Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Shaking in Her Flip Flops....coming soon....by Joyce Oroz

..... I crossed the wide cobblestone drive, unlocked my Mazda and discovered Solow still cowering under the dash. I helped my poor traumatized hound dog into his bucket seat, rounded the truck and hopped into the driver’s seat. We cruised down the mountain singing ‘Georgia on My Mind’ with our friend, Ray Charles.
Four songs later, Highway 152 finally leveled off, we made a last sharp right turn, and then the road straightened. We passed the cemetery, an apple orchard, a nursery, a couple houses and some empty fields. Solow howled as something caught my eye up ahead in the grass about five yards from the edge of the road. Something that looked like a pile of laundry with legs. I took my foot off the gas, pulled the truck over and stopped at the side of the road. Solow’s baritone howls sounded urgent.
My flip flops tramped through foot-high grass full of bugs, burrs and other prickly things which I mostly ignored as my eyes focused on the curious mound of clothing ahead of me. I tried to tell myself it was just a fallen scarecrow. Traffic was light, but Solow barked when an eighteen-wheeler shook my truck as it whooshed by. I wondered how much it would cost to put my poor dog in therapy.
“Oh, no,” I whispered as I approached a body lying face down. Had I found the dead body of a child? My heart pounded in my ears as a flash of hot fear shot through my flesh. Should I touch it to be sure? I looked around. No help in sight. I stepped closer, leaned down and touched a skinny arm with my finger. Surprisingly, the smooth, light brown skin was warm. Maybe it had been warmed by the mid-afternoon sun. I bent down to the head full of long tangled black hair.
“Help … me.”
I jumped back several feet. It was alive. I looked up and down the road for help. No one in sight. I crept back to the petite person lying in the weeds.
“Help me, por favor.” The voice was so weak I could barely make out the words. The head moved to one side. Big brown eyes looked up at me for a second and then closed. I squatted down beside the stranger.
“Open your eyes if you can hear me,” I said. The eyes opened. Solow howled. “Quiet!” I yelled. The body shivered. “Sorry, I didn’t mean you … it’s my dog.”
I sat down beside the little Jane Doe. She was definitely female even though she wore men’s baggy, rolled up Levis and a big blue T-shirt. A yellow cap lying near her foot caught my eye. She tried to roll over, so I helped her. Two cars zoomed by, but no one stopped. My mouth dropped open when I saw her face full of cuts and bruises, but the injuries would not be the only things that stunned me.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

A special thanks to Evelyn

A new art gallery will be unveiled to the public with a grand-opening event on the same day as the annual Aromas Day, August 28. Aromas photographer David Coombes hangs several of his photos in the new Dragonfly Gallery in Aromas Friday.

I want to call to your attention the fact that Evelyn Pogrowski has finished her contribution to the gallery--beautiful lettering spelling out "Dragonfly Gallery" on two sides of the building.

The Dragonfly Gallery, at 380 Blohm Ave., will largely feature artwork from the Aromas Hills Artisans, who teamed up with Realtor Kathryn Aguras to turn a plain old building into a thing of beauty.

A sprawling, colorful mural adorns the outside of the building, painted by local artists Linda Bjornson, Kathy Stutz-Taylor, Jovita Hilliker, Sandra Weddell Braga, Barbara Scoles and Joyce Oroz.

“We have so many talented artists in this area,” said gallery founder Aguras. “This was a commercial building that was vacant. The opportunity just seemed to come about. A lot of people have come forward to help make this happen.”

The gallery features paintings, quilts, carved wooden Santa's, handmade jewelry, pottery, stained and fused glass, photography, signed books by local authors and much more.

The small, 1,000-square-foot building has a history in the community, having served as a gift shop, a trophy shop and a chiropractor’s office. Now brimming with artwork, it features works from painter Darlene Boyd, quilter Louise Coombes, painter Gerald A. Harness, wood sculptor Barbara Scoles, painter-writer Joyce Oroz and photographer David Coombes.

“This is the first time I’ve ever shown my work in a gallery,” David Coombes said. “Joining Aromas Hills Artisans has been a good push to get my work out there.”

Aromas Day runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday and includes hayrides, car show, yard sales, a variety of live music, shaved ice, food stands, pony rides, a petting zoo for kids, a dunk tank, a climbing wall and other entertainment. A parade will wind through town at 2 p.m.

Dragonfly Gallery will be open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
You'll find me at the shave ice stand signing ice--I mean books!


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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Aromas Day Surprise.... by Joyce Oroz

The Aromas Hills Artisans have teamed up with realtor, Kathryn Aguras to turn a plain old building into a thing of beauty. An AHA mural adorns the outside walls with ponds, koi fish, reeds, rocks, a tree and dragonflies galore. But that is just the beginning. Inside the building is where the real treasures can be found such as paintings, carvings, handmade jewelry, pottery, stained and fused glass, quilts, photography, weaving, prints, etchings and signed books by local authors (including mine). If the unthinkable happens and you don’t make it to Aromas Day, the gallery will be open every week, Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 to 4:00 beginning August 28th. Thank you, Kathryn, for giving us an honest to goodness gallery!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

An interview with Jerry Harness.....by Joyce Oroz

Today it is my great pleasure to introduce you to Gerald Harness, a talented artist and valuable member of the Aromas Hills Artisans. He is an artist who reaches outside his comfort zone, painting new and different subjects, honing his skills as he goes, and sharing his newest projects with the AHA members.

