Monday, January 31, 2011

Monday Brunch @ a French Bistro

It's daughter Bronwyn's last day here in California, she flies back to Missouri tomorrow. We're having brunch at Panolivo French Bistro in Paso Robles with a dear friend, before we drive her back to the Bay Area. Is anything better than a huge bowl of cafe au lait?! Tres magnifique!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Life on the Coast

Hope you're this blissed out on your weekend!
California Sea Lions enjoy the harbour docks in Morro Bay.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

Back to Edinburgh for a walk through Greyfriars' Kirkyard at the southern edge of the Old Town. There are many crypts and mausoleums around the walls of the graveyard. Tales and rumours of hauntings abound here.

The infamous 'Bloody' George Mackenzie was buried there in 1691. The 'Mackenzie Poltergeist' is said to cause bruising, bites and cuts on those who come into contact with it and many visitors have reported feeling strange sensations. A number of deaths have taken place in the churchyard as well. We came through unscathed, but didn't linger over long either!

A statue of Greyfriar's Bobby, the loyal little dog who grieved by his master's burial site is set directly opposite the front gate of the graveyard.

A plaque commemorates his life.

All photos courtesy Bronwyn Ember

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cambria Art & Wine Festival

The winning poster painted by Susan Jenkins and Vicki Greene

Lots of fun in Cambria this weekend - the annual Art & Wine Festival. Local wineries, local artists, silent auctions, art demos and more. Starting today and running through Sunday. I will have two pieces in the silent auction on Saturday.

The Triple R

Water & Stone

Both depicting local scenes - hopefully will go over well with the punters! See you there.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fun in Solvang

Daughter Bronwyn and I drove down Hwy 101 for a couple of days in Solvang - Little Denmark in the Santa Inez Valley. I first visited here with my aunt and uncle about 50 years ago, and have been often. We've enjoyed shopping, walking the quiet streets and tasting the goodies on offer.

Some things have changed over the years, but many of the landmarks from that first trip are still here. The pastries are just as delicious, the red cabbage is divine and the windmills still turn.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Bingo numbers! When I first started gathering supplies for mixed media art I bought a few of these at a rubber stamp store, a dozen in a package for $2.95. But then one Saturday at a garage sale I found a gallon sized freezer bag full for $2.00! Can we say "Score!"?

Fun for assemblages, altered books and mixed media jewelry.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

More fun than a Kindle!

Louis Vuitton Library Trunk

How cool is this? I've often been accused of taking way too many books with me when I travel - but this lovely vintage Vuitton holds just a few more than even I could pack in my soft-side carry on! Interesting to think that the entire contents of the above would probably fit on an e-Reader and slip into your pocket. But what would be the fun in that?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Homemade Give-away

Found this idea on Scrap Panda - here's how it works:

I promise to send something handmade to the 1st 5 people who leave a comment on this post.

Then they, in turn, post this and send something they made to the 1st 5 people who comment on their blog post.

The rules are that it must be handmade by you and it must be sent to your 5 people sometime in 2011.

Simple, right? And has the potential to be fun. C'mon, give it a try - everybody's doing it!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Welcome Home!

Today I'm driving up the coast to pick up our daughter Bronwyn who has flown out from Missouri for a visit. She's very excited about being back in California after two years away.

There are a lot of things she she's missed, and we plan to take care of one of them right away - apparently there's no In 'n' Out back in the Midwest!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

Here are a few more shots from Forest Hills in Boston.

The solitude was wonderful here. Lovely stretches of green, beautiful old trees wearing their fall plumage, serene ponds and winding paths through the grave sites.

As always in the older burial grounds, very poignant to see so many small tombstones with children's names, or just "baby" engraved thereon.

Truly a place to rest in peace.

Friday, January 21, 2011

From the Book Shelf

Not an art related book this time, but my new favourite author - Kate Morton. I've been a bit behind, her first book The House at Riverton came out in 2006 and the next The Forgotten Garden in 2009.

I read them both a few months ago and was hooked. This young Australian writer has a sure hand, a delicious sense of mystery and does excellent and intensive historical research. Her third book The Distant Hours is just out and, I feel, the best yet.

In all of her novels, Kate uses a wonderful plot device of weaving the story lines between modern times and a point in the past; WWII, the Edwardian summer, WWI, etc. This can be cliche in the hands of other writers, but this author achieves a seamless meld that keeps one reading far into the night.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

More Pages

One thing I wanted to do in this journal was more sketching - for whatever reason, I've found myself not drawing in my journals as much as I used to and I wanted to make a concerted effort to rectify that with this book.

I always carry a envelope of collage material with me and at the beginning of a journal I go through my stash and pick out pieces to use over the course of working in it.

And then I add things picked up at the time also, such as the beer label above, and business card below.

I will be finishing up this journal next month when I spend a week in Taos at a workshop with Lynne Perrella, and will post some of those pages when I return.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Most of us of a certain age have an extra set or two of runes laying around. It was hard to get out of the '70's without picking up several sets. And because of that, there are lots of them to be found in thrift stores and at swap meets. They make an interesting addition to an assemblage.

