Monday, November 30, 2009

Post Art Day

Yesterday was "Art Day" with my friend Rachel and the pastel below is the result. It actually took us a while to get started because among other things I had to show her my final decisions on paint colors for my bedroom and bathroom, as well as go through bags of clothes and of course eat, socialize and make a new iTunes Holiday Playlist. Right now? "Christmastime in New Orleans" by Louis Armstrong is playing.  His voice always makes me smile.

The pastel is not finished but I think I have to wait and come back to it.  Art projects are a bit like everything else in life.  Sometimes you just have to step back, take a breath and get some perspective.

November 2009

"The tree of love, it's roots hath spread
Deep in my heart, and rears it's head;
Rich are it's fruits:  they joy dispense;
Transport the heart, and ravish sense.
In love's sweet swoon to thee I cleave,
Bless'd source of love...
~Francis of Assisi

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Artist's Way

Tomorrow I am having an "Art Day" with my friend Rachel and her sister.  I sometimes find it helpful to make a plan to work on something.  Not having a regular schedule it's very easy to let time slip away.  I also started the Artist's Way this week which I have done countless times and have never finished the 12 weeks!  The holidays may not be the best time to start, but alas ... Maybe this time I will finish!

Spring 2009 Conte on Fabriano Paper

In order to create, we draw from our inner well.
This inner well, an artistic reservoir,
is ideally like a well stocked fish pond...
If we don't give some attention to upkeep, 
our well is apt to become depleted, stagnant, or blocked ...

As artists, we must learn to be self nourishing.
We must become alert enough to consciously 
replenish our creative resources as we draw on them-
to restock the trout pond, so to speak.

How do you nourish yourself?
How do you refill your "creative well"?

Friday, November 27, 2009

Faery Child

This is my little friend McKenna I mentioned ... made of magic and faery dust.  Her mommy might disagree since she went through the whole birthing process but somehow it's hard to believe she didn't just magically appear on this planet to remind us of the wonder of it all.  On the way home from Escondido, in the car,  she sang Jason Mraz "I'm Yours" in her sweet little voice, with perfect pitch and looked me in the eyes and grinned. I almost burst into tears. Magic.

Learn to listen to silence.
Listen to the world around you.
And the silence will sing you a beautiful song.
~Melody Beattie

Every child is an artist.
The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.

Become as little children.
~Jesus of Nazareth 

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thanksgiving in Ojai ...

I am so grateful today! Of course we should be grateful every day, not just Thanksgiving,  but sometimes it's easy to get busy and focus and what we need, or think we need, instead of what we have right here, right now. We forget to really focus on all of the blessings in our lives and we need a reminder. Maybe I should just speak for myself but I think Thanksgiving is a great reminder day. It's a little like Valentine's day. People say, "Well, you should show love every day and be romantic all year..." but again, some of us can use a little reminder.

Gratitude List
I am grateful for...

My wonderful family
For my loving parents and sister
My hilarious nieces and sweet nephew
and for my 9 year old parrot Beatrice
I'm grateful that I still have a grandmother (and she's awesome)
That I have amazing, supportive friends
That I am not in the hospital
That I can get to the bathroom in the middle of the night without help!
That I am less than 13 miles from 6 museums
That I live in a city wear I can get every kind of food under the sun
and even have it delivered
That I have been blessed to travel in Europe and Asian and Africa ...

I am grateful for my cozy antique bed and down comforter
For the can of pink paint that will soon be on my bathroom walls
For art classes
My books, camera, art supplies and iMac
My cute apartment, farmers markets, dinner with friends, caller ID
and Netflix
For spicy tuna handrolls, avocados, Sante Fe Chicken burritos and dark chocolate
(but not at the same time!)
For Ella, Frank and Dean, Bob Marley and Elton John
For belly dance music and Mozart

I am grateful I live in California
In the United States
That I can vote and speak out and stomp my feet

I am grateful that Rhinos and Cheetahs and Snow Leopards are still on the planet
And we still have a chance to save them.

I am grateful to be on this earth, at this time
I am grateful be alive
I am grateful

Happy Thanksgiving!

Blessings and love and light
to you and your family!

What are you grateful for?

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Back from San Diego!

I have been absent from my computer because I was off to San Diego for an amazing, extra long weekend! I visited with friends, ate ridiculous amounts of food, took pictures (of course!), and made jewelry with my hilarious and sweet friend Erin who I met in my very first acting class ever. We did a scene from the Importance of Being Earnest in full costume and became friends for life.

There was also a good amount of party dress hunting for my friend Kristen. She is having one of those landmark birthdays when it hits you how fast time has gone and you realize that magnifying mirrors are evil.

These picture were taken in Escondido after a Charger party.  Apparently they kicked some booty but I was busy sticking my head in the guacamole bowl and taking pictures of my friend's daughter McKenna.  I am convinced she is made up of faery dust and magic.  I will definitely be posting a couple of those.

Just to be is a blessing.
Just to live is holy.
~Rabbi Abraham Heschel

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Basilica di Santa Chiara

The steeple on the right is part of the Basilica of Saint Claire.  I took a photo of it last year on a hike up from San Damiano, which is just below Assisi.  (It's where St. Francis heard God speak to him from a cross and Claire and her followers made their home and lived until her death in 1253.)  I was huffing and puffing trying get myself up the hill but still managed to somehow take in the view and photograph it.

Last Saturday I went back for another pastel class in Ojai and as is so often the case, I found inspiration from my memories and photographs of Italy.  It's a pretty dark photo in the foreground with the grove of olive trees but light sort of illuminates the Basilica and gives it an otherworldly quality. Hopefully a bit  of that came through in the drawing.

