Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ken Burns ...

Anyone watching the new PBS Ken Burns documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea?" It's so beautiful! (And very interesting.) If you are missing it, they will be replaying the whole thing (6 parts!) this weekend on most PBS stations. Unless you hate the natural world and nature as a whole (I can't imagine!) then you should watch this grand piece of television. (Yes, there is such a thing!) Of course, between my love of nature documentaries and my emotional connection to Yosemite, I watched the first night and wanted to bawl my head off!

I spent a lot of time going to Yosemite growing up. My grandparents lived not far away in the town of Mariposa. I even took boyfriends up there in college but alas, I have not been since my grandmother died in 2001. I miss the giant cliffs and waterfalls and trying to wrap my arms around a giant sequoia, knowing there would have to be many more of me to do it! Those trees feel, to me, like magical magestic beings. Hmm ... I may be feeling a road trip coming on!

"Another glorious day,
the air as delicious to the lungs
as nectar to tongue."
~John Muir
Ojai Walk September 2009

"I only went out for a walk,
and finally concluded to stay out til sundown,
for going out, I found,
was really going in."
~John Muir

I am leaving Ojai tonight after another house/puppy/rabbit/fish-sitting adventure. Yesterday, I spend the afternoon chasing one of the bunnies around the property after the puppy, Lucy the labradoodle, somehow let her out! Poor Bunny Blair was in a complete fight or flight panic. Over rocks and bushes I went. Um, Bunnies? Fast.

I'm exhausted. Funny to think that I need to go home to L.A. to get some rest!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Searching for seashells ...

Yesterday I spent the day with my nephew. Being that he lives in Ojai which is about 105 degrees this week, we headed 25 minutes down the road to Ventura to hunt for shells.

We didn't have too much luck in the shell department
but this is one four year old that is easy to please.
Everything is an adventure,
everything is a gift.
What an amazing teacher.

“One cannot collect all the beautiful shells on the beach;
one can collect only a few, and they are more beautiful if they are few”
~-Anne Morrow Lindbergh

Next Stop ... Ventura Marina

Our next stop was the Ventura Marina. The boat in the first shot seemed to satisfy my favorite four year old in our quest to find a pirate ship!

It was such a gorgeous day in a town where I have come to expect fog. I had forgotten that this time of year in Ventura is quite spectacular and I have to say, many a memory came floating back to me. I had so many friends that worked here ... at the bikini shop, the ice cream parlor, the pizza place and at "La Marina Cantina" serving margaritas to drunken surfers. It was just what you would expect in a beach town. Like a lot of people, I don't think I knew how lucky I was.

Southern California,
where the American Dream came true.
~ Lawrence Ferlinghetti

(I don't know if that's true but sometimes it sure feels like it.)

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Lake Como

My Sister and Brother-in-law take off for Switzerland tomorrow to see my niece at Franklin College in Lugano. They are hoping to make it down to Lake Como for a bit and have never been so I thought I'd make a few suggestions. It is, by the way, one of my favorite places on the planet!

Italy is a dream that keeps returning for the
rest of your life.
~Anna Akhmatova

Villa Monestero, Varenna

"Even now I miss Italy dearly,
I dream about it every night."
~Eila Hiltunen

Villa Carlotta, Lake Como

The Villa Carlotta in Tremezzo, Lake Como ... Went twice in one week! It's so lovely on a beautiful day to walk around, sketch in the garden and have a glass of wine in the converted green house...

The converted green house ...

Inside the Villa

"You may have the universe
if I may have Italy."
~Guiseppe Verdi

Monday, September 21, 2009


"My sister taught me everything I really need to know,
and she was only in sixth grade at the time."
~Linda Sunshine

Photo by Dad with his old box camera

I could not have made it through this crazy year without my sister. Her astounding faith and love and encouragement helped to keep me laughing and gave me strength to get through some truly challenging times.

"She is your mirror, shining back at you with a world of possibilities.
She is your witness, who sees you at your worst and best, and loves you anyway.
She is your partner in crime, your midnight companion,
someone who knows when you are smiling,
even in the dark..."
~ Barbara Alpert

Happy Birthday Penny!


Getting ready for a crazy couple of days. Maybe it's not what I am doing but it is where everything is. If they are in opposite directions, two errands in L.A. can take up an entire day.  

I want to just hang out and be like Fay.  

Fay  September 2009

Follow your bliss.
~Joseph Cambell 

(My guess is though, he didn't mean just lying around.)

Friday, September 18, 2009

Bright Star ... and I met Jane Campion ... sort of...

