Wednesday, July 17, 2019


So very true!
When asked if in fact I could find the time during the busy festival season to teach one of the five-hour Sunday Studio Workshops I have to admit I hesitated. Could I?

Well, as a Wizard of Winot (inside info), I of course said, "Why not?"

And, thus, was born the first summer workshop to be held this coming Sunday, July 21st. 

There are still spots left so why not join in the fun? We cover myriad techniques, laugh a lot, enjoy each other's company, nosh on good food to share, and so much more.

 click here to email me if you want to join us. You, too, could say, "Why not?"

Monday, July 15, 2019


Four generations in a year? It's true!  Read on...

The four generations are four different butterflies all going through the four stages of egg, caterpillar, chrysalis and butterfly in each generation.

The generations occur from February/March when monarchs come out of hibernation to when they migrate in September/October to warmer climates.

More next time on the stages of each generation. The ones in my booth--four of them--are all in chrysalis form at the moment.

Saturday, July 13, 2019


I'm not sure where the term "jumping through hoops" emanates from, but I remember something from childhood about the admonition to stop trying to....

Sometimes summer festival season feels as if those hoops just might be narrowing in size...there is just so much to do each day. No matter how organized it seems that I am...well, you know the rest.

Experience tells me that all will be good and that sometimes choices might need to be made. And I get it. Perhaps I just have not quite reached that point yet? There is just soooooooo much that greedy me wants to include in each day. Am I the only one feeling this way? Doubt it.

Still, I am grateful that there is so very much that wants doing in my life. So...I'm off for my morning walk along the shoreline. On my return there will be a load of laundry, a grocery list for later (or maybe early tomorrow), breakfast, banking, pay bills, and a walk to the festival for another good day. 

The hoops are calling!😄

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


The milkweed plant at the edge of my Sawdust Art Festival booth is doing its job well. A little over a week ago, the first Monarch flew around, landed on the plant several times, and then apparently moved on. 

A few days later, two caterpillars were spotted munching away on the leaves. Then, one of them left the plant and wandered back and forth across the 2x6 beam above, finally settling after two days on a spot near the corner post.

Meanwhile, two more caterpillars appeared. One of the original two found a spot to make a cocoon near the edge of the planter.

The jewel-like cocoon formed is truly a miracle with the metallic gold line circling it and the silk formed from which to hang. Amazing!

The other two caterpillars were not to be seen when I checked this morning, but I am sure, with closer inspection, I will find them at some point in the day.

I have learned so much about Monarchs and their life cycle since this all began, both from guests and fellow artists, and--of course--Google.

More next time of what has been learned.

And, once again, the words of Rainer Marie Rilke come to mind: Everything is gestation and then bringing forth.

You can watch the progress in Booth #205 at the Sawdust Art Festival.

Saturday, July 6, 2019


While there is a wide variety of artwork in my Sawdust Art Festival booth (#205) this year, there is a strong feeling of nature going on. I have originals and prints featuring crows, of course! But, in addition I have been blessed for the second year in a row with baby birds. 

This year, the nest is tucked tight up under the roof above the power strip. All day there can be heard chirping in hunger and the garbled chirping of feeding time. 

There is a potted milkweed plant at the corner of the booth. Because of the monarch butterflies I had painted large and small, I thought it might be fun if I could attract the read thing. Well, as of today there are three caterpillars readying to become monarchs. The cocoons are so lovely and jewel-like that I await them with eager anticipation.

It may take a bit more tidying to keep the booth clean with all this nature going on, but it is so worth it and I thoroughly enjoy the many conversations sparked with festival guests.

Won't you come visit? We are open 10 to 10 every day through September 1.

Monday, July 1, 2019


Ah, the challenge of the blank page.  Whether writing, painting, drawing, or whatever your choice, the blank page can be tantalizing and daunting at once.

This is actually the second go-around on this particular blank page. My long thought out, perfect (of course) solution to this month's round robin journal was a complete bust. Blank again, I will head in when there is a bit more time. 

