Friday, December 28, 2012

Women Artists: Jay DeFeo

SFMOMA is now hosting a retrospective exhibit of Jay DeFeo's work.
This above is her most well-known work, titled "The Rose". She spent years on it, layering and sculpting paint, scraping it away.

Born in 1929, she grew up in the bay area, went to UC Berkeley, earning a BFA and an MFA in studio art. Sculpture, drawing, painting, collage, printmaking, photography, she tried it all. Realistic, abstract, and in between. Taught at Mills College for a while. 
She was part of the SF art scene, until she died of cancer in 1989.

Wanna know more about Jay and her work?

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sunday, December 16, 2012

There are no words...


to express my sorrow.
So I do what I can. I take action...

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Learning Chinese in the Morning Paper

Readng the paper in bed this morning, sipping tea. Glancing through China Daily, which had appeared on my doorstep for the first time, I found one of my illustrations and mention of 
Chinese and English Nursery Rhymes: Share and Sing in Two Languages.

I'd forgotten all about that interview. 
Nice way to start the day!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

This & That...and Happy Holidays!

 Sunday night Dan made dinner while I finished off the thesis... Look at that gorgeous calzone!
 It tasted great, too. 

Signed, sealed, delivered. DONE. Yes!  We had a drink in the city last night to celebrate. It was fun looking at all the store windows decorated for the holidays. The hotel bars were full of groups of happy people dressed up and celebrating after work. 
On a tuesday night. ... Hmm, guess I don't get out much.

 I'm back in tea towel production...for my neighbor's holiday bazaar this Saturday.

Requests are already coming.  I might just have to make a business out of this.

Oh, and I got some new business cards. I decided, cute as they are, the tiny Moocards are just too small. But look, they're just the same, only bigger. Still cute, don't you think?
 Leave your email address below and I'll send you a link for a 10% discount on moocards.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Here we go... the holidays are upon us. Now, with that thesis out of the way, it's time to make a list and get to work. Working on holiday card ideas today...

I like the silver and gold birds in the tree, but it's just not colorful enough for me.
Back to the drawing board...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Thesis: Finished

Yes! I turned it in yesterday. Felt so good.

"Beyond Frida Kahlo and Georgia O'Keefe"

What's that, you say? Beyond Frida & Georgia? But they are great artists.
Yes, they are, but there are so many other great women artists that I bet you have never even heard of, let alone seen a book or two about. Especially books for kids.

 I took a class a while back called Women in Art.
I was surprised to learn about many women artists I'd never heard of before. I got excited, asked too many questions in class, til the professor told me to stop (she did, really). 
Oh, I guess I can find out on my own. So I did.

And I wrote five picture books, each about a different woman artist.

 Rosa Bonheur, Maria Martinez, Sonia Delaunay, Elizabeth Catlett, Ruth Asawa

Look for them in print some day.

Who would you like to see a book about?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

 Happy Thanksgiving, dear followers! 
I am so thankful for all of you.
I hope you have a lovely holiday with good food and great friends.
And ... a reminder that my artwork is still up 
Rick & Ann's restaurant in Berkeley,
 til December 9th.
If you're still hungry... stop by for breakfast, lunch, or even dinner.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Illustration Friday: Tree

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Thank you!

 Thanks to those of you who came out to Rick & Ann's for breakfast. Boy, their food is tasty! Cornmeal pancakes, gingerbread waffles, homefries, spicy sausages, giinger peach scones. YUM! 

Don't feel bad if you missed it. My artwork will be up til December 9th
Stop by if you're in the neighborhood!

