Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Inspired Design

While I continue to await the return of my own creative and artistic inspiration, I continue to find it in the endeavors of others.  Below is an example of a DIY kitchen makeover I found inspiring.  I owe this link, and a few others I will share in future posts, to  Melissa at the Inspired Room blog.
Here is an AFTER photo. 

Here is a BEFORE photo.

Click Here to see more photos.

She did replace the appliances but really, much of the transformation seems to be paint and hardware.

Friday, November 23, 2012

More Tips for "Artful" Small Spaces

This image is from ApartmentTherapy's Small Cool 2012 contest, Teeny Tiny (400 square feet or under) Division.  To see more of this apartment, click here.
Another demonstration that even a teen tiny studio apartment can be artfully styled and pulled together to create an inviting space.

Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of, was one of the guests recently interviewed on radio station KQED,  regarding the San Francisco Supervisor vote to reduce the legal size of tiny apartments in San Francisco.  Thanks to Sally for making me aware of this show.  Links to it are posted in today's blog.

This link takes you to the 1 hour radio interview.  There is also a video link on the page, showing a tiny "test" apartment under the Tiny Apartment Resources section.

If you prefer not to take the time to explore those two links, here are some tips that were collected form the interview.  (Note:  I still like the idea of using rich, dark colors in a small, even dark,  space, an idea promoted through an earlier ApartmentTherapy article.)

"The San Francisco Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance allowing the building of apartments as small as 220 square feet. Whether those apartments get built or not, many Bay Area residents likely live in a small space — either a small studio, an in-law in the basement or one bedroom in a house divided among roommates.
Below are 10 tips for making the most of a small space, culled from Forum’s interview with Maxwell Gillingham-Ryan, founder of ApartmentTherapy and author of Apartment Therapy’s Big Book of Small, Cool Spaces and Miranda Jones, style editor for Sunset Magazine.
  1. BE SELECTIVE ABOUT YOUR SPACE. “Not all spaces are created equally,” said Jones. “If you’ve got natural light, high ceilings, and natural materials in the apartment, you’re going to feel as though you’re living well even though you’re living small.”
  1. EDIT, EDIT, EDIT. “Keeping your items very well edited” is one of the top things to keep in mind when living in a small or unusual space. That means when you bring something into your apartment, you bring something out. It’s about quality versus quantity.
  1. TIDY UP!  “In a way, large spaces just allow you to be lazy,” said Gillingham-Ryan, “and to not have to deal with stuff until much later when your space fills up. With most everybody, after about seven years they have a clutter problem. With a smaller space it just comes a lot quicker.” Jones also recommended keeping surfaces clean, because tabletops and countertops are usually not abundant in small apartments.
  1. TAKE SOME TASKS OUT OF THE HOUSE. If you live in a small space, chances are you are going to have to call on your surrounding neighborhood to fill some of your needs. Nature and laundromats are a given, but even some tasks may just be better suited elsewhere. Gillingham-Ryan recalls that after married and became a father, he started doing bills and other paperwork at his office. “Your home doesn’t have to be everything, all the time,” he said.
  1. MAXIMIZE EVERY INCH. “All unused space is fair game,” said Jones. “You’ve got to take your storage vertical, you’ve got to prop up your bed so you have extra storage under there. When space is at such a premium, Jones said you have to look at it differently. “Every door is a possible storage location.”
  1. MULTI-TASK (OR BUY ITEMS THAT DO). “Because there is no room for anything extra, everything has to do two jobs,” said Jones. “Your dining room table is also your office space.” Indeed, this video tour through a small Airstream trailer and micro-apartment shows that multi-tasking is a key element to making small spaces work.
  1. BUY BUILT-INS. Gillingham-Ryan is a fan of built-in features like shelves and drawers. “Spend your money on built-ins whenever possible because built-ins are wall-to-wall, they suck up all the space and you can use every inch,” said Gillingham-Ryan. “And visually, it creates a lot less busy space.”
  1. LET THE LIGHT IN. “Light is what makes a space feel expansive,” said Gillingham-Ryan. “I always tell people, ‘Three points of light to every room.’ It doesn’t seem like a lot but every client I’ve ever worked with has had trouble getting to two.”
  1. USE MIRRORS. “I’ve seen people over the years use mirrors in such incredibly inventive ways,” said Gillingham-Ryan. “They not only reflect light, they expand the space that they’re in. They can make the space brighter and just remove that sense of wall that is there otherwise.”
  1. PLAY WITH PAINT.  Light colors are key. “It doesn’t have to be white, it can be off-white,” said Gillingham-Ryan. “There’s still color in off-white.There’s a lot you can do between warm and cool colors. They can really change the feeling of a space.” In fact, Gillingham suggests that something as simple as a difference between off-white and regular white can make your room feel larger.  “If you do a bright white on the ceiling and an off-white on the walls, there’s a separation between wall and ceiling,” said Gillingham-Ryan. “It will make your walls feel taller. 
-Amanda Stupi"

