Walnut Find

Look what I found! I think these are walnuts. The trees are about half a mile from my house, and appear to be part of an abandonned orchard. They border the U.C. Hansen Trust property on Saticoy Avenue which was sold last March to be developed into houses and condos. It will be sad to see these lovely old trees go.

If these are walnuts, the outer husks should give a deep brown color — almost black. I brought a bag of them home and I’m going to boil them up and see what I get.

Walnut trees Ventura

Walnut trees Ventura

Walnut trees Ventura

Walnut trees Ventura

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Autograph Request Scam

It looks like I have been elevated into the class of slightly well known people. I got my first autograph request scam letter today. No one seems to know what the scam is, but there are speculations. Identity theft? Collecting mass autographs hoping that some of them will someday become famous?  Here’s the letter, with the name and address of the sender omitted:

Dear Cassandra Tondro,

I am contacting you to tell you how much of a huge Fan I am of yours and your work. I know you are really busy but I am also writing to see if you can please mail me an autographed photo or anything else you can sign and send it to my address below. It would really make my day. I would love to say thank you for all the services you provide, everything you do for the community, and all the great entertainment you help to provide. I really look forward to hopefully receiving the picture from you. If nothing more I hope my words help to inspire you, motivate you, and drives you to continue working hard towards everything you set out to achieve. Thank you very much for your time and have a great day..

Sincerely Your Biggest Fan,

What do you think is going on here, and what’s the harm in sending a signed 4×6 card like the one below? The signature on the card is my art signature, and not my bank signature, so what could anyone do with it? Interesting request, for sure. Kind of made my day!

Business Card

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ArtWalk Ventura 2015

My friend Toby and I went to the Ventura ArtWalk today. Many art businesses and artist studios in the downtown area and west end have special exhibits and events, and other non-art businesses also show artwork for this annual event.

The City of Ventura sets up PODS in the streets where artists can show their work, and the PODS are great. They have translucent white plastic ceilings that make for perfect lighting.

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

The Refill Shoppe is showing art made from used tea bags in their windows that is really beautiful and unique.

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

The City set up a painted piano in one of the plazas downtown inviting anyone to come and play. This is Toby showing off her skills on the keys!

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

Fox Fine Jewelry is one of the more elegant venues in town for showing art. They change their shows every couple of months.

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

After finishing up in the downtown area, we headed out to Stoneworks Studio on the west end where they always have live music and the best brownies! Much to our surprise, they also had their own complete art fair going on in the empty back lot.

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

And that’s when the lightening, thunder and rain started. Rain in July is unheard of in Southern California, especially in a drought year. We had to wait it out several times, this time under the awning at Von’s Market.

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

We also got to see the new murals on Main Street right across from the Mission, and had a chance to talk with one of the artists, M.B. Hanrahan, who has painted many murals in the Ventura area.

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura 2015

ArtWalk Ventura continues tomorrow, from noon to 5pm. If you’re in the area, I highly recommend it.

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E Pluribus Unum

Here’s a sneak peak of two paintings from my newest body of work titled “E Pluribus Unum,” which is Latin for “out of many, one.” You probably know that it’s a motto of the United States, but it also refers to the belief that we are all one.

Both of these paintings are repurposed acrylic latex paint on canvas. The top piece is 20″ x 20″ and the painting below it is 20″ x 10″.

E Pluribus Unum painting

E Pluribus Unum painting

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Carpet of Flowers

I still don’t know what type of tree this is in my front yard, but it has tons of flowers this year, and the bees are loving it. When I walk outside I can hear a steady drone of bees buzzing around the tree.

Tree in front yard Ventura

Tree in front yard Ventura

As the flowers fall they create a beautiful cream colored carpet underneath the tree. I have to be careful where I walk, because the bees are also going after the flowers on the ground.

Tree in front yard Ventura

Tree in front yard Ventura

Do you have any idea what type of tree this is? It seems to be very happy here!

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Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

I went on a tour of the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden this afternoon led by Bob Sussman of Matilija Nursery in Moorpark. Matilija specializes in California native plants, and all of the plants at the 78-acre botanic garden are California natives. It’s a great place to see them in a naturalized setting, and I was getting ideas for my yard, which is mostly natives.

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

This is the Coastal Redwood section of the garden, where it’s cooler and there’s more moisture. My yard is big, but not big enough for these!

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

This is one of my favorite plants — Sacred Datura. They’re hard to find because the seeds are said to be hallucinogenic, so you can’t buy the seeds. I’m told that the botanic garden sells the plants at their fall sale, and I’m definitely heading up to Santa Barbara for that. These need very little water, and I thought they would look nice next to the dry stream bed in my backyard. They have a desert look to them, and I like the way the flowers unfurl in spirals.

Santa Barbara Botanical Garden

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Experimental Paintings

I’ve been working on the first layer of some new experimental paintings today. It’s fun to play around with different ways of creating texture. These are all 20″ x 20″, and next I’m going to mask them and create the second layer. I’m not sure yet if they’ll need additional layers after that.

Background layer of painting

Background layer of painting

Background layer of painting

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Ancient Relics

I’ve been working on some ecoprinted and upcycled pillows, and I love the way these two pieces turned out looking like old and mysterious ancient relics. This might be the beginning of an Ancient Relic series!

They are canvas that was first ecoprinted with leaves. The first piece was then folded and bound with bulldog clips, and put into an immersion plant dye bath. The second piece was printed with Graphite natural pigment mixed with plain soy milk to set it into the fabric. Fun!

Ecoprint and plant dye on canvas

Ecoprint and graphite pigment in canvas

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A River Runs Through It

One of my favorite parts of the new landscaping in my backyard is the dry river bed in front of the studio. It’s more of a creek than a river, but I like to call it the river.

Dry Creek Bed Ventura

The river appears to come from the church parking lot behind the banana plant and run beside the lime tree (yes, those are yellow limes) before disappearing under the garage. It’s not physically possible, but it’s fun!

Dry Creek Bed Ventura

Dry Creek Bed Ventura

I know it appears that my new drought-tolerant landscaping plan is mostly dirt, but that’s because it’s not finished and the plants that are there haven’t filled in yet. I think it’s going to take some time.

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Recent Leaf Prints

Holy Moly! Look at the color of these ecoprints on lightweight silk scarves that I unbundled this morning. It’s Loquat, Euclayptus and Catalina Fernleaf Ironwood leaves, and they all turned out this lovely rust orange color. I’ve never seen that happen before. Usually the prints are more subdued reds and browns.

Ecoprint leaf print on silk

I’ve been doing ecoprints and overdyeing with plant dyes on clothing, scarves and canvas for pillow covers. I’m still in the experimental stage, and will have more to show you soon.

Ecoprint leaf print on silk

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