Papaya in Progress


Work in progress.  Silvina recommends that we stop and take a cell phone shot along the way because it can help us see what we’re doing in a different way.

This was a challenging set up!  Papaya with all those gorgeous seeds inside, and glass for the first time!


Another shot along the way. Note the difference between the salt shaker in this shot and the last one.


I could use a lot more than 3 hours with this subject!  The salt shake is not really good, but at least it looks more like the salt shaker looked as it sat not three feet from me.

It’s amazing how you have to train your brain to actually train your brain to transfer what you actually see rather than what you think you know about an object!  I was feeling really good about the salt shaker in the second shot, but it wasn’t at all representative of the object in front of me.

I suppose we all do this a lot in life…see the form we expect to see rather than the thing or person who is right in front of us. Ah, humans.

I took a cell phone shot of the set up and it looked amazing. This stuff was in a box again, to create the dramatic shadows.

“See?” I said, “That’s what I like about photography.  I could have done this three hours ago and been done with it!”


Ink in the Drink



I dipped my fountain pen this morning because  it was being finicky, and more than the usual amount of ink flowed into my water glass. I leapt to find a camera as it spiraled.

I’ve probably drunk more than the average amount of ink in my life, as I’ve been using fountain pens since middle school and I’ve used this method to loosen up the ink fairly often.  After a few minutes, it’s integrated into the water and you can hardly even taste it.


I’m also quite susceptible to extracting moral and metaphor from my daily life. (I blame Sunday school.)

When I first discovered fountain pens, I tended to shatter pencil leads or get a hand cramp from bearing down too hard for too long on a ball point pen. There’s no quicker way to ruin a fountain pen nib than to press too hard. They’ve helped me lighten up both literally and metaphorically.  I can’t push my creativity too hard or it will balk.

On the other hand, if I neglect my writing, my fountain pen will dry up and I will need to tender it some care before I can expect it to flow again.

See where I’m going with this? The creative process is much the same. If I don’t use it I won’t exactly lose it, but I can’t expect it to tumble out of my brain/soul/fingertips like a mountain stream, either.

p.s. Note to my photographer self: It would be cool if you could keep your area free of background distractions at  all times so you could get clear shots of stuff like ink in glasses.

I only got these two shots because in my hurry to clear the table I bumped the glass and the ink dissipated faster. Okay… There must be a lesson here, too.


Elephants Charging


My friend Shu-Ju Wang of Fingers to the Bone Studio allowed me to print out this collage of a drawing in progress that she did while hanging out at a gallery at which her work was on display a couple of weeks ago.  I just love it.

Now it’s inside my writing notebook, because it says something to me about the creative process that I’m not going to mess up by trying to articulate.  You probably get it just from looking at this.

My writing group has reformed with new members.  I am feeling like I’m coming home to my writing again after spending some time freaking out  in the wilds, then finally focusing on other creative outlets like music, cooking and gardening.

Like I say to my fabulous nieces and nephews, defend your art, whatever it is.  Participating in the creative process, even if you have to change your approach to it, will get you through tough times like nothing else.

Awkward Drawing of a Comfortable Chair


I’m still struggling a bit with my muse. Or muses.  It’s like they are duking it out for my attention lately.  I want to work on the novel rewrite, I really do.  I get up early. Sometimes I light candles or give my singing bowl a tap. Sometimes I make tea with great intention to bring her to my page.

Sometimes she comes.  Sometimes one of the others butts in line.  This morning I wrote a little at Starbucks and then the drawing muse elbowed her way onto the couch next to me.

“Nice fountain pen,” she cooed. “What a bold line it makes. Don’t you just love the leather chairs here? Last of a dying breed amongst the Starbucks.” She sighed heavily, as if they were already gone.

I couldn’t quite line up the camera to the same perspective as the drawing, but it is interesting how quickly I can see what’s out of whack when I look at the photograph. I knew it was awkward, but not exactly why.  Might be an interesting exercise to draw, take a photograph and then do another drawing having made the comparison.

But of course I didn’t think of that till I got to my computer, did I?

Anyway, after one nice calm weekend, March is picking up again. I’d like to say I’m going to write every day this month, but I don’t know if that will happen.  What I will say is that I’m going to do something creative every day this month.

