a good traveler


Tuesday, February 26, 2013

has no fixed plans, and is not intent on arriving.
today, you'll find us resting on the floor,
right where we should be.

the edit


Monday, February 25, 2013

i'm a collector and truthfully a bit of a scavenger. little passes my eye without me needing to inspect it and possible collect it. whether it's a visual inventory of things to examine later in memory, journals of jotted notes, words, intersection names, old driftwood, beach glass, magazines, rugs, chairs, and books, i love to collect. after collecting comes my favorite part, curating. i'm always putting those collections to work. mixing, aligning, displaying and arranging unexpectedly. 

this weekend we wandered the beach. the girls came home with pockets of found objects. this is all part of their daily haul of treasures, as they call them, which come from playgrounds, school, sidewalks, nature, and friends houses. jewels, tiny taped pieces of paper, shells, rocks, wood, flowers, stickers, and stuffed animals, all find their way here. on our last hike, sienna brought home a huge branch. 

the family is quite used to opening the door to a rearranged house. sienna is starting to get the curating portion of the process. what still alludes them both, is the edit. they are attached to every little item they find, so i tend to "edit" when they are not home. i've started to talk to sienna about how to really look at a piece. roll it over in your hand, be discerning, ask yourself what about it speaks to you, and what do you plan to do with it. i had her watch this beautiful short selby film, we talked a little about the story that an object has, where it came from and what it means if it comes into her life. she wanted to watch the beginning of the film again. she loved the big display case and the look of the pieces lined up. she also wanted to know if she could have a zippered leather clutch for collecting her treasures, that way she wouldn't bring home too much. i think sienna's discerning eye is developing just fine. hopefully she doesn't move on to collecting beautiful bags anytime soon. 



Sunday, February 24, 2013

"a portrait of my children's artwork, once a week, every week, in 2013."


a few months ago, my husband started his own company, which means resources have been tight. last week, after a long shopping hiatus, we both needed a pair of shoes. stacked up on the recycling bin, the girls have never passed a box they didn't love. this week it's all about the diorama.  

s. periodically, where the wild things are, hits the nightly rotation. sienna likes the book but always wants max to be a girl and the monsters to be ponies in a magical land. go figure. from the beginning of the project, she knew that she wanted ponies and shells, "cause those are my thing, mom." on the tails of the book, she wanted her room to turn into a forest, but of course she needed a nightlight. after finding her girl, she decided that since chandeliers are on the ceiling and mary poppins had a tea party up there, she'd like her girl to be up there too. 

o. olivia watches sienna's moves a lot. since sienna put something on the ceiling, she wanted something there too. strawberry shortcake was way to big to fit in next to the elephant, so she settled for her tights. good compromise. this diorama is so olivia. it's filled with everything she loves. hand painted shells in stacks, that bracelet bought at the dollar store with coco, her animals which generally live on her windowsill, and most importantly, her coveted bouncy ball collection. add in dad's old minnesota license plate, string, because she loves it, and a pink straw as a "binocular" like in jake, and there you have it. 

School of Life


Thursday, February 21, 2013

Image & interview via The Design Files

Beware the barrenness of a busy life. Socrates

We are all living busy lives. And in that busyness, it is often the creative, intellectual, and self-reflective pursuits that get sacrificed. I don't have time to read. I have too much going on to stop and sit with what I am feeling. Five years ago, a friend and I started a women's group. Our intention was to create a space where each month we come together with a curriculum to discuss different topics and feel challenged to think, reflect, learn and grow. Continually. 

As busy adults and no longer in school, we seem to lack a structure that challenges us to look at how we operate, what we believe and value, and how our past has impacted us. How often do you take an inventory to see if you are on the road you intended to take? After five years with the same group of women, month after month, I can honestly say, it is one of the best things I have done for my personal growth. 

When we first started, we sent out an invitation which included this quote by Bruce Mau from his Incomplete Manifesto for Growth. Allow events to change you. You have to be willing to grow. Growth is different from something that happens to you. You produce it. You live it. The prerequisites for growth: the openness to experience events and the willingness to be changed by them.

It takes a certain kind of courage to look honestly at your life. To call up events and shine light on things that can really be left well enough alone. However difficult, I feel that we always benefit from the challenge of looking. 