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Tiled Birdhouse #4

Size: 9h x 4d
Medium: paint, broken tile and grout on wood
Date: 9/22/12

I wonder how many more birdhouses I can fit within my balcony airspace...without causing air traffic control problems for the birdies.

On another subject, two of my children, San Diego Harbor and La Jolla Shores in the 1950s were married off on Saturday, Sept 29th,  to a wonderful family with a stunning home in Little Italy, where I am assured they will live happily ever after.  After meeting the family, I'm sure it's true.  I had to be sure, since they were both personal favorites and I had planned to keep the former at home forever.

Due to the fast and furious nature of a C-Note opening at SDAI, meeting a buyer of one of my paintings there is a rare event.  Normally I don't get to see the transaction.  But this IS how I met Candace, and I'm so glad I did, (through Alex; remember Light Falls from Heaven?) in a round about way, and she became the buyer of the two afore mentioned paintings and, it turns out, also acquired Loft 13 last year.    It was a treat to meet this special family.

Etiquette Tip: Turn the cell phone off -- completely -- during a luncheon meeting, social function, or on public transportation.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Birdhouse Art; The Art of Color; Before and After

Title: Mosaic Birdhouse #3.
Size: 7.5x 7w.
Medium: paint, broken ceramic mug and grout, on wood.
Date: 9/19/12

This birdhouse was a little more challenging, with its low brow and large roof. I'm sure enjoying looking out at them (3 now) from my kitchen, living room and dining room.

Back by popular request, here more decorating tips from Apartment Therapy:

• "Let your art lead you. This is a decorator fail safe. Have you tried it? It feels like cheating. Line up all the art you'd like to hang in your room, pick out a color, and find a paint swatch to match. Bam, done. You'll feel like a pro. The same principal can be applied to rugs and accent textiles. Choosing one of the more subtle accent colors in the rug will bring a fresh dimension to whole space."

But what if you live in a apartment and don't have the option to paint everything you desire? A little imagination will do the trick. Photos courtesy of Apartment Therapy.

Remember, all photos on my blog can be enlarged by clicking on them!

And lastly, this week's etiquette tip:
Hold the door -- whether male or female, hold open a door you have just passed through for the person behind you.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Art of a Birdhouse

Title: Mosaic Birdhouse #2
Size: 7.5h x 7 w.
Medium: paint, broken ceramic mug and grout on wood
Date: 9/8/12

 I know birds like to build their own homes. But if I were a bird I would like to live in this little house.  A small home and very small balcony garden, call for special measures in the area of decorative objects. Being able to make use the air for decorative purposes is especially meaningful.  That's one of the reasons I like making the little birdhouses.  They add decorative element to my garden without taking up any real estate!

Etiquette tip:
Tipping the Host or Maitre d' -
No obligation for greeting you and showing you to your table.  $10-$20 for going above and beyond to find you a table on a busy night or on occasion, if you are a regular patron.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mosaic Birdhouse

44Size: 7.5h x 7 w.
Medium: paint, broken ceramic mug and grout on wood
Date: 9/2/12

Keeping with the theme of "home as art" and home-decorating, and the little birdie paintings,  I decorated (painted and mosaic-tiled) a birdhouse.  This is the first artistic venture I have embarked upon since starting my new job May 1st. (The plain birdhouses are available at craft stores.)

Day 1

Day 2
I rather like the look of the jagged tiles glued on, before I applied the grout.  Maybe I will try it that way next time.  Of course I have lots of other ideas for these, but we'll see if I get to them...

Day 4

And again, a bit faded under the flash, but making the tile pieces more visible.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

More Home as Art

Most of us have faced this creative and practical challenge: What can I do with this awkward room layout?  And most importantly, how do I arrive at a layout that creates harmony, balance and an artful appearance.  Apartment Therapy asked this question recently in this article.

