Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Life for a Mountain Girl

So for the last couple of months I've been doing the stress-less job of yard work. I'm enjoying working outside, getting some exercise and experiencing the different environments of the mountain.

This week I worked at what has to be the most gorgeous yard on the hill! There's a natural pond, the water is just seeping out of the ground, which by the way up on this mountain of So Cal, is a pretty rare thing.

There is also the largest crop of lady bugs around here. This is just a small percentage of the many nests that I saw. No aphids are surviving in this yard.

And the highlight of the day was seeing this little cutie! I was lucky to get this shot. Yes, I'm a good worker, except when I stop to chit chat with the neighbors, or stop to take pictures of frogs.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Return of the Batiks

This is the fifth year I've done this batik project with every 6th grader at the local school.

It's a lot of time and work, but really is one of my favorite projects once it's all done.

An interesting thing that usually happens with this project is how the best drawers in the group don't always have the best batik. They seem to add too much detail. The kids that keep it simple have the best results. This shows you how different projects help different people succeed in different ways. But it's a reminder to me to really stress to make the designs simple, which I do, but maybe I need a more forceful approach for those few who want to go too detailed.

This was my favorite one for the year. Can I just say I lost it and keep it for myself? Guess that wouldn't be very nice, huh?

Here they are hanging at Open House in the classroom. Pretty huh?

See the past 2 years results and details here and here. They're better photos too, I took the pix this year at the wrong time of the day.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Critter Encounters

I don't know what's up completely, but I've done a terrible job of keeping my blog alive this past month. I'm hopefully recovering now and will be back on track!!

Yesterday on a long walk to Inspiration Point, we saw this beauty . I love these thistles- crazy weeds, but so pretty.

Last week I was watching a lizard like this at a job where I was gardening. I couldn't get a shot of him, but I got this one instead. I don't know what kind they are, but they really seem to have a more lively personality than some lizards. And look at the blue under the neck. I love his expression too. If I had more time right now I might research to find what kind it is. But there is no time right now, so have to save it for a boring day.... you know, those come around all the time, right??

Saturday, April 11, 2009

TOC - Biblical References

This week's Theme of Consciousness was Biblical References, being Easter weekend and all.

I thought of a lot of ideas. "Thou shall not kill", Noah and his rainbow, and my favorite, "Love One Another." Had to go with the disobedient Eve. That woman really messed things up for us females, but I love her still! She's a free thinking rebel, and I love that about her.

So here's my quick little painting, done in acrylic in my larger sketch book.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

TOC - Heart

Theme of Consciousness for this week - HEART.

Here's my little doodle embellished with watercolor.

Got one song played... Grateful Dead - "Easy Wind".... really cool Pig Pen song.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Strawberry Creek in March

Went on a walk on Strawberry Creek today. This is the creek that runs through town. Always a nice peaceful place to walk. I can't wait for the greenery to burst out in a month or so. Soon it will be filled with Azalea, Wild Rose, Berries and other assorted plants.

You can see how I get a little bit inspired by this place if you see my art in the previous post.

Here's Wesley standing with a pretty large old growth 2-in-1 Cedar Tree. You can almost imagine you're out in Sequoia National Park, our own little piece of heaven.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

TOC - Home

This week's Theme of Consciousness was "home." A very warm and fuzzy theme, really. The tribe chose some great songs that Jim loves, and some great sets were made.

Here's my little creation for the theme. Easy enough to think up, and doodley-fun.

And I had some requests played... Dead "Throwing Stones", Stones "Prodigal Son" (a sharer), and the rare, unusual honor of the Opening Song.... Ten Years After with "I'm Goin Home." Yes, I was a little spoiled this week. But I requested a whole shit-load of perfect, Jim-type-of -songs, so it was bound to happen!

Who knew the Dead had SO MANY songs that mention Home!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

NibbleFest - Asian Inspired/IF Legendary

I'm a little behind, and have been neglecting my poor little blog!

This is my entry for NibbleFest - Asian Inspired. It also fits with last week's Illustration Friday which was Legendary. This is a Legendary Entertainer. I was also thinking a lot about Spring, so I made it very Spring like.

