Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Newsletter: December Happy Holidays (from my website www.CristinaAcosta.com)


Winter storms in Oregon and sub-freezing temperatures have covered most of the state in ice and snow. Just now the day is brightened with a sunny break between storms. I'm watching the Juggling Stars.jpgMountain Quail scratch through the snow at the base of my garden bird feeders. The small Nuthatches and larger Jays spill seed as they eat, leaving a scattering of food for the ground-dwelling Quail. They skitter from feeder to feeder leaving trails in the snow.

The national economic and political challenges are affecting everyone. I hope that whatever storms have come into your life this past year, you find a nurturing sunny spot.

When (not "if") I feel stressed reading the stormy news reports, I look for something that enables me to make an immediate positive change. One of my favorite ways to respond to stress is to make something. Writing, painting, decorating (moving things around my house or painting a wall) or cooking are my default creative activities. I've written a master recipe for Breakfast Scones that has a lot of creative options. It's a fun recipe to bake during the Holiday Season.

Warm and Happy Holiday Wishes!


Exhibit Info December / January 2008:

  • Gottshalks department store obtained 2 images from my Spanish Rose Series for their entry foyer in the new Gottshalks in Bend, Oregon. Retablo_Christmas.jpg

  • ASU Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology is exhibiting my 16'6" charcoal drawing, Love Always (Siempre Amor) for their 9th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival exhibit, Oct. 28, 2008 - Jan. 29, 2009.This beautiful exhibit features Chicano / Chicana art.

  • Central Oregon, High Desert Gallery Sisters, Oregon, is exhibiting my series of Madonna retablos (altars) in their gallery. This beautiful Nativity retablo is part of the exhibit.

Along with painting, I continue to write design articles regularly for Latina Style magazine, and offer color consulting services to home and business owners choosing paint colors in Bend, Oregon. I like sharing home design ideas with clients. Clients save paint, time and money while choosing paint colors for their homes and businesses.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Breakfast Scone Recipe

Are you home for the holidays or ready for a leisurely breakfast? Try making my scone master recipe. Scones are quick to make for a special morning breakfast. These scones are beautiful to look at, they taste wonderful and the scent of baking scones filling the house is enough to get most anybody to the breakfast table.

If you want to make dairy free scones, substitute non-hydrogenated shortening or lard for the butter and plain or vanilla soy milk (or other type of milk) for the cow milk. You can alter the ingredients to make a variety of scones.

Some of my favorite scone variations are: Cherry Pecan (with dried tart cherries), Wild Blueberry, Cranberry Orange Scones (orange zest & dried cranberries), Lemon Poppyseed (with lemon zest), Chocolate Orange Nut (with orange zest, chocolate drops & nuts). Experiment and have fun with this recipe.

Time: 10 - 15 minutes to prepare, 15 minutes to bake Yield: About 8 - 10 scones (depending on how you cut the dough)
Tools: Hand held pastry cutter, OR a food processor OR 2 dinner forks
standard size flat baking pan (one that fits in your oven), oven, spatula, 2 bowls. Optional: Vitamix


  • 2 cups flour (I use unbleached white mostly, sometimes I'll substitute 1/2 cup of whole grain flour -- more than 1/2 cup makes for a very heavy scone)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 cup brown or white sugar
  • 1/2 sea salt
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup frozen or fresh blueberries (wild are best as they are small)
    • 1/2 cup dried fruits such as: raisins, chopped apricots, pitted cherries, sweetened cranberries, etc.
    • 1/2 cup chopped nuts such as: pecans, walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts
    • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
    • 1 teaspoon (more or less to taste) of spice such as: cinnamon, nutmeg, mace, coriander, ginger
    • 2 Tablespoons poppy seeds
    • 2 Tablespoons fresh orange or lemon peel zest (don't scrape off the white part of the rind as it will be bitter).

Optional Topping: Mix 1/2 cup powdered sugar with 1 Tablespoon of liquid to make a glaze. Suggested liquids are: espresso, orange juice, fruit / chocolate / or maple syrup, milk, water


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Spray a baking pan with release or grease it with butter/shortening.
  3. In a Vitamix or by hand using a fork and a bowl: beat together until frothy - eggs, milk
  4. In a large dry bowl mix together the dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, sugar, sea salt.
  5. Using a pastry cutter, food processor or 2 dinner forks, cut the butter into the dry mix until the mix resembles coarse meal and there aren't any chunks of butter much larger than 1 grain of rice.
  6. Add any fruits, nuts and/or spices to this mix.

Then. . . .

  1. All at once add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir just until the dry mix is saturated. Don't over mix or the scones won't rise.
  2. Dust a little flour onto a clean counter and after flouring your hands, pour the batter on to the counter (it should be almost like a very wet biscuit dough).
  3. Sprinkle a little flour on the dough and knead it for about 5 - 10 strokes. To knead the dough, pat it down til it's easy to grab the far edge. Bring that edge over the front edge of the dough (by your belly) and make push it together hard with both hands. Do this a few more times, turning it until the dough is easy to pat into a shape.(Sprinkle on more flour if dough is too sticky).
  4. Pat dough into a circle about 1" thick.
  5. Just like you'd cut a pie, cut the dough into wedges.
  6. Transfer the dough to the pan (with a pancake spatula) and spread them on the baking pan at least 1/2" apart so they won't grow into each other as they cook.

Bake the scones at 425 until browned. About 15 minutes.

Pour glaze on when the scones are cool enough to eat. (optional)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Death on My Doorstep

Writing in my studio with all of the comforts of modern heating, plumbing and groceries, it's hard to remember that for most of the history of humankind, winters in the snowy and cold regions of the globe were often life-and-death seasons of hardship and possible starvation. Watching birds reminds me of reality of life for all of the other creatures on our planet, and reinforces to me that as a human I have a responsibility to nurture healthy eco-systems.

This morning the thermometer was around 10 degrees Fahrenheit and it's been snowing most of the day. Between work sessions I've been sweeping snow off the walkways (easier than shoveling, but I have to do it more often) and stocking the bird feeders.

The seasonal birds have migrated south and only the stalwart local wild birds remain. I like watching the Chicadee's, Jays and Mountain Quail vie for their positions at the feeders. Even though I live in the town of Bend, Oregon, we have a 1/2 acre lot that we've mostly xeroscaped in the indigeneous flora mix of manzanita, red currant, ponderosa pine and bunch grass. The birds visit the feeders while the coyotes, mule deer and bunnies come to the mineral salt lick.

Wherever small birds group, a hungry raptor will eventually show up for a meal that is never vegetarian. I watched owls, hawks and eagles hunt the small birds at the feeder. They fail much more than they succeed, but despite that they always persevere with the hunt, though never from the same angle. I've long ago given up cheering for either "side" of the hunted/hunters of bird world. They each have their place.

Nonetheless, because I see so few raptors in relationship to the usual birds, I always stop and watch them. One day in November, I heard the bump of a bird hitting the glass windows while I was writing. That's not unusual as the occasional bird will zig rather than zag when they're flying around the garden.