For right now, rather than tantalizing, it feels daunting. It won't last. Last minute panic will rule!!

Friday, June 28, 2019


 For months now I have had a sign on my desk that reads "What can I get rid of today?" This has created a regular routine of finding things both small and large that really no longer seem to serve.

The other day I came upon a package of 5x7 mats that had come into my possession at some time in the past and not been used. Were they to be part of the clean out? Then I noticed the scraps and other set aside bits of alcohol ink play. Why not?

And so, while not exactly lemons and lemonade, the bits and scraps and the small mats have become small salable pieces for my summer Sawdust Art Festival booth. I have more of them and more scraps so I see lots of playtime ahead.

Come see me in Booth #205 just off the main aisle. 

Wednesday, June 26, 2019


Pretty desperately needing this third mug of coffee this morning. Pretty late night after the Sawdust Art Festival Preview Night Party. A long day of prep was followed by a joyful night of re-entry into the social world of festival time. Lots of old and new faces and great conversations over wonderful music in an engaging and fantastical setting. The artists this year have outdone themselves. When you come you should definitely "Expect the Unexpected," as this year's theme states.

There are just two days remaining to finish off the unfinished, like pricing, replacing what already sold, and more. Guess I'd better drag this tired self back to work. 

See you at the Sawdust Art Festival--June 28 thru September 1, 10 am to 10 pm daily!!

Saturday, June 22, 2019


Laurel's booth
Well, I had the best intentions. Daughter Jenna and I got almost all the art hung in my booth today. My intention was to take a picture on completion. However...exhausted, we simply packed up and left. 

There are still some things to be done before I can call "ready," but it's real close. We pushed to complete today in order to go see my mother before the show previews on Tuesday night. (Sometimes life just throws you curves.)

Looking forward to this fabulous final summer. Hope to see all of you there.

(I will try to get a picture of MY booth for the next post :))

Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Labels and more labels...
It's the final countdown....Yeah! Can you hear the musical accompaniment to that one?

There are mere days remaining until Preview Night at the Sawdust Art Festival. Everyone is busy putting finishing touches on booths and work and more. 

I'm down to the labeling of everything. This makes it possible to not be there ALL the time as sales can go to the Sales Booth.

It is going to be quite the celebratory year and everyone should "Expect the Unexpected."

Open June 28-September 1 10 am to 10 pm daily.

Saturday, June 15, 2019


Working on signage details
To create something exceptional, your mindset must be relentlessly focused on the smallest detail. (Georgio Armani)

I look to create something exceptional in this, my 20th, Sawdust Art Festival. This means, as Mr. Armani says, that I must be relentless in my focus. In these last days, it now comes down to all of the details. The art work is complete and will have to stand on merit. The details will have to be on me.

Booth color. Check. Shelves. Check. Pricing....well, soon. Work station. Check. Signage. Halfway there. Business cards. Check. Educational Display. Check. Bio and Photo. Not complete.

There are myriad details still...labeling, price list to Sales Booth, bags and wrapping, and on and on. I must be relentlessly focused because this is to be a celebration of the twenty years. Focus! Focus! Focus!

Wednesday, June 12, 2019


High mountain wilderness
Like nature herself, creativity is something continually reborn. In nature it seems there is much gathering of precious moments to cherish. Often, creativity is the same.

I'd like to share a time when, high in the mountains, I went a-gathering.

The lavish onslaught begins in the early dawn inside a sleeping bag covered with icy rime.A chorus of unfamiliar birdsong echoes around to waken me in the chill morning air. I want to remember the sounds. I listen hard, gathering.

On through the day I am the willing receptacle of sight and sound, taste, texture, and smell: hot coffee as I bring it to my lips fills my nostrils with familiar aroma; the crunch of pumpkin seeds and tart dried cranberries in  my mouth on the trail; the rhythm of footsteps marches along to the clang of metal on my pack; the distinctive sweet, pungent smell of sage...These and so many more sense-filling moments are gathered here in the heights.

