Monday, December 27, 2010

Welcome Another New Year!

Cheers to a New Year, and another chance to get it right....~Oprah Winfrey

And another favorite quote:
People are so worried about what they eat between Christmas and the New Year, but they really should be worried about what they eat between New Years and Christmas......~unknown

A new year nudges me into considering all the blessings that make me feel grateful. Fortunately, through the kindness, concern and good will from my friends, the villagers in Spanish Village, I have found a good home where having food and love is not a worry for me...and I am most thankful.

Happy New Year to All of You and Yours!

Bella the dog in Spanish Village

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Warm Wishes for this Holiday Season

A little smile,
a word of cheer,
a bit of love from someone near,
a little gift from one held dear,
Best wishes for the coming year!

Bella wishes each and everyone of you warmth, love, health and happiness for this Holiday Season. May all that is good smile upon you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

December Nights, aka: Christmas on the Prado

Peace on earth will come to stay, when we live Christmas every day....Steiner-Rice

The sun was setting and a golden glow descended on the village on this cold December Night's celebration. Many people began meandering through the village. As the dark fell upon us, the twinkling white lights generously strung throughout the village, gaily wrapped gift boxes whimsically hung from the trees, vendor's booths set up and down the main patio, and Santa's decorated gazebo added to the festivity's ambiance.

I got up from my slumber, did my Bella shake from head to tail...ahh, every hair is in place now, and proceeded to enjoy the night. One of my favorite things to do on such occasions is to see what I can find off the floor to eat...yummm, popcorn, bits of candy, hot dogs, tamales, and other foods....such delectable treats! How I love the Maddy's kettle popcorn! And, folks would stop and pet me...''oh how cute!'' ''she's darling'' and my favorite, ''honey, do we have anything to give to her to eat?''.....I can never get enough of the compliments, pets, and the treats!

And, I met 3 of my cousins from my maternal grandmother's cousin's (2nd removed) during the day....Tyler(boo-boo), Sammy and Edie(little girl)....they pose so well in front of the camera....meeting and welcoming other dogs in our village is a joy for me. December Nights in Spanish Village has something for everyone.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Christmas is in the Air!

Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas......Dale Evans

Thanksgiving is passed and Christmas is in the air. There is much commotion at the village as boxes are wrapped and happy ribbons adorn the packages...I am laying tightly in a ball trying to keep warm, enjoying the festivities of the villagers who are busily working on the decorations. There must be hundreds of wrapped boxes ready to be hung from the trees and piles of pine tree garland waiting to be adorned on Santa's gazebo. Steve is busily giving directions on displaying the hundreds of boxes. There are villagers tying bows, climbing ladders, and carrying armfuls of gift boxes here and there....there is much commotion on this cold November day...getting ready for December Nights in Balboa Park.

''Hi Bella'' ''How you doing girl?'' Steve pats my head as he hurrys to install the Christmas lights at the entrance.
Misha asks Steve if I've had anything to eat. ''Are you hungry, girl?'' she asks.
Hungry? Me? I wag my tail, lift my head and nudge Misha's hand and smell the aroma of fried chicken....
''Have some fried chicken, Bella''
...and the day became less cold because of the warm friends I have in the village.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Goodbye Sylvia.....

Sadness has fallen on the village. Our friend, Sylvia Schmahmann has passed away. Our village will feel the emptied spot that Sylvia once filled.
Our spirited, independent, kind, thoughtful, friend has passed on.
We had a memorial service for her this afternoon. Many villagers and friends were there to show their respect, and profound loss. Some cried, some laughed, some laughed and cried, as stories were remembered of Sylvia.
A buffet was offered to the guest....but I didn't eat...I was saddened to the pit of my friend Sylvia is gone.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The Potter's Guild Sale & Pepperoni

Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras

It is a sunny day.
The whole main patio is full of tables covered with ceramics of all kinds, interesting sculptures, and utilitarian clay works. Twice a year, the Potter's Guild puts on a big weekend sale, showing off their many interpretations of clay.

I see Elizabeth and Shirley busily loading their tables with their wares. There are casserole dishes, bowls, cups, sushi dishes, vases and more. Doug is loading his tables with many colorful sculptures. People are meandering around the tables, picking up interesting pieces to appreciate and examine. The shapes and the glazes are intriguing.... The line to pay for the pieces is beginning to snake around the corner...customers are patient to purchase their treasures. I decide to get up, do my Bella shake, ahhh, that feels good, and trot on down to the Potter's Guild...I can smell the pizza's aroma coming from the guild....I enjoy the admiring looks I get from all the visitors, but really enjoy nothing more than a slice of pepperoni pizza! Woof!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Chinese Brush Strokes and Lucy

Watercolor on Silk, Watercolor on Rice Paper

''The greatness of a Nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated''......Mahatma Gandhi

Life in the Village has been good to me. Besides the interesting art, the villagers are kind and caring to me, and the grub is pretty good.

