Saturday, October 31, 2009


Looks like I will be staying in.  Frankly, the thought of being out in a 15 mile radius of West Hollywood sounds like a scary Halloween nightmare (and not in a good way) plus I haven't been feeling so hot this week. 

Anyway, I will be staying at home, candles lit and watching scary vampires.  I mean, I guess they are scary.  I rented the first season of "True Blood" on Netflix at the enthusiastic recommendation of my friend Lisa, who right now seems to be having a little vampire obsession.  Plus a friend from my drawing class did a couple of episodes so it'll be fun to see her with fangs!  At least that's what I'm hoping for.

Tomorrow is Dia de los Muertos and if I am feeling tip top ... I am going to find some marigold filled festivities.  Perhaps Olvera Street?  I found this blog L.A. Eastside, that has all sorts of events around town.  Check it out if you're in the L.A. Neighborhood!

Happy Halloween!

"One need not be a chamber to be haunted;
One not be a house;
The brain has corridors surpassing
Material place."
~Emily Dickinson

(So true Emily, so true.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Love David Hockney

I am so inspired by artists who find a new way of expressing themselves wherever they happen to be or whatever new medium they happen to find.  David Hockney has a new passion ... check it out this audio slideshow from New York Review of books by Lawrence Weschler.

Here's the link!

"The moment you cheat for the sake of beauty,
you know you're an artist."
~David Hockney

(Love that quote! And now? I want an iPhone)

Monday, October 26, 2009

Flowers on my dresser ...

These roses were given to me by sweet Sharon who works at my agency. She was selling roses at the farmers market two weekends ago when I was shopping for veggies. They were so lovely on my dresser and somehow brought so much life to my room. Lovely, no? The colors in these roses were so beautiful! They looked antique! They just took my breath away.  Hmm, a pastel perhaps?

I think flowers are a wonderful splurge.  Get flowers for someone or get them for yourself! They make things feel special ... a celebration in a vase! 

"I'd rather have roses on my table
than diamonds on my neck."
~Emma Goldman

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pastel Workshop

My Mom and I spent last Saturday at a pastel workshop in Ojai at Bert Collins' studio. What an amazing teacher! I have never taken a pastel class. I usually just wing it ... which is a little tough when I am trying to teach other people how to do it! I usually think of it in terms of painting, but it's nice to know some of the actual technical clues to this medium. I have to say though, It will take a while before I am doing something really expressive without having to really think about what I'm doing every step of the way.

In this piece I did the same basic composition Bert did in her templet. (previous post) It saved time so I could focus on the technique, however I decided to make my drawing an end of summer/fall scene. Nice memory of our October day in Ojai. Mom and I had a blast and Bert Collins is one truly amazing woman! She is such a joy and truly a light.

"Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow."
~ Author Unknown

"Today, I allow myself to be aided and guided
by those who have gone before.
Just as the mighty tree springs from the tiny seed,
my full flowering is rooted
in all that have gone before me.
I celebrate the continuity of life.
I am part of a larger whole and it is a part of me."
~from Transitions by Julia Cameron

Friday, October 23, 2009

East Africa

Kenya is one of my top two places I've been in the world.  It is breathtaking and the people were incredible.  They'd wave and shout "Jambo!"  ... a friendly hello even when you were just driving by in your truck.  

They are having their worst drought in over a decade and of course the fear is that things are going to get much worse.  If you want to know more and wish to help, please click on the link below.  Thanks!

Masaii ~ Kenya 1989

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Drawings again ...

Finally posting some drawings again. This is Maude.  She's French. What you can't see in these  pictures is that women the world over have surgeries to look like Maude ... her figure is like something that you would see carved in marble.
Maybe in my next life.  

October 2009

October 2009

Time to share more work of the Sufi poet Hafiz... this is just an excerpt.

All the Hemispheres

Leave the familiar a while.
Let your senses and body stretch out ...

Change rooms in your mind for a day.

All the hemispheres in existence 
Lie beside an equator
In your heart ...

For more Hafiz Poetry... go HERE

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Lovely October Garden

Here are a few photos I took last weekend at my sister's place in Ojai.  I am so behind on posting photos! I was up until 2am last night writing for my memoir class, which was this morning. I went back to read what I wrote and wondered, Does anyone care about this stuff?  Our teacher is great at reminding us that everyone's story is important and it's being honest and telling our story in our own voice that makes it interesting.  A few minutes ago I opened Melody Beattie's book, that I often quote from on this blog, and found a quote that puts it beautifully.

"Live your life from your heart.
Share from your heart.
And your story will
touch and heal people's souls."
~Melody Beattie
from Journey to the Heart

Lovely color ... almost ready!

My nephew, who is four years old, picks and eats the snap peas right out of the garden!