Went to a screening tonight of Jane Campion's new film Bright Star about poet John Keats.  If you want to watch something completely romantic and beautifully shot, go see Bright Star and bring your hankie. As an artist ... the visuals were amazing. They where so beautiful and quite painterly. Plus, I thought the performances were very good and very moving. In fact, toward the end of the movie I was so trying to hold it together and do the eye make-up damage control thing with napkins I swiped on the way back from the bathroom at full sprint.

It was a Producers Guild screening so Jane Campion, one of the producers, the composer and the two male leads  Ben Wishaw (Keats) and Paul Schneider (Mr. Brown), were actually there for a Q & A. (And it was a the Arclight which I love!) Paul Schneider was hilarious in the Q & A and also happens to be in one of my favorite films Lars and the Real Girl which if you haven't seen ... do not pass go, go directly to Netflix.  Seriously.

On our way out, my friend Drew and I were standing by the exit aisle and Jane Campion at one point was standing right next to me and I turned to her and said "Your film is beautiful and I was so moved" and she just stood there holding my hand in hers even after I stopped talking. She just paused ... she was so ... lovely.

O.K. ... it's 1:21 am ... so I can now officially say I saw the movie last night!  Sweet dreams!

A thing of beauty is a joy forever:
its loveliness increases;
it will never pass into nothingness; but still will keep
A bower quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

September Morn ...

I really cannot believe it's already mid-September and time to go back to school!  O.K., not for most of us in the adult world but it always feels like that to me.   After all those childhood "back to school" years, it really does feel like time to begin new things.  

Actually, I am sort of going back to school.  I decided to take a writing class at U.C.L.A. Extension and it starts next week!  I am a bit terrified but maybe that's a good thing.  We have to remember not to become complacent and just let time roll by, doing the same things over and over.  It is good to stretch. It's good to dig deep.

Nothing comes
from doing nothing.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes ...

I have never posted a YouTube video on my blog but this was a must! It is such a beautiful song and I didn't think I could possibly love it more. I love how into it they are! I think even Stevie Nicks must be pretty moved.

Music Al Fresco!

My friend Amanda always has a way of bringing music into her life and her home. (We lovingly refer to it as "the Magic Cottage.") On Sunday she invited over a few friends and neighbors for a lovely end of summer evening of wine and music. Some of my favorite moments in Los Angeles have been manifested and created by Amanda and I am forever grateful for those memories.

Believe it or not this is actually outside!

After 10pm one of the neighbors wasn't too happy with our outdoor concert so ... the few of us left moved it inside for a bit of a sing-a-long. (Love a sing-a-long.)

I always plan to take off at reasonable hour but somehow I am often the last to leave. I just can't help myself. As was the case on Sunday.

Be happy now.
Enjoy the creative process-
the process of creating you life,
and the project you're working on - today.
Don't wait for those finishing moments
to take pleasure in your work and your life.
Find joy all along the way.
~Melody Beattie

Monday, September 14, 2009

Endangered Black-Footed Ferret

Isn't he cute?  He is one of the most endangered animals in United States.  He is actually the only ferret native to the U.S. and in 1986 there were only 18!  Yes, 18.  

In 2008, with the help of captive breeding programs and the Endangered Species Act, their numbers grew to 750 in the wild and 250 in breeding facilities. How cool is that?  I love knowing there are people out there dedicating their lives to these kinds of endeavors. Doesn't it give you hope?  To learn more about this very endangered animal, check out Defenders of Wildlife and their website.  

I am always a bit shocked at people who miss the whole "link in the chain" thing and that every species is important to their eco-chain and the larger ecosystem.  I mean, I barely went to biology class and I still get that!

Black Footed Ferret, Pen and Ink 2006

It is horrifying that we have to fight
our own government
to save the environment.
~Ansel Adams

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Figure Drawing is back!

Hurray! Back in L.A. and back to my favorite night of the week!  I love it.  Having a glass of wine, listening to Ella and Chet and drawing an amazing model. What could be better? (O.K. maybe one or two things.) Anyway, this is Amazing Amy and I must say, the light, in this dimly lit room, was gorgeous on her.  It was like moonlight.

September 2009

September 2009

I opened up "Journey to the Heart" and this is what I turned to ...

There is honor in all work, in all tasks, but take it one step further.
Make what you do a labor of love.  
Then your work will truly touch and change the world in the way you desire.
The work you do, whatever your chosen field, 
will be work that heals.
~ Melody Beattie

Monday, September 7, 2009

Drawing Oaks - Finally.

Well, I guess I didn't need a whole big bag of art supplies and four different pads of drawing paper to do a black and white charcoal drawing but I never really know what I am going to feel like creating.