Ramon, the Village minstrel, was strumming 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' with his guitar. The sun was warm and the overall pace of the Village was contentment.

Looking down the patio, I could see the patio artists working on their artwork, occasionally looking up, hoping for an interested customer. I could see Lucy talking to Don. ''There's Bella! Have you been a good dog?'' asked Lucy. I got up, trotted over to her and let her pat my head. ''How ya been Bella?'' said Don. He gave me a soft pat, too.

I followed Lucy into Studio 4. Her studio is spacious, very tidy, with all the walls adorned with her beautiful watercolors. Lucy is a Chinese brush painting artist...and Chinese, too. Much of her work reflects her love for nature and demonstrates her exquisite mastery of the brush. She's blended her Chinese background and the influence of Western painting techniques to develop an innovative style of 3-dimensional watercolor on silk. If you come, you will see works of cranes, dogs, Chinese dancing women, flowers and more all in Chinese brush strokes.

Lucy's work has been selected by the National Audobon Society, National Geographic Society, Smithsonian, and UNICEF for holiday cards.

''Bella, do you want some left over chow mein?''

I couldn't believe my luck! I love chow mein! I wagged my tail, gave Lucy my best happy smile, lifted my head and gave a little bark. It's my good fortune to have such good friends!

Lucy teaches Chinese brush stroke painting on weekends. Her website is call 619-557-0517.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


11:00am to 3:00pm

Doggys Come and Dress Up for the Doggy Costume Contest! Starts at 1 PM! First Prize is $25 Gift Certificate to Spanish Village!! Dogulas, Barkensteins, the Woofman & more are all welcome!


For the Kids, come make TRICK OR TREAT BAGS, decorate them! Then go TRICK OR TREATING at the village studios!!!! No tricks, just yummy treats!

ENJOY STEAM POWERED GIRAFFE, a musical pantomine group....sit or stand a spell and enjoy the entertainment!

STROLL by our Art Booth & Food Booths! Interesting Art & Tasty Foods!

We are open 11-4 PM...some studios open earlier or later....
Come and enjoy our beautiful, charming, colorful, friendly grounds!

BELLA is looking forward to seeing all of you!

Studio 26 Basket Weaving & Oil Pastels

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Alane and Fused Glass

A Dog has one aim in bestow his heart. J.R. Ackerley

All day, the rain has fallen on our village.

Winchester, the squirrels, rabbits, coyotes, the other cats and I have sought refuge from the wetness. For my refuge, I am lying down in studio 24 on the cool brick flooring, occasionally lifting my head to an occasional passing customer, the most physical exertion for the day.

I can hear the birds starting to chirp as the rain has subsided....a celebration for the rain's cessation.

I am watching Alane gluing magnets to the back of her colorful fused glass refrigerator magnets. The odor of the glue is wafting across my nose. ''Have you decide to wake up Bella?'' The thumping of my tail adds to the singing of the birds....I get up, shake my Bella shake, ahhh, from my head to the tip of my tail....and walk over to Alane.

In her studio, you can see fused glass of all kinds...refrigerator magnets, night lights, pendants, earrings, barrettes, purse hangers, cabinet door knobs and more. Alane creates usable art. The small pieces of vibrant, colorful glass, are laid atop each other, then placed in a kiln at a high temperature, melting the glass, creating an unique and colorful piece of fused glass artwork.
For some art pieces, Alane uses the shards of glass left behind by the glass blowers, recycling them into beautiful fused glass jewelry.
She teaches fused glass classes by appointment.

''Are you getting ready for Halloween? Maybe I'll make a pumpkin pendant to hang from your collar....would you like that Bella?'' I wagged my tail to let her know it was a fine idea, but I really had hoped for a piece of that cold pizza sitting on her work table. If I sat down, pretty-like, and stared at the remaining piece, just maybe.....''Bella, where are my manners? Would you like this pizza?'' I stood up, wagged my tail, gave her my big Bella smile, and nudged her hand.....ummm, pepperoni pizza with anchovies!....Oh, and remember, Oct. 30th 1PM is our Halloween Doggy Costume Contest! Come and join us! Woof!

Monday, October 4, 2010

A Song In Her Heart

''If there are no dogs in Heaven then, when I die, I want to go where they went.'' Will Rogers.

Dogs are generous creatures. They shower you with affection without anything in return. But, when your affection is returned, to me, it is heaven.

The afternoon sun was hot, and moving over to the westerly sky. Few people were meandering in the Village because of the heat. Looking down the main patio, I could see the patio artist fanning themselves, sucking on iced coffees, working on their crafts, glancing up for a potential customer.