At the end of the day, with the the dwindling fire's smoke in my hair, I am again tucked into the same sleeping bag for the night. The wind plays a song through the trees, a bat swoops, the final call of a raven is accompanied by the rush and shore lap of the nearby river. I look one last time up at the night sky where myriad stars cast their light on the darkness. I close my eyes, then pop them open one last time to record all this magnificence. Gathering, even as I drift off.

Months, even these years later, I can still pull up these glorious mountain memories. They remind me again and again of the value of simply being--of listening and seeing and hearing and tasting and touching without doing another thing. The gathering nourishes long after the moments themselves. 

Saturday, June 8, 2019


Everything is gestation and then bringing forth. To let each germ of feeling come to completion wholly in itself, in the dark, in the inexpressible, the unconscious beyond the reach of one's own intelligence, and await with deep humility and patience the birth hour of new clarity: that alone is living the artist's life--in understanding as in creating. Rainer Marie Rilke
Section of tile
Rilke's words seem to resonate on this day in the midst of readying for the upcoming summer Sawdust Art Festival. In the midst of packing already completed artworks, that "germ" still calls to me and I turn to the paints, to the inks, to the papers once again...has to be!

Monday, June 3, 2019


Journal entry for May
For quite some time now I have been involved in several round robin journaling groups. While I thought at first that I would not like the format, I have found it is usually a push and a good one, a place for trying on new techniques and/or ideas.

In the midst of the busy time getting ready for the summer festival I found myself searching for just what I wanted to do for the month's journal entry. While cleaning some shelves, it appeared in the form of a print I had done previously on Gampi paper tucked away in a book. Some paint for background, adhere the print, a tree quickly sketched in, just the right words....voila!

The uninhabited cabin in Montana had appealed to me to photograph several years ago. The isolation and yet the peace of the place somehow resonated. Now, as I ready for the two plus months of what summer in Laguna is--crowded streets, traffic snarls, busy crowds of folks at the three festivals, and so much more--I feel the pull of a place like this one.

Mary Oliver wrote: "I have decided to find myself a home in the mountains, somewhere high up where one learns to live peacefully in the cold and the silence. It's said that in such a place certain revelations may be discovered. That what the spirit reaches for may be eventually felt, if not exactly understood."

Is this the pull? Is this what my own spirit reaches for? Perhaps. Guess it will wait until the summer season ends though.

Friday, May 31, 2019


Program cover
It has been a busy week and I have a feeling this is only the start of others like it, but I am striving to stay committed to the promised two blogs per week.

In between creating art and framing it and all the little bits and pieces of getting ready for the summer festival there was still time to have some wonderful family time. 

On Wednesday we had been invited to eight year old Felix's charter school in LA to see his class perform a wonderful play based on their field trips to various ocean themed sites.

The kids wrote and choreographed the entire play themselves and did an impressive job. The costuming was fantastic and all was coordinated and very well attended.

After the program we all spent the remainder of the day together. Some of us (and yes, I'm still a bit sore) engaged in some rowdy basketball together. I found it a struggle to match up to fourteen year old Christian, but hung in there. The long shots were what killed three pointers for me!

We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together sharing what we found special about the day. Needless to say, everyone mentioned that the play was "IT." And the being all together.

Special family time for sure!!
Felix was an octopus

Thursday, May 30, 2019


Surprises abound beyond these gates 
Twenty-six days somehow got me thinking about twenty-six miles across the sea...don't know why, but probably the song..."Santa Catalina is a-waiting for me...."  But I digress. 

Twenty-six is the number of days remaining until the Sawdust Art Festival holds a preview night party for artist's invited guests.

Am I ready? Ha! But I will be, of course. I am excited to be celebrating not only my twentieth year as an exhibitor, but also my decision to hang it up this year. I need to make space for whatever is coming next and feel this is the way to do it. Exciting!!

I hope you all will come visit. I don't think that I will be the only artist with some new and interesting work for sale. 