"Delicious Autumn!
My very soul is wedded to it,
and if I were a bird 
I would fly about the earth
 seeking the successive autumns."
~George Eliot

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Back to the Getty Center ... Finally!

It was a glorious day last Thursday when I decided to head West over to the Getty Center. It's great to go with people but I aIso love going alone.  As soon as the tram headed up the side of the hill to the Center I was so happy.  It was like I was ten and going to Disneyland. (Actually, I still get just as excited going to Disneyland as I did when I was ten.) I wondered around a bit, then sat in the cafeteria, looking out the huge windows at the view, as I ate my tacos.  I checked out the visiting exhibits then sat by the big fountain in the middle of all those stone buildings and pulled out my sketchbook.  Absolutely fantastic.  Don't hate me.

It is a great place to take a date (very romantic) and of course out-of-towners love it, but it's also a wonderful place to spend the day by yourself.  There is usually some sort of interesting photography exhibit happening (right now it's Irving Penn) or drawing exhibit going on (Capturing Nature's Beauty:  Three Centuries of French Landscapes. Lovely!) Plus, they have a great cafeteria. (Love those tacos!)

Henry Moore Sculpture

Another Henry Moore "Draped Reclining Mother and Baby" 1983

"What is real, 
what is unreal?
What lifts the corners of your mouth...
trust that."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Colorful October

I love walking into little markets (in this case "Farmer and the Cook" in Ojai) and seeing the fall colors, yummy and ready to eat!  Seriously, who can resist pumpkin ravioli?  I realize this doesn't compare to the amazing fall leaves you see in the North East, but here in Southern California, we take it where we can get it.  And aren't they beautiful?  Now I just need to pull out my sketchbook ... and a fork!

"Winter is an etching,
spring a watercolor,
summer an oil painting
and autumn a mosaic of them all."
~Stanley Horowitz

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Sundays in Fall

I love Sundays. As a kid, I didn't much like Sundays.  I let the fact that I had school the next day taint most of my entire day. The funny thing is that I loved Fridays even though I had school. I loved the anticipation of the weekend! Over the years I have finally learned to be much more in the present moment and enjoy ... especially on Sundays.

Right now, I am enjoying the marigolds on my dining table and listening to John Boswell, "The Painter." Whenever I hear it, I am instantly back in San Diego at The Nature Company with my Dad. He'd come to visit me when I was going to school down there. We walked in the store and heard this beautiful piano music playing and he bought the cassette for both of us.  The music always reminds me of my him.

Do you remember The Nature Comapany?  I loved that store.  When you walked in, there was always a water feature and beautiful music playing ... they sold fossils and geodes and telescopes, and those leaves dipped in silver and gold at Christmastime. Everything was so beautifully merchandised in beautiful wooden cabinetry.  I worked at a Gap in a San Diego mall at the time and could always decompress by walking into The Nature Company.  It was so peaceful ... in a mall! 

John Boswell?  You can now get on iTunes.  His Christmas CD is Beautiful too ... It's called "Festival of the Heart."

"What brings you comfort?
What makes you feel safe, cozy, warm, loved?
What places?  What people?  What events?  
Learn to comfort yourself.
Learn to accept comfort, and learn to give it.
Go to that special place of comfort whenever you need to.  
Stay as long as you wish.
The healing power of comfort will make life better."
Journey to the Heart

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

More inspiration from the Artists' Studio Tour

Here is the home and studio of Christine Brennan who was one of the many wonderful artists on the Artists Studio Tour last weekend in Ojai. It's very inspiring to enter her artist's world, which seems to encompass everything! ... her art, her home, her yard and her studio, are all woven together with this whimsical creative thread. It's fantastic ... symbolic and other worldly! You should definitely check out her website and her blog!

Thanks Christine for opening up your very special and unique home and workspace, sharing your art and letting me take pictures!

A small sampling of work by Christine Brennan. Love the birds!

"What would it be like if you lived each day,
each breath, as a work of art in progress?
Imagine that you are a Masterpiece
unfolding every second of every day,
a work of art taking form with every breath."
~Thomas Crum

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Bert Collins and A Creative Shot in the Arm

Well, it's exactly what I needed ... a creative shot in the arm. My Mom and I made it to 12 of the artists on the studio tour over two days. By Sunday afternoon I was exhausted ... but in a good way!

One of our favorites from this year (and previous years) is Bert Collins. She does these beautiful and magical pastel pieces (from her head!!!) and on top of it, she is an incredibly sweet soul and very generous with knowledge of her craft. As you will see, she even shows samples of how she goes about it! What is amazing to me is that she does not work from photographs! I just adore her. I am signed up for a work shop in a couple of weeks and will let you know how it goes!

