Wednesday, January 30, 2013

These. Are awesome.

In the literal sense. I'm in awe of the detail work, the concept and the ability, to capture such beauty on such a tiny scale.

' The Paint Brush Series ' by artist, Rebecca Szeto features handles that have been carved and painted to resemble, Las Meninas (Maids of Honour), Geishas and other likenesses seemingly inspired by 17th century portraiture.

"I think the underlying theme that unites them is that of the overlooked, in this series specifically, working women and perhaps a questioning of where we as a society place value/worth. Something about being able to reclaim and re-envision portraits of peasant women, mothers, courtesans, children and elevating them to a more revered and tender place in forgotten memory or unrecorded history." - Rebecca Szeto

2 1/2
Oil on Carved Wood, 2010
Collection of Artist

This one is my favorite.... I love the play on consumerism.

 Coronation of the Virgin {Gucci is Next to Godliness}
Oil on Carved Wood, 2001
Private Collection, Italy

"The Paintbrush is self referential, acting as both subject and object: it refers to the history of painting; through the medium of painting; with its own tool."

  Doña Hongari
Oil on Carved Wood, 2010
Private Collection, Seattle, WA

Oil on Carved Wood, 2010

Last 2 images: Studio Shot Detail of Various in Process
Alice (Private collection Seattle); Madonna & Child (Private collection SF); and Geisha
Geisha; Innocence (Private collection Los Angeles); (pre-reworked) Concubine (Private Collection NY)

 "Originally, the brushes were used by me (for my faux finishing business), completely worn out and ready for the garbage. The natural beauty of the "marbling" of paint on the brushes, coupled with small pangs of eco-guilt, and a love of art history lead me to this ongoing series.  Most of the brushes these days come from fans or friends, as the brushes' notoriety have taken a life of their own." - Rebecca Szeto


Here's a short post on her own blog, mindsprinter, brushing over the process. 

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Weird. Wanting to put links to previous posts that I've done on artist, Abbey Ryan, I found that the last post I did on her was almost one year to the day, ago. So I guess it's appropriately timed that my mom sent me her new work last week. Beautiful, haunting, oddly erotic and spectral.

"All works are ink and Sumi ink on paper mounted on maple panel"

To see more of Abbey's work check out  her website. She's wonderfully talented. 

Friday, January 25, 2013

Peace out to this.
 It's long but the music is beautiful...

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Faye Toogood, the British, interiors designer, stylist, furniture maker and assemblage artist - is blowing me away right now. Like you, all kinds of great design sings to me, but when it's comprised of colors and pairings that I don't feel like I've seen a million times, I just want to sit, stare, ingest and be inspired for future reiteration.

Check out this 5 story, London townhouse she and her studio designed :

 A moment for this loo......

and it's tile work....... Slippery when wet? My guess is that the colored tile also serves to keep slipping at bay.

I love the enveloping of the paneling and that goose neck and that rug... and those chairs (!)

More, fantastic tile work and the zinc sink! ( mirror placement/choice. )

This DIY window makes you feel like you're in your own private, Malibu beach house. And that fabric on the chair? so brilliant.

Toogood has gone on to design a minimalist, assemblage based furniture line which you can see more of here.

Photography:: Bill Batten

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Introducing my Super Power: Tetrachromacy


I think I may have mentioned, last week, that I had something I was going to tell you about. A 'top secret' type of thingy which I wasn't allowed to go public with until I got the green light. As of yesterday, Green Light granted. Go.

At the beginning of December, I had a Japanese film crew here filming me for a popular show in Japan called, 'Science Mystery'. Most who know me well responded to that sentence with a non-plussed, "Of course you did" . The show is comprised of 2 segments, each 20 minutes long featuring people with genetic oddities. This is where I come in.

I suppose that if I were to pick a super power, invisibility would be pretty cool, as I like to investigate things in an undetected way - just for my own personal knowledge. Flying would be out as I'm a major acrophobe and I'd only probably fly a foot off of the floor and that's really more like hovering. So that'd be a waste. X-ray vision? mmmmmmm.nah. I'm not that curious. Besides, I prefer to see most folk with their clothes on. But what if I could see in a way that 98% of women can't and no man can see? A way that is more beautiful, more multi-dimensional....more colorful--100 million times more colorful. Or as one of my dear, more experimental friends said, 'Like you're on an acid trip'. ok, that sounds scary...but it's along the same lines as what I've been experiencing my whole life.


