Random thoughts and bits of life of a coffee loving artist

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Entered into Magnum Opus XXIII show

Well it would appear that my painting 'Heritage' has been accepted into the Magnum Opus XXIII show being put on by the Sacramento Fine Arts Center and will be shown August 7th - September 1st. I may not have won an award but I'm thrilled over the fact that I was able to get into the show. I was a bit surprised that my curator Carol Brewer had sent me an email stating "Congratulations for being chosen for this honorable show at SFAC" and honestly in my tired, fog filled brain I was trying to figure out how she had known that I even entered let alone was listed as having gotten in. Obviously I hadn't remembered to check my paperwork as to when I needed to check on that so I followed the link she had provided. Scrolling down through the list of names (in alphabetical
 order which means I was way at the bottom of the list) and there I saw my name. What a complete surprise! Many thanks for letting me know Carol because I would have completely forgotten to check until it was too late.

The Second Saturday Reception for the show is August 11th from 5:30-8:30pm at the Sacramento Fine Arts Center 5330-B Gibbons Drive in Carmichael.

Coffee Review: The Organic Coffee Co. - Ground Java Love

It started out with an agreement with my boyfriend that we needed a pot of coffee this morning since we had to wake up at 6:30 today (AC Repair crew coming by this morning to replace our old out dated unit that died 2 years ago) so I went ahead and opened up my drawers to figure out what I felt like having that was already opened. Digging around in the coffee drawer, we discovered a 12oz (340g) bag of Ground Java Love that someone had given me that I had yet to try out. And so the decision was made that I should do another review. Let's be honest, at the time I was tired since we were only running on about 4 hours of sleep and wanted coffee. Just my cup of coffee was going to involve some work.

I have to say to The Organic Coffee Co. thank you for making the bag resealable but WHY did you make it so difficult to open? I spent a good 2 minutes (though it seemed longer)  just trying to open the bag because of the type of glue that was used and had the fear of accidentally ripping the whole thing sending ground coffee to the 4 winds. Luckily I was able to get it open without any mishaps and was awarded by the rich aroma of coffee that almost seemed to have a hint of chocolate in it. The brew itself was relatively dark but strangely smooth and mild which was a welcomed change since I was actually expecting a strong bitter flavor. On the ingredients listing, it had it stated as Arabica Organic coffee, which makes sense since coffees with an Arabica base seem to be a little bit smoother in flavor then Columbian based coffees. Not quite sure why that is but I'm sure a coffee expert will tell me at some point the reason for it.

Doing a bit of looking, I discovered that The Organic Coffee co. is actually run by the Rogers Family Company which is based out of Lincoln, California. They have listed on their website actually a small handful of brands which they own such as San Francisco Bay, Organic Coffee Co., Black Mountain Gold, Fairwinds, Cafe Jerusalem, Pleasant Hill Farms, East India Tea, and Organic Tea Company. Poking around on their website section for the Organic Coffee Co., I actually discovered that the particular bag I have is listed as $10.49 ($9.99 for whole bean). This is perfectly understandable since it would be considered as a gourmet coffee and is organic. What do I mean by organic? On the packaging and their website, the Rogers family state that the coffee is grown without pesticides, herbicides or chemical fertilizers. So for those of you out there worried about what is actually going into your morning up besides the brew and perhaps creamer and don't mind spending a little extra, this might be a good option for you.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Rage Against the Colors

This evening, after finishing a painting, had decided to look into and research art galleries in the areas of the Napa Valley and Bay Area. What's nice about looking at the gallery websites is that since they display the works of the artists they already have which gives me an idea of what styles or genres they focus on showing. Of course there were MANY locations that my style would never fit into but what I can appreciate is the fact that at least I can see it ahead of time so that I don't have to waste my time contacting them. While wandering the various websites, I couldn't help but notice something about the pages from galleries in the Napa Valley verses the Berkeley area.

