Sunday, May 31, 2009

Green Plague

I now understand running bamboo for what it is: the major menace of the 21st century.
There is almost no way to kill it. Or remove it. Or poison it unless you want to permanently decimate the entire yard. If I were to get a backhoe and dig out the dirt six feet down, throw it all in the dump, refill with good top soil, the bamboo would come back. Because it has gone into the neighbor’s yard, and boy, are they grumpy about that fact.
Never, EVER, plant running bamboo, and I don’t recommend the clumping kind either (may be mis-labeled).
The American Bamboo Society advises to simply cut it down. And cut it down, and cut it down again. For years. Til the rhizomes (horizontal roots) are dead.
Meanwhile can I plant the bougainvillea I want in their place? Stay tuned.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Peacock Mural

Finished it today. The mural, where there was once a window, is based on a Stickley design. Tried to make the texture resemble the fireplace in the next room.
Trim painting in this dining room is almost done. It’s a rich chocolate brown, painted where there was paint, stained on raw wood.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Need I Say More?

Seriously, it's getting serious. I need to sell some paintings or find a pot of gold in the backyard instead of rocks. So if you've been waiting to own your own Kloe, now's the time...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Grocery List

Jennifer Rockage at the Garage Gallery.
When I heard about “found” grocery lists silkscreened, I thought it might be interesting conceptually, but probably not as visually compelling. Wrong. These are funny, graphic, and beautiful: transformed by the screen process into Art.
In case you can’t read it:
Bib lettuce
Red tomato
Flank steak
Sweet potatoes
Wheat thins

Monday, May 25, 2009


Out the bathroom window. It existed once and will again! Other small window is false and will be stuccoed over.
Hoping the major work is finished this week. That’s one thing about employing a contractor during a recession—the crew stays on task.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


It’s finals time, so I’m looking at a lot of projects. Sometimes a student with mediocre skills and a less that stellar concept can impress us with obsessive workmanship. Why are we so fascinated by repetitive behavior? By minute detail? Do we so empathize with the artist who agonizes over a piece, evidencing sweat and patience?
Personally I find repetitive actions in art making extremely relaxing. Today I painted tiny little plaids for several hours, and lessened the stress headache that’s been building for days.
Beaded sculptures by LA artist Mary Bonic (not a student!)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Today I could finally envision how the house will look done, and I’m VERY happy. We cleaned up enough to see through the junk and debris (dump runs), and this little bungalow is beautiful—it was just waiting to be simplified/unified.
I planted the first tree, a Meyer lemon, and a few drought tolerant shrubs. The front will be bougainvillea and bamboo. No lawn anywhere. Two large trees unfortunately have to go: one is a ficus, the other, possibly a bottle tree, is leaning dangerously.
Here’s the front entry before any work was done. The black and white checkerboard will be sprayed off. By next week most of the major work will be finished!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Bathroom = Cave

First photo shows the tub on a platform with black and white tile (not original, and not my favorite). We debated on whether to take it out. And then we started to find leaks in the walls, so took out the platform too.
A good thing, as the first filled bath probably would have resulted in the tub falling through the floor into the crawlspace.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Built In

The house is a constant swirl of dust as walls are scraped, non-original tile is ripped up, wiring is rewired, and heating system installed. Every wall in the bathroom had leaks in it, and the platform the tub was resting on was about to collapse.
This is the only remaining built-in in this bungalow. It was full of original glass fixtures, wonderful stuff.
The house has a tragedy in its history, though. Now I understand more about its closed-off state. Seems a teen died, the only child of the owner. Very sad.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Who Needs Enemies?

Here are some comments I’ve gotten from well-meaning (and successful) artist friends lately:
1. “You’re a better painter than I am,” said one person. Which, while complimentary and possibly true, doesn’t really compute, because painting “skill” is so undervalued as to be practically meaningless. We live in a town where the “cool”/conceptual sits on the Art throne.
2. “Kloe, you’re not a painter. You’re a performer.” Again true, but I’m also a maker of things. Like to use my hands and eyes, love to paint. So this was disheartening, that maybe my better work is the ephemeral (read: non-saleable).
3. “You need to change your paintings to appeal to the more intellectual crowd. You’re drawing the wrong audience…” See comment #1, one horse town.
4. “I wish I’d thought of that,” said while viewing a recent local exhibition. Is that the right reaction to have? Is envy going to kill us artists?

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Ohhh Sweet Turkey

Here’s an email I got from a friend and former student.
Kloe, I just wanted to write and say thank you for having us start blogs in Eskisehir. I have been keeping mine up and it has led to a column in the local English newspaper. It just started but it is helping me find my own place while living abroad which feels good. Thanks and remember you are a good teacher!

Thanks, E!
Please check out her blog here, it’s wonderful, romantic, and funny.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Here’s the fireplace, a big project. It’s apparently sort of valuable, a Batchelder or similar. The decorative pieces have peacocks on them, but I can’t tell how they were cleaned or if they’ve been painted. Anyway, there’s thick coat of white enamel coating most of the tiles.
I am a happy scraper.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Caviar and Sconces

For our MDay lunch, my kids and I shopped at the local gourmet grocery, buying whatever we wanted: beef and salmon jerky, mango salsa, fava beans in olive oil, Humboldt Fog cheese, proscuitto and melon, Indian salmon, truffle pate, and multiple desserts. But the biggest splurge was a jar of caviar. My foodie thought he might like it, and now I’ve created a monster…
After a long lunch outside I worked on these crazy brass sconces. Everyone said, correctly, they were too much trouble to clean up. But when I went to the antiques shop to find replacements (as you can’t just plug up a live hole in the wall), I found they are worth several hundred dollars a pair! One of my sconces (not pictured) is fully cleaned, and it looks like plastic, so I’m going to leave the others shabby chic-ish. That’s what you get when you’re working on a house with a history, and it’s fun!
Hope you had a good Mama's Day too.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

First Days

Our first projects included the following:
• Stripping layers of wallpaper.
• Priming all the black molding (it will be brown, I’m not stripping all that. I know, it’s sacrilege but there are limits).
• Thinning out the bamboo in the front.
• Realizing there is no heating system and figuring out where to put one (yes, we do need heat in SoCal). Crazy, a house with no central heat!
Those windows are not original. For now I’m planning to paint a Stickley-inspired mural up in that lunette.
Kloe is very, very tired!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Summer Projects

I’m not teaching much this summer, so to fill my time I’ve taken on a few little projects. OK, maybe not so little.
Here’s one: renovation of a 1920s Spanish style craftsman bungalow!
I’ll take photos as I go along with this baby. I’ve never been in charge of a building before, so will share with you my successes and failures. Anyway, as you can see, the yard is a bit overgrown…
Can we say, clumping bamboo?

Monday, May 04, 2009

New Road

This bike/skate/jog path was finally constructed after years of fighting between environmentalists (area is a wildlife sanctuary), train enthusiasts, developers and politicians. The final solution involved placing large metal bridges over the top of the abandoned railroad tracks. The bridges are a lovely brick red, making the whole path one of the most spectacular in all of SoCal now.
All I know is it’s an amazing skate.
My life is also possibly on a new trajectory. Some things must be given up it seems. Hopefully I’ll still be happy when the dust settles.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

May Day

Colors of SoCal now.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Conflict and Peace?

So I got what I wanted, I hope. I hope what I wanted was not too risky. I hope the risk will pay off.
Here’s some lovely work by Iva Hladis. She sews delicate pressed leaves and flowers onto used circuit boards. The effect is golden like a Japanese screen.