Tag Archives | art

Mosaic workout challenge, week 18: Redux (again)

We got a second catch-up / do-over week. I was both hoping for and dreading this. While a catch-up week would allow me to go back and do the one challenge I missed while I was in Chicago, that particular missed challenge—copying a non-mosaic work of art (or part thereof)—was the only one that I would’ve been perfectly happy to never have to do. Anyway, here’s the skinny.

Title: Reasonable facsimile of Picasso’s camel sketch

Size: 6″ x 6″

Materials: Cinca

How long did it take to complete? About 2.5 hours

Thoughts: I was really hoping I’d get to miss the challenge where we had to copy a non-mosaic artist’s work… Damn catch-up weeks! It’s Thanksgiving up here in Canada and I’m spending an extra long weekend away in Montreal, so I had to be pretty strategic in terms of what I chose to replicate. As with other weeks when I’ve been pressed for time, I decided to maximize the negative space and went with one of Picasso’s line drawings (a camel). This also meant that I could keep the materials really simple (just cinca, in this case) and didn’t have to pack much—just a few tiles, my tweezers, nippers, and a bottle of glue. I’m pretty happy with how it turned out. There are some issues with the keystoning in parts, but heck, I was on vacation and wasn’t being too exacting. Had I had more time and access to all my materials, I really would have liked to have tried my hand at interpreting a Rothko. Maybe I’ll save that for a self-imposed challenge on a rainy day…

Pablo Picasso's sketch of a camel

Pablo Picasso’s sketch of a camel

My mosaic rendition of Picasso's camel

My mosaic rendition of Picasso’s camel


Why make mosaics about climate change?

When I tell people that I’m doing a series of mosaics about climate change, the usual response is something like <insert raised eyebrows, skeptical / confused look> “Ummm…ok…?” (My environmental policy wonk colleagues are the exception to this rule—they are super keen and excited about it.) This is why I figured it would be a good idea to devote a blog post to explaining why I’m doing what I’m doing.

Let’s tackle the easy question first: Why climate change? In short, climate change worries me. A lot. I will be the first to admit that I often get very very frustrated by

  • the lack of awareness and concern among the general public,
  • the overwhelming sense of apathy and inertia that seems to exist (including the lack of action at the political level),
  • the ‘debate’ about the reality of climate change, which is engineered by a small but vocal few who are propped up by junk ‘science’ (for a good explanation of this, I highly recommend James Hoggan’s “Climate Cover-Up“), and
  • the entirely false but annoyingly persistent either/or choice we are offered between the economy OR the environment (when, in fact, we can have both).
Joel Pett's editorial cartoon perfectly sums up the fact that we have nothing to lose by acting on climate change. So what are we waiting for?

Joel Pett’s editorial cartoon perfectly sums up the fact that we have nothing to lose by acting on climate change. So what are we waiting for?

I could go on, but at the risk of sounding ranty and alienating readers, I’ll stop there. While I do what I can in my personal life, at work I often feel like my hands are tied. Such is the reality of being a small cog in the big machine that is the federal bureaucracy. Anyway, I wanted to do more, and I decided that one way I could do this was through my art.

I think artists are in a unique position of being able to translate complex and/or intangible concepts and issues in a way that makes them more accessible and visceral for the general public. Art encourages people to slow down, and it invites them to really interact with a subject. I think creating this space for contemplation and dialogue is an essential counterbalance to the never-ending stream of headlines and soundbites. In this way, artists are well placed to contribute to the public policy dialogue on any number of issues. I get positively giddy when art, science, and public policy collide.

One of Gregory C. Johnson's 19 brilliantly simple illustrated haikus from the IPCC Physical Science Assessment

One of Gregory C. Johnson’s 19 brilliantly simple illustrated haikus summing up the IPCC Physical Science Assessment

I am neither the first nor the last artist to engage in this way. Even in the narrower niche of art related to climate change, I am in good company. Some recent examples that have been inspiring me are oceanographer/artist Gregory C. Johnson’s 19 illustrated haikus of the key takeaways from the IPCC’s Physical Science Assessment (a 2,000+ page document), Courtney Mattison’s large-scale ceramic installations depicting coral bleaching, the eclectic rafts created by street artist Swoon as a statement about rising sea levels and the loss of people’s homelands, and, of course, fellow Canadian Franke James’ visual essays that take aim at Canadian climate policy (among other things). Even within the mosaic community, I am not alone. Yulia Hanansen is working on a series about the effects of climate change on water distribution, and I’m sure there are others.

