Summer is Ending

Somehow in my crazy hectic schedule in trying to be on top of things, I wrote this post in advance and saw that it never posted. Although summer has just ended, I think it is still timely…

Summer is ending; time to say goodbye to carefree, playful days. I love the fall but I’m already missing my vacation spent on Ocracoke Island in NC and the whimsical days of feeling back to Nature, with beach combing, peaceful kayaking and relaxation.

I came back to non-stop, pull-out-all-the-stops work to get a new website up and running. I was ahead of the game until a program I was using to upload 6,000 variations randomly just duplicated my 2,000 images, multiplying them to 19,000!! I deleted them from the server but also had to delete them from my WordPress site, which still recognizes them until they are permanently deleted from the Media Gallery. Ugh and another ugh!! I had to delete them manually. It only took @ 10 hours over the course of several days. Oh, I discovered this mess when I decided to do a little work on vacation. Big mistake. My Internet was slow b/c no one cares about going fast on an island and I knew I had a huge task to come back to. I can happily say I’m back to where I started. Never thought going backwards would be such a relief. Although, now I have an issue with the database remembering other items and preventing me from re-uploading fresh data, no matter how many times I delete. Funny that no one: StudioPress, WordPress, WooCommerce, BlueHost, web programmer or my web person has an answer. I just hope I can resolve soon.

At least now I can get a fresh start on the images alone to either do it correctly or find a way around the problem.

This all reminds me of the symbolic dichotomy that I think is represented by the Swiss Family Tree Robinson tree house.

Swiss Family Robinson movie set_AIE

I was always fascinated with what a convoluted yet totally cool maze-structure the fictional island family created but it was hard to determine where to go and how to get around their home. And yet, their tree house is supposed to be playful and carefree, devoid of stress. (I’m migrating my site to WordPress to avoid having to know code-to-be-able-to-edit stress. Ha….I wish it were so!) I was amazed by this fantasy tree house as a child and always wanted to live in such a structure, now I like a little more foundation with clear, easy routes (roots) to follow. This sculpture by Rob Heard summed this all up for me. I had been saving it for a while and now seems the perfect time to reveal:

Rob heard tree sculpture on Art is Everywher

It seems like your house, your work, your life can have many different facets that all twist and turn to form this beautiful place. This structure is both complex and always lively no matter how arduous it can be sometimes to get around. In other words, Life is good but “so complicated.” One of my favorite videos:

The Military Artist

Although Veterans’ Day has past, I did not get a chance to discuss or show my support in a blog post so I want to mention a few items of note in this one. We have so much to thank our Veterans for. I’m thinking of this as I travel to New Orleans for a family reunion. I think of my many blessings of family as Thanksgiving comes around and the incredible sacrifices military families have given with service and loss to their country — all for our gain and to preserve the American way of life and freedom.

I was glad to see the army has kept its long tradition of official artists to document ongoing wars and military history. Sgt. Martin J. Cervantez was profiled in the Washington Post recently for his painting and military service as one of the army’s official artists. Here is some of his work

Sgt Cervantez-combat artist via Washington Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Sgt Cervantez-combat artist via Washington Post

Cervantes-fiield sketches via Washington Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Cervantes-field sketches via Washington Post

Heading out-water color_Cervantez via Washington Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Heading out-water color_Cervantez via Washington Post

Huge Responsibility_Sgt Martin J. Cervantez via Washinton Post, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

A Huge Responsibility_oil by Sgt Martin J. Cervantez via Washinton Post

This last painting is interesting to me because the light on the military personnel’s shirt in the foreground is painted in such a way to suggest that the commander has a priestly robe – the duplicity of wearing both military garb and performing the role of making life and death decisions. I’m not sure if this is intentional, but it’s what I first thought of when I saw it.

Here is the link to all the galleries of the Army’s official military artists at the U.S. Center for Military History. Viewing the other artist’s works is well worth the click.

Here’s a previous post I wrote on Combat Art for Veteran’s Day last year and another post on The Art of Camouflage.

