Wednesday, June 29, 2011

La Dolce Vita and The June Mix ...

This is the time.
This is the place.
This is the vastness.
Right here is paradise.

~Byron Katie

June has almost left us. Though it was only weeks ago that I took my Italian and Art History finals, it already feels like another lifetime. Summer is in full swing and so much has been going on ...

Trips to the farmers market ...

Celebrating with Italian class after finals ...

... and I finally made it to my pastel teacher Bert Collins' retrospective at the little Santa Paula Art Museum. She had artwork there from her childhood all the way through her current work.

This beautiful landscape is very "Bert."

Ventura River by Bert Collins
Oil on canvas 2010

She used to do a lot of work for galleries in L.A. years ago (before moving up to Ojai) and did a lot of still lifes. Some were rather large but I love this little gem. By the way, she was born in 1928 and is still very prolific and very inspiring.

Acrylic on Canvas 1970

Then, I was so excited to find out through the Italian Institute of Culture in Los Angeles, that there was going to be a screening of La Dolce Vita at the old historic Egyptian Theater in Hollywood. The film had considerable restoration done by Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in association with The Film Foundation, Paramount Pictures and so on. (It was funded by Gucci apparently, so go ahead and get that bag you've been dying for! ;)

Anyway, it was a beautifully remastered and restored print. Of course, it was also as funny, sad, beautiful, poetic, strange and stylish as ever.

Oh, Marcello ... could you be more handsome? Hmm, probably not.

If you have never seen La Dolce Vita, you should!
Note: It is three hours long and there is no real plot (It is Fellini, after all) so sit back with your glass of wine, relax and enjoy the ride. It's wonderful!

I also had "Art Day" in Highland Park at my friend Rachel's. She coined the phrase for our little tradition, though on that day she was doing more laundry than art.

This (below) is the piece I was working on it that day and it still sits on my easel mocking me. It's not right and it's not finished but right now I am giving it a rest.

For my friend Shea's June birthday we headed LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) for a picnic and free latin jazz on the lawn on an early Saturday evening ...

LACMA - The Broad Building

And it's that time of year again for ... Summer Art Camp at The Wizard of Art!!!

Below is a photo of some of the kids from week 2. Eight more weeks to go!

Still life in Pastel by Lola

Lola - Pastel Artist
(On her seventh birthday!)

For more adorable, amazing kids click here.

It's been a very busy June! Is it already nearly July?? Well, I hope your June was wonderful but if it left something to be desired, let's have a spectacular July, shall we?

Oh, and I want to share this quote with you ...

It is a great art to have an abundance of knowledge and experience-
to know the richness of life, the beauty of existence,
the struggles, the miseries, the laughter, the tears-
and yet keep your mind very simple;

and you can have a simple mind
only when you know how to love.

~Jiddu Krishnamurti

Blessings and light!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Ojai Foundation ... a beautiful walk

With the end of the semester (I got two "A"s!!!) and now with teaching summer art workshops, I haven't been making up to see my family in Ojai quite as often. Not too long ago though, I was able to enjoy a spring walk through the land of The Ojai Foundation. I went with my Dad, my sister Penny and my nephew Benjamin.

from the website:
The mission of The Ojai Foundation is to strengthen individuals, families schools and communities by teaching ways to listen and speak from the heart, to honor life's passages and to appreciate our connection with nature- supporting the emergence of a compassionate, sustainable and peaceful world.

Cool, huh?

There are numerous places to sit and contemplate, meditate, and enjoy the beauty of Southern California. I can't believe I had never been there! Here is just a little preview ...

Come forth into the light of things.
Let nature be your teacher.

~William Wordsworth

The invariable mark of wisdom
is to see the miraculous in the common.

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

To be surprised, to wonder, is to begin to understand.

~Jose Ortega Y Gasset

After a day's walk
everything has twice its value.

~George Macauley Trevelyan

That reminds me, I should go for a walk! Have a beautiful weekend, my friends!

p.s. Just went on my sister Penny's blog and she posted photos from here too! She also posted some other BEAUTIFUL Ojai photos in her previous post, Casitas Vista.
Check out her blog HERE!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day

Sometimes there are areas of our lives where we just get really lucky or are very blessed. My sister Penny and I have been very blessed with an amazing dad. I think these pictures say a lot.

Exploring with us in Cambria, 1972

There's something like a line of gold thread
running through a man's words when he talks to his daughter,
and gradually over the years it gets to be long enough for you to pick up in your hands
and weave into a cloth that feels like love itself.

~John Gregory Brown

Staying Zen indoors in Alaska with Penny (upside down) and Me
circa 1970

I think this (below) was in Alaska in around 1971 (love my dad's sneakers and super cool horn-rimmed glasses!) I have no idea what the clown faces were about. That is me petting our cat that we found out I was allergic to.

Having fun as Fred Astaire, Halloween 1982
(with 'Curley', lower right)

Happy Father's Day Dad!!!
You are the best!

Here's a little something for you until your gift arrives ... :)

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Venice in Pastel

After all the art documentaries I have been watching, some of which included beautiful paintings done in Venice, I was inspired.

I got out my little, purple velvet, photo album that I put together after my first trip to Italy in December of 1996. My parents were living in Pakistan in '96 and instead of spending two days on either side of the trip in transit, they decided my sister and I should meet them for Christmas in Italy. (wahoo!)

