Tuesday, November 10, 2009

One Time Only Opportunity!

I could spend a lot of time explaining why my blog has been silent since August - but I'm anxious to tell you about my exciting offer - so I'll say it simply....Facebook!

I'm very excited to be teaching a one day class at a new venue here in California on Sunday 11/15/09 - it's out in Augora - horse country - in a beautiful space owned by Lisa LaRosa. (lisalarosa.blogspot.com) As many of you know, besides my work as an artist, I am also a Creative Life Coach and work with all types of creative people. I like to incorporate some of my coaching tools into my classes so that my students come away with more than just art techniques and a completed project, but also have new skills to use in other areas of their lives as well.

I know that money is tight for everyone so I am making this special one-time offer - when you pay for this class I have made special arrangements with Lisa to include lunch with my class - and for the next 5 students to sign up - you will get a one hour phone-coaching session with me (value $100) for free. So for $140 - you get a one day class - a free lunch and a one hour phone coaching session valued at $100 - amazing!

If you're still on the fence about taking this class or spending the money on yourself....think about this - the techniques you will learn in this class and the project you will create could be a gift for a friend or loved one for the upcoming holidays. One gift out of the way and a day of art and relaxation for you!

So go over to the site - click on my class and sign up - be one of the lucky 5 who get the extra perks! I promise you a day filled with art, laughter and more - after all this is all about you!

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Gifts of Teaching ....

Finally coming up for air after another amazing week in Phoenix at the 7th annual Art Unraveled.  I must admit that I've been having withdrawal - as many have.  If you've never been to an art retreat and to AU in particular, there's magic that happens from the moment you set foot in the door of the venue.  Life as you know it in the "real world" is temporarily suspended and it's like being at camp, a carnival, school, and a big sleep over with your favorite cousins. Thank you, Linda, Chuck and crew and all the talented teachers for another wonderful event...more about my trip in a later post.

This past Sunday, I had the distinct privilege to do something else that I adore - teach a class.  For me, teaching is like nothing else I do in my life.  When I teach, I'm able to guide others in exploration and experimentation, while being of service to my students.  While doing this, I too get gifts from my students...the joy I see when they discover that they can indeed create;  the switch they make from feeling intimidated to exploring the tools, medium and their creativity with enthusiasm; and experiencing the students exuberance and gratitude at the end of the class. 

Nancy Dolan - from nurse to artist 

Another gift of teaching for me is introducing eager new students to the world of collage and mixed media and art in general.  Yesterday I had that privilege.  I watched as one of my students with no knowledge of this medium or the tools we use, dove in and created a beautiful book.  Watching her walk through uncertainty, which turned to smiles and laughter as she allowed herself to play and get in touch with her creativity, warmed my heart.  Being in her shoes not too long ago, I was thrilled to pass the torch.  

Carol Rothman - former kindergarten teacher now 2nd grade teacher to artist 

Marjorie Grace-Sayers - music teacher/musician - mother of four - turned artist 

Yesterday,  a small group of students joined me in a spontaneous last minute announced class at VIVA Gallery upstairs studio in Sherman Oaks.  As we gathered, an opening for a new exhibit was happening downstairs in the gallery, which made for a festive mood and an inspiration for my students.  The class was called "All About Me".   We discussed how as women, we are nurturers and caretakers in many areas of our lives.  I asked the students to give themselves permission to focus on "me" (each of them) for this class.  Some found that it was a difficult task making that switch.  

Carol Rothman with her completed book - her word was "evolving" 

Carol's back cover 

Carol's front cover - with stitched pocket and hand made silk tie-died ribbons

Nancy Dolan's book - her word was "becoming"

Nancy's back cover 

Nancy's front cover using found objects 

Each student was asked to think of a word or words that best described where they were in their lives at this time.  They were to keep that word in mind as they created their accordian book.  Using beautiful papers, crackle paints, distress inks, stamps, ephemera and more, the students created "a place"  just for them and their thoughts and dreams.  The results were beautiful and the few hours spent creating art and focusing on themselves was enlightening for all who participated.  

Marjorie with completed book - she chose "All About Me" as her words 

Marjorie's front cover

I am so grateful for the gift of teaching and for the students who allow me to share what I know with them as they explore their incredible creativity.  Life is good and I am truly blessed. 

