Friday, April 30, 2010

Despite the Pain, We Can Enjoy the Views

At a point of desperation during the new exercise station routine yesterday morning (see last post), I stopped to take pictures (i.e., a break) of the beginning of a beautiful day.

From the top of Signal Hill, facing the sunrise.

From the top of Signal Hill, facing away from the sunrise.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Our Own Personal Torture Chambers

So, for years now, Cynthia Evans and I have done early morning "walkies." This means we pull ourselves out of our beds most mornings at a horribly early time to spend an hour walking at a very fast clip up, down, and around huge, steep hills. For our health. We've become really good at it, which means we never need to stop for breath or slow our pace. We can even converse on the uphills. We can admire the fresh morning air and sky.

So, recently, we decided to up the ante a bit. (It was Cynthia's big idea.) She said, "Let's add the exercise stations to our regime." And without fully thinking it through, I said, "OK."

And that is how we discovered that our upper body muscles haven't gotten the attention they deserve. OUCH!

And on top of that, there is the pride issue. Simply put, it is embarrassing to fail in public.

But we aren't quitters. And with time, we will overcome!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tonight's Celebration

The opening of the 2010 LBCC Art Students Exhibition was tonight in our very nice campus gallery. The show features the best work accomplished this year in the Art and Photography Department, which includes drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry, metals, watercolor, photography, and printmaking. Very impressive work on display! I have to say, though, that I thought the art produced in the printmaking department was the best of the best. Am I a little biased? Well, just check it out yourself...

Lorraine Papadopoulos stands by her two etchings printed on found book covers.

Sylvia Spiegel created a collagraph with chin colle.

Traci Durfee's screenprint (upper) and Roger O'Leary-Archer's screenprint (lower) involved multiple layers of color using a variety of stencils.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

It's Official!

My mother's new blog about her life as a ninety year old is up and active! Visit for a great read. She's terrific!

Modern Technology

I just got back from the Apple store where I had my fourth One-on-One training session. Today's topic: All that iPhoto can do. And !WOW! iPhoto can do a lot. Mario, the techie, and I were working with a CD of photos of my art - organizing them and exploring all the ways they can be presented. As a slideshow, for example. But, not just any ol' slideshow. Each image (or slide) can enter the screen in a dissected disarray of layers before combining to become the cohesive whole. This was mesmerizing to watch and suggested a whole new approach to my art! Then Mario showed me how to change a slideshow into an iMovie, which is even more amazing. It will take some effort and discipline on my part to master all this, but my eyes are wide open now.

Maybe, I'll even start using my cellphone actively and get into texting!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

At The Long Beach Symphony

We were there for a great concert last night: First, Beethoven's 2nd Symphony followed by Corigliano's The Red Violin. The violin soloist, Charles Wetherbee, was exceptional. After his performance in The Red Violin, he came out again to play an unannounced piece for us all. Last on the program was Beethoven's 7th Symphony. The orchestra was terrific, and we were impressed to see Wetherbee again, sitting in the back row of the violin section playing as a member of the group.

New Screenprint In Progress

I've been working this week on a new screenprint based on a "John Cage" approach to making imagery: Each layer is created from a scramble of paper shapes thrown on top of a photo-emulsion coated screen before being exposed. For example, one layer is created from a variety of remains from my on-going collage series combined with leftover circles from a three-hole punch. Another layer is made from long strands of paper thin enough to twist and curve in interesting ways. A third layer is made of cutouts from a vintage sheet of press-on letters - the kind we all had to use before computerized typefaces made creating text easy.

Plus, by printing with transparent inks, each layer shows through all the other layers printed on top and multiple mixed colors are generated where layers overlap.

Here is layer one:

Layer two:

And layer three:

This week, I hope to complete the print with three or four more layers of imagery.... if I'm pleased with the results, I'll post the final print. And if not, you'll never hear reference to this post again!

Sunday, April 18, 2010


I got to see Kate Savage's newly built bathroom last night when we were there for dinner. The tub is the same one we'll get when we redo our bathroom, so I took the opportunity to check it out from the inside. It wins my seal of approval: perfect for those long evening soaks with music, a candle, and a glass of wine on the ledge.

Blurry Picture But Clearly Fun Party

Siobhan McClure, Greg Rose, Kate Savage, Tom Miller,
Joe Kump and, behind the camera, me.

A great dinner last night at Kate and Tom's: grilled salmon, polenta, beet and fennel salad followed by warm apple pie with whipped cream. And, of course, good conversation. Most of us have known each other for almost twenty years.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Last Episode of Ugly Betty Is Tonight ten p.m., pacific standard time. I'll get home from class just in time! I loved the first year of it and thought it was exceptional, outlandish, fun, deep, layered (well, layered storyline AND layered clothes), visually beautiful, cutting edge and heart warming, all at the same time.

Bye bye, Betty! Thanks, and good luck to you.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

An Urban Night Scene?

Nope... it is a photo of our washing machine control panel taken at night! We've been doing a lot of laundry this weekend after our trip and I noticed how beautiful these lights are, all dressed up in neon colors. Yes, I know, I need to get a life.

The other thing I like about our washer is the sound it makes when the load is done. Instead of one of those typical long angry buzzes, it emits a sweet tonal diNg-dOng, dinG-dOng as if the machine is so pleased to give us the news. Such a good example of the best kind of technological advancement.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"It Must Be About Cats, Since It Has the Word 'Hairball' in the Title"

That is what the librarian said when I asked about a book with an interesting cover displayed on the sale shelf behind the check-out desk. Well, I certainly like cats. And I really liked the cover of the book. And I had a dollar, so I bought it. And I'm really glad I did!

In fact, the book isn't about cats, at all. It is about creativity in organizations. The author, Gordon MacKenzie, uses the term "hairball" as a metaphor for the organization itself - a "tangled, impenetrable mass" that stifles creativity. He writes about how to awaken or reawaken creative genius in organizational settings.

The name of the book is Orbiting The Giant Hairball and is full of inspirational illustrations like these:

Report From Arkansas

Just back from a great week in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Joe and I flew in to check out my parents' new digs in a retirement village. We were impressed! Their new home is a 1200 square foot "cottage" with lots of windows and sunshine. Beautiful surroundings with lovely trees and gardens, nice neighbors with a wide range of life experiences, delicious meals in the central dining room and, best of all, a 24 hour ice cream machine! (Choice of chocolate or vanilla in unlimited quantities.)

My mother is thinking of starting a blog called "Life in Our Nineties" which will focus on my parents' daily life and activities, thoughts and opinions, and much, much more. Sounds good, heh?! I'll post the site when she gets it going...

Friday, April 2, 2010

A Six Demo Week

It was a busy teaching week, especially for the screenprinting classes. I did four demonstrations about making photo-emulsion stencils and two demos about printing blended colors. Here are the results from the blended color demos:

The screenprint above, from the morning class demo, was the result of blending grey with a deep fuchsia.

To print a "blend," you start by pouring puddles of two colors side by side at the top of the screen. Next, use the squeegee to mix them together by moving it side to side and back and forth until you see a seamless gradation from one color to the other. This requires a little time and patience so that you don't end up with unintended streaking. When you have the colors mixed well, you are ready to print. It is really fun to see each print with blended color come out from under the screen.

For the same demo in the evening, I used two different colors. Blending contrasting colors usually brings striking results; two shades of the same color can provide a lovely subtlety. You can also blend an opaque color with a transparent one for another kind of result. The image you are working with and your artistic intent help you decide what colors to blend.

Here is the same screenprinted image in graphic black on cream, no blend.