Monday, February 28, 2011

A Great Deliverance

A Great Deliverance 18x24"

Six long years, during which not only the military was in conflict, but the civilians of England, France and other countries across the world faced daily danger as well. Six long years that came to an end in Europe on May 8, 1945. V-E DAY!

I got the idea of using a French style bulletin board theme for the piece. The canvas was painted with Titanium Ecru and then spattered with ultramarine blue and quinacridone crimson. The ribbons were stapled on in diagonal patterns. I printed out vintage photos of the day's celebrations from London, New York and Paris. These, along with Xerox copies of newspaper headlines, were glued to the canvas under the ribbons.

A ribbon rosette topped with a period florin (2 shilling piece) anchors the center of the board.

The title is taken from King George VI's speech that day; "Today we give thanks to Almighty God for a great deliverance. Speaking from our Empire's oldest capital city, war-battered but never for one moment daunted or dismayed, speaking from London, I ask you to join with me in that act of thanksgiving."

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Life on a Different Coast - Murano

Lighthouse on the glass blowing island of Murano in the Venice Lagoon, seen from the back of our vaporetto.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

In 1807 it was decreed unsanitary to continue to bury bodies in Venice and the cemetery on Isola di San Michele (nicknamed The Island of the Dead) was created. Bodies were ferried across from Venice on special funeral gondolas.

These views are from the vaporetto (water bus) as it leaves Cannaregio at the Northeast of Venice.

Many famous personages are interred here, including Stravinsky, Diaghilev and Ezra Pound.

Friday, February 25, 2011

From the Bookshelf

This is a fascinating journal?, scrapbook?, memoir? - hard to pin down, but easy to enjoy. The life and times of Doris Eaton Travis, at 14 the youngest girl in the Ziegfeld Follies, recipient of an honorary doctorate at 101, a Phi Beta Kappa graduate in history at the age of 88 - what's not to love? Marylinn Kelly pointed me in the direction of this wonderful romp.

Kudos to author Lauren Redniss for a great job.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Broken Glass Broken Lives

Broken Glass Broken Lives 24x30"

On the night of November 10, 1938 a pogrom was visited upon the Jewish people of Germany and Austria. Nazi Stormtroopers and civilians went on a rampage and destroyed hundreds of Jewish businesses, homes and synagogues. 94 Jews were killed and more than 30,000 were sent to concentration camps. Often referred to as "The Night of Broken Glass", news reports of the events were a wake-up call to many countries that had been lulled into a false sense of peace.

I gessoed the canvas and then covered the entire surface with cheesecloth and another layer of gesso. A colour scheme of burnt umber, raw umber and cream suggests the dull November landscape. Stars of David are scattered across the canvas - some stamped on, some stenciled with gold paint, two silver ones wired on, and a broken gold one in the middle of the piece.

Newspaper headlines of the time were adhered with matte medium as were scraps of Hebraic writing, and photos of the devastation. Highlights of water soluble oil pastels show off the texture of the cheesecloth. Bits of broken glass, mirror and crockery litter the canvas. Along the bottom the cheesecloth has been fashioned into rough prayer shawls.

Many historians see this as the beginning of the Holocaust and as a turning point in world opinion to the horror of the Nazi Regime. Ironic that it happened on the eve of the 20th anniversary of the end of WWI.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Metal twigs - in a Chinese cigar box - made of pewter and steel. The packaged ones have adhesive on the back so they adhere to a journal cover or page, canvas, or assemblage.

I used a couple to good effect in Runic Bird #3 above.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

What Price Safety, What Price Love?

What Price Safety What Price Love 10x20"

In the hours and hours of research I've done for the pieces I'm creating for my upcoming show "The Pity of War", one of the most poignant photographs I've come across is the centerpiece of this artwork. Three siblings huddled together, with their evacuation tags around their necks, wait at King's Cross for a train that will take them from London to Northampton, far from their Mum and Dad and the only home they've ever known.

Barbara (8), John (7) and Rosemary Dawson (6) didn't even know their picture had been taken until a few years ago when the British Postal System released a set of stamps honouring "Heroes at Home" of WWII, of Land Girls, the Home Guard and others, including evacuees. The sisters and brother were reunited at King's Cross and photographed once more.

When I found the old photo, I knew I would have to feature it in a collage. Those young faces - Barbara holding onto her sibs, being the brave big sister, John looking slightly bemused, and Rosemary studying her tag - brought tears to my eyes and spoke to my heart.

I painted the canvas a toffee brown and then sponged and spattered leaf green and ivory acrylics. The xerox copy of the siblings was lightly coloured with water soluble oil pastels and adhered with matte medium as were the two period posters. The tags were tea stained and then stamped with numbers and collaged with the "London County Council" logo. 3 were affixed to the canvas, one around Barbara's neck and the others attached with upholstery tacks to the edges. The final touch, vintage wooden number blocks under each child.

As a mother I can not imagine having to send my children away. As a mother I can not imagine keeping them home, in a war torn city under nightly threat of bombing. Indeed, What Price Safety, What Price Love?

