Thursday, March 25, 2010

Cerulean Gypsy Ramble

Wow, are these artists talented or what! I love to see other artists work and find out the hows, whats and whys of their work. I been inspired by each one of them. They make me strive harder and reach deeper into myself to find what is hiding in me. These artists prove to me that we each have something to say and say it in different ways. I will keep sharing with you, the people, the art and, the inspiration that moves me. I hope you like it. Along the way I will share my work with you also. I am working on some tutorials and lessons that I will share as well.

I took a much needed break from work and most of my responsibilities this week as Corina is here for her Spring Break. It's the greatest thing in the world to see her. She's growing like a weed and I love that she is so funny and has such a good sense about her. She's busting my chops about the Cash I owe her for her report card. $50.00. I told her that for every A she got $10m for B's, $5 and $0 for a C. D's she owes me $5 and if she gets an F she owe me $50. I am happy to say it's the best $50 bucks I've ever spent.

During my break from work I have still been blogging and working on my current project of photographing my jewelry and getting it up online. I've created a photobucket account, added 8 new pieces to my Etsy site. We are building a Cerulean Gypsy website for my jewelry and a Troy Hawkins Art site for my paintings and for my collage/assemblage work.

Here is a little preview of what I've been up to lately. Please check out my Etsy site, Cerulean Gypsy. The link is below.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

"I Make Pictures" Elisa Lazo de Valdez

Elisa Lazo de Valdez:
"Photographer, mother, wife, artist, marathon dreamer, peanut butter devotee. I make pictures."

Elisa was born in Lima, Peru in 1967. Named after a mermaid she was destined to have a magical view of the world around her. Initially photography was only a reference for her illustration projects but soon began to appeal to her inherent creativity. Having worked in the design and advertising field early in her career she is strongly drawn to the balance of graphic shapes and the strength of color and contrast.

Heavily influenced by the pagan aspects of Catholic iconography, mythology, the Art Deco and Art Nouveau aesthetic and the art of the Pre-Raphaelite movement her work reflects dark sensuality, mythology and luxury of form. A traditional film photographer for a decade, she embraced digital photography after experimenting with color and post production and realizing the medium translated her artistic vision perfectly. Her images are often described as dark fairytales, dream like and surreal and much of her work focuses on themes of being lost, hidden and disguised.

Was photography your first love?

No, drawing was my first love, and still is really. Photography was a required class in art school and for a long while I simply used my photos as reference material for my illustrations. At some point the photographs were complete images on their own.

What is your favorite Website or Blog besides your own? Your is stunning by the way.

That's a hard one, because there are my favorites based on content and my favorites based on design. I will have to say the sites that stick in my mind are for it's wonderfully surreal atmosphere and because she is one of my absolute favorite illustrators and because he is a genius.

Can you explain a little of how you prepare of a shot?

In essence I don't. The process involves myself absorbing ideas and inspiration and influences, normally from illustrators, and buying odds and ends and props and fabrics that I think are interesting or beautiful. When the model walks through the door I shuffle through my inventory of ideas and props in my mind at high speed and pretty much decide at that point what I want to shoot. I may have a half a dozen locations in mind and decide then dependent on the weather and the styling concept where we will shoot.

Where is your dream vacation destination?

Oooh - I would love to go back to Barcelona but at this point I will say Italy since I haven't been there and historically and artistically I would say it's a must for any creative person.

Tell us about the tarot project with your husband, Phillip Valdez.

That was something that started pretty much by accident about five years ago. He had made some paper masks for a Halloween Party we attended at the Seattle Art Museum on a whim having never crafted anything like that before and won first place. About five years after that I asked him to make a sun mask for a photo shoot with the idea it was a one time thing but the images were so great and I personally like to work in themed series that I decided the sun mask would be a great launching pad for the Tarot. Unfortunately that project had taken a back burner to other things so it may never see completion. Maybe when we retire!

Your photographs are unnervingly sensual. What element distinguishes your work from other photographers.

I am asked this question often and after pondering the answer for some time and getting feedback from other creative friends the best explanation I can give is that my photos are not about the person or body in the picture. The model is a prop just as the octopus or mask or paint is a prop and they exist on the same value level. It is not a photo of separate elements (beautiful woman and some props) but a cohesive image that integrates all the different elements into one idea. I also think lighting is the absolute most important part of an image be it natural or studio. I still think of myself as an illustrator and tend to shoot images that are very painterly.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Goddess Musings - Inspirations in Gold

Meet Artisan Goldsmith, Dianna Badalament.

Dianna professes, "Ancients myth's divine characters, symbolism and personification of nature her endless muses. Each of Dianna's collections is named after deities of Ancient Roman and Greek mythologies. Dianna says, "Inspiration for the jewelry comes from all aspects of nature, ancient stories, foreign lands, rock and roll and the gritty cities."

Dianna grew up in Long Island, New York. Some of her earliest memories were beachcombing and making talismans from these ocean treasures. She's also inspired by the thrill seeking adventures to the various havens and haunts of New York City.

