Monday, January 17, 2011

Adventures in art and art classes • Other adventures in Northern California

I finally sent out my first email Newsletter last week. It was hard figuring it out but am pretty happy with it. Next I have to figure out how to do the join my newsletter button to put on here and my websites ( and I tried to make it as artful and heartful as possible, sharing art, and news, and info about my upcoming classes. Here's the header I designed and the info about the classes is on the right.
If you'd like to receive my next newsletter email me at  and I'll put you on the list.

Click on any image to enlarge

Other News
I'm so happy I've just about finished the full size sketches for an animal book I've been working on. Here's one of the funkier sketches that still has a good feeling about it. Below is a similar pic that I was fooling around with for ideas for my color sample. Today I looked again at hummingbirds and when their wings are up their tail feathers go down so will be tweaking that for the final. Oops.

text will remain a mystery for now

In the publishing world that uses 4 color process printing you're not supposed to use metallic colors as it's an extra ink run, but even without using metallic ink, I still think glitter looks great.

This lovely ceramic baby is going to my awesomely talented friends and former students Hugh D'Andrade and Mati Rose McDonagh whose work I both adore. Hugh was my teacher too when we were both teaching at UC Berkeley extension and I have him to thank for much of my web designing skills. I made the baby when I was  teaching in Illinois and learning ceramics was my big stress reliever. I learned to make the mold, which was ridiculously heavy and made 5 of these altogether. 2 have been completed and the other one below I'm either keeping or will be getting traded with another fabulous friend Maya Gonzalez, children's book author and illustrator extraordinaire, fine artist and co-publisher of Reflection Press  Am looking forward to completing the other 3 but I don't think one of them will survive the firing process a 2nd time. Will see how it goes. The mold was accidentally thrown out so these are the only babies like this that will ever be made, I call them a limited, limited edition.

Speaking of teaching and learning Mati is starting an online art course with her friend Lisa Congdon that should be fabulous. It's called Get Your Paint On. Despite slim finances, I've signed up because I think it will be grand and will both help me continue growing as an artist and nurture me in other ways. It starts Jan 31st - Here's the link

Cabin Fever and a trip to Locke
Whenever my husband spends too much time indoors he gets cabin fever, so we went off adventuring and exploring to the California Delta and Locke in particular. It was wonderful. It's an historic area that hasn't been gentrified or commodified - Wow!  It was designed and built in 1918 following a fire in nearby Walnut Grove by Chinese workers for their own community. Up until fairly recently it was an exclusively Chinese town which is pretty amazing. There are still some Chinese families there but not as many as in its heyday of 600 people. Now the population is pretty small, definitely some artists, eccentrics, and maybe some outlaw types living there. There are also LOTS of street cats, including some very handsome and friendly ones that I got to pet. This made me happy. Here are a couple of pictures from Guy's cell phone (I forgot my camera).

Not sure of the politics of this one above but it was fun to do. The buildings are just what they look like on the highway side.

My beautiful brother-in-law Bruce and his wife Bernadette. They were here from Brussels where Bruce is in a band, performs in films and theater, and translates with Bernadette. Bernadette is also an artist and a joy to be around. They were here for Xmas but have gone back now. I miss them.
One of my beautiful and talented students Lakshmi with her mother. I couldn't get mom to smile but I loved their presence together.

The pictures below are from burning 1990s tax records. It was wonderful.

Monday, January 3, 2011

The joys of collage and the journey of making meaning, joy, healing, and transformation

Like for many artists, art has been a journey of making meaning, joy, healing, and transformation. This past year has been full of the good, the bad, the ugly, and the process of transformation through beauty, and art making. Rather than dwell on the difficulties (the bad and the ugly) I'd like to focus on the good that has come either out of the difficulties, or of its own. I have been forming community in Sacramento which has been wonderful, teaching art classes, also wonderful, adjunct university teaching which is partly wonderful (I hate grading and how it corrupts the learning process), making art, writing and illustrating kids books, and building my new business Transformational Arts Practice and its website One of the goals of TAP is to bring art programs into senior care facilities. I am very excited about this as I love being around elders and all that they have to teach. Another one of my goals for 2011 is to begin teaching online courses which if anyone knows how you do this, I'd be grateful to hear from you. You can see some examples of my classes and students work at I've also been making art which always makes my heart sing. These collages come from working on a very intuitive level and seeing what comes up.

This is from a beautiful Mary Oliver poem. I love her work and often use her poems in painting to poetry classes. I need to go in and credit her name on the piece. In terms of the art, I  love the weight of the rocks/mountains and the lightness of the heart. The first line in the poem is the name of the piece. I transferred it using both back and front painting. The woman holds a wand or flower which leads to a floating heart as a source or possible idea. The first line "I don't know what a prayer is" speaks to my own spiritual journey of finding peace, connection, and beauty in nature. The large boulders or mountains represent the obstacles I put in my way to get to that place of peace, connection, and beauty. Not sure where the Indian woman is from. If I find the source will go back in and credit.

I've been playing around with making stamps. This piece isn't finished. It's called "the flight of the bumblebees." It was fun and easy to make.

This piece about family of origin stuff (or FOO) uses an excerpt from Chuck Smoot's poem "Forgiveness." The decorative paper is used here as a dark sun or moon.

This collage piece is pretty self-evident. I am such a huge hummingbird fan and paint/draw/collage them whenever I can. I've also become a glitter fan which appeals to the girly part of me.

Here's my personal transformation piece or "inner goddesses." That's me as a serious baby, the goddess that has arisen from this young child symbolizes spirituality and wealth in the forms of her multi-hued halo and the bowl of golden eggs represent creative fertility. My spirituality and wealth has always materialized in the form of art making (creativity) and the wealth of friendships and love. The halo points to a tightrope walker walking on a fine golden thread She is holding it together on this delicate journey juggling what might be golden balls, or a series of suns. The final aspect is the warrior goddess, seeking to do good or battle wrong. While armored, she carries flowers as she emerges from a unfolding peony - a symbol of riches and good fortune. Who knew this little girl had all that in her?

"Into the mystery" includes drawing, painting, collage, and handmade stamps. It's about head and heart connections, unfolding ( a re-occurring element), different kinds of wealth, and the miracle of the hummingbird. The figure is like a key hole or portal opening into a world of ideas and feelings.

Spy story tells a visual narrative about good versus bad. But is it really that simple?

This collage isn't finished. I have no idea where it will take me but am enjoying the ride.

Here's a recent photo where I Photoshopped in a picture from Baby Rattlesnake in the background for the Crocker Art Museum where I hope to be teaching in April. Being a Photoshop wizz, I also Photoshopped out the dark Eastern Europan descent circles under my eyes and softened some of my wrinkles. I commented in Facebook recently about struggling with the aesthetics of aging. I think it may be time to stop doing the virtual face lifts. Wish me luck.