A hub for what's out there on the web worthy of love from great artwork to interesting people, cultural events to beautiful photography, good food, great music, good books, fabulous babies and more.


Friday, December 31, 2010

Going, Going, Gone

As we say goodbye to 2010, this photo and the NASA website with its "Astronomy Picture of the Day" remind me there is much to love in this beautiful world we live in.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Miriam Ellingson Artist

Nice artwork by Miriam Ellingson as experienced at this weekend's ICB Marin Open Studios at 480 Gate 5 Road, Studio 278, Sausalito, CA 94965.  Worth a look/see!

Monday, November 29, 2010

Autrey Mill Nature Preserve and Heritage Center

Cruising around the internet searching on my family name "Autrey," I found a series of nice photos -including this one taken by ~~Lou~~ during a photo workshop he attended in Georgia.  After googling "Autrey Mill" I discovered it is a 46-acre property which was once owned and operated by the Autreys from 1877 to the early 1900s and is now a non profit preserve open to the public.  Looks like it's worth a visit!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Beautiful Jon Klein Photographs

One of the highlights of my recent weekend trip to Mendocino was a mini photoshop camera RAW tutorial from wildlife and nature photographer Jon Klein.  There are things you can't do in photoshop, however, such as add the exquisite dewdrops to a dragonfly like the one shown here which Jon captured in his original photo.  Jon explains "one foggy morning in early fall I was out for a walk near Willits and found this Meadowhawk resting on an old Star Thistle head.  The sun was starting to shine through the fog, but the dragonfly was still too cold and wet to fly."

More on Meadowhawk dragonflys can be found at the website bugguide.net but the photos can't compare to the one above.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Why I like Twitter

Sometimes I think the best thing about the web is discovering new artwork from people I would never know about otherwise.  Via Twitter I discovered that one of my favorite sites 20x200 has a new Roger Ballen print out - which led me to discover Roger Ballen's own website where I could view more of his great photos.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Another Great Bird Website

I can't get enough of great bird photographs and recently discovered this new IslandBirds website.  Some of the images are free to download as desktop wallpaper -  including this beauty. 

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Fabulous Madagascar Photos!

See the Kingfisher bird and more Madagascar wildlife here:  http://blog.burrard-lucas.com/2010/10/wildlife-of-madagascar/

And for more info on Madagascar, this book from the University of Chicago Press looks good:

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Burning Man Big Art

Friend Marguerite Leggoe's son Robert worked on some of the great metal sculptures featured at this year's Burning Man.  Check out the photos at the Burning Man website.  Image to the left by San Francisco based photographer Hunter Luisi.  Sculptures done at Big Art in Oakland.

I love being there without actually having to be there! 

Friday, September 24, 2010

Frog Art and Furniture

In going through my Google Reader blogs, I was struck by this exceptional Frog Table posted by Art Splash.  The designer is Dutch Hella Jongerius who has other recent work on his website Jongeriuslab.  I like frogs (an example is my Frogs and Toads poster here) so think the idea of furniture with a frog built in/on is a great idea.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Why I Don't Write

I don't write because I could never write as well as, for example, Ann Patchett.  A good example is the following excerpt from her book Run in which a priest wonders whether there is no afterlife after all.

"Father Sullivan hoped to elevate the present to a state of the divine.  It seemed from this moment of repose that God may well have been life itself.  ... How wrongheaded it seemed now to think that the thrill of heartbeat and breath were just a stepping stone to something greater.  What could be greater than the armchair, the window, the snow?  Life itself had been holy.  We had been brought forth from nothing to see the face of God and in his life Father Sullivan had seen it miraculously for eighty-eight years.  Why wouldn't it stand to reason that this had been the whole of existence and now he would retreat back to the nothingness he had come from in order to let someone else have their turn at the view?  ... What a shame it would have been to miss God while waiting for Him."

The book is highly recommended!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Lynda Barry on Tour

One of the saving graces of Amber, Matt, Wilson and Cole moving to Seattle is that three of my favorite cartoonists lived there:  Lynda Barry, Matt Groening and Charles Burns.  There must be something in the Pacific Northwestern air that brings out the oddly creative in a good way.

Randomly googling recently I came across a Drawn and Quarterly blog post about Lynda's new book and her upcoming tour to some of my favorite cities (San Francisco, LA, Portland, Vancouver, Chicago and NYC).

In 2000, on a visit to Seattle, I bought my first Lynda Barry book The! Greatest! of! Marlys! published by Seattle based Sasquatch Books.  Her latest Picture This: The Near-sighted Monkey Book will be published in November by Drawn and Quarterly.  I can't wait to get my copy.

Wikipedia has more info on Lynda Barry here. and you can pre order the book from Amazon by clicking the link below.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Heather Preston's Beautiful Art Book

Local Marin artist Heather Preston has published "Tree Spirits" showcasing her fabulous art with story-essays that center on the majesty of nature and trees.  A book well worth having!

