Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Trash into Treasure

Indian Pony, acrylic on clayboard, 8" x 10"

Today, while at Art Works Downtown, I happily discovered in the trash three canvases that the artist tossed even before the painting had hardly begun. Given the nature of the economic/world situation, I quickly retrieved the "orphans" and made them my own. One "Clay Board", costs $12.95 at an art store, and my heart was breaking as I saw it unloved and unused to its full potential. So, I now have painted my beloved equus with my newest discovered "metallic" paint in gold and purples. The other two canvases, one on gessoed board, and the other a traditional fabric canvas, have been turned into a beautiful diptych of an abstracted version of "Neptune's Horses", and a more realistic looking dappled grey, my all time favorite "winter" colored horses commonly seen in Rockwell paintings. It's hard to believe that the paintings (photos to follow), started out as "trash".

Friday, June 25, 2010

More Eggshelling on glass

At 5:37 in the morning, I can hear the crows cawing for their breakfast - peanuts my husband throws out for them. Now that the hustle and bustle of summer opera has come to a rip roaring finish and I'm almost over my summer flu bug, I'm gearing up to finish my next big project. On July 2 and 3, submissions for the upcoming show, You, Me, Us and Them: Contemporary Portaiture, at OHCA, is due. In addition to submitting my first eggshelled portrait of my husband Georg, who spells his name without an "e", I am eggshelling a photo of him and my pet cockatiel Koko, who celebrated his 11th birthday on June 4. Where does the time go? If the number 11 does symbolize relationships, then this picture I took as a series of 75 shots says it all. What does it say? Koko loves to snuggle.

There I go digressing again.

I learned how to program in HTML. It really is a feat especially since I told myself for the life of the Internet that all that gobbeldygook was "too hard" and consequently never developed my website. Now that's a story in itself and you get the gist of its magnitude when you go on-line to research how to build a website. It must be pretty daunting for folks to look at a blank page because the number of templates now available are amazing. Everything from personal to professional sites - it seems there are no limits to what you can do with HTML. But, as technology clicks along, HTML is soon becoming a dinosaur of the past. Website development just got easier with Flash, a code based on vector graphics, which will make my website move like the wind, with full animation of my galloping, frolicking horses.

Speaking of horses - I'm painting up a storm these days with acrylic. Given my utter disdain for the synthetic muk that is polluting Mother Earth, I never knew how wonderful acrylic paint can be. I have discovered a media that gives me complete control of my painting process. I recentlty discovered the beauty of multiple overlays possible through adding the media to quick drying mediums. Now, I can paint multiple layers of paint in lickety split. I'm also being conscientious of proper disposal of my waste rinse waters and am collecting them in separate containers for future runs to the hazardous chemical disposal plant. I'm also collecting my rags, Handiwipes and paper towels now "decorated" with the vibrant colors from my painting sessions, for who knows what? Future fiber art projects integrated with my dryer lint and felt projects. The sky is the limit in the world of pure creativity and material girl bliss.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Listing on ART Slant

I'm now registered on the website for artists called ART Slant. To see my work, go to

Call For Entries for July and August at OHCA

Georg, Eggshell Mosaic on Glass, 4" x 6"

The O'Hanlon Center for the Arts is having two more shows! In July, look for their exhibit, called "You, Me, Us, Them: Exploring Contemporary Portraiture, juried by Irene Belknap. Then, in August, Donna Seagar returns to jury the "Bay Area Women's Artist's" show. For the prospectus, go to For the portraiture show, I will submit my eggshell mosaics piece called "Georg", named after my husband. Then, in August, I'll be high-stepping and walking on eggshells, in matching shoes, hat and clutch to go with my eggshelled vinyl and velcro dress that will be on view at the Marin County Fair until July 5.

Monday, June 21, 2010

"Walkin' on Eggshells" and "Return to Oz" Accepted in Marin County Fair

I called the Fair office and learned that two of my artworks were accepted
into the Marin County Fair. They'll be on view until July 5. For ticket information, go to

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Elise Cheval Performs with Contemporary Opera Marin during the Tiburon Music Festival

The Seasonings by PDQ Bach

Prohibition Songs

We're having a blast performing on stage with Contemporary Opera Marin. Our Opening Night was a sell-out. Let's hope that our Closing Night, Saturday, June 26 will be a sell-out, too! Check out these stills I captured from the Flip Video my husband filmed.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Hi Ho Silver, Silverpoint Drawing

"Hi Ho Silver", silverpoint drawing, 11" x 14"

Last semester, while taking Materials and Techniques, with Chester Arnold, I learned about an ancient drawing technique called silverpoint or metalpoint, where the artist makes marks with a piece of metal wire onto a gessoed clayboard. I loved the concept of being able to make marks with a piece of metal wire, so I created the piece, "Hi Ho Silver" for the Marin County Fair. Since I was a little girl, I always got excited when our horses would rear up on their hind legs. The title reminds one of the famous Lone Ranger, who shouted to his loyal white steed named Silver, "Hi Ho Silver away", but I got my inspiration for the title from a play on words on the media silverpoint.

