Saving History with a Palette Knife

I wrote about Terry d. Chacon's art exhibit in Banning.
The plein-air artist (pictured at left, with Clidine Roper of Banning Center for the Arts) often paints historic landscapes, such as citrus groves near her home in Redlands, before they are bulldozed to make way for construction.
There's a poignant story inside this story about her painting San Gorgonio Inn before it was demolished.

Sliding into fun

Many people said goodbye long ago to their slide projector and those mountains of slides from the family vacation.
But you can still put the slide mounts to good use. The mounts with glass offer even more possibilities.

You can make mini framed collages.

It's been a while since I played with these.
But after @bethstakeonlife and I (@Murkland) conversed on twitter about the creative possibilities, I found this sample to show.
And I got a hankering to play more with these.

Sample details:
The mount locks together, front and back, and the art parts are sandwiched between.
I punched a hole with a regular punch through the front and back pieces of the mount.
I painted and stamped the top frame, then coated it with Diamond Glaze. I set it aside.
I began working on the collage. I glued hand-painted red paper into the back frame.
I layered copper screen on top.
I glued on the top frame.
I added a face. (I stamped this image onto clear shrink plastic and shrunk it first).
Before I went any further, I mounted an eyelet in the hole.
Then I glued a handmade polymer clay leaf bead on top of the collage.
I put copper tape around the edges of the frame.
I added the twisty wire piece, just because. That was tough to glue.
Next I glued on the tiny colored alphabet beads.
I threaded some hand-dyed fiber through the hole and made a little funky collage necklace.

Saving Our Stories

I'll be speaking on June 7 to the Coachella Valley Archaeological Society about oral history.
I'll share some basic techniques and tools.
Details HERE.

Back to School

Went back to explore the San Timoteo Canyon Schoolhouse today, for another article.
Here's an oak desk set up to bring 1893 schooling in mind: Inkwell and pen, pencil, penmanship book, a phrase to copy, a printed copy of the Pledge of Allegiance.

The chalkboard and wipe cloth were for lessons, the iPad of the 1890s.

Snow in April

© Pat Murkland

Snow on white sage in Inland Southern CA

In the Pink

I wrote an article about blushing pharaoh hounds for the spring issue of Sighthound Review.

Inland Southern California

© Pat Murkland

When I was leaving the Gilman Historic Ranch & Wagon Museum in Banning, CA, I enjoyed this classic view:
A field of California poppies blooming in front of snow-capped San Jacinto Peak.

History and Horseradish

Pat Murkland Photo

Updated, 2016:
This roadside horseradish stand was the last of its kind in Banning, CA.
Visiting Hal was like stepping back in time.
I wrote about this for Hal made his own handmade horseradish, and his roadside stand was all that remained of the era when roadside businesses flourished along the old highway through Banning. Hal has closed his business now, and our holiday dinners will never be the same. 

Plein Air Everywhere

I had a lot of fun writing this article about the Riverside Plein-Air Artists' sixth annual Paintout.
Photos are by Carlos Puma, for his former news website.

Who's Got the Button ... Article

My article on sighthound-related buttons has been published in the winter issue of Sighthound Review magazine.
It was a joy to share some of my favorite buttons.

Baked Beans and the Brunch Bunch

© Pat Murkland Photo

Some of my Twitter friends and I meet for brunch.
They're in New England, New York, Nova Scotia.
I'm in Inland Southern California.
We have never met IRL (in real life).
But we get together every Sunday or so.

And we have a digital brunch, of sorts.
We call ourselves the #brunchbunch.

Our world is a fast place these days. It seems that people don't often sit down and converse around a table, and eat a meal together, and visit.
Many of us have lost those neighborly conversations on front porches.
We no longer linger and visit in kitchens where the coffee pot always is ready for another cup.

Our #brunchbunch may be digital, but we connect.

Needless to say our digital meals have no calories.
The camaraderie, though, is weighty.

Sometimes we've shared memories of traditional family foods.
Recently we found out that, growing up, we all ate supper.
For some, dinner was always at noon.
And for some of us, Saturday night meant baked beans.

A couple of my #brunchbunch friends are serious about their beans.
They discuss the details of beans.
They compare types of beans.
They labor to prepare their beans.
Their tweets brought back long-ago memories of my mother's beans soaking and then simmering in the kitchen.

Sadly, I can never duplicate my mother's beans.
Yes, I have the recipe, which she typed long ago onto an index card for me.
I know how much molasses she used.
I know all the ingredients.
But it doesn't matter.
They aren't her beans at all.
The memory of her bean pot, the baked beans on the plates, us sitting at the table ...
these all combined with the beans to give a flavor and a feeling that I'll savor for life.

So here's her bean pot.
It hasn't held beans for years.
But it's overflowing with happy memories.
Today, I'm sharing them with you.

Gourd Art

Pat Murkland photo

I've been seeing some wonderful gourd art, so I decided to try my hand (and drill) at it.

It took a while for me to figure out how to open the gourd.

Then after some false starts I cleaned out the interior.

I decided to make a container, so I kept the top for a lid.

I experimented with carving faux petroglyphs of bighorn sheep.

I added stains of purple and red inks, and gold paint with mica chips, to go with the gourd's natural colors. I stamped spirals and added a turquoise accent.

I tied some fibers around the lid and tacked them with a spot of glue.

Inside, I put some salves and soaps made from native plants (made by a friend, Pinyon Pine Botanicals).
My gift was ready!