If more people immersed themselves in the beauty that surrounds us, as Heather has done, we would all be in a better place and would be more likely to achieve a future depicted in panel #15, rather than in panel #13, of R. Crumb's limited edition 15 panel Short History of America poster published by Kitchen Sink Press in 1992.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Artist Friends of Relatives

On a recent trip to Portland Oregon to visit family I encountered a new artist I like - Paul Cumes - based in Santa Barbara.  Paul is the childhood friend of my nephew Matt Songer and Matt had a few of his paintings up at his house.

A link to Paul's website is here 
A You Tube video of Paul painting is here

The painting shown here is one of Pauls.

Speaking of Santa Barbara artists, I also really like the artwork of my old high school classmate Hank Pitcher.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Artist David Korty

I got to know John Korty when I was doing research for the book Cinema by the Bay, published by George Lucas Books, an imprint of JAK Films.  John's Northern California studio was the inspiration for Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas to set up shop in the San Francisco Bay Area.  Other famous filmmakers have also been influenced by John including David Fincher (Se7en, Fight Club) and Henry Selick (Coraline, James and the Giant Peach), among others. 

Talent runs deep in the Korty family, including John's son David who I just discovered.  His work is available from the London gallery Sadie Coles and at the Michael Kohn gallery in Los Angeles.  A good reason to visit both places!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Napa, California = Great Food!

Happily, a friend and former business associate at Lucasfilm Ltd.  is now in the wine business at Silver Oak Cellars so I'm going up for lunch soon.  I thought I might also visit one of my favorite mail order food companies - Katz and Company - who are headquartered in Napa.  Kathleen Scanlon also recommends Round Pond Estates in Rutherford for great olive oil (among other goodies).  There are few places on earth like Northern California for great good and drink!  It is truly a blessing to live here (despite the earthquakes - since I just felt the one we had 2 hours ago).

Monday, June 21, 2010

Star Wars' Greek Connection

My favorite British/Greek, met during my recent vacation, is Sofka Zinovieff - the granddaughter of Robert Herber Percy, who was the lover of Lord Berners who built the famous Faringdon Folly in England in 1935.  Sofka is a writer/artist married to Vassillis Papadimitriou, media consultant to Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, now living outside of Athens. 

So, what's the Star Wars connection?

Bob Canning, one of the contributing authors on the book George Lucas's Blockbusting: A Decade-by-Decade Survey of Timeless Movies Including Untold Secrets of Their Financial and Cultural Success, is also a notable playwright.  His play Faringdon Follies is about Sofka's grandfather and Lord Berners and is being performed July 11, 2010 in Faringdon, UK during its arts festival.  Jeremy Bulloch, the man behind the mask of Boba Fett in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi will read the parts of three characters in the play.

During my life at Lucasfilm, I was always fond of the character of Boba Fett starting years ago when Joe Johnston modeled the original costume at our San Anselmo office.  It seemed like Boba was doomed when he fell into the Sarlacc pit in ROJ but we brought him back to life in the spin off fiction where, I believe, he continues to live a long, healthy life.

It's nice to know that one of my favorite Star Wars characters is now related through Bob Canning's play to one of my favorite new real life characters!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Interesting New Artist

I went to the Marin Arts Festival today.  My favorite artist at the event was a Persian named Omid Zebarjadi.  More info on him and his art can be found here  

Friday, June 18, 2010

Anna Kouda - One of Greece's Most Delightful Greeks

The best places to travel are where you can both see interesting new things and meet wonderful new people.  The island of Paros, Greece provides both.  One of the Cyclades Islands, it is fairly easy to get too but slightly off the beaten track for the hordes of tourists who descend on Greece in the summertime - which makes it a good destination for a low key and relaxed holiday.  The sleepy fishing village of Aliki is where I settled in for much of the past month with my San Francisco engineer friend Kathleen Price - renting an apartment from the very wonderful Anna Kouda, owner and manager of Ikia Studios.  Between hiking and swimming, Kathleen worked on her novel and I painted.  Although we did not run into Tom Hanks (he and his wife own a place on Anti Paros, a nearby smaller island), he and other celebrities do make regular appearances in Aliki where the friendly local Greek farmers and fishermen leave them alone.  The beaches nearby are heavenly, the locally grown food and wine fabulous and the charming Anna a breath of fresh air.

For some of my watercolor sketches from Greece click here

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Monday, April 26, 2010

Blood Safari and Vultures

I love it when I discover a great new (to me) murder mystery writer, especially when their books teach me something new while entertaining me.  Blood Safari by Deon Meyer is one such book.

Did you know different species of vultures in Africa eat different dead animal parts and all are needed to clean up rotting carcasses before they breed flies that spread disease?  In South Africa, for example, there's the hooded vulture, the Cape Griffon vulture and the lappet-faced vulture all specializing in different tasks.  As I discovered to my horror when researching the book Cause of Death, the great creatures of the world are being killed off at a great rate by man - which does not bode well for our future on this planet.  I just never thought of vultures in that light before.

