Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

Hope you have lots of tricks and lots of treats!

More Photos of Newfoundland

Here are more abandoned buildings along the coast in Newfoundland:

This is the view from the road into St. Anthony's, one of the northern most settlements in Newfoundland, taken in mid-June.

Although summer was beginning to take hold, it was still very cold.

Artist Jaye Whitworth has never been to Newfoundland, but her painting seems to perfectly depict Newfoundland's open, boundless sky.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Early Morning Nature Walk

Our usual Signal Hill morning walk rewards us at the end with a beautiful 180 degree view of the ocean from on high. This morning, Cynthia and I tried out another location - the newly redeveloped Dominguez Gap Wetlands Park that runs along a diverted strip of the Los Angeles river on the west side of Long Beach. It has its own beauty: sparkling water active with ducks and egrits and edged with native California plants. There is a wider trail beside the walking path full of horseshoe imprints, evidence of active use. A hopeful sign, finding this oasis in the middle of urban life.

Taken from the west bank looking north as the sun rises.

If you enlarge this photo, you'll see three ducks nestled in dry grass beds in the top right area of the photo and another duck swimming to the left.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Iowa City Days

I'm hoping my dear friend, Pam, who checks my blog periodically, will be delightfully surprised to see this picture of us, taken when we were sociology graduate students at the University of Iowa in the late 1970's.

Trattoria Limone

We can walk to our favorite local restaurant, Trattoria Limone, on Orange Avenue at Wardlow. The authentic Italian fare draws a loyal neighborhood crowd as well as diners from farther away.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Preparing for Halloween

Damion Ramirez, from my screenprinting class, mugs for the photo. I think he has found the perfect Halloween costume - simple yet elegant. He is ready for next weekend. If I can find a red nose like that, I will be, too!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Three Drawings From a Series

These little drawings (each 3" x 3") are part of a series I completed in early fall.

Verse, 1
ink and watercolor

Verse, 2
ink and watercolor

Verse, 3
ink and watercolor

Walter Gottfrid Stromquist

This photograph of my grandfather was taken on April 3, 1940. Formally dressed, even when sitting in a field, as befitting his era. He died before I was born, so I really like having this photograph. My brother, Walter Rees Stromquist, sent it. He has been doing a lot of genealogical research of our family.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Nancy Spero

I'm sorry to hear of the death of artist Nancy Spero last weekend, at the age of 83. Her work was influential to me, especially her use of open space and flatness of imagery. The following art is from Nancy Spero's The War Series: Bombs and Helicopters:

Search and Destroy, 1967
Gouache and ink on paper

Spero said of her art: "I can speak most directly (though often, by necessity, obliquely) through painting or printing, articulating by hand, by brush - rather than by word, by mouth. The transformations of thought become visual notes, the figures hieroglyphs and the language (when used) borrowed." (taken from Nancy Spero by Jon Bird, Jo Anna Isaak and Sylvere Lotringer. Phaidon press.)

Easy and Delicious Slow Cooker Recipe

Pork Pozole
2.5 to 3 lb. pork roast
1 large can and 1 small can green enchilada sauce
3 cans yellow hominy
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves

Cook everything in the crock pot on high for 6 to 8 hours.

Before serving, add chopped cilantro and fresh lime juice. Dish into warm tortillas and serve with salsa, guacamole, and sour cream.

Serves 6- 8.

Artist Jenny Schmid

Gail Werner and I heard a great lecture by Jenny Schmid at CSULB last week. She teaches printmaking at University of Minnesota, has exhibited her work all over the world and has received numerous grants and fellowships. This is one of her prints and you can see more of her humorous, symbolic works with tightly filled compositions by googling her name.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

My Trip To The Dentist

I sat in this chair yesterday during my dental check-up with Dr. McDermaid, whose offical title for this blog is The Best Dentist I've Ever Had. This is a significant judgement on my part. When I was growing up, I dreaded dental appointments for days in advance, feeling such fear I couldn't think of anything else. To help me, my mother let me wear her lovely polished rock charm bracelet every day during the week before my appointment. We called it The Courage Bracelet and it helped me cope.

So, now, I've grown up and it is actually fun to go to the dentist. Dr. McDermaid has the latest technology, all computerized, and I like finding out how everything works. For example, yesterday, it was time for x-rays. A scope with a camera was positioned in my mouth and photos taken from four different locations were transmitted directly to the computer screen. This was amazing! Dr. McDermaid could use the mouse to zoom in on a specific tooth, add more light to view something better, move quickly from photo to photo, and more. All very interesting.

Perhaps my mother understood my fear of the dentist because of her own. Most of her life, she, too, had trepidations prior to appointments. But, now, she has a wonderful dentist who has even become a friend, stopping by for breakfast and lively political discussion with my parents.

To end this post, I'll leave you with an abstract (but maybe representational, don't you think?) intaglio print created by my mother, Marian Shuff, about her early dental experiences.

My Trip to the Dentist, 1994
Marian Shuff

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Man in Black

Joe doesn't especially like to have his picture taken, so it is nice he put up with this. I think it is a good one.

From Darkness Comes Light

Cynthia Evans and I begin our walks on Signal Hill at 6 a.m. these days. It is still pre-dawn when we start out. Over the course of the walk, the sun comes up and the day begins. It is a nice thing to watch.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Night At The Symphony

We've got season tickets to the Long Beach Symphony this year with our good friends, Cynthia Evans and Doug Pennington. Last night's performance was the first, featuring Copland's Lincoln Portrait with the great Marilyn Horne narrating (she's a Long Beach native!) followed by Beethoven's Symphony No. 9, featuring a full choir and four soloists. The concert was superb.