I was lying down under the Jacaranda tree, panting. I was thirsty and my tummy was beginning to growl. It was time to get up and find some grub. Overall, the Village was quiet, except for a sound of a lilt not too far away. Who is that? Who is that singing? I lifted up my ears, perking them to distinguish from where the song was coming. It was Randi singing the 'Rubber Doggy (Duckie) Song' in the air I could hear 'rubber doggy, joy of joy, I'd like a pond of you', I figure it was one of those whimsical days for Randi....sounds like fun. I got up and trotted over to her studio.

''Come on in Bella!' ''I've got some hot dog for you.''
(yummy, I love The Grill's super dogs!)
''Did you like my singing?''
(I wagged my tail, and gave her a big lick on the cheek)

2D Mixed Media

Contented, and lying in Studio 31, on the coolness of her concrete flooring, I watched Randi paint with her pallet knife, concentrating as she delegated the oils onto the canvas, stroke by stroke, creating colors breathing from her canvas, depicting a lotus floating in the Reflection Pond. She is using oil with oil pastels. The textures pull your eyes into consideration and appreciation of her artwork...followed by a comment of awe. A Painting of the architecture of Balboa Park is hung on the wall...the colors shout out with vibrant purples and lime greens. It is a wonderful way to conceive a quiet, staunch, historical building...but, that's Randi, always perceiving outside the box.

It was time to go look for water....Randi's studio doesn't have running water.
Without breaking Randi's concentration on her painting, I got up and went to Lai's studio for a refreshing drink of water underneath the carob tree.

As I trotted to the drinking bowl, I considered what I would be for this Halloween's festivities....I've heard there's going to be a Halloween costume contest for dogs! What fun! I wonder if Winchester would take afront if I dressed up as a cat.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

bit by bit makes ed a fantastic mosaic

The morning was sunny and warm. Winchester was stalking the squirrels, who were clacking away with irritation....Winchester must be hungry as I am.

''Hello Girl'' was Ed carrying in his artwork to studio 26. I followed along in his steps, wagging my tail, tongue hanging out, and every fur on my body in its perfect place...appearances in an artist village mean a lot. As I entered the doorway of his studio, I realized Ed was going to set up outside to do his artwork.

Out went the table, out went his unfinished mosaic, and out went his glue and box of tiny bits of colored paper. Ed is not only a fine watercolorist, he is a mosaic artist. Beautiful pictures of koi, flowers, landscapes, and even an incredible portrait of a young woman make up part of his mosaic collection of work.
Ed sits pensively and glues (with Elmer's glue!) bits of squared off paper (color samples from Home Depot) positioned by a needle onto his board. As each square is meticulously placed, one by one, hundreds upon hundreds, the squares take on a Ed is finishing up his Koi's inspired by the fish in the Japanese Tea Garden. I felt as if I was being ignored, since Ed was enthralled in placing his bits of paper onto the mosaic....I went up to him, smiling, and began to wag my tail (maybe a bit too diligently, are those tiny squares of paper flying by?)....I could smell the ham & cheese....

'Oh, I forgot about you, girl'' I nudged his hand and gave him my best GIVE ME FOOD look and stared at his lunch bag. 'Are you hungry Bella?' .... I put my paw on his arm....Out came the sandwich, and Ed gave me half! 'That's my good girl'.....and he's right, I am a good girl. Woof!

Monday, August 30, 2010

Birds of a Feather...get painted by Rosa

Spanish Village is indeed a village, studios nestled beside each other, neighbor next to neighbor, continuation of our daily lives shared with smiles and sometimes described, it is an extended family away from home, and sometimes, when you're lucky you get to bring your whole family to the village.....
''Here Bella!'' ''Here Bella!''
Did someone just call me? I scanned the patio searching for who was calling me.
Off towards the entrance of the village I could see 4 people becoming larger and more distinct as they walked towards was Kathi, daughters Rosa and Lily, and son Jose. I trotted down to say hi to my friends. I just love to smell the shoes of this family...running a sheep farm makes shoes very very interesting for me.
''Come on in Bella''.
I entered Studio 8 with eagerness. Kathi was putting away the day's lunch (tuna salad, sniff sniff, cheese wedge, and what is that smell? Oh, yes, roast beef!) Guess I know where I'll spend the day....Jose grabbed his computer to go discuss the social media program with Alane. Lily took off with her mandolin slung across her back to Sylvia's creative writing class, and Kathi went to Frank's to discuss the cleaning of Gallery 21 and set up her yarn display in front of the studio.

So, that left me with Rosa who was busily dusting her framed painted feathers. She raises rare breeds of chickens and parrots on the family sheep farm. When the feathers molt, she uses the feathers as canvas for her miniature acrylic paintings. Each one is carefully and delicately painted. An iris is adorned on a small white cockatoo feather, mushrooms on a silver laced wyandotte feather, lovebirds on black australorp feathers with macaw accent feathers, and so much more.... all paintings are matted, some with mulberry paper. Key chains and note cards embellished by delicate, little, feathers create a very different medium, all unique, all interesting, all from Rosa's collection of rare breed birds.
Rosa smiled, went to her bag and pulled out a tennis ball. ''Want to play ball?''
''BALL??!!##!!'' Why don't mind if I do....I ran up to the ball, sniffed it, and gave a big bark!