Leaving my studio, I opened the door to find a beautiful raptor dead on my doorstep. The bird, a Sharp Shined Hawk, had broken it's neck when it hit the window and died instantly. It lay on it's back in the center of my doormat with it's wings perfectly outstretched, looking like a symbol on a flag. I reached to touch it and stopped when I heard a loud, rumbling growl. I looked up to see the neighbor's cat, Harry, in full wild-cat mode, ready to fight me for the bird's body.

I quickly picked up the hawk and brought it into my studio, letting my Rat Terrior out to chase Harry the cat. (The dog lives to chase that cat). I drew this graphite drawing of the dead hawk laying on my work table.

Yesterday a very much alive and hungry Sharp Shined Hawk flew by the window, finishing a failed swoop after a Quail. I wonder if it's related to the hawk in this drawing.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Feast of the Guadalupe December 12th

Sometimes things happen that seem so mysteriously destined that I'm amazed at the richness of this universe. About 4 or 5 years ago a man called my business number and asked if I had any interior design need for furnishings. He was a semi-retired fine carpenter and furniture maker and was looking for new business contacts.

When he told me he was in Albany, Oregon a city in the Willamette Valley about 2 1/2 hours from my home in Bend, Oregon. I was curious as to why he would call someone out of his geographic area. When I asked him, he said that he had just started experimenting with calling people and that I was the first Hispanic name he saw under the Designer category in the phone book. As he was Chicano (Mexican-American) he said he hoped I would be nice because my name was Spanish. (My late father was Mexican-American or Chicano, hence my Spanish name.)

Once he told me he was practicing his business skills on me, we both relaxed and chatted a bit, talking about what it was like to be one of the very few Mexican-Americans (Chicanos) in Oregon during the 1980's. I told him about my series of retablo paintings of Madonnas that I was working on.

He then told me that he had something he needed to get rid of before he retired, and that I might be the perfect person for it. He said that he had a Catholic Church confessional from a church that had been closed. Though he was vague as to how he came by the piece, he'd had it for over 30 years and asked if I would like to buy it. Without photos I said no, though it sounded interesting. After our conversation I sent him a postcard of one of my retablos, La Conquistadora / the Corn Maiden / Dine Spider Woman.

The next month and for about 6 months afterward, the man would check in with me to see if I'd like to buy his confessional. I never saw a photo and always said no.

Then one Saturday morning he was parked at my studio in a work van with a friend. I was stunned that he had driven over 2 hours over a mountain pass and hadn't called to even see if I would be there. My husband, Randall had been at work (at that time our work spaces were in the same building) early to catch up on things and met the man when he knocked on my husband's door to ask if he knew where I was.

I drove up to the studio building to see Randall standing at the back of the man's open van and signaling me the absolutely-no-way hand signals in tandem with the what-in-the-heck-is-going-on eyebrow raise.

Stepping behind the van I looked in to see the "confessional" and was struck with amazement. The sections of cabinetry and plastic ziploc bag of "extra parts" looked like nothing but scraps of old wood and a lot of work to my husband, but I could see that what I was looking at was an altar.

That was it -- I really wanted that pile of cabinetry. The man and I went back and forth on a price and I bought the cabinet. Randall was totally against the idea, but as it wasn't a "affecting both of us for life" type of decision, I bought it anyway. Fortunately, Randall is a lovely guy who happens to be handsome, handy and dotes on me -- so, he put the cabinet together despite his initial dismay with my decision to buy the cabinet.

I was so filled with amazement at the synchronicity and magical quality of life. I cleaned the pieces of wood with Citrus thinner and Randall put the puzzle of pieces together until it was a complete shrine. I asked everyone I thought might know, if they knew anything about the cabinet. Nobody did, but I felt that it was a shrine for the Guadalupe. So, I had my artisan woodworker friend, Terry Scoville, make me 2 wood panels to fit the "holes" left in the cabinet after someone had removed something years ago.

I painted an image of the Guadalupe with Child in oils, 22kt. gold leaf, wax and antique ceramic mosaic to suit the intimate space of the shrine along with a thin horizontal insert. Randall installed them. It is beautiful and we get so much pleasure from viewing the shrine. The shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe is my constant reminder of the strange and often ironic, abundant beauty of life.

A couple of years later, while traveling in Taxco, Mexico I saw identical woodwork on 2 confessional chairs in the Cathedral at the top of the hill and knew that the shrine had "found" me. The man from Albany, Oregon had indeed found the "right" home for what he thought was a confessional, but in reality was a Shrine to the Guadalupe.

In Mexico, the top part of the cabinet (with the portrait of the Guadalupe) is removed from the stand (or bottom section) and is carried at the head of a procession on Dec. 12th. Sometimes the curtain is across her image during part of the procession, other times not -- it depends upon the local traditions. During the rest of the year, the top part sits on the cabinet in a church.

I often light candles I put in the cabinet, or just turn on a light to enjoy it. My friend, Mimi Graves brought me a ristra of local grown red chilies which dried while hanging from the cabinet door. Here's some info about the festival.

Catholic traditions include Feast Days which are specially designated days for a Saint or Holy Person. December 12th is the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In Mexico, this feast is one of the holiest days of the year. Though the concept is not sanctioned by the Catholic Church, some people consider the Guadalupe to be the Christian version of the Aztec Mother Earth goddess Tonantzin. The Our Lady of Guadalupe festival is much more of a tradition in Mexico than in the U.S., though in areas with a lot of Hispanics there are often processions to celebrate the day. Images of Our Lady of Guadalupe are often considered Chicano art, Catholic religious art or Hispanic art -- To hispanics of Mexican-American ancestory, the image of the Guadalupe is a symbol that goes beyond religious affiliations to become an icon of identity.

I was raised very Catholic and consider myself a Chicana or Latina. Despite the spiritually seismic shifts I've experienced that re-shaped my beliefs, I love to paint Madonnas and think of them as expressions of the Divine Feminine. You can see more of my Madonnas here.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Re-Writing History

I've been going through my late paternal grandmother's (Abuelita's) photos and putting together an essay that includes a piece of her story as a classical pianist in Los Angeles, California during the 1920's. Though now my grandmother might call herself a Chicana or a Latina, during her generation, Hispanic Americans that were not directly from Mexico, but had a history (often for hundreds of years) in the Southwest called themselves Spanish or (if they lived in California) a Californio (male) or California (female).

So I grew up referring to her as my "Spanish Grandmother" when I didn't call her Abuelita (the Spanish word for grandmother). Her name was Catalina Maria Ortiz Acosta and she was a renaissance women who was very cultured and talented. I put together an essay on my site describing her contribution to the classical music scene in Southern California circa the 1920's. I also submitted it to LatinoLA and they published it also.

Here's the beginning of the article and a photo of my grandmother: The article is titled, "My Abuelita was One Talented Mujer (Woman)

Multi-Cultural Chicano Musical History in Southern California with Classical Music Indianist Composer and Chicana Pianists in LA

Ances_Cat_inFur_1924_web.jpg Los Angeles during the early 1900's was not a friendly place for Mexican-Americans and Chicanos. Though originally part of Mexico, California was annexed by Anglos to become part of the United States of America in 1848. With the gold rush of 1842 and other immigration, the existing American Indian and Spanish / Mexican people of California were politically and socially marginalized. By the 1920's lynchings, racially motivated attacks and "anti-greaser" laws were in place to control and dominate the Mexican American (Chicano) population of California. Pressure on Mexican Americans increased and included segregated schools in areas of Southern California where large groups of Chicanos persisted. The famous case, Mendez vs. the Board of Education finally ended Hispanic segregation in the late 1950's.

Intelligent, cultured and talented Hispanic Americans were not lauded. In fact, with the veil of racism over many Anglo peoples perceptions during that era, there was very limited press coverage of the positive cultural contributions of Chicanos in Los Angeles. History is written by the "winners", and as a conquered population, Spanish / Mexican Californians have lost many of their historical cultural contributions to a lack of attention.

As a third generation Californian (I now live in Oregon), I found some Chicana history within my family that pertains to the larger political climate and the cultural life of elite Angelinos during the early part of the twentieth century. In the early 1920's my grandmother Catalina Maria Ortiz Acosta and her family, lived in Los Angeles. The last of eighteen children, my grandmother Catalina was the daughter of J. Nestor Ortiz and Maria Salazar Ortiz. J. Nestor was a wealthy man who had owned several businesses and a sheep ranch in the town of Ortiz, Colorado (near Antonito, on the border with New Mexico). J. Nestor sold his interests in Colorado and re-located in Los Angeles, California in 1903. Catalina was born the next year. Though her ancestors where among the founding families of Santa Fe, New Mexico (and other towns in the region), she would often refer to herself and family members as "Californios" or "Spanish". Either were terms that people (Anglo and Hispanic) in her generation used to refer to the Spanish families that lived in the American Southwest when that region was under the control of Spain/Mexico. Because she was born in California, the term "Californio(a)" is accurate, but not completely reflective of her cultural heritage. The term she used usually depended upon her sense of the listener's knowledge of these finer points of cultural history.

Though the term Californio/a is dated and not used today, it was very meaningful for Spanish citizens of California who became citizens of the United States because of the Mexican War in 1848. My grandmother would often express her Ances_Chief-Yowlache-web.jpg indignation towards prejudice that any family member encountered with the comment, "Those peasants don't realize that we are Californios." I smile when I think about that. She disdained the prejudice that she deemed more a result of a lack of a good education than a lack of kindness. (I'm including this information about her cultural ethnic appellation because you will note that the concert program below refers to her as a "Spanish-American Pisaniste".)

The Ortiz family befriended Charles O. Roos and his wife, Jaunita E. Roos. The family connection was certainly enriched by Catalina's friendship and professional relationship with Jaunita. Catalina (1904-1991) was then a twenty year old classical pianist and the featured pianist at concerts the Roos organized. My grandmother spoke with admiration regarding Juanita's musical abilities. Charles, an Easterner, moved to Los Angeles and worked as a newspaper feature writer when not involved with his work as a lyricist. His wife Juanita was a gifted pianist. They collaborated to create a variety of piano compositions. Charles also wrote poems and lyrics for other composers' music. The concert program for the event at the Ramona Convent in Alhambra, California illustrates the typical concert Roos organized. Nordskog Records recorded the concert. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy of that recording or know of it's existence.

Sifting through my Grandmother's photo albums I found several photos of Charles and Juanita. The photos of the people in the Native American outfits are my grandmother Catalina, and Chief Yowlache, dressed in traditional Native American clothing for publicity photos that Roos used in his concert promotions. Chief Yowlache was the "Indian baritone" for the program. Catalina accompanied him and also played solos.

During a time of escalating social injustice. . . READ MORE.

NOTE: All photos copyright Cristina Acosta.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Party in Bend, Oregon for Barb Buchan this Wednesday!

Have you seen a Bejing Gold Medal up close? I hadn't until my friend, the ever - inspiring Barbara Buchan won 2 Gold Medals in Cycling in Bejing this past summer. Not only is she talented and hardworking, Barb is 52 years old!

Barbara Buchan began her athletic career as an able-bodied athlete and had Olympic dreams until she went down in a cycling accident over 25 years ago. She suffered a terrible head-injury that left her "dead" more than once. After a decade of rehab and the will and perserverance to put one foot in front of the other no matter how long her journey was predicted to be, Barb defied the odds. She re-created her body, her life and her goals. She went to the Paralympics a few times, but never gave up on her goal to podium regardless of the suggestions she received to "retire".

As a result of her accident, Barb became a very right-brained thinker. She constantly pays attention to art and design and actively creates craft and art pieces for her friends and family along with her devotion to tweaking the interior design of her home.

Barb Buchan is an amazing inspiration and example of the creative life. I've written about Barb Buchan before. Here's a link to that post.

I encourage you to drop by Rebound this Wednesday and say hi to Barb.

Rebound Physical Therapy is hosting a
Meet & Greet for Barbara Buchan

Welcome her home and congratulate her. She won 2 Gold Medals in Bejing!!!
  • Who: Everyone – This event is open to the public.
  • When: Wednesday, Dec. 3rd, 5 - 7 p.m.
  • Where: Rebound Physical Therapy, 155 SW Century Dr, Bend, Oregon
  • What to bring: Pot Luck finger food & BYOB
Barb is a Paralympic Cyclist, Gold Medalist, and a World Record holder. She is an inspiration to us all.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Ask Cristina: Which Color Should I Use for the TV Accent Wall?

Dear Cristina, (via my website www.CristinaAcosta.com)

I just purchased paint from Benjamin Moore 2159-40 (amber wave) and AC-9 (Nugget). These colors seem too dark. The Benjamin Moore specialist suggested that we use the Nugget as the accent wall. For some reason it doesn't look too good. Can someone suggest a color that will complement (Amber Wave) or a color that we can use as an accent wall with the color (Amber Wave). Oh by the way the room is in the basement and it is the longest wall in which we plan to put the TV on.
Looking for HELP.

Thank you.

From the sound of your note, you're planning on keeping the Benjamin Moore wall paint color, Amber Waves and replace the Nugget. You haven't said anything about your decor, so my advice is a bit of a shot in the dark. Nonetheless, here goes!

I like the color Amber Waves as it's a light and happy gold and would likely be a good choice for a basement color as it's not full of black. The Nugget didn't work because it's a bit blah against the Amber Waves, and the value (the relative lightness or darkness of a color) is too close. Because your accent wall is the TV accent wall in the basement, I'd go for some drama. Here are some deep, rich tones that accent the Benjamin Moore Amber Wave color: Amazon Soil 2115-30 (a beautiful rich and dusky eggplant purple); Pine Cone 2106-30 (a rich warm brown) and Cinnamon 2174-20 (a gorgeous earthy red).

Don't chicken out and choose a blah (in comparison) accent wall color. An accent wall is all about drama -- choose a bold color. Don't worry about the darkness of the color -- the basement is dark already -- put in dramatic color and add lights to highlight any posters, art, or play areas like pool tables and card tables. A lighting expert can help you get dramatic yet practical results. I'd love to see what you ended up doing, send me the before and after photos..

Read more color advice on my website.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

November Newsletter from My Website

Money problems and the bad economy are dominating headlines and entering most everyone's conversations (mine included) at some point during the day. It's almost impossible to be around people or connect to media and not hear something said about some aspect of money.

Our country's current financial instability is something that I can't obviously change, and that stresses me out. For stress relief I turn to something linear and controllable - exercise. I'm an active person, but in times of uncertainty I ramp up my exercise program. Maybe this doesn't seem very artsy or creative, but how I think about exercise is my creative approach to stress. Here's why: Targeted exercise creates measurable positive change in strength and power while relaxing the mind. And that equals control. Most of the control we think we have in life is often an illusion -- except for exercise.

Until I realized this, I often thought of exercise as something I fit around the days I was having fun in a sport like skiing or paddling my SUP board. Creating art is a very non-linear type of activity and I can spend days or weeks on a canvas and not be able to get at what I'm envisioning. Not only does exercise make me healthier, I can experience some linear measure of success with as little as an hour or so a day of minor discomfort. Bluebird_CMYK.jpg

Whatever the ups and downs may be in my day, not only does the success I feel translate into the rest of my day, I can eat more! Just in time for the holidays I wrote down my Pumpkin Sweet Potato Custard recipe so you can try one of my family's favorite desserts. It's like pumpkin pie without the crust.

The holiday season began this month with Dia de los Muertos (The Day of the Dead) and now we're heading into Thanksgiving. The election is over and the work of change is all of our responsibility. I am very grateful to live in our great country. May we all take a moment to count our blessings, not only our cash.

Happy Holidays,


Conquistadora-Center-of-Cre.jpgExhibit Info November 2008:

Along with painting, I continue to write design articles regularly for Latina Style magazine, and offer color consulting services to home and business owners choosing paint colors in Bend, Oregon. I like sharing home design ideas with clients, it's a satisfying way to share my creative skills when I'm not painting or writing.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Winter White -- Article in Latina Style magazine

White is a year 'round color in home decor. I wrote an interior design article for Latina Style magazine about the color white titled, Painting Your Home with Style, Turning White into Wow! For a couple of years I've been regularly writing a design column called Su Casa (Your Home) that answers decor questions. It's fun and interesting work, and I always learn something new with each article. The next issue of Latina Style will include my article about interior lighting.

This issue is all about white (just in time for snow in the northern climes). Though white is not on the color wheel, when it's used in home decor and interior design, white functions as a color, (which is as good as being a color).

Here are some of my tips about using the wall paint color white from the home decor article:

Mix up the sheens (texture).
Choose a basic eggshell sheen for the majority of surfaces. Mix in other whites in matte and glossy finishes. Play with this idea, using gloss as the basic sheen and matte sheen as the accent (or vice versa).

Layer whites from bright to creamy.
Here’s an example of layering three colors of white: Semi-gloss bright-white trim (cool); matte sheen creamy-white though slightly darker ceilings (warm); with eggshell sheen creamy-white (warm) walls that are slightly darker than the ceiling.

Keep your whites in line with your décor.
Bright whites are a stylish boost in stark modern home designs. Enhance a traditional home with warm whites.

White walls don’t have to be boring when you play tonalities and textures of white together. Try some of these ideas and send me your photos to share on my Web site.


photo courtesy of Benjamin Moore

You can read more about design (and other things) on my website at www.CristinaAcosta.com
See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website.
www.CristinaAcosta.com Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

ASU Exhibit - Love Always - Siempre Amor

Bones are one of my enduring motifs. I began collecting bones from the rangeland around my Bend, Oregon, home in the early 1980's. Since then, whenever I'm on a hike, if I see an interesting bone, I pick it up and bring it home to draw.

This image is part of the Ofrenda for the ASU Arizona State University, Museum of Anthropology 9th Annual Dia de los Muertos exhibit, Oct 28, 2008 - Jan. 29, 2008.

Love eternal, renewable and cyclical binds together the bones of life. Vertebrae spiral like strands of DNA as they fly from the past into the future. Arteries from the heart bloom into evergreen pine branches. Feathers, like the shed-horns of the deer and elk renew with the seasons. Elements move through the space of the drawing, the dirt of charcoal stains a counterpoint to their beauty.

Each element in the drawing has multiple layers of meaning. The embracing couple is framed with feathers, implying the presence of angels. The pelvis rendering has the feel of a Kachina mask, the hands coming together play on a popular pregnancy photo pose.

You can see more of my Hispanic Heritage art series on my site. I like the elements in this design and am interested in licensing this art. If you know of anyone that would like to license this design or elements in it for home decor or clothing, please pass on this post to them. Here's my contact info: phone (541)388-5157 email: Cristina@CristinaAcosta.com


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Inside Design Internet Radio Talk this Friday!

I'm excited to tell you that this Friday morning (Nov. 14th, 10:30 EST) I'll be talking to the co-hosts of Inside Design internet radio show about art and design and sharing my inspirations with listeners.

Listen to Inside Design internet radio show to hear the latest interior design trends, news, and ideas, brought to you by co-hosts Susan Featherstone-Schemm and Sherry Burton Ways. Listen every other Friday, 10:30 am -12:00 noon, EST to the Inside Design Internet Radio Show on IM4RADIODC.COM"

To listen to the show you MUST login to www.im4radiodc.com at 10:30 am EST or 7:30 am Pacific Time on Friday, November 21st. Once you go into the website click listen now to hear the show.


The show will begin promptly at 10:30 am EST (7:30 am Pacific Time). The interview will last approximately 30 minutes.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Ask Cristina: Which Wall Should be an Accent Wall?

Dear Cristina, (via my website www.CristinaAcosta.com)

I was wondering, how do you know which wall to use as an accent wall? I have an oblong living room and I am having it professionally painted soon. I am trying to decide which wall would be best. I was told to use the first wall you see when you come in the room as the accent wall. I was also told that I should not make the wall behind my TV the accent wall. (This is the first wall you see). I am so confused now. Please help. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Much thanks!!

Michele M.

Dear Michele,
A focal (or focus) point is an area of a room that catches your eye. A focal point area could be a wall, window, item of furniture (like a piano or TV), an architectural accent (such as -- ornate trims, a niche, fireplace, a unique ceiling) or fixture (such as lighting or appliances). A room will have a primary focal point, secondary focal point, etc.

How those focal points come to be is a combination of architecture and interior design. And, it sounds as though in your home the architecture makes the TV wall the focal point of the living room.

A painted accent wall can enhance or create a focal point. Because your living room is also your entertainment area I recommend you work with the TV. Put in cabinets and shelving that are attractive and cover or minimize the appearance of the TV. The cabinetry should include shelves to display art, memorabilia and decor items that enrich the focal area so that the TV is not visually dominant - an important factor when the TV is not on. The idea is to reinforce the natural visual dominance of the TV wall but at the same time, subordinate the visual importance of the TV.

With the above concepts in mind here's what to consider when you choose which wall to accent with paint:
  • A colored accent wall would look great behind built-in shelves. The accent wall color would reinforce the focal point created by the cabinetry.
  • OR, if the TV wall is also the longest wall in the room, AND after you have the cabinetry designed, IF that wall is too dominant you'll want to consider emphasizing a secondary focal point to create a little asymmetrical balance.**
  • You could choose to accent a secondary focal point, consider a wall behind the seating area or a wall that frames a visually significant window.
Read more about accent walls on my website, www.CristinaAcosta.com.
When you're done with your room, I'd love to see photos.

Warm Regards,

**Yes, this is a conditional answer, but it's the best I can do with the information I have. You'll need to consider these concepts when you make your decision.
See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website.
www.CristinaAcosta.com Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Exhibit: Tango at Onda Oswego Gallery

Put on your dancing shoes, or just watch the show at the Onda Gallery in Lake Oswego, a suburb of Portland, Oregon. This exciting exhibit of images of the sensuous tango is accompanied opening night by live tango dancing and music. Proceeds of the sales that night benefit The Miracle Theatre in Portland, Oregon.

Put this exciting event on your calendar!

a new exhibit at Onda Gallery in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
November 7 – November 30, 2008
Paintings, Drawings, Mixed Media Original Art
  • WHEN: November 7 - 6-9 pm Artists Reception and Exhibit Opening
  • Live Argentine Tango Dancing and Music by Dick Suanders & Justin Franzino
  • WHERE: 240 A Street Suite 104, Lake Oswego, Oregon 503-496-3922
    oswego@ondagallery.com www.ondagallery.com
Exhibiting Artists: Amy Erickson, Willow Bader, Christina Sells, Carolina Martinez, Karen Landey, Kate Venerso, Claude Werner-Laviano, John Graeter, Judy Maxon, Alan Rose, Colleen Flanigan, Micheal Fisher, Amber Marie Oxford, Frank Engel, Cristina Acosta

My painting in the exhibit is titled Two to Tango. It is acrylic and hard pastel on 100% rag paper.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gottschalks Department Store Murals - Now & Then

The California based department store, Gottschalks opened a new 55,000 square foot store in Bend, Oregon last week. I sold limited rights* to 2 of my paintings, Spanish Sonata and Blue Bird Hacienda from my Spanish Rose Series to Gottschalks so that they could have them turned into murals for the atrium. Not only am I honored to have my art chosen, I am amused by the irony of making a mural 20 plus years later for the same location. Here's what happened.

During the late 1980's I was the lead (and only) outdoor advertising billboard painter for the entire Central Oregon region beginning south at the (then) tiny town of La Pine, Oregon and north into the town of Madras, Oregon, on the edge of the Warm Springs Indian Reservation. I worked for Carlson Sign in Bend, Oregon and hand painted billboards on metal sections or paper. This was right before computer printers took over the market. Now it is rare to see a hand painted billboard.

Jake's Truck Stop and Diner was a landmark on South Highway 97 in Bend, Oregon, from the 1970's through most of the 1990's. Truck drivers could dial a real 5 pound phone from their table, enabling them to eat and relax while checking on business or calling loved ones. Meals were gourmand piles of carbs with sides of extra gravy and cute girls pumped the gas. The showers were clean and the lot was big enough to host a small village of overnight sleepers.

I painted this 24' long by 11' high sign for Jake's Truck Stop & Diner (circa 1989) on metal sections using alkyd bulletin colors. I used rollers and brushes for most of the under painting on the billboard. I painted the cool looking airbrush effects with a quart sized air gun and 24" wide rolls of masking paper. I remember the satisfaction of painting the "sparkles" on the "chrome" Jakes's name as the finishing touch.

Jake's is still around, but it's now just a diner in another location on the east side of Bend, OR. The phones are gone along with the gas and everything else. Times change. Where Jake's used to be is now a new shopping center. And the anchor tenant for that shopping center is Gottschalks.

The Gottshalks building was designed by Linane/Drews Architects (from Burbank, California), on the site of the old Jakes' Truck Stop and Diner, on South Highway 97.

The Bend Bulletin article, A Grand Turnout for Gottschalks, October 24, 2008, page B1 shows a
photo by Pete Erickson of my 2 paintings in the entry atrium of the new Gottschalks store.
Note: The original paintings are represented through my gallery, High Desert Gallery in Central Oregon. You can drop by the gallery or contact Todd Dow (the Gallery Director)
~ High Desert Gallery, Redmond, Oregon -- 541- 548-1811 (direct) 453 SW 6th Street at Evergreen Street.
~ High Desert Gallery, Sisters, Oregon -- 281 West Cascade Avenue at Oak Street
Gallery Mailing Address: PO Box 519, Bend, OR 97709-0519
Toll Free Exchange: 866-549-6250

*Note regarding selling the rights to an image:
When an artist makes a painting, under current U.S. Copyright law they automatically own all rights to that image. What this means is that even if you own an original piece of art, you do not own the rights to sell or use images of that art without written permission (and usually, payment) from the artist. This process is called licensing art. Copyright laws are integral to the success and survival of artists in our country. Because I own the copyrights to my paintings, I was able to assign Gottschalks the right to create the 2 murals in their Bend, Oregon store. Copyright laws for artist's must be protected. I am passionate about vigilantly protecting copyright laws and have lobbied to stop the Orphan Works legislation.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Painting Your Home Interior: "Point and Paint" Gets the Complaints

Point and Paint spam is as thick as autumn leaves. It's the name of a new painting tool, targeted towards Do-it-Yourself home owners that claims to take the job of painting a room (including the ceiling) down to about an hour. I've used paint pads before, but thought I'd look at the company's official website (rather than clicking through on the spam) and check out the painting product. I watched the video and am completely unconvinced.

So apparently are a lot of users of this product. Complaints about Point and Paint are also on page one of my Google search. Here is the link to the InfomercialScams.com website. True, I haven't used the Point and Paint product, if they want to send me a sample, I will -- and review the item. Nonetheless, from the way the product is presented, I'm not convinced it would work well at all.

Edging and painting your home interior are best done with rollers and brushes (or a compressor sprayer in some circumstances). I use paint pads for stains (easily available in any paint store). Painters Tape (it is blue) is insurance against the slip of a brush, but not fail safe. I suggest a high-quality cutting brush like a Purdy (available in most paint stores).