It's an ACEO, 2.5x3.5 inches, watercolor.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Deer Springs Trail

Went on a much needed mini hike today up Deer Springs Trail. You can't walk through a high elevation, sunny hillside without finding some gorgeous manzanita. Just as lovely dead as alive. Beautiful, yet very fire prone.

I can never capture just how very enormous this Live Oak is. You can see Wesley standing at the bottom for scale. It's very difficult to do a tree justice with a camera. Even though it lost a limb probably from the heavy snowfall this Winter, it still takes up an incredible amount of space on the hillside.

Just another view of the famous Tahquitz Rock, also known as Lily Rock. This is a trademark for the area, our own mini Half Dome.

Wesley wanted to see just how far I've been walking lately when I trek out to Inspiration Point. So we took a little drive. Here's another view of Tahquitz Rock, as well as the surrounding area. You can see the rock just to the right of the center of the picture.
Yes, I very lovely day and weekend, and made me a little antsy for the warm months coming soon! Just another day in the life up here a mile high.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Hearts on Fire

When a heart is on fire sparks fly out of the mouth.

Ain't that the truth.

A little bit Dead, a little bit Dia De Los Muertos, and a little hearts on fire.... Acrylic on LP record.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Butterflies - a little tweaked

I wasn't too happy with the colors in my girl with the butterflies painting. Instead of completely revamping it, which I did consider, I thought I'd take the lazy way out and digitally teak it's colors.

It has a slightly silver screen mood to it, which suits this girl better, I think.

What do you think?

It's also listed as a print in my Etsy shop.

The Butterflies

Getting the butterflies can be the most wonderful feeling, and yet also be a bit frightening.

This is a new painting done in acrylic. I've got prints available now in my Etsy shop now.

Here's wishing you The Butterflies for all of your life!

TOC - Radio

In honor of the lovely Radioactive Glow's birthday, last night's TOC was "radio".

I'd had this idea in my mind for sometime, and since "Only a Lad" (OIngo Boingo) has "radio" in it (she had a radio that Johnny wanted oh so bad, so he took it the first chance he had... and then he shot her in the leg), I thought it was a good time to do it. Plus my time was limited and I'm realizing it's far quicker to just do a digital pix than go ahead a create from scratch some painting!

As usual, also always good to practice the Photoshop a bit more.

No, Jim didn't play the Oingo Boingo song, but I did get a couple other requests played... "Around the Dial" - The Kinks, and "Hang on to Yourself" - David Bowie. Kind of personal songs for me. My first concert with my friends as a teenager was The Kinks near the era of that song. And "Hang on to Yourself" is on one of my top 10 albums - Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

NibbleFest - Vintage Cats

This month's NibbleFest theme is "Vintage Cats". I got mine done just before the last deadline.

Had to join in on this theme, too fun!

Siamese cats are the most vintage of all the cats to me. These little two are also much inspired by my Mother and Son clone cats, although they're more like a tuxedo cat. I got a cool vintage chair not long ago, and the second the chair entered the house, the cats had taken it over. It's a true battle over who will lounge there first, feline or human. Feline usually wins.

This is an ACEO (2.5x3.5"), acrylic.


Always can use the extra bidders, NibbleFest is a contest after all.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

TOC - Sweet

Last week (Feb 13) the theme for Theme of Consciousness was "Sweet".

I did this little painting much inspired by my number 1 model, my sister.

I got a request also..."Not So Sweet Martha Lorraine", by Country Joe and the Fish. Pretty good one, I thought.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Art Lesson - Valentines Day-Give Your Heart

This is a Valentine's Day lesson I did with a class of 1st graders. I had some pre-cut heart shapes in different shapes and colors all prepared when I started. I first gave them a small piece of paper and scissors, and I had them trace their hand. Then we cut them out. At this age it's amazing how little practice some have had at cutting. They don't have time to cut in kindergarten any more! Anyway, I explained that it could be tricky, and it's OK to have an imperfect hand cut out. This class actually did better than expected, and only a couple needed help with the cutting. When they were done I passed out some hearts in 2 sizes. I then had them glue stick a small heart (in contrasting color) onto a larger hand. I showed them how the hand and heart would go together, to look like the hand was holding the heart. They then glued hands and hearts on. Then colored with some oil pastels. I had them write a personal message of their choice.