A family that plays together, stays together.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Bella and her Buddy Lai

The morning was sunny, and the heat was already creeping into the day. Winchester, the cat was licking himself with interest, the squirrels were chirping at eachother jockeying for a special tree limb, and I was wondering where I would find my next treat. Lying down underneath the shade of the carob tree, I heard keys jangling, someone was coming into the charming little was Lai my buddy.
''Hi Bella! How you doing girl?' '' Do you want a treat?'' .....say no more to me. I immediately got up, did my Bella shake, yes, all my fur is perfectly in place. I really am beautiful, you know, and trotted off to follow Lai into her cool studio.
''Just a second while I put this stuff away, okay, girl?''

I lied down on the cool concrete floor as I watched Lai put away her day's needs. Everytime, I come into her studio, I enjoy the paintings of her dogs, or 'doggies' as she would say. Colorful, whimsical, full of expression dogs of all ilks, all from her imagination, hung from the grids attached to the wall. Painted on canvas with oil pastels, each one of her colorful paintings jump out and say 'look at me' and invariably bring a smile or chuckle on the viewer's face.

And along the display shelves, I can see Lai's organic baskets made from materials she mostly gleans from the park's grounds. They are made from dracaena draco, inflorescence (king palm), flax, philodendron, and more. Some are coiled with the inflorescence, and some are weaved with the dracaena draco...they, too, are whimsical and organic.
''Okay girl, let me put the doggy bones in this cracked bowl for my doggy guests, and okay! Ready for a cookie???''
And I looked her in the eyes and gave her a big Bella smile...''don't have to ask me twice!''
Note: in Studio 26, where Lai's doggy paintings and baskets are, is also a drop off point for doggys to have a milk bone, fresh water, a hose to spray your heated dog down, a cool place to lie down, and tummy rubs (for the dogs). In Lai's studio dogs rock!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Mary and Sand Art

Sometimes, art takes the form of a painting, so perfect in its strokes and determination that is appears to be a photograph, a technician's creation at painting, and then, there's the colorful strokes and suggestions of an expression performed on canvas, without the technical, but busting out the seams with creativity....however the artist's presents, one hopes for reaction, emotion from the viewer, without it, the artist has failed....
I enjoy going from studio to studio in Spanish Village Art Center, investigating the new artwork, paintings, baskets, sculptures, woodwork, blown glass, pottery, Ramon's guitar playing, and the sound of refrigerators opening and was all art to me....I was trotting down the main patio, noticing the day was overcast. The art village was sleepy, not quite awake, with few visitors.
I scoped the main patio and noted Ramon and Barbara with their jewelery, Scott and his paintings, Debra with her fused glass barrettes, and a few more patio artists. On such a sleep day, I paused, arched my body from my head to my tip of my tail and shook every hair into place...Oh to be so beautiful!
I spotted Mary, studio 16A, carrying a grocery bag into her studio. ''Hi Bella. Come on over here girl. I have something for you''. She didn't have to say much for me to trot into her studio...
Mary's forte is sand art. Throughout her studio, she has formations of leafs, animal reliefs, 3-d cups & saucers, ornate containers, Egyptian and Asian designs, and so much more.

Mary sits quietly, almost in a meditative form, and sprinkles lightly, thin layers of colored sand over glue, building layer upon layer, on a flat or 3-d surface, to form her picture or 3-D object. It is time consuming, takes fine motor skills and tremendous is a seldom practiced art. Her work leaves the admirer in awe over how each grain helps create such beauty. Along her walls are small containers of different colored sands, some finer than salt, and some more coarse. She says she collects sands from all over the world. Bella enjoys the stillness of Mary's studio. ''Ready for some left over meat loaf?'' She didn't have to ask me twice. I sat down, like a good dog, and waited for my food. Woof!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Chorizo Burritos and Fresh Air

Well, the few bites of chorizo burrito didn't settle well in my tummy....therefore no one would let me lie down in their studio...humans seem so persnickity about fresh air.

The Open House is at full throttle and the sun is beating down...It is a very hot day. Booths line the entire patio with artwork of all kinds, and artists are busily talking to our guests. Paintings of all styles, jewelry, gourd art, custom pens, photography of many interpretations, ceramics, baskets, a caricature artist, Tundrita the gifted tarot card reader, an informational booth selling T-shirts and aprons, kettle corn, tamale stand, and even more. Thanks to Kathi all stayed organized...she even managed to keep a smile on her face. Open House brings out many smiles into our quaint village.

