Thursday, February 17, 2011


In December a lunar eclipse was visible in Castro Valley.  My husband I dressed warmly and took our cameras outside to photograph the event.  The eclipse was much clearer looking through my camera viewer than observing the eclipse with the naked eye.  It was interesting to see the color changes as the eclipse progressed.  A small quilt series might be possible with these images and now might be the time to look at using fiber paints to achieve these color blends.  It sure was fun watching this natural phenomenon occur.

Isn't this a beautiful red color with the darker shades showing on the left and bottom.  I'm happy I had a chance to see it and include it my memories of the natural world.

Now let's come back to earth and talk trees!  I have always loved them and can't seem to pass one without  taking a photograph.  As a semi-finalist for the North Berkeley, CA Public Library I proposed a series of metal trees for two of the hallways that will be part of the library expansion.  I was fortunate to be selected the finalist for  the project and will be collaborating with my husband and fellow artist, Nyls Jongewaard who will be fabricating the designs for me.  I get to learn about metal work with this project and it is an exciting expansion of my work.

This is the design board for the project.  We'll be using a reverse applique concept with copper and stainless steel.  I'll keep you posted on progress of the project including images of us at work.

These are quilts of trees in progress.  The winter tree quilt is made in the same tones as the metal trees.

This piece is 30" x 31.5" and is straighter than this photo indicates.  I really should be using my tripod.
Evening tree in progress

Spring tree in progress

I anticipate making ten or more tree series quilts which have a calming effect on me and others.  I'd like to do some hospital commissions and these just might work.  Following are some of my inspiration sources for the next pieces.  Fortunately for me there are lots of green spaces in my little town and lakes too.  Who knows I may try quilts with water themes as well.

These trees are on a local road near Lake Chabot. I like the idea of including the fence. Sometimes horses are grazing in the field.  The region has Oak and Eucalpytus trees in abundance.
I can see this as an abstract with that bit of gold along with the various shades of green and greys.

Who says California doesn't have color with its seasons.  Here's a bit of gold in December.

This is the inspiration tree  for my public art project.

The last bits of red and gold before winter rains wash the leaves away.

A grove of Eucalyptus near Crow Creek Canyon
Winter trees inspiration

This wall and tree were near highway 680 approaching Walnut Creek.  The shadow on the wall add to the texture along with the exposed earth next to vivid green grass.  This is definitely next in the series.

This grove of trees are in Alameda right off the San Francisco Bay.  They take lots of abuse from the winds blowing off the bay.

These show a bit of lean from the elements

All of these Alameda trees show the variation of sizes and tree structure that bring a richness to the environment.  As Joyce Kilmer wrote

"I think that I shall never see
A poem as lovely as a tree..."

Enjoy the trees in your neighborhood.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011


Leidalia's quilt
We had a couple of weeks of sunny, warm weather but it has returned to winter so I thought it would be fun to visually visit Costa Rica and dream of tropical sun and ocean breezes.  The Costa Rican people were wonderful and I'm happy to say I still get email from many of them.  I must also confess I am behind in my quilt exchange plan.  One of my students has already sent me a beautiful reminder of what a good time I had.  The interesting part was getting it in the mail with all the custom tape on it.  Since the country has lots of unsecured coast I am sure U.S. Customs is very careful about what might be coming into the US.  But it was just my lovely little quilt.  Thanks Leidalia.

This is my postal envelope with the customs tape.  I plan to use the stamps and tape in a project real soon. 

Anyway, it's back to the tropics with some new images.  This is a continuation of our Sunday Adventure that I wrote about earlier.

This is the only plane at the Limon International Airport.  We passed the airport daily en route from our hotel to downtown.  We visited inside where there was lots of local art but very few people to see it.  There were just a few employees around the facility.

Carved art

The airport is only a few miles from our hotel and this island is very close by.

This is what the country side looks like near our hotel.

Ship near Limon

Some cool place where we stopped, who can remember the exact spot.

Love those fruits.  The  grapes were delicious and kept me hydrated.

As we made our way southward we continued to see an abundance of greenery and rivers.
These are banana plantations and play an important part in the local economy.

The road to Cahuita and Puerto Viejo was filled with wonderful sites including these green banana fields.  Sometimes we would see plastic wrap around bunches of bananas as protection against bug infestations that would effect exports.
We didn't stop at this sanctuary but enjoyed looking at this sign.  We had to keep moving to keep to keep our time schedule to allow as much daylight as possible for the round trip.

We enjoyed talking with this well regarded Calypso singer from Cahuita.  He is now in his 80's and still selling CD's.

Beach before arriving at Puerto Viejo

Entrance to Caquita Park

Puerto Viejo is near Panama and we passed the road that leads to Panama just before we arrived in Puerto Viejo.  This area is much more touristy than Puerto Limon.  There were lots of vendors and younger visitors.  Unfortunately there are other problems in this area and our guides didn't want us leaving the group alone.  But we had fun shopping and looking around.
I will definitely be using this image in my portrait work. 

These boats will make beautiful, scenic quilts in the future.

Consuelo is showing me a cocoa plant that I tried.  It doesn't taste anything like the cocoa we cook with.

Ed is busy shopping for fiber goods.

Beach comber who agreed to being photographed.  He is a great model for the Costa Rica series.

This beautiful older woman reminded me of my aunt Corine.  She asked me if my family was from Panama.  How's that for blending in.

Roast pork anyone?  This smelled yummy but I thought I had better pass.
As twilight approached our guide loaded up the van and brought us home.  As evening approached the police was much more visible.  We were sure to have our seatbelts buckled as we passed through security points.  We got home home just in time for dinner.

 This is a grand estate that we all enjoyed.  The gateway is very unique with the iquanas.  There were several building on the grounds of the property and it all looked very lush.  So we said farewell to eastern Costa Rica and headed back to San Jose the following morning via private bus.  Our fellow passengers, a young couple didn't say a word to us the entire time.  But nothing could spoil our fun as we talked and took more photos.
Until next time.