multipotentialite…it’s a thing and I am one


full grown

Let’s say you’re at a cocktail party and the guy in last year’s suit marches over, sticks his hand out and says “Hi, I’m David. I’m an attorney. What do you do?” If you’re like me you stand there looking baffled. David the Attorney probably is not terribly impressed and he walks away looking for someone with a single noun descriptor that he can relate to.

Meanwhile, if you’re like me, you are still trying to figure out what exactly you do. I don’t have a noun. I don’t even have a paragraph. Forget the elevator speech, I have a full on rival to 24 hours of happy. With less dancing (except when I’m making dinner). And according to Emilie Wapnick this is just fine.

She calls me a multipotentialite. And I’m thinking that most people who live and breathe the creative are very much the same. At various times of a day, week, life…I am a mother, an interior designer, a garden designer, a therapist, a permit puller, a graphic artist, a jewelry designer, a writer, a cook. And I’m sure I’m not done yet. So when I find someone extraordinary who mixes and morphs and doesn’t live by a single noun, I feel validated.

You and me, who can’t pick a single noun/profession/dream, we are more interesting for the lack of a narrow definition and dare I say more valuable.

Gavin Munro may not know the word multipotentialite, but I think he probably is one. He grows chairs. He started a company called Full Grown. But his chairs aren’t art, or trees, or furniture they are art and trees and furniture. So he is a horticulturalist, an artist, a manufacturer, a furniture designer, a carpenter, a world saving environmentalist. And a really patient man.

full grown

photos courtesy

It’s people like Gavin who are helping to move our world forward. People who don’t focus so intently on one thing that they lose sight of the bigger picture and what’s happening around them. IDEO knows this….they gather people from several disciplines to solve a single problem. And many creative firms are now following suit. For you and me and Gavin who can’t settle on a single noun to identify ourselves, we should fit right in, don’t you think?

Keep dreaming, keep doing and keep in touch,

art, banksy and tolstoy

all banksy photos courtesy, presumably banksy's own website

all banksy photos courtesy, presumably banksy’s own website

Banksy has been in the news quite a lot lately. Don’t know Banksy? I’m betting you actually do…at least as much as any of the rest of us know Banksy. S/he is the artist (The Atlantic postulates that Banksy is a woman) that travels the world painting societal commentary on walls that don’t belong to her/him. Some call this graffiti illegal and find it offensive. Some call it art. I belong to the latter group (duh). Banksy is a different kind of graffiti artist. Banksy speaks truths and asks questions that bring us together and tear us apart and that, if you ask me, is what art is.

Picasso said art is a lie that makes us see truth, Klee said art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible. There are others who say that art is imitation, or beauty or vanity. While Picasso and Klee both get close to the truth, it is Tolstoy who defines art best in his 1896 book ‘What is Art’. He addresses the soul of art.


Art is not, as the metaphysicians say, the manifestation of some mysterious idea of beauty or God; it is not, as the aesthetical physiologists say, a game in which man lets off his excess of stored-up energy; it is not the expression of man’s emotions by external signs; it is not the production of pleasing objects; and, above all, it is not pleasure; but it is a means of union among men, joining them together in the same feelings, and indispensable for the life and progress toward well-being of individuals and of humanity.

~Leo Tolstoy, ‘What is Art’, 1896

Banksy has painted all over the world, including our very own San Francisco, and most recently spent a month painting New York. S/he made a short film about the experience, then HBO made a film about Banksy. The mystery of Banksy continues as Banksy manages somehow to maintain anonymity. The anonymity that likely began as self-preservation and protection from authority has become not only a costume but a trademark. If we find out who Banksy really is I wonder if we will be disappointed.

Banksy, if you’re out there, I have a question. Why is your name pronounced ban-skee in the film? Have we been duped?

Regardless, Banksy speaks to us, and not always politely. Banksy addresses us where we are, asks us the hard questions and forces us to see. I guess it’s up to us to decide if we will embrace one another and progress toward that better place of well-being that Tolstoy talks about. Will we work together to find answers?