Meanwhile, guess I'd better get back to work...there is still much to do.

Saturday, May 25, 2019


Another storm coming?
Rainer Marie Rilke said, "Everything is gestation and then bringing forth."What a wonderful description of the process of creativity.

The recent storms that gestated off shore and then came forth and getting ready for summer festivals like the Sawdust Art Festival have this and process in common. 

Am I pushing the analogy? Perhaps a bit, but it feels a bit "stormish" at this time of year as we prep for the several shows that take over the Laguna summer scene for so many of us. The momentum builds from the day in May when we choose our summer spot to build on right through until Preview Night in June.

As with a building storm's energy, there is a gathering of momentum and power right up to that six o'clock hour on June 25th when the gates are opened and the flood of guests surge onto the grounds. It's a lot! And we love it! 

I have new work and some from past seasons this year to display and sell in this my twentieth summer. I will take leave next year so this season has more "weight" than even usual for me as I seek to share my vision with others. Hope to see all of you there at some point between that opening moment and close of show just before Labor Day.

Tuesday, May 21, 2019


Sawdust booth coming along
One might think from the title of this post that I am in a stew about the whole summer festival thing. Let me assure you that is not what this is about at all.

Instead, this stems from these Henry David Thoreau words: If one advances confidently in the direction of their dreams, and endeavors to lead a life which they have imagined, they will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

So many of us have a plethora of creative ideas, but what is that has some getting results while others do not? I asked myself the questions--Why some and not others? What is the recipe for creativity? 

Aha! A recipe for creativity...perhaps that is what is needed. A simple add and stir and bake kind of thing. Why not? Here goes.....

Take 1 dream, any size--stir until a clear vision is formed
5 tsp current reality (start with this amount and add to taste)
1 action (this action may or may not work; be prepared to take another one)
Add a dash of adjustments
Add a splash of learning
1 tsp evaluations
2 dashes adjustments
Stir the above until momentum is achieved for greatest effectiveness
Bake at level of desire until energy is formed and rises
Best served hot
Serves one or many

So, there you have it! This is pretty much the recipe I have been using for at least the past twenty years of doing the Sawdust Art Festival. I will be taking a leave at the end of the summer season this year to leave a space for the next thing to show up. I am pretty sure it will!

Friday, May 17, 2019


Framed tiles
I have to admit that I am getting really excited about teaching the alcohol ink workshop this Sunday. I have really had a lot of fun trying new ideas and techniques with this very versatile medium. The opportunity to share what has been learned through random experimentation is very titillating. 

I anticipate that everyone attending will be as excited as I am about the joyful play of all of this. 

I am grateful to be able to do something new, especially at this juncture, when the summer festival preparation is usually holding sway over all else. New possibilities abound and I, for one, love it!

Go for it!!

Monday, May 13, 2019


Mark Bradford on 60 Minutes

 Sunday night I watched Anderson Cooper interview artist Mark Bradford on 60 Minutes. What a fascinating story of the man and his art. I was mesmerized.

The techniques he uses and how he came to them are so very unique and also inspirational. An amazing story. Check him out if you can.

I keep saying I am working to create a space so that I may see what fills it.  Somehow, Mark Bradford's art and his techniques, while not it, are still a hint, I think.  We shall see.

The piece here to the left was something Mark Bradford seemed to feel he HAD to do. It came out of a posted video done by a woman who was in the car when her friend was shot by police. These are her words heard on the video.

Saturday, May 11, 2019


 Watched Wine Country on Netflix last night. These zany women pulled off quite the romp and still it had many heartwarming moments as well.

All eight of my crazy collages they had commissioned were framed and hanging as the ladies visited an art gallery in the wine country. They made it! (I was never sure they would not be on the cutting room floor, knowing how the business goes.) This was a really fun project and I would definitely be up to do more.

Friday, May 10, 2019


Out on Netflix tonite!
I'm planning to sit down tonight with a glass of wine and watch this film, directed by Amy Poehler and starring a bunch of SNL gal pals.