A corner was set aside for artwork made out of ostrich eggs....a contest created by Frank. A diver made from a Bubble gum machine, puffer fish covered with shark teeth, quaint cottages, mosaics, a pregnant Mother Nature, an egg with a political statement and more lined the display table.

Music, played by Capello and Schnaegle, better known as Benchmark, vibrated through the air. Guests & artists were dancing to the rhythm, girls were hula hooping and moving to the beat, many feet were tapping, heads were bobbing and my tail was moving to the music....the sounds gave a lively pulse to the village....and I overhead some say it was nice to see older musicians play 60's & 70's music.
Open House is always a fun day to celebrate our magical village. Each studio sets out treats and I love searching for my favorite goodies.

My tummy was feeling better...and I was hungry. Trotting down to see what Carol was serving for Open House, I lifted my nose to smell...what??? HOT DOGS! No one could serve anything tastier.
'Hey Bella!' 'Come on in girl' was Don with the hot dogs inviting me in....don't mind if I do....he put out his hand to pet me, and I went up to Don with a big smile (and no more dog stinkies!)...oh, how they embarrass me!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Wake Up, It's Time for Open House

Winchester had a wild night last night...I heard him pouncing on the adobe tile roof galavanting with Cloris, the feisty Siamese...looks like we'll have little Winchesters and Cloris's in a couple months.
These warm velvet summer nights are so glorious. The coyotes are chasing the cats who are chasing the rats who are just trying to escape, lovers stroll through, and the occassional homeless will find refuge to sleep in the village. Even at night, the village holds another existence many of us do not see. All leading to sunny mornings, fresh and new, greeted with the sunrising and the concert of birds chirping. Spanish Village is such a magical place.
Time to get up. Ahhh! I love to do my special Bella stretch...up with my head, up with my tail, spread wide my toes and stretch! Ohhh! Followed by my special body shake...there, all the way to the tip of my tail... all my furs are in position...I am perfect.
Today is our Open House are beginning to park on the patio. Patio artists are unloading their cars, setting up their canopies, and introducing themselves to eachother...I see Barbara and Scott unloading their paintings, Ramon and Susie setting up their jewelry booths, the basketman, Mr.Salazar the photographer, and so many more patio artist setting up for the day's festivities. I could feel the sleepiness rapidly dissipating as the energy of the patio artists began creating their display booths.
Ummm! What's that smell? Chorizo Burrito! Yummm! Let me lift my nose up to see who has it....sniff, sniff! No more Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwiches for me...Scott, my buddy, my UFO aficianado, has the burrito. My stomach began to grumble....time for something to eat....and putting on the Bella charm!

Monday, July 5, 2010

felted purses, polymer clay faces & sylvia

The day after July the Fourth is a busy day. It's a 3 day weekend, with Monday being the last of it. Ramon's silver jewelry, Barbara's jewelry and paintings, Scott's paintings, and many more patio artist were set out, ready to capture the audience as they entered into our beautiful village...not much sun, and a cool breeze ruffled my soft fur...time to get up.
Gazing down the main patio, I saw Sylvia, just a red dot, slowly walking toward Studio 37. I got up, did my Bella stretch, ohhh! ahhh! feels so good! and shook my fur all the way down to the tip of my tail...every fur in it's proper place. I am perfection.
As I trotted toward Sylvia, her red dot began to take 82 and a half years old, (she always reminds you of the 'half') she holds herself high, for such a petite lady...
'Bella, is that you? Come on in. Are you going to keep me company today?' Sylvia still has her accent from years past. I wagged my tail as Sylvia patted my head.
It's a little studio, full of oil paintings, silk wearable art, and Sylvia's polymer clay faces and felted purses. Settling down for the course of the day, I watched Sylvia pull out skeins of yarns, all vibrantly colored. The soft piles of yarn quickly become uniquely created purses. She machine washes them to break down the fibers to felt, and adorns her felted purses into color whimsical works of art...quite similar to the colorful polymer clay faces, all uniquely characterized, intricate, playful and full of whimsey, created into adornments for clothing.
I walked up and put my head on Sylvia's lap.
'Would you like me to tell you a story?' she said gazing into my eyes.

I snuggled my nose up to her hand, encouraging her to tell me one of her South Africa stories...where Sylvia immigrated, stories long ago....and as she began to spin her story, I heard the 'ding' of the microwave and I wondered which I would enjoy more...warmed honey buns, or Sylvia's wonderful reminiscence.