I think I would try placing the two chairs opposite the sofa, to the left of the fireplace, with their backs to the left side entry to the room and a small side table between them and turning the coffee table and placing it in front of the sofa.  Removing all the other furniture around the sofa and instead placing one medium-tall plant to the right of the sofa may be nice too.   What would you do?

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Landscaping as Art

As with small living spaces, small garden spaces can also be maximized in both design and impact.  A few years ago there were two programs on HGTV called Urban Outsiders and City Gardener, featuring landscape designer Matt James.  (I really miss those programs, along with Small Space, Big Design for interiors).  I managed to find two photos online of small gardens he created and that I am posting here.

I would say Matt James is an artist who uses plants as his medium and space as his canvas.

I located the source of the tiny bathroom from last week's post.  It was from a 2012 Apartment Therapy Small Cool Contest, International entry.  The 392 sq. ft. apartment is in London.

Etiquette t: Don't retrieve a dropped utensil and put it back on the table.  Instead, tell your server, who will retrieve it and bring a replacement.  The exception is when you drop a utensil that might be stepped on or cause an accident; in this case, act fast and pick it up yourself.   (from Emily Post)

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Making the Best of a Space

This is a photo I found of a tiny bathroom from one of the tiny apartments (I think from Apartment Therapy).  I thought it offered quite a bit of style in a very simple and very small way.   

And here's an interesting idea from Apartment Therapy about using color:

" Make up for a lack of architectural character with saturated colors. A typical dark, low ceilinged, wall-to-wall carpeted basement apartment will look infinitely more chic and cheerful painted something dramatic, like charcoal gray, than it will a pale sunny yellow...which will only add to the gloom because it's out of place. If you have a space with great bones and great light, it will be difficult to go wrong with any color, and light colors will let those details shine. However, when you have the opposite, go dark. It's counter-intuitive, but it lends a blah space a strong presence. You can always lighten the mood with bright accent pieces and good lighting."

In my opinion, the same principle applies to clothing.  On stormy days grays and stormy colors are more appealing whereas on sunny days crisp, bright colors are.

On another subject, do  you remember the graciousness and manners of earlier times?  In honor of those times I am thinking about posting a bit of Emily Post at the end of each blog post.  Let me know if you like this idea.  Here is the first one:
  • "At the conclusion of the toast, everyone except the honoree(s) raises their glasses and drinks." 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Home as Art

As long as my creative attention is on home decor, rather than on painting for the moment, I may as well write about it and share my explorations with you.

Originally I saw this apartment on HGTV's Small Space Big Style, and it has remained a fond memory.  Today when I found myself thinking about it I decided to see whether I could find it online.  Even though I did not remember Ron Marvin's name, I found the apartment and him at the Apartment Therapy Small Cool contest of 2007.

Small spaces continue to charm me and I am always excited to see what people can do with them.  Lots of other people must feel the same way or Apartment Therapy would not have such a following for their annual small space contest.  Oh, did I mention this apartment is 300 sq ft?

Now I am certain to remember his name and I want to see everything he does.  Apartment Therapy recently wrote about Ron Marvin: "If "haberdashing" isn't a word, it should be. And Ron Marvin would own it. He's made a mark in the design world with menswear-inspired interiors that come together like a polished GQ how-to: Start with the well-tailored groundwork (charcoal suit, sofa or wall paint), add a splash of color (tie or pocket square or lamp), give it a little bling (cufflink or nailhead trim) and make sure the details are right, polished and impeccable. It's signature Ron Marvin, and dandy never seemed so fine. Even on a bit of a budget."

You can visit Apartment Therapy here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

How Art Rescued a Room

This post is not about a new painting, but it is about art, sort of.  It's about what a small change on an art wall can do for the mood and look of a room and the mood of the resident thereof.

My interior art-scape is constantly changing with the rotation of art.  My apartment doubles as art storage facility and gallery.   As pieces sell and new pieces rotate in to replace them,  my walls and the look of my interior space also change.

Recently this created some consternation for me with one of my living room walls.  This wall is not neutral and the tones are warm. Naturally this poses a challenge for the art that hangs on it.  The wall itself is a type of an art piece, created by the former owners of my apartment.  Since I like the wall I have been unable to part with it for the sake of art-display, even though certain paintings look positively dead when displayed on it, as was the case with a recent art-rotation.