I had big plans to get a lot of drawing done but alas, this is me we are talking about. I just find so many ways to distract myself up here, like having a glass of wine at the Ojai Valley Inn, playing with my sisters DVR and watching every travel show known to man (Have you been to Spain? I really need to go!) ... plus cleaning up after the puppy and so on.

This isn't done but I can finish it back in L.A. where I left my vine charcoal. (That would be the one and only thing I forgot to bring with me to Ojai.)

Oak Trees in the yard - unfinished 2009

Joy is what happens to us
when we allow ourselves to recognize
how good things really are.
~ Marianne Williamson

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Lucy's Ojai Walk

I realize I am getting off the art a bit here, but I can't help myself and since I have been mentioning my puppy-sitting so much ... I have decided to share my daily Lucy adventure. This was yesterday in Ojai going up the road from my sister's house. Lucy the Labradoodle is only 5 months old and is already getting to be kind of a giant.

Meet Lucy- Destructor of hairbrushes, pajama tops, shampoo bottles, toilet paper rolls and trash baskets.

Lucy meeting goats for the first time. Very exciting.

Taking a break in the shade.

O.K., I have promised myself that I will bring out my sketchbook today and get to some actual drawing of oak trees. Why do I procrastinate doing something I love? I can't possibly be the only one who does this. I suppose I can always blame it on the heat.

"You are what your deep driving desire is."
~ Brihaduranyahn Upanishad


Friday, September 4, 2009

Lovely Hues

I was hoping to post pictures from my hair salon excursion to Santa Barbara today but with the crazy traffic, road construction (in the middle of the day, on a two lane HWY, on a FRIDAY!!), plus all the time at the salon it took to cover my scary roots ... no pictures.

I had to get back to the puppy who managed, by the way, to get my favorite hairbrush down off the bathroom counter and dismember it into a thousand tiny pieces. Honestly, it looked like she'd killed a porcupine.

The fish is much less trouble. This is Michael, the Beta Fish I got for my 4 year old nephew. He named it Michael because "Beat it" is his favorite song to dance to and before you ask, no, I am not sure the fish appreciated being named after Michael Jackson, but since he can't speak, he can't protest.


Michael again ...

The truth knocks on the door
and you say,
"Go away, I'm looking for the truth,"
and so it goes away.
~Robert Pirsig

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Love This Quote!

we do not fill all our pores with our blood;
We do not inspire and expire fully and entirely enough ...
We live but a fraction of our life.
Why do we not let on the flood, raise the gates
and set all our wheels in motion?

I am actually in Ojai, once again, puppy-sitting (and bunny-sitting and fish-sitting) and blogging on my sisters laptop. I have to say, it's nice to escape the smoke and ash in Los Angeles. Off to Santa Barbara tomorrow to get my scary roots done and I am thinking it should be beautiful up there. Hope to take some pictures but I don't want to leave the pup cooped up too long! She has way too much fun wrestling toilet paper rolls, among other things. I wish I could "Nanny-Cam" her!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


O.K. here's the thing. I am FREAKING out! There is going to be a HUGE Kandinsky retrospective at the Guggenheim in New York celebrating their 50th anniversary. Nearly 100 paintings and more than 69 works on paper including pieces from the Guggenheim, Pompidou in Paris, the Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus (Munich) as well as other public and private collections.

There hasn't been a full scale retrospective of this magnitude since 1985. I won't say how old I was but I wasn't flying off to New York on my own at that age! (Plus, I have to say, at that point I was more of a Degas/Renoir kinda kid.) I am checking my United Miles and starting to conspire on ways that I can possibly get to see this exhibit. Can you tell I am passionate about him???

I talked to my friend Caroline, who completely gets it, and she said yesterday that she is feeling a gravitational pull to New York at the very thought. I think she is figuring out a way to go for business. Sigh.

The exhibit runs from September 18, 2009 until January 13, 2010. If you are on the Eastern Seaboard, have miles, extra cash or are independently wealthy, you are crazy to not head straight for the Guggenheim in N.Y.C. The paintings in this post are pictures I took a few years back at Museum of Modern Art in New York. They are from Kandinsky's "Four Seasons" and in person they are spectacular! The last photo is a detail.



Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Getty Gardens at the Villa

We are socked in with heat and smoke here in the City of Angels and perhaps I am just missing the nice clean ocean breeze of last Sunday in Malibu but I couldn't resist adding a few pictures of the various gardens at The Getty Villa.  I am plotting my return.

Wish I could write more but my only AC (which I am extremely grateful for!)  is in the window in my bedroom so I am off my cave.  Hopefully wherever you are, you are breathing nice clean air! 

View of our beloved Pacific Ocean as we walked back to our car.

The old hermit on the side of the road whispers,
"Stranger, pass by that which you do not Love."
~ Phil Cousineau