I have cheekily given my series the working title “Fiddling while Rome burns.” Who knows, maybe it’ll stick! I’m basing it on graphs and basic concepts / processes because (a) I think we tend to forget that there is a solid scientific grounding behind calls for climate action and (b) I believe we have pretty much become immune to alarming climate change graphs, statistics, trends, and impacts. I know I am certainly guilty of simply scanning the latest graph du jour and thinking “Yup, it’s bad,” as I scroll past. And if I—as an informed and engaged citizen—do it, then I know other people do it too. So putting these graphs and trends in stone, turning them into art, is my attempt to get people to look at them for more than a split second and realize that, yes, these trends are real, climate change is happening, and we’re already feeling its effects. Mosaic also seems like a good medium for communicating about climate change because they’re both such slow, gradual processes. But I think the parallels between mosaic and climate change also hold true for addressing climate change. Individual pieces of stone and glass come together to create something bigger, and individual actions really do add up and collectively make a difference. If my mosaics can inspire people to make even one positive change in their lives for the sake of the climate, well then that’s pretty neat and it gives me a bit of hope.

Extra credit: If you want to bone up on climate change, I’d highly recommend checking out DeSmog Blog (it even has a sister site dedicated solely to the Canadian context) or tuning into the new TV series Years of Living Dangerously. There are plenty of good and credible climate news sources out there, but these should get you started.

Mosaics in the series (evergreen list):


Embracing criticism

Getting physical in the arena in Coimbra, Portugal

Getting physical in the arena in Conímbriga, Portugal

I’ve never really had to think about criticism much before. Not because I’m so good that I don’t need it, but because I’ve never really shown my work to the world. Mostly it’s just family and friends who have seen what I create and who have been unfailingly supportive (as they should be!). So far, I think the biggest critic I’ve had to face is myself.

Recently, however, a few posts by design superwoman Tina Roth Eisenberg about critics and criticism have prompted me to start thinking about the topic. (By the way, if you don’t already know about Tina’s site – swiss-miss.com – you’re really missing out!)

The first was a quote from a blog post entitled “The Generous Skeptic” by Seth Godin:

“The generous skeptic has insight into your field, your strengths and weaknesses. She wants you to succeed, but maybe, just maybe, sees something you don’t.

When the generous skeptic speaks up, she’s taking a risk. If you respond to her generosity by arguing, by shutting down, by avoiding eye contact or becoming defensive, you’ve blown it. You’ve taken a gift and wasted it, and disrespected the gift giver at the same time.”

I’m not terribly bad at taking criticism, but, like everyone, there are times when I get my back up. Inevitably, this happens when whatever is being criticized is something that is the result of a big investment of my time, energy, and heart. I can think of nothing more personal than my art – nothing that makes me more vulnerable – so this quote serves as a good reminder to embrace criticism that’s given with the best of intentions.

The second post that got me thinking about criticism was this fantastic lecture by Brené Brown, who researches vulnerability. It’s rare that I will have the patience to watch any video that’s over 2 minutes long, but this one, which clocks in at 22 minutes, absolutely captivated me. I even watched it twice.

I really appreciate what she says about the inevitability of getting your ass kicked when you put yourself out there. It’s kind of comforting to know that it happens (and happens repeatedly) to all artists, whether emerging or established.

“If you’re going to show up and be seen, there is only one guarantee, and that is: you will get your ass kicked. That is the guarantee. That’s the only certainty you have. If you’re going to go in the arena and spend any time in there whatsoever, especially if you’ve committed to creating in your life, you will get your ass kicked.”

But there’s a certain power that comes with willingly accepting your ass kicking, and that is that you are now in a position to tune out all the unhelpful critics who are sitting on the sidelines, playing it safe:

“If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback. […] If you’re in the cheap seats, not putting yourself on the line, and just talking about how I could do it better, I’m in no way interested in your feedback.

So, as I aspire to have my work seen by more and more people – as I prepare to “enter the arena” – I recognize that I am opening myself up to more criticism. Some from people who genuinely want to be helpful, and some from people who are just being jerks. But I’ll just keep reminding myself to brush off the comments that aren’t important and embrace the ones that are, and hopefully even start a dialogue with those generous skeptics. Because in the end, showing up day after day and getting my ass kicked, staying vulnerable, and embracing the criticism of fellow warriors will only make me better and help me grow.

