After a hectic, hectic first half of 2010 preparing for my “Legacy” art show in July and other art venues, and creating a metal studio and learning how to make half a dozen Amazon-sized garden sculptures, I just sat back and realized that I’ve taken four vacations in the last three months!  And what an improvement that has made in my spirit and emotional well-being!

First was a trip to Shelter Cove, along the north coast of California, mowing my dad’s many lawns at his house which overlooks the ocean.  Dad is no longer able to live there due to Alzheimer's Disease and every few weeks his wife’s family drives 5.5 hours from Sacramento to care for the property.  

So in July, my sister and boyfriend and I volunteered to make the “sacrifice” of doing some very difficult yardwork for many hours, looking at the ocean from the kitchen window, admiring the sunset while eating dinner, watching the stars so big and bright in a sky devoid of obscuring city lights, walking along black sand beach, eating the shrimp and fries basket in the tiny “town” of Shelter Cove, exploring the tidepools, and hiking in the Kings Wilderness area. 

And I brought 50 pounds of clay and made several nature-inspired wall hangings which will be unveiled at the Crocker Art Museum Holiday Art Show the weekend after Thanksgiving.

In early August, I bragged in my Spirituality and Art blog about not doing anything that I had planned to do (no clay, no newsletter writing, no blogging) at our annual vacation in Mendocino, CA, which is 1.5 hours or so south of Shelter Cove and two hours north of San Francisco, CA.  It was evident that I was starting to unwind from the frenetic pace I had set earlier in the year.

In mid-September, we went camping for several nights at the Pfeiffer Big Sur State Park. We were within walking distance of a creek a long stone’s throw from our campsite.  We were near stands of redwoods five minutes from our campsite.

We hiked up to see waterfalls and stunning overlooks to the mountains surrounding Big Sur.

We drove down the coastal highway to visit Hearst Castle.

We went to another waterfall which can be seen from State Highway 1.

On the way back home, we walked around Carmel, CA, and looked at several art galleries.

The weekend after the Big Sur trip, we dressed up and drove back down south for the Renaissance Faire at Casa de Fruta on the Pacheco Pass, meeting my boyfriend’s daughter there.  They went on the huge swing and we ate traditional foods such  as the Toad in a Hole, huge artichokes, cottage pasties and the like.  My favorite African import store was there – “Upsan Downs” – so I got some more African bracelets.  

And I got my first tattoo at the Renaissance Faire, to the delight of my daughter-in-law who has been clamoring for us to go together and get tats; mine was only a henna tattoo that time, but I loved it and might make it permanent.

The last trip was to the Evergreen Lodge in the Yosemite area.  And what a treasure! The weather was record-breaking 100s in Sacramento and in the low-80s at Yosemite, which was PERFECT!  Lots of hiking through unimaginably beautiful and unusual countryside. Parts of the granite mountains looked like we were on another planet.

The sunsets from our room were magnificent.  And I cannot even describe the starry starry night above.  We even saw the Milky Way!

Have you ever been trapped in a life-sized spider web?  The Evergreen Lodge had lots of fun and artsy structures for kids of all ages.

So I took the Nature Cure and am renewed and ready to embark upon a new type of creativity.  

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and I prescribe the Nature Cure!  I also donate 10% of all sales of my breast cancer survivor art jewelry to breast cancer research, so if you're interested, please take a look: http://www.kanika.us/1mastectomy_pp.htm



I volunteered to do a clay demonstration at the Patris S12 Gallery Art Preview Night last month.  My goal was to start and finish an art piece that would be worthy of contributing to the Third Annual Art Bra Show this year to be held at the 20th Street Gallery, 911 20th Street, Sacramento, CA.  Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) and Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation are preparing to host the Third Annual Art Bra Show to bring awareness to the plight of breast cancer in Sacramento and its effects on all women. Please join us for a special tribute art show to help bring awareness and raise funds for these two organizations. Women’s Wisdom Art, a program of SFBFS, and the Albie Aware Breast Cancer Foundation will be hosting Art Bra Show 3 on September 8-30, 2010.  The silent auction is on September 11th, from 5-8 PM, but you may place your bids anytime between Sept 8 and 11th.

And so on August 12th, with a 25-pound bag of red clay and a quickly put together round table and stool, I made an armature out of a pipe flange attached to a lazy susan, with a fabric-covered pipe extending from the center. I began to roll some long clay snakes on the tiny table top. I thought it would be easiest to make a coil sculpture since I had such a small space to make it in.

After I had enough snakes, I started forming the basic structure. Round and round the snakes go, using the same overlapping technique that one might use on a pie crust edging.

After an hour or so, the body was taking shape.  I made some cross-members to keep the body from expanding too much. I had forgotten my paddles and had to beat and compress the sides with my hands and the water bottle.  You can see the overlapping techniques on the top two rows.  I also used a metal rib to compress the clay and as the clay dried I was able to use the serrated side of the rib to make a cool texture on the clay. That action served to flatten out the walls of the trunk.  Because I spent a bit of time talking with customers and other artists from 5-8 PM, I did not have time to make her head while still at the gallery.

So . . . when I returned home I made a flattened piece of clay, slightly curved at the edges.  I accentuated the breasts then cut out an interesting triangle area in the middle of the chest.  You tell me what that is for . . . After drying a couple of days, I had to decide what colors to glaze the body.  I wanted it to be special for this special fundraiser but did not want the glaze to obliterate the linen-like textural quality of the skin.  

So I chose red and black iron oxide brushed on, then wiped off, with a touch of diluted clear glaze over the top to make the natural color of the red clay shine through.  But I also wanted a bit of "flavor" so I painted several purple spiral-esque tattoos on her back and the neck.  Then into the firey kiln (yes, she was only fired once).

I knew I should have made an egg shape for the head! But I didn't and the head ended up taking me much longer than making the whole body! I ended up welding some steel pieces together, wiring and and attaching them to the clay head.  This structure also served to balance the body so it wouldn't tip over.

I wanted the face to have a different sheen than the body so I used acrylics to make her look contented.  Sparkle in her eyes.  Funky hair of reds, browns and oranges, with a same color bra edged in brown leather.  What do her eyes see?  What is she smiling about?

And the finishing touch is a necklace that reflects the joyful turquoise and red colors in the tile on which she sits.  What's in a name? Everything.  I polled my Facebook Friends to help me come up with a name.  The perfect name came in after I had delivered her to Helen Plenert, the director of the Women's Wisdom Project:  "The Girl from Ipanema" - beautiful brown skin, sitting on ocean colors, skimpy bra top, sun-kissed hair.  And my dad's second favorite song in the world.

And I hope she finds the perfect home as a result of the 20th Street Gallery fundraiser, because the money she brings in could help disadvantaged women learn about breast health, as well as learn that they are beautiful, no matter what their present circumstance or malady.  I want women to have the hopeful outlook represented in the face of the "Girl from Ipanema."