Another mention regarding Eric Grohe’s military mural, Liberty Remembers, the artist is described in this article as still being moved even though his public art is now 10 years old.

eric-grohe-mural via Bucyrus Telegraph Forum, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Liberty Remembers, mural by Eric Grohe via Bucyrus Telegraph Forum

Ocean City, Maryland has a new Veteran’s Day Mural by Carla Migliaccio.

Ocean-City_veterans mural via Shore News Today, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Ocean City Veterans Mural by Carla Migliaccio via Shore News Today

Since I haven’t added music here in a while, here’s a little Talking Heads, Life During Wartime, to Kick Start the Weekend. I always feel like I should be doing an aerobic exercise when listening to this music. As it turns out, I probably was when dancing to it in college but now,  just watching the video wears me out!


Artistic Self Rating

I never thought of lists and self-rating charts as being artistic but they give you great insight into the creative minds of some artists.

While on vacation last weekend, I will be doing some sketching and reflecting so maybe these artistic charts will provide some inspiration — of course I’m writing this post in advance so we’ll see if ideas actual get enacted.

Adolf Konrad's graphic packing list, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Adolf Konrad's graphic packing list, Dec. 16, 1973. via The Atlantic

Harry-Bertoia_Sefl-rating-graph via The Atlantic, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Harry-Bertoia_Sefl-rating-graph via The Atlantic

Well, some sketching did get enacted and how appropriate that this post with this title would be my 500th. I don’t know but that’s a lot of posts and maybe worthy of retirement soon…

Cabin in the woods 1 sketch by C. Ashley Spencer, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Cabin in the woods 1 sketch by C. Ashley Spencer


Cabin in the woods 2 sketch by C. Ashley Spencer, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Cabin in the woods 2 sketch by C. Ashley Spencer,

Unfortunately I couldn’t find any videos out there of Aaron Neville singing Respect Yourself but you’ll have to just listen here and it might help to Kick Start the Weekend.

A Million Little Pictures

Is an idea that came out of The Sketchbook Project, which has already passed the deadline in which to become involved (November 15th 2010). It’s a program where anyone can sign up to receive a sketchbook, where they sketch daily for a certain time period and then submit their drawings to be a part of a traveling art show. The exhibit starts touring in Brooklyn on February 19 and then continues around the country into the summer. This is a similar idea to Urban Sketchers but it is open to all and features and exhibition more than a community.

The Sketchbook_Project as seen on Art Is Everywhere

A Million Little Pictures is the same premise by the same organizers but instead uses photos from a disposable camera, which is sent upon signing up. Pictures are taken daily and then submitted. Anyone can enter and everyone is guaranteed at least one submission in a traveling photo exhibit. Act fast, as the deadline is March 31st and then the Photomobile exhibition starts traveling in the fall! I’ve added these two links to my blogroll, in case you want to check back on their sites for updates.

A Million Little Pictures as seen on Art Is Everywhere

A few more artistic opportunities, include Brooklyn Art Project is open to all artists of all nationalities to download and color this graphic below (at their link provided). Fold it and take creative pictures with it. Submission deadline is May 5, 2011. The most creative 100 selected by the staff will be published on a website.

Brooklyn-Art-Project, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Finally, submissions for the Cleveland Arts Prize have already passed in December but stay tuned for their announcement of the four winners, who will be awarded cash prizes of $5,000 each for their submissions in either: literature, visual arts, design, and music and dance. The awards gala is Tuesday, June 28th at The Cleveland Museum of Art.

Cleveland Arts Project as seen on Art is Everywhere

The Public Art Network is also a resourceful place to check for ongoing public art opportunities.

Public-Arts-Network, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

For a little different type of music to Kick-Start you Weekend, here’s some interactive music by Play the Music at the G-Shock event in Madrid in September 2010. If you view all their videos, you’ll see that they are all interactively made with light from a flashlight pointing on selected images to creat the music.

