"The proper use of imagination is to give beauty to the world..." Lin Yu-T'ang

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

These Hands

"My hands are small, I know
But they're not yours, they are my own"

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Painting Experiment:Abstract Minimalism

"It's the soul's duty to be loyal to it's own desires. It must abandon itself to it's master passion."
~Rebecca West

I decided to try something a little different. An experiment. An abstract minimalist painting. It's still a collage with music paper underneath it all and it contains many subtle layers. I hung it on the wall so that I could live with it for a few days and see what it feels like. I may end up covering it with more layers. Maybe more color? Maybe more paper? Some images? I don't really know. We'll have to see. Maybe it will stay this way and another painting will be born. You never quite know how the art will emerge. It's a process and to stay in the middle of the process is to stay with the question marks, the doubt, the unknown, the wondering and be willing to express anything that comes forth and wants to be expressed. Even if it's a little (or a lot) uncomfortable. To be willing to express whatever comes forth, is to be willing to speak your own truth. And that willingness is courage.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Art Journaling: Dare to Jump into the Unknown

I have a confession to make.
My art journal has become my best friend. I love my art journal. I even have a small art journal that I keep in my purse along with a graphite pencil, .05 micron pen, a travel watercolor set and water fillable brushes just in case...when I'm out and about. You never know when you'll have an idea strike or catch some kind of inspiration! My art journal is where I can experiment with different mediums, try new things, take creative risks and speak my heart without fear of judgement or rejection. When I'm working in my art journal, I feel like a kindergartener on the playground! It's not only important for me to have a place to experiment and practice as an artist but I need it for my soul. Sometimes it's just easier to say things in colors and images rather than words. I can be simple or I can be complicated with as many layers as I want. I can lay stuff down quickly and intuitively or I can really think through my composition. It just depends on where I'm at and what I need at that moment. My art journaling actually started with scrapbooking. My scrapbooks started to become more than places to place photographs, tickets, certificates, maps, and other ephemera. They became a place to store my thoughts, wishes, celebrations and dreams. I longed for a place to play with color, paint and paper and juxtaposition those with my thoughts or quotes that expressed my thoughts or heart-felt sentiments. That's when my art journal became the place to document my soul's journey.
Here's a peak:

 There are so many ways to create and keep an art journal. It can be art focused as a place to practice sketching, say, or it can be the place where you keep your innermost thoughts or a combination. What I love the most about art journaling is that there are really no rules, you make up your own ways of doing it and you can use any kind of materials you want. Your art journal needs to be authentically YOU. You use your daily life and thoughts as the subject matter and with so much variety of materials available, you're sure to have a never-ending, plethora of ideas! The skies the limit, the only question is:
 How far can you let yourself go?

I'm inspired by those who art journal and who are willing to share parts of their art journal. Art journalists like Michelle Ward, Pam Carriker, Traci Bautista and Pam Garrison are a few of my favorites and there are many, many more! This magazine is to swoon over! Do you have an art journal? I'd love to see some pics! Share your art journaling links and your favorite materials to work with in the comments section!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Salade Nicoise

While I'm working on some art--painting and gluing--I'm taking some time out to enjoy some Salade Nicoise by Julia Child. This has got to be my favorite salad. I found the recipe online (although I've now forgotten where!) I've made it several times this summer and I never get tired of it. As a matter of fact, I find myself craving it! Being a whole meal, with the protein of the tuna (treat yourself and buy a couple of cans of really good albacore tuna--it really makes a difference!) and eggs and the other vegetables, it's so satisfying!
Using the freshest ingredients really makes this salad and in my opinion there's no other way to make it. SaladeNicoise is so colorful with the bright red of the tomatoes, deep green of the green beans, the sunny yellow egg yolks. And the flavors are so mouth-wateringly tangy and delicious, especially with the olives, capers and the freshly mixed vinaigrette. It's best to make this salad ahead a bit and chill as it will absorb all of the flavors, in fact, my family likes it even better the next day. The recipe is below along with the recipe for the vinaigrette. Feel free to tweak it to suit your taste!

Salade Niçoise
From Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child.

1 large head Boston-lettuce leaves, washed and dried
1 pound green beans, cooked and refreshed
1-1/2 tablespoons minced shallots
1/2 to 2/3 cup basic vinaigrette (below)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
3 or 4 ripe red tomatoes, cut into wedges (or 10 to 12 cherry tomatoes, halved)
3 or 4 "boiling" potatoes, peeled, sliced, and cooked
Two 3-ounce cans chunk tuna, preferably oil-packed
6 hard-boiled eggs, peeled and halved
1 freshly opened can of flat anchovy fillets
1/3 cup small black Niçoise-type olives
2 to 3 tablespoons capers
3 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
Arrange the lettuce leaves on a large platter or in a shallow bowl. Shortly before serving, toss the beans with the shallots, spoonfuls of vinaigrette, and salt and pepper. Baste the tomatoes with a spoonful of vinaigrette. Place the potatoes in the center of the platter and arrange a mound of beans at either end, with tomatoes and small mounds of tuna at strategic intervals. Ring the platter with halves of hard-boiled eggs, sunny side up, and curl an anchovy on top of each. Spoon more vinaigrette over all; scatter on olives, capers, and parsley, and serve.
Yield: Serves 6

