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Art and Location

The part of California that I struggle with is the driving, but luckily I got to ride in the back of the van the whole way and take pictures of trees out the window.

I went on a lot of car trips growing up, and I think a lot of my work stems in watching the trees and landscape as we drove back and forth to California and southern Utah. I pay a lot more attention to trees than that stuff than I used to, but I noticed that the trees and sky in California look so much different than they do in Utah. Utah is full of trees standing out in the middle of nowhere by themselves, or huge dead trees. They’re very gnarly looking. Everything in northern Utah is very jagged and sharp. We’ve got the Rocky Mountains and the trees are…sharp-looking I guess. The trees in California are much more serpentine. The San Gabriel Mountains are hilly and round rather than rocky. All the trees had their leaves, and as far as I know, most of them don’t lose them.

As I snapped pictures of trees by the freeway, I wondered how my art would change if I still lived in California, or if I go back. I was actually born in Pasedena and we lived there until I was almost five, but I remember it very vividly. Every time I go back, some part of me feels at home. There’s a California girl in me somewhere. Not the part of me that has to drive, but some part. My husband is an animator, so we may very well live in California at some point. He certainly wants to. What would that do to my art? Would my trees get more snakey-looking?  Would my skies get flatter, because the sky in California mostly seems to vary between blue and brownish-gray? There’s the beach though. I could get into that. There are palm trees, and all kinds of flowers.

It’s an interesting thought. Though my work really isn’t realistic or representational, the Utah landscape is a huge source of inspiration for me. I think my art will always have some Utah in it, but it will probably change to reflect wherever I’m living at the time. I may try to incorporate a little of my California girl into some art this summer. I’ve been playing with some ideas all winter while I was pining for the sun.

I’ll probably live in California again someday, as well as other places. My art will change right along with my surroundings, because my surroundings are part of me. I project myself into the landscape.

California Part 2-I love the beach!

Read Part 1 here.

One of my favorite places in the world is the beach. No beach in particular, just a beach. Whenever I do guided meditations that instruct me to find a special places to watch my thoughts go by, I always think of a beach at sunset, and I sit on a rock and watch my thoughts pass over the horizon.

The Santa Monica Pier wasn’t exactly peaceful, but I had a lot of fun. I had a lot of fun taking random pictures of shapes and colors that interested me and I got some fun ideas for a series I’m hoping to paint this summer.

I had a good time watching the musicians, breakdancers, and portrait artists on the pier. There was even a girl with a few burmese pythons who was apparently raising money to buy roosters. I assume they were to feed the snakes. Anyway, I love snakes, so I definitely got in on this.

Here name was cleopatra. The last time I got to hold one of these, he tried to slither into my pocket, but Cleopatra was a little more polite.

I was hoping to see some dolphins or sea lions in the ocean, and I noticed a smooth shape surfacing now and then under the end of the pier. Once I got down there, the sea lion had swum closer to the beach on the side of the pier, and I almost fell down the stairs trying to get closer for a better look. She even poked her head out of the water and barked. I watched her for a long time. Yes, I randomly decided it was a she. I love sea lions. They seem like such happy animals.

I rode the roller coast with my little brother Chandler, that behemoth behind me with the stud glasses, because he’d never ridden a roller coaster on the beach before. The beach really does make it more fun, which is good, because this was actually a pretty lame roller coaster. I’ll have to take him to Magic Mountain someday and show him a real roller coaster.

I love this picture, because it shows how tall my 16 year old baby brother is.

We had our shitzu, Maya with us, and dogs weren’t allowed on the actual beach, so Mom and I walked on the beach for a few minutes while everyone took Maya back to the car. I wasn’t leaving until I actually got to touch the ocean. Californians are funny. They bundle up if the temperature drops below 70, but they’ll throw on their bikinis and jump into the freezing ocean in April, no problem. It was definitely cold. I rolled up my jeans and let the water run over my feet, but that was it. It felt good to feel the ocean though, and to walk on a beach. Every time I visit the ocean, it’s like something inside me that’s been holding its breath finally lets go. Maybe I’ll live by the ocean someday.

