Hi, I'm Zoe. After much soul-searching over the years, I have discovered that art, for me, is merely an expression of who I am. I have a number of interests (sometimes I think too many!!)--and after all, life is art. So when people ask me what I'm up to, it just made sense to post my expressions here. I hope you enjoy my sense of discovery as much as I do.

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Saga Of The Sunflower

The Saga of the Sunflower
or A Chronicle of the Artistic Process

Once upon a time, there was a rather large lonesome glass table-top--unwanted and unused, sitting in a floor covering store.  The proprietor brought it home and said:  "Paint a sunflower on this, and I'll put it up in the yard as yard art."

"What???? "

Now you must understand that the individual so addressed had absolutely no experience with painting sunflowers or glass painting, and a somewhat limited experience painting much of anything, for that matter.  A fair amount of hemming and hawing, fits and starts, and  general obsession with sunflowers in general ensued.  
It started with inspiration (original photograph).

Sunflower mug--Unknown painter of Mexican souvenirs
 First, inspiration. After looking high and low, the design from a souvienir mug from a Mexican vacation was settled upon, given it's simplicity of design and ease of adapting to the task at hand.  Originally, it was intended as a gift, but after it was dropped, and a sizeable chunk broke off the rim (not visable in photo), another was purchased. The original was kept, only to be used as inspiration for this project a number of years later.  The question may arise--is this plagarism??  The answer is a resounding "no", as long as credit is given to the original artist.  Picasso did it, as did many of the masters.  And, as they say. . .the moral of the story:  Something that was "bad" may actually be good--if the mug hadn't been chipped, it would have been passed on, and therefore unavailable as the source of inspiration.
Sunflower in sketchbook (10" Acrylic)
Second, practice.  The design was given several trial runs in a.) a sketchbook, b.) a large butcher paper version (which ultimately landed on the ceiling), and c.) a Cuevas bottle (practice on glass!)
Sunflower on butcher paper  (3' x 4 '  Acrylic)

Sunflowers on Cuevas Bottle (8"--Acrylic glass paint on glass)
 Materials suitable for painting on glass and a design were ultimately decided upon, and the sunflower finally became a piece of yard art.  For awhile, that is. . .
Sunflower on glass disk mounted on one of many tree trunks in the yard--which is quite common in here in the Pacific Northwest--the tree trunks, that is. (4'--Acrylic glass paint on glass)

 After a mere two years, the weather took its toll.   Alas, the glass paint didn't much like the winter freezes or the summer heat and sloughed off.  All that was left was a silly looking glass table top set on end on a tree tree trunk at the edge of the yard!
Sunflowerless glass table top (on end) on tree trunk.
A question frequently posed by visitors was,  "What is that?
What to do now?  A year passed. . .

"Why don't you re-do the sunflower, this time as a glass mosaic?  Maybe you could use glass tiles."

"You want me to do what??"  

Now you must understand that the individual so addressed (who now had experience with sunflowers, at least), had no experience with glass mosaics,  glass cutters, or gluing hundreds and hundreds of pieces of glass on anything (well, with one minor exception, but that's another story).

Another year of agonizing. . .Tile? Glass? Glass? Tile?  Tile or glass???  Finally..................a decision!!

The sunflower would be ressurrected as a glass mosaic, and if one worked hard, it should be finished by the end of the upcoming long (Memorial Day) weekend (!).  At the end of the said weekend, however, all that was produced was a pile of broken glass and some bloody fingers (leather gloves nothwithstanding).  Groan.............

There was, however, no turning back, given the $200+ investment in glass and the mess on the front porch!!

June passed. . .
The sunflower in June
 July was a bust, due to vacations, family visits, fishing trips, etc.  August came and went. . .
The sunflower in August. . .slow going!!!

After Labor Day, the realization set in that one must hustle unless one enjoys cutting and gluing glass in 40 degree rainy October weather (the alternative being tolerating a mess on the front porch until NEXT summer)!!! Every free minute, day and night, glass cutting and pasting ensued until the end of September.

Finally, the last piece of glass (of nearly 1300 pieces) was glued in place, and the somewhat impatient individual who suggested the project in the first place (after all, he had been waiting nearly two years for it) had it grouted and re-mounted within an hour!!
The sunflower in the morning sun.
 So now the sunflower stands (hopefully) permanently (or at least until it gets taken out by a falling tree, which would be a major bummer).  And, after all that work, one could hardly pass up the opportunity to photograph it in every possible light (not to mention post it on the blog!)

The sunflower in the afternoon sun.

Sunflower center detail--it glows!!
Sunflower petal.
"Good night!" --Sting

Monday, April 9, 2012

Is Landscaping Art?

One of three rock pavements, another easy weekend project!

 Arch Detail
It's for the birds.
Fountain of blessing (and impatiens!)
Memorial Grape Arbor (note the stone pavement).

 In memory of Junior.

 In Memory of Connie Schick.

In Memory of Scott Aton.
Can you guess what these were (before 
I hijacked them for yard art)?
Impatiens are also low maintenance and, quite prolific in the shade.  Their boisterous color transports me to the tropics.
A Mandala--symbol of wholeness.
The flower of sunworshippers--well, that would be me.
Crocosmia--minimal maintenance (but stunning--and sun-loving)!!
Notice "The Great Wall"--we built approximately 600 - 700 feet of them, all by ourselves!!  I used to joke that we built rock walls for a hobby.  (Actually, would you believe it was a weekend project?)
The question has arisen (for me) "Is Landscaping Art?".  This is because it seems like I spent most of last summer landscaping (and therefore had much less time for what might be considered "art").  However, one of my favorite artists, Monet (and others I'm sure), was a passionate gardener, so I like to think that I have taken a cue from him.  Not exactly Giverny, but the garden is one of my favorite places none the less, especially on one of our rare sunny days in the Pacific Northwest.  And of course, there is nothing like a garden for artistic inspiration!  More to come in 2012 . . .

Monday, October 18, 2010


Color Corrected and Poster Effect Added
Original Photo
A bit of nostalgia from my home town. This sign graced the state highway approach even before my earliest memory of it.  Made a great stop on the way home from "The Plunge" after a swim. It's still there, and I couldn't resist a photo!

Up In Smoke

Up In Smoke, graphite  (11" x 14")

Reference (Original) Photo
A warm, sunny, lazy, October Barcelona, Spain morning.  Is this smoke part of her daily routine? What is she thinking? Her gaze is inscrutable.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, Watercolor  (12" x 16")

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse (Original photo)

Lauren at the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse
I painted the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse in Long Beach, Washington, from a sketch I made several years previously, and without a reference photo.  Recently, I finally took my photo (above).  My niece, Lauren, says that "Cape Disappointment" is somewhat of a misnomer, since it is anything but. 

Friday, October 15, 2010

Abstract I

Abstract I, Mixed Media  (10" x 14")
Remember those art projects back in second grade when the assignment was to scribble something and make it into a piece of art?  Well, one day (a few years back) that sounded like fun, so I tried it. The medium is watercolor crayon and colored pencil. My other half said that he liked it, so he got it for Christmas.  It is now getting proper respect hanging on the wall in his office.  Maxine Masterfield (see "Tropical Delight ", September 28, 2010) even gave it a thumbs up.

Lavender Fields Forever

Cropped and Poster Effect Added
Color corrected with Photoshop
Original Photo
Yes, purple is in my soul!  So, I couldn't resist shooting these lavender fields when I came upon them in Escalon, California (  Again, lovely patterns and experiments with Photoshop.