Tuesday, November 29, 2005

A good outcome

Sometimes a good idea goes bad. There is a cute store I like and the owner bought my whole line of greeting cards that I created for a wonderful company, Marisol Inc. Years later this lady opened another store and I placed my own line of cards and boxes in the new place. She mentioned that a lovely little children's shop opened down the way and I should show her my kids line. So I did, this is where the good idea gone bad part comes in, she indeed placed a few things in her card rack and I noticed she did not have any gift certificates in her children's store. I mentioned that I could come up with something really cute and that gift certificates would be an excellent addition for the time pressed buyer and kids love to pick out their toys etc. She was very interested and asked me to paint a picture using her logo (elephant on a swing) and if she liked it she would have me make postcards/gift certificates. When she asked what my fee would be, she balked saying she did not really need this item. I thought about it for a minute and said I would own the original and she could use the art and buy the postcards from me. Then I pointed out that she could charge a small price for the full colour card and envelope and it would advertise her shop and she would not be out of pocket on the cards once so many of them sold. I don't normally do this but I thought it would be fun for me to paint , it would be good for her business, plus lots of kids would get these fun gift cards. She agreed and approved the art, the postcards were printed and she bought just enough to cover the printing cost that I laid out. She did not make the job easy and she was not very fun to work with. I was left with over half the inventory and the cute painting. I felt dumb for offering my services to someone that did not get it and really did not appreciate my efforts. I blamed myself , I should have left quickly when she did not want to pay for my services, at the time I thought I was doing something nice.

As luck would have it things always work out. I was asked for a donation of my work for the San Diego Children's Hospital. I was in the middle of a huge project and did not have time to make a painting for the auction. It suddenly occured to me that something good could come out of this fiasco so I made a darling frame for the illustration, mounted up a bunch of the postcards on greeting card stock with envelopes and sent it off to the benefit. This hospital makes a point of not turning away any child, so they need help through fundraising.

The custom framed painting sold as a package with the cards and is hanging in someones home who loves it and the proceeds helped a child.
I always wanted to paint a circus tent (Clown House) so I got what I wanted too!

copyright 2001 go ahead and steal it.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Ideas and Dreams

Everyday and Holiday

Sometimes people come to me with an idea that they need help realizing.They want me to help them come up with art that will create an identity to show their clients they care and are thinking of them. I am always impressed with this kind of thinker and business person because they are thoughtful. A young woman who works in the hairstyling industry came to me and wanted a couple of illustrations to be used as signature greeting cards to send to all of her clients throughout the year. She is a mom, wife and all around busy gal who is into organic hair colour too. So her objective was to send these cards out at signifigant times of the year. She keeps excellent records of her clients so she could send them out on their birthday, Christmas or Hanukkah and an everyday greeting to be used whenever she feels the need to connect with her people. On the back of the card we placed nice quotes relevant to the theme and she would add a personal little message as well. I came up with the thought that her idea is to own a salon so why not just create it on paper and maybe someday this dream will come true. Since she moves around, which is common in that business, we would put her name, email and cell number and that way the cards would always be valid. It was a fun job and the people that received them were pleased and surprised on their birthdays when the cards would appear in the mail. She would tell them how much she appreciates their patronage and is thinking about them on their special day.
copyright 2002-2003 may not be reproduced.

Friday, November 25, 2005

Illustration Friday "small"

My post for illustration friday is "Dollhouse". This illustration is from my 2003 HOMEMADE Calendar. When I was a small girl, I had a friend that lived in the wealthy part of town. She had a doll house with real miniature furniture. It was made from wood and the fabrics that covered the furniture were satin! A little porcelain bathtub, a wooden grand piano, a satin covered settee. I adored these little creations and I was always thrilled when she invited me to spend the night and play with the dollhouse. It is a happy memory!
copyright 2002 may not be reproduced without permission.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Venetian City

It was a once in a life time art job. I have a feeling I might not have the opportunity to create something quite like this again. I guess we will just have to wait and see...

