Day 90: Nobody to Argue

If only I had one of those things from Star Trek to materialize a neverending supply of mini-canvases for me. There’s just something so charming and intimate about doing these color field/text pieces in a small format. I wonder if it will ever translate well to a larger size. 

Today’s piece uses more Capote text, this time with a focus on the words “nobody to argue”. When I sat down with it, I wasn’t sure what colors I wanted to use. I looked at the surrounding words- New Orleans, park bench, out of your system- and thought of the dejected lad Capote may have been, somehow feeling out of place while sad in such colorful surroundings. I pictured him moping over a mint julep in a cafe with bright yellow walls.

Someday I may just fill a whole wall with these things. I kind of love them.

Don’t forget, today’s the last day to enter your haiku comment on Day 55 for a chance to win a free print!


Day 89: Our Naughty Ice Cream Moustaches

I love words like this out of context. They’re so evocative and intriguing. I find myself wondering why the ice cream moustaches are naughty, then thinking of all the trips to the ice cream parlour for good grades. Few rewards are as academically motivational as rocky road. With almonds, not walnuts, that is. I really love using bright colors. If you’ve got magenta and hot orange, why not use them, I say!

I spent today preparing my Etsy shop for the influx of new art for sale. Don’t worry- if you’ve called dibs on something, I won’t list it. Also, big news- prints of my original paintings will be available for the first time starting tomorrow! Check out the art shop, I’ll be updating it often.

Day 88: ‘Peking Bazaar’ & ‘Eavesdropping on the Tattletale’

This is the first nightscape from the roll (isn’t it weird to say “roll of film” now when everything’s digital?) of shots I took in SF the other day. I was randomly driving through Chinatown, trying to make sure I didn’t turn the wrong way down a one-way street and get some decent images to work from at the same time. If you’re wondering why I didn’t just pull over/park and walk around to take pictures, clearly you’ve never been to Chinatown. I was tempted to title this “No Parking at Peking Bazaar”, but then I thought the owners of this fine establishment may happen across this painting and find that obnoxious.

One street I came upon had an explosion of red globes and strings of white lights. Even though it was dark and relatively unpopulated for Chinatown at that time of night, it felt like the street might erupt into a parade at any moment. That’s one of the things I love about Chinatown. It’s as if, at any moment, the lanterns will burst into mutant blossoms and the tiny bulbs above will pop open and rain down glittered tickertape while the pedestrians turn into a walking dragon float. There’s color and vibrancy there all times of day or night, and that’s what I really hoped this painting would show. This took about 8-9 hours from start to finish. It’s acrylic and charcoal, 18”x24” on heavy duty canvas. (I’m going to be taking better photos of this tomorrow in the daylight, will update.)

For those of you who think I may be breaking my own art project rules by allowing this piece of work to span two days, I also painted another text/abstract mini-painting today. So there. 😉 This is acrylic, fabric, text and watercolor on a 5”x7” canvas. The words are “eavesdropping on the tattletale”, which I just find really amusing since both actions are relatively uncouth, which somehow evens it out, I think. The color was inspired by the red orange of the Chinatown lanterns and banners.

Day 87: Sleep of History

I never fail to be inspired by literature. Even non-fiction text does it for me most of the time. I don’t know what it is. Maybe in a past life, I was the last Mayan scribe who witnessed all the books being burned during the Spanish inquisition and so I harbor a sense of the sacred when it comes to the written word to this day. (Can you tell I just watched a PBS documentary on cracking the Maya code?)

At any rate, I actually spent a lot of time in the studio today, which isn’t self-evident considering I’m showing you one 5×7” canvas here. I started off by labeling and categorizing some previous work to prepare to list it for sale on Etsy, selecting words and painting them on to 8 small canvases and setting them to dry and painting the edges of a couple finished pieces. After getting prints from my recent photo trip to SF, I spent several hours working on a nightscape of Chinatown. By the time 6 pm rolled around, it was clear to me that I was going to need a lot more time for the scrollwork, banners, lanterns and lights. I probably could have pulled it off by midnight, but I decided to finish up one of the small text pieces instead and call it a night. I’ll be back in action tomorrow morning when the light’s better anyway.

The text in this abstract acrylic painting with green-blue, white and touches of brown reads “into the sleep of history”. Just a few words together like that, and they’re somehow sad, heavy with importance, and accepting of the motion of time all at once. Capote, you brilliant sonofagun. P.S. It’s my Aunt Shelli’s birthday! Happy birthday, Auntie Shel!

Day 86: Industrial Rainbows at Old Sugar Mill

“Oh, we ain’t got a barrel of money…” but that doesn’t mean we can’t scrape together enough for the occasional date. Rob & I took a trip out to the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, CA. It’s only about 15 minutes south of downtown Sacramento, features free wine tasting in a nice, cool indoor environment, fabulous views of the river and vineyards, and an amazing lot of crumbling outbuildings. While primarily a painter, I say it’s a photographer’s dream.

To be fair, Rob shot most of the images today. I was a little tipsy on Reisling, and hobbling around on broken concrete in wedge sandals was enough of a challenge at that point. I asked Rob to get a few specific images (like the orange box, green freight elevator and yellow window), I shot a few myself (the rainbow colored pipe, blue window) then I tweaked them for color and contrast boost.

Colors you see with your own eyes ‘in the wild’ can change a lot just depending on the light and time of day- plus everyone sees color a little differently- so these versions of these “industrial rainbow” images are how my painter eyes prefer to see them. Enjoy!