Here's a few tips for keeping your paint line straight when you are painting an edge. I developed this technique when I was painting very large lettering (3' to 9' letters) on outdoor advertising billboards many years ago:
  • Load a good cutting brush with paint, then make 2 brush strokes about 2 inches long "in-place" on a paper plate. This gives your cutting brush a good edge.
  • Face the wall (area to be painted) and take a deep breath at the same time you touch the brush to the wall.
  • Hold your breath as you make the line.
  • Exhale when the brush comes off the wall.
  • Repeat with each stroke.
So. . . yoga and meditation breath work has a practical application to painting. It may seem a bit strange, but it really worked for me. Eventually I got so good at "pulling" straight lines (that's what billboard painters often called a long single stroke of the paint brush) that I didn't need to concentrate on my breathing. Let's hope you aren't painting your house for that long!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Art and Culture: A Note about Tradition

Dear Cristina, (via my website, www.CristinaAcosta.com)

Just wanted to send you a note to let you know how much I enjoyed viewing your work. You've accomplished a lot. I have a Masters Degree in Art....used to do a lot of Chicano Art..studied the old masters techniques for one yr. in Florence, Italy and finally I plan to retire early next year to pursue my art. I have been inclined to paint retablos and to build and paint small altars and try and bring back this beautiful tradition we once had in South Texas. I am from Las Vivoritas Ranch, a land grant in parts of South Texas ...mostly in Jim Hogg County....but I've been living in Corpus Christi, TX for many years...I have been looking at other works being done by many New Mexican Artists and I appreciate everyone who has remained true to their culture and promote it via art or music. Your art has inspired me to go home and paint this weekend and I just wanted to let you know....thanks for placing your work an your life for all of us to see, it only reminds me of all our people spread over this wonderful country....keep creating and good luck in all that you do and will accomplish in the future.
Un Amigo de Tejas,
Roel F. Montalvo (photo of St. Benedict retablo painted by Roel Montalvo)

Thanks for the nice note Roel, I appreciate your support. Thank you for writing about the tradition of painting altars (retablos) in Texas. I'm excited to share this image of your retablo you made for your daughter's home. Please keep me updated on your work.

For those readers who aren't familiar with retablos, here are some of my observations about the art form of the retablo. There are two types of retablos, the Santos (an image that includes a Saint or member of the Holy Family in the Catholic Christian tradition), or an Ex-voto (an image created in gratitude for a blessing received).

There is a long tradition of painting altars in this country, especially in the American Southwest. And the influence of the old masters is an integral part to his type of work, something that surprises some viewers of retablos, as retablos including Santos and Ex-votos are considered to be folk-art by some viewers. Though there is a "folksy" quality to the pieces because artists of all skill levels paint retablos , it's more a modern perception than the reality of the people that paint them.

Originally, the Spanish artists that brought this tradition to North America were trained in the Renaissance artistic traditions of their times. As generations of artists copied and interpreted the theme, far from the painting studios of Europe, the style changed. Still, when I look at many pieces I see compositional devices and a visual approach that is European in origin. Retablo images often reveal a beautiful blend of cultures that has been slowly changing over the centuries.

See more of my retablos, both santos and ex-voto style on my website at www.CristinaAcosta.com

Live in the Central Oregon area? Are you on vacation in Oregon? High Desert Gallery is exhibiting a group of over a dozen of my retablos. This is the first time they've been exhibited together. Call/contact High Desert Gallery for details:

High Desert Gallery,
1-866-549-6250, or 541-388-8964

Friday, October 24, 2008

October Newsletter From www.CristinaAcosta.com

C Acosta Bones 16 Drawing.jpgDear Friends,

A lost racing pigeon bunked in the eave of our house for a couple of weeks. I tracked down the local racing pigeon group and after describing the bands on the bird's legs, the man I spoke with urged me to catch the pigeon so that it could be returned to it's home. The bird had other ideas. It stayed comfortably out of my range, and grew plump on the cracked corn and sunflower seeds I pour into the bird feeders around my garden. I last saw the racing pigeon flying towards downtown Bend, Oregon with a wild pigeon friend. It had discovered it's heritage and took the plunge to live life in the wild.
That's how I've been feeling lately, like I'm rediscovering my heritage. Not in a cultural sense, but in a human/animal sense. It started with learning to surf my SUP board. After a summer and autumn on the water, I found something in SUP paddling and surfing that energizes me. I'm deeply respectful and sometimes scared of open water and the ocean, so surfing isn't only about fun for me. I'm very aware when I venture off shore that I'm entering a wild and impersonal food chain. And when the wind and waves change from friendly to scary, that only compounds my fears. But, the ocean has a deeper metaphorical and spiritual meaning for me that became part of my consciousness as a child growing up on the California coast, so I didn't let fear stop me. I coped with the water despite my anxiety and stuck with it long enough to actually enjoy myself. Crossing over that personal hurdle has been positively affecting my art. I've gone back to making large images and continue to explore where my retablo series takes me. My series of altars (retablos) is growing and is now beginning to be exhibited as a group.

Blue_Heron.jpgThis month has been an exciting blend of local, regional and national exhibits. In Central Oregon, High Desert Gallery is exhibiting my series of Madonna retablos (altars) at their Redmond, Oregon location. This is the first time 14 of these ex-voto style retablos have been shown together. Regionally, Onda Gallery in Lake Oswego, Oregon (a suburb of Portland) included my large oil, Sentinel Moon - Blue Heron in a show benefiting the Friends of Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge. And their Alberta Street Location is showing my retablo, La Sirena (The Mermaid). Nationally, the ASU Arizona State University Museum of Anthropology is exhibiting my 16'6" charcoal drawing, Love Always (Siempre Amor) created for their 9th Annual Dia de los Muertos Festival exhibit, Oct. 28, 2008 - Jan. 29, 2009.

Along with the art, I continue to write design articles regularly for Latina Style magazine, and to color consult. I like sharing home design ideas with clients, it's a satisfying way to share my creative skills when I'm not painting or writing.

I encourage you to continue to explore whatever it is that energizes and enhances your passionate self. It's the best way I can think of to stay creative and positive during this time of economic uncertainty.

Warm Regards,


Read more on my website www.CristinaAcosta.com

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Ask Cristina: Hacienda Color Palette

Dear Cristina, (via my website at www.CristinaAcosta.com)
I'm looking for a color palette to complement the old Mexican unglazed pavers that cover half the living space in my home. This is a small house with an open floor plan. I have exposed beams and squarish columns. I think it's mission style? I've found reference to a"hacienda style color palette" from Pittsburgh paint but it"s not available yet. Do you have any suggestions for me?
Thanks, Michelle
Dear Michelle,

Your house does sound like it's Mission or Territorial Spanish style. Usually the beams are natural wood or darkened with age. The walls tend to be a version of a warm white. Centuries ago in New Mexico and other areas of the Southwest, it was usual for the final interior plaster coat to contain mica if that mineral was available. The bits of mica in the wall plaster would subtly reflect the candlelight, making the most of the light of the candles.

Of course, you don't have to be overly traditional with the colors you choose, or put mica in your plaster. It's good to know the traditions of a particular style so that when you alter them to create a contemporary color palette, your choices make conceptual sense.