And now, one more quote from Brené Brown for the road:

“The fear is this: I’m scared, a lot of self-doubt, comparison, anxiety, uncertainty. And so what do most people do when they’re walking into the arena and those things are going to greet them up top? What do you do? You armor up, right? This is where I would imagine the old days, that they got all their stuff on. But god that stuff is heavy, and that stuff is suffocating. And the problem is: when you armor up against vulnerability, you shut yourself off. […] Without vulnerability, you cannot create.”


Sometimes mother does know best

Me and my mom, who, as it turns out, sometimes does know best ;-)

Me and my mom, who, as it turns out, sometimes does know best ;-)

Growing up, I always liked drawing and generally being crafty. I never thought I was very good at drawing or painting (still don’t, actually), so I stopped taking art classes when I got to high school and they weren’t mandatory anymore. Instead, I took science and math (with some language thrown in for balance). Every year, around course selection time, my mom would try to convince me to take art as an elective. One year she even tried to persuade me to take drafting. She never managed to sway me – I stuck to my guns, arguing that I would never use those things ‘in real life’. Not that I had even the slightest idea of what I wanted to be when I grew up, but I was certain that art and drafting weren’t relevant to whatever path I would take.

Flash forward more than a decade: As soon as I got to university, I stopped taking physical sciences. The funny thing is that I didn’t even miss them, despite strongly defining myself as a ‘science person’ in high school. I have also never ever needed to use them in my day job, beyond a basic understanding of general concepts. And now, here I am, finally coming to the realization that I actually want to be an artist ‘when I grow up’. Would my path have been any different if I had taken art in high school? Who knows. I’m pretty sure it wouldn’t have made me stumble upon mosaic any sooner. But maybe I would have a few more tools in my artistic toolbox as I set out on this journey, which would be awesome because right now I feel like I’ve got a LOT of catching up to do.

Anyway, the moral of the story is: Kids, listen to your mother. Sometimes she does know best.


What lies beneath our feet: Wayfinding and the road ahead

I think that perhaps by now you’ve gotten a sense that mosaic camp had a pretty profound impact on me. So now it’s time to try to articulate what it all means. It’s actually kind of challenging to find the right words to adequately convey how pivotal and amazing this experience was for me. Over the course of this post, there will likely be ramblings and digressions, but I hope you’ll bear with me.

mosaic hardie in logIt’s hard to explain what this workshop meant to me without first understanding where I was in my relationship with mosaic. My early work with glass got me hooked on mosaic in terms of putting things together to form a cohesive whole. My brain works well that way, so it was natural that I should gravitate to mosaic. But the material and tools just didn’t do it for me. So I explored. I took a few classes and found out I didn’t like tile (neither vitreous nor ceramic), but that I did quite enjoy smalti and stone. Most importantly, I discovered my love for my hammer and hardie. But as I moved into these new materials, it felt like I was still missing a piece of the puzzle. I enjoyed the craftsmanship that went into each piece – I love working with my hands and creating something tangible – but I was still just a wee bit unsatisfied. I think that maybe I found the materials, although lovely, a bit uninspiring and sterile. Everything in neat cubes and rods and squares. It felt restrictive. I think it’s fair to say that prior to the workshop at Touchstone, I was in an uneasy transition period. I was still searching for my niche.

Now, I have long been a fan of Rachel Sager‘s work. It just speaks to me. I love the organic, almost eroded feel to it, and I definitely connect with the subject matter. I had a feeling that I would really enjoy taking a workshop with her, but I had no idea how transformational it would be. Seriously guys, this workshop was a game changer for me. It was the perfect course at the perfect time. The whole weekend I felt both euphoric and at peace. It was such a strange combination of feelings. I couldn’t make sense of it at the time, but now I know it was the result of finally finding my path. My previous restlessness had morphed into a peacefulness, a feeling like all was right with the world. And that made me so incredibly happy.

Maybe it’s my background in geography, but everything about the process we learned made my heart sing: the sense of place and connection, the dialogue with both nature and the materials, and the feeling of adventure and exploration that permeated the whole process. It all spoke to my soul. It was exactly what I had been searching for. Over the course of the weekend, Rachel kept returning to the themes of independence and freedom. I can think of no better way to describe how this workshop and this process made me feel.