G-Shock_Building Music by Play the Music, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

G-Shock by Play the Music. Links to video

Designer Show House for the Richmond Symphony Orchestra

Rothesay, the Richmond Symphony Orchestra League’s Designer Show House, is well worth the trip. My husband and I took a four hour round trip  road trip to Richmond on a crisp, fall-like Sunday to view Mary Douglas Drysdale’s room in the RSOL Designer Show House. We arrived early to meet Mary there so we could take some pictures.  Getting there before it opened to the public, allowed us to meet the day crew captain and volunteer staff and help them by turning on all of the lights in all of the rooms. There were so many rooms, that I lost count. You could tell it’s an older house, come to life with all the renovated interior design, partly because of the “old school” punch light switches. Georgie, the caged finch in the Morning Hall, which was designed by Karen Farrow and Jonathan Williams, was chirping away, happy to be greeting people. There was some necessary vacuuming and then before we knew it the house was abuzz with visitors.

RSO_Rothesay-back_0046_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Back view of Rothesay. Photos by C. Ashley Spencer

We still had time to take a few preliminary angle shots for Mary in anticipation of the photo shoot next weekend.

1RSO-MDD_0024_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Photos of Mary Douglas Drysdale’s Living Room Design at Rothesay

2RSO_MDD_0028_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

3RSO_MDD_0025_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

When Mary arrived, she went right to work explaining her room to a group of visitors. She reiterated what she had explained to us that her objective in the room was to combine traditional elements with modern, all in a balanced, sustainable room. The geometric floor pattern that Mary designed is contemporary but repeats the hexagonal shape found on the 18th century American piece and the stenciled bell flower harkens to a well known folk-life motif.

9RSO_MDD_0052_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Geometric pattern in the floor repeats the pattern in 18th century piece

The carved Great Dane above the fireplace by Mark Perry, a well known folk-life artist, was carved just for this space. Its stark dark contrast compared with the subtle decorative finish of the cream walls lends a modern feel.

4RSO_MDD_0051_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

The two large portrait photographs by Max Hirshfield, purposely captured in one shot, serve as bold injections of color as well as unusual pairings with traditional, Cuban, folk-like furniture. These photos have an uncanny look of hyper realistic paintings.

7RSO_MDD_056_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls8RSO_MDD_0057_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

Mary carries the subtle geometric patterning into the stenciling below the crown molding and with patterning on the drapes. The textiles for the furniture and curtains are made of the softest alpaca and linen and striking side tables are made from reclaimed river wood, all proving sustainability can be beautiful.

5RSO_MDD_0026_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

Mary is a master of proportion and balance. What I like about her work is it unveils itself like a well written story with subtle yet sublime reflections that reveal themselves through discovery; however, she has thought of them all in advance. Like a true spatial architect she works with the foundation and presents the details with significance.

6RSO_MDD_0030_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

We were able to grab a coffee, talk with more volunteers about where to go afterwards (that pleasant and gracious Southern hospitality just comes naturally in Richmond) and then we took in the spectacular grounds with the beautiful vista of the James River. I had a little time to do a quick 5 min sketch.

Rothesay_Bridge_0043_casartblog on Slipcovers for you wals
Rothesay grounds looking over the James River & Bridge
Rothesay_JamesRiver_0045_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Rothesay. Overlooking the James River.
Rothesay_JamesRiverSketch_CAS_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Quick sketch of James River Vista
Rothesay_Terrace_0048_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Terrace — drawing spot

Rothesay_Fountain_0047_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

Fortunately, we also had a chance to see the informative movie that the RSOL had produced about the history or Rothesay leading up to the present owners, George and Anne Anderson. Rothesay is an 8 acre estate built in the grand English Tudor tradition. However, the original house looked quite different, complete with a large tower at the entrance. It was built by Jonathan Bryan in 1913, brother of  John Stewart Bryan a newspaper publisher, and named for their grandfather’s hometown in the Isle of Bute in Scotland. Family friend, Charles Gillette, a well known landscape architect completed the landscape design. After his brother’s death in 1933, John Stewart Bryan sold the house to Edward and Isabel Anderson. Isabel, herself an accomplished pianist, was also one of the founding members and patrons of the Richmond Symphony Orchestra, so it is very fitting that her house is a part of this designer tradition today for the RSOL. It is her son, George and his English born wife, Anne, who presently hold ownership of the house and their daughter, Randy Trainor, coincidentally enough, is the interior designer who’s work is in the library. Music evidently was constant while growing up through generations in the house.

