plants

Inside Out

It has taken me forever to get around to cleaning up the rest of the backyard and improving it. At last, this weekend, we moved some things around and did a little cleaning. I really need to get all this done so we can enjoy the yard for summer and fall. The outside is starting to feel like inside with shelving and seating. 

We mainly worked on the patio and I found it looking better already. The fence wall below formerly had a bunch of junk and the trash cans against it. It may not be too exciting, but I love the way it is looking.

I think the fern blends right in with my painting, don't you? The trunk on the left is filled with blankets and extra lights for when we entertain. The small shelves mounted above it have various natural things like rocks, shells and a succulent.

The green shelf is not quite complete yet, but looks pretty good for now. The shelf on the right has rocks and things from various hikes displayed on it. 

We finally decided where the fire pit would go. The "seat" you see hear is actually my friend Chris Patton's first reclaimed wood table. He made us a new one so this one is now outside. Last year we were in the North Bay and a coffee shop had these giant coffee bags for something like $2 each. We put pillows inside and voila! Outdoor seating. The elephant hanging you see in the foreground was something I found in a Capitola gift shop a few weeks ago for $14. I liked the combination of mirrored shapes and the tin elephants. Elephants are good luck too.

The cats seem pretty happy with the space...or maybe they don't really care.

The cats seem pretty happy with the space...or maybe they don't really care.

We are still planning on doing a lot more California Native landscaping and getting rid of a lot of the lawn. One thing at a time. If you look closely, you can see the first little aloe plant we planted directly in the lawn. I think this may be how we'll phase out the lawn. Just get a plant, dig out the lawn, repeat. I've never really done things the normal way anyway. 

From the  100 Day Project

I'd like the house to look a little more like this. I just have to be patient.

On the to do list:

  • New hammock
  • Tented reading nook
  • California Native drought resistant landscaping in the front and much of the back
  • More cacti

What Goes On - The Beach, Glasshouse and More

It has been a great week of catching up with family and friends and making new work. Here's what I've been...

 

Doing

We went to Capitola for Father's Day. It's basically a perfect little beach town near better-known Santa Cruz. It was super crowded but we had the best time! See that blue and green tent? That's ours. My 6-week old niece came to the beach too so of course we needed some shade for her. I've found these tents enable you to hang out longer at the beach without getting blasted by the sun constantly. 

My friends Elissa and Laura met up with me on Monday. I love our hangouts. We paint, share ideas and I always feel better after we hang out. Here's what we made. 

I had a blast at the Glasshouse event in San Jose with Freya Seeburger and other artists. Freya's spirit is really incredible and I love being around her. I had my art displayed up on this outdoor wall and I really liked seeing my work among the vines. I would love to return to this space and create an installation. The event was a benefit for a coffee cart at St. James Park where all proceeds would benefit the homeless. Such a brilliant idea!

I installed my watercolor Gotas (which I made on my art residency in Spain) on this outdoor light fixture at The Glasshouse. It was fun to see it in a different setting and country!

 

Listening to

Steve Reich just gets me in a good mindset for working. The variating repetitiveness takes my brain to where it needs to be.

I also made this perfect summer Spotify playlist if you want to give it a listen. Recommended for driving, the pool or work.

 

Reading

I just started reading Trying Not to Try by Edward Slingerland. This book is amazing so far. It covers the Chinese concept of Wu-Wei, "not trying" or "not doing". He states:

"We have been taught to believe that the best way to achieve our goals is to reason about them carefully and strive consciously to reach them. Unfortunately, in many areas of life this is terrible advice. Many desirable states - happiness, attractiveness, spontaneity - are best pursued indirectly, and conscious thought and effortful striving can actually interfere with their attainment."

Tell me that this isn't insanely insightful!!

 

Watching

I loved the documentary Antarctica: A Year on Ice. As much as I think I would love to head down and experience Antarctica, it's cold, the food isn't fresh and it's a harsh living environment so it was good to watch it from the couch with a cup of coffee. Though I kind of still want to go...

Although a little over my head, I watched Particle Fever, a documentary about the Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland. This is the biggest and most expensive machine in the world, which is basically trying to figure out the origin of all matter. Heavy stuff.

 

Dreaming of

It's been ages since I've done a road trip. I really want to head up to the Pacific Northwest soon and also see Zion and Bryce National Parks.

I've been checking out all these beautiful murals popping up in downtown San Jose thanks to The Exhibition District and Phantom Galleries.

 

Eating

I have always been a healthy eater, but I'm finding myself eating almost all real food these days. This is a sweet potato hash with Italian zucchini, carrots, rainbow chard, chicken, parsley, egg and of course cherries and nectarine for dessert. 

Growing

I got these two Echeveria 'Lady Aquarius' plants last year at The Garden Company nursery in Santa Cruz. The prettiness of the dusty green and pink is not justified on a screen. Their beauty caught my eye immediately, plus my astrological sign is Aquarius, so we were destined to be together. The base looks like cabbage outlined with bright pink and when it blooms, you get these flowers at the end of a long stem.

Now, I'm off to backpack the Ohlone Wilderness Trail this weekend. I'm looking forward to the views, wildlife and grueling hiking.

31 Days to Spain - Week Three Wrap Up

I'm still feeling behind on this daily project. I keep meaning to catch up, but I'm still working on it. I think the hard part is when you feel like you did a great sketch, you don't want to follow it up with a weak one. I am trying to let that go though. This project has been fantastic for preparing for the residency. I think when I started, I thought I would have time to paint all day this month. I have had many things to do in this time though. I'm basically doing spring cleaning in the fall, working on my online shops and website, reorganizing my shipping and packaging area and the list goes on. I'm really looking forward to arriving in Cadiz and spending more time on one project.

October 15th - Portrait with flowers and water sketches

I was contacted to create a portrait that must include water and flowers to benefit clean water technology for families and individuals. Here are a few sketches for a piece to contribute to this project.

October 16th - El Pato bilingual cans

This one was a big hit! A kitchen staple for many. I do love that El Pato cans are bilingual! Each side looks as you see it here. I've been through many cans of it in my life. 

October 17th - Traveler's Tree

Traveler's Tree aka Traveler's Palm aka Ravanela madagascariensis. Named because up to a quart of water accumulates in the leaf base, which is shaped like a cup, and may be used for emergency drinking water. Native to Madagascar. 

October 18th - Bill Nye

We scored free tickets to see Bill Nye at De Anza College. It was so great! I love hearing interesting people talk about their lives and share their knowledge. I sketched his face a few times and noted a few interesting things about him here. 

October 19th - Donuts

The owner of Makeshift Society, Rena Tom, requested for artists and illustrators to make donuts for her Creative Mornings talk. I am sad I will be missing her talk live in San Francisco, but CM are really good about filming these. Rena wants to have the donuts flashing behind her during her talk. It worked out perfectly to paint it during my open studio sale, especially since there's a donut shop almost across the street from my studio. 

October 20th - Clipboard of Insanity

Yes, that's the official name of my clipboard. It features handwritten to do notes, print outs of spreadsheets and checklists, shows to apply to and more. I keep trying to minimize it, then it grows, then I minimize it. I am more of a hands-on visual person, so this clipboard has worked quite nicely in addition to using the computer for organization and productivity.

October 21st - Persimmon

Ah, my favorite fall fruit, specifically Fuyu persimmons. Nature's candy. The perfect shade of orange. It was hard to not eat it while painting it. I may even have taken a bite.