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Art exhibit at Rick & Ann's

 These and more will be up and for sale at Rick & Ann's restaurant in Berkeley, Ca.
October 30th - Dec.9, 2012
I'll be there for breakfast from 
10 am -12 noon 
 Sunday November 4th.
Come join me, I'd love to see you!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Inspiration: Ruth Asawa

Here's the last woman artist I'm writing up for my thesis. Aren't these two photos gorgeous? They were taken by Imogene Cunningham. Ruth Asawa was born in 1926 in southern California. Her parents were Japanese immigrant farmers, but due to the laws of the time, not allowed to own land or become US citizens.
When Ruth was 16, in 1942, her father was arrested by the FBI, and taken away for six years. Ruth, her mother and siblings were sent to an interment camp, first at Santa Ana racetrack, where they lived in horse stables. Later they were moved to a camp in Arkansas. Ruth finished high school there, and was taught by many artists also interned.
After the war, she studied to become an art teacher in Wisconsin.  To graduate she needed to complete student teaching, but couldn't get a position in a school, due to her Japanese heritage in the postwar era. She decided to go to Black Mountain College instead.
At Black Mountain College, she studied with Merce Cunningham, Josef Albers, and Buckminster Fuller. She met her future husband, Albert Lanier, and pursued her art. In the summer, she returned to Mexico, where she learned to make crocheted baskets. She used this technique later for many of her sculptures.
After graduation, she and Albert moved to San Francisco, where she still lives today. She devoted much of her life to creating art education programs in the San Francisco schools, and to raising six children. She and her husband started the San Francisco School of the Arts, a public high school for serious art students(my niece went there). Her philosophy of learning problem solving and creative expression through art and gardening has been adopted by many schools today.  There are many public sculptures in the city created by Ruth, some with SF school children. Her wire sculptures have been exhibited all over the state and are in permanent collections at the DeYoung, SFMOMA and the Oakland Museum.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Let's Go Shopping!

I am not a big shopper. I like to get in and out and be done.
However, there are some stores I do like to browse in:
Bookstores,  farmer's markets, shoe stores, plant nurseries, and any kind of art supply stores: fabric, yarn, 'notions', old-fashioned hardware stores. Anthropologie, for the colors, the patterns, clever displays!  (but way too expensive).

But my favorite is the once a year White Elephant Sale sponsored by the Oakland Museum, so big it has departments: clothing, shoes, art, housewares, furniture, books. A great big treasure hunt, all during the month of February. I usually go 3 or 4 times.

Where do you like to shop? 

 To counter all the materialism above, here's a film that looks great: 

And this miniseries on PBS, started last week. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. We were on the edge of our seats, alternately laughing or in tears last night. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Another Show...

this time at  Rick & Ann's
They make the best breakfasts around! 
(gingerbread waffles, anyone?)
October 30 - Dec. 10. 2012
2922 Domingo St.
Berkeley, CA

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Proud Mom Alert!

 He blogs now, too.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Inspiration: Sonia Delaunay

Here's another artist I'm learning about right now. 
 Sonia Delaunay was born in the Ukraine in 1885, into a poor family. She went to live with her wealthy uncle when she was a little girl, and was well-educated by them, and they eventually adopted her. She went to school in Germany, then convinced her aunt and uncle to send her to art school in Paris.

 She married a gay art collector friend, Wilhelm Uhde, in order to stay in Paris. Her aunt and uncle wanted her to return to St Petersburg, marry and live the life of a wealthy aristocrat. She wanted none of it. Soon, she started exhibiting her work. Within a year she met Robert Delaunay, divorced Uhde, and married Robert. They had a baby, Charles, in 1911. She made him a 'modernist' baby quilt, which began her explorations with fabric. However, Robert's career often took precedence over hers.

Sonia started designing clothing around 1912. She continued exhibiting her work. In 1917, the Russian Revolution caused funding from her uncle to abruptly end. She launched a fashion business to make money. She designed the interior of a nightclub,and opened a shop, selling her fabrics to interior decorators.

 In the early 1920s she designed her first coats in wool tapestry. Movie starts were soon seen wearing her creations. She designed furniture for film sets.

 Here's a costume she designed for the opera Cleopatra  in 1917. She designed costumes for other ballets and operas as well.
But the great depression wiped out her fashion business. She resumed painting.