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Disintegration Project - The Big Reveal

Taaa- taaa- taaa- daaaaaaa! Get ready for the big reveal of the result of participating in Seth Apter's wonderful Disintegration Project on his blog The Altered Page - over 100 artists participated starting back in January of this year. We were to place all kinds of ephemera etc out in the elements and leave them until August 1 when we would share what happened on our blogs. Living in Southern California I was at a bit of a disadvantage compared to my northern and east coast artist participants. I placed my pages of an old dictionary tied with twine and some shipping tags on my little balcony and made sure that when I watered my plants I watered my art experiment too. Since we have very little rain where I live I figured that would be okay to help it along a bit and add to the aging of the sun on my pages.

My original post (January 28, 2009 - Disintegration - Seth's Project) on this blog about this project allows me to see the difference in aging and disintegration that transpired over eight months. I began to create an art piece as I looked at my aged dictionary pages. Here's what I created using the rolled dictionary pages, the aged dictionary cover, aged and weathered shipping tags, some netting and twine all glued to cardboard (the backing for watercolor paper tablet that I saved).

The tags say: Words Without Knowledge Bind Thinking...I came up with them after completing the binding of the dictionary pages under the netting. I love words and learning and teaching and somehow this art piece speaks to me.

A million thank you's to Seth and to all the other wonderful artists who participated.

If nothing else comes from this art piece - this is enough. Enjoy and I welcome your comments!

PS - a small disclaimer about my photos - had to take them with my cell phone because my camera died last night! Double click on the photos to see a larger version with details.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Confessions of a Facebook Newbie

2006 me at the top of Masada, Israel

Okay...I admit it! I have a new addiction - oy! I finally took the plunge and joined Facebook. I had resisted for some time because I know myself and I knew that anything new with lists or photos or such will become an obsession for me. I'm one of those weird people that gets a new directory for an organization I belong to and immediately have to read every name and highlight the ones I know. Or if there's a bibliography in the back of a book, I have to highlight all the books I've read from the list. A true addict. I know myself. So, knowing this whenever I would get e-mails from friends asking me to join FB, I deleted them to avoid the temptation. But as time went by, and everyone was on MySpace, FB, and Twitter, I began to feel left out. It made me feel old and out of the newest hip thing. I began to question my thinking - what was I missing? What do they know that I don't? It reminded me of when I was not invited to a party in school or not invited to join the top club. I have always wanted to be part of the group. But after 19 years of sobriety and now confronting my addiction to food (I have now lost 25 lbs and 20 1/2 inches and am on week 22 of giving away my weight), I know myself.

Upstairs room at the church at Fountain & Fairfax - my very first AA mtg. 3/1/1990

Then someone I know who I really respect, went on and on about how Facebook is a great way to promote her business. That was it. The excuse I had secretly been searching for. I could join FB without any guilt to promote my Creative Coaching business and mixed media and writing classes. And besides it's free! Without another thought, excuse or hesitation, I found myself filling in my info on the FB registration. In less than 30 seconds I was in! I was at the party. I was in the club. Wow! Pretty harmless.

1981 - Me - Club Med show - Playa Blanca, Mexico

It was all pretty user friendly and I'm a quick study so within a couple of minutes I got how it all worked. At first I thought it was ridiculous. People posting that they're leaving work or posting things as if they're speaking just to me. Stupid, I thought. Why would people do that? Why would anyone care? I was wrong. This won't be addictive. As an old PR person, I'll only use it to promote business things. And that would have happened, if only I didn't discover that I could look at other folks friends lists. Once I discovered this, my addiction took hold and I found hours had passed by without moving from my computer. Okay, this is really embarrassing but I would click on a friend to request that they join my friend list. And then I would have to look at their list to see if I knew anyone on their friend page, which I most likely did. And then I'd see someone I knew from the past and click on their list. Just like when you hold a mirror up to another mirror to see "infinity" that's what FB became for me.

1978 - me channeling Ms. Streisand - Atlanta, GA

On a positive note...I've been a member of FB for over a week now and the novelty has worn off somewhat. I've connected with old high school friends and friends from productions I worked on almost thirty years ago. I'm actually going to meet a few of them for lunch. I do promote business things on my FB page. But I admit I now tell my "friends" when I'm off to the vet or going to a screening at the TV Academy and I do check FB many times during the day. I notice that I feel better connected to the outside world. There's an expression that says "contempt prior to investigation". I think I understand that phrase much better now :) But don't ask me join Twitter....

Friday, April 3, 2009

Remembering a Legend...