Gerald (Jerry) was the 17th Naval District Artist (Alaska) in the navy. After serving, he spent 40 years in engineering--mostly in aerospace. He says he "stopped dabbling" in art in 1970. After Jerry’s retirement in 1993 he decided to try painting landscapes even though he had always worked in portraiture. In his words he is “still trying to improve my scribbling.” If that’s scribbling, I’m a monkey’s aunt.

So, my friends, if you’re in town on Aromas Day, August 28, be sure to visit the Dragonfly Gallery and see Jerry’s wonderful artwork for yourself.

Stay tuned for more wonderful talent from the Aromas Hills Artisans.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Haiku poem by Joyce Riley


Willow deep, pond mirrors
shine, ‘till thirsty sunbeams
drink reflections dry.

Wisteria lights
my path. I see the garden
with each breath I take.

Listen, a stranger
walks in the garden. No, it
is the wind dancing.

Caterpillar spins
a silent, grey cell where life
stirs butterfly wings.

By Joyce Riley

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Dragonfly has landed, part 2....by Joyce oroz

The dragonfly has landed! Not only the dragonfly, but all his family—even some old dragon-school chums. Koi fish circle the azure ponds surrounded by rocks and reeds (sounds like a rock band). Newly painted faux flower boxes grace the front entrance. A charming tree provides shade for the reeds below. The old building has suddenly acquired a new architectural feature, a new focus and a new purpose.

Notice all the nice AROMAS HILLS ARTISAN ladies, Linda, Kathy, Sandra, Jovita and me happily working our brushes into nubs. Barb and Sadie helped too. The Dragonfly Gallery will be open all day for Aromas Day, Sunday, August 28, 2011. Don’t miss it!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Dragonfly Gallery getting ready to land.....by Joyce Oroz

Excitement is building....no, it's not the big "Z." Aromas is about to open a new gallery where local artists will show their work. The Aromas Hills Artisans are involved clear up to their paint shirts. Several artists have volunteered to paint the conspicuously bland outside walls of the gallery with a mural. The boring white walls have already been painted lavender, which corrected a pepto bismo moment. Who knew a lovely little color chip could mutate into yards of shocking flamingo pink. Being an ex-muralist, and wishing no harm to the neighborhood, I quickly threw two buckets of white paint and half a bucket of black into the five gallons of pink bubble gum goo. Soon, a luscious lavender appeared on the walls complimented by teal trim. Now for the really exciting finale. Imagine rocks, ponds, trees, reeds and DRAGONFLIES. Yes, giant dragonflies....after all, it is the Dragnfly Gallery!
Wish us luck and stay tuned.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Solow's sleep-over....by Joyce Oroz

Today, Josephine and her Aunt Clara are traveling to Santa Maria in an empty boxcar. It was an unexpected trip triggered by an angry murderer who saw an opportunity to get the ladies off his trail. It seems the gals were looking for clues in a filthy boxcar when a grumpy old murderer slammed the metal doors together and dropped the long bolt into place.
Josephine’s faithful basset, Solow, didn’t go for a train ride and he likes to eat twice a day no matter what. That’s where I come in. I’m a softy for the dear boy. Naturally I took him in for a few days. I feed Solow and take him for long walks in the hills where he sniffs out every piece of kitty pooh buried in the last week, better known as “dessert.” But I don’t want to damage your image of Solow—he’s still the sweet, lovable old dog with long velvety ears, blood shot eyeballs and a sensitive sniffer. He likes to pull his own weight around the house. He tried gardening but spent most of his time chasing lizards. He wears yellow bunny ears to scare the crows away. Solow is especially talented in the kitchen. He wears a fire hat in case fire breaks out and licks up every food spill. So until Josephine finds her way home, Solow and I are on one long picnic-sleep-over.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Marlene in Iowa....by Joyce Oroz

Summer fun begins at home--unless you happen to be somewhere else, like my friend Marlene who travels all over fly-over country enjoying Americana with a big A. Yesterday she saw one hundred hot air balloons fly in to Indianola, Iowa for the Balloon Classic. Last night, when it was dark, all the balloons were fired up to create a glow. Thank you, Marlene for sharing the pix!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Linda Bjornson, Stained Glass.....interview by Joyce Oroz

Today I have the great pleasure of interviewing Linda Bjornson….a talented stained glass artist and founder/president of the Aromas Hills Artisans in Aromas, California.

Linda, please tell us about yourself, how you got started in the stained glass business and how did you learn the process?

