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Monday, January 21, 2013

Less is really less in my crib today. The Big Clean Out of our California home is about finished. Since I'm still in our California home for another 10 days, I am enjoying the lessons of what I do with less. 
I look at the beauty around me.
This is Del Dios, after all. Without the mental distraction of physical clutter, I am actively enjoying every single view. Beauty surrounds this house in every direction.
I remember.
Even with plans to return to it, I am missing what was. All the Cousinfest Comic-Con reunions every July, all the annual Lake opening (and closing!) celebrations, all the Pancake Breakfasts at the Old Del Dios Firehouse, the dam over-flowing, the 2007 fire and the incredible community response to it. No end to the list, really. 
I let myself dream.
Of the family who will live here next, surrounded by beauty, the community of Del Dios, and the amazing healthy joy of being Here.
Renee

Saturday, January 19, 2013

My friend Suzette has a bumper sticker that says, "The world is run by those who show up". When it comes to volunteerism, that could not be more true. These DELICIOUS deviled eggs were served at this morning's annual Volunteer Brunch hosted by the Escondido Municipal Gallery. So much fun. So much good eats. So many fine people committed to the arts. They show up and they do run things. Donna started a weekly arts group get-together 3 years ago that's still going strong. Petey and Nancy can be counted on for tasks from bulk mailing to co-chairing the annual monster fundraiser. And Kurt, practically never seen without a camera, documents everything, posts it, promotes it. They and their peers make it all happen. And they don't earn a dime in cash. They just garner millions in joyful energy.
So here's my pitch: Give a little time. Volunteer a bit. Just even show up. You too will run the world. And what you receive in return will be priceless.
And you might get deviled eggs. Yum!
Renee

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Hey, mid-westerners! Remember when it was w-a-r-m?

Here's a little something to joggle your neurons. The pink caps are READY to jump in and swim the lake portion of last summer's Chicago triathalon. Ms Thang is there, in the center, looking at us waving at her. Her friend's right behind her, waving back. It was warm that day, but not too warm at 0'dark-thirty when her group hit Lake Michigan. 
How fitting that she was assigned pink. How fetching that her cap matched her swim gear. As it happens, it also matched her bike, her race shoes, her custom tee-shirt and her sun-block lip-stick.




Love my matchy-matchy athlete!
Renee

Tuesday, January 15, 2013


Yesterday's picture of the day theme was something yellow, today's is An Ordinary Moment, and all I can say is, have any of you ever totally packed up a house you've lived in for 16 years!?!?!?! I'm in the middle of that right now. There are no ordinary moments at "the moment", and if I could focus enough to find any one thing at all, it's a crap-shoot if it would be yellow.
So into my Facebook photo archives I must go, and lo! What have we here? Why it's me, having an ordinary Comic-Con moment with my yellow-man fan. That's as good as it gets. Yep, it is.
TTUT

Sunday, January 13, 2013

The CIRCLE of art supply life in my studio is well-manifested in this Pillowbot. The sewing thread was first-use, but everything else began as some other functional form. Kum-by-ya, baby!
A student of mine asked me once if I saw "art supplies" wherever I went. That would be a very resounding "Yes!!"  I even gave a walk-about workshop once in "Training Your Eyes to See the Supplies".
So what was my response to Dr. Frankenstein, before becoming my response?
The blue  embellishments  were disposable, albeit very strong, sterile wrap from an operating room.
The green "mouth" and legs were bag-swag from a past Comic-Con, where art supplies abound and the unwary may find themselves with a very sore back from hauling it all around.
The wild yellow eyes and orange body? Most likely  reusable, but not very strong (be warned!) grocery bags that made the cut of my most discerning eye, then lost their handles after about 5 trips to the Farmers' Market on Grand Avenue.
But let's be real, Renee, it's almost a disease worthy of reality T.V. and you know it. The only thing keeping you off the Hoarders show is that eventually, you get bored with the found supply du jour and you put what's left in the recycle bin. From whence the CIRCLE goes on, the material morphs some more, and matter becomes Other Matter. Or energy. Or both.
Enough already.
TTUT

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Greetings, Earthlings. Resistance is futile: you must have one of us in your home. Corkbots, Glass bots, take your pick. Much to our SURPRISE our humanoid maker is putting us all on sale tonight at the Escondido Municipal Gallery Reception. She has this idea about an installation in her RICHETTS SPACE, and needs the room. Fickle humans, all of you! 
So her sale? 50% off on every item in her show space. And this just in: she remains committed to her belief in equal treatment for all sentient beings, hence all are welcome to attend this free opening at 262 E. Grand Avenue, Escondido CA 92025, 5:30-8 pm.
Be there or be on Mars.
TTUT


Friday, January 11, 2013

Behold the Mermaid Car, lounging by the calming water of Lake Hodges. She is epic, she is a must-drive, she is staying in the family!
She got her start as a humble 2002 Prism with the standard Prism's excellent Toyota engine, and standard, really boring, and easy to lose in a parking lot, paint job. Then one day, the Mermaid Goddess declared that she should be part of a community art project of the Escondido Municipal Gallery. And so it was!
My niece has been "testing driving" her for 6 months now. Soon she will belong to the niece and her awesome water-loving self will be spied by all who care to look. 
Say yes to art in all aspects of your life! 
TTUT
P.S. Murphy the dog says "hi".

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Paper! Stitched! Into an abstract Artist's Book!
A hand-stitched paste-paper artist book, to be exact. 
Getting back to my paper artist book roots in Italy this March. and c-a-n-n-o-t wait.