I recently came across this amazing school via The Design Files, that's right up my alley. It's called the The School of Life. Based in London, they call themselves a cultural enterprise offering good ideas for everyday life. They address such questions as why work is often unfulfilling, why relationships can be so challenging, why it’s ever harder to stay calm and what one could do to try to change the world for the better. 

On the menu of the school, you won’t find subjects like ‘philosophy’ ‘French’ ‘History’ and ‘the Classics’. You’ll find courses in ‘Death,’ ‘Marriage’ ‘Choosing a career’ ‘Ambition’ ‘Child Rearing’ or ‘Changing your world’. How great is that! There’s even a bookshop in the school which does away with the traditional categories in bookshops like fiction or history and just sells books according to particular problems. They've got a shelf titled ‘For those who worry at night’ and another titled ‘How to be happy though married’. They call the shop a ‘chemist for the soul’.

For those of us who are not living in London or Melbourne, where they just opened their second campus, they have a great blog that you can follow along with. Every change begins with a first step. What small change can you make that can expand your life? Happy schooling!

movements + risk


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

do you let your kids take risks?

last night i listened to a program on npr about kids, safety and risk taking. the debates centered around playground safety and standards, new laws, rising medical costs of injuries, etc. but the big take away for me was the idea that when we don't let our kids take acceptable risks in their play, we are taking away critical learning opportunities. 

almost every weekend we venture out to the mountains, desert or beach for a hike, stroll, general running around. we rock climb, run, tumble down sand dunes and swim in very cold water, often. i love nature, i love getting the kids out in nature. and i love watching and encouraging them to take risks. climb out on that tree limb, see what happens. scale that rock, can you do it? i feel like taking risks teaches them about their bodies, their strength. it let's them test their limits. what if they fail, can they try again? when it is time to try another way? logic, problem solving. the lessons are endless.

this quote by t.s. eliot sums it up, "only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go." 



Sunday, February 17, 2013

"a portrait of my children's artwork, once a week, every week, in 2013."


s. watercolor painted valentine bookmarks for her class.

o. olivia drew the piano. and then added the sunlight she saw on it. 

keep moving


Friday, February 15, 2013

my reply to my husbands inquiry of, what are you doing today?

hope you have a good weekend! i plan to catch up on a few things.

h e { a r t }


Thursday, February 14, 2013

mid-century modern home tour via martha stewart

I love you print by Rachel Castle

heart shaped painting by Damien Hirst via New York Times

I am not a heart sort of person, but I would take all of these pieces in a minute! I'd actually like to recreate the first one. I've held onto that photo for years thinking that one day when my house is bigger, maybe I have a hallway, I'd paint it. You could never be in a bad mood passing by. Can't you just feel the love.

you are here


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

start where you are. 
use what you have. do what you can.

images: stella mccartney via darling clementine north south via Alice Retrouvailles.

Line of Sight


Tuesday, February 12, 2013

"Beth's house" found on Idiomill. The wall, peak, composition. It's perfection. 

quote collage: background book & image by Ilse Crawford.

I love this quote by Edith Schaeffer, from Hidden Art. It really sums up the philosophy behind my blog, curate the day. I try to surround myself daily with things that inspire creativity. I believe in the power of beauty to relax, focus and invite us into the moment. 

Phillip Lim's fall collection is beautiful. The colors, cuts and lines will definitely play into a few of my upcoming paintings. 

The stunning Noot Seear’s home from The Coveteur. The warmth of that nook, records, and fireplace. I'd never leave.

Finally, Cy Twombly's breathtaking gallery of his work. I have spent a lot of time on this site. His work sparks so many great discussions with the girls about what is art and what is scribble-scrabble as Sienna calls it. 

