Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Amalfi At The Beach and Beginning Italian!

After a bit of debate on whether to head to Capri, Amalfi or Sorrento for a little day trip from Positano, we decided to take the boat to Amalfi. That was a place my parents had never been and we decided to go somewhere that was new to all of us. The weather was pretty cloudy when we arrived but some rather strong crazy winds eventually carried the clouds away.

I love red and white (can you tell?) and against the amazing water of the mediterranean, it was spectacular. This beach was just below where we had lunch. I'll have to find the business card because the salads were amazing, the homemade limoncello might have been the best we ever had, and the view? Well ... it doesn't get much better than this!

Tonight I begin my first Italian class, so please wish me luck!!!

Friday, August 27, 2010


It was as difficult and emotional leaving Assisi as it was the first time. I walked alone to the Basilica of St. Francis early on the day we were leaving and sat in his tomb, amid candle glow on stone walls and the shuffling of a few pilgrims passing Francis and his four closest companions. I felt the spiritual and emotional pull of that amazing place and how much I wished I could stay on.

Leaving, however, was made a bit easier by the thought of seeing a place my friend Kristen calls her "favorite place in Italy!" Positano.

Beautiful Positano ... was it already more than three months ago I left you?

We took the train to Naples where we were to get a car to pick us up and take us to our hotel. Finding myself in Naples, even if briefly, after peaceful Assisi was a complete culture shock. It felt like we had arrived on another planet! (A chaotic, crazy, loud, planet!) This feeling was thankfully short lived because soon we were winding our way around the rock cliffs of the Amalfi Coast. Ocean breeze and cobalt blue water ... no wonder my friend Kristen had fallen in love with it.

The Pizza in the first photo was brought to my Mom and I with an entourage of at least three smiling waiters. I love Italy.

The waiters stood there waiting for our reaction, which for me of course, was to photograph it!
Well it, and everything else!

Mom ...

More of the Amalfi Coast to come! If you are reading this and happen to actually be on the Amalfi Coast, have a limoncello for me and toast the beautiful sea!

Wherever you are, hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

"What we play is life."

~Louis Armstrong

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Magical Realms - Hubble and the Natural History Museum

The bonus of living in a big city is there are plenty of places to take a five year old nephew!

Exposition Park is just outside of downtown Los Angeles and right next to U.S.C. Not only does it have the California Science Center with an IMAX Theater but The Natural History Museum, African American Museum, L.A. Coliseum, Rose Garden and an Expo Center.

Yesterday my sister Penny brought my nephew to see the "Hubble 3D" IMAX. Seems like everything is in 3D nowadays but I have to say that seeing space in 3D was pretty incredible and well worth driving to Exposition Park. Of course, I am speaking for my sister here because for me it was only 20 minutes in the non traffic hours!

If you see the film, a lot of it centers around the project of Hubble and the astronauts going into space to fix and update the telescope. Their courage is so inspiring. I can't imagine being tethered in space, out there working weightless (doing something technical!) ... it's pretty unbelievable. (Unimaginable in my world - especially the technical part!)

Photos from the Hubble Telescope never cease to astound me with their incredible beauty and view of the universe.

Benjamin ready for space in his Star Wars t-shirt

Heavenly Hubble ...

After a short debate on whether to tour go Science or Natural History ... we picked the Natural History Museum which felt very appropriate. The gems and crystal formations create their own magical realms.

When I was little (O.K. I still do this!) I would imagine shrinking down until I could fit inside of a geode. I'd imagine being surrounded by these beautiful crystal caves. Then, in National Geographic they showed caves down in Mexico that are just that! Huge crystal caves! Like where Superman's dad (a.k.a. Marlon Brando) hung out in the Superman movies. ;)

The room where they had the "Age of Mammals" exhibition was like being an a sculpture gallery flooded with light. I was wishing for my sketchpad!

What an inspiring day. It's always fun to see my nephew's reaction to things and what gets him excited. Often it's not something I would really get into but through his eyes I get to see it in a whole new way.

"A human being is a part of a whole, called by us "universe,"
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings
as something separated from the rest...
a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires
and to affection for a few persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circle of compassion
to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."

~Albert Einstein

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Fertile Ground

This is another work in my series of "layered" mixed media pieces. They are difficult to photograph with the top layer being very reflective but I like being able to work in ink on top and still see the first drawing underneath. The "first layer" of this piece can be seen in a previous post.

I have described what my layering represents and the inspiration for the works in a previous post, but in a nutshell it's about exploring "what lies beneath" (obviously not being literal here) and what really makes a woman, a woman. If it's not our reproductive system ... not our hormones or our breasts, what is it? This piece is a bit more "fertile" than the others, except maybe "The Nest."

ink, pastel and charcoal on Fabriano paper and Duralar
Please click to enlarge

Pomegranates. I love them. In fact, come to think of it, I had pomegranate juice this morning. But, back on the subject, they have symbolism in Greek Mythology, Judaism, Christianity and Hinduism. In Hinduism they represent fertility and are also connected with Lord Ganesha, "the one fond of the many-seeded fruit."

Ganesha is the "remover of obstacles," and that speaks to me for this series and what inspired it.

Learning how to be kind to ourselves,

learning how to respect ourselves, is important.

The reason it's important is that, fundamentally,

when we look into our own hearts

and begin to discover what is confused and what is brilliant,

what is bitter and what is sweet,

it isn't just ourselves that we're discovering.

We're discovering the universe.

Pema Chödrön

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Nighttime at the County Fair

I was still on a mission to see the livestock, especially the bunnies. You see, I worked at the fair in junior high when I had a rabbit. It was a huge white French lop I named Dior. My friend Jenny had a black one named Valentino. Needless to say, we were more into fashion back then than livestock and our 4H stint only lasted a year.

My friend Lynn (mentioned in the previous post) had a lambs for two years in 4H, so she was on as much of a mission to walk down the sawdust memory lane as I was. So we headed off to the livestock area and found it pretty much the same as it was back in Junior High. We walked around and talked to the animals, gave neck massages to the lambs and chatted up the bunnies. I fell for the little red one below.

After getting in and out of line and chatting up carnival workers for their best advice on how to swing it, we timed the ferris wheel just perfectly and rode it during the fireworks at the end of the night, ocean breeze on our faces, deep fried food in our bellies.

Did I mention that after Indian Fry bread, deep fried donuts and 3 beers, I topped off the night with a deep fried banana covered in whip cream? At the fair it seems I can justify anything. I told my self, "At least it has potassium!"

Do all hometown county fair's look alike?
I love that mine never seems to change.
It looks the same, only the bands change.

Have a fantastic weekend!