Saturday, May 29, 2010

Chocolate Macaroons

See the chocolate macaroons in the upper center
of this photo taken at Alsace Lorraine Fine Pastries.

There is a very good French bakery in our neighborhood called Alsace Lorraine Fine Pastries. I stopped by this morning to shop for tonight's small dinner party. For dessert, we'll serve a variety of choices: Asian pears with blue cheese, candied walnuts, and Chocolate Macaroons from Alsace Lorraine. They are so good! I'm hoping everyone goes for the other stuff so I can gobble up all the macaroons...

The Bounty/Viva Wars

Nothing has provoked more heated response on my blog than yesterday's humble post about paper towels. In less than twenty-four hours, one blog comment, many e-mails, and several phone calls have come from artist friends and non-artist friends weighing in on the debate about which is the better paper towel. Bounty fans are practically livid that I've jumped ship... Viva lovers wonder why it took me so long... So, I guess the debate continues.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bounty or Viva?

Bounty (left) has a textured surface while Viva's
surface feels almost like felt.

In the studio, as in the kitchen, absorbent paper towels are very important. I've been using Bounty in both areas for years because of its star-quality effectiveness. I'm brand specific when listing paper towels in the student supply requirements for my printmaking classes and I've even given lectures about how great Bounty towels are.

But, thanks to Alicia Castronovo, new research has revealed surprising results: Viva is better!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Newest Collage

Just put the finishing touches on my latest collage. I've now completed 24 in the series of same sized (6" x 6") mixed media works. I think I'll call the series Six By Six.

Number 24
painting, drawing, screenprint

Summertime, And The Livin' Is Easy

It's one of those perfect, sunshiny SoCal weather days again. Late morning, I sauntered down to our neighborhood farmer's market, in the junior high school parking lot, to find everything in full spring. Lots of fabulous goodies to choose from, so I picked up arugula, spinach and snow peas for salads this week, irresistible strawberries (Joe really likes them), three huge asian pears (have you tried them with blue cheese? yum!) wheat bread from a popular local bakery and tamales for dinner tonight. Also ran into some friends/neighbors:

Cynthia Evans was on her way home with celery, spinach,
asian pears and a tamale for Doug.

Jerry and Caryn Baumgartner had just arrived
when I took this picture. I see they've brought
their own bag - a big one, too!

Sadly, this may be the last week for Asian pears, soon out of season.

Great looking squash and carrots. See the brussels sprouts in the back?
I picked up a bunch of those for Joe, too, to use as a threat, haha.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Happy Trails! Have a Good Summer!

The evening printmaking class met tonight for our last session and final critique. Here is the group, including students from the screenprinting section and the intaglio (etching) section.

Our classroom wall was plastered with screenprints and etchings, the focus of our critique. Overall, the art presented reflected a wide range of interests, techniques, subject matter, skill levels and outcomes.

The evening printmaking class is a special class: so many of the students are there simply because of a personal motivation toward art and toward printmaking. They pursue individual paths within a supportive group setting. They know that not many people in the world know how to do what they do; they find challenge, pleasure, and reward in their artistry. It is a special class.

Lucky Me!

My friend, Pam, sent me a box full of white linen napkins! (See earlier post about my collection.) They are heirlooms - from her Mom, her grandmothers, and the "Love Sisters," who died in the 1950's or 60's when they were in their nineties. We've started using them already. They exude a special aura, and I don't think that is my imagination. Thanks, Pam!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Guard Cat Training Update

There has been a little progress in Sophie's education as our guard cat. During a nap, if there is a lot of hussle and bussle around, Sophie's eyes will open.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Painted Cow

Joe's swap find of the week is this painting, about 2 feet by 3 feet in size. Based on her expression, I think the cow didn't like posing for the painting... too much time having to stand still maybe. And I'm a little surprised her tiny legs can hold up all that girth, and that she hasn't toppled forward at least a few times in her life! But she's a fine cow and it's a captivating painting.

