Monthly Archives: July 2012

Day # 25 – HEART

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Photo a Day – JULY

Day # 25 – HEART

Stacy Alexander – 2012

This is a mixed media mosaic heart that I made a few years back, from found objects.  I made an entire series of these and sold almost all of them within hours after my show opened.  This was my favorite.  I saved it for our home.   An important aspect of my work is recycling and saving things from having to go into landfills.

Day # 24 – Stranger

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Photo a Day – JULY

Day # 24 – STRANGER

Stacy Alexander – 2012

I have seen this woman, upon occasion, in San Francisco.  Each time I have seen her, I have had my camera in hand, so this isn’t the only shot  I have of her.  (I carry my camera with me most of the time wherever I go…)   She has always struck me as a walking piece of art.  When she passed in front of this Henry Moore sculpture,  I thought to myself, “Ahh! PERFECT!”   I only wish I’d had my wide angle lens!

Day #23 – Mirror

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Photo a day – JULY

Day #23 – Mirror

Stacy Alexander

 

This is a mirror that I made from recycled glass and recycled jewelry on a wooden substrate.  I *cannot* take a good reflective photo, for the life of me….so I should be embarrassed about all of the smudges and what have you, on the shiny surfaces.  The thing is, however….I’m not a perfectionist….so I don’t really care.  I learned long ago that no person and no thing is perfect.   Helped me to relax, once I had that realization.    🙂

Aside

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Your Skin Texture

Smoking reduces the production of collagen and elastin up to 40%, some reports state. This means skin starts to thin out, which leads to premature sagging, wrinkles, and fine lines. Deep lines and wrinkles usually form around the eyes and the mouth area, thanks to the constant squinting from smoke irritation, and puckering of the lips when inhaling a cigarette. According to some studies by SkincarePhysicians.com, smokers develop premature signs of aging much sooner than a non-smoker, even as young as 20 years old. “Facial wrinkling, while not yet visible, can be seen under a microscope.” Overall, because of it’s thousands of toxins going directly into your body from a single cigarette, your overall complexion can have a yellow, sullen, leathery texture – so attractive!

Aged Eye Area

Because smoking damages the cells around the eyes, you can not only expect wrinkles and lines, but also sucken eyes with dark eye circles. This is especially common with chain smokers.  Ewwwwww.  LOOK at those crows feet and sagging brows!

Wrinkled, Shriveled Lips

Again, because smoking zaps all the collagen and elastin from your skin, your lips suffer too. Lips can become wrinkled and look shriveled. The skin around the mouth, again, will eventually lead to deep, dark lines and wrinkles because of the constant puckering of your lips….and you know?  When they smile, it makes some of them look like they have bucked teeth.

Stained Teeth

Smoking stains the teeth. Smokers are also more likely to loose teeth, have plaque buildup, and lose part of the jawbone that helps keep their teeth in place – scary!

Lifeless Hair

Smokers are up to four times more likely to have these problems with their hair, thanks to the chemicals in cigarettes. They starve your hair of oxygen and make it dull, lifeless and brittle, and in the long run contributes to hair loss, premature graying, and balding.  A lot of them have to keep their hair cropped short for that very reason.

Appearance of an Aged Body

Your fingers will eventually get stained by a beautiful yellow tinge, and recent studies from the Research in Archives of Dermatology stated that smoking ages skin all across the body, especially sagging in the upper inner arms.

‘Aroma’

No one can deny the smell smoking causes. Smokers STINK.   Most of them are unaware of this fact, but it is, indeed, a fact.  My friend’s girlfriend smokes. One of the predominant things he says about her is that she smells bad, and he has a hard time hiding his distaste.

Low IQ?!

… And as if that’s not bad enough, studies show you may be a little dumber than the rest of us. Not exactly something you’d like advertised about yourself, huh?  …well…SOME of you have demonstrated this fact quite openly…but again….another story for another time.

In conclusion, smoking blesses you with some very attractive physical traits! But seriously – if that doesn’t make you want to quit ASAP, Amanda Sandford of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) sums it perfectly: “No amount of anti-ageing cream will remove the wrinkles caused by cigarettes, so the best way for smokers to avoid the wrinkled prune look is to stop.”

Want to read a study that was conducted by scientists who support the contention that smokers have lower IQs than people that do not smoke?  CLICK HERE! 

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Smoking is VERY Glamorous!