Runic Bird #1

Here's a series I did called Runic Birds

Runic Bird #2

Runic Bird #3

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Handclasp on a Silent Night

Handclasp on a Silent Night 16x20"

The Christmas Truce of 1914, after six months of fighting in WWI, seems almost the stuff of literature or films. That opposing forces would lay down their arms, sing carols and meet in no-man's land, to shake hands, exchange small gifts of tobacco and food during the bloodiest conflict of the 20th century was truly a miracle.

I prepped the canvas with gesso, cheesecloth and texture from plastic cris-crossed netting. The background colours are Golden's Sap Green Hue, Van Dyke Brown and Ceramcoat's Toffee Brown, and these colours were also used to splatter the surface. I tinted the Xerox copies of the meeting soldiers and the handclasp with Portfolio Water Soluble Oil Pastels in Russet and Blue-Green, and adhered them with matte medium.

The simple Christmas Trees were stenciled (and masked) on with the Sap Green and smaller evergreens were stamped using Staz-On black ink. Golden's Quinacridone Crimson was stenciled on through punchinello and oil pastels were used to highlight bits of the cheesecloth. Liquitex Titanium White was splattered on representing the snow that covered the trenches during that Christmas week 97 years ago.

The final touch, a few globs of Golden's Iridescent Gold Deep Fine to show the shining light that broke through the horror of war for a brief period of good will to men.

The piece will be included in my upcoming show The Pity of War, this April at the Allied Arts Gallery in Cambria.

Monday, January 17, 2011

I'm Loving this Journal!

Last month I prepared and started using this journal. It began life as a 3.5x5" thick pocket dictionary published 75 years ago. My last journal was big, about 9x11", so I wanted to go small this time around.

I went through, counting out three pages and then removing the next three. This done, I gessoed the sets of three together to make pages thick enough to take paint and collage, and to semi-cover the printed page.

I used 7 Gypsies gaffers tape to stabilize the covers and stamped fleurs-de-lys on top. The brass ornament is the hanger from an old picture frame, attached with E-6000.

The small, chunky feel of the book is a delight and I'm having a wonderful time filling it with jottings and collage. More pages on Thursday.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Life on the Coast

A beautiful day, a delicious lunch at one of our favourite seaside bistros (yummy veggie tostados and Newcastle on tap), and a walk through the Heron rookery after. How's your weekend going?

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

St. John's Episcopal Church, at the end of the Princes Street Gardens in Edinburgh. We were there on a cold Holy Saturday morning. The mist and light fog enhanced the atmosphere of other times. Many of the graves were several centuries old, the stones worn, weathered and covered with moss.

In early April things were beginning to green, but the many of the trees had yet to don their leafy coats - an intriguing juxtaposition of the joining of life and death.

Friday, January 14, 2011

From the Bookshelf

The Art of the Cross is full of wonderful photography of everything - from cowboy boots to soap - that uses the form of the cross. What you would expect - churches, santos ,and rosaries. And many that may surprise you - cuff links, beaded moccasins, holsters.
And the materials are just as varied - leather, stone, crystal, silver, chili peppers, pine needles and of course, wood. Full of beautiful images that will spark many a creative piece. Especially wonderful for those of us that make shrines and art for Dia de los Muertos.
Amazon has used copies starting at $.33!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Zippity Do-Dah!

How cool is this?! One of our library patrons walked in last week with this beauty hanging on her arm. She gave Destiny permission to take the photo and me permission to blog about it. Is this one of the coolest purses you've ever seen? All those zippers, in all those colours. And the best part - yes - each zippered compartment actually opens to a small storage place - I know! She says she's had it forever and doesn't remember where she got it. It's like a burst of happy whenever she brings it in.

I found this one on-line - the last they had - and snapped it up. It's zipping it's way to my mailbox in 5-7 days!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

This little tin originally held block crayons, but now is home to several interesting metal bits. Old signs, metal leaves, and a few unidentified bits and bobs.

All very thin, to fit in the box. Some I found at swap meets and several were gifts from my enablers. All patiently waiting to be the crowning touch in an assemblage or collage.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Coventry Carol

Coventry Carol

This piece is part of The Pity of War series that will be my solo show this April at the Allied Arts Gallery in Cambria. The exhibit will include altered books and collage/assemblage paintings of WWI and WWII.

I started this piece with swaths of Lumiere Super Copper and Pearlescent Blue and Liquitex Unbleached Titanium, then used matte medium to adhere 5 descending sized Xerox copies of a picture of the ruined St. Michael's Cathedral in Coventry after the 9 continuous hours of German bombardment in November 1940. Grey Fresco-Flakes were attached with heavy gel medium over the piles of rubble in the photos. A marvelous stencil from Mary Beth Shaw was used to create faux stained glass patterns in red and blue, an Anne Bagby stamp adds a gothic border using Staz-On black ink. Splatters and drips cover all.

The morning after, when dawn lit up the roofless interior of the cathedral, two of the gigantic roof beams lay in the middle of the nave in the form of a cross. They were rescued, wired together and now stand atop the rubble built altar that was errected in the memorial that the still standing walls enclose.

photo courtesy