 Her husband Robert, became sick and died in 1941.
After Robert's death, she went to live with artist friends hiding out in the countryside of southern France. After the war, she resumed her career and exhibited her work regularly.

She continued to exhibit her work all over the world, and had retrospective exhibits in Antwerp, the US, and Japan. She won many awards. 
Sonia passed away in 1979.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Look at those pretty yellow pears on the table...

Think I'll paint them. This is how it looks in phase one,  before I covered it all up with ink...

And... the final painting. Sorry, a crooked photo will have to suffice, couldn't scan it...yet. I'm in new computer hell here, having to upgrade everything, with nonstop glitches along the way. 
BTW, thanks for all the kind comments recently... so far all is going well in Rhode Island.  (classes start tomorrow, with a 5 hour drawing class - sounds like fun to me!) 
Our dog, Roo, has been climbiing the spiral stairs to his attic room and sleeping on his bed the last few days.
I know how she feels.

Friday, September 7, 2012

On his way...

So, our boy left for college on the other side of the country today. The listmaking, scrambling, packing, and rushing around has been intense in our house these last few days. These are not very good photos of the quilt I made, at his request, for his bed in the dorms; "Kinda dark, maybe brown, lumberjack-ish, and would you please use this old plaid shirt of mine?"
OK, one brown quilt, coming right up. I didn't want to put a huge amount of effort into this one, 'cuz who knows what kind of shape it will come back in. I fondly remember my time in college dorms and all the crazy things we did. My mom will be pleased to know he also packed the baby quilt she made long ago.
To wrap up in when he's homesick? Maybe.
I'm looking forward to our first skype chat tomorrow, and a tour of his new digs.
Oh, my boy, the house is already so lonely without you.
And so am I.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What do you need for a happy life?

I was asked this question at my first 'back to school' staff meeting. A moment to pause and reflect, before the race of the school year begins.

I need sunlight and flowers and raindrops. I need walks in the woods, on the beach, on a city street, in a museum, or a beautiful garden.
I need some animals around, usually a dog, who love me just cause I walked in the door.
I need my bike to ride, my legs and arms to stretch and run and do yoga, and someone to rub away the pain. Or a hot tub soak now and then.
I need and am grateful for good health.
I need the laughter and comforting acceptance of old friends, and the possibility of new ones.
I need ART and music and dancing and great food and drink and someone to share it all with.
I need all the colors of the rainbow. And some paintbrushes, paint, fabric, thread and yarn.A sewing machine, too.
I need BOOKS, piles of books. And time to read them.
I need explorations near and far, sometimes alone and sometimes not.
I need to do work that matters, to feel frustrated and then successful, and to know I made a difference.
I need my family who always loves me no matter what. And I love them back, with the craziness that goes along for the ride.
I need the joy and sadness and pride of watching my 2 children grow from my womb out into the world.
I need Daniel by my side , in my bed, in my head. To talk and listen. And just be. Always there, always.

What do you need for a happy life?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Gardening frustration and other things

My vegetable garden has been rather wimpy this summer. I did get some great kale, chard and lettuce in June. But the rest of the summer it has been one issue after another. Battling with the squirrels, above, over squash. This was going to be a beautiful butternut, one of my favorites for making soup.

 It remains to be seen if we get any red tomatoes, September is usually when they ripen. It was a fog in the morning- sunny afternoon kind of summer, with many warm days, so I'm not sure why my vegs have been so lackluster.

Here is a leaf painting I made last week. A photo will have to suffice. Just got a new computer and now I have to upgrade everything, CS 5 or 6, Word, etc... it''ll take a while to get all the bits working. It's one of those 'if you give a mouse a cookie' sort of things... one thing leads to twenty more. Ugh!

We did get a lot of gorgeous anemones, though. Usually they don't bloom til September... and this was last week. Do you think we're in for an early winter?

Oh, and here's a link to a list of the 'Top 100 Picture Books of All Time', put out by School Library Journal. I'm surprised by how many recent books are on the list. Many old and new favorites, and some I've never heard of.  Take a look!