Submission of Artwork to Marin County Fair

Another milestone! I got my artworks to the Marin County Fair on time on Friday. I submitted 6 artworks including my oil paintings, "Camargue Dream" and "Fire Spirit", in beautiful frames purchased at Cheap Pete's in San Rafael, an iPhone painting called, "Keep That Dogie Rollin" that gave me a good education on "resolution" when I had it printed on photopaper at Marin Filmworks in San Rafael. It looks great on the screen, but when I had it printed it came out blurry. Ugh! The iPhone app called "Brushes" might be a great little painting program, but when it comes to printing a hard copy of my painting, it sure leaves a lot to be desired. My wearable art, under the title, "Walkin' on Eggshells", also gave me an education. A year ago, when I wore it in my final critique, "Breaking Thru", it was the hottest day of the year, and the vinyl melted in the car! I really wasn't sure if I could recover it's original shape, but over time while hanging on a dress stand, it worked out the "kinks". Plus, I discovered rather late that a key piece in the shoulder of the dress was missing! UGH. So, I recut the piece, using a technique I perfected while working on the shoes and hat, eggshelled it in record time, and it looked great. My first artbook, "Return to Oz", turned heads when I dropped it off. But, my pride and joy, is my silverpoint drawing, "Hi Ho Silver", which looks elegant in its silver colored frame. So, we'll see tomorrow if my artworks are accepted by the jurors.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Last day of 17th Annual Italian Street Painting Festival

Four days after the Festival, I was able to walk normally again! Seriously folks -- it is an incredible experience to be so close to the ground for two days in grueling 90 degree plus heat, "painting" my beloved Equus with chalk pastels -- but, it is physically, mentally and emotionally challenging. However, having never been one to shirk from a challenge, when I heard on Thursday from Suzanne, the Director of the Youth in Arts Program, that I would be painting in the Festival on Saturday, I had a few days to prepare for the event. Using my Feldenkrais skills and meditation, I visioned the entire process from laying out the grid lines, to sketching and finally painting "Camargue Dream", with the chalk pastels in 90 degree heat. When I was exhausted and didn't know how I would be able to make another mark on the ground, I drew on the picture in my mind of pulling myself up by the bootstraps and trudging up the mountain. I knew that I would succeed.
In the morning, I gathered up all of my tools -- brushes and rags for blending, a piece of string to create a chalkline, pieces of felt for blending, a sun hat and sun screen, and plenty of water and a small cooler for snacks to get me through the day -- and I arrived in time for Ole Man Summer to be shining in all of his glory from the East Bay. Covered from head to toe and slathered with 70 Sunscreen, I managed to avoid the inevitable sunburns I got as a kid. Moreover, I developed a real appreciation for the nutrient that sustained me - WATER - throughout the day! Half way through the 2nd day, I started to get a feel for handling the chalk pastels on the asphalt, to the point that I really enjoyed the process of scratching and blending the luxurious media on the ground.
There were so many incredible moments, but the "highlight" of my day at the Festival, was when I had a sudden urge to stand up after painting for 2 hours and right behind me, watching me "paint", stood my Sponsor, Mr. Chris Dempsy, and his children John and Kate. They just "happened" to be standing there when I dragged my stiff body from the abstract images unfolding before my eyes. By this time, I was so full of emotion that I nearly burst into tears because it really is a GIFT to be part of such an incredible event, and Mr. Dempsy's generous GIFT made it possible for me to participate this year, when there were more Sponsors than Artists. Spirit is so GENEROUS!!!

