Monday, August 31, 2009

I am learning to use the paint program with photos...

"This world is a mountain, in which your works are echoed back to you."
Jelaluddin Rumi

Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Love the patterns of the seeds of the Sunflower plant.
Next years Sunflower children.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Many of my watercolor paintings reflect the wild places
that I have lived in, explored and soaked in through my eyes
and are now imbedded into my psyche.
The top painting was influenced by spending some time in The Valley of the Gods in the Four Corners area of Southeast Utah.
The bottom one surely is my memory of the golden rolling
hills of California in the summer.

Some of my paintings have been in cyberspace
for a few weeks now. In September I will be part of a public
show for the first time in my life .
My Summer at Home in the Year of the OX collage of 7/8/9 and
Red Oaks on the Olentangy, a nature print watercolor will hang for the month of September in the lobby of the Ohio State Office Tower in downtown Columbus, Ohio as part of a Columbus artists

Thursday, August 27, 2009

If you haven't already guessed , I Love Sunflowers.
I grew quite a few different varieties this summer
including this variety which is over 6 feet tall in the
backyard right now. I took this picture a few summers
back in a field in Half Moon Bay, California.
Here's what I found on about Sunflowers:
The common Sunflower is a native of Mexico and Peru, introduced into this country in the sixteenth century and now one of our most familiar garden plants.
It is an annual herb, with a rough, hairy stem, 3 to 12 feet high, broad, coarselytoothed, rough leaves, 3 to 12 inches long, and circular heads of flowers, 3 to 6 inches wide in wild specimens and often a foot or more in cultivation. The flower-heads are composed of many small tubular flowers arranged compactly on a flattish disk: those in the outer row have long strap-shaped corollas, forming the rays of the composite flower.
The genus Helianthus, to which the Sunflower belongs, contains about fifty species, chiefly natives of North America; many are indigenous to the Rocky Mountains, others to tropical America, and a few species are found in Peru and Chile.
They are tall, hardy, annual or perennial herbs, several of which are grown in gardens, being of easy cultivation in moderately good soil, and that useful plant of the kitchen garden, the Jerusalem Artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), is also a member of the genus.
The name Helianthus, being derived from helios (the sun) and anthos (a flower), has the same meaning as the English name Sunflower, which it is popularly supposed has been given these flowers from a supposition that they follow the sun by day, always turning towards its direct rays. But since the word 'Sunflower' existed in English literature before the introduction of H. annuus, or at any rate before its general diffusion in English gardens, it is obvious that some other flower must have been intended. The Marigold (Calendulu officinalis) is considered by Dr. Prior to have been the plant described by Ovid as turning to the sun, likewise the solsaece of the Anglo-Saxon, a word equivalent to solsequium (sun-following). The better explanation for the application of the name to a flower is its resemblance to 'the radiant beams of the sun.'
In Peru, this flower was much reverenced by the Aztecs, and in their temples of the Sun, the priestesses were crowned with Sunflowers and carried them in their hands. The early Spanish conquerors found in these temples numerous representations of the Sunflower wrought in pure gold.
In some of the old Herbals we find the Rock-rose (Helianthemum vulgare) also termed Sunflower, its flowers opening only in the sunshine. The so-called 'Pigmy sunflower' is Actinella grandiflora, a pretty perennial 6 to 9 inches high, from the Colorado mountains.
The Sunflower is valuable from an economic, as well as from an ornamental point of view. Every part of the plant may be utilized for some economic purpose. The leaves form a cattle-food and the stems contain a fibre which may be used successfully in making paper. The seed is rich in oil, which is said to approach more nearly to olive oil than any other vegetable oil known and to be largely used as a substitute. In prewar days, Sunflower seed was sometimes grown in this country, especially on sewage farms, as an economical crop for pheasants, as well as poultry. The flowers contain a yellow dye.
One of the many effects of the War in its relation to agriculture was the increase in the use of the Sunflower.
It forms one of the well-known crops in Russia, Spain, France, Germany, Italy, Egypt, India, Manchuria and Japan. The average acre will produce about 50 bushels of merchantable seeds, and each bushel yields approximately 1 gallon of oil, for which there is a whole series of important uses.
The oil is produced mainly in Russia, but to an increasing extent also in Roumania, Hungary, Bulgaria and Poland. In 1913 some 180,000 tons of oil were produced, practically all of which was consumed locally.
The oil pressed from the seeds is of a citron yellow colour and a sweet taste and is considered equal to olive oil or almond oil for table use. The resulting oil-cake when warm pressed, yields a less valuable oil which is used largely for technical purposes, such as soap-making, candle-making and in the art of wool-dressing. As a drying oil for mixing paint, it is equal to linseed oil and is unrivalled as a lubricant.
The residue after the oil is expressed forms an important cattle-food. This oil-cake is relished by sheep, pigs, pigeons, rabbits and poultry.
The seed makes excellent chicken-food and feeding fowls on bruised Sunflower seeds is well known to increase their laying power.
The seeds of the large-seeded varieties are also much liked by Russians and are sold in the street as are chestnuts in this country. Big bowls of Sunflower seeds are to be seen in the restaurants of railway stations, for people to eat. Indian natives are also fond of the seeds.
Roasted in the same manner as coffee, they make an agreeable drink, and the seeds have been used in Portugal and Russia to make a wholesome and nutritious bread.
The pith of the sunflower stalk is the lightest substance known; its specific gravity is 0.028, while that of the Elder is 0.09 and of Cork 0.24. The discovery of the extreme lightness of the pith of the stalk has essentially increased the commercial value of the plant. This light cellular substance is now carefully removed from the stalks and applied to a good many important uses, chiefly in the making of life-saving appliances. The pith has been recommended for moxa, owing to the nitre its contains.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