Sigh. I love the beach.

Keeping Childlike Wonder-California Pt. 1

The week before last, I took a much-needed trip to California with my family. Sam couldn’t leave school, so it was just me, my parents, and three teenage siblings.

#3 doesn't like to smile.

We spent a day at Disneyland and I think I had more fun than anyone. I’m really just a big kid. That’s probably why I get along with kids so well. Fraggle Rock is still my favorite show and I still love the Alice in Wonderland ride at Disneyland (which we didn’t get to go on. Sad).


I realized how important it is to keep the wonder and sense of magic that we have as children, because that lives in the same part of our spirits as our imagination, and life without imagination is a pretty sad mess. Most of us catch a glimpse of that magic when we see Christmas lights or when we hear Disney music, but the magic tends to get lost in the stress of everyday life.

A few tips for keeping the magic:

  • Remember how you would have reacted to something when you were a child. When riding Pirates of the Caribbean or any other ride at Disneyland, I would have totally thrown myself into that world. I would actually be on a boat in the Caribbean. I’d actually be on a runaway train in a rocky mountain. I’d be a mermaid in that swimming pool. I’d be Pocahontas on that hike.

I'd actually be a princess in that castle.

  • Stop caring what other people think. I have a hard time with this one actually. This is why I don’t dance in public, even if everyone around me is (like at Holi). Don’t be afraid to cry, or laugh really hard, or even dance if a good beat gets you going.

How’s your sense of childlike magic doing?

Handprint List update

Good morning everybody! I just want to let you know that I updated my Handprint List. If you missed my post about the importance of evolving our Handprint Lists, catch it here.

It’s basically the same list. I added somethings, removed some, and got a lot more specific about some. The travel section got a lot bigger and more specific. Also, if you haven’t made your Handprint List yet, why not?! I’m giving you a homework assignment. Make one. Today. Then send it to me, or submit a link. I’d love to see it!  I’m also thinking of creating a special page for everyone’s Handprint Lists, so if you’d like to be a part of that, let me know!

My list will continue to evolve, so check it every once in awhile and you’ll probably see something different.

Aaaaand, you may have noticed that I finally got my own domain name so welcome to! Aw, my little bloggie’s growing up!

Thanks so much to all my readers for your great comments and support!

Love, Kella

The Handprint List

The bucket list. 101 things to do before I die. The Barefoot List. I’ve heard it called different things, but it’s essentially the same and everyone has one whether they’ve written it down or not. They give us something to strive for and look forward to.

I call it my Handprint List, because it’s who I am, who I hope to become, and the mark I want to leave on the world, and it inspired this blog. I doubt I’ll actually accomplish all these things, but it’s a list of things I can do. It reminds me to aim high and keep an open mind. I add and remove things all the time, and I think everyone should have one of these. So here’s mine, and I hope it will inspire you to create your own. (The bold items are the ones I’ve done)

McKella’s Handprint List


  1. Work, teach, or volunteer in a foreign country
  2. India
  3. Japan
  4. Thailand
  5. 5. China
  6. Indonesia
  7. Do a family history tour through England, Ireland, and Denmark
  8. Italy
  9. The Vatican

10.  Germany

11.  Spain

12.  Greece

13.  Turkey

14.  France

15.  Scotland

16.  Eastern Europe (Romania, Ukraine, Etc.)

17.  Visit the Galapagos Islands to see wildlife up close.

18.  Egypt

19.  Hike to Macchu Picchu

20.  Visit Mayan ruins

21.  Australia

United States

22.  Road trip across America (On a bike if I want to get really brave)

23.  New England during the fall

24.  Visit Roden Crater

25.  Visit the Sacred Grove

26. New York

27.  Ferry on the Mississippi River

28.  Salem

29.  Washinton DC, to learn about our county’s history.

30.  Visit Native American pueblos

31.  Visit the Muppet stuff in the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta, Georgia.


  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree
  2. Speak Spanish fluently.
  3. Learn to belly dance
  4. Learn to surf
  5. Improve my piano playing
  6. Learn to play chess
  7. Improve my singing
  8. Juggling
  9. Sewing (enough to actually alter and design my own clothes)