March 1 – wrote, blogged.  March 2 – organized and edited photographs. March 3 – started sanding down the two tables I bought at the flea market and started researching painting/refinishing methods. March 4 – wrote (novel rewrite). March 5 – wrote, sketched.

p.s. You would love this new furniture-refinishing muse’s outfit. Bright yellow overalls atop a faded red tee shirt with the sleeves cut off, dark blue and white paisley handkerchief tied over her hair, and these cool goggles with squiggly permanent marker designs on the frames. She has muscles like that World War II “We Can Do It!” poster girl.

What do your muses look like?

Embellishing the Past


I wanted  to use this cool vintage cowboy-themed fabric from a cotton flannel shirt that LDub gave me in some sort of project. The shirt is really voluminous–apparently designed for a hip troll–and would take a lot of tailoring to be wearable.

We revamped our Secret Santa gift exchange at work a few years ago, and it’s been really nice.  We lowered the limit from $25 each to $10 each and banned gift cards. It had gotten to the point where we were all just trading gift cards!  Now we send out a note with hints about what we would like to receive.  It’s a lot more fun to shop this way, and people have been getting quite creative.

Weens said she’d like a potholder.  I considered making one from scratch for about a millisecond, but realized that I couldn’t make one with a nice safe rubberized pad like the one that’s on the other side of these.  So I took a bit of fabric with me down to Ye Olde Target store and bought two of these ready made potholders. Because I am well aware of my capacity to mess things up beyond repair and I didn’t want to have to run back into Palmdale to get another one after I cut through something important.

All went well, though.  The fabric I embellished the potholder with was SO cooperative.  Responded very well to ironing, which was a real relief.  This sample is from the sleeve, so I have quite a bit more to work with, tra la!

As luck would have it, Weens and I drew each other for the exchange!  I added some hot chocolate and some firewood to her package and stayed under the limit since we grew and cut the firewood ourselves.  I said surprises and handmade stuff are always welcome and she did a great job of putting together a package of appropriate things: pen, notebook, and an amazing home made Christmas ball.  Which oh so tragically fell to the floor with a sickening splat about 15 minutes after I hung it on our tree.  I feel really rotten about that, because it was gorgeous and her own unique idea. 😦

Anyway, that’s one of the things I’m up to.  I’m looking forward to finding more ways to use the rest of the fabric!


p.s. This is the sweet tea cup I did not bring home with me from The T Room in Montrose.  The white and wisteria one on the left.  Quite delicate and unusual.  For sale, but no price on it.  I refrained from asking.  Sigh.

Primary Residence


Little clay houses for me and you.

My pal Antipasta is very fond of the image of a house.  She asked for something handmade for her birthday, and that clay I bought a while back hadn’t dried up, so I made this for her.  It has a nice weight to it.

It’s called Primary Residence.  Because–ha ha–it’s done in primary colors.

I know, I’m a big dork.

Kitty and Sundry Getty It On

Hey, kids, did you know that the Getty offers free drawing hours every month?   I stumbled upon this info more than a year ago, but I just didn’t make it there until this Sunday, when Kitty went with me.  Here’s the scoop from The Getty itself.  If you decide to go, drop me a line and I might meet up with you.

Artist Stas  Orlovski (pictured above, discussing our work) took us through some great warm up exercises and shared his insights on how gesture speaks in art.  Not only did I get some good tips on laying out a drawing, but I think I will always look at the human figure in art works a little differently.

We did a series of about eight one-minute timed exercises meant to just get the feel of the gestures in the paintings around us.  Then we had two 15 minute sessions to try other techniques and try to do a little more.  Kitty’s drawing is in the upper left of this shot.  I thought the original painting was a little  awkward, but –duh!–I didn’t think to take photos of the artwork we were looking at!

Mine’s the littlest one, to the left there.  My lady was reclining.  I messed up the proportions at first, but Mr. Orlavski told me how I might fix it, so I just went on without erasing and it came out better.

Earlier that beautiful day, Kitty having lunch on the terrace and looking glamorous.

Portrait of the artist as a tourist.  Or the tourist as an artist.

Just a glimpse of the gorgeousness of the day as we left the building.  We could see all the way from the ocean to downtown L.A. from the other end of the center.  I love this place.  It always makes me happy.

Part of its charm is the way it constantly reframes the scenery around it.  The Getty clearly loves Los Angeles.