When I was asked over a year ago to create a half dozen large-ish collage pieces for this film, I was feeling a bit challenged by it. But what a great challenge it turned out to be. I had a great time creating the pieces(and getting paid well didn't hurt either.) What fun! I would do this again in a heartbeat!

Thursday, May 9, 2019


X marks the spot
Booth pick for 2019 summer Sawdust Art Festival was Tuesday. For once, my choice was arbitrary and easy, but I do think I chose well...right on the center aisle and near good friends. This will be a great summer festival.


Monday, April 29, 2019


Floating along
The bright smile started my day off well. Dean, a friendly man I see sometimes on my morning walk, stopped me. He had gone camping in Big Sur recently and somehow come across a Coastline Pilot from 2012 with my Chasing Down the Muse column in it. 

He and I have spoken before about the column...we both miss it. I, for the push it gave me and for him, I cannot speak, but he understood when I had told him my unwillingness to write when I could no longer be paid. It does all writers a disservice, I think.

This morning we again talked about art and writing. It is interesting that with art work there is a recognition by the artist that it is valued when someone purchases a piece. This is not always true with a writer, who may write for a newspaper or other publication. Again, this is one of the reasons it is so important to be paid for one's writing. Sadly, print has been phasing out and just doesn't pay.

Well, I shall keep on chasing down my muse and writing this blog, not even knowing if anyone reads it. It somehow works for me. As Willie Nelson said, "I like myself better when I'm writing regularly."

Saturday, April 27, 2019


Thank you, Nadine...Inspiration

Simplicity is not only about what you release but about what you gain. It is not about giving up something but about what that void offers us.

Today I am taking delight in the simple things around me. Friend Nadine provided the inspiration for this wise choice when she sent me this image--so simple and yet so much more.

Playing with a variety of alcohol ink techniques in advance of a May workshop I find that sometimes in the seeking of "more" I become bogged down in too much. After seeing Nadine's image I am committed to backing off, to keeping it simple.

We shall see what shows up.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Friday, April 19, 2019


The day started out gray and just seemed to linger until nearly sunset. Wanting to add some color to the day I decided to play some more with my alcohol inks.
The gray stayed all day
 May 19th I will be teaching a class focusing only on using alcohol inks, the many techniques possible, including drawing back in in a variety of ways. I though to use this gray day to play around just a bit more with some of this.
Play in progress
I have not done much with alcohol inks in many years, but am having a lot of fun playing around and experimenting again. The workshop should be a lot of fun, I think...and colorful!

Monday, April 15, 2019


Imagination is such a rich and wonderful thing. Best of all, we all have it and it need not cost a thing. Something wondrous can be conjured out of nothing.

Imagination can go in all sorts of different directions. It can take us into a world of fancy and fantasy; it can bring the past into the present; it can solve problems, write screenplays and novels and poems; it can paint pictures in remembered or fanciful images...and so much more.

Where do we draw the line? How is it that we often find it difficult to go from that which we can visualize, create, conceive to assuming its truth and expecting it to happen? What is needed to transition from the imagined to the "real"?

Commitment? Action? Probably some of both. Imagine you can. Take steps to make it happen. Then, Providence gets its chance; serendipity comes into play.
Begin. 'Cause why not?

Sunday, April 14, 2019


I have been deep in creative play mode lately. Alcohol ink techniques and treatments and paper play to produce abstract pieces seem to be the primary modes chosen.

Re what I'm calling "Abstractions" for want of a better term have led me to play in my many boxes of scraps. Some of these are from junk mail or random handouts. Some are drawn or painted on tissue or other papers.  At any rate, while it is starting to feel a bit obsessive, as I do one each day, the near-random choices made are very freeing.

Creative play is soooooooo important and however it shows up, follow it.  I am.