I have always been uncomfortable calling myself an artist. I’ve always seen myself more as a maker, craftsperson, or artisan. But, oddly enough, when I was making “Grounded“, I felt (for the first time ever) like maybe I could eventually grow into the label of “artist”. It’ll probably take a while, but I think it’s an indication that I’m on the right path. [Complete aside: two people have already asked me if “Grounded” is for sale. You might think I’m crazy, but I’ve told them it isn’t. It’s just such a pivotal and emotional piece for me – I’m not ready to let it go yet. Maybe not ever. I never feel like this about any of my work. I’m always thrilled when it can go find a new home. But this piece is different.]

It feels exceedingly good to finally have direction. To feel that passion and fire. I was still bouncing off the walls for days after I got home. Poor R tells me I didn’t even look at her for 2 days – that’s how wrapped up in the experience I still was. I want a future (like, a full-time future) in mosaic where stone features prominently. Saying that is both exhilarating and terrifying. I still have a really really long way to go, and I know it isn’t going to happen overnight. But I’ll be patient and play the long game and keep chipping away at developing my skills and my voice. And then maybe one day…!

post-touchstone fb status

Music plays a big part in my life and ties me to moments in space and time. I often deliberately pick a song to act as a soundtrack for big events (like last days on the job, embarking on big trips, etc.). I’ll play it over and over to cement that feeling in my head and heart, and then whenever I hear it I’ll be transported back to that moment. Naturally, I chose a song to remember my experience in Rachel’s class. I hadn’t listened to any music at camp, swapping my ipod for the chirping of birds, the rustling of trees, and the babbling of the stream. When I got back to civilization and began my music-starved hunt for the perfect ‘theme song’, I went directly to Josh Ritter. I think his “Lark” pretty much embodies my experience at mosaic camp. The lightness of the music and some of the lyrics correspond perfectly with how I felt – like there was a “lark in my heartbeat.”


What lies beneath our feet: Just the facts

I’ve just come back from participating in Rachel Sager’s inaugural run of her “What lies beneath our feet” workshop and I can say that it was, without a doubt, the most amazing and pivotal experience of my mosaic journey so far. It was a bit overwhelming (in a good way) and I’m still kind of processing, but I have lots to tell you. So much, in fact, that I think I’m going to break it down into three blog posts. This one will focus on the workshop itself – the who, what, where, when, why, and how of it. In the next post I’ll show you what I made and how I approached it. The third post will inevitably be the most challenging to write: I want to tell you about what this experience has meant to me in terms of where I am (a budding mosaic artist just starting out on my journey) and where I’m (hopefully) going.

But for now, let’s talk about the workshop!

SAMA vs. Sager
Since I don’t do mosaics full time, I can only justify about one big mosaic-related hoorah each year. This year, I had my sights set on attending my first SAMA conference. That was the plan. I was determined. But then I saw a posting for Rachel’s workshop on Pam Goode’s Mosaic Art Retreats blog. I immediately knew that this was the class for me and my plans for SAMA flew right out the window. A few months later, as I saw updates and pictures trickling out from SAMA, I got a bit jealous and started wondering if I had made the right decision. I needn’t have worried; it was absolutely the right decision. So my advice to you: If you get a chance to take a workshop with Rachel, do it. Don’t hesitate for even a second. She is a wonderful teacher and you will learn a tonne and grow as an artist.

Determined to do this on the cheap, I cashed in some of my hard-earned frequent flyer miles that I had accumulated from three years’ worth of flights between Ottawa and LA. I had originally planned to try carpooling with a local to get from Pittsburgh to Farmington (where Touchstone is located), but I ended up renting a car instead because (1) I was too shy to put myself out there and ask and (2) I really really really didn’t want to miss seeing Fallingwater (a Frank Lloyd Wright house in the area). And boy, am I glad I visited – it was SO cool. My jaw was just hanging open the entire visit. After that I popped over to visit the Laurel Caverns, which was more than slightly disappointing (read: supremely cheesy). I’m kicking myself for choosing that over Kentuck Knob (the other FLW house in the area). Oh well, you know what they say about hindsight.

Touchstone is like the camp you remember from your childhood, only better (especially in terms of the food – sooooo delicious). I chose to stay in a shared quad cabin, but the camp wasn’t full that particular weekend, so I actually didn’t have any cabin mates. I was a bit sad about that – I kept racing back to my cabin periodically during the check-in period to see if other people had arrived, only to be disappointed each time. Part of the reason I wanted other people in my cabin was because I’m painfully shy, so it’s an easy way to meet people. Instant friends! In a cabin on my own, I thought I risked being a hermit. But everything turned out OK, because all my classmates were super open and warm and friendly and we quickly became a tight-knit group and I never lacked people to eat with or sit by the campfire chatting with.