RSO_Library_0036_csartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Study and colored books by Blaise Adams & David Barden

Here are few more pictures of some of the other designers’ marvelous rooms. There are 32 interior designers, 28 interior spaces, 12 landscape designers for 14 exterior vignettes. Every one of them had a different feel, which makes this Show House so interesting. Go quickly, it closes after next weekend, on October 11th.

RSO_Tobie Fairley_EntryHall_0029_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Tobie Fairley’s Entrance Hall

RSO_Fairley_EntryHall_0031_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

RSO_Stoner_DiningRm_0035_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Jennifer Stoner’s Dining Room

The designers’ inspiration in the sunroom below was to highlight the fretwork to make  the room feel as if one was inside a Chines Porcelain jar.

RSO_Malone-Morgan_Sunroom_John-Magor_photo_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Sunroom by Kevin Malone & Kathy Morgan. Photography by John Magor
RSO_Malone-Morgan_Sunroom_0042_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Sunroom (with little sun). Photo by C. Ashle Spencer

I couldn’t help but get a kick out of the David [Hick’s] & Kelly [Wearstler’s] imagined romance spaces for the loft by Kat and Mike Liebschwager. I actually was drawn to the Kelly room before I knew the significance. How clever.

RSO_UpstairsAlcove_0039_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls
Imaginary romance loft space by Kat & Mike Liebschwager

The bamboo upon leaving also struck me as enchanted.
Rothesay_Bamboo_casartblog on Slipcovers for your walls

Richmond is a perfect spot to take in some fall color and while there, I’d recommend the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, and dining at the Water Grill, where we lucked out in finding it in Carytown and had a delicious and reasonably priced meal. A wonderful way to top of a great adventure.

Water Grill  on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog

WaterGrill on Slipcovers for your walls, casartblog


Sequoia has many meanings. It mostly calls to mind the beautiful Redwood Trees in sunny California, the state from which my husband and oldest son just returned. This is also the tree that my father-in-law has growing in his front yard. Needless to say, it is the largest tree on the street, if not in the beach area and may soon be the largest (because it’s still growing), if not only Sequoia, in Rhode Island.

sequoia-11 image via, Art is Everywhere blog

sequoia tree image via

I wonder if his will get big enough to drive a car through? Visiting the Redwoods in Yosemite as a child, I always thought this ability was pretty remarkable.

sequoia image via, on Art Is Everywhere

mage via

The [USS] Sequoia is also the name of the the Presidential Yacht — until it was sold to a private owner and then repurchased by the US Government to be used for event rentals — when not being used by The President and his family. A little side note:  the private owner of this glamorous yacht purchased an auction item to use my illustration services nearly 25 years ago. We coordinated but unfortunately, he never used it.

USS Sequoia via People. Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais, on Art Is Everywhere blog

USS Sequoia via People. Photo by Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Even though these meanings have some personal significance to me, the first thing I think of is Sequoia restaurant located at the Georgetown’s Waterfront. This is where Peter and I like to go on glorious days like this recent weekend, where we sat out on the multi-tiered patio with our beers and relaxing with a pot of jumbo shrimp to peel and eat. It was sunny, about 80 degrees tops with a nice beach-like breeze. Perfect. Many others were doing the same thing, including the wedding party that had rented out the interior just so we could enjoy fun 80’s music. How nice of them. By the way, you can enjoy music by Fred Astaire and Dean Martin and others through their website.


The Waterfront via Sequoia Restaurant

Sequoia Restaurant -interior_Art Is Everywhere blog

The Interior of Sequoia via Sequoia Restaurant

This table, right in front of the column is where we celebrated Piers’ 18th birthday for an early dinner four years ago.