It was a strange time for me, having just gone through a very difficult break-up, but Italy was amazing (of course) and very healing. My crying stopped and I fell in love again, but this time it was with Italy. We spent our time in Florence and Venice with a lovely day trip to Siena. I remember thinking on that very first trip, I could live here! I had done a lot of traveling and loved many places but that was the first time I'd thought that. The connection was there from the beginning.

Here is the pastel (below), with a watercolor underpainting, that I did over the weekend. Although, I didn't end up covering up much of the watercolor! Sometimes you have to let go of your plan and just let things happen the way that they are meant to. A good life lesson ...

For things to reveal themselves to us,
we need to be ready to abandon our views about them.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Venice, Italy
Pastel and watercolor June 2011

Here are some photos from my old Minolta that I pulled out of my little velvet album and scanned this morning. It was freezing when we were in Venice, by the way. Part of the canal froze, fountains froze ... My mom said she had never been so cold. (And we'd lived in Alaska when I was little.) Nothing like a Siberian cold front to make things interesting.

Much to my family's dismay, I was determined to take a gondola ride, so the gondolier (who I am sure thought we were nuts) piled us up with blankets and off we went.

Venice Italy December 1996
35mm film camera

We have more possibilites available in each moment than we realize.

~Thich Nhat Hanh

Hope you are all having a beautiful week!!!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Bernini, Baroque and a Blog Birthday

Well, it's over! Hurray! Finals are over. I can't quite believe it.
It's been a crazy time but I will start there.

I took my art history exam last night. I went in relaxed but somewhere along the way the synapses weren't quite firing. And then ... there is the other thing.

We had to give some short answers that consisted of Rembrandt's light, Vermeer's shadows, defining the Enlightenment and a couple of other things that have already left my brain. Then we had to choose two essays out of three subjects. Here is where the problem comes in. They each have to be two to three pages. I began with the one comparing the Baroque period in Italy, France, Spain and Northern Europe. By the time I got to the bottom of the first page I was still going on about Caravaggio! Oh, no! Only two pages left to compare and contrast the art and architecture of three more regions! Thank God I didn't start with Bernini or the class would have been over and I would have never gotten out of Italy. Anyway, you see my problem. I get all excited and run out time and space!

Alas, it's over and I realized that two days ago was my blog's Two Year Anniversary! So, Happy Birthday Blog! I also want to say thank you to all of you who come on here and check out my pictures and art and actually read my sometimes (often?) silly stories. Thanks for being here and for all of your beautiful inspirations, as well as your wonderful support!

The Church of Santa Maria della Vittoria, Rome 2010
Gotta love the Baroque. It is like being inside a jewelry box!

Good old Bernini ... what a rock star. The Ecstasy of St. Teresa ...

For a panoramic view of Santa Maria dell Vittoria ... click HERE and make sure you hit the little arrows to move around!

And sadly last weekend I had to say goodbye to a very old friend. It says a lot about someone when their memorial is standing room only, and that the speeches and eulogies are not only touching and emotional but have people cracking up laughing and remember all the good times.

Scotty and I at the Julian King Memorial Golf Tournament, 1998

We will miss you Scotty and whenever I hear Moonshadow I will think of you.

Jeffery "Scotty Mac" McPherson

2/26/1970 - 4/22/2011

... And if I ever lose my eyes
If my colors all run dry
Yes, if I ever loose my eyes
Oh ....
I won't have to cry no more

Yes, I'm being followed by a moon shadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow
Leaping and hopping on a moonshadow
Moonshadow, moonshadow

~Cat Stevens

Hug your friends and have a beautiful week!
Blessings and light!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Peshawar and Beauty ... a little more to share!

Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful,
we must carry it with us or we find it not.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

My Pakistan blog post created an interesting comment on Facebook. A old friend from high school who happens to be in the military commented about how "it's beautiful over there, but they don't like Westerners." Or words to that effect. Like many places in the world, there are people that like us and those that don't. Some like us but not our government or our policies and all sorts of various combinations. Unfortunately, according to the U.S. Department of State, it would not be the best time for us to plan a vacation to Pakistan.

Bashir, our driver in the bottom photo, stuck to my sister and I like glue in Peshawar. He hadn't done that in Islamabad, so maybe he knew something that we didn't.

Like I said, Peshawar was still my favorite place in Pakistan. (Though I loved it up in the Northwest as well.) I hope it becomes safer for "Westerners" to travel there again soon, so that many more people can share and experience in this unique and amazing place. We enjoyed it so much. It was extraordinarily interesting and in so many ways it was incredibly beautiful, including of course, the people.

Peshawar, Pakistan Fall 1997
As always, you can click to enlarge
but sorry about the scanning quality
of the prints!

I love all the turquoise on the buildings! Isn't it beautiful?!

My sister Penny at the hotel ... (and behind the kids in the photo above)

Looking down from our room ...

My parents and sister in the street with children ...

Here we are with Bashir, our driver. (Like I said in a previous post, if you aren't from there, you really have to have a driver!) I have to crack up looking at the Mickey Mouse camera strap on my Minolta and my giant VHSC video recorder! So much for blending in!

We live only to discover beauty.
All else is a form of waiting.

~Kahlil Gibran

p.s. Yesterday was my final exam in Italian 102 ... now on to study for Art History!

Have a beautiful weekend everyone!!!
Blessings and light!