It's a good idea to have them either outline around their hand cut out, or have a contrasting color of some kind behind it. It was easy to have the hand get lost in the design.

And I liked how using the black hearts gave a more graphic appearance. The kids liked the black hearts too.

Some were very creative in their design. This boy (CK) was the only one that used the heart as a stencil, and colored around it. I love when they get their own ideas and modify the original design a bit.... Creative thinker!

This was a perfect lesson to fit in with their Valentine's Day party, which the teacher really wanted me to do, since her time was very limited that day.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Illustration Friday - time

Old-Time Sex Symbol.

Yeah, it may be a stretch!

This is one of my favorite women to paint - Evelyn Nesbit... America's first sex symbol, inspiration for the Gibson Girl, and key player in turn of the century scandal filled with love, murder, sex, millionaires and a beautiful woman. This disgraceful story of the day rivaled the present day OJ trial in notoriety.

So what do I do, try to do a sexy woman, and all I can come up with is some kind of old-timey sex goddess.

This is an ACEO (2.5x3.5 inches) done in watercolor.

It's for sale in my Etsy shop.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

More Snowy Goodness

Crazy icicles. Beware, don't get stabbed.

Burned some calories shoveling today. Is this the San Jacintos, or the Rockies?

Pretty boy, Ziggy. He thinks it's very inconvenient to get around, and hardly worth it. He chooses to sit and watch the boy, rather than join him.

My own little view of the peak.

Why must I have the neighbors that have their road plowed, then have the burm totally block the road? Hello, we live down this road too!! While no one's gonna be driving for a while here, and I do luckily have another easier way out, they will eventually come. They did this in December, and people end up getting stuck as they drive down the road. Then even after it melts there's this huge bump in the road, which will only be worse now after this latest act of neighborly love.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Deep Beneath The Cover

"Deep beneath the cover of another perfect wonder, where it's so white as snow." -- Red Hot Chili Peppers

I'm completely buried again. After years of drought, first we get a near record storm (at least since I've been in the mountains) before Christmas, then near drought all of January, then record storm again!!

I trudged out into it with great difficulty, to get some pix. My house looks pretty charming I think.... charming - alternate way to say tiny shanty)

It snowed all day, and is still snowing now.

It's beautiful, yes, but sometimes there's only so much beauty a person can take. I am glad for the forest though.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

TOC - Weather

This week's TOC was weather. Lots of weather happening in So Cal right now. That's always different!

I'm just happy we've been having lots of rain and no real snow the last couple days. Pretty enjoyable to fall asleep with the rain falling. And then waking to more rain, and no snow. I love it! I'm also prepared for the snow that's expected though. It is still February after all.

OH and I got some requests played for the theme, 3 of them -- "Cold Rain and Snow" and "Box of Rain", Grateful Dead (resident tribal Dead Head) ... and "Sunny Afternoon" The Kinks. While the snow is gorgeous and very romantic as I watch it fall, I'm also looking forward to Lazin on a Sunny Afternoon -- in the Summertime!

This is ACEO sized, acrylic.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Illustration Friday - flawed

This is my entry for Illustration Friday's prompt of "flawed".

Sometimes the flawed one is most beautiful.

Even though this flower looks beautiful to you and me, it's different than the others in this field of daisies -- making it flawed to them.

Of course, usually the one that's different in a group is sometimes the most beautiful.

Look a little deeper into something and you will see the beauty. Everything and everyone has their own beauty, you just have to dig a little sometimes to find it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This is an ACEO (3.5 x 2.5 inches) watercolor and pen and ink. Available for sale on Etsy.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Tribal Art Show

I'll be down in Long Beach this Saturday for the Tribal Art Show. How fun is this? These are people I've met through my wanderings on Jim Ladd's radio show. Yes, I've met them through radio, how cool!