Go enjoy some art and keep in touch,

to thank a vet: feed a vet, hear a vet, pay a vet, house a vet

Let me just take you on a tour of how my mind works. Tomorrow is Veterans Day. So I decided to reprise a couple of earlier posts, find some new info and offer a chance to thank (and help) our veterans. First stop was Cup of Joe for a Joe. This is an organization that provides a cup of coffee, purchased by you and me, to veterans. But I hear that they don’t offer a discount to veterans in all of their shops so for an hour I got sidetracked into researching whether to recommend this group (I do). In the meantime I’m looking at pictures of veterans and remembering that The Civil Wars were talking about repairing their rift. So I searched out their website (I swear Google is the source of ADHD) and found out that no, they haven’t repaired their rift and the break up is for real. But they have offered us a song by way of gratitude (and maybe apology). So enjoy the song…it’s an awesome rendition of ‘You Are My Sunshine’. And now I’m getting back to where I started. Thanking our veterans by helping out.


This is my favorite….if you’re in line for coffee or at a restaurant having a meal and you see a vet in fatigues, pay their bill. Even if it means you have to order less. Cup of Joe for a Joe is another option…I’ve donated and gotten a couple of sweet notes back. And I’ll do it again.


Yesterday in New York City, Veteran Artist Program (VAP) presented their latest show ‘Telling’ featuring the stories of 7 returned veterans in their own words and by their own voices. In addition VAP offers opportunity for veterans to express themselves through the visual arts, performing arts, writing/literature, film/video, and new/interactive media. Go see a VAP show, donate to the organization, partner with them by becoming an ambassador.


The employees at EcoVet are veterans trained to build furniture. They create rugged and beautiful furnishings from the salvaged material pulled from decommissioned tractor trailers. LEED points people.



Build a house for an injured veteran. Homes For Our Troops builds accessible homes for returning injured veterans. You can help by donating money, offering supplies, giving your sweat equity, buying their merchandise. Check their website and find a veteran neighbor that could use your help.

To our vets, from the bottom of my heart I thank you for the service that you do and the sacrifice that you make.

Keep in touch,

art and bread


It’s autumn here in Northern California. So I’m desperately trying to get my front hedge trimmed (it’s crazy overgrown) before it gets really chilly out there, soup is on my mind constantly, and everyone is opening a new art show everywhere. As we head into my favorite cocooning season, I’ve got to share something that is completely off topic. But if you know me well, you will understand. Once something gets in my head I have to get it out before I can move on. And what I’ve got to share is this amazing bread recipe. In my house we went (mostly) gluten free a couple of months ago. It all started with a ‘clean food’ eating regimen that we decided to try to see how our bodies reacted to various foods as we added them one at a time back to our diets. One thing we all found was that gluten totally slows the digestion, at least in the massive quantities that we were consuming. And most of the gluten free breads out there are grainy, dry and totally un-palatable. Until I found this one. Here’s a link to the original recipe (thanks to the Gluten-Free Goddess®) and here’s how I made it….super simple. I used a stand mixer and flat beater.

