Beyond the White Hummingbird

The Australian Garden at the University of California Santa Cruz Arboretum has so much to offer, and while I was understandably blown away by the spectacular white hummingbird sighting, I thought I might share some of it’s other treasures…

Rare Leucistic Anna’s Hummingbird in the Grevillea.

Me in my official like birding outfit – meant to blend into the garden and attract hummers…worked!

Showy Banksia

Flight fight!

Showy Honey Myrtle

The Rufous and Allen’s Hummingbirds look a lot alike, the Allen’s is supposed to have two white spots on its tail tips instead of three like the Rufous, but even knowing this it’s still hard to tell as the Allen’s does have a sliver of white on that third feather and both can have a substantial amount of green on their backs – especially the juveniles and the females.








Scrub Jay

Cooper’s Hawk fledglings

Desert Cottontail

Bottle Brush

Lipstick Plant

Common Buckeye

Actual buckeyes – (on a Black Tailed Deer)

Flora Grubb

Flora Grubb Gardens - reverse of sign - photo Marie Cameron 2015

My friend Elizabeth introduced me to Flora Grubb Gardens in San Francisco. Located in Dog Patch, this urban garden design store is a drought tolerant jungle of inspiration!  It has even been claimed that they pioneered the vertical garden… I wonder if anyone can vouch for that?

Flora Grubb Gardens - metal floral sculptures- photo Marie Cameron 2015

I loved these oversized floral sculptures in metal.Flora Grubb Gardens - reaching for the sky- photo Marie Cameron 2015

I felt the size on an insect crawling beneath!

Flora Grubb Gardens - red passion flower- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Wall covered with these red passion flowers.

Flora Grubb Gardens - wall of chairs - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Wall of colorful chairs.

Flora Grubb Gardens - every shade of blue- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Chairs in a blue vignette.

Flora Grubb Gardens - table scape - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Succulent table scape,

Flora Grubb Gardens - florauto- photo Marie Cameron 2015


Flora Grubb Gardens - floramobile - photo Marie Cameron 2015


Flora Grubb Gardens - carden- photo Marie Cameron 2015


Flora Grubb - Fern - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Sculptural fern leaves.

Flora Grubb - Hanging Aerium - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Hanging aerium.

Flora Grubb Gardens - cement loungers- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Cement loungers.

Flora Grubb Gardens - winged stem passoin flower- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Winged stem passoin flower.

Flora Grubb - succulent- photo Marie Cameron 2015

Variegated Agave.

Flora Grubb - Sofa - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Sleek sofa.

Flora Grubb Gardens - succulent panel - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Succulent panel.

Flora Grubb Gardens - succulent wall - photo Marie Cameron 2015

So many great ideas for living creatively in a drought prone landscape!

Studio Visit with Shannon Amidon

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I was so happy to enjoy a visit with artist Shannon Amidon in her San Jose studio preparing for her upcoming show, Diary of a Naturalist at TechShop 300 S Second St
San Jose, CA 95113  where she is currently artist in residence – the opening reception is Friday, September 4 from 7 -10 pm with live music by Mark Camp!

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Diary of a Naturalist prep- photo Marie Cameron 2015

In this series Amidon has used laser cutting tools to create artwork inspired by Victorian naturalists, exquisite silhouettes cut away from the top layer of vintage book covers.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - mile's o book covers - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I adore the period feel of these pieces and am quite taken by how environmentally friendly  they are too.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Back Plate - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Here’s a sample of the back  in which a wooden panel has been applied to provide a secure base for hanging hardware.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit -  insect silhouettes - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I love this array of laser cut insects in front of one of her encaustic paintings featuring a silhouette of a tree. No matter which medium Amidon is working with, there is a strong voice running throughout, a respect and love of nature, of materials and of the silhouetted form – a modern Victorian perhaps?

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit -  entomology - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Here the insects are pinned to a wall like an entomologist had passed through…

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - butterflies and beetles photo Marie Cameron 2015

…maybe one had.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - still life - photo Marie Cameron 2015

Oh, and a biologist too.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - etched glass bottles- photo Marie Cameron 2015

These lovely specimen bottles were also laser etched by Amidon at TechShop.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - book planters- photo Marie Cameron 2015

So much to discover in Amidon’s studio – like these planters she’s created out of vintage books…

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - cascades of creative paper work- photo Marie Cameron 2015

…and cascades of printed pages in a variety of different treatments.

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Inspiration Wall - photo Marie Cameron 2015

It’s always fascinating to study an artist’s inspiration wall – it turns out someone was a ballerina!

Shannon Amidon Studio Visit - Wall of Tools- photo Marie Cameron 2015

A ballerina with a wall of power tools – my kind of artist!

Marie Cameron visiting Shannon Amidon Studio  - photo Marie Cameron 2015

I’m really looking forward to the reception – I dare say there will be more than a few red dots! the exhibition will run until September 25 and Amidon will be teaching some classes at TechShop too!


Blossom : @Large

Ai Weiwei chose the clinic of Alcatraz as the setting for the site-specific installation Blossom. In this piece he filled the original porcelain fixtures, the bathtubs, sinks and toilets with masses of porcelain flowers. Looking like frothy bubbles from a distance, a closer inspection reveals this hopeful flowering.  It’s a stunning, subtle work, such a contrast between the dirty and sickly connotations of the clinic’s bathrooms and the flourishing purity of the flowers,  I find it profound that the same material, porcelain could convey both of these extremes.

Clinic -Alcatraz              Clinic at Alcatraz            Bath Tub - Clinic - Alcatraz


 Bath Cell - Alcatraz            Ai Wei Wei - Blossom - Alcatraz          Ai Wei Wei - Blossom - Alcatraz


Ai Wei Wei - Blossom - Alcatraz


Ai Wei Wei - Blossom - Alcatraz


Ai Wei Wei - Blossom Bath - Alcatraz


Ai Wei Wei - Blossom - Alcatraz


Blossom (detail)