Day #22 – Upside Down

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Photo a day – July

Day #22 – Upside Down

I do not get credit for this photograph, nor do I know whom to credit for taking it.  I just found it on the web.  I am terribly busy writing a long article today, and I have a strict deadline, so no time to go out and shoot pics.  Sorry.

I sure hope the horse and rider are ok! 

The Delaine Doll

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delaine hackney

Delaine is one of my  closest friends in the Bay Area.  We worked together and did many fun social things together during the years when I lived there full time, and we still try to get together whenever we can.  I chose the photo of her,  because it is so aptly demonstrative of Delaine’s  beautiful smile.   This shot was taken outside a gallery where I was showing, on opening night.

Delaine is a fabulous  artist herself.   She specializes in pet portraits and also teaches mosaics and works on large commercial installations.

One year, I decided to make a funny Delaine doll to give to her for her birthday.  I came up with a pattern, which was then cut from plywood.  I was working with recycled materials, and had some green suede and some fabric, which I made into a costume.  Quantities were small, which explains the skimpy costume….but it’s the thought that counts, right?

I used a photo transfer technique to put Delaine’s smiling face on the head piece.  Then, i put some manufactured doll hair around the face and gave it a haircut to seem more realistic.  I  secured it with a makeshift hat.  Added some paint here and some glue there…put all the pieces together, and this is what resulted:

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The piece is about 3.5′ tall.   We all got a big laugh out of the  “Delaine Action Figure”.   The last time I was in her studio, it was still hanging on the door.  🙂   If you would care to read more about Delaine and her art, please see this entry that I made on my art blog.  It is rather dated, but it still gives a good overview of the kind of work that she does:  http://stacyalexander.blogspot.com/2008/03/delaine-hackney-mosaic-artist.html

The Creation of a Garden Throne

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This is a video of our family friend, Brent, applying a special sculpting compound that he invented called, “Darjit!”.  The product is made of recycled phone books, clay, water, acrylic paint and a little magic.  It is named after Brent’s mom, Dhaj, who is also a friend.  They are from New Zealand, but Brent lives in a treehouse in the Santa Cruz mountains part of the time, and some of the time he lives in a magnificent cottage that he built into the side of the mountain.   My husband and I are in the planning stages of making a documentary film about him.

This is a picture of the two of us working on creating my Darjit! garden throne.  We sort of made up the architecture as we went along.  John helped, too.  It was so much fun!

I started with an old, broken down plastic lawn chair.  Brent applied steel mesh and rebar to make the chair taller and to give it some shape.  We later added some crooked cone shapes around the perimeter.  We just played and tried different things.  There was a lot of laughing and story telling.  It was a good time.

This is what it looked like when we started to add the first coat of Darjit!  At this point, I was thinking it was pretty hopeless.   Brent kept assuring me that it would look fine as soon as we applied the second coat.    After the first coat was on, we left it overnight to dry.

This is a side view.  The mosaic in the background is one that I worked on with world famous artist, Isaiah Zagar.  If you aren’t familiar with him, google his name.  He was featured in the award-winning film, “In a Dream” which I highly recommend.  Compelling story that really captures the Zagar family. 

For awhile,  my handsome son, Myles, went to live in a yurt on the compound where Brent lived, at the time, in the Santa Cruz mountains.  Brent taught Myles how to make Darjit! and they created some amazing, amazing things there.  Then, Myles became a sculpture teacher.  This is a picture of him with one of his students.

This is the front view of my garden throne.  The large tile at the top was hand made by Isaiah Zagar and given to me as a gift when he and his wife, Julia, stayed in our Oakland loft with us for 5 days while Isaiah taught a mural making class.

This is the back of the throne.  Brent talked me into giving it a “spine” and small, stubby “tail”.  I embedded gems in it as well.

This is a picture of our granddaughter, Maya, who is standing in front of a magnificent dragon that the guys made at the compound in Santa Cruz.  Its eyes light up when a car approaches!

Knowing Brent was a highlight of our life in the Bay Area.   We stay in touch and try to get together whenever we can.   He’s a great guy and our family loves him a lot.

Concentrate

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Regardless of who you are or where you are in the world, please look at the above image and concentrate on healing energy.  Please know that I have a friend who needs it right now.  Please help me  direct it his way.     

That is all.

Thank you.                                   

Day # 21 – 9:00

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Photo a day – JULY

Day #21 – 9:00 a.m.

