Winters of my Discontent

Arriving at my daughter’s apartment in Pacific Grove, California, from Slavonice, Czech Republic, on a visit in October of 2019, I was prevented from going home because of the pandemic. My daughter’s apartment is small, even for one person, but I have managed to develop creative projects in a very small space; a few hundred square feet.
Since the lock-down and travel restrictions began, I developed films for teaching high school art, created a web site, developed art projects that could be realized in a tiny kitchen, took up a new form of food preparation (using only raw food), started a garden on my roof, learned to grow sprouts, worked on some card illustrations, wrote essays on art history, and started a blog.

My underlying goal is to live in a way that embodies a healthy response to problems in our present world culture, where multi-national corporations influence every aspect of our lives from what we eat and wear to how we work, what kinds of information we can get and how we take care of our health.  I am hoping my fiends will share their projects with me.  I find this method more satisfying than Facebook.

I  found wild flowers on my walks by the ocean so I always had fresh flowers, though city maintenance crews may not have considered  them, “wild.”  The tomato plant to the left had a promising beginning last year, but by July all the leaves turned brown. I think the climate on the roof, only a block from the Pacific,  is the problem

I will only be in this kitchen for a few more days now.  Sarah is leaving this apartment and I will be visiting my sister in Idaho before going to my house in Slavonice. I have been closeted in this tiny apartment for over 20 months and it will be a huge relief to be back in my relatively spacious one-room house with my chicken coop studio.  For my first blog entries I want to chronical the projects I did here in lockdown, in this tiny space on the Pacific Edge.



My daughter, pictured here,  convinced me we would be healthier if we ate raw, organic food.  She provided me with a cookbook from her favorite San Francisco restaurant, “Cafe Gratitude,”

The recipes include seaweeds and mushrooms I have never heard of and other exotic ingredients that are rare and expensive.   It also required equipment I did not have.  After weeks of preparation, I fixed the first meals.  I had to know what I would make many hours ahead of time because nuts and seeds had to be soaked between 8-12 hours.

After spending a lot of money on exotic groceries and making huge messes in the kitchen/studio/office/garden,  I discovered some dishes I liked; notably, the Teriyaki Almonds made with sprouted almonds, fresh dates blended with shoyu soy sauce, garlic, ginger, and jalapenos, and then dehydrated (everything organic).  I also like the Spicy Tahini sauce made with coconut milk, white miso, almond butter, cayenne pepper, garlic lemon juice, and tahini.

The pizza crust pictured above was inedible (I’m sure the version served at Cafe Gratitude is delicious).  I have many recipes yet to try at some later date.  My advice to anyone attempting to prepare this kind of food is to start with small projects.  The special ingredients needed make this challenging.

Art Projects

I wrote and filmed a high school art course because I wanted to explore teaching methods I could use online. I  established a web site for some of the films: ( so that potential recruiters could see my work.  The film above introduced the course.  So far I’ve made ten videos.



I used Photo Booth and iMovie to make the videos, invested in some sound and lighting equipment and a web cam.  I used my closet for a sound booth and suspended the camera over the kitchen table with a string.

Films made for my digital Art curriculum

I made films to teach high school art on different levels.    The still life unit I filmed was is intended for an advanced high school class but I also produced eight films for beginning high school or middle school. This small still life was just an exercise in technique but it was fun to do

The images presented on this page show the topics of my filmed visual art units, except for the face painting project.  I made a film on face painting for my nephew.

Gods Eyes

The lock-down closed Sarah’s electrology business and she was depressed and anxious.  She made gods eyes to make herself feel better and I made a film for my high school curriculum on making gods eyes.  Everyone got yarn-wrapped coat hangers for Christmas and Sarah also made three hooked rugs.


In the course of making a film for my high school art curriculum on designing bookplates, I designed bookplates for my daughter and two sisters.  I have made twelve films that teach high school art on both the advanced and beginning levels, mostly beginning levels, but I have not decided yet how I want to market them, if at all.  I made them to introduce myself to schools who might hire me to teach online. I am no longer certain I want to do this.

In my opinion, schools need to be re-invented.  So that may be my contribution to permaculture:  a form of education that is more sustainable–in a word, more useful.  That is part of what the films do.   Although I include art history, theory, and technique, the units depend on students following their own ideas and working in tandem with me rather than under me.  I hold the space and resource them, give them feed-back, but they are the driving force in the units, not me.

CHRISTMAS projects

I have been in my daughter’s apartment for two Christmases.  We have re-cycled the tree, taking off the stars and adding hearts for Valentine’s day.  My art projects must be small. The gouache painting below is about 6×8 inches

Christmas Card