RoundUp-Ready or Not, Here we come!

Monsanto GardensFrom the people who brought you such products as Agent Orange and DDT, comes RoundUp, another perfectly safe chemical substance that spreads joy to the world. As a matter of fact, you can buy RoundUp at any Home Depot or hardware store, but the handy RoundUp Watering Can* is available only here. Simply fill and pour! Everything except RoundUp-ready plants dies on contact, including weeds, insects, birds, rodents, wildflowers, and non-Monsanto patented genetically modified products. It’s a perfect system.


Next week, we’ll introduce you to some very exciting RoundUp-ready plant-animal hybrids brought to you by Monsanto Gardens.

*patent pending

Bumble Pig to the Rescue!

Bumble Pig (Bombus porcina)

Bumble Pig (Bombus porcina)

As you may know from our last post, Monsanto Gardens has been busy developing Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) specifically designed to bring joy to the world. Last week, we introduced you to the one-and-only Pignome*, who is responsible for tending his drift of Laughing Pig Flowers*. To reproduce, Laughing Pig Flowers require a very special kind of pollination by a very special kind of bee. Like tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, potatoes, and squash, Laughing Pig Flowers must be “buzz pollinated“. For those lesser fruits and vegetables bumble bees are required to do the job. Your regular old honey bee just can’t shake its booty like a bumble bee. (To see them in action, click here.)

Because our native bumble bees face extinction, Monsanto Gardens had the foresight to genetically engineer a bumble bee drone for the sole purpose of buzz pollinating its Laughing Pig Flowers…Bumble Pig* to the rescue! Bumble pig (Bombus porcina)…better living through science.

*patent pending



Merry Pignome Christmas

pignomeMerry Christmas to you from the one and only Pignome (Porcinagnoma gardensis) *. I’m filling in for Sarah who is on vacation. Let me introduce myself, standing 2 and 1/2 feet tall from tussock to the tip of my pointy red hat, I am worshipped as a god by my smaller unmodified brethren. While I could let this go to my head, I do take my day job seriously: tending the drift of Laughing Pig Flowers at Monsanto Gardens. Together with Bumble Pig, we represent an uber-race of genitically modified organisms specifically designed to bring joy to the world.  I’ll tell you more about my charges in future postings.  For now, have a very merry pignome Christmas and keep it fresh in the new year.

*patent pendingpgnome1


The one and only pignome

The one and only pignome

Collecting Art

PosterNew silk-screened poster was added to my collection this past week-end, was very excited to get my 20th Anniversary poster for THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS—movie by Tim Burton

It’s a bona fide classic, and Disney is celebrating the film’s anniversary at the studio’s El Capitan Theater with a limited edition silkscreen print from artist Jeff Soto.
It now has a place on my wall among all my photographs, silk-screens and paintings.

Conversation Crows

Conversation Crows

Conversation Crows

–Sarah Hage
At times comical, other times mildly menacing, crows are eerily intelligent. Their exchange of clucks and caws could make a paranoid person suspect they were sharing a joke at her expense as she walked down a city street.

Conversation Hearts

Conversation Hearts

To capture the attitude of my conversation crows, I kept the papier-mâché raw, the gestures expressive. You might not know what they are saying, but you can tell what they are made of. In contrast with their rough texture, the crows are candy coated in colors reminiscent of conversation hearts. Only the long shadows cast by the winter sun are black. I foresee a blue crow dropping in on the conversation. Maybe orange and green…a murder of crows in colors to die for.
Pink Crow

Season’s Greetings from the Usual Suspects

Season's Greetings from the Usual Suspects
Season’s Greetings from the Usual Suspects

Make sure you don’t end up gnomeless this holiday season. Act now, and you have your choice of “Gnome Alone” and “Gnome Alaska” ornaments. Each “Gnome Alone” ornament stands 3-4″ tall from his tiny boots to the tip of his pointy red hat and hangs from a jute string (not shown). No two gnomes are exactly alike, but you’d be hard-pressed to pick one out of a lineup. You know, every last one of them is hiding something…a little wrapped present behind his back.


If you’d like to post bail for these little guys, it’s $25 a head (including shipping). And, if you are feeling on top of the world, you can take home “Gnome Alaska” for $45 (including shipping). Also, there are a few Polar Icecap ornaments remaining, but don’t wait. They are disappearing fast. Contact me via email with your request at

Gnome Alaska

Gnome Alaska

Polar Bear Icecap Ornament

Polar Bear Icecap Ornament

Penguin Icecap Ornament

Penguin Icecap Ornament

Countdown to 30 Small Paintings—Deadline is NOW!


Rare Green

OK, so I didn’t make my goal. But 23 out of 30 aren’t bad! Deadlines keep me super-charged, but I guess I did raise the bar a bit high on this one. I’ll finish the final 7 in time for shows later this month and next.

I love the last couple sessions working on a painting. Clarify the story and pump up the emotion with as few strokes as possible, then—BAM!—it’s done.

Here is a sampling of the latest 23. I’ll be showing 32 works at Portfolio Coffeehouse in Long Beach opening this Friday (November 15)—23 small and 9 medium/large.



