Friday, April 29, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Pyro Doodles

Do-Something-Everyday, April 29, 2016

I did this wood burned drawing on a small plaque that I had picked from the craft store for a couple of dollars. It was made of thin plywood but I liked the shape of it. I did a little doodle art on one side and painted the surrounding area with white gesso which made the drawing pop out.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Prince at Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Do-Something-Everyday, April 27, 2016

Last Thursday Prince died. His death, like Michael Jackson's, saddened me deeply because I lived on their music during the first few years of my life in the US. He, along with Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, Madonna were the earliest torch bearers of the fledgling MTV and, his risque videos both shocked and captivated me. The apartment we had rented had free cable television and, 'Raspberry Beret, '1999' and Little Red Corvette' on endless loop kept me company

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Do- Something- Everyday: Cut Paper Art Flora

Do-Something-Everyday: April 26, 2016

Cut paper art is something that I have always liked. In the past, I had confined myself to cutting maps. A few days ago, I picked up a book called The Art of Papercutting by Jessica Palmer. This book has inspired me to move  up my papercutting skills a notch or so.  The top picture is an original mixed media which I then made into a papercut. The one below is a watercolor painting of a tulip. After cutting it into shape, I mounted it on a bright yellow paper.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Spring Awakenings

Do-Something-Everyday: April 25, 2016

The pear tree bloomed last week and became an inviting spot for all types of birds.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Happy Earth Day

Do-Something-Everyday: April 22, 2016
Today is Earth Day and I celebrate it with sights and sounds of avian visitors to my backyard. They are not exotic birds but common ones but they seem to like what they find here: water, flowering trees and shrubs. Spotted today:

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Georgia on My Mind

Do-Something-Everyday: April 20, 2016

I did this papercut of a photo I took of the exterior of  Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe last November (see below). O'Keefe, a former New Yorker, lived the last five decades of her life in Abiquiu, New Mexico, capturing its magical landscape in oil paintings. The Georgia O'Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe houses the largest permanent collection of her work in the world. When I was visiting Santa Fe in November 2015, the museum was running an exhibition titled "From New York to New Mexico: Masterworks of American Modernism".

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Do-Someyhing-Everyday: Signs of Spring

I planted this apple blossom tree last year. Good to see them flowering this year. Hopefully, many crab apples for the birds and the squirrels. 

Spring also means dandelions!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: My Name is Lucy Barton

Yesterday evening I finished Elizabeth Strout's latest novel My Name is Lucy Barton. Strout is a Pulitzer prize winning author of Olive Kitteridge, as well as The Burgess Boys, Amy and Isabelle and several other acclaimed novels. Lucy Barton received excellent reviews from all leading newspapers and magazines but I found it somewhat less compelling.

It is a kind of meta novel in that it is a memoir of Lucy Barton written by Lucy Barton. Central to the story is Lucy's memories of her impoverished childhood growing up in rural Illinois in the 60s. The material and physical aspects of desperate poverty are precisely etched on her mind. Here is how she describes it:

"We were oddities, our family, even in that tiny rural town of Amgash, Illinois, where there were other homes that were run-down and lacking fresh paint or shutters or gardens, no beauty for the eyes to rest upon. These houses were grouped together in what was the town, but our house was not near them...we were told on the playground by other children "your family stinks" and they would run off pinching their noses with their fingers...I was often ravenous, and what I had for supper many nights was molasses on bread...Our home was down a very long dirt road. We did not have any neighbors nearby. And we did not have a television and we did not have newspapers or magazines or books in the house".
And what was the house like? For the first eleven years of her life, she, her two siblings and her parents lived in a garage that belonged to her great-uncle and in the garage there was "only a trickle of cold water from a makeshift sink". When the garage got too cold in winter, Lucy would stay late at school in the warm classroom doing her homework and reading books. She makes perfect grades and in her senior year gets full scholarship to attend a college outside Chicago. Leaving Amgash and her family behind, she makes her way from Chicago to  New York, gets married, has a family and becomes a writer.

But Amgash and the effects of poverty never quiet leave Lucy. They follow her in her ignorance of popular cultural knowledge, an absence of dress sense and, muddled hazy memories of mental illness, trauma and abuse she may or may not have witnessed.  In one poignant moment in the book, looking back on the early years, Lucy thinks may be it was not that bad. But "there are times, too--unexpected-- when walking down a sunny sidewalk, or watching the top of a tree bend in the wind, or seeing a November sky close down over the East river, I am suddenly filled with the knowledge of darkness so deep that a sound might escape from my mouth, and I will step into the nearest clothing store and talk with a stranger about the shape of sweaters newly arrived. This must be the way most of us maneuver through the world, half knowing, half not, visited by memories that can't possibly be true".

Exactly what was that dark knowledge Lucy never quiet tells us. She mentions the Thing, meaning an incident of her father 'becoming very anxious and not in control of himself'. Eventually, the readers with a couple of contrived narrative devises, come to understand that her father who fought in World War II suffers from PTSD and is prone to sexual exhibitionism.

