Friday, July 31, 2009

The Kindness of Blogger, Painted Fish Studios

Look what came in the mail yesterday from St. Paul.

One day I commented on this post how much I loved these stones. The next thing I knew Jen asked me for my address and said she wanted to send me some stones. Wow! And here they are:

Only a few months ago, I found Jen's blog when I made these bowls.

The stones are soft and flat. Like a meditation stone, they're a sensory pleasure--visually appealing and grounding to hold and circle my thumb across the surface.

Check out Jen's etsy shop and her blog. She serves up a daily visual delight.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

A Summer of ARTnics

ARTnicing and looking so 19th century on a leisurely Saturday afternoon.

I'm becoming an expert at portable art studios transported in swirly canvas bag.

Jessa and her two little ones visited from Annapolis this week. We took them to the park for an afternoon of play and art. All this fun peaked the curiosity of three other kids in the park and the next thing you know yours truly was conducting a summer art camp, which was fine for about five minutes until one little girl started demanding more and more art supplies like an insatiable monster and then became Attila the Hun when I denied her.

"Where is your mother?" we said. And, of course, mother was no where to be found.

In one of the sweeter moments, our friend, Miss A, on the right did some face painting.

Attila gave us another shock when we moved to the playground. Here's my hubby, who I refer to as Roger these days--as in Roger Sterling in Mad Men.

Okay, hubby is no spring chicken, but we both nearly fell over when Attila yelled out from the swing set, "I want the grandpa to push me."

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Stone River Tree

I took this picture standing in a beautiful trench--an Andy Goldsworthy trench. To see his Stone River at Stanford, you start out on high ground and descend to follow his "river."

I'm in the trenches following the river of life these days. The tree reminds me that I can wait. Relax in the waiting and enjoy the view.

Collage: The point is.....Randel Plowman

Collage artist Randel Plowman in this The Artist's Life article says,

"Having a conversation with the piece is the point. You can't speak too much to it. You have to listen."

This is nice conversation:
Can you hear the pause? Feel the breeze?
The sweet sound of listening?

Oh, and there it is:
a quiet, thoughtful response.

Tulsa Time, Plowman

Monday, July 20, 2009

Modern Striped Baby Blanket

Knitting this blanket was a joy. A breeze. Oh, the tactile pleasure of clicking needles with that gorgeous Rowan Cashsoft Aran.

But stitching the four panels together was like tying me down and sticking needles in my eyes.

Encaustic Painting from Vanessa: Mt. Tam

Look what Vanessa made for me:

Encaustic painting on wood panel

She used a Tom Killion woodblock print of Mt. Tamalpais as inspiration for the painting. I found Killion's work in an article Bay Nature did on his woodprints and passed it on to her, not knowing that I might be the lucky recipient of her work. I believe this is Vanessa's third encaustic work since she started heating wax and mixing pigments.

She's thinking of setting up an etsy shop. Don't you think she should?

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Collage Inspiration & Happinomics

Denise Falk Collage , spotted at Denise Sponge

I'm inspired by how this artist uses whole pieces of vintage pieces in a collage. It appeals to the part of me that wants to preserve the whole of these vintage gems.

Pam sent me this fun piece of writing, Happinomics by Clay Williams, on his experimentation with Dr. John Helliwell's theory that increased social interaction increases our happiness quotient. Perfect timing. Here's a sneak peak of some favorite parts:

"The woman sitting opposite me on the #4 Powell bus is wearing a leather bomber jacket and stylized Armani glasses. Her fingers are crossed over the wooden handle of a corduroy shoulder bag. The words "PURL" and "KNIT" are tattooed across her knuckles in the same gothic lettering that Tupac Shakur used to tattoo "OUTLAW" on his forearm. I'm about to talk to someone who is, apparently, a gangster knitter."

And later:

"Ten minutes later, the bus pulls up to my stop. At the door I turn and say, “I like your tattoos.” She removes her iPod buds and looks up at me (hazel eyes. I love hazel eyes). “Thank you,” she says, a smile dancing at the edges of her lips. As the bus pulls away from the curb, I record a happiness level of seven into my logbook.[1]"

Yeterday after a glorious Whole Body Focusing class in Mill Valley, I had the opposite experience at a Mill Valley gas station. Never in my life have I had so many people honking their horns at me and others at a gas station. I finally lost my cool after the fifth incident when the horn-honking Prius owner pulled up beside my car, rolled down her window and started to chew me out because she couldn't tell that I was pumping gas while sitting in my car. The irony of the conclusion to my body bliss day was beautiful.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Risking Enough to Care about Strangers

I've been meaning to show you these.

Artist: Klaris Reis. Mixed media epoxy polymer on aluminum panel. Spotted at the lunch version of Slanted Door.

Yesterday was a good day with the public. Two of my quips to two strangers were received with hearty laughs that said either "wow, you're talking to me" or "get away from me crazy lady."

But my favorite encounter was at Peet's. A and I were catching up while we ordered and waited for our drinks. Next a woman, who I hadn't noticed before, appeared and said, actually she whispered, "Excuse me. I overheard you talking.."

Immediately I thought, "Oh, no. What did I say? She's going to chastise me."

She continued, "....about the dry spot on your face and I had the same thing."

"Oh boy," I thought, "I was doing that thing I do that my husband and I have a signal for--speaking MUCH too loudly in places that have hard surfaces--and I was talking about my personal health problems for the whole damn place to here. Nice. Where's my husband when I need him?"

She continued, "I went to a dermatologist in Palo Alto, Dr. Jacobson, and she told me to get Aquaphor and put it on every night. I did and it went away."

I was so shocked by this kind woman caring enough to help me with the mysterious dry spot that appeared on my face three days ago that I had to ask her to repeat the prescription.

"Aquaphor," she said. "It's very inexpensive, and you can get it over there at Rite-Aide."

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Some time ago...

I set out on a journey. My only intention was be with myself in a kind way to honor a loss.

I sat in the living room of a coastside B&B and sipped a glass of wine as I enjoyed the company of the innkeepers.

I drew a bath and soaked.

I slept well and rose gently.

I rocked for awhile in a rocker at the end of the hall.

I listened to the quiet of having the inn to myself.

I ate a fine breakfast and bid my hostess goodbye.

Rambling through the backroads along the coast, I passed fields of strawberries clustered with workers squatting to harvest the fruit.

Alyssa A, Marina High School, 11th Grade, Acrylic

I stopped in an antique shop and fingered through old books. One book was a discarded baby book of a mother's son born in the 20s who died in the 50s. The book included a thick lock of his blonde curl and told the story of his first outing to a Sunday luncheon at his aunt's.

Bundled in my woolies, I pulled to the side of the road to watch the surf of the ocean under a swath of fog.

There was nothing I needed to see and nowhere I needed to be.

So I wandered.

Along the way I discovered a landmark from the Mexican period of California's history: Monterey's La Miranda adobe.

And then the time came to return home.