Saturday, March 30, 2013

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

Don't you just love the saying en plein air? It's that cute French phrase that describes the act of painting outdoors. It's spring break and we're at our house in Mexico with the four little ones. Needless to say, staying outdoors is a necessity. When not off adventuring, we painted rocks, shells, sticks, dyed easter eggs, painted feet, legs, eventually each other, balloons, leaves, and snails. 

s. Aside from the eggs and body art, which occupied much of Sienna's time, she did this small painting called, the dotted.

o. Olivia loves tiny things. If she's missing, look down. You'll likely find her hunched over, digging into small crevices extracting microscopic objects. She spent hours in the garden collecting snails and rollie-pollies. Since the rollie-pollies moved to fast, she decided to paint the snails. Here's her painted snail collection. 

A few more shots from the week below.


52 project links: I thought this blurry shot of her boys, by Pink Ronnie, was perfectly captured.

in the sea


Friday, March 29, 2013

with brand new nets in hand, they went hunting in the sea. 

[the catch]
three sand dollars, 
twenty-two shells, 
four bits of sea glass,
an old yellow star,
one bottle cap,
two weathered sticks,
an army man,
three giant clamshells,
and seven smooth rocks.

are you on the hunt for anything this weekend? i hope you enjoy a great one.

collected, weekly


Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Found this shop, Stilleben, via instagram. I love nothing more than art piled high. This collection of watercolors by Trine Struwe are beautiful. 

Caitlin of Sacramento Street did a workspace profile about Joanna Williams of Kneeland Co. Every photo is perfection. Joanna is the kind of woman I find totally inspiring.  

My favorite characters in books and films are always places. In this article on being a California writer, Marisa Silver describes the California landscape as, "a series of characters, as mysterious and alluring as any people I might invent on the page." So true. 

Do you read The Gentlewoman magazine? This interview Getting to know Penny Martin, The Gentlewoman was great, especially her vision behind the magazine. "I think it is very important that you can hear the way women sound. I think women talk to each other very differently when men aren't in the room and I wanted that sound of their voices,' she says. 'What I wanted to reproduce was that thing when women sit down and say, "God, I love that."' She mimes pulling at a jacket. 'You know, they touch each other." 

via a drawing diary
Simple adobe beauty. Definitely some of my favorite architecture. From the book, Georgia O’Keeffe and her houses.

Ever since Erin of Such Small Steps recommended the Phosphorescent track “Song for Zula” I have been hooked. I've played it a million times. Know how I mentioned finding your song of the season? This is springtime in Mexico right now.

Finally, I took this photo yesterday. The kids were playing with punching balloons. I have many more bright and lively photos, the camera settings got messed up on this one, but I love the feeling that came out of it. Another reminder to love our mistakes.

Hope you're enjoying the week. xx



Monday, March 25, 2013

"He made the world to be a grassy road before her wandering feet." Yeats

There's nothing I like more than exploring without agenda. It's not always the easiest thing with four littles in tow, but by now, they're pretty used to our wandering ways. 

Basic ingredients for family happiness: chilled wine, local olives, bread, cheese and honey, colored pencils, paths to roam, flowers to pick, and the occasional farm animal. 

What are your ingredients for a happy family outing?



Sunday, March 24, 2013

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

s. this is one of my favorite pieces sienna has painted. it's gone through many iterations, having been primarily bubble gum pink, but she finally feels happy with this. inscribed in pencil she wrote, dad, olivia, mom, sienna. this painting will hang in our house forever.

o. a cat, sitting. olivia's perched right the age where abstract scribbles become real life drawings. beautiful to see, but watching them grow up is always a bit bittersweet for me.


52 project link love: This week I fell for the photo of little Sylas coloring in a box. The light, angle, and every little scribble is perfection.  

Heading south


Friday, March 22, 2013

Wow, what a morning. I'm finally returning home from a million errands, last minute work, and a tax appointment. Not my ideal day, but let's be honest, the sun is still shining bright from the mention on Simple Lovely yesterday. xx

Tomorrow, my sister, mom, and I are heading to Mexico with all the kids for the next few weeks. Our family home is the place where we catch up, relax, and feel a million miles away. Before I go, here's a snapshot of what I'm bringing, reading, and listening to this week.  