Thursday, April 11, 2019


Serious work
Play is often talked about as if it were a relief from serious learning. But for children play is serious learning. Play is really the work of childhood. (Fred Rogers)

Well, the afternoon at ReDiscover in LA with grandson Felix sure felt like child's play to me.
Loose, free, uninhibited, joyful...this was my experience. But, clearly, Felix was taking this as serious learning.

Felix walked into this great center with great intent. He knew just what he wanted to start with--making a water container from plastic cups. He wanted a lid that opened and shuffled around in the craft room until he found the parts her thought would work. And they did!

Meanwhile, i just played quietly at his side kind of wondering who was the "child" here.

When water container was finished (and it was very well done) Felix moved on to making a chassis from binder clips and other office supplies. Then came goggles made from plastic egg cartons. Last, he took to making a small succulent planter from a cork and a few other strange things.
Some of the fun and the work
I had a wonderful time watching him, filled with joy, but Mr. Rogers was correct in his assessment--this was definitely serious learning! I may have been playing, but this young man was not.

Saturday, April 6, 2019


Abstract play
April days have arrived filled with the joys of springtime...and distractions. Clouds scudding across a cerulean sky. Birds of every size and shape ply these same skies--blue-black crows calling out to each other, bejeweled hummingbirds, plunking pelicans, laughing gulls, and more. Hills rich with the color of flowers from poppies to lupin to nasturtium to mustard and sourgrass. The cool spring air is rich with sight and sound and the sweet smell of spring. 

And so, amid the wonderful distractions of spring, I find myself playing with abstractions. Who knows where this might go?

Tuesday, April 2, 2019


As a woman who reads, I cannot more highly recommend these two books. Both are intense and challenging in some ways. Both are uplifting and yet filled with moments that bring tears. Open, honest, tell it like it is women wrote these. Very different books and yet so very much alike in many of the messages they hold.
Intense reading
 When done with the heavy reading it's always good to take some time to just play with art. So I took myself to the field of play and created some abstractions (a method about which I know nothing, which made it even better.)
Pure play

Saturday, March 30, 2019


A Leprechaun's ear perhaps?
Pareidolia is one of the delightful words I first heard from the lips of chalk artist extraordinaire David Zinn. 

On the final day of his visit here in Laguna Beach, having contributed 12 wonderful examples of sidewalk art to our community, there was a workshop for the public. I was sad to have to miss it. So, as I walked around town and Heisler Park looking for pieces eleven and twelve, I noticed many spots I thought could be put to good use.

This is pareidolia--an extraordinary piece of our brain power that has us always on the alert for possible patterns in the world around us. Logic need not apply and perhaps the more whimsical and illogical the better.

Many times when people will ask how I see what I see in the world, I question them, "What did you see in your wallpaper, in the clouds, etc, as a child?" This may be the key--to get back to that child in us. And what better way to do it than with chalk? Thank you, David Zinn, for reminding us all.

I see an old man's beard. You?

Friday, March 29, 2019


Turtle from sidewalk weeds

David Zinn at work

Today I set out to find more of David Zinn's delightful creatures along the sidewalks and alleys of Laguna. I was convinced in my mind that there must be one at City Hall, but I had looked and looked on two separate days and today scoured the site with no result. So I texted someone who would know and she informed me that she was sad to say that it and one other had been "removed." I call that destruction myself, as it was certainly not sanctioned removal. SAD! Why wasn't the public allowed to view them all during this five day event? Kinda crazy. Of course the whole intent is temporary art, but this destruction just doesn't feel right somehow. Still, I treasure my time looking and the eight that I've found.
Tiny Pigasus portrait

Thursday, March 28, 2019


I am having way too much fun with this. Hope you are enjoying the view. I ran into David Zinn again today and he said he had created seven so far. Was greatly relieved as I had figured more were done by now. I am only missing one, but I sure found a lot of interesting places where he might do more of these delights. :) And, while talking with him, I got to learn two new words, which thrilled me, wordsmith that I am--anamorphosis and pareidolia. 
Such an interesting man and fascinating artwork.

More tomorrow as I continue the quest!  But I'm NOT telling where to find them.