Monday, June 28, 2010

Remembrance SCOTT KUHNLY, UFO's and PB&J

SCOTT KUHNLY, a member of Spanish Village for over 40 years, passed away on July 27, 2012.   For as long as I've been with the Village, Scott would give me bites of his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, long tummy rubs, and pats on my head followed by the familiar sounds of his voice. Scott displayed his watercolor and oil paintings near the entrance of the Village on the patio. The scent of Scott has disappeared, and the habit of seeing him almost every weekend makes me sad, now that he is gone. An overwhelming minutiae of feelings and memories leave me uncertain, but I focus on special memories with Scott....the minutiae dissipates to warm thoughts and memories I hold in my heart....recapturing my friend, Scott....and that feels good. Until Later, all my Love, Bella

Sometimes, when the weather is sunny, I like to find an agreeable studio (with lots of goodies) to lie down, feel safe, and maybe snooze a little, but today I feel like feeling the warm breeze blow through my beautiful fur and schmooz with my buddy Scott.
He's a patio artist who sits on his beach chair on weekends, situated in the front of the village, near the entrance, with dozens of watercolors and oil paintings hung from A-frames. Representational paintings of landscapes from meadows to seascapes, and more. Scott shows up on the weekends, sets up his paintings, and paints the day away. He has been a member of Spanish Village Art Center for approximately forty years. I enjoy sitting next to him, watching the guest stroll by, and enjoying how each stroke of his brush is one step closer to a fantastic painting.

Occassionally, a conversation will strike up. ''Is that what I think it is?'' says an observant guest. And Scott will say 'yes'.....'yes it is an extraterrestial object in the sky of my painting'.....Scott sneaks in an occassional UFO, however minute, in his paintings....I am amazed at how many guests admit to having seen an UFO, as Scott has remarkably witnessed one. If you hang around Scott, you'll undoubtedly listen to some interesting conversations.
''Hey girl, ready for lunch?'
' ''Do you have to ask me?'' I wag my tail and gaze into his kind eyes.
''Ready for some peanut butter and jelly, and some string cheese, girl?''
''AM I?!'' Just one more thing to make this lunch perfect! I rolled over on my back and said ''rub my tummy!'' AHHHH!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Ham Sandwich and Rebecca

It's a sleepy Wednesday afternoon, not very many guest meandering through Spanish Village Art Center....and still no invitations for lunch...I lifted my head, still lounging under the Jacaranda tree, with a couple blossoms adorning my fluffy demeanor...I do my Bella stretch and for extra measure shake all the way to the tip of my tail....'now I am beyond perfection'...'somebody around here has got to have goodies'
...walking down the patio, lined with planters of Jacaranada, gladiolas, freezias, calendulas and so much more competing vibrant colors, I step into studio 6....
Rebecca is sitting behind her card table sewing away, using teneriffe stitches and pine needles, creating dreamcatchers....a Native American concept of netting out the bad dreams and letting in the good....I heard her say she's made thousands of these intricately woven hanging beauties adorned with colorful glass beads, feathers, antique findings and more.
Rebecca pets me on the head and says 'hi girl', 'are you going to keep me company?' I wag my tail, lick her hand and hope she knows I haven't had lunch.
It's a lazy day, so I lie down next to Rebecca, one paw resting on her sandaled foot. I feel sprinkles of water on my fur. She is beginning to make a large king palm sheath container....still soaked, and folded over to be sewn on the sides, Rebecca adorns them with more interesting findings, such as parts from an antique Chinese bed, antique glass beads, feathers of all kinds, and so much more.
I look at her and with my beautiful brown eyes. I look at the refrigerator....nope, no cognition of what I am trying to convey....Oy Vey! some humans can be thick! I lift myself up and walk to the refrigerator, and bark! How demeaning, I usually don't consider myself a barker, such a common a behavior.....but, I am hungry.
''Are you hungry, girl?''
Oye Vey, am I hungry? ! Usually I don't have to go to this extent for food. Rebecca walked over to the refrigerator, pulled out a ham sandwich, and, and, I don't believe it, GAVE IT ALL TO ME!!!
Where would this world be without generous hearts, like Rebecca! Yummy! Yummy!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Metal Goddesses, Sharon and an Australian

It was an overcast, sleepy afternoon day. I was sprawled out in studio 26 when my nap was interrupted by a guest entering. Drowsily, I could hear Sharon's Celtic music drifting through the air.
Today, Sharon had decided not to pound on her copper and brass creations, but to sit quietly, adding embellishments such as colorful beads on her creations...finishing touches meant to attract the passersby. Much of her artwork is hung along the window space, the sun's rays shining through the beads. Day of the Dead masks, goddesses with words of a wild woman inscribed , and other feminist artwork, line the walls. One wonders what goes on in the head of a feminist metal artist who writes whimsical words of wisdom...and creates this wonderful art.
Sharon looks up to the customer, ''Hi''. ''If there's any questions, just let me know. Those paintings are done by Lai. She uses oil pastels on canvas, and, as you can tell, she's into dogs.''
The customer has a big smile on her face and said ''I love these happy paintings! They are so colorful and uplifting! How much is this?''
Sharon gets up to check the price and said ''Where are you from?''
''I'm traveling here from Australia''. ''I was wondering if this painting could be sent to me?''
''No, I'm sorry, but I think it is small enough to be a carry on. I could drop the price $15 if you would like to buy it and carry it on the plane.'' (great negotiation Sharon).
The customer kept smiling at the painting and said ''yes'', she'd like that.
Sharon wrapped up the painting...handed it to the smiling lady.
It feels so good to make a customer happy....Lai is happy for selling the painting...and Sharon is happy for making the sale....we are all happy. What??? sniff! sniff! Time for our mid afternoon snack! A milk bone for me and whatt???? CHICKEN for Sharon??? NOT FAIR!!!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


