Thursday, December 29, 2005

Some little birdies

This is an experiment using some of the textures in Photoshop. Brice, gave me a little tutorial last night, and I watched with amazement all the things he could make the computer do. I felt honored just to have the undivided attention of my teenage son, who is a reluctant genius and a brilliant artist as well. After about half an hour, I had reached the limits of what my feeble brain could absorb, it was all too "magical", for lack of a better word. I remember only a fraction of what he showed me, but at least I have a better idea of what this Art Machine can do, and at least I know a few more tricks!

The image below is my approximation of a digital replication of a cloth "painting" I did when I was a kid. The original is long gone, but I remember it fondly. The birds were made of felt, glued onto a burlap background, and outlined in black string. This one looks a little bit like a painted canvas topped with cake icing, but it definitely has a 3-D look to it.

I can only dream of achieving Brice's level of digital art skills, but I will continue to learn and experiment.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

More holiday fun!

This is a picture of my house, taken in late winter a couple of years ago. Except for the rainy season, which can be unpredictable, this is what winter looks like in Southern California, (unless you live in the mountains, which we don't.) I have always had a fantasy about having it snow in my own front yard.

Thanks to the miracle of Photoshop, and a little help from Brice, my fantasy has come true. Our front yard has been transformed into the quintessential Winter Wonderland!

It would have been good for last week's Illustration Friday theme, imagine, too.

Merry Christmas

Friday, December 23, 2005


Edible art for Illustration Friday

Made with stuff left over from this project. What you don't see is how much I ate while I was building it!

Have a merry one, everybody.

Saturday, December 17, 2005


Old artwork for Illustration Friday.

I have always had a thing for mushroom houses. Who might live in such a place, I wonder?

I was a senior in high school when I painted this, and it hung on my bedroom wall for a couple of years.

So anyway, I pinned it up to my backyard fence this morning and took a picture of it, loaded it into my computer to crop the chainlink from the edges, and brighten the faded colors just a bit in Photoshop. It was then that I discovered a bee had landed on the painting and gotten into the photo. I went ahead and left it in there. You can see it near the lower left corner, between two clover leaves. We can imagine that the bee might like to live in a nice house like that.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Some holiday sweetness

Today in Mrs. W's class, where I volunteer, the kids made gingerbread houses. Actually, they're grahm-cracker houses, "glued" onto a milk carton foundation with ready to spread frosting. But they are great fun to look at, in all their sticky, goopy glory.


Equally fascinating for me were the "building materials" in all their colorful, jumbled glory. Each child had a plate piled with these sweets.

I especially liked these bright pink ones.

These purple gumdrops are like little gems.

The children ate plenty of the candy, of course, while they were putting them together, and several told me they planned to eat the whole house after they brought it home. I guess they saw their creations as food more than art. Fortunately, I got custody of much of the leftover building materials, and I hope to put my own house together later this week. I gotta get more of those pink wafers, though. The kids used them all up.

Another holiday-themed idea spinning through my head is the image of dozens of beautiful shiny ornaments hanging on their sales display in a local store. I went into the store today, and was mesmerized by their beauty as they hung, side by side and row by row. I wish I could have taken a picture of them. I asked the saleslady if I could come back with my camera. She referred me to the store manager, who nicely told me it was against store policy, but I could enquire with their corporate office if I wanted to.

I sent their corporate office an email explaining my artistic desires. I told them I wasn't looking for company secrets and the photos were for my own personal use. We'll see what they say, but I'm not holding my breath.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


New artwork for Illustration Friday

When you're swinging through the jungle, you better make sure what you're grabbing is actually a vine!

Wednesday, December 07, 2005


I heard a story about this on The World (Public Radio, people!!)

Welcome to

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Boston Terrier pincushion

This cute little guy was rescued from Eleanor's house last month. I think he was hand made by Uncle Noah in the 1940's or '50's.

So many little things like this, seemingly insignificant, lost to the decades of junk and clutter. I only found him on what would be one of our very last "expeditions," when we knew our time was limited, and in unspoken urgency we peeked inside the boxes and cupboards that we had already written off, "just in case."

I found him in a little cookie tin with a few sewing supplies. He had a couple of rusting needles in his back. Jerry said he remembered playing with it when he was little.

I didn't really want to keep it so much as I just didn't want it tossed out or relegated to the liquidator. I felt that I would honor its humble existence, and Eleanor's memory, by finding someone who would treasure it. I decided to look among the caring population of a Boston Terrier forum, where I found many eager takers. I agreed to send the little fellow to the first responder, and so I will, in the next few days.

Saturday, December 03, 2005


New artwork for Illustration Friday

Artificial blue food coloring, here displayed in one of its most popular forms.

Friday, November 25, 2005


Old artwork for Illustration Friday.

This is a watercolor illustration of a small trinket from my past, a favorite ring. I went through a silver and turquoise phase, and this particular ring had sentimental value and (imaginary) mystical properties. I do still have this ring, and I wanted to take a picture of it to accompany this post, but as luck would have it, I can't find it right now. Hopefully, it will turn up and I can add it in later.

Painted in about 1974.

Friday, November 11, 2005

(extra) Strength

New Art for Illustration Friday

Directions for use: Take as often as necessary.

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Whatever catches my eye

I have started posting pictures of things that are not my art, but I find them interesting and worthy of saving. And sharing.