Now that its over, people tell me that they enjoyed seeing my horses at the Festival and ask me, "Will you do it again?" They know its grueling and bolster my confidence when I say, "YES". In fact, on our way home from the Festival, dirty from head to toe with chalk pastel dust, I told my husband, "I just loved painting on the street. I'm going to practice on the street in front of our home." I definitely "heard" him whince at the meer thought, but he didn't object to my aspirations to practice over the year, so I'll be well prepared and ready for the 18th Annual Italian Street Painting Festival next year!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

"L" for Love

Well, as my Word Every Two Weeks, Project continues, I'm up to the letter "L", and what better than the word "Love" to express how grateful I am for all of the opportunities that have unfolded for me this year. When I set up this project in January, I hadn't considered where the letters of the English alphabet would fall during the year. It seems quite befitting to see "Love" and so much of it in my life during the time period when the Summer Solstice will usher in the longest day of the year!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

One Day Down and One More to Go

What a TRIP! I arrived at 10:00 AM to the Street Painting Festival, and right away encountered some lovely children resting their hands in my square! Cute little orange fingerprints don't work well with a heavenly blue background, unless of course you think "complementary" colors. No worry. I showed the little kids my painting and said, "See my picture - no orange!" Their mother was accomodating. My next door neighbor on my other side is a lovely girl from Indonesia named April, and paints like a genius for her first time in the Festival. I had no clue how to approach my picture, so I just went for it, filling in the background and working the whole painting at once. NOT a good idea though because I ended up stepping on areas that were previously worked. But, I am having fun, staying hydrated and learning a lot from the Master's at the Festival. One thing for sure that helps is to start with a good image that is "realistic" with a lot of shading. My painting defintely is "mooshier", and I approached the pastel painting in this fashion. Next year, I'll have a different approach. I love working with the pastels, and they aren't nearly as dirty as I anticipated. Well, tomorrow, I'll get an early start and beat the heat as much as possible. Tonight, I'll sleep like a baby.


In progress


Italian St Painting Festival

Camargue Dream in progress!

"In the Dust" in San Rafael

Well folks,

The day has arrived! I've been working hard to prepare myself for what I expect will be a fun, but very challenging day, sitting on asphalt and "painting" with pastels. I've decided to reproduce my beloved painting "Camargue Dream", 2010, after a photo called "Galloping Horses" I saw on the internet. I prepared my grid and placed it in a protective plastic sleeve because by the end of the day, I can image that it will be pretty dirty. I designed some lovely business cards with a cropped version of my painting, "Camargue Dream", in hopes that I'll get a commission or two to paint equine portraiture. I've packed my cooler with plenty of water and a healthy lunch. My art basket is full of supplies including extra large Sennelier pastels, which I picked up at the Mill Valley Art Store going-out-of-business-sale, bristle brushes, paper towels, gloves for smudging and blending chalks, Handiwipes to clean my hands, a large-brimmed sunhat and UV ray-buster sunscreen, and plenty of layers of clothing for conditions that can quickly change from egg-beater hot to "Old Man of the North" chills in the hills of San Rafael. Music will be provided by my friend Adrian Quince, so I'll leave my earphones at home. I'll have my 5 megapixel camera ready to capture the happy moments through the day. More tomorrow.

Friday, June 11, 2010

New Blog Design

I'm going "minimalist" style on my Blog. I hope it's even easier to read than the older version, which had a black background on PC's and a purple one on Macs. I also like the white "gallery" look for "hanging" my art. I'd love to know what you think?


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Italian Street Painting Festival, June 12 and 13

"Camargue Dream", portrait-style, soon to be reproduced on asphalt with pastels, 4' x 6'

Oh, Happy Day!

Suzanne Joyal, the Director of the Artists in Schools, in San Rafael, called to ask me to participate this year in the Youth in Arts Italian Street Painting Festival in San Rafael. I'll be painting a picture on the street of camargue ponies, with chalk pastels, under a wide brimmed sunhat and plenty of sunscreen. Stay tuned for the videos and photos my husband Georg will take to mark the occassion. See you there, June 12 and 13 from 11: Am to 5:00 PM.


Wednesday, June 9, 2010

New Studio Space at Artworks Downtown in San Rafael

Well, I took the plunge and rented space where I can paint with oil. I started painting last semester with Chester Arnold, who's artworks are on view at the Catharine Clark Gallery through September. Each week, Anne, Carol, Christiane, Esther and Elise will be meeting to paint and share our creative juices. Our paintings will be on view during Art Walk. Hopefully, I'll have an opportunity to sell my paintings and note cards.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Personal Creativity Workshop at O'Hanlon Center for the Arts

It's Saturday, and another opportunity to join Cayan Robertson and all the girls for her Personal Creativity Workshop at O'Hanlon Center. Come and join us and see what Cayan has up her sleeve today.