Proof the yeast (that means put the ingredients listed in a small bowl and let them sit until frothy, maybe 5 minutes)
  • 2-1/4 teaspoons yeast
  • 1 cup (generous) warm water, about 115 degrees (hot from the tap)
  • drop of honey or pinch of sugar
Blend the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl (put them in your mixer and turn it on the lowest speed)
  • 2/3 cup sorghum flour
  • 1/3 cup cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
  • 1 cup potato starch
  • 2 teaspoons xanthan gum
  • 1-1/4 teaspoons sea salt
Add the wet ingredients to the aforementioned mixing bowl leaving the speed on low
  • proofed yeast
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon rice vinegar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
Continue to mix for a few minutes (I didn’t time, but I’d say maybe 3 or 4 minutes). Turn it out into a pyrex bread pan, oiled, smooth it flat with wet fingers, sprinkle on seeds of your choice (I used sesame and fennel), cover loosely with plastic wrap and set it somewhere warm for about 20 minutes. Pre-heat your oven to 400 degrees. Cook for 30-40 minutes. It will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom once out of the pan. If your bread sticks (like mine did), you’ll have to gently push the sides in with a dull knife. (I’m going to try an oiled cast iron bread pan next time.) If it isn’t quite done at first check, put it back in the oven without the pan, drop the temp to about 350, and keep an eye on it. It should be done in a matter of a couple of minutes. Don’t eat it all in one sitting, but do have the butter at the ready. Jam too if you’re in to that.
*update 1/22/15: I’ve now been making this bread for a few months and we still love it. If you’d like, you can replace the buckwheat flour with millet flour for a lighter colored loaf. Also, to avoid the sticking issue, line your pan with a long strip of parchment paper cut the width of the pan. Allow the parchment to extend well beyond the sides of the pan so that you can easily lift the loaf out when done cooking. Let it cool slightly then slice and eat. Yummy with compound butters (my current favorite is brown sugar and toasted pecan).

When you’ve had your fill of bread, check out these art shows in SF. There is no better way to spend a cold and rainy fall day.

Keith Haring at the de Young Museum, opens November 8

one of the world’s favorite populist activists

keith haring

Alien She at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, opened October 24

examines the empowerment of this generation’s women and the impact of Riot Grrrl

riot grrrl

Houghton Hall, Portrait of an English Country House at Legion of Honor, opened October 18

go ahead, get your Downton Abbey on

houghton hall

J. Otto Seibold and Mr. Lunch at the Contemporary Jewish Museum opening November 20

one of our very own famous Bay Area artists


Roads of Arabia, at the Asian Art Museum opened October 24

Art, Ebola, Landscape, Fog, Music, you name it at the Exploratorium every day and Thursday eve

if you haven’t visited the new location at Pier 15, it’s time


Skulls, at the Academy of Science until November 30

and earthquakes and insects and penguins and fish

acad of scienceEnjoy your indoor escapades and make that bread!

Keep in touch,

get gorgeous

images courtesy

I have a teenage daughter so I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to define beauty appropriately for her. Or rather I’ve spent this time trying to un-define the message that the media sends. But still the story is muddy and I don’t really have a definition that works. I’ve used the platitudes: ‘beauty is only skin deep‘; ‘beauty is in the eye of the beholder‘; ‘beauty is as beauty does‘. They leave me with a pithy feeling in my mouth and an empty heart. Beauty is different from one moment to the next, and gorgeous, beauty’s luscious and voluptuous cousin, is just as difficult to define. And often sits just shy of crossing a line into revulsion.

The Asian Art Museum is opening the show Gorgeous tonight with their Grit and Glamour party. The body of work, which runs today through September 14, spans thousands of years and many cultures and includes 72 works from the Asian Art Museum and the SF Museum of Modern Art. The show is curated in groupings based on themes rather than time or place and includes: seduction, dress up, pose, in bounds, danger, beyond imperfection, reiteration, fantasy, evocation and on reflection. According to the curator, “The power lies in its ability to confound boundaries of childhood, femininity, and sexuality.” Sounds like it will take us right to the edge of our comfort zones. I think I’ll take my daughter.

Have a great weekend,

With a special nod to my truly gorgeous mother….happy birthday to you.


unreal photography…very disrupted

all photos courtesy Todd Baxter Photography facebook page

Speaking of disruptive, these are photographs. Really. Photographer Todd Baxter uses his digital camera and Photoshop to create images that tell stories that are at once compelling and distressing. His narrative style is much like that of the surrealists in Paris after the turn of the last century. Not only does Mr. Baxter come at photography from a new place, but his sister, Kim Baxter, comes at videography with an equally unique perspective. She has begun a series of videos that let us into the lives of artists as they do something mundane. In the case of her brother he is trying to fix a door (which by the way we never see completed). Both Baxters leave us wanting more….as it should be with art.

