Monday, November 1, 2010

Art Everyday Month Starts Today

November 1st marks the beginning of Art of Everyday Month! I have never participated before, but was intrigued this year after listening to Leah Piken Kolidas, the founder of Art Everyday Month in an interview with Britt Bravo for the Arts & Healing Podcast. The premise is fairly straightforward - do something creative everyday for the month of November - no matter how small or what the form. It need not be serious Art with a capital A, but rather any creative process you choose. For example, one woman kept it simple and purchased an itty-bitty sketch book and put at least one line on a page per day.

If you like, you can share the resulting art online. Leah offers options to sign up on her web site as a participant, to share your daily art on a Flickr page, or to track your journey on your blog. You can also make it a private commitment and just work away at it knowing that many others out there are engaged in the same practice this month. If you get stuck, Leah has a great advice in the her "Art Everyday Month Survival Kit."

For me, my life is so full right now that finding the space to be creative has been challenging. I am taking inspiration from Art Everyday Month to add some little doses of creative expression into my life. The first step today was to set up some art supplies (pictured here) in my sun room where my daughter and I could work together, playing with colored paper, scissors, glue, and more.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Harvest Celebration

Wendy Johnson (pictured here) and I are getting ready for our Harvest Celebration: Open Garden & Open Studio in Muir Beach, CA on Sunday, October 24 from 11am-4pm.

I was so inspired by a recent visit to Wendy's garden and nursery that it made me want to come right home and get my hands in the earth. She and her good friend Martha de Barros have planned a wonderful array of fun and inspiration for Sunday including garden tours, organic plants ready for the winter garden, lavender crafts, autumn bouquets & other garden goodies, plus harvest wreath making from 2-3pm.

I am getting my studio all polished and ready for visitors.
I really appreciate the chance to share my art work and creative space & process with others in such a direct and immediate way. There will be a nice selection of work from the past ten years including prints from Sanctuary & Evocations, collages from Milagros & Mapping the Body, and bottle sculptures from Bottle Dreams. I am also excited to share that my mother will be at my studio in the afternoon to sign copies of her wonderful book, Rituals for Life's Milestones.

If you are in the Bay Area, I hope you will be able to come by and say hello. Kids are welcome. Bring friends. Please park along Muir Woods Road, and let me know if you need directions.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Muir Beach Open Studio - October 24

I am pleased to announce the date for my next Muir Beach Open Studio which is happening on Sunday, October 24 from 11am-4pm. I had so much fun doing the last one here in the spring, and am so looking forward to doing it again. My neighbor, master gardener Wendy Johnson, will also be opening her garden and home nursery too. If you are in the area, it would be lovely to have you come by and enjoy tea and treats, new plants, and fine art. Kids are welcome. Click on flier here to see more details. Please email me if you need directions.
Happy Autumn!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

One of the great things about taking workshops like the one I took a few weeks ago at the SF Center for the Book is connecting with other creative people in the class - sharing insight, advice, and practical tips about being an artist. At that SFCB workshop, two of the artists in the class recommended as a great place to get business cards made. I went online and ordered a batch of their MiniCards - which are half the size of a regular business card and allow you to choose as many images as you want on an order of 100.

I have always been a lover of small things - it's part of why much for the work in Mapping the Body is small scale. These cards are right up my alley. On the back of each is my name and web site, and on the front I selected a range of work (all cropped a bit to fit the card size). Here in this photo you see along the bottom the following images: A Creative Fire Within, Flight, Sanctuary #5, and Evocation #018, plus in the box Encyclopedia and Embolden Wishes for Positive Change. I love it that when passing out cards people can choose their favorite image.

I also ordered from Moo a nice case to keep the cards in my purse - but beware if you have a two year old in your household. Mine has co-opted the case as her new toy, and buried it in her room somewhere. If you are new to Moo, you can get a 10% discount on your order if purchased by September 30 by using this code: BVJH7H.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Evocations in Tricycle Magazine

I just received a nice package of 10 copies of the new issue of Tricycle: The Buddhist Review, which includes reproductions of my series Evocations. They have paired my images of bottles, maps, and bodies with an article on the 5th precept of Buddhism - the non-use of intoxicants. I am still not exactly sure how my work connects to the writing, but I like the poetic stretch of having it appear in a new context. Also in this issue is a great article on the Gulf Oil Spill by my neighbor & gardener Wendy Johnson, plus an inspiring piece on "Yoga and Creativity" by Anne Cushman. I love what she says here about writing, which is also applicable to photography:
"I used to believe that writing was a way to create a kind of back up life for myself, to pickle reality in paragraphs for future consumption. I thought I could capture life's precious, fluttering moments in a net of words. But through yoga - and growing older - I know that writing can't trump impermanence. What I've mounted on the head of my writer's pin are just cocoons. The actual butterflies have flow away long ago."
Until today, I had never read Tricycle before. They contacted me out of the blue to ask permission to use my work in this issue. What I love is that my art is exposing me to new ideas - it's as if the pieces themselves have a life of their own, traveling out into the world and connecting in new ways with words, ideas, and people - giving me back the gift of new experience.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Modern Book Moves to San Francisco