Here's an interesting website with more vulture information and photos and facts about a large number of vultures throughout the world.
Art by Lea (Lucy Ellen Autrey)

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Giovanni Rainaldi, Ibiza Jeweler Extraordinaire

Continuing on the theme of fine jewelry, thanks to the worldwide web, great jewelers around the world are now just a touch of the mouse away.  One of the best, Giovanni Rainaldi, works on the remote island of Ibiza, off the coast of Spain, selling his original creations at an outdoor market on weekends.  More information on his work can be found here.

I used to go to Ibiza nearly every summer for several years to visit friends who lived there, or I would take a side trip when I attended the Bologna or Frankfurt bookfairs for work.  Everytime I went, my first stop would be to Giovanni's stall at Las Dahlias or the studio he has at the house he shares with his artist wife.  Now when I wear a piece Giovanni made I remember my vacation, my friends and the nicest and most accomplished jeweler I've yet met.

If you can get to Ibiza it's worth the trip, especially if you go to the weekend markets where, besides fine jewelry, one can find rare articles of clothing and other objects from Kazakhstan to India to Bali.  But if you can't go there, visit "Artesanos de Ibiza" and order on-line.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Marsha Armitage-Bristow Recommends Gail Rigelhaupt Jewelry

Marsha Armitage-Bristow's childhood friend Gail Rigelhaupt, a top notch creative director, is now designing jewelry.  Her beautiful work can be seen here:  http://www.thenakedstone.com/collections/

My Personal Jewelry Moto
  • You can never have too much jewelry
  • You should always try to buy jewelry from people you know and like since you will think of them every time you put on a piece of their magic.
  • Jeweler friends of friends can be considered "people you know and like."
  • Exceptions can be made for unique costume and antique jewelry when the original jeweler is no longer around to cultivate a friendship with.

    Tuesday, April 20, 2010

    Bulldog Mania on Long Island

    The brainchild of long time friend Ira Friedman, Project Bulldog celebrates the mascot of Hewlett-Woodmere school district with a classy, high quality artistic experience which will culminate in a massive bulldog auction June 17th 2010.  More info is available at projectbulldog.net.  I, for one, would love to have one of those dogs! 

    I first met Ira in the late 1970s when he was working for Lucasfilm's internal Star Wars fan club publishing the famous Bantha Tracks newsletters.  Like many Lucasfilm alumni, Ira has continued to do great things over the years and this event is certainly one of them.

    365 Dogs Page-A-Day Calendar 2011

    Friday, April 16, 2010

    Scott Guitteau Recommends Tichy

    Scott Guitteau, a Skywalker Sound friend, is always up on what's happening in the world that's interesting.

    Scott's recommendation for April 2010:  The first ever American museum exhibition devoted to the work of the reclusive and mysterious Czech photographer Miroslav Tichy at the International Center of Photography, 1133 Avenue of the Americas at 43rd St. in New York, through MAY 9, 2010.  

    More information on Tichy can be found at Jason Kottke's website kottke.org.

    Sunday, April 11, 2010

    The Star Wars Soundtrack That Wasn't

    Back in the 1990s, when I was still at Lucasfilm Licensing, I wanted to do for Star Wars music what I was doing for Star Wars publishing but The Force wasn't with me on that idea.  One good thing that did come out of my exploration into a possible line of original soundtrack CDs was a compilation album put together by Virgin's A&R guy in London in January of 1996 as an imagined score to the Star Wars Dark Forces computer game (released in 1995).  I still have the demo CD and all of the cuts are now available on iTunes and Amazon.com.  It's a great album!  Here's the breakdown:

    Massive Attack (from their 1994 Virgin CD "Protection")
    Protection 7:51
    Karmacoma 5:16
    Weather Storm 5:00

    Fluke (from their 2001 Virgin CD "Progressive History X")
    Tosh  6:31
    Bullet  7:46

    Whale (from their 1995 Virgin CD "We Care")
    Pay For Me  4:24
    That's Where It's At  4:15

    Photek (from their 1996 Virgin CD "The Hidden Camera")
    KJZ 7:50

    The Chemical Brothers (from their 1995 Virgin CD "Exit Planet Dust")
    Leave Home  5:32
    Chemical Beats  4:50
    F**k Up Beats  1:25

    I thought of this recently since The Chemical Brothers have a new album due out that's getting lots of attention.  What I didn't know until now was that they were originally called the Dust Brothers and only changed their name to The Chemical Brothers on their "Exit Planet Dust" album.  Since dust can contain a lot of lead, I thought an illustration of Atomic Number 82 - the chemical symbol for Lead - was appropriate here.

    Sunday, April 4, 2010

    If You're Looking for Great Talent Look Here

    I'm about to leave Lucasfilm Ltd. after 35 and 1/2 incredible years.  As I reflect on all the talent and adventures I've been fortunate enough to meet and experience during my time there, I thought it would be fun to gather them all in one place as new items of interest come up.  To start, I just found out Jamie Warren, one of my favorite book publishing art directors, has a new website so thought my first post might lead interested parties there.