Basilica di Santa Chaira November 2009

Today was the last day of my memoir class and it was bittersweet.  It's sad when a class ends (if you like the class!) but it was wonderful to hear how far all of our stories had come.  It was so moving hearing each persons' story ... the courageousness and vulnerability was inspiring.

Where do you get your inspiration?
Is it a place on the planet or a place in your mind?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Heading to Ojai this weekend for another pastel workshop, although I am feeling nervous about leaving! I had an audition today and the callback is tomorrow.  If I stay, it's the kiss of death ... I probably won't get called back.  If I go? I may get a call in the morning and have to turn right around and head back to L.A.  If I go up there and don't get called back then at least I get to enjoy the class and seeing my family.  So?  Off I go!

"Look for your miracles.  Hope for the best.  
But when you can't change what you're going through, 
let the simple, quiet, daily miracle of acceptance find you."
~Melody Beattie
from Journey to the Heart

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Brussels Sprouts. Who knew?

I know this isn't really the kind of thing I normally post, but for some reason I am feeling the need to share my new found love of brussels sprouts.  It's all in the makin' and crazy simple.  I was at my aunt and uncle's for dinner during the summer and they made them this way ... I don't mean to be dramatic but it was a revelation and I have been making them constantly ever since.  

Cut off the bottoms.
Leaf them.
Throw them in the pan with olive oil and turn on the heat.
Squeeze on some lemon juice.
Throw in the zest from the lemon.
Toss in toasted pine nuts. 
Wait for everything to get a little wilty but not brown
Yum.  Seriously.  

You can also use a grapefruit or a lemon/orange combo.

Did everyone but me know about this all along? If so, don't tell me! I feel a bit like I have been missing out!  :o)

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Lies Within ...

What lies behind us and what lies before us
are tiny matters,
compared to what lies within us.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

November 2009


After taking an amazing pastel workshop last month, I decided I needed to get to work on another piece while I could still remember the techniques!  

I worked from old photos I took in Kenya many years ago with my family.  I was twenty. We were staying at this amazing little place called the Kilimanjaro Safari Lodge. My sister and I shared a one room cabin with dark wood planked walls and mosquito nets covering our beds that would glow at night by the tiny lamp on the small table between our beds.

Outside our room was a big bushy tree that monkeys would use as a jungle gym, chasing each other from limb to limb and occasionally grabbing a branch and using it as a sort of a sling shot and another monkey would go flying.  It was endlessly entertaining and I had never been so happy or more comfortable anywhere in my life. 

The sky was such an intense blue and the land glowed a bright gold in the afternoon sun.  I fantasize about going back someday ... until then, I will take my memories and love for this beautiful place and put them on paper.

"I see my path, 
but I don't know where it leads.
Not knowing where I'm going 
is what inspires me to travel it."
~Rosalia de Castro

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Vancouver Island Marmot

I am working, as I've mentioned before, on a series of endangered species paintings and drawings.  So the "endangered species of the month" is, you guessed it ... a Vancouver Island Marmot.  

They are found only on ... well, Vancouver Island. What you may not know, is that he is one of the worlds most Endangered Animals and that there are less than 100 left in the wild.  If you'd like to know more about this cute little guy or even help him out, you can check out!

Vancouver Island Marmot, Pen and Ink 2006

"When we try to pick out anything by itself,
we find it hitched to everything else in the universe."
~John Muir

Monday, November 2, 2009

Dia de los Muertos

Last night, my friend Rachel and I headed out on the the metro to the oldest part of Los Angeles. We were off to Olvera Street for the  Dia de los Muertos  celebration! 

I got a bit carried away here and obviously had some trouble editing! Not that my little point and shoot camera takes great nighttime shots but I just love what is behind the images.  There is something so poignant and a bit magical about this 3,000 year old ritual of Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead). I love the idea of celebrating and honoring our loved ones and ancestors; creating rituals and altars with photographs and favorite foods ... candles and marigolds. It's beautiful.

"To live in hearts we leave behind 
Is not to die."
~Thomas Cambell

This altar was for the thousands of those that have lost their lives from denial of health coverage.  The names, photos and mementos "represent those who were insured by the largest health insurance corporations in America yet were denied services, claims and/or had their insurance taken away by the very same companies."  Many were very young ...

I love these small, intimate altars. They are so lovely and very moving.

Today is the perfect day 
to remember our loved ones
  who have passed on.
Most of all 
it is a time to reflect with gratitude, 
on all they have given us.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

1970s Halloween

Before settling in last night to watch True Blood (which I thoroughly enjoyed, by the way! Very sexy except the scary, bald, tattooed vampire! Creepy, creepy.) I went through a box of old photos. I was hunting for the first of these photos but ran across a couple more.

My parents used to go every year to this big Halloween party with all their friends. My sister Penny and I would stand there in awe of our very cool parents as they took pictures before they left. It all seemed so glamorous! Especially when they went as Elton John and the Rhine Stone Cowgirl. I think we must have stood there with our mouths hanging open. Those are actually my Dad's glasses under the sequined cover my mom made. Aren't they cute?

Elton John and the Rhinestone Cowgirl 1977 (a.k.a. Mom and Dad)

Me and my Sister ... (I am the drama queen on the left)

Here we are photographed at my grandparents house in Anaheim and not looking very happy. Maybe we knew about the terrible 70s photo processing.

And now ... leaving lovely October ...

"O wild West Wind, thou breath of Autumn's being.
Thou, from whose unseen presence the leaves dead
Are driven, like ghosts from an enchanter fleeing."
~Percy Bysshe Shelley

Hope you had a great Halloween!