Stacy Alexander

Today is an overcast, cool and beautiful day.  I took the above photo at precisely 9:00 a.m.  It is the view of the window in my office where I am spending many, many hours, working away on some mammoth projects that I received all at once.  The work is so monumental that, at times, I feel as though I abjure ambition to create art or do the other things that keep me busy, such as studying guitar or working in the yard.  At times, in fact, I feel tied to this computer in an abandonment of spontaneity.  This must change soon, ‘else I’ll go mad.

I awaken very early each morning, and hit the hot java.   I am totally addicted to coffee, and not in a good way.  Then, I either go for a long walk, or go to yoga class, or use my Wii Fit for a morning workout.  Usually, I will go through a guitar lesson online afterward, although I have had so much work to do lately, that my guitar practice (along with everything else) has fallen by the wayside.  Being the able strategist that I am, however, I usually manage to squeeze it all in, to some degree,  somehow.

These guitar guys that I’m studying with, really have their act together!   They start with beginning beginner guitar playing and progress through complex advanced lessons in every imaginable style of playing, from jazz to blues to rock to folk.    Everything is video taped and the lessons are seamless.  Students can progress in order or skip around on the site.  It truly is a marvelous thing and I enjoy it very much.  (I am madly in love with my new guitar already!) I make a soft, insidious plea to myself each morning, to be diligent and force myself to practice, but alas. This is not always the case.

The work that I am doing is tedious and technical….at least a lot of it is.  I am writing technical course descriptions for a Chinese company, and doing something similar for a Russian company.  Then, I am writing 3-4 very lengthy spiritual essays a week for some magazine, the name of which, I do not know, because I sell my stuff for full rights.  The latter job pays much better than the former two, but it involves much research and time.  Then, I am also doing copywriting, but it is less challenging, and I can fill my quota easily, by mid-morning.  It’s all a lot of work!

Does carrying a gun make you safer? (Is that a loaded question?) Research Suggests the Opposite

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This article reflects my position perfectly.  I have never been opposed to recreational handguns.  I would never own a gun myself, but I do not find fault with those who choose to do so.  However, if you are packing because you think it makes you safer, please think again.

Research suggests that it does not.  This has always been my opinion.  Now, I have something to substantiate it.  Please click the link below to read the article:

Does carrying a gun make you safer? Early research results suggest the opposite | cleveland.com.

Day # 19 – Animal/Insect/Pet

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Photo a Day – JULY

Day # 19 – Animal/Insect/Pet

Stacy Alexander – 2012

 

Dashiel was a shar pei that was part of our family back in the 90’s, when we lived in Houston.    Shortly after we adopted him, we found out that he had a kidney disease (Renal Amyloidosis) and that he was not expected to live more than 3 months.

I immediately went out and bought, “Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Cats and Dogs” and began making his food each day, according to Dr. Pitcairn’s recipes.  It took me hours a week to make the food and divide it into individual servings.  I froze them, and would set one serving out to thaw each morning, that I would give to him in the evening.  I would set another frozen serving out at night, and give that to him in the mornings.  The food consisted of rice and vitamins and herbs and a wee bit of meat, which was difficult for me to purchase, since I am a vegetarian, but he needed it, so I did.   Our vet told us that my doing this prolonged Dashiel’s life considerably.  He lived a lot longer than expected, and appeared to be happy and comfortable until those last days.

My husband and I do not have our animals euthanized when they grow old or become  ill.   They are real members of our family, and we wouldn’t do that to anyone else who was sick or old.   Instead, when we have pets that are clearly near the ends of their lives, we take off work and devote ourselves to them wholly, at the end.

In Dashiel’s case, we sat by his side for 3 days and read to him and stroked him and talked to him continually, around the clock.  We could both tell that he was comforted that we were there.  I don’t believe that even if an animal is in pain, it wants to die .  If it does….it will on its own.  I don’t believe in taking an animal to the vet to “put it out of its misery.”   In fact, I feel that doing this is more for the convenience of the owner than it is for the sake of the animal.  Please don’t send me a lot of hateful comments, as this is my belief.  You believe what you believe, and do what you need to do for your animals, and I won’t judge you.  This is just what my husband and I believe.   As he died, we both held Dashiel and told him that we loved him.  Those were the last words that he heard, and I know that he left this world a happy animal.

Day #13 – OPEN

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Photo a Day – JULY

Day #13 – OPEN

Stacy Alexander  ©2012

In this picture, I was standing inside the enclosure, about 2′ away from the bear.  He wanted out.  I didn’t blame him.  I would have let him out, if I could have.