Here's a course of action that can lead you to choosing the colors that are right for your home:
  • Pittsburgh Paints Voice of Color has a wonderful selection of color groupings. I suggest that you visit the paint store and ask to check out a fan-deck of paint samples.
  • Open the fan deck and fan it into a circle so that you can see the various colors against the floor. Do this with daylight.
  • Note the colors that you think look best with the floor, then double check them against any other elements in the room, such as a fireplace, wood ceiling, beams, furniture or favorite painting.
  • Winnow your choices down to the few you'd like to test.
  • Visit the paint store for samples of the actual paint and do a test area of at least 2' x 2' and in a corner so that you can see the color on 2 planes of walls.
If you'd like to read about my color consulting services, contact me and put the words, Color consulting, in the text box. I'll send you a link to my FREE E-booklet explaining my service.

See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website.
www.CristinaAcosta.com Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Ask Cristina: What Color Should We Paint an Accent Wall?

Dear Cristina, (via my website www.CristinaAcosta.com)

I am having a difficult time finding the right color for our great room. It is fairly large, 20x30, with a cathedral ceiling 22' high. On one wall there is a floor to ceiling stone fireplace, taking up the entire wall. The ceiling is a honey tongue and groove wood and the floor is a natural oak hardwood. The furniture is a southwest design. Is it okay to paint just one wall a dark color and the rest a lighter shade? Is a brown too much with all the wood?

Dear Marti,
Sounds like you have a beautiful room. I can't tell you which color to paint, but I can give you a few ideas to think about that may help you with your decision.
  • Painting one wall a strongly different color than the others creates an accent wall. Only do this if there is something on that wall or the architecture in that part of the room that you wish to emphasize. Click here to read more about accent walls.
  • How much brown is too much? When you have a lot of brown wood and still want more brown, I suggest that you choose an accent color that has brown (or a warm base color) in it, but is different from the wood. Examples are: Deep eggplant, Terracotta Reds, Deep brownish Greens, or even a Deep teal or Navy that is brownish in tone. (The paint store professionals can help you identify these colors.)
  • If you insist on a brown accent wall, then choose something strikingly different in value from your existing woods, such as a deep chocolate brown wall.

Send a before and after when you get the room painted. I'd love to post the results.
If you'd like to read about my color consulting services, contact me and put the words, Color consulting, in the text box. I'll send you a link to my FREE E-booklet explaining my service.

See examples of my color consulting portfolio and articles on my website.
www.CristinaAcosta.com Call me to schedule a color consulting appointment in Bend, Oregon or a phone appointment if you don't live in Oregon.

Read more of my Choosing Colors blog entries.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Orphan Works Legislation: Failed!! Thanks to Everyone Who Fought This Bill

Thanks to everyone who wrote or called their congressional representatives and lobbied to halt the Orphan Works Legislation. Many of us artists have written blogs, emails and more to get this stopped. I am so relieved. Nonetheless, we have to remain vigilant against any resurrection of this type of legislation. Here's what ILLUSTRATORS' PARTNERSHIP has to say:

Illustrators Partnership: Orphan Works - A Public Knowledge Postmortem 10.9.08
"Orphan works relief was vigorously opposed by visual artists... And while we have thought some of their concerns misguided, they did a fine job of organizing and getting their voices heard."

That was the rueful conclusion Monday from the President of Public Knowledge. She was conducting a postmortem on her blog to explain why their last minute efforts to pass the Orphan Works Act failed last week.

Public Knowledge is one of the key special interest groups driving orphan works legislation. And while interested parties around the country were being told all week that the bill was dead, she now confirms that there was a secret last minute push to pass it:

"[W]ith the country's financial crisis raging [she writes] and Congress in the middle of deliberations over a bill to rescue our financial institutions, there was still an opportunity to get a bill done. But how? The best option was to get either House Courts, Internet and Intellectual Property Subcommittee Chairman Berman or House Judiciary Committee Chairman Conyers to take the Senate bill that passed and put it on the 'suspension calendar,' which is the place largely non-controversial legislation gets put so that it will get passed quickly. There can be no amendments to bills placed on the suspension calendar, but it needs a 2/3 majority to pass (italics added).

"On Saturday, September 27," she continues, she and others "were on the phone imploring the members to move the bill...":

"The negotiations went on for hours and hours on Thursday into Friday, but in the end, PK, working with the user community (libraries, documentary filmmakers, educational institutions and the College Art Association) could not agree with [sic] on language with the House staff. Late Friday afternoon, the House voted in favor of a bailout bill and everybody went home. Time had run out." http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1783

Public Knowledge has a "Six Point Program" to undo existing copyright law. "Orphan Works Reform" is Number 5. http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/1245 And while they're "disappointed" they weren't able to pass the bill this session, she advises supporters to "focus on what positive things came out of the process, so [they] can move forward quickly next year."

PK says artists have learned their lesson. In her opinion, one of the "positive things" to "come out of the process" is that:

"[V]isual artists, graphic designers and textile manufacturers who opposed orphan works relief now understand that they must change their business models." (Italics added.)

Artists "must change their business models"? Is that a sound we hear from inside the Trojan Horse?

Whatever happened to the claim that this bill was only a minor tweak to copyright law - to let libraries and museums digitize their collections of old work - or let families duplicate photos of grandma?

That was the argument lawmakers heard last spring, when the bill was rolled out suddenly, scripted for quick and easy passage. But now that the anti-copyright lobby has had to fight for it, they've dropped their guard. Now it's time to openly lecture artists that the world is changing and we'd better get used to registering our work with privately owned "databases" -- at least if we want to ensure that our works won't become orphaned.

But of course that was the agenda all along.

PK says not all artists are misguided

PK's President wants Congress to know that not all artists are "misguided" - only those that oppose the bill. Currently, 80 professional groups do.

By contrast, she cites the Graphic Artists Guild as an example of artists who have learned their lesson. She praises GAG as "enlightened," because GAG supported the House version of the bill. She quotes a recent letter from GAG's President in which he admonished artists to "get real about this Orphan Works scare":

"I don't think Orphan Works is going to have a dramatic influence on how we do business [he wrote], but I hope it has awakened us all to the importance of tending to business issues. If we as a community invested a fraction of the energy we've expended on an apocalyptic vision of Orphan Works into protecting our own creations, protesting unfair contracting practices or writing letters to low-paying publishers, we'd be in a far better market position than we are today. The fact is that we give away more in the every day practice of our businesses than the government could ever take from us."