Painting on Silk

Learn how to paint on silk in my introductory silk painting class, using basic watercolor techniques. Sunday, August 22 from 12-3 PM. All materials provided. No experience necessary. Limited class size . $32 for members of O'Hanlon Center for the Arts; $40 for non-members. $8 materials fee. To register, please contact


Friday, June 4, 2010

Tiburon Music Festival

The Tiburon Music Festival is in full swing this year at St. Hillary's Church, in a breathtaking setting overlooking the Bay in Tiburon. We have a great line up of Bay area musicians dressed in full costume with magnificent hand-painted sets singing opera June 19-26. I'll be singing in two of the operas, "The Seasonings" by P.D.Q. Bach, and in a quintet in "The Prohibition Songs". I hope you can come. For Ticket Information, go to


Thursday, June 3, 2010

One Year Anniversary Blogging

My Little Mermaid

Say, "Hello" to Shannon

Glass Art By Shannon Seek

Well Folks,

I'm getting a lot of comments through my email about the picture I took of the sky yesterday. I have to tell you that I didn't "take" the picture. I actually just pointed the camera over my shoulder in the direction of Mt. Tam, and clicked the shutter button. Look at the composition of the image. Just a little off-center. Catch the little hexagon shape in the lower right corner? Probably due to refraction of the sun from the magnificent skies we've had in this fantastic watery El Nino year. At any rate, it's a great expression of the Wabi-Sabi I learned about on Tuesday night. The best of that moment though was when I LOOKED at the picture. What an EXPERIENCE that was.

I guess you are thinking by NOW that it couldn't possibly get any better than this. Right? Well, it just got BETTER. As you know, I made a comittment this summer to build a 20 foot long tentacled octopus out of bubblewrap for the opera. NOW, the perfect stage/movie set for HER creation has manifested through Spirit. In the time of St. John, where the St. John'swort, will be blooming soon and ushering in the longest day of the year, my new friend Shannon Seek has offered her empty/FULL house to build the octopus and film a movie. To work through her troubles, she has covered the walls and floors with graffiti - images, words, spirals, symbols of love and joy - and painted the windows with gorgeous glass art while dancing her story. Imagine the octopus's tentacles feeding through the portal of the wall, of your soul! Filling the space, traveling through the rooms...


Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Blue Skies Smilin' At Me, Nothing But Blue Skies Do I See - Announcing a One-Girl Art Show in the Gallery at O'Hanlon Center for the Arts in December

Hi Folks,

I'm excited to announce that I will be showing my artwork in a One-Girl art show, featuring my paintings and sculptures, at O'Hanlon Center for the Arts on December 7, 2010. This will be my last day as a 50 year old woman, and a wonderful opportunity to close another wonderful year with a huge BANG! So, Please mark your calendars. I look forward to seeing all of you there for great art, food and drink, and the best Black Forest Cherry Birthday cake and ice cream. Free parking, too!

New Video Featuring My Art

Artshow at O'Hanlon Center for the Arts

If you missed the Opening last night at O'Hanlon, you can still check out the art, which will be on display through the month of June. I'll be taking pictures of the show and posting them here. So, check back and see what the Wabi-Sabi show is offering viewers this month.

Soon I'll be dropping off my entries for the juried show at the Marin County Fair. Hopefully, they'll be accepted and will be shown in the last week of June and first week of July. This year, I submitted the maximum 6 entries allowed, including "Walkin' on Eggshells", the wearable art on vinyl held together with velcro with a hat and a pair of shoes to complete the ensemble. I have also submitted my artbook, "Return to Oz", with my iPhone and oil paintings.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Blogging for one year!!!

Well folks, I've seen it all - a horse that loves to go for a ride in the car! Check out the new video bar I added to my blog. I am having way too much fun with blogging. If you aren't blogging yet, it's never too late to start. Click on the 2nd video in the video bar and say hello to Patches, the wonder horse. I'm going to paint him and post it on my blog!


Gallery Opening at O'Hanlon Center for the Arts

The new show at O'Hanlon Center for the Arts, called "Wabi-Sabi", opens today. Come to the Artist's Roundtable at 4:00 PM to hear what the artists have to say about their work. My friend Karin Mortensen has three hand carved sculptures in the show. The official Opening is from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Afterwards, join Elaine James for her Trading Cards workshop.