I’ve been saving this ad for Sequoia because I love the blue butterflies that they have added. They are gorgeous and maybe that is because I am partial to blue butterflies.

Sequoia Ad_Art Is Everywhere blog

The harbor is truly magical at night. Here’s a quick sketch that I did near this location from the patio (Mezz bar) on the left but looking in the other direction — opposite of the Kennedy Center and across the Potomac toward Rosslyn. It was late afternoon, so hopefully you can see the boats because there were many kayakers and boaters on the Potomac and others pulling up to dock. Maybe they were coming up for happy hour like we were. How often can you celebrate a gorgeous day like this?

Sketch of Sequoia's Mezz Patio Bar by C. Ashley Spencer, Art Is Everywhere

Sketch of Sequoia’s Mezz Patio Bar by C. Ashley Spencer

Because we are attending an event tonight, Supper Under The Stars,  in our own neighborhood at The King Street Gardens Park (the second post that started my blog and the organization from which I recently “retired” after 7 years of affiliation, even though I’ll still be involved), I think some tropical music is in order to Kick-Start the Weekend. But first a little smooth jazz to get it started, from Al Williams, tonight’s performer.

Supper Under the Stars_via OTBA, on Art Is Everywhere blog

And then let’s kick it up a notch with Tropicallia by Beck:


I love to sketch and I do draw a lot of artwork for my business. I just haven’t had the time to do a lot of sketching lately. Ideally, I should be doing at least one sketch a day. I was inspired to get back into it and while on vacation when I saw the blog Urban Sketchers. This is fantastic! It’s not just urban sites but sketches of all different locations, for example: a view of the cabin while seated inside an airplane, people at a concert, landscapes and buildings and the First International Portland Urban Sketchers Symposium (I’m glad to know about this).

In airplane to Portland by Kumi Matsukawa, via Urban Sketchers, seen on Art Is Everywhere

In airplane to Portland by Kumi Matsukawa, via Urban Sketchers

Sketching Sohren by RobCarey, via Urban Sketchers, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Sketching Sohren by RobCarey, via Urban Sketchers

Individual artists posts their entries with their sketches. This DeBarge Music entry, “The first thing I notice about classical music is the second it starts playing, everyone falls asleep,”  about attending a concert by Tommy Kane cracked me up, because it’s so true — what I notice when I’m not falling asleep myself. Of course sketching those who are listening/falling asleep will keep you awake.

audienceLO by TommyKane, via Urban Sketchers, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

audienceLO by TommyKane, via Urban Sketchers

And these miniature oil painting/ sketches in London by Adebanji Alade are pretty exquisite.

Adebanji Alade, London, oil sketches, via Urban Sketchers, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Adebanji Alade, London, oil sketches, via Urban Sketchers

Adebanji Alade, London, oil sketches, via Urban Sketchers, as seen on Art Is Everywhere

Adebanji Alade, London, oil sketches, via Urban Sketchers

This is from the About page:

This blog features sketches and often equally colorful stories behind the scenes by 100 invited artists correspondents in more than 30 countries around the world. Some are architects and illustrators, others are graphic designers, web developers, painters or educators, all sharing the same passion for drawing on location.

This is one for my blogroll. I’m off to go sketch now…

If you’re looking to make a sketchbook or a book journal, Roz Stendahl tells you how on the Paper Choice post on Roz Wound Up. Also a member of the Urban Sketchers, btw.

Mother’s Day Tribute

It was a working weekend for me and my husband so I didn't get to spend Mother's Day as I would like, plus it's a bittersweet celebration for me for me to remember from 2 years past — just seems like yesterday. Although, I did get to paint a painting in tribute to my mother. It is after one of the camellias in her New Orleans garden. I think it's name is Cherries Jubilee — how appropriately Southern. She's off traveling in Tunisia and fortunately she was able to see this before leaving. As we have it up now on the Casart coverings site as one of many new Botanical designs that we will be unveiling over the next weeks.



More can be found about camellias on the American Camellia Association's website.