Pretty awesome stuff…enjoy it!


palettes: breaking bad in gifs

More palettes from my cinematographically favorite show, Breaking Bad. That’s a Friday only word and I expect you to give me credit if you use it. These palettes are based on some hilarious GIFs from the good people at Funny or Die and they just make me remarkably happy. And while we are on the subject of Breaking Bad and happiness, did you hear that Walt may not be dead? Really? I’m giddy just thinking about it.

Color palettes created, as always, at colourlovers.




bb-2bb-3paletteBe the danger….and have a great weekend!

memorial day: remembrance, gratitude and art

Memorial Day: the beginning of summer, the first day to wear white, the best day to buy a washing machine (sales, people!), bbq season has begun. I’m not at all sure how we got here, but here we are. A good friend is a therapist who works with returning soldiers and I thank goodness that not only is she a part of the soldiers’ lives, but also of mine. It reminds me that Memorial Day is not a national bbq holiday. And that ‘happy memorial day’ is not a thing.

When BR McDonald returned home after serving four tours in Afghanistan, his return to the arts was not the same as a non-vet. Veterans must re-create themselves in order to serve in a world so different from the world they leave at home. Their re-entry to this world is fraught with the pain and suffering they experienced and witnessed while serving, the stigma of being a vet, and the process of re-creating themselves yet again to participate in the world they left behind. Some of these vets were artists before their service and need help re-connecting with the art community. In 2009 BR McDonald created the Veteran Artist Program to aid in this reconnection. Like any other artist, veterans create their art to express themselves. What better way can we come to understand the world our vets experience than through their art? VAP focuses on art in 5 areas: visual arts, performing arts, writing/literature, film/video, and new/interactive media. 

So thank you veterans and welcome home. I’m looking forward to what you have to share. And I beg of the rest of the art community, let’s open our arms wide.

Keep in touch,

If you’d like to also offer a small gesture to those still serving, consider sending a cup of joe…..


palettes: fine art

The masters definitely knew how to use color. Here’s a sampling from the French masters displayed at the SF Legion of Honor, which not only houses an awesome collection but is an awesome building on a beautiful site. This is where I spent much of my senior year of college….learning from the best. The building was given to the people of San Francisco by Adolph and Alma Spreckels to honor the thousands of Californians who died in World War I.

Pictures courtesy, color palettes created at

art-caillebotte (800x657)

Soleils au Bord de la Seine, Gustave Caillebotte

art-monet (632x800)

Sailboats on the Seine, Claude Monet

art-bouguereau (800x738)

The Broken Pitcher, William Adolph-Bouguereau

art-cezanne (685x800)Forest Interior, Paul Cezanne (afraid this one isn’t on display, but I love the gorgeous colors! You can check it online.)

Happy Friday! Paint yourself a beautiful weekend….


thursday fun

In an effort to embrace Thursday as the new Friday, enjoy these two bits of fun. Yuma Kano is a young Tokyo designer who looks at the ordinary and makes it not so. He’s taken products as mundane as the picnic blanket, the common screw and screwdriver, the used incandescent bulb and recreated them in his own vision. Inspires me to start looking around at what could be instead of what is…..

Photos courtesy

So it’s a lovely Sunday afternoon and you have the option of going to the museum to see some really beautiful art or watching 360 people in duck suits and superman costumes slide down a huge soap covered hill on their bellies. English installation artist Luke Bellam thought that the soapy hill might prove more engaging for the Bristol community. Apparently he was right. Nearly 100,000 people signed up for the available sliding tickets. 65,000 people came to watch the sliders slide. When was the last time you saw that many people at a museum?

Luke will post instructions online for anyone to create their own urban slide…register interest on his website. Are you listening San Francisco? Sign me up to be part of the organizing committee!

Photos courtesy

See you tomorrow!

palettes: breaking bad season 2

More Breaking Bad palettes. These from season 2. The boys are well engaged in their desert meth making, Walter thinking he has control of his destiny. Their tiny little speck of existence in the massiveness of their environment might indicate otherwise.

breaking bad2-1

breaking bad2-2

breaking bad2-3

Season 1 palettes are here. As always, thanks to colourlovers for their palette creation tool!


napkin sketches

It’s award season, I know. So all the Fabulous’ are entering their super fabulous projects in super fabulous contests and winning great acclaim and more clients. For the rest of us (and the Fabulous’ as well), there is my absolute favorite reachable contest of the year: the napkin sketch contest put on by Architectural Record. Go get a pack of 5×5 white napkins, set one in front of you with a pen and a second adjacent with your cocktail of choice, and sketch baby! All napkins must be submitted by June 30, so now’s the time. Here are a few sketches for inspiration from the 2013 contest. And even you don’t win, you could always make your sketch into a nice little notebook and start practicing for next year.

Happy drawing….


palettes: breaking bad season 1

It’s late and I’m already working with weekend brain, so my last post for the week is a bit of a lark. Breaking Bad has the most beautiful and artistically deliberate cinematography I’ve ever seen on television (although to be fair I don’t watch a lot of television). There are so many image clips that swim around in my head long after I’ve watched the show. See what you think of my Breaking Bad color palettes….

breaking bad1-1

breaking bad1-2

breaking bad1-3

If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t watched the show yet, start it now! Have a great weekend,


mid-century modern: the jewish connection

Anni Albers

Before I begin, let me first say that I grew up in an Eichler, I love Eichler style homes and the modernism that they represent, and I’m Jewish. So when the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco put on their latest show ‘Designing Home: Jews and Midcentury Modernism’, I was in. Steve and I went to the opening last night and the show is truly fabulous. It never occurred to me that mid-century style had a Jewish connection, but of course it does. Jewish designers, architects and patrons such as Anni Albers, Rudolph Schindler and Richard Neutra helped to create the ‘Mad Men’ style that still infatuates us today.

Here’s a bit of background:  the rise of Nazism in 1930’s Europe sent many Jews fleeing for safer shores. In 1933, when Hitler came to power, Germany’s Bauhaus School closed under Nazi pressure claiming that the school was a center of communist intellectualism and Jewish modernism. With the school’s closure, staff emigrated throughout the world and spread their modern ideals. The influx of modern design and designers from Europe sparked America’s appreciation and embrace of what we have come to call ‘mid-century modern’, a spare style that relates form to function and relies on bold pattern and color for decoration.

Check out the photos that I took last night, and visit the show if you have a chance. It is a must see for lovers of this style (and who isn’t?)

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Enjoy the show!

sf film fest on food and art

The 57th annual SF Film Festival begins tomorrow…enjoy these films that have something to do with art or food. All photos courtesy

Art and Craft


a documentary centering on the life and mental illness of a philanthropic art forger

Cesar’s Last Fast


the story of Cesar Chavez centered around his 1988 fast, the final of many taken to highlight the rights of his fellow farm workers



improvised around a storyline, four couples attend a dinner party when a comet passes by and things get weird

Fed Up


a cautionary documentary that follows the obesity crisis and its connection to federal dietary guidelines

Impossible Light


about our very own Bay Bridge…..counts as art in my book

The Last Season


documentary about the (mostly) southeast Asian immigrants who make up the seasonal collection of mushroom hunters in Chemult, Oregon

Soul Food Stories


a mixed bag of Muslim, Christian, Catholic and atheist communists living together in Satovcha, Bulgaria come together over their shared love of food (reminds me of the boys behind the Jerusalem Cookbook…food brings us together politicians!)

iconThe Trip to Italy


more food porn from director Michael Winterbottom (The Trip) and the duo Brydon and Coogan who hilariously needle each other in the most beautiful places that you wish you were visiting!

Enjoy the festival….

Chefs Catalog