Off to paint. What are you loving today?

about living


Monday, February 11, 2013

living take effort.
i was reminded of that this weekend. 
when things end, appreciation is born
the moment becomes clear,
we reorient.


a friend asked me why i was doing this paleo challenge, what was i hoping to get out of it. i gave all my reasons and then told her how i was thinking that if i can commit to doing something like this, why couldn't i commit to painting everyday. well, there's no reason really. so i did. i committed to painting everyday for 21 days. and at the end of it, i hope to have a body of work built up again so that i can finally start an etsy shop, something i've been wanting to do for awhile now. 

we got snow this week in our local mountains. we were trying to decide if we should go up. it's a lot of work digging around for the snow clothes from last year, seeing what fits, dressing the kids, packing a change of clothes for four people, snacks, sleds, the laundry when returning home, the whole bit. but that's living, i mentioned. living, really living the life you dream of, takes effort. committing to eating healthier means more time in the kitchen. committing to painting means more focus, working at night when i feel like relaxing. the trip to the mountains was so worth it. it always is. 

this weekend, we found out we lost a good friend. we went to the memorial and listened to stories, talked about life. we remembered him. and reminded ourselves, about living.



Saturday, February 9, 2013

"a portrait of my children's artwork, once a week, every week, in 2013."


s. at six, conversation sometimes stalls at "good", "i don't know" or " i played." but sitting together on the floor in the studio painting and listening to her mix on the ipod, things start to flow a bit better. "mom, today when we bought lunch my teacher let us walk to the cafeteria by ourselves, since it was raining and my class had to stay inside to eat. she told us to come back after we got our lunch and, mom, it wasn't pizza, it was friday, why wasn't it pizza? it was a hot dog. i ate it, but i wished it was pizza. so the lunch lady said that we could eat in the auditorium. and we did mom. we didn't go back to class. we stayed and ate in there. and it was raining and there was this giant pipe, mom have you seen it? the water was pouring down from it and making this huge puddle, bigger than our whole kitchen! it was cool and then..." this piece is called the link. i named it. 

o. a tightly folded package with lots of tape around it was placed into my hand when i picked her up from preschool friday. "this is for you mama. you can open it when you get home". melt. the package, backpack, two stuffed animals, lunchbox, water bottle, muddy boots, wet socks, a cup of treasures, handmade headband, wrist bracelets and belt were all unloaded on the dining room table. in walks daddy, clearly the best thing to happen all day. tug, "mama, i want to give this to daddy." not waiting for an answer, "dad, dad, i made you something, open it!! it's a rocket ship! and my name, dad. olivia!" double melt

off to live


Friday, February 8, 2013

image via Rickshaw
I do not want to get to the end of my life and find that I just lived the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well. Diane Ackerman

busy weekend full of commissioned paintings & valentines makings. 
hope yours is a good one!

bon appétit meets paleo


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Each month, when bon appétit arrives, I pour over the recipes, photos and beauty of the magazine. This month's pasta issue did not disappoint. I, however, am on day three of a twenty-one day paleo challenge. 

The ground rules: no grains, no breads, no pasta, no dairy, nothing made with flour or sugar. So basically I am gluten-free, grain-free, wheat-free, sugar-free, dairy-free, caffeine-free and alcohol-free. Yipee.

Not normally being much of a meat eater, this is my opportunity to live it up in that department. The cover photo of the Spicy Pork Ragu sounded like the place to start. In gathering recipes, I came across recommendations for zucchini noodles as a good substitute for pasta. They were delicious. If ever you find yourself in a similar situation, give this paleo recipe a try. 

Zucchini Noodles with Spicy Calabrese-Style Pork Ragù


1 medium onion, quartered
1 carrot, peeled, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 celery stalk, cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves
2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 cup coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley, divided
1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound hot or sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pound ground pork
sea salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
6 zucchini, sliced with a julienne peeler or julienne blade of a mandoline


• Pulse onion, carrot, celery, garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, and 1/4 cup parsley in a food processor until finely chopped; transfer to a small bowl and set aside. Purée tomatoes with juices in processor; set aside.
• Heat oil in a large heavy pot over medium heat; add sausage and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until browned, about 4 minutes. Add ground pork, season with salt and pepper, and cook, breaking up with a spoon, until no longer pink. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
• Increase heat to medium-high. Add reserved vegetable mixture to drippings in pot, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, until golden, 8-10 minutes.
• Stir tomato paste and 1 cup water in a small bowl; add to pot. Cook, scraping up any browned bits from bottom of pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer until liquid has almost evaporated, 6-8 minutes.
• Add reserved meat and tomato purée and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, adding more water as needed to keep meat nearly submerged, until meat is tender, about 4 hours. Season with salt.