Unfinished piece in Bert Collins studio...

How she goes about it ...

Sorry about the glare! This was sold or I might have had to sell my jewelry!

Bert Collins- Pastel

"It is all very well to copy what one sees,
but it is far better to draw
what one now only sees in one's memory.
That is a transformation in which
imagination collaborates with memory."
~Edgar Degas

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Man and Superman

I ran across a quote this morning.  It's from Man and Superman, which for years has been one of my favorite plays. I saw it many years ago in San Diego at a small community theatre (that is no longer there) under this strange mall in suburbia.  Weird right? Anyway, I was blown away! Scary smart. 

"This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose
recognized by yourself as a mighty one...
the being a force of Nature 
instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances 
complaining that the world will not deovte itself to makeing you happy."
~George Bernard Shaw
from Man and Superman

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Painted Skies

Went to figure drawing tonight ... LOVE it, but I have be working a lot in sanguine Conte and varying Sepia inks which are lovely and all, but I am missing color! So, I am getting excited to tour artists studios this weekend in Ojai. I previously mentioned the yearly artists studio tours and as always there will be plenty of plein air painting and landscape pastels to get me motivated and back to my paint palette or at least some pastel work.

I wish I was one of those people who could just wake up and roll out of bed, ready to grab a brush and some paints and get to it! Alas, I still seem to have to get myself inspired and motivated. (Which can be pretty fun too.)

Sunsets are pretty inspiring color-wise, no?

"Without inspiration
the best powers of the mind remain dormant,
there is a fuel in us which needs to be ignited with sparks."
~Johann Gottfried Von Herder




"God doesn't require us to succeed;
he only requires that you try."
~Mother Teresa

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

A Few More Posies ...

Feeling very proud of myself tonight. I went to the gym for the first time in almost a year and a half. It shocks me a little when I type it out! My gym is in Hollywood and looks out onto the Cinerama Dome. That's how Hollywood it is! When you are on the treadmill or the stair stepper you actually look out onto the honeycomb design of the dome and all of the sudden a craving takes over ... must... have ... popcorn ...

I realize this has nothing to do with flowers but ... here goes!
The earth laughs in flowers.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

5"x 5" oil on canvas board with metal leafing

People from a planet without flowers would think
we must be mad with joy
the whole time to have such things about us.
~Iris Murdoch

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Artist Studio Tours coming up!

Next Weekend is the annual Ojai Studio Artist tour! If you are in the neighborhood (Southern California) it is really inspiring. It's so great going into these artists studios and sometimes their homes to see where they work.

Some spaces are actually pretty amazing ... in the middle of an orchard, a space in their house, a transformed guesthouse ... you name it. There are ceramic artists, painters, sculptors, printmakers, photographers... pretty much any medium you can think of.

So ... if you are feeling like you need to get your creative juices flowing, or you are just an art lover looking for something to do, definitely check it out. It's October 10th and 11th and your 31.00 dollar advance ticket is good for the whole weekend. (36 bucks if you wait)

"Art provides a healing force which aids both
the maker and the viewer."
~ Richard Newman

Favorite Flower?

Do you have a favorite flower? There are so many I love and it has changed over the years.  I went through this whole daisy period, so much so that I thought "If a guy shows up for a date with me and brings daisies I'll know he's the one."  Well, that actually happened but eventually my daisy period ended and so did my relationship with Ken.  There was also my sunflower phase, my tulip phase and my tropical "I wish I were in Hawaii" phase. 

These were painted for my sister, who always has an orchid plant in her bedroom and my friend Melissa, who's mother sends her peonies every year as soon as they're in bloom.  I love flower rituals and traditions.  Do you have any?

Melissa's Peonies

Penny's Thai Orchid

"My love will be like this:
an abundant earth,
and all my golden harvests
I will place at your feet."

Friday, October 2, 2009

... back home to L.A.

I am back in Los Angeles, sitting at my computer and listening to Indigo Girls ... "Fly away little bird, find the song in you that no one's heard, strengthen your wings as you sing your solo flight, through this short life ..." Beautiful.

It's been pretty busy since I returned from Ojai Tuesday (thus the lagging on the blogging) ... writing class, figure drawing, cleaning, errands, the chiropractor (thanks to heavy and awkward luggage) and tonight a lovely evening with girlfriends! Nothing like good conversation at a wine bar with happy hour prices on food! If you live in L.A. check out Vinoteca in the Los Feliz area and order the happy hour pinot & the antipasto ortolano (add the goat cheese.)

I took these pictures before leaving Ojai. I love that my sister always has flowers in her home. I think I am going to do that more often. Even Lucy seems to appreciate them!


Let's bring along the friend
who knows the art
of joyful living
to help us learn the same.
~ Melody Beattie