This was created in a bedroom, for a man that owned the largest poster company in the United States. The format is as follows: The ceiling was painted my signature sky with stars, this art project was for the space above his closet so that when he lay down in his bed he could look up and see this Venetian City above him. It is 12 feet long 5 feet high and 2 feet deep. It does not end there, it follows around the room where his very tall bookcases lined the walls so I created more buildings for that area too. I build each building individually with inverted windows and doorways,
where sculpted people reside, a sculpted cat sitting in a chair, icon style paintings on an easel, a laundry woman hanging out the days washing, a lady in a gown standing on a balcony,a statue of a nude female , hanging vines with dimensional grapes and on and on. The patron spent several grand lighting it so that it looked like water glowing off the buildings and to cap it off it is replete with 3-d gondolas and barber poles.

Several years later my Mom and sister treated me to an Italian holiday and when I got to the real Venice I couldn't believe my eyes. It was an inspirational trip and it made me feel good about my creation. This job took 7 months and it was one of the best times and the most difficult challenges I have tackled. I learned a lot about myself and it goes along with the valgal rules of no job to small or to tall or to big if you know what I'm saying. The gentleman and his wife would throw these elaborate parties with interesting people. I would get to visit the installation and hear and see the reaction to the city in the bedroom. It was not something that you would see every day. At that point I could separate myself from the critical voice within and just say wow what a unique and amazing experience! For me art is where dream and fantasy come together.

This is a digital shot of a photograph, the only way I could show you the room. The white thing on the ceiling is the fan it had a glowing orb that looked like the moon, this is a shot of the closet (kinda cut off ) with 12 ft. of city. This project was commissioned in 1994.

Monday, November 21, 2005


Saturday was a very hot and still day. I called my friend and neighbor Trish, wondering if she would like to go on a walk with Rat and do the deed. She seemed eager, excited and pleased that I suggested it. Three months have passed so I thought Trish might be ready. She would occasionally mention that we should do it but the timing was never quite right. You know, weather and all. It had to be a calm day. Tricia was putting it all together by the time Rat and I walked down the lane. She poured some white powder from a circular tin can into a baggie and held it out to me. I opened it and took a pinch and rolled the dust between my fingers. I asked her if it would be bad to lick it? She laughed and said "ooooh gross!" Patricia is from Devon, England . She has lived here for over 15 years, teaches 2nd graders and has adopted some of our vernacular. Trish asked me to have a look at something on her table before we left. It was a purple velvet bag with colourful words embroidered on it and a little tear sprang to my eye. "Wow" I said, I say wow a lot, "How sweet!" and she replied "Yes, isn't it?" Ratty was ready to roll, so off we went. It was so beautiful on the walk, nice and warm but not like summer heat. Trish emptied a little of the contents of the baggie, here and there as we headed up the steep incline towards the plateau. It was as if Rat knew too! He would typically want to stop at the bridge and swim in the water, but not today as he kept climbing higher up the path. This did not go unnoticed by Trish. We talked about our week and tramped even higher up the hill. Soon we arrived at "The Spot", believed to be a higher place where the Chumash hunted and lived. She let Rat look in the bag and take a whiff, he snorted, we laughed. We each took a handful and twirled around letting the dust fling all about the canyon. Goodbye dear girl, we love you! There will never be a heart as sweet and loving as yours. I shouted out the words I read on the purple velvet bag, "Until we meet again at the rainbow bridge..." We miss you Murphy!

Friday, November 18, 2005

Illustration Friday: Free

This illustration is my idea of "Free". This was always the cover for every year of my "HOMEMADE" calendar. I have painted this theme in many ways, drawings, dimensional paintings and with different colour combinations so I feel this is my signature painting that best shows what I do and who I am. The real title of this painting is "Flying Home". It' s about finding that place inside of ourselves where we feel adventurous enough to be free but we can always go to that deeper place inside that is safe and feels like home!

this painting was reproduced in the form of calendar and prints/copyright 1999 may not be reproduced without permission
p.s. All comments are welcome and appreciated!