It's hard to believe that today marks 41 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. He was the youngest person (age 35) ever awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. That year - 1968 - was a year of unrest and unbelievable events. Not only was Dr. King murdered but also Robert F. Kennedy - right here in Los Angeles at the Ambassador Hotel. Powerful voices silenced by hate and prejudice. I remember that day and I remember them. (I lived in Atlanta during the time Dr. King lived and preached there. And I lived in Los Angeles and worked on a film project at the Ambassador hotel after it was turned into a production house for film projects. I was working there when the LA Riots broke out and watched from the roof as our city burned all around the hotel and beyond.)

Each leader spoke out with their truth even when voices tried to silence them. As I reflect on this historic sad and shameful day in our history, I ask myself questions. What lessons can I learn from these brave men to practice in my own life? How do I silence myself when I think my voice will speak a different point of view? How am I a light in the world by being of service to others? Do I allow my creative voice to speak or do I censor myself because it is not the voice I hear others speak? Do I speak out when I see injustice in the world, my country, my community or do I think that someone else will do it for me? And I wonder what our world would be like today if these voices had not been silenced?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Happy B'day to Me!


Me around age 3 or 4 - posing for my Poppy - my personal photographer!

Decided to share this with y'all as I seem to be on a roller coaster of emotions on this birthday - I was fine - even happy about my b'day until it hit midnight and then I seem to be a bit melancholy - my family is 3,000 miles away on the East coast and I really hate being so far away - I do have plans to meet friends tomorrow for a late lunch and then we're walking across the street to LACMA (Los Angeles County Museum of Art) to spend the afternoon - the weather is supposed to be beautiful so it should be fun - but ... I find myself seeing the years slip by more quickly with each passing year - I don't look my age (or act it either - according to some) and feel like I'm in my 30's but in reality haven't seen 30's or 40's or more for many years - I was reading Misty Mawn's blog and she was lamenting that she was leaving 32 behind - and I was thinking how great it would be t to be 33 again! I guess it's all relative - don't get me wrong - I'm happy and grateful to be alive and healthy and have good friends and my sobriety and my art and all of you out there that I have come to cherish - but as I get older, I find myself wishing there was more time - and wishing that I had a special someone in my life to share that time with - I have been told that happens in G-d's time and that I have to be patient - Love comes when we are not looking - so for all of you who are in loving committed relationships - hug your partner and remember to say you love them - you are truly blessed!

Always the "fashionista" - even at this young age! Note the purse which I insisted on taking to the zoo in Washington, D.C. Still a sucker for a good bag.

So - as any true Aries will tell you - moods pass quickly in our world - and now that I've blogged about what I'm feeling - this too has passed and I'm back to my old happy me - must be time to go to bed (what?! before 2 am?) -

Elvis on his favorite perch. Thank you! Thank you very much - just TKB!

I'm off to give Elvis his insulin shot -

Vinnie - age 17 - also known as Vincenzo - Vin Man - Voodie and Monkey Mouse ....

remind Vinnie - my toothless wonder - where his water bowl is - he has kitty- dementia -

Me ... back in the day... doing a Steisand impersonation - don't ask!

and know that when I wake in the morning all will be bright and sunny for me and I hope for you as well -

Friday, February 27, 2009

aaahh-hem ... and the winner is...

Since I haven't heard from the winner of the Oscar contest, we will go to the 1st runner up - picked by the lovely orange kitty .... Elvis (Also known as Elvie Bear) - and the runner up and new winner is Linda Lou! Please contact me privately at scribewizards@juno.com - and congratulations!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

And the Winner Is....

Elvis (age 15) perched on his favorite post awaiting instructions to 'paw' the winner in case there's a tie vote.

Then Vinnie woke up - he's 17 and mostly sleeps all day ... he wanted in on the action...He was overheard saying, "I'm old but I'm still cute!"

Thanks to the 32 women who posted guesses on my Oscar give-away post - there was a 3-way tie - but before I begin the drum roll and give you the results - here's how the voting went down -

Art Direction:
The Duchess - 6
Dark Knight - 15
Benjamin Button (Winner) 6
Revolutionary Road - 4
Changeling 1

The Duchess (Winner) 15
Benjamin Button 8
Australia 9

After waiting patiently for about 5 minutes - it all got to be too long a wait - and it was back to snoozing for Ol' Vincenzo Vinnie Boy!

Okay - start the drum roll - three people guessed both winners correctly - Benjamin Button (Art Director) and The Duchess (Costume) - they were Sharon (from the Netherlands), Linda Lou and Biscuit1 - Linda - so I put all three names in a bowl and had the lovely 'Elvis' paw the winner - (He also decided it was a treat and promptly chewed it!) a little wet and chewy the winner is 'bisquit1 - Linda' - CONGRATULATIONS! could you e-mail me privately at scribewizards@juno.com - and give me your snail mail address so I can send your winning packet -

So, did I do good? Huh? Did I...? No more Paparazzi, speak to my agent and press people for the correct spelling of my name.... :)

Sigh...back to what I do best .... until my agent gets me another gig ... oh, btw, now that I have a following, I only work for treats!