From the time I was really small. I knew that I saw color in a way that most people didn't. When I was five or so, I can remember asking my parents to paint my room 'Green'. When the painter finished his job, it was all wrong. Yes it was,'Green' but there were colors, that I couldn't explain for lack of vocabulary, within the Green that were making it all wrong. In my giant box of 120 crayons with the sharpener in back, I couldn't stand that whatever genius laid out the colors had them wrong by shade. Although subtle, the blues to greens and the pink to peaches were all wrong in sequence.

Eventually I reasoned with myself that everyone must see color differently. We're all just calling it by the same name. And so life went on, and I'd get funny looks when describing color to people- The color of an Autumn sky filled with so much pink it practically vibrates. Whites that had too much Black and felt cold. Blacks filled with brown and bits of yellow, too simple - Blacks should be more complex. Crazy? Ya, I sort of tucked that thought away too. I, obviously, was beyond obsessed with color. It came before shape or form, always at the forefront of anything I saw.

Last Spring, I was listening to a podcast while doing some desk work. The podcast, a science show called, Radio Lab was discussing a genetic oddity, which was so rare, that it was thought that only 2% of people (women only) have it. It's an oddity that is the result of a gene mutation. A gene mutation that gives the person with it, 'SUPER COLOR VISION'. yep. Super. Color. Vision. My god. The more I listened, the more I started nodding. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. The interviews with women who had this super power sounded just like my own experiences. Due to having an extra color cone receptor in their eyes,  they were seeing over 100 million colors. The average person only sees about a million colors.

 This condition, a mutation, has a name to it: TETRACHROMACY. I'm not going to go into the technical stuff here, but I'll give you links at the end if you're curious.

So, I contacted the Neuroscientist who specializes in Tetrachromacy, I was then tested (spitting into a vile and sending off to the lab at University of Washington in  Seattle), FujiTV found out about it, wanted to do a show on it, came here, to L.A., from Japan to film me and then flew me up to Seattle for more filming. The show is going to be aired on January 19th. But you have to live in Japan to see it, I think. They'll be sending me a dvd of it later in the month. Maybe I can figure out how to get it uploaded to Vimeo, so I can share it with you.

In the mean time, I'm thinking we'll have a Super Powers screening at my house. Everyone can wear capes, ride in on Unicorns, drink saki and I'll hand out glasses with projecting eyeballs on springs.

 Oh, and if any of you big paint companies want to talk to me about helping you out in some capacity ... let me know. I can provide you the edge over your competitors, developing colors you didn't even know existed. Shazam!

** there is an unofficial test you can take on line if you're interested. Go here to take it.

(To know if you truly have the gene mutation that causes Tetrachromacy, you have to have your DNA tested. )

You can listen to the Radio Lab show on Tetrachromacy, that I first heard here (at about 10:20 it gets really interesting) :

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

This week on The Skirted Round Table, designer, showroom owner and Million Dollar Decorator alum, Nathan Turner joins us. His new book is a little different than most, coffee table decorating tomes. It's filled with easy to follow ideas and inspiration along with lots of shots of celebrity homes he's decorated. We chat about the new book, his hot brother and the business of design. Per usual. Hop on over and join us for a little chit-chat with another design world fave.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013


Have you checked your mail today? The new Crate & Barrel catalog is out and I'm loving the art direction of it. It's laid out in a little, story format made up of, 'this + thats' (the commercial spot, aired last night on The Bachelor-if you were watching- Of course, I was. ) Sure it's very, urban hipster, 'Brooklyn'-ish in its vibe, but it sells their product well (and I swear a friend of mine used to date that guy in plaid )

Page after page of great furniture - and cool young, 30 somethings enjoying their craft beers while snowed in or savoring their home cooked artisan meals in their new, barn wood paneled kitchens. Smart of them to appeal to this market as their prices are always good and they stay up with the design trends.

you go, Crate and Barrel with your self.