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Paintings I do for me

There are a lot of paintings in my noggin that are filed under "Things to do". We all have these projects, lots and lots of projects that we would like to do. I have hundreds of them, all types. I realistically will never get to them all especially since new ideas crop up to be added to the file pile but I hope to accomplish most of them. One of the types of work I do are dimensional paintings, some are really dimensional and some are this flat layered dimensional thing I have been working on for quite some time. These paintings have become popular with the people that collect me, though I would make them anyway it makes me feel I am on the right track if people want to commission these works. I really enjoy making them because it is completely different than my other stuff. When you try different things it is just one more way to explore and delve deeper and add on to what you already do. I have worked with many artists and I always have a bit of a hard time wrapping my mind around the artists that hire people to do their work! Although people like me can benefit from this it still is a mind bender that they get paid handsomely, hang in museums and they really did not physically touch the work. Please do not think I judge, I actually think these artists are brilliant people, they are smart enough to get these amazing gigs by conceptualizing an idea and getting others to put it together. It makes me realize that I think on a much smaller level. I also am a hands on person. I need to touch the work, paint the paintings, print the print, sculpt the sculpture. Sometimes to my detriment because we can't do everything! And as time rockets past me it becomes more apparent that I might have to say goodbye to some of these parts of myself because I think I do better work now but I am not as willing, nor able to work every waking moment as I used to be. But I still enjoy making some things just for me.
This painting does not have any buildings in it for a change of pace . I have lived near the ocean my whole life and this is the island in my mind.

Monday, November 14, 2005


One of the reasons I love being an artist is, that it is never just about the art. What I mean by this is that each new job teaches you something that you might never have learned. Years ago I received a phone call from a man that saw my work in a gallery and wanted to know if I would like to do some artwork for the San Diego Chamber Orchestra. I was ecstatic because I was born and raised in San Diego! The man did not know this but he said they chose me over quite a few artists. It was an amazing opportunity and really fun, in fact that is what the project was named "Serious Fun" and I created the lettering too. They asked me to do a painting that would highlight the orchestra, instruments and my signature colour. I painted all the real people that were in the orchestra and the conductor too. I learned about all the different instruments and the way they are held. It was a wonderful job and really a lovely experience working with this man who was a fan and super supportive of my work .They auctioned off the painting and raised funds for supporting the SDCO.

The orchestra play Prokofiev,Kabelevsky,Tchaikovsky and others.
My artwork was the program for the SDCO 1994-1995 season. I have done all kinds of art for music for all different styles of music and I think that the music that we love becomes the soundtracks for our lives.

Friday, November 11, 2005

Illustration Friday: STRENGTH

I have to use an existing illo because I have to work on the Houscape today. This is my painting for strength. "House of Cards" is from my 2002 HomeMade calendar. It is a symbol of the non-duality of the universe. For strength to exist the fragile must have a place.

Rat loves to play with his baby. He will bring you the baby and he wants you to try to take it away from him, then he clamps down on the baby and his jaw is real strong. He likes it when you tug and tug but he wants to win. A baby is any plush toy (he has 2 babies, 1 is a football and one is a pacifier). Rat has a lot of strength!

copyright 2001 may not be reproduced without permission

Wednesday, November 09, 2005


I love to do all kinds of jobs. I never feel like a job is to small, tall or to commercial. In fact I enjoy commercial jobs very much, it is a nice diversion from Houscapes and paintings and they are usually done pretty quickly. Hopefully a client chooses you because your work appeals and they feel it will fit their groove. I work well with deadlines and that is a big plus because there are a lot more talented artists out there than me but if you can't work on a deadline, meet the client's parameters and play well with others you probably won't get hired for this kind of job.