stream these

If you love the newest and best of folk and acoustic
music try streaming these two (or 3:) programs
mon-Friday 9-3 EST Ante Meridian (A.M) and Global Village 12-3 on Maggie Brennan is an amazing dj( also Roots and Offshoots
on SUnday nights 9-11 EST)and so is the a.m. guy

and Gary Wells on alternate Sundays from 7-10 am PST then stick around for great
music from Hawaai
Yea, yea, yea, I have blogged about both before but really
do you want to go through my entire blog to be able to click on the links
for musical inspiration? You won't be sorry, try it!
Science (!) has proven that if you listen to the same ole music day in

and day out yer brain is not challenged at all..but listening to NEW
world, folk and acoustic music should do the trick
to stimulate those brain cells!!!
"I go among trees and sit still.
All my stirring becomes quiet
Around me like circles on water.
My tasks lie in their places
Where I left them, asleep like cattle.
Then what I am afraid of comes.
I live for a while in it's sight.
What I fear in it leaves it,
And the fear of it leaves me.
It sings, and I hear it's song."
Wendell Berry


"But pleasures are like poppies spread,
You seize the flower, it's bloom is shed,
Or like the snow falls on the river,
A moment white-then melts forever."
Robert Burns (1759-1796, Scotland)

Bill and Athena Steen

The first books that taught me THOROUGHLY what it is to build a sustainable Strawbale Structure that I found more than10 years ago were written by Bill and Athena Steen.They head the "Canelo Project" and have done the most( in my opinion) to dispel myths (fire, climate etc) about Strawbale Structures and spread the idea that anyone can build their own house up from the ground. They also finish what they start and do most of the work needed to complete their structures themselves.
Check out their books :
The Straw Bale House
The Beauty of Straw Bale HomesBuilt by Hand:Vernacular Buildings Around the World
Small Strawbale: Natural Homes, Projects & Designs
The HandCrafted Life of Don Juan Morales

Their website is also very inspiring:

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Water sets the example for right conduct...
it flows on and on, and merely fills up the places
through which it flows;
it does not shrink from any dangerous spot
nor from any plunge,
and nothing can make it lose
it's own essential nature.
from The I Ching

Love is so exquisitely elusive. It cannot be bought,
cannot be badgered,cannot be hijacked. It is available only in one rare form: as the natural
response of a healthy mind and healthy heart.
Eknath Easwaran

Monday, August 24, 2009

I did both of these collages
a few years back
after watching hours of a PBS special that featured
Joseph Campbell talking about The Power of Myth (one of the most
inspiring writers/voices of my lifetime)
and reading both "The Hero with a Thousand Faces"
and "Though Art That". My own spirituality has always been
a sort of potpourri and more vast than mainstream anything.
I see the jewels of all of the various paths/connections to the divine
and they are reflected in many of my collages but especially these.
I have also always loved looking at all kinds of fabrics and beads
from many different cultures.
I also love the poetry of Rumi for this very same reason.
I feel so very fortunate to be living in these times when we
CAN express our relationship to the divine in myriad ways.
We are all colorful threads in one huge fabric.