Napa Valley gallery websites are very sophisticated looking, most having a black or dark colored back ground with light colored text which allows viewers to be able to read information and see the art on display which is more noticeable. Berkeley gallery websites on the other hand are colorful and vibrant, having various layouts for their information. That was until I found this gallery's website:

Ping! PET PEEVE ACTIVATED! I'm sorry but there are just some color combinations that really don't work for a website and this is a prime example. Yes the colors are soft and soothing but here's what's bugging me:

  • Home page color combination - Yes the colors of the page match the piece of art which they have on display but instead of drawing attention to the art, the page color combination actually washes the work out causing it to look dull. 
  • Menu text being white against pale blue back ground - It would have worked better if the blue was a shade or two darker or the text itself was bold or in a shade of grey as well. I do realize that it's white in order to balance with the gallery's logo on the left but is someone has bad eyes or if the screen you're looking at it on, it is rather difficult to notice the text. Another suggestion would be if they had chosen to use the faint yellowish color in the picture as also the color for the logo and menu text. 
Okay so it's probably just me and I'll probably have several people argue with me on this but it's just something that bugs me about websites. I can understand that they're trying to make their page professional looking but if they had just tweaked the colors a little then it wouldn't have bugged me so much. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Coffee Review: Trader Joe's Vanilla Chai-Spiced Coffee

I was in my local Trader Joe's wandering around to see what they had available when this caught my attention. Personally, I'm not one for store brand coffee since half the time they really don't taste right but when I spotted this 14oz (397g) container of Vanilla Chai-Spiced coffee, my curiosity was perked. To those who have become frequent readers of my coffee reviews, good news! The container is resealable! After unsealing the package, the aroma made me think of the holidays.

Once brewed and poured, I couldn't help but notice that the fragrance was slightly sweet and mellow. Certainly something that took me by surprise but I found strangely comforting. Maybe it's due to the fact that it reminded me of some of the scents from the Yankee Candle Company. The flavor was uniquely spicy but not the hot type of spicy. I could taste the cinnamon and hint of nutmeg from the chai spice but it may not be something that everyone would be interested in trying. Looking at the ingredients since I wasn't too sure what the other flavors were that I was picking up, I see this:

Ground Coffee, Vanilla Cream oil, Ground Cinnamon, Ground Cardamom, Ground Ginger, Ground Cloves 

Well that would explain the spiciness but would work well with a flavored creamer such as a vanilla or caramel to enhance the melody of flavors. I have to say that it's like I have the holidays in my coffee mug right now. Now here's the fun part- for this party in your mouth, the container of coffee was only about $5 (closer to $6 with tax). For a 14oz container of aromatic coffee for those who want a change of pace from their usual coffee line up? This is actually a really great value.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Bookmarks Available for Sale

This week will probably be the busiest for me this month. With advertising the various venues that my work is going to be at, making sure that my work is ready for the different locations, contacting members of groups I'm in to make sure they're ready, filling out contracts, getting research done for an entry into another competition who's deadline is later in the month and making sure I have things ready for a show in August, I'm having to make sure that I have things written down so I don't forget any detail. Of course on top of all of this I'm also still running my business and trying to bring in new customers.

Lately I have been having people showing interest in the bookmarks I make and have been asked what I have available right now. Well here is the ones I have at my regular price of $2.75 each at the moment. I'm planning on making a new set but I have to get some research done before I even go about designing them. Right now, I'm offering the bookmarks for sale to US residents (mainly because I'm not set up for international sales at the moment). If you're interested in any of them, go ahead and send me an email to let me know. As always, when I come up with a new set, I'll make an announcement. Don't have any books because you have a Kindle? I've actually been having several customers who have been framing these in order to have something on their walls at home or pinned to the walls of their cubicle at work for something decorative to spice up their space. They also make nice little presents to friends and loved ones that you can hide in cards.

For those interested in my special bookmarks, I have 2 sets right now (one being only available through the consignment shop they're in). Which ones are the?

Exclusive bookmarks available only through Sunlight of the Spirit located at 2314 J Street  Sacramento, CA 95816. Each is $3 and part of each sale goes to the programs SotS provides to those seeing recovery from addiction or seeking spiritual growth. 

Human Trafficking Awareness bookmarks available through me. Each is $3 with $1 of each bookmark sold donated to the My Sister's House organization which strives to assist women escaping from domestic violence. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Coffee Review: Don Francisco's Coffee - Family Reserve

Here it is the day after a national holiday and figure it's a great chance to do yet another Coffee Review. This particular one is brought to you by the same fan who provided coffee for the Kaui Coffee - Koloa Estate Dark Roast review. This time around it's a 12oz (340g) of Don Francisco's Coffee - Family Reserve which happens to be made with Colombia Supremo coffee. I have to say I'm overjoyed about 2 things right off the bat about the packaging. First, it can be easily opened. Second, it is able to be resealed. FINALLY! Finally packaging that gets it right! Pushing my glee aside, I noticed that the aroma was rather mild which was a nice indication to the quality of the coffee.