Yesterday's theme was TIME, and I missed it! How crazy is that? Still no reason not to make up for lost time (ugh-really bad, I know) by posting 2 blogs today.
Wait no longer in suspense as you're asking yourselves what's this picture got to do with time, huh?
TIME for free art supplies!!!! O.k. not a very clever title, but whatever. Love the mini-me wooden pose-able model with the pink lady. Just some of the many assorted mixed-media supplies I'm giving away this Sunday. 
First come, first take. Bring your own truck and boxes.
Sunday Jan. 13th 11-4pm.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Behold Skunk Street, leading directly to our garage, where Murphy-the-dog seeks revenge and we humans are scared.
Short trip down memory lane coming: Last Thanksgiving we were at my mother-in-law's. "We" included both Chicago Murphy and California Murphy. (Yep, both dogs have the same name. That's another story).
Anyway, while there, both Murphies got full frontal blasted by a skunk. Gag, seriously. It was awful. For weeks. Despite 5 doggie baths including one by pros. Horrid.
So "we", aka Mary Jo and I, learned our lesson. You'd think the Cali-Murphster would have too. Not a chance. He still wants a piece of that S.O.B. or its relatives. And apparently, skunks will seek refuge in a (snow) storm, even when it's our garage patrolled by a mixed terrier that shows no fear. Or common sense.

TTUT when I will be posting from California!!

Sunday, January 6, 2013


This space is still mine, though not for much longer. Many a metal book has been pounded out on that table while I was looking down the hill to Lake Hodges. Could that be why I've never succeeded in making a single metal book without either drawing blood or hammering a finger? Too much view-gazing as I'm banging?
Soon the room, the house, the energy will be for someone else to enjoy and make their own. We are truly in Chicago now, so close to yet another lake that we have actual weather patterns affected by the "big water". But for the next 3 weeks, this will still be mine. And if you've the inclination to own free art supplies from me, drop by next Sunday January 13th between 11-4pm for a huge giveaway.
What's the opposite of mine? Y-O-U-R-S! See you in person next week.
TTUT
Giveaway address: 20228 Ash Lane, Escondido, CA 92029--use mapquest to get good directions
Date and time: January 13th and 14th, 11-4pm
What's going for free: Mixed media art supplies!!!!
You need to bring: your own bags and boxes.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

C-Monkey conducting Beethoven's Sonata no. 8, 2nd Movement in A flat major at Mackey-D's, wearing the heirloom jean jacket made by her Auntie Nena (that would be me, to her age-crowd).
Today is Day 5 of the picture-a-day challenge and I've already busted my own resolution to only use pictures I took with my cellie. Hey, flexibility in art is a must.How could I pass on this double-entendre response to the movement theme? Answer: I couldn't, even though I used a "real" camera to take the picture.
The hand-embroidered jean jacket she's wearing goes back more than 30 years. She's the latest generation to wear it. I think the Mardi-Gras beads (her addition) make all the difference. The grrrl's got her some style.
TTUT

Friday, January 4, 2013

The view from here is gorgeous Siena, Italy in the heart of Tuscany. So much art to make, so much inspiration to be found. This is Villa Malamerenda where I'll be living and making artists books this March. The land there is stunning. The food is amazing and the people are wonderful. I have busted out my brand new Italian for Dummies and am practicing every day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

I heart me some Corkbots. I really do. They have become the latest "Go to your studio and make something" doodle that I engage when I feel a creative block, aka Le Blockage (said with a French accent) coming on. 
One of my good friends, Lisa Bebi, is an amazing painter. She used to paint fish whenever Le Blockage approached. Lately she has switched to rabbits. They are awesome.
I learned long ago not to succumb to Le Blockage's insidious powers by practicing techniques over and over. Before long, the results of my practice sessions become something like production work, but by then Le Blockage would have left me. Phew.
The take-away here is keep making art, no matter what. Just keep going. Le Blockage will pass, Brilliant Creativity will return. Promise.

TTUT

Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Something new, it's totally true: wet hair will freeze!
Years ago, when I first started visiting Chicago in the winter and stayed at my in-laws', we were all going out to the car for a little trip to who-remembers-where. I had just done my usual naturally-curly-hair thing of hopping in the shower, washing my hair, finger combing it. Done. No blow drying needed. Just wash and go.
Well, you could have heard the collective gasp all the way to San Diego as I entered the garage, "You can't go out with wet hair!!!!! It'll freeze!!!!"
Of course, the logic was unimpeachable. Water freezes at 32F. My hair was w-e-t = it would freeze. But I must confess that somewhere deep inside, I didn't quite believe it.
Today, I'm a believer. Know what frozen hair feels like? Kinda like hair with way too much product in it.
My hair unfroze within seconds after I went back into the house. Lesson learned.
This me with my frozen hair and a low-tech candle defroster. The candle wasn't really needed, but I like the photo op.
TTUT


Tuesday, January 1, 2013


Happy New Year, Happy 2013!
Last year I took a total break from blogging on Days of Books. I was doing a mini-experiment in social networking and tried out various pseudo-blog posting themes on Facebook. That was then. It was fine. Time for a return to the future, using blogging as artist book. I didn't invent it, just this year I'm embracing it.
So back to the blog-o-sphere for 2013, where I guarantee I won't be cranking out 700 words/day, but I will practice the discipline of posting a photo/day (with commentary, if you care). Today's theme from the list my niece sent me, is "Today". I laugh at the challenge! I put on my new circle knit scarf. I take a low-tech photo of me, moi, myself. Ta-da: today. Soon there will be Rose Parade, nap, black-eyed peas (for peace) and rice (for riches). Today. Have a wonderful one. TTUT