*Do Ahead: Ragù can be made 3 days ahead. Let cool. Cover and chill, or freeze for up to 2 months. Reheat before continuing.

Zucchini Noodles:

• Using the julienne peeler, slice zucchini lengthwise into long, thin strands. Slice the zucchini just until you reach the seeds in the middle and then stop (the seeds will cause the noodles to fall apart).
• Separate the zucchini strands. Transfer stands to a colander set over a mixing bowl. Toss the strands with salt; let stand 15 minutes at room temperature to extract excess water. 
• Heat olive oil in a pan and transfer drained zucchini strands. Sauté for two minutes. 

Divide zucchini noodles among the bowls, top with ragù sauce.

when to hide


image via ermie

s at home
another great image via ermie. a constant source of inspiration

picasso postcard in my bedroom

window art in little italy

a daily reminder

there are times when i want to stick my head in the sand
pretend i don't exist.
more accurately,
pretend everyone else didn't exist.
and there are times to do this.
times to hide,
to put blinders on. 

i love images of the half hidden,
messy hair,
downward glances.
you're not fully seen
but you're there
in your own space
in your own way.

in order to create more of me
i need to take me out of it
& other people too
stop looking around 
stop saying yes.

monday, creative morning


Monday, February 4, 2013

clare vivier.
i love your bags,
i love your store,
i love your style.

and now i love your story about creating a brand. found on los angeles creative mornings

happy monday!



Sunday, February 3, 2013

"a portrait of my children's artwork, once a week, every week, in 2013."


this week zoomed by with activities and a fantastic chinese new year production that s's school put on. saturday morning we crept down to the studio to paint for a bit. i showed the girls a photo and we talked about the shape they see when they look at it. you can see the photo and read the post here

s. sienna sometimes asks, what should i paint. my usual answer is, whatever you feel like, which she then follows up with a heavy sigh. this morning, she liked me suggesting a direction to take. we have been reading the little house series. the winters are bleak. this piece has that feel to me. solitude under a heavy sky. sienna simply calls it, "a tent out in the mountains."

o. olivia liked looking at the pictures and naming shapes, but wanted nothing to do with direction. she worked away at her piece and then painted four more. when i asked her if it had a name, she said yes, it's called, "not a triangle." 

pointed direction


Saturday, February 2, 2013

via scout-holiday

it all started with this photo that i came across again a few days ago.

the lines
the mood. 

i love the shape
the drape
the stare.

as luck would have it, s brought home a study of shapes that she did in school this week. with this perfect confluence, i decided that the pyramid would be my inspiration this coming week. 

this morning, the girls were in the studio and i had them look at the photo of the hiding girl, as they called her, and tell me what they saw. 
a girl
she hiding
she's cold
she's sitting criss cross apple sauce 
she looks like you.

(sidenote: i love the generational transition from indian style to criss cross apple sauce)

i also showed them a handful of my favorite images that had the same shape & feel. here are a few.

this piece by Victoria Haven.

this beautiful teepee is from one of my favorite blogs, house of habit. their handcrafted teepees are available here

1. Otto Freundlich. i flipped this image upside down, for the purposes of this study. 2. image taken by laure joliet.

we talked about shapes, people and things that look like shapes, and then we painted. they were funny. olivia doesn't always like my guidance as you will see in my weekly 52 post tomorrow. 

of course,
i love a girl who takes her own direction.
it was a good morning. 

one down


Friday, February 1, 2013

field study. 60" x 48"
inspired by this from last week.

i have no wall space left in my house. i wanted to snap a quick shot of this painting so i went to the girls room, the only place with a big enough white wall and a bit of light. kind of rough, but you get the idea. 

i love working on large canvases. i love the freedom of space and really being able to put myself into the painting. i usually work on the floor, so i am literally on top of the painting, reaching and moving around it. 

i am also in constant need of perspective. and a different perspective. so no matter how large the piece, i am usually carrying it from the studio into different rooms of the house and yard, to help me see what needs to be done next. weird? i don't know. it's just what i do. i also take on and off my glasses so i can see it blurry and clearly and blurry again.