Thanks to everyone who played - hope you enjoyed the Oscars - I personally thought it was one of the best ever - well produced and different from the usual boring award shows - and I must say that I am personally thrilled that Sean Penn won best actor for portraying Harvey Milk in Milk and was able to speak up for equality on a public forum - (my 2nd choice was Mickey Rourke) - have a good evening and stay tuned to my blog for future give-aways - this was fun!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Oscar Give-away

If you live any place other than the Hollywood area, you might not know that this Sunday - February 22nd (at 5 pm PST (8 pm EST) on ABC) over a billion (yes that's with a "B") people worldwide will be glued to their televisions to see an Aussie (Hugh Jackman) open the 81st Annual Academy Awards - not to mention all you fashionistas glued two hours earlier to see who's wearing who on the red carpet - All this hub-bub just down the street from my apartment at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland. Well, it might not mean anything in Peoria or Portland (both Oregon and Maine) but in my town time stops - streets are closed off and traffic is directed down my street - helicopters circle over my 3rd floor apartment - Klieg lights can be seen for miles, while every limo in this and surrounding areas are filled with recognizable celebrities that are in a traffic jam waiting to stop at the red carpet, now wanting the papparazzi to flash their pictures - All the local newscasts lead off with what the weather will be on Sunday - hopefully no rain - even though they have plastic up over the red carpet .... just in case. Other than Halloween - also known as the West Hollywood (Boy's Town to those in the know) New Year's Eve - when over a 1/2 a million folks show up on Santa Monica Blvd. in professional costumes that they've spent way more than a month's salary on (yes...adults only!) - Academy Award Sunday and the days leading up to it are the most important days in this industry town! And we, of course, are surprised to hear that some of you in other parts of the country have not seen all (or any) of the nominated films and don't really care.

81st Academy Awards official poster

Now if you're thinking all of us L.A. folks are breaking out our Monolo Blahniks or Jimmy Choo's with our Valentino and Carolina Herrara gowns waiting for the limo to take us up to Hollywood Blvd. you really aren't in the know. Unless you work for a celebrity, are a celebrity who is nominated or presenting, or are a stylist, hair dresser, make-up artist, etc working that day, you wouldn't be caught dead anywhere near the Kodak Theatre - It's strictly for tourists - sorry to burst that bubble! We "common folk" - even those of us who work in the entertainment industry will be at friends homes or at parties with ballots printed off the internet - just like some of you - but the difference is we take this whole Oscar thing pretty seriously because depending on who wins and who's nominated it can generate work for those of us who work in the industry for the coming year. Just as Mardis Gras is everything to New Orleans - Oscar night is to Hollywood. We will mark our party ballots prior to the first award given out - drop $10 or whatever the going amount is in the fishbowl or hat at the party we're attending - and hang on every word when the awards are given out to check our ballot so that we might be the winner of hundreds of $$$$ based on who gets the most categories correct. So there it is - my life in Hollywood - - and even though I'm not a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences who vote on the Oscars (but am a member of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and we vote on the Emmys) I am caught up in the whirlwind that is Academy Award week - Soooo.... in honor of my 31st year in Hollywood working in the "industry" and the 81st Oscars, I decided to announce my very first blog giveaway -

Mr. Oscar himself...

Here's how it will go down: post on my blog who you think will win the Oscar for Best Art Direction* and also for Best Costume Design (hey...we're artists, right and those are the two categories that come closest to what we do) Those nominated for these two awards are listed at the end of this post - (you can see all the categories and nominations at Oscars.org) - You must post your vote for both categories on this blog by 3 pm PST on Sunday 2/22 - The person who picks the Best Art Direction winner correctly will win - if more than one person gets it correct then I will use the Best Costume category as the tie breaker - the people who tie then must also get Best Costume Designer correct as well - if no one does I will put the tie winners in a hat and have my big orange cat-boy - Elvis - paw the winner - if I can wake him!

Elvis - also known as Elvie Bear - without a care in the world!

Oh! the prize - a nice bag of assorted ephemera - ribbons etc including some Hollywood ephemera that you can't get in your home town! Consider this prize your "Hollywood swag bag" - better than the nominees will get backstage on Sunday! Here are the nominations - get busy and join in the Hollywood hype. Ohhhhh... c'mon - you know you want to - Elvis is waiting!