Cherries Jubiliee via American Camellia Society

While I'm thinking of gardens, here's a delightful post on DC by Design regarding the Georgetown Garden Tour. I just loved that Georgian style gazebo at Evermay Estate. It's up for sale for only 29.5 million dollars!

Evermay-Georgian-Temple-001. Photo by Stu Estler, courtesy DC by Design blog

Meanwhile, in my peasant garden my peonies are popping and are just glorious. They are the most abundant and fragrant this year. I love it when flowers that I've planted bloom without me doing a thing. A maintenance free garden is blessing.



Here's my take on a simplified peony for Casart coverings. Clicking on the peony below will take you to the casartblog post regarding ways to use flowers in design.



My neighbor gave me this rose after Dante died and it blooms more beautifully each year.

20 year Tribute

This is a hard post to write, especially before the fact, so I couldn’t do it last night. I am trying to emotionally prepare myself for having to put our 20 year old cat, Dolce, to sleep. Dante, our 13 year old cat, died around this time last year on his own at home, but it was painful. I thought Dolce would go before him, but after throwing an embolism at the vets just from getting a urine sample last week, I brought her home and she perked up and even walked down and up the basement stairs. She’s in renal failure but she continues to defy all odds. Our vet wanted me to put her down right then and there but I felt that after living 20 years, she deserved to die at home. Luck has been on her side. When I saw her at the pound she was in a litter of three kittens but I couldn’t take more than one. When I went back to pick her up the next day, they had put the other two to sleep because they had colds. She is my family’s first pet — almost as old as my oldest son. We’re having another vet who makes house calls come by today. We’ve comforted her this past week and I even asked one of my photoshop gurus to come by with his wife, who runs a pet sitting service, to help me administer fluids. They were lifesavers. The bag is now empty but Dolce continues to eat tuna, although she’s starting to turn away, and she’s drinking water. Her body is shutting down and she can barely walk. She looks like she’s just had enough. I have a lot of respect for her will to live and strength. She’s never been a complainer. In fact, we named her for her mild temperament. She’s transformed from a somewhat scared pound cat to an independent, wise, old lady cat. I’ll be sad without her keeping me company, but it is in her best interest to stop her misery. It’s one of the hardest decisions to make as a pet owner. Although we will no longer have any pets when she is gone, except our leporinus fish — just not the same, and I will be outnumbered by males in the house, I will continue to reflect affectionately on her many years of companionship and joy that she’s brought our family. It’s hard to believe this time is finally here.

Dolce as a kitten. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

dolce by water. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

She taught our younger cat how to drink from the watering can. I had just happened to leave it filled from watering the plants and she found this to be a great opportunity. I left it filled all the time thereafter.

My son Jackson took some great photos of her. He’s got the creative eye.

dolce. Photo by Jackson Spencer

dolce on sofa. Photo by Jackson Spencer

dolce -- I\'ve had it look. Photo by Jackson Spencer

dolce sleeping. Photo by C. Ashley Spencer

dolce-sketch by C. Ashley Spencer

It’s a very quiet and still day…doves cooing, birds chirping. You can sense spring is right around the corner, but it’s about to rain. There is a solemness in the air that just makes you want to appreciate the moment. It’s called Peace.

Traditional Sketches

After my last two posts on typewriter and computer art, I thought it would be wise to go back to the root — traditional sketches. As much as computer art can create something new from an original, you need the original first. In my search for “art is everywhere,” I’ve found a cool blog, the Creative Perch with a weekly post about Art is Everywhere and it was here that I saw the Youtube video below of Chris Dent’s work @ Detour Exhibition (from votredame in 2006) regarding traditional sketches on moleskin notepads. These make great sketchbooks and I usually have one with me when I’m traveling because they are smaller than my original sketchbook and they accept pen and ink sketches exceptionally well.

And here’s another version using the notebook horizontally for watercolors (from Simonetta Capecchi’s notebook @ Detour Exhibition on YouTube by votredame in 2006).

Happy weekend and where did January go?

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