31 December 2015

All the Rembrandts in Southern California #5, 6 & 7

So why not use my Doodles of the Day to catch up on my study of Rembrandts in So Cal?

This is from a majestic depiction of Juno that is actually a portrait of Rembrandt's wife, Saskia. Is Rembrandt implying that he is Zeus himself? She lives in Westwood at the Hammer.

Speaking of Zeus, this is the god himself from The Rape of Europa at the Getty Museum. I had asked my sister to choose an image from my Rembrandt book. She pointed to this creature and said, "You should draw this horse..." 

A detail from the Portrait of a Bearded Man at the Norton Simon Museum. I have so much to learn from him about drawing and painting the human eye. So, more to come.

Doodles of the Day & Chaz's Boxer

Please visit me on Instagram and Twitter to see my "Doodles of the Day" - a challenge I've pretty much been able to keep up since the gauntlet was thrown down in November (barring a water heater disaster and marathon Dead & Co concert).

Here's to more free form play in 2016!

A link to my instagram: https://www.instagram.com/sunnyat1234/

And a link to my twitter: https://twitter.com/Abbate



Here's my favorite sketch from this year.

For my friend Charles Garabedian or - as we all call him at Peet's - Chaz.


Gabrielle Demeestre's "Yosemite" opens Friday with James Franco (the film is adapted from his short stories) and three young gentlemen: Everett Meckler, Alec Mansky & Calum John in the leading roles. They received a great review from the Village Voice. Let's go out and give her our support! 
Opening 1/1/16 - IFC Center - NYC
Opening 1/22/16 - Laemmle Music Hall - Los Angeles

14 November 2015


I’ve made a pledge to watch movies by all female directors the weekend they release. If we want them to have a presence in Hollywood, we need to vote with our tickets.

What a time to start! We actually have 3 openings for female directors this weekend. 

Here’s what we're watching:

THE 33 – Patricia Riggen
BY THE SEA – Angelina Jolie
LOVE THE COOPERS – Jessie Nelson

And in its 2nd week at the Nuart:
PEGGY GUGGENHEIM: ART ADDICT – Lisa Immordino Vreeland 

Let's get out there and support our Sisters in filmmaking!!

22 October 2015

Maya Angelou - Female Icon


Maya Angelou is the first of my series of watercolor portraits of female icons. To me she is joy, wisdom, beauty. A dancer, a poet, she was even a conductor on a cable car in San Francisco. She ventured ahead and lit the way. 

08 August 2014

Sketch Club Strikes Again!

Today, I finally decided to target the Sketch Club members themselves. If you use your imagination, you might just recognize Naveen Selvanathan, Kylie Pilger, Aurora Jimenez, and our ringleader, 
the inimitable Marcelo Vignali.

Below, I grabbed a few more drawings from the past to share. 


11 May 2014

Celebrating Linda at Penelope's

On the day before Mother's Day, I wanted to celebrate someone who was very much a mother to me, Linda Waldheim, mother to Shelly Waldheim, my best friend in high school. I wish that we had a specific word in the English language for the women who truly mother us. Words cannot express how grateful I am that Linda was such a quiet force in my life. I'll add the tribute to Linda below that I wrote for Shelly's amazing, beautiful Caring Bridge site that she and her brother, Chris, created for her. 

When Shelly asked her what she most wanted to eat, Linda replied, "Chicken soup from Penelope's in La Cañada." Even though we had gone to high school in La Cañada, Shelly had never heard of the cafe. She went to pick up the soup and mentioned to the woman behind the counter that it was her mother's favorite and that she was battling cancer. "Is she a regular?" When Shelly showed her the photo of her mom on her phone, Penelope literally broke down in tears. When I heard that story, I knew I had to go.

I especially love the name which calls to mind Penelope, Odysseus' wife who sat spinning, waiting, fending off suitors, while he was making his way home. Sitting on Foothill Boulevard, it looks like any other storefront. As you make your way inside, you see there's a sunny garden inside just inviting you to spend some time. 