1. Perfect summer hat. I just bought this natural one from jcrew and wrapped my black silk scarf around it for the same look. 

2. I'm a creature of habit, my aviators are never far from my reach. 

3. The Alexander Wang tank is great for layering.

4. I recently picked up these Leith pants. A great casual, but dressy pant.

5. I've had a million versions of these. Perfect to wear at the beachside bar and the Valle de Guadalupe.

6. My ever-loved blue and white striped scarf, source unknown.

7. My old leather backpack that I picked up somewhere in Rajasthan. Great vintage one here.

8. Recently bought this tunic from Zara.  

9. We're bringing art for the walls. We recently renovated and have giant, empty, white plaster walls in two of the bedrooms. I am enjoying the starkness of the space, but slowly we are curating a collection. 

10. While living in India, I used rose water daily. When I came back I found this Moroccan Rose Toner and now can't go a day without it. 

11. Jcrew swimsuit

12. My find of the spring, this jacket. Flat on the page it's not looking like much, but you must try it on. It's the perfect spring color, looks great over everything, and I've gotten endless compliments. And the best part, it's $39 dollars. 

13. Magazines, I always have a stack. Books, I'm bringing many including, A Field Guide to Getting Lost. Great title. My sis and I love to watch seasonal movies, it's kind of an obsession. We've got many queued up, starting with Enchanted April. On rotation, Sea and Cake

Hope you enjoy the weekend!!

Passionate Dispassion


Thursday, March 21, 2013

Louis 'Satchmo' Armstrong plays for his wife in front of the Sphinx, 1961.

Five years ago, a friend and I created a women's group. Once a month we meet, have dinner, and discuss a topic. This month was, creating habits that enhance happiness. As it often happens, the issue was timely. D and I had just had a conversation in which he was encouraging me to commit to working out, something that I don't do with any regularity. My argument was that I have not found the passion for working out, so therefore I will never be able to fully commit to it. Without passion, it won't become a habit, something that I relate to being second nature. 

One of our focuses was instilling good habits into our children and ourselves. Not everyone agreed that passion was needed to drive something into a habit. Many feel that doing it, drives it into a habit. We hear that a lot, just do it. Whether it is working out, meditating, or eating breakfast, these are all habits that would greatly benefit my life, so why do I find it so hard to do them? 

On Monday, I mentioned this article and I wanted to revisit this section on passion that I found interesting.

I have been doubting myself lately about whether I should enter works of art in the way that I do, which is with a lot of emotion, and always looking for a way to personally relate. I remember when I was a freshman in college, in my first literature class, I told my TA that I had trouble writing essays about books I didn’t love. The advice she gave me was to write with “passionate dispassion.” I teach now, and this is one of the most common dilemmas I hear from students: How do you write about something you don’t care about? I usually tell them to find an angle that interests them, or think about why anyone else would care. (But do they even care who cares?) I tell them they can still find something valuable in a book or a work of art, even if they aren’t emotionally moved by it. I’m not yet satisfied with my answer.

So if I take the principle of passionate dispassion and apply it to creating an exercise routine, would it work? Could I find an angle that interests me or can I commit to it for my family, to stay healthy and live long? Perhaps. Maybe I am just being stubborn. I only have so many hours in a day to get things done that must be done and after that, I want to do the things I love to do first. And many days, I don't even get to those things. 

Thinking further, I remembered something I read in Inc. magazine about following your passion in business. The article says that passion is a side effect of mastery. Passion is not something you follow, passion is something that will follow you as you put in the hard work. Now that's a reversal. Just do it, the passion will come. Is that true? I know that good habits are important and something that I value. Maybe I just need to add exercise to the must do list and get over the fact that not every moment is going to be as passionate as Satchmo at the pyramids, right? 

Do you need passion to make something a habit? Do you have any advice for creating healthy habits easily? I could use a bit of advice. 

life in motion


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

How often do you think about slowing time? I think about it a lot. Probably three to four times a year I actually google, ways to slow time, looking for tricks I can use to make time appear to slow down or stand still. Do you ever wonder if it is something we can control? 