Plus there are always printing deadlines, publication deadlines etc. I decided when I was a struggling artist pup that I would do all kinds of jobs in the art world . I would forego a social life and live a frugal existence so that I could make art no matter what. Most people will invite you out only so many times before they tire of hearing "I have a deadline" or "I have to work". This client "Fred Segal Fun Style" are real easy to work with, it is 2 women who own and run the business. Annually we do about 10-15,000 postcards and 30,000 stickers that go out on every package. FSF will give me a call, they want the logo, clothes and fun colour incorporated into the picture. What more could a girl ask for? Well...they don't allow dogs in the building and Rat has to wait in the car!

An interesting tidbit about this job, if you notice the illo with the surfboard, Mickey Mouse is on one of the shirts. In my career as an artist never before could you paint this character without fear of being sued. But in
recent years Disney has been allowing people to license their characters. FSF licensed Mickey,Minnie and Donald Duck and have been screenprinting them on shirts with sparkles. For the 1st time I was legally allowed to paint this image! My life is now complete...

Monday, November 07, 2005

"Gypsy Wagon"

Today the greeting cards arrived from Modern Postcard for the lady that lives in the Gypsy wagon! Once a year I participate in a show called Topanga Art Studio Tours. About 45-50 artists that live here open up there studios and let the public come view, talk and have refreshments. It starts at the local gallery , each artist hangs a painting and for $25.00 you buy a book that has the artists name and blurb about their work , bio, written directions and a map of Topanga. It is a 2 day event so if you choose to view all the studios, you have a couple days to squeeze them in. It is the perfect venue for me, I am a bit reclusive and all the people come to me! So this wonderful woman came to my studio, admired the "Houscapes" and asked me to paint her home. Rat and I drove to her place (Paradise, i'm not kidding it really seemed to be what heaven must be like) and there was her home. A 150 year old gypsywagon from England. It was shipped here years ago to be used in the original Dr. Doolittle movie starring Rex Harrison! When the movie studio wanted to be rid of the wagon it was sold and moved to the beach and gypsylady moved in. I did this painting of it and it hangs in her office. She is an amazing person, an activist against nuclear armaments (she has been arrested over 100 times) she lives very simply, she has a very nice tent as well and her 2 dogs. She assists a very well known movie and television actor that is an activist also. I would love to tell you all the particulars because all of the people that are in her orbit are majorly interesting but I want to protect her privacy. She has lived in the wagon for 25 years! This greeting card is to comemorate the 25th anniversary of her life in this wagon. It was a highlight for me to paint and Rat loved being there and walking on the beach and around her neighborhood. The greeting card came out great, I'm pleased with it and I hope she loves it as much as she loves the painting.

copyright 2004 may not be reproduced

Saturday, November 05, 2005


Rat loves bones! About once a month I go to Topanga Creek Mkt. and I buy Rat a big ol bone. He takes it to his special place. If you could see under the ivy it looks like a bone graveyard but Rat takes great pride in his vast collection and he does not like to share!


This illustration is from my HOMEMADE 2001 calendar entitled "Outhouse". My love for houses extends beyond the norm to include even the lowly outhouse. Night is one of my favourite subjects to paint. Rat loves the night.

copyright 2000 may not be reproduced without permission

Friday, November 04, 2005

Christmas Box

Printed Christmas Box!

My new Christmas box illustration

My Christmas box was printed and it came out great! It is really special, every side has a little scene, the door opens and a window too. The children that I painted on the box are all different ethnicities and there are birds, a rabbit not to mention a deer. This is perfect to put candy in or a little treat. I love making paper products, it is challenging and fun. I like to make gift items that cost under $10.00 and are different than what you see everywhere. The bottom of the box has a To: and From spot to write something thoughtful to the recipient. There is a charming quote from 1890 about home, friendship and the holidays too! These boxes are perfect for the time pressured giver that needs an inexpensive gift at the last minute that is unique and personal. I have included a picture of the original illustration and the finished printed box.