Honey…aww Sugar Sugar

"Honey Corn", acrylic landscape on woodblock

Day 291: Honey Corn

Today’s piece is a landscape on woodblock. This scene is from the Tracy, CA area and shows a cluster of bee boxes in front of a corn field. It kind of made my inner cynic cackle because I had to think of the stupid “corn sugar” PR campaign for high-fructose corn syrup going on right now, but anything with bee boxes always makes me smile in the end. I just got a fresh crop of woodblocks (thanks dad!) so more of these will be on the way in time for the Dec/Jan affordable art show I’m participating in, and of course for YOU GUYS to get your hands on too. 😉

To everything there is a season…

The wood grain radiates down from a knot in the sky in this piece.

Day 287: Pumpkin Patch

Ah, pumpkin. You can be a jolly jack-o-lantern, tasty pumpkin pie and toasted seed snack all in one. You jazz up the farmlands with little festive dots of my favorite color, and your squash cousins are so brave with their warts-and-all attitudes. I still remember my mom’s if-you-can-carry-it-yourself-you-can-carve-it-rule from our childhood trips to Ardenwood, our local pumpkin farm. And today, my brother-in-law sent me this photo of my sister with baby Emmett practicing for Halloween:

"I like toitles"

It made me remember all the things I loved about the coming holiday before it meant not purchasing the compulsory childhood-diabetes-fodder and posting a note on my door that I refuse to buy GMO “corn sugar” candy because I really do care about your brats-in-drag. 🙂 That’s right. I’m the Halloween Grinch. I might as well throw “We’re hippies, egg our house” in there while I’m at it with that sign, huh? Sigh. (Seriously though, 90% of Halloween candy this year will have genetically modified high fructose corn syrup. Make caramel apples and organic cider instead. 🙂 )

So although it’s still darn hot and not very autumnal out here, I painted this pumpkin patch scene on one of my few remaining woodblocks to get into the spirit of fall.

"Pumpkin Patch", acrylic painting on woodblock

If you’re going to San Francisco…

Side view; wood grain radiates upwards in this piece.

Day 282: Docile

It’s back to the woodblocks today with another pastoral scene from the Angels Camp area. This one features an oasis-like strip of green and trees between the meadow and hills with a tiny little orange building and windmill.

Detail shot

Hey you! Do you live in the bay area? What are you doing tomorrow? Unless you have a really cool answer like “crepes and horseback riding”, you need to get your butt to the city! San Francisco Artists’ Open Studios are on! Hundreds of amazing artists have spent months planning and prepping to put together great shows, wine, food, demonstrations and generally welcoming parties for art lovers like you! I recommend 1890 Bryant Street Studios, where 25 artists have gathered to make life easier on you (i.e. parking/driving) including three of my favorites, Trish Tunney, DK Haas and Catherine Mackey. Read more about this month-long event and get maps here: http://www.artspan.org/sf-open-studios

"Docile" acrylic on woodblock, 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

In case you’re wondering, I’m not participating as I live out here in Sacramento. Sacramento’s recent Capitol Artists’ Open Studios only included artists within 4 miles of the Contemporary Art Center, which excluded me. So we’ll see about next year. I mean, I’m not moving or anything, but perhaps some industrious organizer will expand that radius. 🙂

While Frank Sinatra sings stormy weather…

This woodblock has a battle scar

Day 280: Rumble

Today’s piece is another mini landscape on woodblock (I am almost out of them, so I’ll be borrowing my uncle’s mitre saw pretty soon). This particular block has some extra character- two knot marks in the face and some kind of groovy “bullet-hole” mark in the corner. That plus the scenery made me think back to this wonderful road trip Grandma & Grandpa took my sister & I on when we were teenagers.

We traveled all the way out to the Midwest. I brought my sketchbook and thoroughly enjoyed the rocks, bluffs, fields, hills and dirt. It was one of the first times I voluntarily drew a landscape, now that I think about it. I’d always thought landscapes were boring. And a useless subject, at that- nature itself is already so lovely, why try to compete? But something about the thunderstorms in Wyoming and the Badlands of South Dakota was truly inspiring. Now I enjoy the quiet effortlessness of nature in a spiritual way I didn’t as a punk kid. But I’m thankful for that experience and think of it often. 🙂

"Rumble" acrylic on woodblock (sliced fence post)

“Rumble” shows telephone poles wading through dead grass into blue-tree-speckled hills under a sea of rolling clouds. Is the storm really coming or just making idle threats?

P.S. I’m considering using song references for all of my post titles from now on. I’ve been doing it for a couple of days. Today’s is from the song “Frank Sinatra” by local-to-me greats Cake! I might just start including these bits of trivia in some kind of art giveaway game. Hmmm….stay tuned!

House of the rising sun


Detail shot. I am slowly mastering the cheap liner brush.


Day 279: Angels Camp

I doubt I could have dreamed up a more picturesque landscape on my own if I’d tried. The tiny red building in the sea of gold, the curvy little red dirt pathway, the blue-green trees dotting the hillside and edging the horizon….this was the scenery I ventured into on the way to visit my dad at an alcoholic recovery center in Angels Camp. Being surrounded by nature like this always helps us humans get a little closer to being at peace with the universe, so it’s a good location for rehab. Then again you can always visit a place like this without needing the aforementioned reason for being there. When’s the last time you visited nature? (Walking across the lawn from the car to the house doesn’t count. 🙂 )


"Angels Camp", acrylic on woodblock


Grazing in the grass is a gas…

Day 278: Horse Fence

..baby can you dig it? Jukebox brain back in action. It’s the lyrics that mess with me. Perhaps this is why I’ve been drawn towards instrumentals lately. That string quartet version of Radiohead’s OK Computer I nabbed for 2 bucks the other day has turned out to be pretty darn awesome, by the way.