The workshop itself
Our class ran from Friday night to Monday afternoon. On Friday night, we started by putting the finishing touches on the substrates that Rachel had graciously prepped for us so they could dry overnight. And then Saturday morning…we hunted for rocks! WOO!! I totally loved walking through the woods, scanning for potential treasure troves, and getting my hands dirty – pushing aside leaves, rummaging through the stream bed, digging in the soil. So much more satisfying than ordering materials online with the click of a button.

Back in the studio, after a quick hammer and hardie lesson, we got to work cracking the stones open. The bigger / tougher ones were subjected to the blows of a sledgehammer, but the smaller, easier ones were broken down directly with our H&H. It was so neat to see the variations in colour and striation that were revealed once each rock was broken open, because they really looked quite similar from the outside. While others sorted their colours very carefully (as per Rachel’s instructions), I disobeyed. I was too excited to see what was on the inside of each stone I had collected, so I would chop one open, cut a few pieces from it, and then move on to the next one and the next one. Everything went into the same pile and it was a beautiful, disorganized mess. Luckily, I didn’t get scolded :-)

It felt really good to get my hammer swinging for a nice chunk of time and to feel the differences between the stones as they yielded under my hammer. What I found challenging was all the noise – 11 people wailing on rocks with steel hammers is not exactly quiet. A big part of finding the ‘sweet spot’ for me is the sound – like finding a stud in the wall. I had to focus on using my eyes (in addition to muscle memory) a lot more with all the background din. It’s interesting, the cues that you come to rely on.

And then, we created. (More on this in post #2.) It was fascinating to walk around the room and see how radically different people’s approaches and visions were, considering we had all started with the same basic ingredients. Talking about everyone’s piece at the end of the workshop – how they approached it, what others saw in it and responded to in its design – was a valuable and interesting exercise.

Outside of class
I tended to wake up early and would spend the time before breakfast just enjoying the quietness and the early morning sun (and checking my email). I had hooked up R’s old cellphone (from the California days) so I’d be able to communicate with her while I was there, but I ended up having no reception and wifi was only available in the main lodge. The funny thing is, I’m glad it worked out that way. While I really missed hearing her voice every day, it was nice to untether myself to some extent and let myself be completely absorbed in the experience.

And at night…there were campfires. Just sitting around, enjoying the flames and the night air, talking with interesting and creative people. That was one of my favourite parts (other than whacking the crap out of rocks with my hammer, obviously). The residential aspect of the weekend was part of what made it so special. People didn’t scatter back to their various hotels after class. You could really get to know people and continue the interesting discussions that had started during the day.

Four hours in Pittsburgh
The day after the workshop, I found myself with four hours to kill in Pittsburgh before heading to the airport. I decided to prolong the artsy creative high I was riding from the weekend by visiting the Mattress Factory and the Society for Contemporary Craft. Each place had pieces that absolutely blew me away, like Parastou Forouhar’s “Written Room”, Julie Abijanac’s “Disease mapping”, and Eszter Bornemisza’s “Lung of the city”.  I love walking – anywhere, anytime – and I think it’s a great way to experience the city, so instead of hopping the bus to get from MF to SCC, I walked. A long, hot walk (nearly 3.5km – I was sweating!!), but definitely worth it because I got to soak in that incredible Pittsburgh architecture.

And then it was time to go home to R (yay! I had missed her so!) and Dex (who gave me a very enthusiastic-bordering-on-scandalous welcome on the deserted streets of Ottawa at midnight) and my buckwheat hull pillow. I arrived exhausted, but in a good way, with a huge, persistent grin on my face.


Costa Rica and Guatemala highlights reel

I know we were only away for a little over a week, but it seriously felt like way longer than that. For some reason, our relatively short trip to Costa Rica and Guatemala felt gloriously long.

We totally relaxed in Costa Rica and kept a pretty slow, low-key pace, which is unusual for us. We only spent one day in San José and that was definitely enough. It’s not a very pretty city, but we did manage to find a few cool things, like the Museum of Contemporary Art and Design and TEOR/éTica.

