Source: The rumor that just won’t go away.  Take a look at my friend Don’s new investigation

TI-Pinney House small

The Pinney House, a story of the Sierra Madre Hotel built in 1887.

My friend Sonia moved into a restored Victorian hotel a couple of years ago and I fell in love with it. So much so I almost opened a studio in one of the suites. The building was once the Sierra Madre Hotel, built in 1887, and lived among nothing but orange groves for years. As the city changed, the hotel became several other things including a private residence and a bordello! Judy and Greg Asbury bought the property a few years back and spent a lot of money turning it into a multi-apartment dwelling. The house is grand, with a deep front yard with white picket fence and flowers. the backyard patio was home to many barbeques and casual parties. We played piano and opened Christmas presents in the parlor, had elaborate, delicious dinners in the dining room, chatted and drank wine on the veranda. We even welcomed dozens of children on Halloween.

Greg and I were discussing photography and shamanism (both of us do both of those things). I asked about any trinkets they had from the remodeling. He rewarded me with a multitude of items that were found in walls, rooms, and the garden. I collected some flowers from the garden and ran home to create. This is the result. A letter more than 100 years old, wallpaper at least as old, medicine bottles from when the home was a sanitarium, the precious leather baby shoe, the square nail proving its age. What a joy to tell even just a small part of this building’s storied history in one piece of art. I hope to do more like this, for organization, community, and other anniversaries or tributes.  Here is more about the house.

This piece is available for purchase in a number of sizes. Please contact me through my website.


I had a lot of plans for this year, mostly to do with marketing and doing  lot of photography, going on workshops, etc. But you know what they say, life is what happens when you’re busy planning. So life has given me a new challenge: My 7th surgery in three years. This should be the last–fusing my lower vertabrae in my back, adding needed structure to support me.

I’ve had a few too many accidents including car accidents and odd falls, the worst of which at 21 involved me carrying food as I hit a wet cement step at the Sports Arena and doing the splits, leaving my shoe print on the butt of my white pants. Apparently I tore a few things that didn’t show up for years. I also worked a little too hard in jobs where I sat a lot. For several years I worked full time in an office downtown while also seeing/reviewing three to four plays a week from Malibu to Laguna and writing a weekly column. That’s a helluva lot of sitting–in desk chairs, car seats, and theatre seats. It all took its toll, hence the surgeries of late to my back, neck, hip, knee, foot.

Alas, I certainly hope this plan works. I’m preparing myself with an ayurvedic consultation, some deep spiritual work, reiki, meditation, exercise, and any other positive steps I can take. I’m also creating some new work while I can get out and gather. I’ll edit it while I recover. And I’ll be posting existing work on some art sales sites. Will post those here as they’re ready for the world to see. May get some more adult coloring books, too!

On to the future! Not sure I’ll be able to do this again…but we’ll see…





The irony is that at one time I wrote several newspaper and magazine theatre reviews and interviews a week for years, in addition to a day job. Now it takes all my purpose and energy to sit down and write a blog post. One of the reasons for this is because it’s hard for me to sit for long after the back/hip surgeries I’ve had. I gotta get over it!  So to get going I’m going to share some recent activities.

In November I was in a small half-day show of invited artists at the wonderful Howie’s Market and owner Denise Milazo is now carrying my TellingImages cards in a pretty display near the front of the store. And in December was the OpenStudios Tour in Altadena and Pasadena, featuring more than 50 artists in 30+ locations over two days. This even also happens in June, so I’ll be busy preparing new work and some new products for that show, and others.

The Wedding 72dpi

It turns out that my aunt is one of my best patrons! She’s bought pieces for herself and this Christmas she bought pieces for my cousins. One is the image of my grandparents wedding in 1923 that I turned into a scan with grandma’s gloves, dress, rings, etc. This will be passed down to my cousin’s children, an idea I just love. And that’s why I love doing pieces like this for others. Adding the objects to a photo brings the story to life. I love doing this!



One of my joys is discovering gems in my garden. Quite often it’s the cactus or epiphyllum flowers that just blow my mind. They bloom for a night, maybe two, and they close up and fall away. That’s why I love to find them in the bud stage and wait impatiently for them to pop. The best part is there are usually a bunch that bloom within a few days of each other so it’s quite the spectacle. Occasionally I ask neighbors if I can have one or two of their beauties. I have a series of Telling Images using  the large cactus flowers, haven’t quite got one I like using the epiphyllum glories. This is one of my favorites, and is an award winner. I kept this one simple…three gorgeous cactus flowers, a delicate bejeweled dragonfly, and the man climbing and reaching for beauty. So if you have any buds popping up in your yard, call me! I’ll capture them and send you a print for your kindness!

This is an award-winning image. One of my favorites.

This is an award-winning image. One of my favorites. Heart of the Dragonfly. c) Debbi Swanson Patrick 2015

Pitcher of LifeThis is the first image I created in 2008. Pitcher of Life.

I filled the pitcher with plants, nuts, bugs, acorns, even a bloody mouse on cheese and a cracker (just resin!).

The Italian glass fish adds that touch of water life. This is the one that my mentor declared “beautiful.” And on I scan…

Memories of my Swedish grandparents wedding

Memories of my Swedish grandparents wedding

In 2008, the year before my world exploded, I met a genius artist who taught me his latest talent–using a scanner to create stunning images. Ed Martin is an artist filled with ideas. Now in his 80s he’s slowed down, but I’m proud to call him my mentor. When he saw my first image made on my scanner, he wrote, “it is so beautiful, may we trade?” I knew then I’d found my calling.

Creating images on a scanner gives me a new way to tell stories. I was a journalist, feature writer, theatre reviewer and a cog in the non-profit writing and marketing wheel for years. Now I get to do this!