After receiving her B.A. from the University of Albany, New York Dianna studied classical metalsmithing techniques at the Jewelry Arts Institute in New York as well as completing the Jewelry Technician Intensive Program at Revere Academy of the Jewelry Arts in San Francisco. Dianna worked at the Kristin Hanson Studio in Brooklyn, NY where she was a studio assistant and instructor. Currently, Dianna resides in beautiful Northern California continuing to live her dreams.

Tell us about the what it means to have a green metalworking studio.
Having a greener studio means making more environmentally friendly choices where ever you can, and, in all aspects of the business. I try and use recycled metals where ever possible and this includes recycling all my scrap metal. I use fair trade and conflict-free gemstones and I use less toxic chemicals in the studio: citric pickle, baking soda and Simple Green, for instance, instead of much harsher counterparts. I use recycled packing for shipping and my boxes are made of 100% recycled paper. I also follow Ethical Metalsmiths and the No Dirty Gold Campaign, as well as, the Green Jewelry Newsletter which always has new great tips on greening my studio.

Since you've named you pieces after ancient Greek Gods and Goddesses. which is your favorite?
Well, Diana, of course. Actually, I started reading Greek myths at young age and Artemis is the Greek counterpart of Diana. I loved the personification of all the natural elements of the world and the fact that even in ancient times people felt nature to be so awe-inspiring that it essentially had to be deified. Artemis/Diana was the powerful, moon goddess and archer who was content to follow her passions and didn’t need to be defined by what man or husband she was linked to, a rarity for mythology and ancient times. I also have to give a nod to Vulcan, the god of fire and smithery. He created various jewelry, thrones and armor for the gods of Mt. Olympus and even forged Zeus’ thunderbolts.

So has nature always been an inspirations to you?
Yes, always. I grew up in a little, beach town and loved everything beach related from a very young age, especially beachcombing. I always thought the most amazing things washed up on the shores. I’d make a point to look for scallop shells with little holes at the base for ready- made natural, jewelry. But, all nature is an inspiration to me; animals, celestial bodies, thunderstorms, trees and plants to name a few.

What's your favorite book?
I love books on all topics and I’m pretty often wowed at the way they guide you to an alternate perspective or a learning experience. That being said, I’ll have to go with the classic “Giving Tree”by Shel Silverstein. It’s simple, elegant, always relevant and always moving.

Has your work changed since the you moved to California?
My work is constantly evolving and I always want to pursue new designs, techniques and ideas. I think the inspiration to draw from is vast in California because you have such diverse elements, rocky mountains, beach, wine country and redwood forests all so close and accessible.

What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own that is not yours?
I actually have a lot of those! Most are from loved ones or I bought the piece at a time I wanted to mark or remember. Every piece has a story. My favorite is a silver bracelet made from domed Australian coins. My grandfather bought it for my grandmother when he was stationed in the Pacific during WWII. I never met him so I cherish this bracelet I inherited; it makes me think of John and Elizabeth, their story and their true love.

Visit Dianna's Web shop at:

No Dirty Gold:

Monday, March 22, 2010

From Biology to Baubles the Jewelry of Naama Brosh

Naama Brosh is an Israeli born jewelry and accessory designer and the creator of " Fauna & Flora". Naama uses forms and symbols from nature, mostly flowers, in intense colors. The final results are naïve, humorous and joyful.

As a child Naama played the guitar and ballet danced. In high school she became interested with Biology and went on to recieve her Ph.D. in Life Sciences from Israel's prestigious Weizmann Institute of Science. She specialized in the immune system. When Naama turned 40 she began to question her choice of careers. She took some good advice and read Julia Cameron's book 'The Artist's Way".

In the summer of 2004 after being fired from her job Naama begin making jewlery full time – and has never again worn a lab coat!
"Making jewelry was natural, says Naama. "I always had a great passion for jewelry and collected beads as well as inspirational images as long as can remember.

Q: You have a Ph.D in Life Sciences, how has that effected you artwork?
A: As an artist who is former life scientist I keep investigating, admiring and interpreting nature as a divine creation. As in the lab, my work is very accurate and precise.

Q: Everyone collects something. What kinds of collections do you have?
A: I collect beads, buttons and sea shells. I have several inspiration notebooks full of images cut from design and fashion magazines.

Q: Do you have a favorite place you buy the pieces for your jewelry?
A: I have some places here in Israel, keeping old bead stocks, and I also buy a lot in Ebay and in Etsy.

Q: If a piece of your jewelry came alive what would it say?
A: A living jewelry would laugh a healthy laugh!

Q: Tell us a little bit about Tel Aviv?
A: Tel Aviv is a metropolitan: the design and fashion center of Israel. It resides by the Mediterranean which inspires a sunny and vacation-like mood almost year round. The city has active scenes of music, dance, clubs, and young people.

Q: What's your single favorite color.
A: I probably could not do without RED!

Please visit Naama's ETSY site at: