Archive for the ‘Art’ Category

Heroes – an exhibit for Veteran’s Day


Art Every Day Month Day 16!  Wow.  I’m going to post a photo that is currently hanging in the exhibit Heroes at The Foundry in downtown Bakersfield at  1700 Chester Ave.  The exhibit is still hanging for anyone who wants to drop by and see it.  I recommend it.

I titled my entry Seguendo le Orme di Papa – Following Papa’s Footsteps.  I took it in Sorrento, Italy a couple of years ago.  We set out to see the town and came across a parade – it was Italian Veteran’s Day.  Representatives from all sorts of regiments paraded by – some had elaborate plumed headgear, others had intricate uniforms, and they all carried the banner for their divisions.  And then this little guy came along.  I barely had time to capture the shot but sometimes you get better photos on the fly than you would have had you had all the time in the world.  So here it is.

Reflections – image + word


Sailing into the second half of Art Every Day Month, I’m going to post about an exhibit sponsored by the Arts Council of Kern ( on this link you can find the show poster and view it) that opens Friday here in Bakersfield.  It’s called Reflections image + word and features three photographers and three poets.  I’m one of the photographers and I also have a couple of poems in the show, but I wouldn’t dare to call myself a poet.

Here’s how it works.  The six of us assembled, talked, and then submitted poems and photographs to each other.  If someone felt pulled to a particular poem, that person would submit a photo.  If a poet felt pulled to a particular photo, that person would submit a poem.  The curator, Nicole St. John, chose the final entries and the show opens Friday.  It’s a wonderful concept and I think it’ll be a terrific show.  I won’t give the whole thing away, but I’ll post a couple of the poems and photos.

The first photo is by LisaAnn Lobasso.  She called it Another Farm Gives Way, but I put my own interpretation on it with the poem I wrote.


Usable by Susan Reep

Old, rusted, antique, as useless as typewriters.

Cast off but not discarded.  Yet.

Is that what happens to old things? To old people?

Her skin was trim, her body thin, but it wasn’t new.

Does old come when your body starts to sag?

If so, she was ok.  For now.  In image.

Being naked and feeling naked are different.

Being naked filled her with exhilaration, excitement, freedom.

She stood straight and proud.

Feeling naked exposed her from the inside out.

It all rose to the surface. Insecurities and doubts.

Her stride would break; she’d want to wrap her arms

Around her body to keep everything in, private.

Would it feel different to be walking in a new tractor store?

It may have been a bad idea to come out here seeking

The freedom of open spaces, the confidence of solitude,

The comfort of the farm.

It might have been better in spring when everything was new.

Well, not everything.  She’d still be in the midst of old,

Rusted, antique cast-offs.  Worse, they weren’t even important enough

To cart off.  Just cast off. Obsolete. A warning.

What good was her trim, thin body that would someday sag.

Better that form follows function.  It’s the use, isn’t it?

Being usable, not used up. Contemporary, not contemplated.

The new was sleek, smart, fast and firm,

But it didn’t tell stories.  The stories were in

The rust, the uselessness, the age.  The antiques.

What stories they could tell if they could speak.

Seeking freedom on the farm, the solace of solitude.  Not so bad

After all.  Because she could speak. She could speak for now.

She could even speak for others. She could speak for the future.

She could speak for the past. She could speak for her body.

She could speak with her body. Her new body, her slim, trim body,

And the saggy baggy body yet to come.

The one that would be full of stories.

Used up, maybe. But usable.

Little Girl with a Baseball

I submitted a photo that  Nick Belardes liked it so he wrote a poem.  The photo is one I took years ago and kept in the back of my mind, knowing someday I wanted to use it for something.  I think I’ve posted this before, but it never hurts to do it again.  Anything about baseball deserves a second posting, especially with such a poignant poem.


She will taunt you

When you’re ten years old,

And she’s three.

She’ll hold your baseball

Like it’s a mystery orb

And won’t give it to you

When you want it back.

When she’s fifteen,

And you’re Twenty-two,

She’ll only watch you

If you’re winning.

“It’s just a game,” you say.

You know that isn’t true.

And she never believes you anyway.

When she’s twenty-three

And you pitch your first game in the majors,

She’ll finally say you were meant to be

a ballplayer.

But she still won’t write you letters.

Or tell you you’re the best she ever saw.

When you start coaching AAA,

She’ll remember all those games

You once played.

You will call her up,

And she’ll say what you looked like

From the stands.

When she’s fifty,

She will hang photos

you didn’t know she had.

Like the time she had that magic orb

When she was three.

After the show opens, I’ll share some more.  If you’re in the Bakersfield area, the details are on the poster in the link.  I think you’ll recognize the photo on the poster.

The Conversation – a journal page featuring toothbrushes.


Art Every Day Month relentlessly plows on, surges forward, propels me along this trajectory of produce! create! do something! anything!  So I did something with…

toothbrushes.  My daughter in Colorado had toothbrushes for the kids that stood on the bathroom counter with suction cups.  Every time I went in the bathroom after the kids had brushed their teeth, the brushes were in a different configuration – and they looked like they were having conversations.  Sometimes they were friendly, sometimes confrontational, sometimes one toothbrush ganged up on the others.  It really tickled me – I started positioning them, playing around, and when we were at Wal Mart I bought some.  Two for $1.00.

Tonight I started playing around, took a picture, and made a journal page using the photo, art paper cutouts, watercolors and pastels.  It’s just a fun whimsical little journal page.

The blue cow?  I bought that in Hotchkiss on the visit before this last one.  Ostensibly it would be a gift for a baby boy, but really? I just liked it and wanted it for myself.

Fair warning – as I washed my hands after smearing around paint and pastel, I noticed that the soap dispenser was having a conversation with the dish soap.  I’m going to be seeing conversations everywhere!   Watch out…

Public art on Main Street, Grand Junction CO


So many cities struggle with public art – how to afford it, do they want it, how to choose the art, the artist.  Should there be nudes? Grand Junction, CO seems to have this figured out.  In a perhaps three-block section of main street, there are at least 30 public art installations.  And they’ve been there for at least five years, which is when I started visiting Colorado.

I’m simply going to post photos and you can look or not.  But I do think it’s interesting to see the kinds of art other cities are displaying.  Grand Junction seems fairly sophisticated in it’s choices, from whimsical to classical, from nudes to families.

There are many many pieces and I’m putting them all in  one post for a reason: to show the profusion of public art in a small area of a small town.  If it can be done in Junction, it can be done anywhere.

I have a strange perspective on the above sculpture.  It’s actually rather small.

And there you have it.  Thirty pieces of public art in one small space.  Plus the ones I didn’t photograph!

Jackson and Bartholomew have adventures


Week two of Art Every Day Month.  Still being in Colorado helping with the new baby and the other grandkids, how to make art? Well, photos are art – sometimes even if they aren’t good photos, sometimes if they’re photos taken on the fly.  You know the kind? The ones involving squirming kids when “OK, everyone hold still” doesn’t mean at the same time or even in the same place?  That’s the story of much of this week.  But bravely, I pushed on.

I asked my daughter if I could pick the kids up from school and take them shopping with me at City Market, perhaps stopping somewhere for a treat.  The idea was to give Karen as much time as possible with the baby and keep the house quieter for just a little longer.

I went to get Jackson and Annabelle at school and Jacks emerged with an additional backpack.  He had Bartholomew, the puppet that goes home with a different child every day to share adventures and have an essay written about the experience. (I’m pretty sure Bartholomew is a bear, but he’s rather bedraggled by now.)  I don’t think Jackson’s teacher was thinking that perhaps there would be a better time than this week, what with a new baby in the household and all.  But here it was, so we took Bartholomew to City Market with us.  Thank God I had the wits to take a few photos for Jackson’s essay.

He got to ride in the shopping cart.  Jackson, with that cute little face, pushed, but Annabelle validated the “hold still but not necessarily in the same time or place” principle.

The kids love City Market because they get a free cookie.  It used to be a mad dash – hold on, we’ll get the cookie in a minute, hold still, wait!  Now they are more patient and we navigated the entire store before getting to the cookies.  Jack shared his with Bartholomew.

No place in Paonia or Hotchkiss that would have ice cream, cookies, etc. – some place you could sit down and enjoy a treat –  is open past 3.  So I told the kids they could each pick out some ice cream, and that worked.

Later on, Bartholomew watched TV with Jack.

Bartholomew doesn’t seem focused.  He must be waiting for a lick of Jack’s sucker.  Like a dummy, I brought See’s Candy Halloween boxes for the kids, not thinking about how much candy they would get trick-or-treating.  Oh well.  Grandma’s prerogative.

I took over with Sam, Karen helped Jack write his report (he’s only in kindergarten!) and all was well in the household.

Glitter glue, paper napkins, and a greeting card – can I turn those into art?


I’m sitting in a hotel room in Grand Junction, CO, and I need to do something for Art Every Day Month.  Tomorrow I fly home to Bakersfield.  Leaving this time really hurts.  I don’t think I stayed long enough – it’s always sad to say goodbye, even temporarily, but leaving Sam, my new grandson, was extra hard.  I want to help out my daughter more, but home beckons also.

So I’m in the Hampton Inn (which is terrific, by the way) and was itching to do a journal page.  It’s been SO LONG since I’ve done anything – good, bad or indifferent.  This one I’ll classify in the indifferent category.  My materials were limited -I had glitter glue.  I walked up and down Main Street but it’s Sunday and hardly anything was open.  I managed napkins and two greeting cards. But dang it, I was going to get something out of those things.  I probably wouldn’t even post it but I need something for Art Every Day Month today!

So for what it’s worth, here it is.

Fall lingers in Colorado


I’m still in Colorado so my art every day month posts are photo essays.  When I get home, I may be able to produce some art – I am itching to get some journal pages done.  Art Every Day Month is so fantastic for a jump-start and for ideas.

Sam update

Before I move on to fall in Colorado, let’s have a Sam update.  They change so fast.  Day three of life and he’s already using the computer!

Seriously, he is more alert every day.  I wish I could see a real smile before I go, but that might be wanting too much.

Fall lingers as we take a ride

My daughter said if I’d been here just a week earlier, all the trees would be splendiferous (not the word she used).  But it was really up to her – she should have planned the baby a week earlier!  Nonetheless, my SIL Steve wanted to take me for a drive and show me a canyon he recently discovered.  He said I would do fine.  But when I saw this sign, I wasn’t so sure.

Before I had to contemplate that sign, we set off on a long straight road.  I LOVE taking photos of roads and wish I could think of something to do with them all.  Ideas anyone?

Picture’s not too bad considering the state of the front window.  This next one was not bad, either, for a photo taken from the car zooming along.

The countryside right by Karen and Steve’s home is beautiful in any season.  On the ride, we saw two interesting “homes.” One is obviously not habitable but the colors of the roof are wonderful.

Anybody out there read The Boxcar Children series?  In reality of course they had a scary and dangerous life (no parents, living in a train car) but who thought about things like that? We were young and it seemed so romantic and adventurous to live in a train car.  Someone out here does.

Bambi, sort of

We saw the loveliest deer.  They’ve come down from the higher elevations to winter down here at a low 6,000 foot elevation.


Yes, we saw sheep.  Lots of sheep.

We didn’t see a sheep dog, but there was one sheep who was surveying the scene.  Maybe he was the “dog.”

Finally, the canyon

I didn’t get out of the car to take pictures of the steep, scary parts.  But one end had a road that went down to this farm.  It was beautiful.

Today I hope to get more photos like the final one for tomorrow’s post.  Some trees still have autumn leaves, and I want to capture them in the late afternoon light.

I want some seafood, baby – from Mama’s Fish House


November 5th – Day 5 of Art Every Day Month.  That’s a web challenge to produce a piece of art every day in November and anyone can join.  Art is loosely defined.  For example, yesterday I posted photos of dinosaur muffins I made; today, it’s going to be a travel journal with photos.

So – Maui.  This is the last entry in the Maui journal.  Anyone who missed the others, I urge you to look if only for the photos of the gorgeous ocean and beaches.  If you’re a foodie, I urge you to look at The Feast at Lele.  Just start here and go through the entries one by one to find the beaches and the Feast at Lele, and excuse me for the intervening photos of my grandchildren.

Maui – October 15-16; Last two days.

The wedding

Our vacation was ending – with the event that brought us here in the first place.  We attended a wedding at the Ritz-Carlton which, as you might imagine, is a beautiful resort on the northwest coast.

The pool area of the Ritz-Carlton

Wedding venue

Of course, the wedding was perfection as was the luncheon. The Ritz makes food catererd for luncheons just as exquisite as you would expect from the restaurant.

The eating continues

The only flaw in the entire plan was that some of us were meeting for dinner at The Banyan Tree, a restaurant on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton, just a few hours after the luncheon.  Well, let it not be said that we shied away from an opportunity to eat delicious food – because we didn’t .

Most of us, except my husband who is good at moderation, ordered as we would have on an empty stomach.  The food was top-notch.  Not as good as The Feast at Lele – but what would be? We enjoyed our dinner and felt the need for martinis and port afterwards – with dessert.  I hesitate to say we ordered dessert, but we did.  And we knew we had a big meal coming the next day, too.

Mama’s Fish House

Our last day.  We spent it relaxing at the pool and the ocean and packing up.