Elvis - just hangin' waiting for your vote on my blog...

* Art Director: is the head decorator, designer of a film. He/she is the one who aesthetically develops infrastructure for a film to make it beautiful or create the world as defined by the script and works closely with the Director to complete her/his vision of the film that you see on the screen. So everything you see other than the actors in costume is under this person's domain - the total look of the set and everything on it - from the color scheme - the design - all the nuances large and small - This person must make you believe what you are seeing on the screen.

Changeling” (Universal), Art Direction: James J. Murakami, Set Decoration: Gary Fettis
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Donald Graham Burt, Set Decoration: Victor J. Zolfo
The Dark Knight” (Warner Bros.), Art Direction: Nathan Crowley, Set Decoration: Peter Lando
The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Art Direction: Michael Carlin, Set Decoration: Rebecca Alleway
Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Art Direction: Kristi Zea, Set Decoration: Debra Schutt

Australia” (20th Century Fox), Catherine Martin
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” (Paramount and Warner Bros.), Jacqueline West
The Duchess” (Paramount Vantage, Pathé and BBC Films), Michael O’Connor
Milk” (Focus Features), Danny Glicker
Revolutionary Road” (DreamWorks, Distributed by Paramount Vantage), Albert Wolsky

I will announce the winner either late Sunday night or Monday morning on this blog. Good luck!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Disintegration - Seth's project

One of my favorite blogs is The Altered Page by Seth Apter in NYC - he always has such interesting projects and connections - one of his latest projects "Disintegration" is one where he took pages from a book and wrapped them with twine and then put them outdoors for the elements to join in as a natural collaborator to his project - his idea - as I understand it - is to allow nature to do her work until Spring and see what happens - he then invited anyone who was interested to join in and do their own projects - we will be able to see how nature affects the pieces in different parts of the country - it intrigued me and so I did a twist on his idea - I started thinking about pages and words on pages - then went to a literal connection and found an old dictionary - tore out 36 pages and rolled them individually tying them with twine - then bound them in two piles of 18 each and bound each of them - I photographed the pages on top of the dictionary they were torn from -

I live in Southern California so our weather is much different from the rest of the country so it should be interesting to see what happens to my pages - I will put them on my small balcony outside my apartment - actually the balcony sits just outside my former dining area which I now use as my studio - I'll take photos in the daytime - I think I'll take photos periodically to chronicle the progress of the weathering of my pages - I did not add gesso or anything to my pages - anyone else interested in joining in? go to Seth's blog to see his pages - This should be fun! Thanks, Seth, for the invite.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Today over 1 million people braved the frigid weather in my hometown - Washington, D.C. - to see the historic inauguration of our 44th President of the United States. Never have I been prouder to have been born in our Nation's Capitol and to be an American. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever even thought about being proud to be an American. Not because I'm not, but it was just not something I ever thought about before this election. But today, as I watched with tears streaming down my face once again, as Barack Obama took the oath of office with his hand on Lincoln's bible on the steps of the capitol that were built by slaves, I am truly proud. As a child of the South with all of my family from NYC, I think it somehow resonates in a different way for me. I've shared on this blog in the past, my memories of seeing water fountains marked "colored" and "white" and balconies in movie theatres marked "colored only". I remember hearing Martin Luther King, Jr. giving his "I have a Dream" speech and for the first time realizing that change could actually happen. And now change has come to our country.

President Obama has challenged each of us, change must start with me....and you. I will take his challenge to heart. To begin with, I choose to be a participant of my world, my country, my community, not just an observer. And to do it as a kinder more inclusive person. I will share my creative talents with others...not keep them to myself. And I pledge to be of service to others whatever that looks like, whether formally designed or as things are presented to me on a daily basis. I am ecstatic beyond words today and feel lighter, hopeful and in awe. My heart is full and I feel joy! I have always believed that if I am not part of the solution then I am part of the problem. Today I choose to be part of the solution, even if I don't know what that looks like yet.

I challenge all of you in our community to stop and think what you pledge to do starting today. I look forward to hearing your commitments. What will you do? How will you do your part? How will you step up to the plate as we begin this new era in our country's extraordinary history? And I encourage each of you to pay it forward - challenge your friends and family, co-workers and students. It is up to us to make the change and turn things around. As creative people, we can literally change the world with our images. So what are you waiting for? This is our time, this is our chance, this is our world. This is our day!

(all photos from Yahoo.com)