Good design and quality, at attainable prices. What's even better, and why I'm even bringing this all up, is because if you flip through the catalog, they've tucked some interesting  digital freebees into the pages. They've got free e-books, paperless posts, a few useable apps and an iTunes playlist, that's actually pretty damn good. Crate & Barrel, has still got it as far as I'm concerned.

 So don't chuck that catalog when it comes, have a flip through and pick up your codes for all of the e-goodies I've shared plus few more.

Check out these freebies (and these are just a few)

1. Wildwood- an e-book with beautiful illustrations.
2.  Paperless post- free invites designed especially for Crate + Barrel
3. Tapeulator - "Because Math is hard" love this app! measuring, hanging frames, this app is your little pocket helper.
4. Great mixed tape. Who doesn't like new music. Especially when it's good and free!

Here's my round up of faves:

1. Chemex- I mean.... right? I grew up with one of these in the house. So, it only seems like you must have one of these sitting atop your gas range. It's just beautiful if anything.

2. Turner Counter Stool- I have a couple of vintage, metal drafting tables in my house that everyone wants to know about, or wants to find something similar to. The Turner Counter Stool is as good of replica as I've seen. A little utilitarian urban touch, shakes up the whole vibe. "vibe-shaking" = A necessary factor in any good design concept.

3. Jaipur bedding- I love these, yummy, earthy toned, block printed, quilted cotton bedding pieces. These are a great answer for couples who don't want anything too floral or too girly. (Sort of the opposite of Laura Ashley let's say)

4. The Breville Ikon- I've sung the praises of this appliance for awhile now. It's my medicine cabinet, my fountain of youth, my diet plan. I LOVE this machine. Why is it better than most juicers? Easy clean up + a stainless steel blade. The price at C+ B is great too.

One of my favorite things, seeing the ocean every day, is that everyday, it looks entirely different. Not just the shape of the waves or the motion, but everyday the sea turns out a new color. Some days it's an inky, green-black while other days it's a creamy blue-ish yellow.  I ran across a collection from the Leningrad School of seascapes dating from 1950-1990.  They're a great expression of how each artist sees the sea.

V. Bazhenov. Arabian coast. 1962

N. Halacha. Midday on the Volga. 1975

V. Bazhenov. The Singapore Strait. 1962

Ovchinnikov. Night Doc. 1959

N. Timkov. Rocks in Gurzuf. 1986

These, last two are my favorite from a 'painterly' perspective. Look at all of the colors in those rocks. Beautiful. And the one below, looks edible. It hits so many senses for me. 

Gavrilov. Antarctica. Quiet evening. 1967    

Monday, January 7, 2013

Hi, y'all (that's, Joni, rubbing off on me) how was your holiday? We had some kind of a whacky December.


Starting with our dearest, sweet old dog dying, (above: our beloved, George) The most amazing dog and friend, probably, ever. A dog with more intellect, humor and personality than most humans.


Followed by a birthday party including, 50+ friends and the best party-food idea since, "Taco Guy" - 'Wood Fire Pizza Guy' (he brings his oven to you and makes individual Pizzas -Vella Mobile Pizza you can find them on Facebook.  )

fresh, fresh ingredients make this one helluva party nosh.

.....and in the middle of all of this I had a film crew here, and then in Seattle,  filming me for a documentary  ( more about this later - I can't discuss until it's been aired )

Seattle's Ferris Wheel and maybe the only ray of sun that we saw the whole time.

 oh....and then that Christmas thing, and New Years and ending with, a kid being rushed to the doctor after breaking her arm by slipping on astro-turf. We really wish she had a better story. But she just wiped out on dewy, synthetic grass. She's feeling good with a giant neon-pink cast - which, who didn't want a cast when they were a kid?


SO! here we are, a new year. I don't know about you, but I'm ready for it. And I feel like 2013 is going to be a really good one.


Now. Let's go talk about, creativity, good design and the people who make it happen.......

the B to the Log

it's all about me, really.

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Manhattan Beach, California, United States
editor | interior designer | podcast personality | social media pollinator