Basic Vinaigrette Dressing
From Julia's Kitchen Wisdom, by Julia Child
This is a bare-bones recipe for the simple all-purpose vinaigrette, which you will vary as you wish. Its beauty lies solely in the quality of your ingredients. Note that you will so often see proportions of 1 part vinegar to 3 parts oil, but that can make a very acid, very vinegary vinaigrette. I use the proportions of a very dry martini, since you can always add more vinegar or lemon but you can't take it out.
1/2 Tbsp finely minced shallot or scallion
1/2 Tbsp Dijon-type mustard
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 Tbsp wine vinegar
1/3 to 1/2 cup excellent olive oil, or other fine, fresh oil
Freshly ground pepper
Either shake all the ingredients together in a screw-topped jar, or mix them individually as follows. Stir the shallots or scallions together with the mustard and salt. Whisk in the lemon juice and vinegar, and when well blended start whisking in the oil by droplets to form a smooth emulsion. Beat in freshly ground pepper. Taste (dip a piece of the salad greens into the sauce) and correct seasoning with salt, pepper, and/or drops of lemon juice.
Yield: For about 2/3 cup, serving 6 to 8

Wednesday, August 24, 2011


"And the seasons, they go round and round
and the painted ponies go up and down.
We're all captive on the carousel of time."

 ~Joni Mitchell

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Farmer's Market Goodness

Is there anything better than a farmer's market to pick up produce, baked goods and flowers? I enjoy the local farmer's market in my area. It reminds me of the open air markets in France that I love so much. Being outdoors, the vibrant colored produce, the fresh scent of herbs and flowers, the people, the energy, make it an experience for all of the senses. It feels good to support the local farmers too. My favorite thing is to pick out a few vegetables, whatever looks good and strikes my fancy, bring them home, chop them up and saute them in a bit of olive oil. Then add them to cooked pasta with a bit of white wine and herbs. Sprinkle a bit of Parmesan cheese on top and voila! Easy. Healthy. Fresh. Is there a farmer's market in your area? Do you have a favorite place to shop that feeds your soul?

Just look at these vibrant tomatoes...bruschetta anyone?

Shopping at a farmer's market is an organic experience--not only is most of the produce certified organic, but the experience itself is an organic one--you buy what's in season, what's available. And you can feel a little closer to the food source.
 mmmm. White nectarines...

...and strawberries

I love the fresh herb section--you can smell their lovely scents as you walk by. Someday I will have my own herb garden.

I try to buy fresh flowers for my table too. Nothing lifts the spirits and brightens up a room like fresh flowers.

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Friday, August 19, 2011


"There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of the people you love. When you learn to tap into this source, you will truly have defeated age."
~Sophia Loren

water fountain by Kari Desi
  Water. Refreshing. Flowing. Abundant. Clear. Streaming. Lovely. Sparkling. Delightful.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Through The Gate

"Still round the corner there may wait, a new road or a secret gate."
~J.R.R. Tolkien

Life's road twists and turns.
We never really know where it will lead exactly.
Our adventure is about the journey;
it's about the experience we have along the way.
And who we become because of it.

To follow our path requires trust.
Trust in the path and in ourselves.
Trust that our inner compass really points north.
Trust that our path really does lead somewhere,
even when it seems we're going in circles.

And trust that if we do indeed get lost,
that we can find our way.

There is not one road, but many,
and we get to choose which ones to travel.
It doesn't really matter which ones we choose,
each one will get us there.
Our path always contains some mysteries,
some surprises
and some challenges.

We must face and conquer our fears as they reveal themselves.
We must not grow too weary or give up,
but continue on,
step by step,
content in knowing
that each step we take gets us one step closer to where we are going
and who we are becoming.
And we are always becoming;

Hopefully, along our path we discover love.
For as Oliver Wendell Holmes put it,
"Love is the master key which opens the gates of happiness."
This love isn't found in others,
it's found in ourselves.
It's how we see.
It's how we learn to view the world around us.
How we view ourselves.

How we see the most ordinary, often overlooked details in life.
It's evident in how we learn to choose.
We know it when we experience it.
Without a doubt.
And we know we have the key to open the gate.

Then...we walk through the gate and choose another road.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cloudy Day in Santa Cruz

"A cloudy day, or a little sunshine,
have as great an influence on many constitutions
as the most real blessings or misfortunes."
~Joseph Addison

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some Beauty From Montalvo Arts Center

I was recently at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, CA and had to share some beauty. The Montalvo Villa was built by Senator James Phelan in 1912. He bequeathed it to the San Francisco Art Association who assumed trusteeship in 1930 and within a year announced the intention to launch an artist residency program. Today, Montalvo has three performing arts venues, a 10 studio artist residency program, hosts gallery exhibitions, offers educational opportunities, performance events and more. In addition, they have 2.5 miles of hiking trails, beautiful grounds and a formal Italianate garden open to the public.


Monday, August 8, 2011

Canon PowerShot

I just bought a new Canon PowerShot ELPH 300HS. It's a great little point and shoot camera and I just love it! It's so small that I can easily pop it in my purse or pocket and go. It turns on quickly and it's ready to go in less than a second. Lots of little features like 12.1 MP, 24 mm ultra Wide-Angle lens and 5x Optical Zoom, continuous shooting and HD video. I haven't tried out the video yet, but I love the photos that I'm getting from this little guy. Very reasonably priced too.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Summer Blooms

“Just living is not enough.. 
One must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower."
Hans Christian Andersen

Textures by: Kim Klassen and Shadowhouse Creations.