The featured artists are Al Bondigas, KiKi (Coyote Acolyte, aka The Tribal Chef), Radioactive Glo, There It Is There Johnny, and myself!

These gorgeous posters were created by Al Bondigas. WOW! Is all I can say about this creative guy, and also his artistic and quite lovely wife, Radioactive Glo! KiKi has some wonderful oils in fabulous colors, and Johnny is a unique character with a wonderful spirit who has some fantastic rock-n-roll stuff!

So come on down to Long Beach and see us. There will be excellent food, coffee, and some live bands too!! Not to mention the very entertaining Tribal Members.

So maybe all my TOC scribblings have paid off after all!

Thursday, January 29, 2009


As parents and concerned citizens I’m sure most of us at one time or another have been confronted with the question of lead poisoning. But have you asked yourself what your government is doing to protect your children from lead contained in toys? The answer? They're banning toys, taking books from schools and libraries, hurting low income families, killing entrepreneurial spirit and risking putting the economy in an even greater depression than we've seen in decades. I'd like to introduce you to their solution: the CPSIA.

Do you know about the CPSIA? No? Then I ask you to take a few minutes to find out about it.

The CPSIA stands for Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act, a new set of laws that will come into effect on 10 February, 2009 and will impact many, many people in a negative way. Make no mistake, this is very real. View it for yourself. If Forbes, the American Library Association and numerous other media are paying attention, perhaps you should too.

How will these new laws affect you? Well, here are a few examples:

To the Parents of Young Students:
Due to the new law, expect to see the cost of school supplies sky rocket. While those paper clips weren't originally intended for your student to use, they will need to be tested now that your 11-year-old needs them for his school project. This law applies to any and all school supplies (textbooks, pencils, crayons, paper, etc.) being used by children under 12.

To the Avid Reader:
Due to the new law, all children's books will be pulled from library and school shelves, as there is no exemption for them. That’s okay though, there's always television. Our children don’t need to learn the love of reading after all.

Article from the American Library Association

To the Lover of All Things Handmade:
Due to the new law, you will now be given a cotton ball and an instruction manual so you can make it yourself since that blanket you originally had your eye on for $50 will now cost you around $1,000 after it's passed testing. It won't even be the one-of-a-kind blanket you were hoping for. Items are destroyed in the testing process making one-of-a-kind items virtually impossible. So that gorgeous hand-knit hat you bought your child this past winter won’t be available next winter.

To the Environmentalist:
Due to the new law, all items in non-compliance will now be dumped into our already overflowing landfills. Imagine not just products from the small business owners, but the Big Box Stores as well. You can't sell it so you must toss it. Or be potentially sued for selling it. You can't even give them away. If you are caught, it is still a violation.

To the Second-Hand Shopper:
Due to the new law, you will now need to spend $20 for that brand new pair of jeans for your 2-year old, rather than shop at the Goodwill for second hand. Many resale shops are eliminating children's items all together to avoid future lawsuits.

To the Entrepreneur:
Due to this new law, you will be forced to adhere to strict testing of your unique products or discontinue to make and/or sell them. Small businesses will be likely to be unable to afford the cost of testing and be forced to close up shop. Due to the current economic state, you'll have to hope for the best when it comes to finding a new job in Corporate America.

To the Antique Toy Collector:
Due to the new law, you'd better start buying now because it's all going to private collection and will no longer be available to purchase. “Because the new rules apply retroactively, toys and clothes already on the shelf will have to be thrown out if they aren't certified as safe.”

To the American Economy:
Already struggling under an economy that hasn’t been this weak in decades, the American economy will be hit harder with the inevitable loss of jobs and revenues from suppliers, small businesses and consumers. The required testing is far too costly and restrictive for small businesses or individuals to undertake.

To the Worldwide Economy:
Due to this new law, many foreign manufacturers have already pulled out of the US market. You can imagine the impact of this on their businesses.