There was a post party in the lobby to celebrate the Symphony's 75th season. Quite a festive event with free champaign and cake for everyone! Of course, we all had two glasses in support of the occasion.

Afterward, the crowd spilled out into the night to head home. Fog had rolled in from the ocean and the night air was rich with color and mood.

That festive mood was a special effort for the evening. Like many cities, Long Beach is enduring huge budget problems and cuts have been made across the board, especially to the arts. The Symphony's future is precarious.

Another Visual Hit From Claire Iris Schencke

I'm so happy to see another of Iris' beautiful transfer drawings from the Lucia series. She writes that the drawing also includes hand printed letters, watercolor, and a bit of photoshop and is printed on hemp rough watercolor paper. Great mixed media results!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

My Lunch With Sarah

Just got home from having a wonderful time with Sarah Parsons over lunch at Claire's, the restaurant overlooking the ocean at the Long Beach Museum of Art. She and I have done this a few times through the years to catch up on each other's lives, and it is now our very own tradition.


1. How to make slime - mix Elmer's glue and water in equal amounts and then add a tablespoon of Borax mixed into a cup of warm water. You can add paint or food coloring for color; food coloring will stain your hands and paint won't. You can play with it in your hands; you can press it out and cut forms with cookie cutters; you can put it in empty plastic strawberry baskets, hang the baskets from the ceiling and watch the slime seep out through the holes. Then, you can even cut the seeping strands of slime with scissors! (Sarah works with toddlers and they love the stuff.)

2. Where The Wild Things Are, the movie, is terrific.

3. Wolves can be very scary.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Crown of Thorns Plant (Euphorbia E. Milii)

Native to Africa, this lovely plant grows splendidly in Southern California, too. Exotic looking with clustered pairs of red bracts, Crown of Thorns needs little water after established and very little attention, other than standing over it saying, "Ah... how BEEUUUTEEE ful!" And isn't that something we all like to hear?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Creative Energy In The Air

At this point in the course, students in my introductory screenprinting class have learned basic skills and are now adding their own creative elements to the assignments. This is one of my favorite times of the semester: I love to see individualized and diverse approaches to assignments taking shape. I'll post some of those images later, but here are some photos of students at work during project development stages.

Joey Luck works at the light table to perfect the transparency he'll use later to create a photo-emulsion stencil.

Carmen Ortega and Allison Porterfield are turning sketches into final drawings.

Zavijava Smith is washing out her screen after a successful photo-emulsion image exposure.

Roger O'Leary-Archer, in the advanced section, is curating a finished print edition.

Traci Durfee, another advanced student, beams agreeably for the camera as she begins to prepare her screen for printing.

It's Official: Rain in Southern California

It rained steadily all night and we are still feeling a gentle blanket of wet this morning. Very nice for dry, water-starved areas of So Cal like ours. But the storm might cause mudslides in hillsides around the L.A. basin where the fires raged recently, so this weather provokes both thankfulness and worries.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Cloudy Sky Over My Studio

Looks and feels like it could rain - a bit early, still, for So Cal. Our rainy season is usually in the winter months, with no rain at all during the rest of the year.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Pink the color of the day. Here is a scene from the beautiful Japanese Gardens located on a hill above Portland, Oregon.

Test Your Eyesight

This card is to be viewed through a Telebinocular. If the viewer sees both pig and dog at the same time, eyesight is sufficient. Even better, though, is to see the dog over the pig. Complete failure, according to the instructions, is to see a dog only, a pig only, or both a dog and a pig, but not at the same time.

This is a warm-up card. When looking at it through the Telebinocular, the viewer will see the turkey behind bars. (A sad image, though, don't you think?)

This card tests color blindness.

All three cards are part of the Keystone Diagnostic Series created by the Keystone View Company in Meadville, Pennsylvania. Era unknown. (Yes, another swap find. Can you see how much fun the swap is? One never knows what interesting thing might appear...)

Saturday, October 10, 2009

A Curious Tool

After a draggy week, my energy is back. We headed out early this morning to the swap, where Joe found this tool. We can't figure out what its purpose is.

Update: End of the Mousecapades

Alex, from Antimite, has officially declared our house mouse free. It turned out to be only one little mouse but, based on the evidence, an impressively hyperactive one. Sophie, who is being subjected to daily behavior modification activities, will play with any future mouse buddies outside only, we hope.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Still Life: Flowers and Light

Still Life With Watermelon

Still Lifes are really appealing to me this week, probably because I'm still exhausted from the studio tour.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Still Life in Still House

Enjoying the quiet of a beautiful October day.

Judy Chan's Stunning Collages

...were featured at her site during the Mid-City Studio Tour on Saturday and Sunday. I went over early to purchase these two:

Overall, the Tour was a big success with reports from the artists of good crowds and good conversations. And we were happy the recession took a break this weekend - sales were good, too.

I enjoyed showing off my newly renovated studio, finished in the nick of time on Thursday. It will never again be as clean as it was for the open house! Now, I will unpack and put away the many boxes in storage since spring and get back to work in my beautiful space. It will be a joy.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Studio Tour Results, First Report

Jim Beadle, Susan Stromquist, Joe, me. Notice the abundance of the color black, the favorite of artists.

It was a fabulous, full weekend. I'll fill in more details later, but first up: my artist niece, Susan Stromquist ( and her wonderful boyfriend, Jim Beadle, flew in from Philadelphia to be a part of the weekend and provide assistance. They were a huge help! And lots of fun, too. I think their involvement was the highlight for me.