We all need people to emulate and look up to. These iconic influences can change along with our current needs. As I 'blaze' a trail through the Wild West of Indie-DIY publishing, there is one person I now raise above all others. Sir, I salute you.
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The inestimable Caractacus Potts. 'Nuff said.
Who is your current role model and what do they help you with?
 
 
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On a lovely, gloomy day last week, my friend Jude and I went on expedition to the San Francisco Conservatory of Flowers in Golden Gate Park. Jude was the perfect companion, for not only is she of British origin, just like the gorgeous, Victorian-era Conservatory building itself, but she is a landscape designer and can NAME ALL THE PLANTS. Quite amazing really. And she's also gorgeous, but she refused to have her photograph taken so you'll have to make do with me, and the plants of course.

As an artist I am always on the hunt for unusual color combinations, textures and patterns. This outing offered a treasure-trove-full. I should have been wearing an arty pith helmet.

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The drainage floor and my boots.
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Color and pattern! Gives me the vapors.
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Here I am, about to have a fit of the vapors next to a variegated something. Oh, use your imagination.
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Lily pads are DEFINITELY going in a future illustration
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A poisonous tableau.
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Learn something new every day...
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Ah! Keep that snakeroot in its cage.
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Color-love. Even more intense in 'person.'
I left the Wicked Plants exhibit feeling like every plant I'd recently thought of as harmless was toxic. But it was a fun and informative show! The only thing I purchased in the gift shop was a packet of Cat Grass (oat) seeds to grow for Mr. Darcy. With luck that will stop his plant-eating ways. Because Evil lurks in the yard, oh yes it does.

The exhibit is open through October 30, 2011. For folks who can't get enough weird plant pics, I'm posting more on my Facebook page. Do you have a favorite plant? Is it toxic?
 
 
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THE SUPPLIES: PAPER, MARKERS, GLUE, GLOVE, SCISSORS AND TINY PAPER UMBRELLA
A few evenings ago, I noticed my number of Twitter Followers was approaching 500. I wondered, should I acknowledge the milestone? But what to do?

Should I give away a book? Nah. I haven't had great luck with that sort of thing on Twitter, and it's not terribly creative. When I hit 400 Followers I posted a pic of our cat, Papillon. It was a nice pic of her enjoying a sunny snooze on the picnic table, and luckily posting a pet pic didn't cost me any Followers. 

There's something about the whole Sell-Books-thru-Social-Media rah-rah that makes me react in strange ways. So what did I come up with? A spur of the moment inspiration to make a Toe-Clown Parade. Really. 

It was only when my Followers hit 499 that I realized I'd actually need to follow through on my promise. Toe Clowns? Oh Jane, what did you go and do? 
But once I got going, I had a good deal of fun. 

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I FASHIONED LITTLE HATS & HAIR OUT OF PAPER & COTTONBALLS. THE GEISHA-CLOWN IS MADE FROM THE TIP OF A GLOVE AND A PIECE OF THE PAPER UMBRELLA. TOUCH THE MARKERS TO THE COTTON TO COLOR IT. CUT TRIANGLES WITH ROUNDED BOTTOMS TO MAKE THE CONES.
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PREPARE YOUR TOES. MAKE SURE THEY'RE CLEAN. APPLY WHITE ACRYLIC PAINT AS WHITEFACE. I USED MY FINGER AS A BRUSH.
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WHEN PAINT IS DRY, DRAW CLOWN FACES WITH FINE-TIP MARKERS. FOR BEST EFFECT, USE A VARIETY OF EXPRESSIONS. I THEN ATTACHED SOME HAIR ACCESORIES TO MY FOOT TO GIVE THE LOOK OF CLOWN FINERY. NEXT, RUB GLUE STICK ON THE TOPS OF YOUR TOES. YES, IT FEELS FUNNY. THEN STICK THE HATS ON THE TOES AND POSITION AS BEST YOU CAN.
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HAVE FUN WITH YOUR CLOWNS. PUT ON A SHOW.
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READY FOR THEIR CLOSE-UP.
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AND WHEN YOUR HUSBAND GETS HOME FROM WORK AND SAYS, "HONEY, HOW DID YOUR DAY GO?" DON'T HOLD UP YOUR FOOT.