Last week, I had a nice visit to Modern Book Gallery at their new location at 49 Geary Street in San Francisco. Previously on University Ave in Palo Alto, they are now on the fourth floor of this building known for housing top-notch galleries like Fraenkel, Koch, and Stephen Wirtz. The space looks terrific - bright and elegant. I particularly love this corner dedicated to books published by Modern Book, including titles by Maggie Taylor, Fan Ho, Fred Lyon, Brigitte Carnochan, and an about-to-be-released retrospective publication on Jerry Uelsmann. They will be doing a book signing and closing party for Fred Lyon's series of vintage San Francisco photos on Saturday, September 11, 2-5pm. I am crossing my fingers I can get there.

My work has been represented by Modern Book since 2003, and you could find a large selection of my work there in the back room. I just delivered 10 more pieces from Mapping the Body for them to take to several upcoming art fairs including - Art Toronto, Art Miami, and Art Chicago. I have so valued working with Mark and Bryan and having my work included in their stable of artists as they have grown and evolved over time.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Altered Books

Yesterday I spent a blissful six hours at the San Francisco Center for the Book ripping, sewing, gluing, and cutting -- transforming books into art objects. It was with a little trepidation that I made my first tear into a book called The Long Tomorrow, but after my initial hesitation, I got quite into it - sewing pockets, gluing pages together, and even dismantling books entirely to discover their beautiful string bindings. The instructor, Jody Alexander, offered all kinds of great tools, examples, and techniques for working with found books. As an artist who loves containers (i.e. bottles and frames), I really love the idea of using the old discarded book as another form of containment. In particular, I really enjoyed turning this book (pictured here) on Australia into a "safe book," with all the pages glued together and then an opening cut out where some kind of art or poetic meaning could be placed. So many possibilities....such fun to open up to new techniques like these.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

French Flea Marketing

Early last Saturday morning, I took my inner artist out for a morning drive to Mill Valley for Maison Reve's French Flea Market. I am already a big fan of Maison Reve's aesthetic, and over the years, have found some wonderful gifts here. Once a season they fill their back yard with french-inspired treasures, and open their doors at 8am. My creative mind gets inspired just by being around all these wonderful objects - bottles, weathered wooden boxes, french street signs, cigar cases, hat boxes, bird baths, bicycles and much more. This time, I found a few treasures to take home to the studio including a bottle with a bright red metal lid, another bottle filled with blue sea glass, and an old book on mathematics that I want to take with me to this workshop next weekend and turn it into an art-altered book. All in all a soul-inspiring excursion.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Walking Through the Weeds

The path to my studio is covered with weeds. Walking here today I was filled with the urge to pull them and create beauty and order everywhere around me. But instead of pulling, I stopped, took a deep breath, and acknowledged what the weeds can teach me. They are an invitation to prioritize in the midst of a busy, chaotic life. I can't do everything. I can, however, sharpen my focus on the things that really matter most to me. Rather than be reactive to my environment and all its overgrown disorder, I can instead walk through the weeds to the studio, where I can do the work that truly calls me today. Once inside, I made a handmade birthday card for a dear friend, packed up my art for the next venue of The Seduction of Duchamp exhibit this time at the Museum of Los Gatos, CA, and filled my journal with new ideas for my art. These activities made my soul smile.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Inspiration from the Open Studio

My Open Studio earlier this month was one of my favorite I have ever done. The weather was warm and bright. There was a steady stream of almost 100 terrific folks who inspired me with their interest and appreciation of my work. Above all, having the Open Studio at my home studio in Muir Beach allowed me to integrate my home/family life with my art/professional life. My mother signed her books on the deck. My daughter played and laughed in the yard with the other young children. My neighbor sold her wonderful plants. I felt so wrapped in the spirit of community and family in the midst of being a professional artist. It was a magic day for me.

I hope to keep that magic alive by offering another one of these events in October, partnering again with Wendy Johnson and her Dragon's Bend Nursery. I will keep you posted as soon as I know the date - we are thinking late October when the pumpkins and apples are ready for picking.

While preparing for this last open studio, I could feel my creative energy rise. I wanted to share some of that enthusiasm. So I printed up copies of my 11 favorite quotes on the creative process, folded them, stamped them with a red butterfly, placed them in the white basket picture here, and added a note that invited people to select one as a gift of creative inspiration. It was my way to say to visitors that day "thank you for coming and inspiring me to keep going on this exquisite & challenging path of making art, and may you too be inspired to follow your own calling." Many of these quotes I have shared on this blog before. I share one more now...