Burnt Sky
Burnt Sky

Creepy Crawlers


Glass Centipede by Wesley Fleming

–by Sarah Hage
With Halloween around the corner, my thoughts turn to the childhood joys of free candy and Creepy Crawlers. In 1964, Mattel released a diabolical activity toy by that name, which was, essentially, an Easy-Bake Oven for boys, but instead of inedible cupcakes, you churned out toxic gummy worms.  I wanted one desperately. My parents never bought either of these toys for us, but my siblings and I did manage to acquire Creepy Crawlers as a hand-me-down. As with most highly coveted toys, our elation quickly turned to disappointment. After one batch of centipedes, scorpions and spiders, we ran out of  the goo to make the things, never to be replenished. In hindsight, this may have extended our tender young lives. Here’s how Wikipedia describes Creepy Crawlers [emphasis mine]:

… consist of a series of die-cast metal molds resembling various bug-like creatures, into which is poured a liquid chemical substance called Plastigoop, which comes in assorted colors. The mold is then heated to about 390 degrees F atop an open-face electric hot plate oven. The Plastigoop is cured by the heat, and when cooled, is removed from the mold, forming semi-solid, rubbery replicas.

I was surprised to discover that this toy was still on the market, with the notable exceptions that the oven has an enclosure, and, I have to believe, the temperature does not exceed the boiling point of water. If you are interested in freaking out your friends, buy this for their kids or grandkids from Amazon or


The Return of Creepy Crawlersblack_widow

One of the delightful surprises of moving to Southern California is the remarkable lack of nasty bugs. We can linger outside on a summer’s evening without being consumed alive by mosquitoes and garden with abandon without being devoured by black flies, horse flies, deer flies, green heads, chiggers, gnats and ticks. Here again, there are two notable exceptions: black widow spiders and potato bugs. The former is immediately recognizable by every person on the planet. The first time I saw one up close was after I moved a birdbath. I screamed like a little girl..there it was big, and shiny black with a red hourglass on its abdomen. I swear it was the radioactive one that bit Spiderman and gave him super powers. I still scream on the rare occasion that I find one in the house, requiring prompt male intervention.

The first time I saw a potato bug emerge from the muck, on the other hand, I went straight to denial.  I had no idea what I just saw, and did not want to. It wasn’t until native Californians regaled me with tales of potato bugs crawling into sleeping bags, drowning themselves in pools, and terrifying pets that I was able to look them up on the Internet and deal with my PTSD.


The potato bug or Jerusalem Cricket, not to be confused with the potato beetle, is more a garden nuisance than an agricultural pest…one that approaches the horrifying size of a baked potato. Just add stripes, giant grasshopper legs, a big bald head with beady black eyes and antennae. Apparently they hop. I don’t want to know this. Mostly, I find them dead. One was even skewered on a cactus. I have somewhat more sympathy for them now that I know that they perform the same function as earthworms in other parts of the world. Unlike black widow spiders, potato bugs are relatively harmless. I don’t know anyone who was bitten by one, just universally grossed out. The Navajo call him “Woh-tzi-Neh” (Old Bald-Headed Man). In Latin America, he’s “niña de la tierra” (child of the earth). Others call him Satan’s fetus. The list goes on.

Sweet dreams, and don’t let the bed bugs bite!

Countdown to 30 Small Paintings—Week 2


16 paintings drying in the sun.
Each needs at least one or more layers.

Finish 30 small paintings in 3 weeks; five paintings per day.  I’m 3 behind—for the next three days I’ll work on 6 paintings instead of 5. But enough with the math already! Oh, one more thing…I’ve completed 3.

The 30 have become my painting masters. They’re teaching me to see more, to recognize the kinds of images that bring me joy, and to trust my instincts in bringing that joy to life through composition, loose brushstrokes and vivid colors.

Why this whiplash deadline? I have two shows next month. My painting inventory includes a number of medium- and large-sized works, but only a handful of smalls. These 30 will fill the gap nicely.

Layout 1Friday, November 15 through January 15, 2014—Solo Exhibit, Paths of LightPortfolio Coffeehouse, 2300 East 4th Street, Long Beach, CA 90814. No opening reception, but I’ll be at Portfolio on Sunday, November 17 from 1 until 3 to greet friends.

postcard-5.5inx8.5in-h-frontSunday, November 24—Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour—9:30am-5pm. A self-guided auto tour featuring more than 100 artists in homes and studios in Eagle Rock, Highland Park, Mt. Washington and neighboring areas. The tour begins at the Lummis House, 200 E. Avenue 43, 90031. Look for RockPaperPaint exhibiting together.

Countdown to 30 Small Paintings—Week 1

PaintingStarts_10-14-13Two Sundays ago I went to the BEST art marketing seminar I’ve ever attended—The Art of Selling Art ( The presenters, Margaret Danielak and Julie Snyder, really hit the nail on the head. Check out their website if you’re an artist and serious about selling your art.

One point they stress is that artists MUST have inventory. Besides high-quality work, galleries want to know that we can produce. We have to be ready to pull together a significant number of our best work at a moment’s notice. I have two shows coming up next month; one I just signed the contract for last week. Time to get busy!

I like deadlines…they get my blood pumping and my creative juices flowing. At the end of 3 weeks, I will have a collection of 30 small paintings demonstrating the newest direction of my work. Can pull 3 recent works from inventory. Had already started 7. Last week I put a first layer on 17. Today I’ll begin 3. Total: 30.

My goal: take a brush to 5 paintings each day.

16 paintings are currently drying in the sun (above photo).

Will report in same time next week. Gotta go paint….

November Exhibit Schedule
Solo show at Portfolio Coffee House in Long Beach (November 15 through January 15, 2014); Arroyo Arts Collective Discovery Tour—a one day self-guided auto tour of galleries, artist’s studios and historic buildings in the greater Mount Washington area (Sunday, November 24, 9:30 am–5 pm).