In the morning, mist settles on the premises....I just heard Winchester, the cat, chase a angry chirping squirrel across the adobe tiled roof...both, had wild eyes looks...when will Winchester ever realize he's too slow for the squirrels?
Never, because cats are vacuous...lick themselves, chase rats, mice and squirrels, and hope to have enough to sustain themselves....I, on the other hand, relish the treats given to me by the village artists, no chasing like Winchester, no demeaning artists take pleasure in feeding me. I do my Bella stretch, heads up, tail up, back arched, toes spread wide, ahhhh! such a satisfying feeling, and swoosh! My bella shake! Now, all my hairs are in place to perfection! I am perfection!
There goes Marji into the cat show...hmmm, I wonder if there are leftovers from last night's reception??? I'll trot on over to investigate....into the door of Gallery 21 I go. CATS! It's the Catnip Connection 4 Show. Cats of all sorts festoon all the walls. Oil representational, abstracts (I see on of Don's), expressionism, ceramic cats, colored pencil cats, mixed media kitties.... BUT first place is a large photo of a cat sitting in a bowl looking at his shadow....Mary Ella's work! Congratulations! A photograph took first place!
I walk through the gallery shaking my head with doubt and wonder at this admiration of the feline race, and see Marji. She is carrying a hand made bowl from the potter's guild full of ham and what???!!!?? SALAMI! Oh solo mia!!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Ceramics and Abstracts

Sunday afternoon was sunny and warm. Tables covered with ceramics were set out along the length of the main patio....pots, cups, cassaroles, dishes, vases, sculptures, masks, and other artwork only the imagination can define. It was the Pottery Guild's Semi-Annual Sale.
Visitors balancing armfuls of ceramics, people meandering from table to table searching for that special bargain or find. Bella considered making her rounds up and down the patio to welcome the new guests and say hi to the returning Potter's Guild members....but first the bella stretch: back arched, head looking up to sky, tail pointed high, toes stretched wide....ahhhhh! step two: shake shake shake! every hair is perfection....''now, I am ready to strut my stuff .''
I went to lick the hand of Don in studio 3, who was concentrating on his spectacular, colorful, abstracts....I tilted my head to focus on a semi-completed lion's face with colorful splashes of dots around's whimsey made me smile....and I wondered what goes on in the head of an abstract artist?
I poked my head outside his door and began my job of welcoming guests....nice life if you can get it!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Winchester Doesn't Get Donuts

In our village, we have a gray cat, Winchester, whom I leave food for on occasion....he jumps from roof top to roof top, disturbing the chirping squirrels, all the while, hunting for stray rats and mice...a high protein diet, if there ever was one.
I lie down next to Gallery 21, and watch Winchester groom all parts of his body, consuming hours out of the can any cat be so vain...I give myself a few licks, and quickly shake each fur on my body into perfection. And, now I have to remove myself from the doorway of Gallery 21.
This morning they are jurying the- Catnip Connection 4 Show!
Every year, Vicky and Marji help organize a fundraiser for feral cats...and yes, I value this, because it wasn't many years ago, I was homeless, displaced and very scared. If it wasn't for the big caring hearts of Vicky, Marji, and the other volunteers, many cats would have less help...odd how the love of cats, competition of art, and big hearts, can translate into helping furry felines.
All these giddy and/or apprehensive women and serious men are carrying different renditions of cats. Each are carrying shades of uncertainty towards being juried into the show...
Big and small canvases, cats! cats!... purple and lime green cats, space cats, wild cats, kitty cats! TOO MANY CATS!!! As I sit and watch each painting pass through the door, I am amazed at how many facets can be called a cat. Such boring predictable creatures.
Vicky and Marji are busily collecting and checking in the occasional pat on my head, or remark about my beautiful fluffy ears grace my ears and I wonder if they notice my new collar....why don't they put on a DOG show...dogs are, without doubt, the race that is far superior to vacuous cats.
I pad my feet into Gallery 21. Vicky pats me on the head and says ''Are you in to see the cats, girl?'' As I pass her desk, out of the corner of my nose, I smell donuts! DONUTS! I decide to lie down on Vicky's feet and wait for her to open the box of donuts! Ummm!
You won't see the likes of Winchester feasting on these!