This is a shredded balloon. I think this is what happens when a helium balloon expands at a high altitude. This particular one looks especially nice. And almost like a jellyfish.

Those old buttons: a closer look

I had left the two cans of ancient buttons (see this post) for Toni, but she didn't take them. Last week, knowing Eleanor's house would soon be cleaned out by liquidators, I decided to bring them home. Since then, Jerry, Brice and I have each had turns digging through them as if they were an old bucket of exquisite seashells. Here are some of my favorites:

The white (and the near-white). Every one has a different design.

Jewel-like glass and shiny stuff

Brass? Whatever it is, this nickel-sized button looks like a manhole cover up close.

Not a button, but this rhinestone-studded clasp, perhaps from a watch or a bracelet, was one of many non-button treasures in the coffee cans.

Made of a primitive plastic, this little beauty is already degrading.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

Sun Milk Art

This super-cute artwork graced a coupon page in my Sunday paper the other day. Then later at the market, a lady was giving out free samples of the product (milk,) and coupons with more of this cute artwork. I think about all the talented artists who participate in Illustration Friday, and wonder if one of them might have created these. Whoever you are, I really like this ad!

Friday, November 04, 2005


Old artwork for Illustration Friday
*and maybe for you?

One night in the desert long ago, a little tree spread its scraggly branches against the stars. Under its canopy, I sat for a long while and pondered the mysteries of life.

This is a woodblock print, originally titled The Thinking Tree, created in 1976.

*I actually have several of this languishing in a musty portfolio, and I would be glad to send one to anybody who would like to have it. They are all "artist proofs" and I never signed them. (I was just a kid, what did I know?) The size of the print is roughly 9x11" .

Wednesday, November 02, 2005


For Illustration Friday

Oh, no... It looks like we have a broken sprinkler head!

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Happy Halloween

Michael and Jessi were so pleased with the way their pumpkins came out, they wanted me to see them (at Jessi's house.)

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Old Artwork: Hibiscus

I was at my parents' house today, and noticed this painting I did a long time ago and decided it was blog-worthy. It is ink and watercolor, from early to mid 1970's. This was really the peak of my talent, I think. I could get very detailed and precise. I don't know if I would have the patience for such detail now.

Detail. There is a bit of glare. This picture is under glass. There also seems to be a bit of splotchy fading in the flowers.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Childhood art by Brice

My younger son, Brice, now almost 16, made this when he was about 5. It's a 3-D pop-up picture.

Halloween skeleton

The craft stores sell plain wood skeletons to paint. I did this one a few years ago.

Close up. Look how happy he is! Someday, I'm going to do something for Dia de los Muertos.
I'm not Mexican, but I think it's a neat way to honor your deceased relatives.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Old artwork, re-celebrated for Illustration Friday

Death Valley is a remote and austere place, but it will always be close to my heart.

Sketchbook notes. Zabriski Point is one of the most popular and photogenic sights in Death Valley. I was lucky to find this picture in the newspaper that matched exactly to the small color snapshot I was using for reference when I made my painting (in 1979.)

I traced over the newspaper photograph and made a grid, then copied the grid on a larger scale onto the velour paper. Just like in those activity pages we did in grade school! The finished product is about 18X24" in pastel chalk. (The 34X42 reference you eagle-eyes see in my notes are for a prior Zabriski painting in acrylic on cardboard, long since lost to history and an old love.)

Friday, October 14, 2005


New silly artwork for Illustration Friday.

It's what happens to your cup of tea when you set it down and then forget about it for two hours, and then find it again.

Edit: My kids are telling me that the little remark in the bubble should be spelled "Blegh."
But I don't want to change it unless everybody else thinks so, too.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Some awesome childrens' art

These charming leaf-collage critters were made by second-graders in the class where I volunteer every week. I just think they look great! I only wish I had a chance to photograph them before they were laminated.

The teacher was concerned that this one was a little too thick to go through the laminating machine. It doesn't have the reflective glare the others had. (but the shot came out a little blurry, sorry)

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Treasure to Trash

The detritus of life.

The painstaking process of going through Eleanor's house is drawing to a close. We have taken away everything we want. What remains is a collection, or several collections of stuff that may not have much monetary value, and only limited sentimental value, but somehow it has intreague. The colors and textures invite you to linger, to finger them and wonder what stories they could tell. Truthfully, I felt compelled to save them. To make art with them or something. But I know they would only be continuing their slow decay in my house instead of hers. So we left them behind. Only their images will remain, and even they will be cast now into cyberspace and ultimately forgotten.

A shoe-box full of junk from the garage.

These were two 5-lb. coffee cans filled with all kinds of buttons. They were also in the garage, and they were kind of musty and gross, but still fascinating.

Treasures of a minor order seeing the light of day for the first time in decades.

These big, strange buttons were fragile. The broken one below looks like a half-eaten cookie.


There were buckles, too.

This button looked like a tiny bow.

An army of old soda pop bottles.

A few of the "old soldiers "

Boxes of baubles

A most unusual collection: Many years ago, bananas were the first items of produce to sport the now-ubiquitous stickers. Jerry's dad would leave his banana sticker on the doorjamb as he left the kitchen. It was an idea that stuck. (pun intended.)

Frozen in time. Old watches and clocks. Their time is over now.

Orphans: These two whimsical figurines have smiled silently for many years. Nobody remembers where they came from. Nobody wants to keep them. Their future is uncertain.