Monday, February 21, 2011

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month

The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month 16x20"

After four years and three months the horrific bloodshed of the Great War came to an end, at The 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month. I started this piece by painting blocks of colour in blue, red and cream acrylic. Rubber stamps and stencils were used for 11's in various fonts and sizes. Xerox copies of newspaper headlines from November 11, 1918 were adhered with matte medium and ragged ribbons in white, blue and red hang from the top corners.

A clock face with its hands pointing to 11:00, a large tagboard 11, and a copy from an English calender of November 1918 march diagonally across the piece from top left to lower right and reflect the title.

One more piece for my upcoming show The Pity of War, this April at the Allied Arts Gallery in Cambria

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Life on a Different Coast - Cornwall

A sunny day at the harbour mouth, Polperro, Cornwall.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

Clava Cairns near Inverness in the highlands of Scotland.

A ring of standing stones, with three large barrows or burial mounds, are thought to have been built over 4,000 years ago.

We visited on a cool day in mid-April, even in the bright sunshine we felt a pervading air of age-old mystery.
The Clava Cairns are nestled on the south side of the River Narn, a few miles from Culloden.

Friday, February 18, 2011

From the Bookshelf

A fascinating and intriguing tome. The kind of book you keep on the nightstand and delve into now and then for a treat - like a cup of fine coffee or a sublime chocolate truffle. The myriad of entries include champagne, putti, trapeze artists,and dahlias. The design and execution are as exquisite as the title. Michael Kors says "A wonderful mélange of chic and amusing tidbits — this book makes me smile." I agree and so will you.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Rank & File

Rank & File 10x20

White crosses march across a green graveyard in rank and file; dozens, hundreds, thousands and thousands and thousands.

I painted the grass and sky with acrylic, then spattered the grass with several other shades of green. The descending sized crosses were given 2 coats of white acrylic and a coat of pumice gel. I glued a piece of foam core on the back of each cross- lifting them off the canvas to allow shadows. The piece of ephemera was found in a 1924 travel guide to Europe.

One more piece finished for "The Pity of War", my solo show coming up this April at the Allied Arts Gallery in Cambria.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Here's a great idea from Cathe Holden of Just Something I Made. Combination drawer pull/label holders for your cigar box collection. Click on the link above to see how she did it and get every more views of her fabulous collection.

It's got me drooling!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Can Spring be Far Behind?

Every February this Japanese Magnolia behind the library bursts into bloom. One day, there are just bare twigs and it seems the next time we look - it's a riot of pink.

One of the first flowers of Spring here on the Central Coast.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Here's my Heart

Happy Valentine's Day!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Life on the Coast

Sunday on the Central Coast - sea level and much less snow
than other parts of the country!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Cemetery Saturday

Battlefield and Graveyard near Inverness in the Highlands. We visited on the 258th anniversary of the final Jacobean attempt to restore the throne to Scottish rule and break from England.

The battle monument holds the above inscription.

Small stones are everywhere with the
clan names carved upon them.

There is an atmosphere of loss and sadness that overlays the green lawns and heather strewn ground. A fleeting feeling that to touch the stones would release a spell cast long ago and sounds of musket fire and tramping feet would once again echo across Culloden Moor.

Friday, February 11, 2011

From the Bookshelf

I've been a mystery buff since elementary school when I discovered Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden, and have been enjoying Agatha Christie almost as long. I was gifted this delightful volume at Christmas time and have had a wonderful time perusing it. Author John Curran was given complete access to the dozens and dozens of notebooks that Dame Agatha used to capture her ideas, plots, and character names (along with shopping lists, road directions, and "books to read"). Most of her best known works are discussed, using the various notes and jottings from the notebooks. Highly entertaining and informative for the "little grey cells"!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Art From Scrap Score!

On Saturday, Margot decided I needed something to cheer me up after the Taos workshop got canceled, so she arranged a day trip down to Santa Barbara. We did some shopping, had lunch at La Super Rica, and, of course, visited Art From Scrap!

These are all the wonderful things I hunted and gathered there - for only $12.85! Fancy trim, a golden cross, private chevrons, a wonderful broken torso, a program from the San Francisco Opera's Los Angeles season in 1938,

piano felts, a vintage guitar string envelope, a just-the-right-sized tin, delightfully raveled fabric,

a tile fleur-de-lys, cool plastic things that will make great stencils, and a rusty hamster wheel! What's not to love?!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Cigar Box Wednesday

Pottery shards from the seacoasts of England. Some I gathered in Polperro Cornwall on our 2006 trip and others, washed in from the North Sea, I found on eBay. Each one tells a fascinating little tale of its history and travels.

They are fun to handle and add a curious mystery to an assemblage or journal cover.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


Now we all know that we can't afford most things at Anthropologie, and certainly can't fit into anything at Anthropologie - but we all agree they have the most wonderful displays and window dressing. We went to their Santa Barbara store on Saturday and spent a fascinating half hour drooling over the display pieces.

This was my favourite - a huge carved wooden piece mounted on weathered fence boards. Picked up a catalog while there, always lots of collage material therein!