One of my favorite books is Einstein's Dreams by Alan Lightman. It is a beautifully written book on the meditations of time through fictional tales of what Einstein may have been dreaming as he developed his Theory of Relativity. The pages are filled with poetic passages which make you question the very essence of time and our relationship to it. Each chapter takes a different look at time's possibility. Listen to a few. 

If time stood still.
If time were a visible dimension.
If time were not a quantity but a quality.
If time passed fitfully.
If time were a sense.
If events are triggered by other events, not by time.
If one memory becomes your life. 

What I am seeking in my relationship to time is to find a way to stop the feeling that life is just rushing by in a blur. I want to find a way to make moments really sink in and stand out. Make memories deep and ingrain them in me. That way, when I look back on the week, I don't think another week just went by. I will be able to recall and mark time passing by individual moments. The warm sun fading at the beach as all four girls made capes from their towels and ran into the wind. The squeak of her sippy cup as she slipped into cuddle and drink her milk in the still dark morning. The feeling when the final stroke completed the painting. 

Recently I offered a prescription to see. I've got another one.

Tips for Slowing Time. 

• stare at the horizon, a moving bank of clouds, or the wind.

• observe the angle of the sun on your rug or wood floor. stay long enough to watch it move.

• anticipate.

• sit down to enjoy a conversation with someone. ask questions, then really listen. 

• stand at the edge of the sea.

• find a cozy spot in your home to lounge. look around at things from a new angle, find ease.

• walk out into the night, notice the luminescence. 

• travel.

• inhale deeply, while you kiss your child. my dad did this with us until the day he passed away. he was literally taking us in. 

• watch children play.

• scour music and find your song of the season. put it on repeat until it becomes that time period. return to it when needed.

• arrive early, then just sit and observe things around you.

• take a walk somewhere you have never been.

• have an impromptu dance party.

• make a bonfire. 

• take dinner outside. set a beautiful table and watch the evening fade into night.

Do you do this, try and slow time? What seems to slow it for you? I'd love to know!

collected, weekly


Monday, March 18, 2013

Happy Monday! It's a fresh week and I'm feeling rejuvenated and organized, which has been no easy task lately. It's the last week to get some work done before heading out of town for a two week spring break, so I thought I'd start the week with a few things that are inspiring me. 

the list (clockwise)................................................................................

1• This space from a note on design completely drew me in. I struggle with meditation, but feel like I could really clear my head here. 

2• Graphics, graffiti, and big bold shapes are catching my eye.

3• A museum in the mind of someone contemplating the sky by Dale Megan Healey is a beautifully written essay about James Turrell's installation called Meeting, at MoMA PS1. In one of my favorite paragraphs she writes, I admit that I mostly go to PS1 just so I can sit inside Meeting. I enter the building and try to look like I’m moving slowly through the galleries, contemplating the sculptures and video installations like everyone else, when really I just want to run up the stairs into that cold, bright room. Meeting is a permanent installation, and I sometimes don’t want to take the time to be moved by something new. I want to go straight to where feeling something is guaranteed.

4• I liked the cleverness of Nina Katchadourian's Sorted Books Project. She searches through collections of books, clustering titles to create witty sentences, unlikely groupings, and book spine poetry. She got her start while studying and trying to put into practice the theory that art lives in the everyday and is located in unlikely places. 

And speaking of books, I thought this article in the New York Times about the battle of the bedside table was great. Social scientists say that bedrooms are honest spaces and your real self lives on your night stand and in the books you keep there. So true.

5• Want to see the hardcopy precursor to Pinterest? This video on Nowness is an interview with photographer Taryn Simon who has created a series of works inspired by The Picture Collection. It's an archive of 1.2 million prints filed in over 12,000 folders labeled with beautiful terms like handshakes, sunlight, swimming pools and waiting. As someone who still collects torn-out images, someday I will enter that room. 

6• Love this print by Ky Anderson.

7• I've been living in a similar outfit lately. I still prefer my skinnies, but boyfriend jeans are giving me a relaxed springtime look. 

8• The simplicity and lines of this painting by Piet-Mondrian is perfection. 

What are you loving lately?