You’re a song

A wished for song

Go through the ear to the center

Where sky is, where wind, where silent knowing.

Put seeds and cover them.

Blades will sprout where you do your work.


Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Rituals for Life's Milestones: A Booksigning at my Open Studio

I am getting very excited about my Open Studio on Saturday and am extra delighted to share the news that my mother, Sandra Hobson, will be there all afternoon signing copies of her book, Rituals for Life’s Milestones.

My mother has always known how to turn special events into meaningful rituals. As a child, birthdays in our household were celebrated every year with breakfast in bed, and Valentines Day often began with a trail of paper hearts leading to the dining table. Over the years, my mother has honed this gift for ritual by studying different indigenous cultures around the world and bringing that wisdom back home where she can share it with friends and clients, helping them navigate life’s passages with more grace and meaning.

She has captured 15 of these rituals in her book, Rituals for Life’s Milestones, which has been beautifully designed by my father, Charles Hobson, in a limited edition of 500 copies. Each copy has an actual stone glued to the cover, referencing the use of elements from nature in so many of the rituals described within the book. If you would like to learn more about her book and the healing power of ritual, you could listen to a podcast interview I did with my mom for the Arts & Healing Network by clicking here, or download it into iTunes by clicking here.

If you are in the Bay Area, I hope you will to stop by and enjoy all the great offerings of the day on Saturday, April 17 from 10am-4pm: Wendy Johnson's Garden Sale, my Open Studio, and my mother's book signing. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Open Studio & Garden Sale on April 17

I am so excited to be hosting an Open Studio at my Muir Beach studio on April 17 from 10am-4pm. This is where most of my creative work gets made. It will be a nice chance to share with visitors my creative process as well as a selection of finished work.

Not only will my doors be open on
Saturday, April 17, but just two doors away, my neighbor and extraordinary gardener, Wendy Johnson, will also be having an Open Garden and Plant Sale featuring organic plants, starts, and seeds as well as tea and treats. Wendy (pictured below) is one of the wisest gardeners I know - she used to manage the gardens at the Green Gulch Zen Center and is the author of Gardening at the Dragon's Gate. You could listen to a podcast interview I did with Wendy for the Arts & Healing Network by clicking here, or download it into iTunes by clicking here.

My home studio has always been my inner sanctum - my ultimate place of refuge, renewal, and creativity. For many years, I have felt the need to keep it private and quiet here, but lately, I have been dreaming of doing more events here, and so when Wendy invited me to share my art on the day she is sharing her garden, I leapt at the chance. If you are in the Bay Area, I would be delighted to have you come by and say hello, enjoy fine art, new plants, and tea and treats. Children are most welcome - my daughter Anna will be here most of the day. Click here for
directions, and please email me with any questions.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Living with Art

A good friend and collector sent me this photo from her iPhone last week. I was touched to see how she has arranged on her mantle postcards of my art with the three collages she owns. Pictured here left to right are two small-scale collages from the Milagros series, a postcard of Creative Fire Within, the collage In Memory from Mapping the Body, and postcards of Flight, Evocation #001, and Sanctuary #1.

This photo was such a great reminder that my work exists and lives beyond me. It is easy to forget when I am working away alone in the studio that my art is out there enriching the experiences of others. I am so grateful to Nell for the gift of seeing how my work is installed in such a graceful and beautiful way in her home.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Dialoguing with Nature

“Wait. Observe. If you are very still, not impatient, quietly receptive, at some point Nature will make the first move to initiate the conversation. To the exact degree and moment that you are ready to receive, Nature will ever so slightly disturb the equilibrium between the two of you, will reach toward you.” – Peter London

Today was so warm again that I could actually sit in the hammock and read outside (a rarity in West Marin). Peter London’s Drawing Closer To Nature: Making Art in Dialogue with the Natural World is a book I bought a few years ago, and today it yelled at me from the bookshelf – “Read me!” I am so glad it did. He writes so well about how to attune oneself as an artist to the natural world and to use that connectedness to nature as a way to make deep, authentic and meaningful work.

Inspired by him and by my respite under the pear tree yesterday, today I began a conversation with the apple trees in my garden. I had a vision of the trees themselves acting like easels. I went outside with a big white piece of paper and used the recently trimmed sapling branches to weave the paper onto one of the trees. I had brought crayons and pencils and pens, thinking I would draw. But something magical happened as soon as I attached the paper. The wind blew and the tree's own shadow danced across the paper – like a photogram. I went running back to the studio for my camera and shot 80 pictures of paper dancing in the wind – one of them here. I have no idea where this is taking me, but it feels fresh and exciting. I look forward to where this conversation with the apple trees will take me next.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The Art of Sitting Still

This week has been graced by gorgeous weather. Today, the warm air called me outside where I took root under this blooming pear tree. I sat still there for an hour and half – journal in hand – occasionally jotting down an insight or an idea. But mostly I just sat, and let the earth hold me while my mind emptied.

