Monday, June 20, 2022

Diversions - It's a Pinkachan/Lana Del Rey Kind of Day

I haven't written since December 2021. Sorry, to readers (if there are any) and to myself for spreading myself so thin that I have lost friends and gained weight. I'm having a wee struggle but I'll add cute pics so you can feel as funny and confused and joyful and heartbroken, as I do. 😬🛸

I have ZERO reason to feel this way; except that in the words of Lana Del Rey we are Born to Die and this FACT makes life even more fleeting than we already know it is. I want every second to count but the urgency is so crystal clear that I am impatient and want to get it all, do it all, succeed at it all RIGHT NOW, but know the scientific limitations of this -so frustrating.

I have an amazing Insta-friend @Pinkachan (Celena) who somehow I fell in love with. Initially it was her feed (we share a similar taste in fashion, history, art and music) and then a few other things like her untenable positivity and style. But it is also her personal story of an instant, life changing experience that would challenge even the toughest minds. But she is always high spirited as she looks forward. Of course she has bad days but she holds herself high and lives with such presence and joy and gratitude that on days that I feel the special sadness that I feel today-Summertime Sadness, in this case- I break with guilt. I guess it's a Lana Del Rey/Pinkachan kinda day?

My whole life I've fought for something, but it always ended up being the wrong thing, or the wrong way or the wrong side, the wrong people, the wrong food, the list of wrongness - oy vey. Now that I am older, I am trying to fight for the right thing; sadly, I don't even know what the thing is nor why I still continue to have to fight. My world, with this hindsight perspective has shrunken to an exceedingly diminutive and sometimes questionable marble. (Note to self: Ask Philip Altstatt if he would do me the honor of a comissioned painting of marbles for a friend.)

I spoke with a friend recently and while at one time we were close, I find that when we speak about "things," a euphemism for uncomfortable trendy politics, I feel exactly the opposite-not close to her. I rumenated about this and instead of feeling refreshed in my connection with my friend, I felt judged, put down and misunderstood. I felt like I had to bargain with her; sell something to her about my perception and experience-convince her of my viability as a thinking woman; it was clear that she considered her ideals better and smarter than mine. After this converstation, I woke up at 4:58 AM and instantly began digging into myself-the usual internal dialogue- "I'm not nice enough, I am not good enough, I don't deserve the sweetness of life..." It flung me into a dark little hole. This interaction, while small, was epiphanic. This questioning and this type of hurt from a person who you once felt was a 'ride or die,' actually served to increase my wisdom. Meditating brought me to a thoughtfulness in which then I could self-asses and therefore question as many angles of that tiny sphere as possible (of course a sphere has no angles).

It was an unnecessarily heady morning as these things swam in the sea of my mind. The only thing they were serving to do was push me under the water. When a talk with a friend creates these kinds of feelings within you, what do you do? This talk with my friend felt like an ending; this ending threw me into grief. To try to heal from this loss and to help sew up the mental badmouthing about myself in my mind, I called my sister-a divinely magical little creature.

My sister has a tendency to see a puzzle very clearly and then she can sometimes tell you how to put the puzzle together. This is one such instance. Not only did I feel the loss of this friendship, but I also still feel the loss of "home." With all the death, grief is sure to follow and anyone is hard pressed to go it alone. Marissa (my sister) reminded me that everything has a time and then read me a passage from Anne Frank - Diary of a Young Girl. Anne Frank was being hunted and yet, her faith remained: "Think of all the beauty still left around you and be happy."

It pulled me instantaneously out of the pit I had cast myself into. I could feel my sprits lift and my self talk turn around. I went from saying, "I am worthless," to "I am priceless." With that one phrase by a 13 year old little girl, I was able to see more clearly. When you can feel that a relationship can no longer move forward in the direction you are going, it's ok to let the relationship go. Change is inevitable.

When you realize you are priceless on this planet as part of The One, you change how you see yourself and therefore how others see you as well. Perhaps my friend sees me differently because I have gained a self assurance I did not have when we had begun our friendship? How have you changed with your friends? Have you lost friendships? Or gained them? Why and how did these changes happen? And, when you got to the other side of grief, did you feel the way I feel now-a little more gracious, a little more thankful, a little more resilient?

I'll leave you now with these cool pics, a couple of songs and some wisdom from an Instafriend with an incredible story of survival and a famous little girl who poured her heart out into a diary while hiding in a 300 square foot attic. Remember these small wisdoms - grief occurs in all kinds of ways and in all kinds of situations, loss is a reality of life so try not to abuse yourself; you are the one you are born with and die with. I have tried so hard to maintain relationships but the reality is that some just can't be saved. In the words of the great Jedi Master Yoda "The fear of loss is a path to the dark side. Death is a natural part of life. Rejoice for those around you who transform into The Force. Mourn them do not." You are exactly where you are supposed to be. 

