Bamboo Pens

20130721-143318.jpgMany times I have said, simple things can bring me so much pleasure. I just discovered bamboo pens to use with liquid ink. Not calligraphy ink pens bought from a store, but homemade, ink pens made from dried bamboo! My discovery started when I bought a book named, One Drawing a Day by Veronica Lawlor. I love this book because it encourages me to get back into my creative state of mind and draw.

One of the first exercises in the work book is painting a picture using bamboo pens. Even though I have many different types of calligraphy pens, I didn’t have any pens made out of bamboo lying around my house. In fact, I never even heard of them. I knew about quill pens; you know, the ink nib with the long feather on top (I bought plenty of those as a teen). Venturing further and having to look it up on the internet, I learned about this traditional Japanese and Arabic art of using bamboo reed pens for calligraphy and how to make them yourself. How fun to create a pen made from a bamboo plant!

I love glass bottles of ink with their rich colors and have lots of them in my art storage for calligraphy and drawing. But, since I didn’t have a bamboo pen on hand, I would need to create one for the project from my book. I went into my garden to find some old, dried bamboo sticks I remembered seeing lying around, brought them inside, found my paring knife and proceeded to carve the bamboo with wells to hold the ink and wooden nibs on both ends. They are so easy to make! Mine may not be perfect but they work beautifully and I love them. The art really does take on a new, ‘Look‘ and I have an art tool which is ancient, but to me, brand new! The nice flow of ink makes it feel more like painting instead of drawing. So cool!

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So Who Planted the Mangrove Tree?

My favorite lake, close to home is Lake Sonoma. On the north tributary end of the lake is Yorty Creek which boasts, the only beach on the lake and BBQ pits. We have been traveling the long, windy and bumpy dirt road to the lake for about twenty years now.

Children in tow, plus the dog, kayak and fishing pole packed to the gills (pardon the pun) with beach everything, we hang out on the sandy beach, relax and unwind. Once everyone’s happily playing in the water or eating I sufficiently relax getting into my zen, creative mode and take pictures and/or draw the surrounding scenery.

Huge oak trees dot the golden, grassy hills alternating with pine trees on the far end of the hills that slope down on both sides of the blue lake. It’s beautiful, surreal and I love it here. Interesting to me is the smallish tree on the left side of the lake sitting alone on the edge of the water so sweetly, a mangrove tree. Where did it come from and who planted it? This is not a tree indigenous to Northern California. I don’t see any other mangrove trees lining the water’s edge. Just one lonely, not from around here, mangrove tree with long spindly curved trunks and a little umbrella overshadowing its base. A tree that you would see in some far away tropical island ten times its size.

I’ve been drawing the trees in the area for some time now and I know it wasn’t there before. The mangrove tree is quite young, about three years old I guess to myself. But, there it is. I walked along the dirt path winding along the side of the lake to take a look at it in the scorching heat and ended up enjoying its tiny bit of shade. Fishermen cherish the canopy of leaves for its shade to be sure. It’s the only tree around on the dusty pathway where the heat is usually ninety or above during the summer. I sat under it, alone too, enjoying its welcoming comfort. Little finches graced its green foliage and flew off in unison together happy also for its presence. I felt at peace with the world. Who planted it or where it came from, I’ll never know. I am grateful for the mangrove tree, its beauty alone on the far side of the lake.

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My Trip to Italy and France

Hi, Thank you Sonoma Harvest, aka Lynda for letting me blog today about our trip. My family and I spent ten days in Europe. The first stop was to Rome and Frascati, Italy. Then we spent time in Paris, France. Here are pictures from our journey. Bb

Roman Ruins:

Our trip to Rome was primarily for a sporting event, however getting the chance to visit the Coliseum, the Pantheon and the Forum and other ruins were but a few of the sites we gazed upon while contemplating what great people built them and what tragic events led to the fall of the Roman Empire. That said, it is still unbelievably beautiful and lends great thought to the imagination of who could create such colossal architecture and what will become of all that we know now around us in our great civilization today.
In the end, what remains are stories told by historians, paintings left in the Vatican, and ruins and relics of yesteryear. As you look upon these photos think of what you see around you today, be thankful, and realize that all that is green is not here to stay…and soon it too will fade away…leaving only memories.

Frascati Fresh:

Frascati is a village of gastronomic delight, more than what feeds the appetite and not less than what feeds the soul. Walking around the courtyard in front of the church in the city center or along the promenade that over looks Rome one gets the sense of walking back in time where three generations of Italian families have found a way to stave off the fast-paced fury of life that consumes most of us on a daily basis-no multimedia, iPod, iPad, computer, laptop, notebook, cell phone or television is needed here. Certainly there is no need for texting either. No, all you need in Frascati are a few euros, a fresh crepe with Nutella from the midnight vendor, or a gelato and a smile, and the time to watch their elders smoke cigars, while the teenagers move around the square sizing each other up, a first glance, a first kiss, or just hanging around, eyeing one another, all the while the young children scurry about making up games to play while the tourists meander around them obliviously disconnected from the bond that allows this to happen all at once…

Yes-spending time in Frascati will help you remember, or not if you never experienced it, what it used to be like when people enjoyed spending time with each other, three generations, all in the same house, and in this case the same village, in a warm winter night with laughter in the air….

Parisian Pleasure:

Paris certainly is busy, and offers many places to visit, but what stands out among the other places to visit is the Rue Mouffetard, in the Latin Quarter, a place for young writers, lovers, artisans, paysans, Parisians, tourists and the like.
What makes Rue Mouffetard special is not the dining pleasure and patisseries on every corner, which are beyond the norm of what culinary delights cross the palate, but a sense of walking into one of Monet’s impressionist paintings. Every light, store front, alleyway, bicyclist, and passer-by could be the next impression imbued on your mind which becomes a memory not to be forgotten.

Louvre Love:

If you are a romantic then you must spend some time in the Louvre where you will fall in love with the artists ability to capture every breadth and brush stroke of beauty that crossed their sight.
Art is an imitation of life, and life is present in art!
Bb