I looked around and saw how often my perception of my garden is colored by all the work I see that needs to be done. I am almost always outside with clippers and digging tools in hand – keeping busy, not missing a moment to improve on this place. Today was a like a mini vacation – I relished the beauty of the natural world around me as it is right now, with no need to change it.

So often as an artist I forget the importance of sitting still. My time in the studio feels limited and precious. I tell myself I must be productive and busy to justify claiming this time for myself, time away from my family and other responsibilities. Yet today I was reminded how stillness is in itself an action. With it, comes a deep sense of renewal and connectedness that makes me a better artist and a better person.

Coming back into the studio, I took heart from Mary Oliver’s wise words tacked to my bulletin board…
“Let me keep my mind on what matters,
which is my work,
which is mostly standing still and learning to be

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


I find myself at a place of new beginnings in my art. Ever since my daughter was born in May 2008, much of my creative energy has gone toward parenting. Now, as she is getting bigger and a little more independent, I find myself itchy to dive more deeply into my creative work again – yet I feel like a novice, hungry to make progress and yet uncertain of how to proceed. So this morning I did some journaling about how in the past I transitioned from one series of art to the next. I discovered some commonalities…
1) It seems to take about 2 years for me to fully develop a new series - two years of experimentation, some false starts, some breakthroughs and then refinement.

2) I like to work on two projects at one time, so that when I get stuck working on one, I can move over to the other one.
Bottle Dreams and Milagros were both born together and so were Evocations and Sanctuary.

3) There are false starts, there are one-offs that never become a series, and there are pieces that never go anywhere, but making them was really important in the overall development of new work.

4) Gathering and collecting are a big part of my process. Getting the right bottles, maps or other objects around me in the studio is essential.

5) New technology, tools and materials helped me grow as an artist – whether it was taking classes on alternative photo processes that eventually helped me make
Mapping the Body, or getting a digital camera which led me to make
Evocations and Sanctuary.

6) A deadline has been a key factor in moving the work from experimentation to manifestation. Having a solo show on the calendar usually does the trick for me.

7) I don’t work on my art everyday. I never have. With a child in my life, this is even more true. My creativity lies dormant within me and then explodes with the right combination of prep work, materials in place, concentrated time and a deadline. A lot can come to together very quickly.
Sitting here today, this list becomes a kind of road map for me. I am setting out on what may be a two-year journey. I am looking for two ideas to work on in tandem. I will play and experiment and gather the things my intuition says to collect. I will look for some new tools and materials to inspire me. When I get a little further down the road, I will set up a deadline to accelerate the creation of new work. In the meantime, I am going to do my best to relax and trust and enjoy the process.

Image Above: A Creative Fire Within from the series Milagros

Monday, March 15, 2010

The Artist's Way For Today

“As artists, we must learn to try. We must learn to act affirmatively. We must learn to act as though spring is at hand – because it is. We are the spring that we are waiting for. Wherever creativity is afoot, so is a blossoming. All creative acts are acts of initiative. In order to make art, we must be willing to labor. We must be willing to reach inside and draw forth what we find there. On an inner plane, we are all connected to a larger whole. This is what is meant by inspiration, this connection to something greater than ourselves. But it begins with where we are. It begins with possibility.” – Julia Cameron

This quote is the bit of inspiration for March 15 in Julia Cameron’s new compilation called The Artist’s Way Every Day. I turned to her book this morning to help invoke my creative spirit. I have a week in which I have carved huge chunks of time out for the studio – four days, 7 hours each. How bountiful it feels. Everywhere around me nature is blooming. Fruit trees are flowering and new leaves decorate the branches of deciduous trees. Spring is here. I want to use this time of rebirth to catlyze something new and tangible in my creative work.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Prints Byte Exhibition

I delivered several of my large-scale collages from the Milagros series today to SomArts Cultural Center in San Francisco for an exhibition opening this Friday, February 5. Curated by Hanna Regev and Justin Hoover, the show is called "Prints Byte" and examines the cutting edge of printmaking today.

It was exciting to walk into the expansive space "under installation." I arrived as Justin was hanging Enrique Chagoya's art - prints that had been converted to lush textured tapestries. Several large installation pieces had already gone up including a magnificent waterfall piece constructed of probably 100 small abstract blue prints by Seiko Tachibana. I look forward to seeing the work altogether on Friday night at the reception.

Prints Byte: The Cutting Edge of Printmaking
February 5 - February 27, 2010
Reception: Friday, February 5 from 7-9pm
SomArts Cultural Center
934 Brannan (at 8th), San Francisco, CA
Gallery Hours: Tues-Fri, noon-7 and Sat: noon-5

Image above shows three Milagros pieces each 28 x 10"