Without realizing it consciously, the dismal effect was causing me to dislike my entire living room and the art and my (albeit old) furniture and ultimately the look of my entire apartment.  I found myself thinking about painting or wallpapering my opinionated wall, covering my old furniture and even MOVING!  But after making a few simple changes I fell back in love with the apartment.   And best of all,  it was free! 

I pulled an unused black frame out of storage and framed my favorite Beach painting in it.   I removed Olives (a favorite, but whose tones clashed with the outspoken wall)  and replaced it with the large Beach painting, added another, smaller, framed Beach painting and a Royal Food Mart, mounted print.  Instantly the room came to life again.  And the art that was removed now enhances the neutrally painted hallway.

This small change had a great effect on my mood and inspired me to make other small changes.  Moving a plant here, an accessory there and soon, for no money at all, I had a new, pleasing and harmonious look again.  The "life-giving" transformation has inspired me to keep everything sparkling inside and out.  I will think twice before I dress a bold wall in an "outfit" of paintings that does not look good with its coloring!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Rush of Angels 2

Click image to enlarge. Click here for more information and views.
Size: 24x36x1.5
Medium: Oil on canvas
Date: 4/2012

This painting was not dated when I finished it, since I kept thinking I would continue working on it.  Yesterday I decided it was finished!  So the official date is "sometime in April". 

Thus far painting-time has not found its way into my new work schedule.  It's OK, I think it was time for a break anyway.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Summer C-Note Event

This evening was the opening of the Summer C-Note event at SDAI.  I had two abstracts and three birdie paintings in the show.  To my delight I saw that Urban Edge 6 had already been purchased before I arrived about 15 minutes into the event, and Light Falls from Heaven was at the cashier table awaiting checkout. 

Throwing shyness aside is worth it to meet someone who has bought my work.  So once he was through the process, I approached and thanked him.  He said he and his friend, who had her own selections in hand, had driven all the way down from L.A. early this morning to preview the show.  Then they stood in line for hours in order to be among the first in the door to secure the paintings they wanted.  (That's part of the fun of the C-Note shows.)

Alex said he had not come for abstract art and normally it isn't what he chooses.   But he said when he saw it, he fell in love with it on the spot and knew he had to have it.  It made him feel something he was not expecting.   His story made the evening for me.

My new job is going great too!

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

What's New

Surprise! I accepted a position with an HOA (home owners association) management company.  How in the world did this happen?  Serving on the board of our HOA brought me into a working relationship with the president of the management company.

The company opened new division to handle HOA property inspections for escrow.  And the property inspector position was offered to me.  After considering it for a few days,  I accepted.  April 30th was my first day on the job and May 1st was my first day on the road inspecting and it was a long one.  I drove from one end of the county to the other, inspecting properties.

My wonderful mom volunteered to come along and I happily agreed.  She read the Google directions to me as I drove around areas I had never before visited.  The only problem we encountered was when Google said to turn right when we ought to have gone straight.  But we soon corrected our course and completed the mission.

I am very happy about the job and really hope I do it well and can continue in it.  My blog is supposed to be about my adventures in trying to make a living as an artist.  I am not sure how this change will effect my path...

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Beach 21 Squared & Framed, AKA Kate's Beach

Finally went over to the gallery and snapped a photo of Beach 21 Squared in its frame.  The lighting in the gallery space is less than ideal for picture-taking and the flash spots can be seen on the glass,  but I hope you can see that the frame is a brushed, silver-toned metal.

After taking me to a delicious lunch at the Prado in Balboa Park,   Kate,  along with husband Gerard, father and stepmother and I went together to see the show, which I thought was really quite a nice one.   Because she had purchased the first painting in the Beach 21 edition, Kate kept referring to this as "her" painting.   I think Kate's Beach is a fitting and charming title for it.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Beach 21 Squared

Click image to enlarge
Size: 24x24
Medium: Pigment print
Date: 3/10/2012

Remember Beach 21?  This is a squared version of it.  It isn't just cropped.   Its' also slightly reconfigured. (I like playing around with the shapes of digital art)  I had it framed in a contemporary,  silver-toned metal and submitted it to the Southern California Regional Juried Award Exhibition at SDAI.  Today I heard it had been accepted into the show!

I neglected to photograph it in the frame before submitting it but I will take a picture of it in it's frame later to show you.

Show information: Show runs March 31- May 13, 2012

You are cordially invited to join a Special Artist Reception:

March 31, 2012, Saturday 6-8 PM. SDAI members $10, non members $20.