Monday, November 29, 2021

Artist Love - Shiori Matsumoto

 I found Shiori Matsumoto when I was looking for "Zig Zag Girl" images. You know the image. The lady who is the magicians assistant (of course the assistant and never the magician [eye roll]) gets in a box and then the box is separated into a zig zag pattern. The illusion insists that the female assistant has been turned into three separate pieces. In any case, I was looking for this image because it holds a special symbolism for me. 

And what I found in my search was this morsel of goodness. First of all, the color theory is fantastic. But the imagery is tops. The dwarf baby child monster has such a cute tiny butt. Look at that little tushy! The round room, the tiny Fez, the realism of the girl. I love the whole thing.

Look at the creeper here behind the curtain. The imagery is great in an of itself. The bear engaging with the audience. The girl in the mirror. The bird with the lollipop. It's all so crazy!
And this pretty! The title is "Door of Boundary." You can learn more about Shiori and see more of her work here.

Shiori's pop-surreal expressions are reminiscent of Mark Ryden who I recently learned was the cover artist for the late great King of Pop Michael Jackson's "Dangerous" album. Mr. Ryden has a great instagram post about the 5 days that were required to come up with the concept. You can see it here. Juxtapoz Magazine covers more on this piece here.

In a future post I will cover more of Mark Ryden's art. When I was in art school (a long time ago) he was whispered about. 

I can't wait to cover more art. Stay tuned! 

XO, Gwenny

Monday, February 17, 2020

Crazy Doll Lady

As many of you know I have been in love with dolls for a better part of my life. At 10 years old, I fell in love with a French Corolle Doll Catherine Refabert in 1981 and saved and saved and saved all the money from my allowance and babysitting so I could possess this uncanny creature. When I look at her now, (yes, I still have her), I am not sure what captivated me so much; I love her still nevertheless.

This is Sad Sunny. She is the first Takara Tomy Blythe that I customized on a Scotty Mum base. She wears a dress set by Chu Things and a Boater Hat by El Gato. I really love her; if you look closely, you can see a tear on her cheek.

As I grew, my love for dolls simmered beneath my "I must be cool" exterior and so I sort of forgot about them. I did not indulge in that obsession until I saw "her" on Pinterest. I wish she was in my collection. I simply squirreled away this enchanting little "person" for a rainy day. Never did I think this would be the rabbit hole it has become and now I wonder what in the world I did without dolls.

You'll want to see more of Floriana's work at Almond Doll.

Now, I am entirely shameless and couldn't give a fig about what anyone thinks about this obsession of mine becasue I really can't think of anything that "sparks joy" more than my hobby for these uncanny little creatures. Call me a crazy doll lady if you want, but everytime I capture a photo just right or make a new doll hobby friend or add a treasure to the collection or recieve dolly mail, it is a little gratitude ritual for me. And one of the greatest things about this love of mine is that I am not alone out there! I have doll friends all over the world and two of my best are right here in Elk Grove and Napa! Lucky me!

My sweet "Marion" customized by Kata at Unnie Dolls. She IS part of my collection and she is one of the sweetest little creatures I have ever seen.
But it isn't just the dolls that are a draw for me. It's everything! The fashions for instance are AWESOME!! I almost love the fashion more than the dollies themselves. (Almost). And some of the fashion artists in our community have so much talent it's unreal!

Above are from Moshi Moshi Studio by my truly beautiful friend Hilary. She creates these little confections in a little craft cottage far away in Cornwall,  England with the help of her little crew of Moshling's. I have a few of her creations (see above on Marion) but you can never have too many! If you want one of her designs you'll have to be quick and hope that paypal is up to date and that your cache is cleared and that your first born is ready to be traded. I'm very thankful that she is a personal friend. I love her and she has helped me on my own journey of sewing doll clothes.

Below are all fashions by Maria at Chu Things. She is also one of my favorites. It's impossible to pick just one favorite because each doll has her own personality and therefore style.

I customize dolls (see Sunny up there), but it takes me a very long time. And while I am not the best doll artist out there, I love the feeling of accomplishment I get after finishing a doll. I don't command the prices of Erin Deir or Casey of Cupcake Curio but I still feel like a part of an artists community. Below are a few of mine.

This is "Julia." I just completed her last week. She has gone to a new home.