My love of color and design led me to stained glass. I was lucky enough to have art all through school and was an art major in college. I have worked in stained glass since 1979, so have gotten a lot of practice along the way. As I am drawing a new design, I am always thinking in terms of what glass would enhance the design the most.
I got my start in stained glass by taking a class. Stained glass requires
several skills and I would recommend starting by taking a class as a good way to avoid frustration or some frustration anyway.
After getting a feel for the constraints involved in working with glass, I started designing for glass. After working up some of my new patterns into glass and with my heart in my throat I took them to a local store, the Craft Gallery, in Capitola where I lived at the time. And to my delight they bought them. That turned out to be my best account during the time I was selling to stores. As time went by and people saw my work, I started getting requests for custom work. They went along the lines of -
" I saw this window of yours I really like in a store, but I would like it bigger for our entry"
( bathroom, bed room, etc.) Then I started working with contractors like Paul Mahus, who I still work with today. From contractors to interior designers and the rest is history……………………

I have seen some of your exquisite work in person. These pictures are lovely. Can you tell us about them?

The first photo of the dolphin and me is one of my favorite recent photos of myself as I have done many stained glass creations that feature dolphins and I am often inspired by nature.

I was fortunate to be chosen the first Artist in Residence at the Pinnacles National Monument on the Park's Centennial year in 2008. I created the window "Return of the Condor" on a picnic table outside the little cabin I got to stay in. I demonstrated for the public and answered their questions at the Nature Center one weekend and at the Visitor Center the following weekend. The stained glass condor now hangs at the visitor center at the Pinnacles.
My "Koi and Dragonfly" window uses a fused glass koi created for me by Susan Bradshaw of Woventime studio. I drew the koi I wanted to size and with some ideas for coloring and she created it for me. It made the koi so fluid and somewhat rounded as well. A great effect. It opens up new possibilities to incorporate fused glass with stained glass. More of this work can be seen on my website. www.LBGLASSART.com
The last photo I've included is one of a pair recently created to enhance a view and to have flowers in bloom all year round. I have often done windows that allow the desirable part of the view to be seen while possibly screening for privacy or to exclude a less desirable view.

Linda, please explain your connection with the Aromas Hills Artisans?

I am a founding member and President of the Aromas Hills Artisans. This is a lively group of very diverse artists in many media who have formed an art non-profit to support, educate and enrich the lives of our community. We have events through the year that we sponsor or support. Aromas Country Garden Tour in the spring (the Saturday of Mother's Day weekend) that features Artists in the Gardens, Aromas Day at the end of August where the town of Aromas closes down the streets and has a party!

Go to……. www.Aromasday.com ……..for more info., Autumn Art at the end of October, where member artists give free workshops to the public, and Holiday Art Festival, the weekend before Thanksgiving where you can do all your holiday present shopping.
Go to the Artisan website for more details….. www.aromashillsartisans.org........

Linda, as a Master Gardener, tell us about your beautiful garden and pond.

I love to garden and our flower garden is another chance to use color and texture. We dug our own koi pond and as soon as we filled it with water Dragonflies appeared as if by magic! As you can see--that led to
stained glass inspiration.

Thank you, Linda, for your time. I am in awe of your talents and wish you well in all your endeavors.

Monday, August 1, 2011

excerpt from "Read My Lipstick" by Joyce Oroz

... I finally took pity on Sarah and carried one of her bags upstairs. I was sure she could manage the last one. After all, she had invited herself to stay at my house. Years ago I discovered a surefire way to keep guests from staying too long. I simply kept the old, lumpy, coil-spring twin-size bed I inherited from my grandmother. It was the only extra bed in the house.
“Thank you, Josephine. Don’t bother with the last suitcase. I’ll get it.” I knew she would get it because I certainly wasn’t going to. I hustled down the stairs and began planning a dinner for two. It was only five-thirty, but I wanted to get dinner out of the way. Peanut butter on toasted rye with coleslaw-simple, but wholesome.
Sarah was still breathing hard when she entered the kitchen.
“What can I do to help?” she asked. I handed her a couple plates, forks and napkins. She set the table, I flipped on the TV and we settled down for the evening meal. I had just taken a bite of melted peanut butter when I saw myself being interviewed on the five o’clock news. The peanut butter refused to go down as I stared in stunned silence at the news reporter who talked about my plan to stop urban sprawl.
“Look, Josephine. It’s Steve and me and Jasmine and look … it’s Mr. Snow with his wife and four boys.” She was so tickled to see herself and her friends marching round and round she almost fell off her chair. At least one of us was having fun.
“Oh, my God! Did you see that?” I shouted. Sarah laughed again when the camera captured Steve cracking his cardboard sign over the kisser of one of the three bronze dolphins featured in a fountain statue in the center of the Civic Center plaza. He had missed the pesky councilman and whacked the bronze dolphin by mistake.
“Sarah, why isn’t anyone else mentioned? Just me?”
“We all knew it was your idea, and we didn’t want to take any of the credit away from you.” She smiled wide as if she had done me a great favor.
“Actually, I’m not entirely into ….”
“That’s OK, Josephine. We don’t mind giving you the credit. Have any wine to go with dinner?”