The San Diego Art Institute
House of Charm
Balboa Park
1439 El Prado
San Diego, CA 92101

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Light Falls From Heaven-SOLD

Click image to enlarge.  Click title for more information.

Size: 24x36x1.5
Medium: Oil on Canvas
Date: 3/26/2012

Still have many little birds to paint.  But felt the need to stop and paint an abstract or two. This one was a joy to paint.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Sailors

Click image to enlarge, click Title link for more information and photos.

Title:  The Sailors
Size: 8"x8"x 1.5"
Date: 2/27/2012
Medium: Acrylic on canvas (colors are deeper and crisper in person)
Price: $200

This isn't the birdie adventure I intended to paint this time.  But I was on my walk and came to the crest of Pringle St. where the view of San Diego harbor came into view. All the boaters were out on their sailboats enjoying the sunny, winter weather.   I had to send the birdies there.  

A gust of wind seems to have taken one of the crew by surprise.  Will they head over to the yacht club or cafe for a little something afterward?

I have several new adventures in mind for them for the next paintings and they are mostly from your suggestions.   I may take a brief detour though and paint an abstract this week.

In other news, my new Etsy shop is in the works.  And that brings to five, the number of online sites where my art is now displayed, not including eBay auctions! 
ArtPrice (must be subscriber to view)
Saatchi Online:
San Diego Art Institute:

CW,  I will miss you.  XO.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Tobogganers

Click image to enlarge.

Title: The Tobogganers
Size: 8x8x1.5
Medium: Acrylic on wood
Date 2/11/2012 

Price: $200

Can you tell what's going on here?  There's a clue in the sign at the side of the slope.  

A friend suggested I submit these little bird paintings to a childrens' book publisher.  Has anyone had any experience with this recently?  Or I suppose I could write and illustrate my own childrens' book using the publishing-on-demand model.  

I sketched out a rough draft of one story taken from my own childhood.  I had insisted my mother take me to the top of the hill behind our house, where the full moon was rising and looked so big and close, because I was certain I would be able to touch it.  Of course, the closer we came to the top of the hill, the further away and smaller the moon was.  I wasn't sure we just didn't get there fast enough!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Harbor 4

Click on image to enlarge.   Click here for more views.
Size: 24"x36"x1.5"
Title: Harbor 4
Dated: 1/30/2012 

Price: $1500

Our San Diego Harbor continues to inspire me to paint it.  It's not that I have been visiting it more often.  But the memory of its evening shimmer as it reflects the lights from boats and bay-side establishments persists in floating to the surface of my imagination. 

Speaking of imagination, the little bird series has a front row seat there as more and more scenarios for them are finding their way to my sketch pad.  I hope you are ready to see more because many more are planned!  Feel free to send me ideas you think would be suitable.  Next will be The Tobogganers. (Thank you Deb) Planned: Tennis; Poolside; Beach; Drivers; Golfers; Hikers; Congregation; Line Dancers; Gardeners.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Catch the Stars

Click image to enlarge.
Size: 8x8x1.5
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Price: $250.00

The birds are likely wondering whether to carry out their plans to catch the stars or to stop in wonderment and cast their dreams upon them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Skiers SOLD

Click image to enlarge.  Click here for more photos and pricing.

Title:  The Skiers
Size: 8x8x1.5
Medium: Acrylic on canvas

So if birdies can skate, I see no reason to think they can't ski (Isn't that how the term "Snow Birds" came about?)  I wonder whether they are they good enough skiers to dodge snowballs lobbed at them by a mischievous snowman?   Either way, after a day of good skiing, a sip hot coco at the nearby ski lodge is waiting for them!   

Friday, January 6, 2012

The Skaters - SOLD

Click image to enlarge. Click title for more views and information.

Title: The Skaters
Size: 8x8x3/4
Medium: Acrylic on canvas
Dated: 1/5/12

My garden is a balcony in the canyon treetops, with plants, a water fountain, a bird bath and several little birdhouses.  The canyon is home to a variety of birds, many of whom visit my balcony throughout the day to partake of its amenities.  The favorite of these are the water features.  Much happy splashing in wild abandon takes place in them.  One can almost see their little beaks smiling.  If it snowed here I imagine they would have just as much fun ice skating.

This is my first painting of 2012 and my 200th painting to post on the Yessy Gallery!