And we managed to catch one of the performances associated with San José’s International Festival of Arts, despite the fact that they switched the location at the last minute and we had to cab it all the way across the city to a huge park (La Sabana) where nobody had any idea where the performance we were interested in was taking place. After wandering around for close to an hour, we just happened to stumble upon it. And it was good that we did, because the show was absolutely fantastic! It was a theatrical dance performance entitled “Oxlaju B’aktun” by a group of Maya-Kaqchikel performers from Guatemala (Grupo Sotz’il). I didn’t understand a word of it, but it was powerful nonetheless. And, oddly enough, R and I both came away with the same basic storyline (a testament, I’m sure, to the choreography, acting, and costuming).

The next day we headed for the mountains (Santa Elena / Monteverde) to explore the cloud forest. We saw a fair bit of wildlife during our hikes (we did both day and night hikes). Most of what we saw was birds (toucans, song birds, hummingbirds, etc.), but we also few small mammals (kinkajus, agouti, monkeys). We didn’t see any sloths in the wild, much to my chagrin, but we did spot the elusive quetzal (a pair of them, actually), which more than made up for the lack of sloths. While in Monteverde we also did a tour of a small coffee and sugar cane farm, where we got to make our own candy out of the sugar cane juice and even tried some liquor made from the distilled outer fruity casing of the coffee berry. As my dad would say, that one would “put hair on your chest.”

From Monteverde we headed to Heredia, where R was participating in a conference. So while she worked, I had a day to myself. I joined up with a tour going to the Poas volcano and a few other locations, but Poas was really the main draw for me. Too bad though, because it was completely cloudy and I didn’t get to see the crater or the lagoon. Bah! I guess the up-side to that was that I really got to see the cloud forest in action (which, oddly enough, we didn’t see in Monteverde, as we had two very dry days there, without a hint of cloud).

After Costa Rica, we jetted over to Guatemala (to the capital) to visit with some of R’s family and take in the Huelga de Dolores. What an experience!

[Quick Huelga primer: It started in 1898 as a protest against the government of the day and has been held every year since then. The Huelga coincides with Lent, culminating in a march on the Friday before Good Friday (viernes de dolores). It criticizes and satirizes Guatemalan politics using a variety of forms of expression (e.g. songs, pamphlets, dances, etc.).]

We were there for the march (which lasts for HOURS…seriously, you’ve never been to a longer march) where all the faculties from the University of San Carlos march through downtown Guatemala City in costume, singing and dancing and carrying banners and floats. We also had the privilege of attending an event the night before the march known as Juebebes, which is put on by R’s aunt and uncle and the Huelga group (known as a “comparsa”) that they’ve performed with for years. The highlight of the night was when their comparsa performed several songs (popular songs whose lyrics had been changed to denounce various aspects of Guatemalan society and politics). My favourite, by far, was one called “Blackberry”, which was about the rampant violence plaguing the country (muggings, shootings, etc.) and was penned by two of R’s cousins.

And that’s it! As a souvenir, I brought back a case of laryngitis. Fun times.


3 weeks in and still loving it!

So three weeks of my California sabbatical have already flown by. The time is going by way too quickly! I’m absolutely loving it. I’m not bored at all, and my only regret is that I haven’t made as much progress on my mosaic work as I had hoped. But I guess I’ll chalk that one up to being busy getting ready for our trip to Costa Rica and Guatemala (we leave in a few short hours!!). Once we get back though, I promise to be a mosaic machine! (After I power through the laundry and edit the gazillion photos I’m sure we’ll take, that is.)

Aside from picking away at my Mississippi piece, I’ve been doing some tinkering with my website, so if you see any bugs, let me know. Not that I’ll know how to fix them, of course… All this stuff just goes right over my head. While working, I’ve been devouring episode after episode of Downton Abbey and Friday Night Lights.

I’ve also been enjoying walks along the beach, which is literally right across the road. My favourite destination is the dog beach – I firmly believe it’s one of the happiest places on earth, all those happy puppies bounding around, enjoying the sand and surf. I just borrowed a bike from a friend, so once I get back I’m looking forward to venturing a bit farther afield.

In terms of adventures, we did a few little day trips just after I arrived: one to soak up some inspiration at the LA County Museum of Art (we hit the women surrealist artists exhibit, where I fell head over heels in love with the art of Kay Sage and Dorr Bothwell) and another to go hiking in Griffith Park. We chose the route that took us right up behind the big Hollywood sign, you know, for maximum tourist value.

Anyway, that’s about it! Once we get back, it will only be a few short weeks until my first course at the Institute of Mosaic Art. YAY!


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