Monday, June 7, 2010

A New Collar for Bella

I woke up to the hammering sound from Margaret in studio 20....there she was sitting behind her large, beat up wooden table, pounding away on leather.
One of a kind, colorfully etched leather purses of all shapes, sewn by hand, is the result of all her concentrated pounding.
''Bella!'' She called me over and pat me on my head, pulling my silky ears as her hand retreated. ''Look girl''. Above my head dangled a brand new leather collar complete with colorful india ink etchings of flowers, bumblebees, lady bugs, and right in the middle my name 'BELLA' all in beautiful shades of pink, my favorite color!
''There you go Bella, for being such a good guard dog when I stay late at night''.
I was so excited, I ran in circles with happiness occassionally letting out a feminine yelp.
And then, Margaret ran her hand over my head and gently pulled on both ears, and told me I was pretty....I perked up my nose for the aroma of ????
Margaret had KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN for me!
It is such a wonderful feeling when your friends treat you right! (even if I do hold water tomorrow)...... ;-)

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Wine, Cheese & Chocolate, anyone?

The sun is set and the sky is a dusty, dark, blue, remnants of the day. Sounds of voices, happy voices, drift through the air. Looking down the patio, it is decked with strings of twinkling white lights, studios are lit with leftover Christmas lights, the flowers in the planters still shout out their colors, and the sound of Sue Palmer belting out Route 66 sets the mood. The Wine, Cheese & Chocolate Festival has begun, a benefit for the Women's History Museum.
Bella arches her back, spreads her delicate toes, and lifts her head to the stars and tips up her tail...her traditional 'Bella Stretch'....time to get up from the cozy blanket Cassandra in studio 32 has laid down...she has put a silk ribbon bow in my collar for the festivities. It is tied dyed, one of Cassandra's specialties for her beautiful silk work. If Bella were a human, she'd prefer the purple, pink & orange kimono displayed....but, humans have their draw backs...better stay a dog, less problems. Bella looks up with her soulful brown eyes and shows Cassandra her appreciation and trots off to inspect the festival...who wouldn't love a dog festooned with a tied dye bow on her collar? Bella walks down the patio, little screams of delight at my sight, hands petting my beautiful coat, remarks about my long, shaggy, fur, men wearing Hawaiian shirts patting me alittle too hard, and I try very hard to avoid those 5 inch heels these women are balancing on...I can see the tables are decorated with yellow sunflowers, and odd as this many seem....I see a single hummingbird balancing itself atop the tip of the highest point of a tree....oops! now some one is trying to pick me up....have to squirm my way out of this and trot on.....Many people are swing dancing to the beat of the Sue Palmer Trio....if I were human, I'd learn to swing dance....and WHATT is that??? Dancing??? It's the 'Wine God'!! And she has pizza on her breath! Pizza! Pizza! Now my venture has a goal! Ciao!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

'P' is for Paintings & Panetone!

When I wake up in the mornings, I like to stretch out like one of Jon's cats, look up to the sky, lift my tail up and spread wide my toes! Followed by a good body shake, all is good... especially to be alive here in Spanish Village Art Center...with my artist friends who everyday create all sorts of paintings and sculptures from abstract to representational and so much more arts & crafts.
This afternoon, I am curled up in Carol's cozy studio (#1), occassionally looking up to see her progressing on a colorful expressionistic painting of Italy.
Her pallet of colors are smeared across a large glass square of oil paints in itself forming an interesting painting. I pretend we are in Italy, and Carol is painting in a charming studio in Tuscany....where are our glasses of vino?
...What's that I hear, as I lift my beautiful fluffy ears up. Plastic ruffling? Plastic ruffling over , hmmm, panetone! Panetone! As I open my eyes, I see smiling Carol handing me a piece to savor. Ummm! Time to beg another piece! Ciao!
NOTE: Images are Copyright Protected! Artist Carol Foster, Fine Art - Oil Find Carol in Studio 1

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

May I introduce myself?

Hello, I am Isabella Conchita. I am a canine member of Spanish Village Art Center.... Some might call me a gentrified canine, an artist aficianada or, just a faithful fixture in the Village for the past few years.
Yes, it was a lucky day when I first stumbled into this beautiful artist's colony. My stomach hurt from hunger, my legs were shakey, my skin was covered with those lowly fleas, and my beautiful fur was all matted. I was so scared. Everyone took good care of me. The good artists gave me food, shelter and those long belly rubs and words of love. Soon I realized this was my home, Spanish Village Art Center.
Just call me Bella, which means's much easier to remember than Isabella, don't you think? Most people notice my long, fluffy fur, admiring my shaggy face, but my real beauty is in my feminine little nose, soulful big brown eyes and how readily I wag my tail. Other dogs tell me I am quite a dish.
Hmmm, talking about dish, I wonder what the Potter's Guild is dishing out for my dinner. I feel so special when they feed me out of their handmade dishes.....hmmmm, is that chicken salad i smell???