I had a dream last night where I was back in a vast Redwood valley and some friends
had a tiny house behind theirs for me on this parcel of land.
The first time I ever saw a Redwood tree was 1989. I was standing in a place
called "Elfland" on the campus of UCSC in Santa Cruz . I had taken a bus there
while visiting with some Naturalists I was working with in So Cal.
I found my way into the middle of a giant circle grove of them and looked up.
At that moment a drop of water hit me smack dab in the forehead.
Just about 1 year previously my maternal Grandmother Bernie
had uttered "Anne's Forest" to my own Mother right before she died.
When I landed in this circle and was hit by the drop of water I started crying
because I knew that I had indeed found "my forest" and that these were the trees that she had seen as she "passed on".
I went on for many years to teach children and adults as a Naturalist about this most
amazing tree that lives to be around 2000 years old. The most common way for them to reproduce is to send out new shoots from burls in the base of their trunks. Eventually the "Mother tree" dies and what is left are these circles of Redwood trees.
Due to logging , many of the old circles of Redwoods are gone. They rarely ever stand
alone like this but I have seen a few. They seem lonely without their grove mates in a circle.
This is a watercolor that I attempted years ago of Sequoia Sempervirens (The Coast Redwood).
I hope to return to the west someday and live among my trees, once again.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Today is the very first day that it feels like Fall here in central Ohio.
It is hands down my favorite season of the year.
Being an October baby, I have also always had an affinity for Pumpkins
and all of their various squash relatives.
I went out into the backyard this morning around 9 and the
whole world felt magical. A flock of Canada Geese flew overhead
(as if on cue) and I admired my giant sunflower that just
bloomed a few days ago. I have quite a few things to harvest
and am without a digital camera right now. So I decided to lay some
things on the scanner screen and see what happened. I am
quite pleased with the result above. I Love everything about
gardening but especially the harvest. In this glorious Autumn,
I have much to be Thankful for.
Here's another quote from for 8/24/09

"Ours is not the task of fixing the entire world at once,
but of stretching out to mend the part of the world that is within our reach."
Clarissa Pinkola Estes

From my favorite "George":
"When you can do the common things of life in an uncommon way,
you will command the attention of the world. "
George Washington Carver

Friday, August 21, 2009

From an old watercolor notebook...

Through the Fire and Out Again


The Last Redwood Grove

Elemental Medicine Wheel

The Wave of Pacific Fog

Thursday, August 20, 2009

"In an age where there is much talk about "being yourself,"
I reserve to myself the right to forget about being myself,
since in any case there is very little chance of my being anybody else."
Thomas Merton

"If you follow your bliss, you put yourself on a kind
of track that has been there all the while,
waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be
living is the one you are living."
Joseph Campbell

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Air Water Fire Earth
potato print

Monday, August 17, 2009

catalpa potpourri box lid
wish I knew a way to keep them from yellowing so fast...
but it gives them a sense of patina
Earlier this spring before I left The Lighthouse, I had started getting into the fine old art of Modpodge. It might be nostalia for childhood but it is indeed fun. I had been using the paper I made for most of the backgrounds but this is a collage I did on a shoe box. The background is a rubbing of a tile that was the centerpiece of a shard mosaic table I was working on that the great Pacific winds and water eroded it's grout. So I took it apart and still have two of the Italian-made to-look Mayan tiles from the "bone pile" in Santa Cruz. Now I am having fun modpodging flower petals from out back on my homemade paper backgrounds. Another "botanical" shoe box lid is up above.

"It is something

to be able to paint

a particular picture,

or to carve a statue

and so to make a few objects beautiful;

But it is far more glorious

to carve and paint

the very atmosphere and medium

through which we look.

To affect the quality of the day-

that is the highest of arts."

Henry David Thoreau

Saturday, August 15, 2009

My Year Of the Ox collage

Thank You to Jodi B., Bill B., Katie B. and Gretchen
for supporting my Art. I will be forever Grateful!!!

Help! I don't get twitter...

I am usually the last to "get" jokes so it's no great surprise
that I don't get Twitter. But someone invited me to I went for it.
Maybe I am not seeing something everyone else can see on their
"screen'..go figure , the story of my life.
IT seems like the focus is short and - to -the- point- messages.
Having inherited my (mostly) Irish Mother's gift for gab, I of course
have never been short and to the point.
So, hey I am in one way keeping up with the times. No, I still don't have a cell
phone but give me credit for the blog and now Twitter.
Here is a quote that my friend Gretchen ,( an amazing artist and new Mother
of a beautiful daughter, married to an incredible musician, Adam) sent me.
We have been having an ongoing conversation for a while about ART
and life. We both Love inspiring quotes.
Thank You, Gretchen for your friendship.