We replied to the GAG letter weeks ago, when it was first circulated to artists. We obviously disagree. Indeed, we'd point out that what the community of artists is doing by opposing this bill is "protecting our own creations":

The Orphan works bill would have a dramatic affect on business, because it would let people infringe our work without our knowledge, consent or payment.
  • Most people who succeed in our field do "treat art as a business."
  • People who are bad at business can't be used as proof that successful people must change their business models.
  • You can't justify exposing an artists' property to theft by telling him he didn't write enough "letters to low-paying publishers."
  • What artists do or don't "give away" on their own doesn't justify government's taking anything from them.
  • It's counter-intuitive to tell small business owners we should accept a bill that's bad for business to prove that we've "awakened to the importance of tending to business."
  • If we don't fight to keep the work we create, that would be the ultimate failure to tend to business.
A full response to the entire GAG letter is here: http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/2008/09/orphan-works-why-bet-against-ourselves.html

The Orphan Works Act was based on a premise and a conclusion:

The premise is that the public is being harmed because it doesn't have enough contact information to locate copyright owners. The conclusion is that artists must change their business models. What's lacking is any evidence in between.

The Orphan Works Act was based on recommendations by the Copyright Office. But the Copyright Office studied the specific subject of orphaned work. They did not study the business models of artists who are alive, working and managing their copyrights. That means there can be no meaningful conclusions drawn from their study to dictate that such artists must change their business models.

From the beginning, artists have said we'd support a true orphan works bill. We've submitted precise amendments that would make one out of this bill. http://ipaorphanworks.blogspot.com/2008/07/hr-5889-amendments.html Our amendments have never been considered.

Instead, as PK's President noted in her postmortem, their last minute strategy for passing the bill would have "put it on the 'suspension calendar.'" And "[t]here can be no amendments to bills placed on the suspension calendar..."

The anti-copyright lobby is well funded. They have powerful backers. They've warned us they'll be back next year. We should take them at their word.

- Brad Holland and Cynthia Turner, for the Board of the Illustrators' Partnership

Over 80 organizations oppose this bill, representing over half a million creators.

U.S. Creators and the image-making public can email Congress through the Capwiz site: http://capwiz.com/illustratorspartnership/home/ 2 minutes is all it takes to tell the U.S. Congress to uphold copyright protection for the world's artists.

INTERNATIONAL ARTISTS please fax these 4 U.S. State Agencies and appeal to your home representatives for intervention. http://www.illustratorspartnership.org/01_topics/article.php?searchterm=00267

CALL CONGRESS: 1-800-828-0498. Tell the U.S. Capitol Switchboard Operator "I would like to leave a message for Congressperson __________ that I oppose the Orphan Works Act." The switchboard operator will patch you through to the lawmaker's office and often take a message which also gets passed on to the lawmaker. Once you're put through tell your Representative the message again.

Please post or forward this message to any interested party.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Ask Cristina: How do I Fulfill My Creative Dream?

(This email came via my website www.CristinaAcosta.com)
Dear Cristina,
My name is also Cristina Acosta and one of my dreams for many years now has been to find a link between my artistic side which I have but haven't explore and with my business career. I'm a financial adviser. I keep hitting obstacles...I can't believe that someone with my name is doing things I would have loved to learn to do many years ago....I want to learn more about how you started your career as an artist and what inspired you.

Cristina C Acosta

Hello Cristina,

Thank you for contacting me. You wrote that you are interested in developing your artistic side. There are so many ways of creating and being creative. I hope you are not discouraged thinking that you have to take years to build creative skills before you can express your creativity. Artistic skills are helpful (sometimes necessary), but it's likely you have developed an aesthetic through your life experience including travel, shopping, eating and cooking, etc., that has developed your creative self. You may have more of a developed well of creativity to draw from than you think. Even if you have limited life experience, observing things deeply will always be of benefit.

I encourage you to reach for your dream to be creative in even the smallest daily way. Don't wait for that mystical far-off time in your future when you'll have enough time, energy and money to do what you feel you are called to do. Start creating today in a small way and you'll be pleasantly surprised how the small seed of attention you plant within yourself will yield more than you can envision now.

Here are a few tips that can help you get started working with your creativity daily.
  • Choose a medium that you can work in at least 5 days per week, such as photos (using your cell phone or camera), drawing, video, writing (notebook, computer, blackberry, etc).
  • Dedicate 5 minutes per day to collecting info (taking pictures, jotting down notes or observations, etc.) You can always do more, but aim for 5 minutes to begin with.
That's it. Do that for at least 2 months and then you'll know what your next step is. You'll have a lot of information about what deeply interests you and you may even surprise yourself with what you know. Please write me when you've done this and share some of your work.

Best Wishes,

Cristina Acosta Art & Design llc
541-388-5157 Cristina@CristinaAcosta.com
blog: www.CreateAndRelate.com
Artist, Author, Color & Design Consultant, author of Paint Happy! isbn#1-58180-118-1

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Fall Harvest Chili Peppers

With National Hispanic month behind us and Dia de los Muertos (the Mexican holiday, Day of the Dead) ahead of us, it's time to talk about the autumn tradition of drying and roasting chili peppers. In New Mexico, especially in communities around Santa Fe and Taos the centuries old Hispanic traditions of drying and roasting chili peppers is alive and well.

Even if you haven't developed a taste for authentic Hatch chilis, there are many wonderful dried chilis available in both mainstream and Mexican markets. Whenever I visit Santa Fe, New Mexico I always go to Jackalope on Cerillos Road for the best buy for chili ristras and wreaths and then to the Whole Foods grocery store for a visit to their bulk department where I fill up with enough dried green chilies to last the year.

I make Red Chili Sauce most every week and eat it in a variety of dishes. One of my most favorite things to make with my red sauce is a New Mexican dish called Carne Adovado. It's a beef pot roast cooked for hours in chili sauce until it falls into strings of deliciousness. If you want to try an entire New Mexican/Californian/ inspired dinner, try my Dinner Menu. It's easy to fit into a scheduled day when cooking isn't at the top of your list.

Note: My oil painting, Red Mesa is filled with the red tones of dried chilies. The original oil painting is 48" x 48" on canvas and is $4,800.00 framed.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Creativity is a Family Habit

The best thing about bringing creativity into my family life has been the positive effect it's had on all of us. I'm a proud Mom and ready to share with you the paintings my daughter Isabella Acosta Barna created. They're so good, I wished I did them.

Isabella is a member of the Youth Advisory Board for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. Here are some paintings she created for their advertising campaign to kids. The goal of The Alliance is to reduce/eliminate childhood obesity. Here's what Isabella has to say about her art work. This text is copied from her blog http://isabellabarna.blogspot.com/
I've been making art since I was a baby. My mom would take me to the studio with her, so I was always making things. Now I like to paint using spray cans. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation asked me to make some paintings about playing/exercise and nutrition to use on the Healthier Generation website. They sent me a color palette to use and I bought spray paint in those colors. My mom took me to a art canvas factory and we bought stretched canvases to work on. Here's a photo of me working. I always wear a respirator so that the paint fumes don't hurt my lungs. I use plants, found objects and stencils that I hand cut for my paintings. Here are the 4 oil paintings that I finished for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The original paintings are for sale for $300.00 each. All of the paintings are 18" x 24" on stretched canvas and wired on the back. "Spring Swing" is 20" x 24".
The names for the paintings are in order of top to bottom:
1. A New Wave 2.Crossover 3. Is This a Leap Year? 4. Spring Swing