The endless variety of colors in the water mesmerize me.

It’s fun watching the water splash against the sea wall.  This is the sea wall outside our resort.  The beach can be narrow (This is not a hign-end resort) but it was great for us.  I walked down there in high and low tide.

Sea wall and beach

We had one activity planned: dinner at Mama’s Fish House.

Everyone who knew we were going to Maui said we must eat at Mama’s Fish House.  I  concluded that myself from reading the guide book; thus, I made reservations in advance.  I must have told them it was my birthday also…because after dinner, a dessert with a candle arrived.

To get an idea of the restaurant, look here.  It’s a review from a magazine that named it best restaurant in the US 2010!

Mama’s is outside Pa’ia which is near the airport which means it was an hour drive or so.  But by then we were so used to that road (we put 700 miles on the rental car on that little island) that is seemed like nothing.

The Setting

Wow.  Is that enough said? To get to the entrance you follow a very long path that winds around the restaurant – right on the beach.  Palm trees, an old outrigger canoe, sidewalks made with gecko-shaped concrete molds – this atmosphere prepped you favorably for what was to come inside.

Which was outside.  We sat in an area that had a roof, but I don’t know if there was any way to drop walls so that the restaurant would be closed up.

I know the photo doesn’t look like it was “outside”, but if I’d taken the photo from where Mark is sitting, you’d just see outside, no wall.

The Food

Another exquisite meal.  Another expensive meal. The Feast at Lele, The Banyan Tree, and now Mama’s Fish House.  The menu was so exciting that it took a martini to assist me in my decision.

For Mark, it took a Mai Tai. I, of course, wanted to try everything, but the best I could manage was two starters and a main dish. Well, and dessert of course. Mama’s is known for their mahi-mahi stuffed with lobster and crab so I ordered that.  What can I say except the reputation is deserved.  Again, I was savoring every bite, oohing and ahhing, and Mark was again bewildered at how one could be so excited by food – especially after eating so much the day before.

If you are interested in the menu, you can enlarge this next.  Does everyone know that if you want to see a photo larger, you just click on it? Then when you’re done, hit the back arrow.

It did make the perfect last night, or the last night perfect, however you prefer to see it.

We were nostalgic as we settled in at the condo for our last night, listening to the ocean and the frogs in the lily pond near our unit.

Looking out the door, this is what I see.

Here today, gone to Maui

This time it was true.  We were here today, but gone tomaui.  The last day consisted of driving to the airport, returning the rental car, and boarding the plane. It was an amazing vacation.  To think that were it not for the wedding, we would never have gone to Maui – it sounded too tame compared to Italy and China and Costa Rica and the other places we have gone. Not only did it turn out to be worth the trip, it’s worth going again.  And I think we will.  We’ll stay again in Papakea J-104. Why change when you’ve got a good thing going?  And we will outwit the rental car agency. (see this post)

Next trip? Not planned yet. In January, maybe we’ll talk.

Muffins are art, especially when they are dinosaur muffins


Today’s Art Every Day Month’s entry is…!  One of my former students posted a photo of a plate of muffins shaped like dinosaurs.  I asked her – how did you do that? I must be able to do that for my grandkids when I go to Colorado.  She said I could borrow her muffin tin anytime and she’d even bring it over to me – and she also sent me a link to purchase one.  So I have my very own dinosaur muffin tin.

The tin is shaped like a dinosaur foot.

I got the dino cups too full for these apple muffins.  I did better with the chocolate chip muffins below.

I may love my muffin tin more than the grandkids do! The next batch I will put less batter in the cups and see if I can get the forms defined better.

Meanwhile, muffins are art!

Art Every Day Month is Back: November 1 – Halloween


November 1st and that means Art Every Day Month is back.  Can we do it? Can we produce something creative for every day in November? We’ll see.  If you want more information about what AEDM is, go to Creative Every Day.

So this November I again find myself in Colorado visiting my daughter and her family – AND the new baby, Sam. Since my medium is mainly photography, I will start with Halloween.  Last night was trick-or-treat, and a group of young kids and their parents gathered to do just that.  I saw them off, took a photo, and returned to Karen’s house.

Here’s the group.  Trying to take a photo was like herding cats, but it’s more interesting to see what each child is doing than to have a perfect lineup of smiling kids.  This is what they looked like.

With the energy exuded and the promise of CANDY, this is more what it felt like to the grownups.

Cooper walked along with her trick-or-treat bag.  This is what she looked like.

And this is what it felt like to the grownups.

Everything was a blur. It’s all too much for me.