage ceramic doll head and fabric grapes.

My favourite is the purple hand - I found it at the Goodwill in Port Townsend one year at Art Fest - just one of those weird little scores that make you smile every time you look at it. The #7s are scrapbook findings. I always love doing a piece with a colour theme. Available in October at Open Studios.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Les Souvenirs d' ete

Les Souvenirs d' ete
Another piece of my friend Joen's dissembled squirrel feeder provides the substrata for a rusted fleur di lis, a vintage tin cone and a handful of silk flowers and curly willow. I love the juxtaposition of the soft fabric, the hard metal and the weathered wood. And you can't beat those hints of pink against the faded green. On show at next month's Open Studios.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Life on the Coast - Peddlers' Faire

Fun in Cayucos this long weekend - the end of the season Peddlers's Faire.

Something for everyone, lots of great scores to be made. See you there!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Art in the Park - Labor Day Style

The third of this summer's Art in the Park festivals takes place today, tomorrow and Monday here in Morro Bay. In the park between Morro Bay Blvd. and Harbor Blvd., 10-5 each day. Come out and support your local artists!

Some of the yummy goodies waiting for you at the Foxlo Pottery booth.

Friday, September 3, 2010

From the Bookshelf

This is just plain fun! Well, maybe not so "plain". Terry Taylor takes us on a delightful romp through more than a dozen of our favourite childhood tales. "Once Upon a Time" was never like this. Well known mixed media artists, including Jane Wynn, Linda and Opie O'Brien and Claudine Helmuth, let their imaginations fly. Lots to look at, great tips and techniques and loads of ideas. Snuggle under a quilt, grab your cup of cocoa and prepare to be enchanted.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Atomic Lemon Plugged in to Tunes

Atomic Lemon all set to enjoy the upcoming long weekend -
kick back,listen to some tunes and
celebrate the end of summer!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cigar Box Wednesday

Not exactly a cigar box, but I have a large collection of tins that I store stuff in as well. And this one (now that the delicious chocolate bark is gone!) is my Face File. This is an idea that the talented Anne Bagby told us about at a workshop in Taos last year.

She maintains - and rightly so - that the way to learn how to draw faces is to draw faces - for 15 minutes everyday. And for inspiration for this - create a file of faces. Cut up magazines, paste the faces on old business cards* and everyday, pick out 3 or 4 to draw. It really does work - but I still have trouble with noses!
*If you don't have any boxes of outdated business cards lying around, ask your friends - one (or more) of them will be thrilled to give you some.