I had two problems with the book. First, I did not find Lucy believable. I did not get a sense of what made her tick. Apart from the fact of her deprived childhood, her life moves forward without major bumps with strangers inexplicably smoothing her way. There is the high school guidance counselor who gets her admitted to college on full scholarship and even drives her there the first time. In college she has an affair with an art professor and at the age of twenty marries a well educated young man with a job in the city. While raising two daughters, she gets two stories published seemingly without much struggle. At the hospital, the doctor bills her for only five visits when he has been attending to her for months! Even as her marriage is falling apart, her husband pays her to attend a writing workshop where the teacher takes a personal interest in her work. As a writer, she becomes rich enough to pay for her own therapy and botox injections. The second time she gets married to a brilliant cellist. Really, what made her so effective? At one point, she calls herself ruthless, but exactly how so?

For a writer, she is completely uninterested in knowing how it was for her siblings to grow up in that household. Were their memories of their parents same as hers? Why was her brother, who at the age of thirty six still living with their parents, and sleep at night with the pigs that will be taken for slaughter next morning? As an author and as a sibling she fails totally.

The second problem I had with the novel was the ambiguous references to the father's mental illness and the nature of abuse. Without knowing what exactly that Lucy was struggling with, the elisions became a distraction and after a while you stop caring.

My name is Lucy Barton is a short novel that can be finished in one sitting. I wish it had been a richer book with the details filled out.

Thanks for visiting.

Friday, April 15, 2016


Do-Something-Everyday, April 15, 2016

A plain wood vase transformed into a painted textural piece of art with pyrographic tools. One side is dense with repetitive triangles drawn using hot tips and the colored with Golden fluid acrylics. It has a very nice texture with a 3-d effect. The other side (below) is more traditional with flower patterns. The wood burned flowers are highlighted with surrounding colors.

Thanks for visiting.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Succulent Love and Frida Kahlo

Do-Something-Everyday, April 14, 2016

This is the last of a series of posts called Succulent Love. These are posts showcasing my succulents collection  in interesting planters along with small paintings of succulents that I did. You can find previous posts here, here, and here. The one below is planted in a cigar box with a painting of the plant on the inside lid. 

Cigar boxes are one of my favorite planters for succulents. I use in their natural state which gives a rustic look to the arrangement. I added balled feet to the box so that it would not sit flat on the ground and also be proportionate to the height of the plant. First,  I lined the box with a plastic liner (grocery bag), added two layers of small pebbles. Once the plant was put it into the box, I layered the top soil with spanish moss (that was what I had in hand). To add interest, I drew a painting of the succulent on the inside lid with watercolors. So far, I am liking the arrangement!

To cap the week, I am posting photos from Frida Kahlo: Art, Garden, Life exhibition that New York Botanical Gardens did last fall. It was a multi-disciplinary show designed to highlight the artist's
deep connection with her native land's flora and fauna. The centerpiece of the exhibition was the Enid Hauptman Conservatory reimagined as Casa Azul, Frida's Mexican home and garden that was filled with succulents native to Mexico. As is my wont, I went camera happy and clicked away. Enjoy.

Thanks for visiting.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Succulent Love, Part C

Do-Something-Everyday, April 13, 2016

This is another cigar box planter with a whole lot of succulents, especially jade plant.  I added balled feet to the box to add a little bit of elevation to the box.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday:Succulent Love, Part 2

Do-Something-Everyday, April 12, 2016

I planted this succulent in an old ceramic pot I got  a long time ago from Rag Shop. Rag Shop was a popular regional arts and craft chain store way before Michaels.  Though what it sold was made in the USA, they were very reasonably priced. This planter cost $4. Rag Shop went out of business when the Chinese invasion of cheap goods began via Michaels.

Monday, April 11, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Succulent Love, Part 1

Do-Something-Everyday: April 11, 2016

I fell in love with succulents when my daughter gifted us this succulent collection as an anniversary gift. It did not last but since then I have been slowly building my succulent collection. What I  have realized is that I like growing them in interesting containers and that I also liked drawing them. Above is a watercolor sketch of Haworthia,  from the aloe family. The real one is below planted in a recycled wood container upon which I had doodled a zentangled inspired art. I drew a car doodle on the opposite side.

Thanks for visiting. Come again tomorrow for another update on the succulent collection.

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Do-Something-Everyday: Midori Style Felted Cover Journals

Do-Something-Everyday: April 7, 2016

Midori  is a Japanese style journal cover that is entirely removeable.  I made a whole travel journal kit with the removeable as the starting point. There are several combinations of colors and patterns and all of them are available in my Etsy shop

This Midori travel journal kit consists of six items:

1. Midori  style wool felt cover (stabilized with interfacing) with elastic insert and closure, 8"x6" (photo 2). You have a choice of four colors: grey, red, green and beige. Both the larger journal and the folio together fit easily into the cover (Photo 3)

2. Handmade folio/folder to keep all of the items (4-6) below together. The folio is made from 100% handmade paper with lovely leaf impressions. 5.5" by 6.5". (Photos 1 & 3).

3. One 7"x6" hand stitched notebook with 120 pages counting both sides (photo 4). The journal which fits the felt cover is removable. (photo 3)

4. Two hand sewn jotters. 4.5" by 6"; single signature of approx. 40 pages counting both sides; A collection of these journals are in photo 3. The journals will be randomly selected from this collection but I will make them match in color to the folio (Photo 4)

5. Two Post cards: (1) illustrated with David Sibley's backyard birds; (2) Prints from my Indian travels photos. See photo 5. Both cards will be randomly selected from this collection.

6. Matching tiny matchbook, 2.5" by 2"; 20 hand cut and hand assembled pages. Stapled. Kraft envelope lined with a page from old atlas; 5.75" by 4.25"

Thanks for visiting.