The background house amid trees is wonderful, so here is a detail (sorry it is a bit blurry):

Friday, May 14, 2010

Press-On Letters

Remember when we had to use these to create typeface on posters and flyers, positioning each letter individually and then rubbing over it with a pencil to transfer it? Things have certainly changed for the better.

Three New Baby Birds

Born today, I think. In the eaves of my studio porch. Mom and Dad busy feeding them and keeping a guarded eye on Sophie. Lots of chirping going on.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

A May Day

We've been experiencing perfect California spring weather: crisp, fresh ocean breezes under bright skies. A nest has been built in the eaves of my studio porch with a momma bird now sitting on eggs. I can see her through the window as I work at my drawing table. Sophie is watchful, too.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

More 6"x 6" Mixed Media Collages

I've been making more collages, having posted pics of the first few earlier.

Here are a number of them, so you can see how they are presented. They are attached to claybord panels with 2" depth which I painted black. I like that the collages can be hung on the wall or can sit on a tabletop. The imagery among the 18 collages differ greatly because many elements are pulled from past work that I considered unsuccessful (and never exhibited) but had appealing portions. Now, the appealing portions are coming to life in these collages. The series is a history of my art life, in a way.

Here are seven up close. Each has one or more of the following elements: intaglio, screenprinting, painting, drawing, pastel, pencil, ink, chin colle, paper, fabric. The quality of the pictures is a little rough because I took them myself with my simple camera in less than optimum light.

Four Hundred Twenty-One and Counting

I collect white linen napkins. I've got some heirlooms and a lot from the swap. They require ironing, which is probably why many people don't want them anymore, but I love the ironing part, too. With starch. Today, I'm ironing the latest batch from the swap - 29 lovely large napkins with beautiful woven patterns, some matching. I use them when company comes for dinner, primarily, but have decided to use them when it is just us, too. Visual and tactile elegance - a special treat at the end of a hectic day.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

All This for Only $2.99

Joe had today off, so he walked to the neighborhood coffee place to work the crossword puzzle like he loves to do and then stopped by the local thrift store on the way home, where he found all these plastic toy figures. Bet you wish you'd found them first!

A Great Afternoon and New Shoes, Too

Between classes today, I met friends Roger O'Leary-Archer and Pat Sullivan in Belmont Shore for the afternoon. They had never been to 2nd Street, so we went exploring, using a Sunset magazine feature article extolling its virtues as our guide. We began with lunch at Bono's (excellent), tasted olive oils at Me Olive (for example, a Meyer lemon infused olive oil was one of our favorites), and then stopped by 5001, Luna's and Blue Window for the fun of it. I saw some shoes at O' My Sole that I couldn't pass up. What a pleasurable few hours! One of those happy play dates we all just don't get enough of.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Wooden Career Men

Today's swapmeet find, made of balsa wood with painted front panels. We'll start looking for the female counterparts. Let me guess... they will be homemakers, secretaries, teachers, stenographers, and telephone operators!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Astonishing Katharine Gross

The students taking printmaking classes at Long Beach City College are a diverse group. Ages range from 17 to 80+. Some are art majors. Some are taking their first art class ever. Some are taking a printmaking class as part of their program toward transfer and graduation. Some are taking the class for fun and personal interest. Some have advanced degrees in printmaking or another art area and are there for access to a press so that they may pursue their own artistic agendas. Despite (or because of, maybe) this diversity, the classroom is comfortable, friendly, interactive. Everyone learns from each other in remarkable ways. I feel lucky to teach in this kind of atmosphere.

So, a story: The other night, Katharine Gross breezes in after being away for hip replacement surgery. We are all happy to see her again. She tells us that while recuperating, she's been using her drypoint tools to enhance an image on a zinc plate she began before her hiatus. She wants to print a proof to see how it is coming along. She inks up the plate. She wipes it into readiness for the press. She sets the plate on the press and lays a sheet of archival paper over it. She smooths the press blankets down and sets the pressure. She starts the press moving. After printing, she lifts the blankets off and slowly pulls the paper off the zinc plate.

And here is Katharine Gross' print:

Amazing, heh?!

And here is Katharine with her print.