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.

Day 80: Fascinated

I f-ing love James Bond movies. Seriously, I’m down to watch one any time. It doesn’t matter what kind of mood I’m in. I really enjoy action movies, and adding in a suave lead man like Daniel Craig doesn’t hurt. James Bond, as a fictional character, has pulled off some seemingly impossible feats. But I’m able to suspend my disbelief and just enjoy the film when James does things like setting off a bomb and escaping in a stolen plane in the middle of the mountains, then jumping out of that plane without a parachute and landing in and commandeering some other vehicle all while punching/shooting/wrestling baddies. It’s good stuff.

In a bizarre parallel, I felt like today’s adventure in painting was similar to a Bond plot. I landed in a situation with essentially no plan and no leads. After awhile I was in the thick of it with no obvious way out. Things were looking pretty bad. But I persevered for a few hours and after some clever tricks (of the brush), I’d resolved the crisis and ended up with a piece that I’d personally give 3 and a half stars. 🙂

“Fascinated” is an acrylic painting on 8”x10” canvas with fabric, a bit of paper text and a film negative added in.

Day 79: ‘Metropolis’, a mini art quilt

After looking at all the chemicals in Febreze and being freaked out, but not wanting my home to smell like ass, I decided to pick up some incense the other day. When I got home and went to unwrap it, I realized it was Ed Hardy incense. (If you’ve never heard of Ed Hardy, click here for the low-down.) I made “eww” face and immediately went into a “Really?! With Seth & Amy” moment in my head…

“Really, Ed Hardy? Strippers, L.A. brats and posers isn’t a big enough demographic for you? Now you need to go after the hippies too? Really?”

…but I’d discovered a cup of chai tea I’d left in the studio a couple of days ago that was becoming unpleasantly fragrant, and after removing it, decided to light my stupid Ed Hardy incense anyway, hoping to heck it wouldn’t smell like douchebag. (What does douchebag smell like, you ask? Way too much cheap cologne, hair product and Jager breath. One of the many gems in life gleaned from bartending. You’re welcome.)

Thankfully, it smelled fine (obviously Ed Hardy didn’t make it, they just repackaged someone else’s stuff anyway), and that plus some music put me into high-gear sewing mode and I got this thing wrapped up. Today’s piece, “Metropolis”, is a mini-quilt I made because I wanted to see if I could bring my beloved cityscape to the fabric medium successfully. I executed this by painting the background onto a piece of light blue cotton, adding fabric buildings in the foreground, sewing on light grey windows, writing on a few quotes about the city on it (because I love quotes, darn it) and stitching it up. One of those quotes is “all great art is born of the metropolis” by Ezra Pound, which inspired the title. It’s about 15 inches square. I’m starting to think I can take on the art quilt world and mix it up a little. You aren’t going to find any fairylands, holiday prints or odes to windmills in my stuff, that’s for sure. That’s it for today, folks. THANK YOU, GOOD NIGHT! <Obligatory microphone drop>

Day 78: Olives!


This afternoon, my awesome mom invited me to join her and my Aunt Shelli for lunch at Wente Vineyard in Livermore as an early birthday celebration for my aunt. It was a GORGEOUS day, and one of the items that made it to the table was this handsome dish of olives. While I’m not much of a still life painter, there are definitely images that catch my eye. This gleaming bowl of ovoid shapes and earthy colors was lovely on the palette and easy on the eyes. It’s certainly going to make it off of my other palette (the one with the paint) and on to a canvas at some point.

Until then, I think the photo itself is pretty nice too, and it’s been a long day (I arrived home to a puppy emergency. A nice neighbor found a little guy hiding in our bushes and we gave him food and water and moral support until the humane society arrived to save the day), so I hope you’ll enjoy this image as today’s piece. Then you’ll be able to compare which you like better when it becomes a painting one of these days!

Day 77: Amalfi

I know I mentioned a sense of bemused detachment yesterday while referencing old photos.. I seem to have that same association with certain places. For example, today we went to Whole Foods. To me, arriving at Whole Foods is akin to the moment in The Wizard of Oz where everything turns from black & white to color. Strangers smile and say hello to you and put their carts away in an organized manner. Employees remember your name and offer to help before you ask, and give you samples of amazing cheese so you can decide which new one to try, and hunt around in the back to find you a fresher piece of the almond cake that’s handmade by baby angels. It’s as if the sheer concentration of organic foods gives off some kind of happy chemical, which simultaneously numbs the part of the brain concerned about the total expenditure at the checkout.

I had a feeling very similar to Whole Foods Euphoria in Amalfi with my mother last summer. First you take a wonderful boat ride to this small town clinging to tree-scattered cliffs. Soft colors of sun-warmed plaster and winding cobblestone streets lead you to what are arguably the world’s most charming shops, where virtually every lemon product imaginable is available, as Amalfi boasts lemon orchards on the side of the very same cliffs. Limoncello or wine made from the grapes of Mt. Vesuvius? (The answer is obviously both). It’s an odd and special feeling, like you’ve stumbled on to the set of some European period piece during filming, and you know you probably shouldn’t be there, but it’s so damn cool so you don’t leave until someone makes you (the tour guide rounds you up for the boat). Today’s piece is a 6″x9″ watercolor and pen drawing of the Amalfi Coast.