Detail shot

This morning I couldn’t find my flash drive, which I instantly blamed on my husband because he generally likes to put things in places other than the designated storage locations I’ve assigned to them, but later I found it piled under fabric stuff in my sewing area. *Sheepish grin* I was able to find one more of the spring photos to use for another woodblock painting in my oh-no-I-lost-the-flash-drive panic stuck to the back of another print. This one features horses grazing in the meadow after the rain, and I’m pretty pleased with it.

"Horse Fence", acrylic on woodblock 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

Down by the banks of the hanky panky

Sideways wood grain in this one

Day 277: River House

Today’s piece used one of the remaining printed reference photos I had ready to go for the woodblock landscapes. And it didn’t happen until late in the evening because I’ve been working on some custom order dog costumes (it is that time of year, after all), but I’m glad because now I have to print out the new ones!

Those of you who make art yourselves will identify with that obsession about new art. For many, it starts with an idea. You mull over the idea for awhile- maybe a few days, months, even years in some cases- then eventually begin the thing and by the time it’s done you kind of hate it for all the life it’s sucked out of you- even if the end result is good. It’s the daydreaming about what’s next that’s exciting. What’s done is old, old news by the time it’s finished. 🙂

That’s what’s nice about working quickly. I have less time to become enemies with a piece from inception to completion. Maybe that’s why these little guys are so fun for me, even if they do feature cloudy days. “River House” shows a lone building hidden behind the bushy river banks in the hills. See you tomorrow!

"River House", acrylic painting on woodblock 3.5"x3.5"x1.5"

It’s time for the happy chair dance!

"Big Red Barn", a photo

Day 276: Big Red Barn

I really enjoy long drives by myself. They give me a chance to ponder art, life and idiot drivers. Is it really necessary to risk lives and scare the crap out of an oncoming driver on a two-lane highway because you don’t want to be stuck doing a measly 70 mph? Aaargh! Thankfully the serenity of Northern California’s scenery helped mellow my ire so I could enjoy it. That, and the fact that I wasn’t actually driving for half of it, which gave me plenty of opportunity to get photos safely without having to do any idiot driving of my own. 🙂

Coming soon to a woodblock near you… hella new sweet ass landscapes! Pardon my lackluster choice of language there, but I got tons of images to work with on a photo trip today and the majority of them are great, usable, new scenery. I’m so excited. And I just can’t hide it. And I know I know I know I know I know you are too.. you are too! (Ha ha, now that song is totally stuck in your head! P.S. I know that last part isn’t right, but humor me. Thanks.)

As I got home pretty late, I’m posting one of these lovely landscapes as a photo for today’s art. (Don’t worry- it will be taking painting form soon.) Back in action in the studio with some paint tomorrow, I promise. 🙂 Have a good one!

Butts to nuts

"In the Weeds", acrylic painting on woodblock

Day 275: In the weeds

We had a good turnout at the gallery opening last night. It wasn’t completely “butts to nuts” (thanks to Amy’s daughter for that lovely turn of phrase, which she illustrated by asking “you know, have you ever been on Muni?” [SF public transportation, for you out-of-towners] hee hee!), as it often is, but sometimes I like that better because it means people have a little more elbow room to look at art and avoid knocking over sculptures. It was an exciting day all-in-all, as I sold 4 minis and became an auntie! My sister and her husband just had their first baby, a beautiful little boy named Emmett. Yay!

Detail shot

Today’s piece is “in the weeds”, another landscape on woodblock using an image from the Delta out here in the Sacramento area. “In the weeds” is another figure of speech those of you who have served some time in the service industry will probably know. For you lucky folk who have not been a waitress/cocktail server/bartender, think back to a time when you were “butts to nuts” 3 people deep at some bar, frustratedly waving your cash at the exasperated barkeep. That dude was “in the weeds”. Probably because his jerkoff co-bartender was in the back carving a bong out of an apple/making out with his horse-faced stripper girlfriend instead of restocking. Not that I’m speaking from experience or anything. 😉

I picked that title for two reasons- one, because I took this reference photo from the riverbank literally standing in the weeds (and reeds) and two, because my to-do list has been piling up and I have a plateful of projects and not enough time to do them all in.

Now that your vocabulary has been expanded with two colorful phrases, I’d love to hear what your favorite expressions are! I know I have a handful of logophiles reading this blog, so cough ’em up in the comments! The odder, the better, I say!

From the side

Drive slowly! Kegstands in process…

The wood grain in these blocks has a sheen from the side in the daylight.

Day 273: House Boat

When I hear “house boat”, I immediately think of all the secondhand accounts of near alcohol poisoning, drunken diving, vodka splash fights, jello-shots-turned-impromptu-jello-wrestling and uncomfortable pass-out locations (i.e. in a dog pile under life vests and some other partiers) I’ve heard over the years. However, I have never been on a house boat personally because I’m a good girl- or a stick in the mud, you know, however you look at it 😉 – and somehow I get the feeling that a house boat on the Delta is a little different than a house boat in Lake Havasu.

Detail shot

Today’s piece is an image of a house boat in the river with rolling wind turbine-covered hills behind it. Reeds add some interest in the foreground and the gray water reflects the cloudy gray sky- my favorite kind. I love the cold weather. It’s always a great excuse to cook up some hot cocoa and snuggle up to some art supplies. I’m off to the city today, so tomorrow’s blog post will probably be a photo as I will be out of my element, Donny. 😉

"House Boat", 3.5"x3.5"x1.5" acrylic painting on woodblock