10.  Photography

11.  Guitar

12.  Ice skating

13.  Bookmaking

14. Study abroad

15.  Learn to survive in the wilderness and test my skills

16.  Learn a martial art

17.  Learn to place Linus and Lucy in full

18.  Origami

19.  Bread making

20.  Learn to use a pottery wheel

21.  Make my own ravioli

22.  Meditation

23.  Study psychology

24.  Learn to not throw like a girl

25. Skip rocks


26.  Publish novels…I don’t know how many.

27.  Publish at least one non-fiction book

28.  Become financially independent and debt-free while doing something I love

29.  Write and publish a children’s book

30.  Create a whole body of art work and have a gallery show, even a private one.


31.  Sell a piece of art

32.  Change a tire all by myself

33.  Be vegan for a year

34.  Try African dance

35.  High-raw vegan for a month

36.  Name a star

37.  See the Spiral Jetty

38.  See Halley’s Comet

39.  Shower in a waterfall or in the rain

40.  Spend the night on a beach

41.  Scuba dive in a coral reef

42.  See the northern lights

43.  Touch a whale

44.  Watch a caterpillar emerge from it’s chrysalis

45.  Do 50 push-ups in a row

46.  Go an entire day without speaking

47.  Pet a tiger

48.  Archery

49.  Learn to live simply

50.  Skinny dip

51. Make a two-headed snowman, Calvin and Hobbes style

52.  Swim with dolphins

53.  Volunteer in an animal shelter

54.  Volunteer to help abused women and children

55.  Reduce my carbon footprint

56.  Throw a surprise party for someone

57.  Create a new holiday just for my family

58.  Plant a tree

59. Dance in a foreign country

60.  Ride a camel

61.  Get a golden retriever

62.  Try bikram yoga

63.  Reach my natural ideal weight through intuitive eating and enjoyable movement.

64.  Eat at a raw vegan restaurant, just to try.

65.  See Tears for Fears live.

66.  Run a half-marathon

67.  Run a race for charity

68.  Master the scorpion pose

69.  Ride a horse sidesaddle

70.  Try showjumping.

71.  Do a headstand

72.  Go rock climbing

73.  Ride in a hot air balloon

74.  Live without a car for a year

75.  Win first place in something

76.  Live by the ocean

77.  Go sailing

78.  Celebrate a non-materialist Christmas

79.  See a whale in the wild

80.  Grow my own food

81.  Do the splits

82.  Sing in a rock band

83.  Live a full-blown yogini lifestyle for six months. Asanas, cleansing practices, etc.

84.  Try fencing

85.  Get a pet pig

86.  Watch a meteor shower

87.  Own a home

88.  Trek through a jungle

89.  Write, play and sing a song


90. Get married in the Temple

91.  Become a mother

92.  Homeschool my kids through elementary

93.  At least try natural childbirth…this is a big maybe, I don’t know, I don’t know.

94.  Research my geneology

95.  Do temple work for my family members


96.  Conquer my depression and anxiety

97.  Learn to truly manage stress

98.  Conquer fear (driving, being away from my family, offending people, etc.)

99.  Learn to be happy no matter what my circumstances

100. Age gracefully. None of this wrinkle fighting or hair-dyeing stuff.

101. Finally, make an amazing scrapbook of all this

I plan on making a separate tab to post photos of these things as I accomplish them, a sort of visual “checklist.”

If you have a blog, consider yourself tagged! Post your own handprint list and send me a link. I’d love to see it! If you don’t have a blog, squeeze whatever you can into the comments.