I ordered the soup, of course, and Matthew's Italian Chopped Salad, which made me laugh because that was the name of my boyfriend in high school. I asked the guy who brought my lunch, "Who's Matthew?" 
"He's the guy behind the counter." 
"Is he the chef?" 
"Well, we're both chefs. My second name is Matthew. First one is Ian." 
"Well, that makes it more Scottish." 
And, of course, the salad was superb. 

Then it was time to sketch...

Penelope's Garden

Here's the tribute that I wrote for Linda:

¡Ay que Linda!

When we were in high school, Shelly was taking Spanish and I took French. My grandparents were driving us somewhere near the Rose Bowl on Linda Vista Avenue. Shelly pointed to one of the signs and said, “That’s my Mom’s name ‘Linda’. It’s means ‘beautiful’ in Spanish” - one of the first words I learned in that language. I thought of that today as I do every time I drove down Linda Vista, and always will.

What happened last Friday does not surprise me. I’d fallen out of touch with Shelly yet again. We’re good friends but we both live life to the fullest, so there are gaps. Regardless, we just pick up exactly where we left off when we meet the next time. I emailed her out of the blue saying I’d love to see you/your beautiful family. “Any fun events coming up?” I was running errands and decided to go to Eagle Rock on whim. I was sitting eating tofu tacos staring out at the sun setting on Colorado Boulevard when the response arrived. OH MY GOD, the devastating news of her mother’s passing and the memorial was the very next morning. I realized I was sitting just blocks away from Shelly’s old house in Eagle Rock. I had just that morning said to myself that in so many ways Shelly and her Mom saved my life, helped shape the person that I am, saying to myself “I need to get in touch with her.” Too late to say goodbye, still I could be there for Shelly.     

I don’t think I ever actually called her Linda. She was always “Shelly’s Mom,” twinkle in her eye, a perpetual, loving smile. At Flintridge Prep, Shelly and I were best friends. We were matched up as lab partners in Vince Williams’ Chemistry class in ninth grade. I had been transplanted to the area during my parents’ difficult divorce (in the words of Woody Allen: “They did everything but exchange gunfire”). Now living with my father and grandparents, I was under tremendous pressure to achieve academically in a distortedly competitive environment (one of our classmates, never pleased with an A, would badger the teachers so he got all A-pluses) and was bent under watchful eyes making sure I was a “good girl”. It’s a wonder I could breathe at home. I would love to go over to Shelly’s house and play with her massive, loving dogs and watch MTV in the kitchen. How cool was it that they had MTV – and in the kitchen!!!

With Shelly, I got to explore all the things that my family misunderstood: Astrology, Palmistry, Handwriting Analysis. A lot of Shelly’s sentences would start with “My Mom has this cool book about…” And off we’d go exploring a new world.

A related memory: Prep contracted an outside company to teach us driver’s ed on Saturdays and after school. The teacher they sent us was a short, rough-hewn man in his 50’s with a raspy voice. After every session he would sign off a voucher for us to log our time and we would keep a copy. Linda took one look at his signature and told us he had a “felon’s claw” on the tail of his “y”. We never rode alone with him in the car ever again.

Linda was so far ahead of her time. She practiced yoga. She made health food that actually tasted good. She was studying to be a family therapist (Thank God! I hope she was practicing on me). I don’t remember her joking with me as much. Very perceptive on her part because, I’m sad to admit, I wouldn’t have gotten the humor. I was so caught up in being who I had to be. She would listen and she would love. That’s exactly what I needed. To me her home was an oasis of calm and acceptance. And now I strive to create that for everyone in my life.

My favorite memory of her was standing in the kitchen watching an arts program on cable – as I mentioned, truly exotic to me at the time. A man and a woman were dancing a balletic duet. Intimate, perfect, we were all three (Shelly, her Mom, me) silently spellbound. When the dance ended, I Iooked over at Linda. She was in tears. I didn’t understand. What happened? Was she okay? She sighed, "It's just so beautiful." That was the moment I recognized the power of art.