Monday, August 31, 2009

Getty Villa Gorgeous

Deciding to escape the heat, once again, my friend Rachel and I made reservations for the Getty Villa yesterday. (Very easy, just go to the wesite.)  The weather?  GORGEOUS!!!!  There was even an ocean breeze.  I guess that is one of the reasons people pay the big bucks to live in Malibu.  It was spectacular ... even just sitting for over an hour having lunch outside under the umbrellas.

As you can see, I did some sketching yesterday, though the drawing of Leda and the Swan was from the Drawing from Antiquities class I took at the Villa last year.  Great deal because you pay for the class but not parking (which is a steep 15 bucks now) and it's on a day when the museum is closed, so except for a few school tours it's pretty quiet.
Tickets go on sale Sept. 1st for the Oct.- Dec. classes so be on the phone right when lines open because they fill up fast!  Classes have all levels, so don't be shy!

Aphrodite  Greek, probably made in Sicily  425-400 

Leda and the Swan  Roman, A.D. 1-100  (and my favorite at the villa)

Venus  Roman, A.D. 175-200

I am the birth of Venus.
I am the secret keeper and its giver.
I am made from the mystery of oceans.
I am the salt of tears and the rosy sweetness.
of the marine dawn.  I am the body
and the temple of the body.
I am the dreaming woman who uncurls.
My wisdom is celebration.
~ from Awaiting a Lover
Nancy Bauch and Michelle Lizeri

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Arclight Hollywood

It is so hot I might have go to Arclight Hollywood (best of the non-vintage theaters in L.A.) for a movie marathon. I say it's the best because the seating is reserved, there are no commercials, their popcorn is actually fresh with real butter, it's clean, there are nice restrooms, a restaurant, a bar and a shop where you can get into trouble while you wait. I love it.  

For summer and it being the season to blow things up on screen, there are actually a few to choose from that won't render my eardrums useless ... 500 days of Summer, Inglourious Basterds (why are they spelling it like that?), The Cove, the Ang Lee's Taking Woodstock movie... 

Somehow figure drawings seem appropriate in this heat ... needing to be wearing as a little as possible etc. 
Well, I am off to escape into some air conditioned haven with soda and the best popcorn in the city. 

"What dreadful hot weather we have!
It keeps me in a continual stat of inelegance."
~Jane Austen

Friday, August 28, 2009

Palm Trees

I love palm trees.  Not just the way they look but the sound they make.  The rustling sound of palm trees is so specific, like a piece of music you know by heart and when you close your eyes ... you could be anywhere. Close your eyes and you could be in Mexico, in Hawaii, Tahiti or ... Ventura, California.  Sometimes it's nice to imagine being far away from where we are but most of the time it's important to be right where we are, in this moment, living ... right where we are.

Ventura, California

Music is all around us.  Listen for it.
Seek it out.  Know you're welcome to join in.
Don't worry about how well you carry a tune
or whether you know all the words.
You've been invited to the campfire.  
Sing along.
You'll have the time of your life.

~ Melody Beattie
Journey to the Heart

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ventura, California

Ventura is where I grew up and in some ways it's changed a lot.

There are now more places to eat than Straw Hat Pizza and LOVES: A Place for Ribs, and it also seems that there are now more things do than go to a drive in movie or have a bon fire on the beach! Actually, the drive-in is now a Barns and Noble and you can no longer have an open pit on the beach. Sad.  

Some of my favorite memories from high school are of sitting around bon fires, at night, with friends, laughing and telling stories, maybe staring at your crush from across the flames.

The one thing that never changes, is the feel and smell of the salty ocean air.  It's kind of cool and wet and reminds me of my childhood, riding bikes down to the pier and coming home with sandy streaks of popsicle down my legs and feet.  It was a great place to grow up.

I long, as does every human being, 
to be at home 
wherever I find myself.
~ Maya Angelou

All parts of the journey are sacred and holy.
Take time now to honor the beginning.
~Melody Beattie

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Holy Mary

After spending a couple of days hanging with my sister's new puppy in Ojai, I decided to head to this groovy little metaphysical shop Soul Centered to pick up some black tourmaline. It's apparently supposed to help absorb all the bad Juju from the computer ... electromagnetic something or other. I don't really know about all that but it's a cool looking rock, so why not?