Day 85: To Kill A Mockingbird Collaborative Artwork

Today was a really interesting experience in which my artmaking was a collaborative project with strangers. My aunt Kasey, who is an amazing person, mother, friend and teacher, asked me to come to her classes as a guest to work on some paintings. She teaches high school English and has been incorporating artwork into some of their projects. Since most highschoolers are taught to use the left brain only these days, it can be tough to make the jump to creative expression. She asked the kids to bring in items that they felt were expressive of the book they’re currently reading, To Kill a Mockingbird, and I incorporated them into two mixed media paintings during class today. This gave them an idea of creative ways to use found objects so that they would be prepared for their own art project. It was also really fun for me to be able to paint with an audience, I guess.

The kids were all very respectful and pleasant, and the art came out pretty good. I thought I would be nervous about the pressure of an on-demand situation, especially with that many people looking at it right then and there, but I’ve discovered that I’ve somehow trained myself through the daily exercises so far, and I wasn’t worried after all.  🙂

I updated yesterday’s post as well with a better image of the completed mini quilt in frame. Have a great weekend! P.S. These paintings are property of the classes at Kasey’s school.

Day 84: Extra Carefree


While it’s tough to see, this piece includes an old illustration of a girl in a smock dress from this awesome Good Housekeeping bible of sewing knowledge (not the actual name of the book) I picked up at the thrift store, part of a book that says “giggling with merriment”, a snippet from a vintage pattern that says “extra carefree”, vintage fabric and buttons, and a piece from a botanical illustration guide. I painted a frame yellow to go with it and it’s pretty small- about 5×7. I’ve been in nostalgia mode lately, and somehow these things give me that feeling of lemonade and cookies and summer dresses.

Day 83: ‘Lunchables’, a mini art quilt

Earliest post ever! Look what happens when I get up early in the morning. Awesome. Today’s piece is a mini art quilt inspired by our many family trips to Santa Cruz as children. Except for the time that my sister got lost on the beach and by a miracle of God was found- safe- about a mile away, we always had a good time. I remember being tuckered out from long days splashing around in the surf, laying out to warm up in the sun on the big, colorful blanket-towels, and the yummy lunchables and fruit juices mom would pack into the cooler. It seems as an adult now, concerned about how I look in a bathing suit, living farther from the sea, and concerned about shore pollution or sharp things in the sand, the beach isn’t the same. But I’ll always have those fabulous, carefree days as a kid. Thanks, mom. You’re awesome.

This piece is 8”x10” (I plan to put it in a frame) and includes upcycled vintage fabrics, an illustration from a child’s bathing suit sewing pattern from the 60’s, a map of Santa Cruz, a word from the dictionary, the California state seal and a bit of sheet music, buttons, rick rack and an image of a whale. It’s top-stitched with a wavy line pattern in aqua. Remember, kids- watch out for that undertow!

Day 82: Electric Creamsicle

Do you ever have one of those days where you stand back and say, “Wow! I got a lot done!”? Today was one of those. Rob and I formed a dynamic duo of domesticity, together paying bills, filing taxes, going to the bank, shredding and filing old documents, doing laundry and dishes and grabbing bread and soy milk from the store. Plus I made it to and from San Francisco, signed up for space at the City Art Gallery in the mission district in July and took a bunch of photos in several SF neighborhoods at night for photo references. Meanwhile, Rob made lunch AND dinner! It was truly an amazing day.

I have bemoaned my lackluster photo abilities in previous blog posts (while also acknowledging that the blurry ones are easier for me to paint, thankfully), but sometimes I get a happy accident, like this one. I really can’t tell what I was driving past at the time, but the colors sure came out singing! If an orange creamsicle pop and a neon sign had a baby, it would be this image. This is one I could actually just copy and paint pretty much as-is, but I think the photo does it for me. We’ll see. 🙂

Day 81: God Grant Us

CNN Breaking News: Marianne Bland has decided to make artwork from Art Project 2010 available for sale!

Yes, I know it may not be as exciting as the healthcare reform coverage, but I’m pretty jazzed about it. Initially, I’d decided not to sell any of the pieces from this project until 2011 just in case some crazy gallery wanted to show every single piece together in one show. But on second thought, I’m starting to make a lot of stuff. It’s getting a little crowded in the studio and guest room. Plus I’ve got several people calling “dibs” on various pieces already, and I hate having to wait for things myself, so it isn’t fair to make you guys wait either.

So, if you want to call dibs on an item, please head over to the Facebook fan page and add a comment stating “dibs!” for that day’s posting, or email me:, and I’ll note it for you. The majority of the work so far is small format, which makes for really affordable original art. I’m also planning to get limited edition cityscape prints made soon. I’d like to have my blog readers and facebook fans to have the first crack at the artwork, so I will be waiting to post these items to Etsy for a week or so. As the project continues, you’ll see new artwork added to my Etsy shop a few days after it’s made (to give you guys time to let me know if you’re interested in it). 

Today’s piece is an 8×10 inch mini art quilt on this awesome vintage green/blue fabric featuring vintage ephemera including a map snippet, dictionary bit, hymn clipping, buttons, sewing stuff and some words from an EDD pamphlet. With all the uncertainty these days, a prayer or two couldn’t hurt. Quilted with a landscape-referential top-stitch (wow, that sounds fancy! Totally just made that up. Real quilters are cringing worldwide.) in green, I plan to put this in an old frame so it can be a nice, cohesive piece of upcycled art.