Sunday, March 17, 2013

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

this week, a glimpse into their process of making art. the girls love to create. paint, draw, glue, stack, staple, construct, they do it. they do it together and they do it alone. every week i have one on one time with each girl and we often find ourselves painting side by side. i relish the time because we are both involved in something we love and we are doing it separate but together. watching their process and seeing them quietly concentrate and engage in what they are doing is pretty amazing. you can see it in these pictures and feel it too.

s. in the studio.
o. en plein air.


52 project link love: i can't get enough of this family. what would it be like to have a brood so big. i wonder and sometimes wish.

finding yourself


Friday, March 15, 2013

book as background: francesco clemente, a portrait

It's the end of a busy week. There was a lot of goodness happening, so much so that I haven't had the time to write much. But that's a good thing, right? Living.

I came across the quote above not too long ago and really loved the honesty of it. I watch daily as my little one imitates my big one and as my big one imitates me. We all learn through watching the world and people around us. As we get older, somehow we feel like we should hide that fact, that we should be totally unique, formulated only from ourselves. But the reality is that we are a part of everything and it's ok to look and imitate and then make it your own.

We have a busy weekend planned, two date nights, an international fair complete with a Columbian dance and song performance by Sienna's class, and some studio time. I also have a handful of half finished posts that I am finishing up to share next week. I'm a flood of ideas, but action takes time.

I also wanted to say that I love writing here and thinking about what to share. I appreciate every comment and feel like this space is a great tool for further finding myself. It's helping me document life, reminding me of what is important, and expanding my connections with interesting people.

One of the things D and I are talking about on our date night tonight is taking a personal inventory. We are looking at all things we are doing to better ourselves and where we are spending our time. Think of it as spring cleaning for the self. How often do you take a personal inventory? What do you do in life for your personal growth? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Have a great weekend. xx



Thursday, March 14, 2013

right now, i am living in my life.
what are you doing?

image: mary button-durell

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can you hear it?


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

The subtle sounds. 

Four distinct sounds to her ear, 
rolling together in her mind. 

Sienna has been having assessments in school. Coupled with her increasing interest in learning to read english, much of our time has been focused lately on letters, words and the subtle sounds they make. 

There are four words, and many other compound words comprised of these four, that she is studying in Mandarin. The pronunciation so similar, all sounding like, show. But to her, there is no confusion. Walk, hands, ball and laughing. She knows them each for themselves. 

i love subtlety.
it means you are paying attention.

A book that I have had a long love affair with is Speak, Memory by Nabokov. Nabokov is a synesthete. Meaning he has a condition called synesthesia, which he calls colored hearing. Basically, it's a secondary sensation of a sound as color and color as sound. dreamy. Listen to what he writes:

The long "aaa" of the English alphabet has for me the tint of weathered wood, but a French "a" evokes polished ebony. This black group [of sound] also includes hard "g" (vulcanized rubber); and "r" (a sooty rag being ripped). Oatmeal "n," noodle-limp "l," and the ivory-backed hand mirror of "o" take care of the the whites. I am puzzled by my French "on" which I see as the brimming surface-tension of alcohol in a small glass. Passing on to the blue group there is the steely "x," thundercloud "z," and buckle-berry "k." Since a subtle interaction exists between sound and shape, I see "q" as browner than "k," while "s" is not the light blue of "c," but a curious mixture of azure and mother-of-pearl.


the repetition of sounds.
the blurred image of a cactus.
the fence shadow on the sidewalk.
can you hear it? 

a fresh start


Monday, March 11, 2013

sienna's laugh is different. i feel as if over the last two weeks our life had been suspended. waiting for her to heal, to feel herself, to be recaptured in the pull of our schedule. this weekend we felt normal again. we walked the bay knee deep in mud pools, flew kites, shopped the farmer's market, went out to a lovely dinner, and i even had a whole afternoon to myself. 

events change us, but they also bring a fresh start. 
welcome, monday.



Sunday, March 10, 2013

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

s. a stable.
o. a sculpture.


52 project link love: blog a la cart and her early morning capturings. there is such purity in the morning.

getting lost when you can't


Friday, March 8, 2013

between commitments and crowds
keep getting lost in streets and in the woods,
under stones, in trains.

. . .
that's my plan for the weekend. 
doing anything wonderful?

adapted from bread-poetry by neruda.