If you think this is exaggerating, here is a recent article from Forbes

And for those of you prepared to be stupefied and boggled, The New Law>

Did you know? If this upsets or alarms you, please react.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Art Lesson - Ancient Egypt Sarcophagus

This art lesson was done with 2 classes of 6th graders a week or so ago. It's a little more difficult to fit into the schedule with the middle school kids, and the lessons must be curriculum based. The kids were on their unit of Ancient Egypt, so I came up with this lesson (with the help of my good friends HC and GC, Thanks guys!)

Each kid was given a large piece of paper (24x13"), pencils, eraser, black sharpie and scissors. I also had some copies of different sarcophagi, hieroglyphs, and symbols for them to refer to. I drew with them a simple version, telling them they could do their own, or if they needed to just follow along with my drawing. They started in pencil, then traced over with the sharpie. I had them do any details with the sharpie also. The day before the Social Studies teacher had gone over hieroglyphs with them using some stamps. So they were well acquainted with that. They could write their name, or anything appropriate really. It's slightly morbid to have kids make their own coffin, but oh well, that's why they had the option to put Cleopatra or whatever. I encouraged them to also use some symbols and we talked a little about what some of the symbols meant.

Once all the details were drawn they were to cut out the shape. At this point it got a little hectic and it was very helpful that I had at least 2 helpers to assist. First we adults stapled 3/4 around the coffin, then had the kids stuff it with loosely crumbled newspaper. We then finished stapling the edges. While they were stapling we brought some tempera paint, paintbrush, water and they went to painting.

Most did not get done in the 55 minutes period. Luckily most of the 6th period teachers allowed those that wanted to come back to the art room and finish. It's a good sign when you have a full class again with kids wanting to finish up the project.

So it was a busy 3 class periods of art with the 6th graders. This was perfectly fine with me since they're my son's group, and I've been doing art with them since they were in Kindergarten, many I've known since they were babes. I don't get as much time with them as I use to have, and they really are a wonderful group, so it was enjoyable indeed.

I think there's a good chance that this will become an annual project for 6th grade. Yay!

Oh, and the top 2 examples are girls' versions, the bottom are boys'.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Illustration Friday - contained

Boy, what a blogger-bum I've been lately!

I did an Illustration Friday, but I'm a day too late. This is for the prompt "contained."

I can't contain the happiness I feel over the coming inauguration. I'm hopeful for better times ahead, for us all.

This is just a quickie acrylic painting on paper.

So I didn't officially make it for the IF deadline, but at least I did one this week.

I was also inspired a little by watching some 5th graders painting today. They were really enjoying their mixing of the paint, so I wanted to just throw on some paint also. It's a little different than my normal style?

Speaking of the 5th graders. One of them made the comment while doing this mixing of paint.... "I feel like a kid again." That was surely the quote of the week. See how important art is, especially for kids?

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

New Magnet Set

I've made a little set of magnets. It features 3 of my little art prints. All of these prints are whimsical and a little magical, all were done in watercolor and pen and ink.

The three prints are ...

1) "Like to join me?"... which features the very charming, yet slightly stinky, Miss Garlic Sprout.

2) "Magic happens to only those who believe" .... this has the print of the Secret Garden, it's what the flowers do when you're not looking.

3) "If music be the food of love, play on." --Shakespeare ... which features the debonair Froggy who went-a-courtin' the lovely Miss Mousey.

I've got them in both my Etsy Shop and the new ArtFire Shop! Hmmm, I wonder which place will get the first sale?

OH, I'm also joining in with the many creative people who are living Creative Everyday in 2009.

Are you going to live creatively everyday this year too?

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Illustration Friday - resolve

Here's my entry for this week's IF theme of "resolve."

I resolve to do I.F... no matter how difficult it may be!

This was drawn with pen, then colored digitally.

I like digital colors, but I think I need more experience. It just looks too stale to me. I guess the practice is good, and it's fun.

And now for some reason my thumbnail didn't show up on the IF Link Viewer. Not sure what happened. It never happened before :(

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Welcome 2009!

Let's all Shine in "09! OK?

Here's wishing for Peace on Earth in the New Year!