Ugly Challeges Trained Brain





Sometimes it’s good to throw out your education. Instead of drawing with your accustomed hand, draw with your unaccustomed hand. Instead of following the rules in order to make a good photograph, go out and take a lot of ugly shots. We get all hung up on trying to make a good painting, a good photograph, or maybe we are trying to write a poem other people will like. Sometimes, it’s good to throw out all that stuff and make a mess. You never know, you might get something you like.  The idea of taking ugly shots came from Otto von Munchow’s challenge, Go out and photograph something ugly.

Puppies And Poems

Cody With CowCody is an English Cream Golden Retriever who lives in England with my daughter and her family. For three weeks I stayed at their home and babysat this cute puppy. Wondering what I was going to do with myself while I took care of him, I gave myself an assignment: Learn how to draw a dog. Besides sketching, I wrote some prose and a few poems. Maybe there is an Artists’ book in the making. I have the images and the words. The next step is figuring out a structural form for a book. Then, do it!


Drawing a Ballet Performance While Sitting in the Dark

ballet 5 (1 of 1)

ballet 1 (1 of 1)

Blog (1 of 3)

ballet 3 (1 of 1)
Blog (3 of 3)

A couple of weeks ago a friend of mine took me to the San Francisco Ballet. Our seats were the best – front and center. No photography was allowed during the performance, but I could draw. So I sketched in the dark. In a small moleskine sketchbook, using a pencil,  I put down the gesture of the dance, the backdrop on stage – sometimes I draw the audience. This time I sketched the conductor. When I get home it’s always fun to see what happened in the dark. I can recognize figures moving in space, the conductor’s face and some of the backdrops referring to Russia.

Shostakovich Trilogy is a ballet about choreographer Alexei Shostakovich’s experience living in Russia under Stalin, as well as experiences he had later in life. References to these periods in Russian history are reflected in many of the production’s design elements. These references can be found in the use of the revolutionary red and the hammer and sickle in the backdrop.


Bouquets to Art – De Young Museum – San Francisco


Bouquets to Art 1


Bouquets to Art 5


Bouquets to Art 2

Bouquets to Art 3




Bouquets to Art 6 or5


Bouquets to Art 7



Yesterday I went to Bouquets to Art with my friend, Pat Friday who has a private flower studio in Napa Valley. Every year she and a group of Bay Area floral designers are  invited to pick an art piece from the museum’s collection and create their interpretation of it.  Pat chose a piece from the American art section and created a cool snowy ice fishing scene where you can look down into two glassy, blue. ice fishing holes. She really got the feeling of being out in the cold. The show is up through the weekend. The variation of plants, flowers and materials used by the artists is really interesting. Bouquets to Art is organized by the San Francisco Auxiliary of the Fine Arts Museums.