When brewed, the coffee is surprisingly dark in color and has a relatively rich aroma which is something I wasn't expecting from a medium roast. The flavor does taste like many other Arabica's I've had before, having a faint bitter/tangy quality to it which means that it can easily be countered by a creamer if the drinker so desires. The bag itself states the taste is "bright with medium body, sweet, floral aroma and winey notes". I'm not too sure where they get the 'bright' part of the flavor from but at the 'winey notes' I can understand but have to say that it makes it sound like a brandy that has been sitting in a cask that ones had wine in it.

Taking a look on the Don Francisco's website, unlike so many I've taken a look at, this one actually lists this particular 12oz bag of coffee which you can buy at $8.95 and gives you a choice of whole bean, auto drip, coarse grind, extra fine or fine ground. This is the first time I've seen a website give you those kind of choices and not have each one as a different price. At the bottom of the screen there is also a roasting chart which tells you what to expect from one of their coffees that may be listed as a medium, medium bold or bold roast. Little details like this really helps people who may be looking into trying coffee and not too sure what the flavor would be for each roast. For someone who's looking for a smooth mild coffee, this might be something to look into.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Event and Venue line up for July

I have a feeling that there are going to be many coffee reviews in my future with how busy I'm being this month. For those who have been following me on Facebook and have noticed my work in progress shots that I've been spamming, you probably know how insane my schedule has been lately. If not, here's the list of events and places you'll be able to see my art.

For this month at Blue Moon Gallery, we are featuring the artworks of David Peterson, Linda Gelfman and Jim Marxen. Come by our Second Saturday Artist Reception set for July 14th from 6-9pm with the show itself continuing until August 4th. Gallery Hours are Wednesday - Saturday Noon-5pm.

2353 Albatross Way     Sacramento, CA 95815     (916) 920-2444
Follow us on Facebook or visit our website bluemoongallerysacto.com

My art that will be at the gallery this month:
watercolors (8x10 inches)

watercolors (8x10 inches)


Being put on by the Sacramento Rescue & Restore Victims of Human Trafficking group, this show is going to be held at French Cuff Consignment in Davis, CA on Friday July 13th from 5-9pm. This is an art and information show to raise awareness about human trafficking in the world of manufacturing. You will be able to see and even purchase some of the art which our participating artists La La Ortiz, Jennifer Keller, Jalene Ducas, Dawn Star Wood, and Jenvy Fox have put together.  

130 G Street (2nd & G)     Davis, CA 95616     (530) 756-3724

My art at this show: 

These will be $3 each, $1 of each one sold going to the My Sister's House organization. If you're unable to attend the show or are out of state and are interested in buying some of the bookmarks, please let me know to order them and I will put you on a waiting list so I can get them to you. Thank you so much for the interest you've been showing and to those who had pre-ordered. 
The designs are based on previous shows we have had already or dealing with one of the subject matters which we try to bring attention to. 
From left to right:
Birdcaged Lotus - based off of the child prostitution awareness show
Spring Child - based off of child labor awareness
Cups of Coffee - based off of the coffee and chocolate show
Paper Crane - awareness to those who were lost


This month, deviantSAC (also known as Greater Sacramento Artists on deviantART.com) is having a group show at the wonderful Studio 24 in Sacramento on Saturday July 14th from 4-9pm. Here we have the combined talents of J. Alex Darr, Alex Calder, Jarrod Campbell, Ed Farris, Janxy, Travis Latta, Grey Matter, Tomas Overbai, Gabriel M. Sanford and Dawn Star Wood showing their work. Don't miss this one day event to see the colorful works of these up and coming artists. 

2220 K Street     Sacramento, CA 95816     (916) 442-8262
Follow us on Facebook or check out our group gallery at GreaterSacramentoArt.deviantART.com

My art at the show:
watercolors (8x10 inches)
watercolors (11x14 inches)

watercolors (8x10 inches)


As a reminder I do have a few pieces at Sunlight of the Spirit located in Sacramento including a set of custom bookmarks which I made specifically for the shop. Don't forget to stop by this wonderful little location. If you know about my bookmarks here or curious about them, they're towards the back of the shop where there's a display case for jewelry. 

2314 J Street     Sacramento, CA 95816     (916) 440-1533

My art here:
watercolors (8x10 inches)

watercolors (11x14 inches)

watercolors and gold paint (11x14 inches)