Anyway... I was overhearing this conversation two women were having about how one of them was going to bring a man into her life. The one woman asked what the other woman had on her bedroom walls. "Nothing," the other gal answered. "Exactly," said the one giving the advice. "Be careful what you put or don't put on your walls ... you should have pictures of romantic couples ... "

When I got home I saw the Virgin Mary I'd gotten in Siena, hanging over my bed and burst out laughing. She is now in a cabinet in my living room. (And hopefully George Clooney is on his way over.)


Maybe this picture I took at The Met in N.Y. needs to go in the empty space Mary once occupied.

To any artist, worthy of the name, all in nature is beautiful,
because his eyes, fearlessly accepting all exterior truth,
read there, as in an open book, all the inner truth.
~Auguste Rodin

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Here Kitty Kitty ....

I did these drawings years ago and I am not even sure what the first two are. The first is ... a cougar? A florida panther? The second one ... no idea. (But I did the drawing in 1989!) I am annoyed I didn't write them down.

Thousands of years ago, cats were worshipped as gods.
Cats have never forgotten this.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Crepe Myrtles and Pasadena

O.K. so, I was in Pasadena the other day with my friend Rachel and I could not get over the crepe myrtles everywhere!  (I think "crepe myrtle" has such an unfortunate old lady ring to it ... especially for something that is so vibrant!)  Rarely am I in Pasadena and I am embarrassed to admit that instead of being in this quiet, enchanting, older area near Mission Street, I am usually over on Colorado going to J.Crew and getting a facial at Burke Williams.  

To walk around near the sweet little library and old craftsman homes in South Pasadena felt a bit like, as my friend said, being in a little New England town.  She's from there, so she can say that.

"Today, I root myself in the earth, I connect to the seasons
and cycles of life, the great wheel of nature that sustains us all.
I reach beneath my daily life, 
funding my soul with the grace that underlies all things.
I am grounded in life itself."

~ Julia Cameron from "Transitions"

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Highland Park

The thing I love about L.A. is how many different versions of this city there are.  Drive just a few miles east and it feels a thousand miles away.  I hung out at my friend's little artist cottage yesterday, relaxing, hanging art on her walls and hearing the wild parrots that seem to avoid my neighborhood.  Maybe they don't like Sycamores. Anyway, there was a lovely cross breeze and a great feeling of having been away from it all. 

We capped off our day with beers at The York and I must say we will definitely be going back.  I will admit to being a sucker for exposed brick, fabulous lighting fixtures and menus on chalkboards but it also had a good energy about it and the draft beers were pretty fabulous.  (Do people use "fabulous" to describe beer?)

Art is neither a profession nor a hobby.
Art is Way of being.
~Frederick Franck

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


I know, I know ... terrible pun! I just couldn't help myself, I'm feeling a little punch drunk.

I am having a sleepy week. The weather is very unlike an L.A. August, which is nice and all, but I am thinking that the overcast mornings are making our brains a bit foggy. (I have talked to a lot of other folks and it seems I am not the only one in the city having trouble waking up!)

"... I think you're special, what's behind your back?
So turn around and I'll pick up the slack.

Take 'em to the bridge ..."

~Justin Timberlake

Monday, August 17, 2009

Al Fresco

One of the things I love most about summer is being able to spend a warm, wonderful evening outside, enjoying a meal and visiting with friends and family.  At restaurants, on their porches, in their yards or in a park ... any outdoor space will do!  

The summer night is like a perfection of thought.
~Wallace Stevens

Lanterns ... twinkle lights ... pretty glass-wear or frankly it could be a tree ... it doesn't take much!  An evening outside just has a bit magic to it, a bit of Midsummer Nights Dream.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Free Concerts at LACMA

Last evening I jumped in my car and headed to meet friends for a free concert in the park.  It still amazes me how many places around town there are (especially in summer) to hear free music and be out enjoying the community.  Last night it was tango music and there were quite a few people there picnicking with their entire families. 
At LACMA in the summer there are three free concerts a week!  There is Friday Night Jazz which actually starts in April and continues until November (6-8pm in the middle area of the museum between all the buildings.)  Saturday Jazz is in Hancock Park behind the museum on 6th Street at the Dorothy Collins Brown Amphitheater. (It starts at 5 and goes for a couple of hours.  I went on the website and the Saturdays program goes through September.)
Then on Sundays there is chamber music in the evening at the Bing Theater.

Looking out toward artist CHOI Jeong-Hwa's chain link fence where people in the community are adding there own sculptures of plastic containers.  It's called "Happy Happy" and is part of the exhibit  "Your Bright Future:  12 Contemporary Artists from Korea."  Definitely click on his link (click on his name) and check out this artist.  He does some really fun, colorful art installations.  

"Happy Happy" - Choi Jeong-Hwa

Thursday, August 13, 2009


Being that I love berries and red happens to be my favorite color ...  

OK, aqua/turquoise is probably my second favorite color ... great bowl, right?
Anyway, I have been going crazy at the farmers market this year buying three packs of strawberries, freezing two for smoothies and eating the other pack fresh.   Nothing like strawberries on a warm summer afternoon ... 
As I have mentioned before, if you don't know where to go to get locally grown produce, check out 

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

eBay = danger

Whatever your hobbies, interests or, God forbid, obsessions (Italy, Assisi, old books!) ... you can find something to buy on eBay. I realize this is not news but you kind of forget until you venture in again.  It's like a pitcher of margaritas. It may sound like a good idea at the time but later on, "oh, yeah ... this is why I don't drink margaritas."  Alas, sometimes you get a nice rush, a buzz and you find yourself thinking ... "must have ..."  I mean, doesn't tequila do that?  It's a bit dangerous.

I suppose the irony is that Francis of Assisi didn't believe in owning anything 
... including books.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Favorite Figure Models

I love this model.  She is a dancer, writer, actor ... an artistic renaissance woman with this amazing spirit about her. She can express so much with her movements, her poses, her body ... but it comes out of her as an expression of her being.  Sounds a bit dramatic, but it's true!  As I mentioned, it makes such a difference when you really like the model.  (At least for me, it makes a huge difference!)  

The body is a sacred garment.
It's your first and last garment;  it is what you enter life in
and what you depart with,
and it should be treated with honor.
~  Martha Graham

Monday, August 10, 2009

His Face

I am generally not a fan of drawing male figures.  Maybe because I have drawn so many more female nudes, it's just easier.  The thing is, many artists I know feel this way ... curvy women are easier draw.  Curvy women are easier than skinny girls ... maybe it's all the angles with skinny girls and men.  Of course, the personality of the model is a huge part of it and if you really respond to him or her on a deeper level ... the connection makes a difference.  During my cleaning and organizing I found this drawing. Once and a while I do get to draw a male model that has a sensitivity and brings forth something more emotional, a vulnerability  ...  Check out his face.  Sweet.  Do you love it?  (Not boasting the drawing... it was his face, of course!)

He had his eyes closed and I wondered where he was.  Was he just wishing he was somewhere else?  He was pensive, but there was something else happening.  Where did he go, what was he thinking about?

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Art Studio Clean Up Time

An essential portion of any artist's labor is not creation
so much as invocation.
~Lewis Hyde

O.K., I have been thinking about this for a while now.  I have been planning to do it for months ... but now it's time.  I can't use a studio (a.k.a. my living room) and be inspired to create art, by a space that is completely disorganized.  Actually, disorganized doesn't really describe it.  It's what my mom would refer to as "a disaster area" and what Oprah would put on her show for one of those "clean up your house" segments where we all judge and think to ourselves, "How can they possibly live like that?!"  So this week ... I conquer ...  I clean.  I organize.  Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lake Como ...

My sister is planning a trip in late September to Lake Como, among other places.  I am going over the various places I visited last September  ... the views, the food, the shopping ... it's without a doubt, one of the most beautiful places I have ever been.  I fell in love.  I kept thinking, why does anyone ever leave this place?!  I did, of course, because Rome was in my near future.  If you ever get the chance ... GO!  Here are a few pictures from Varenna and the Villa Carlotta across the lake.  Dreamy.  If I were George Clooney, I would have a place there too.

The precise location of heaven on earth has never been established
but it may very well be right here.
~ Herb Caen on Lake Como