This is Valentina. She is on an Icy Doll base. The Icy Doll is a sister mold to Blythe. Learn more from Casey at Bebe Blythe. She is wearing a Pomme Pomme under skirt and stockings and a felt hat made by me.
And last but not least is Genevievre better known as Gigi my little "Dear One."  She is wearing a skirt by Moshi Moshi and shirt and ears by Pomme Pomme.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Happy Halloween 2017 - Poppy Barach and Julie Audet, Photographers

I found two great photographers who have flawlessly captured this mysterious time of year.

Poppy Barach's images are haunting and rich. You can follow her on Instagram, here.

And, Julie Audet. Her images are filled with wisdom and magic. And she can be found on Instagram, here.

Poppy Barach

Julie Audet

Poppy Barach

Julie Audet

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

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Monday, December 29, 2014


I am guilty of having a very busy Christmas season and I am so sorry for not posting regularly. Now that we are on the downswing, I 'll be plenty more consistent with my posts.

On that note, I found, in my email inbox this morning, a question from a friend posed like so, "Do you know?" Below is the question:

I first read it with a chuckle. Who would think to query this? And then I read it again with curiosity. And said, "Yeah! Why and how?" In my search for answers, I found that squirrels were not only a subject of note in British 18th Century paintings but also in American 18th Century paintings and French 16th Century paintings and in fact throughout several centuries and countries.

It seems the squirrel was a popular pet. And in fact, their keepers loved them so much that this pet consistently evoked poetry:

From The Virginia Gazette, December 15, 1768
A Young Lady's Complaint on the Death of her Squirrel.

A thing so pretty as my PHIL,
A thing so sprightly and so queer,
The pet I lov'd so very dear,
To rob me of the pretty elf,

For him I've lost each night's repose,
Nothing enjoying but my woes.
Oh could my squirrel but survive,

But he is gone ! ne'er to return!
And useless 'tie to sigh and mourn.
I'll therefore seek another pet ,

Amongst the fops or empty beaus,
Because he'd surely make me fret,
And prove a very worthless pet.

And the paintings:

1760 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Boy (Henry Pelham) with a Squirrel.

1765 John Singleton Copley (American artist, 1738-1815). Frances Deering Wentworth (Mrs. Theodore Atkinson, Jr.)

1790 Denison Limner Probably Joseph Steward (American artist, 1753-1822). Miss Denison of Stonington, Connecticut possibly Matilda.

1526 Hans Holbein the Younger (1498–1543) Lady with a Squirrel on a chain.
1580's Portrait of a Lady, possibly the Poet Maddalena Salvetti (1557-1610), in a Green Dress and a pet Black Squirrel with a bell collar.

1600's Frederic Kerseboom (1632-1690) Lady with a Red Squirrel on a Chain and a Spaniel

1700's Joseph Highmore (English artist, 1692-1780) A Portrait of a Boy with a Pet Squirrel.

1730 Unknown French artist, Portrait of an Unknown French Lady Holding Flowers and a Red Squirrel with a bell collar.
I attained these renderings of these portraits from 18C American Women. For more explanations and interesting meanderings, please go visit Barbara. She has several other blogs as well, all worth a visit, including her biggest collection, "It's About Time."

Did I, however, get the answers to the how and why? No. I did not. If anyone knows, please enlighten me!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Adrien Broom - Surprise!

I have seen a few things. Not tons of stuff, mind you - a few things - more than the average Joe...well, Josephine in my case, I suppose.

I've been to a few other countries. I speak (albeit marginally) another language, I can cook world cuisine and I married a Mediterranean man. At this point, I feel like I've been surprised, titillated, hypnotized, mesmerized, wowed, and awed as much as I can be. It's disconcerting to walk into middle age thinking this.

I went to art school knowing full well that I need - no, thirst for - stimulation; that's just me. As, I've grown older, I find that it is harder for me to feel viscerally stimulated. And then there was today...

Today, I searched #somethingnew. And what came up was a world of color by Adrien Broom. She is a Connecticut artist whose imagination matches that of Erin Morgenstern in The Night Circus. Her creativity and vision is captivating at the least.

She has started "The Color Project" which I found on My Modern Metropolis. Her art is nothing short of genius. As I look at my Art History background, I remember studying artistic movements. We are in a new movement currently but which lacks a name. In a world where Dystopic novels are translated to the screen and where electronics have taken the place of relationships, it is comforting to see that imagination and expressiveness still win out. Enjoy this part of her series but please follow the links above so you can see more of Adrien's fascinating virtuosity.

You also know how much I love Vimeo. So here is a film that chronicles a behind the scenes look at this artist and her art.

Behind the Scenes of Orange from Adrien Broom on Vimeo.