Five Precepts On Happiness
1 Though your friends and family will likely try to save you from it,yours is nobody else’s business or responsibility.
2 You cannot cause,manufacture or manipulate it. It comes, if at all, as gift to be received with gratitude.
3 Hope to receive it and prepare by giving away what you least want to lose.
On this point Jesus and Buddha dance.
4 Refuse to carry the burden of maintaining it.That’s unnecessary baggage,will betroth you to a boulder and a hill.
5 If you receive some, scatter it like seed.Sharing assures preservation. As with manna,held tight, it rots.-- Bonnie Thurston
I have been waking up at around 3 am again and today got up at 4 and started looking on the web.
I very rarely click on the "Next blog" button up top right but today I did and found two great surprises. What came up was (some inspiring pictures and needlepoints that remind me of my Grandma Naomi) and then from hers clicked on a link for and wow...a treasure trove of copyright free stuff for mixed media artists( such as myself). I think I will scan some more of my collages next. I love the illustrations on this blog.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

leap of faith
over the chasm

Monday, August 10, 2009

Memory Lane

Spending alot of time looking for more of my lost art.
I have been living out of boxes again for over
4 months and trying to pare down what I do have to simplify,simplify.
I came across this old booth picture of yours truly
with my favorite old Saturn Cafe t-shirt when it was
still on Mission street in Santa Cruz back in the early 90's.

found it!

funny omission.
the rep is missing from repeating.
Small scanner screen blues.

things found

I have the life-long habit (inherited from my paternal Grandmother, Naomi, also a bookworm) of stuffing things into books. Scraps of paper, photographs, other little special things...and then forgetting about them until I pick up that book again. Today I found this painting I had stuffed into "Life's Companion, Journal Writing as a Spiritual Quest" by Christina Baldwin, one of my all time favorite books and one I found back in 1994 when I was dealing with Ovarian Cancer.
The quotes I am putting on my blog today came from this book.

“When you make the two one, and when you make the inside like the outside and the outside like the inside, and the above like the below, and when you make the male and the female one and the same, so that the male is not male nor the female female…then you will enter the kingdom.” Gnostic Gospel of Thomas:25-38

”Despair is the ultimate blackness that
every person must endure in gaining full maturity…and this is not such a bad thing as we have been led to believe.”
John Brantner

“What is the purpose or meaning of life? To get your story straight. To create a safe and gentle environment
for yourself, and help create one for other folks, for living what truth you can stand.”
Rebecca Hill “ All the Big Questions”

“There are really only two things to do-one is to be still and listen, the other is to take spiritually based action. Everything else is bogus activity which only gets in the way of our real understanding.” Joy Houghton

“And it won’t help any, it won’t get us anywhere
it won’t wipe away what has been
nor hold off what is to be
if you hear me saying
-LOVE is a little white bird-
and the flight of it so fast
you can’t see it
and you know it’s there
only by the faint whirr of it’s wings

and the hush song coming so low to your ears
you fear it might be silence
and you listen keen and you listen long
and you know it’s more than silence
for you get the hush song so lovely
it hurts and cuts into your heart
and what you want is to give more than you can get
and you’d like to write it but it can’t be written
and you’d like to sing it but you don’t dare try
because the little white bird sings it better than you can
so you listen and while you listen you pray
and one day it’s as though a great slow wind
had washed you clean and strong inside and out
and the little white bird’s hush song
is telling you nothing can harm you,
the days to come can weave in and weave out
and spin their fabrics and designs for you
and nothing can harm you-
unless you change yourself into a thing of harm
nothing can harm you.
I give you the little white bird-
And my thanks for your hearing me-
And my prayers for you,
My deep silent prayers.
- Carl Sandburg “Little Word, Little White Bird”

Saturday, August 8, 2009

When I was younger alot of my paintings

were abstracts like these. Later on, I read

a quote by Georgia O'Keeffe. I'm still trying to find it

but the gist of it was that she painted these

shapes and she wasn't quite sure

where they came from, but she painted them still.

I have always felt that way about any of my abstract paintings

such as both of these.

The bottom two of these are
an experiment I did painting
with watercolor and tempura
on small canvasses. I have
been painting more of these
lately and really love them.

There have been times in my life when
I am content doing potato prints and making paper
for days on end. I have done both of these
projects alot with children in various programs
so I have lots and lots of these as well
I love the simplicity and repetition of them

This is is a pastel I did when
I lived in the Redwoods

"Singing has always seemed to me the most perfect
means of expression. It is so spontaneous.
And after singing, I think the violin.
Since I cannot sing, I paint. " Georgia O'Keeffe