Inspiration at Home

Inspiration at Home


In the spirit of staying creative and connected, we would like to share the latest inspirations from our gallery team and friends in the art community. Below, we have curated a handful of resources and activities that have uplifted our spirits as we re-center ourselves at home.


(the old-fashioned way)

Hand-written correspondence with illustrations has a significant history in the art world. We invite you to honor to this tradition by mailing a letter to a loved one. Drawing and painting on the envelope adds a personal touch. (Please share yours with us and we will post to our Instagram).

Further Reading: 

A History of Famous Letters

Mail Art” defined by Wikipedia

Bonnard/Matisse: Letters Between Friends


Our featured solo artist Linda Litteral has provided a short exercise to spark creativity and imagination while at home.

Purchase art supplies from neighborhood businesses, such as our local Visual Art + Supply.

@busytoddler on Instagram is a treasure trove of activities and art projects for toddlers, once FaceTime or Zoom sessions with family and teachers have run their course for the little ones.

(Image courtesy of Nimrad Maramba)


Artist Evgeniya Golik is preparing a virtual workshop, featuring her techniques for colored pencil cross-hatching, acrylic washes, and gold leaf on wood panels. In anticipation of its completion, here is a short feature of Golik’s work which was recently posted by the San Diego U-T.

Sparks Gallery’s “Looking Forward” Exhibition is now live, featuring works by Brennan Hubbell and Alexander Arshansky.

Artist interviews with Brennan Hubbell and Alexander Arshansky will premiere on our Instagram @sparksgallery in the next two weeks. 

Exclusive Collections Gallery owner Ruth-Ann Thorne launches the Art in the City YouTube channel, with a recent feature of our exhibited artist James Hubbell at his iconic home in San Ysabel, CA.

From our Blog: How Our Artists Are Staying Creative During the COVID-19 Pandemic, Part 1 and Part 2


(from home)

We can virtually visit institutions that we would not typically be able to access in person with many resources moving online. Here are a few of our top local resources for local art viewing this week.

We have partnered again with The Studio Door with the newly released “Downtown Meets Uptown” exhibition.

San Diego Visual Arts Network has an ongoing list of virtual art events in San Diego.

San Diego’s Virtual Music, Theater and Film Roundup by Pacific Magazine features both visual and performing arts.

San Diego Museum of Art is offering virtual tours and online programming.

San Diego’s Liberty Station First Friday goes virtual (the next event will be on May 1).


Inspired by famous artists, these recipes are simple and easy to adjust with staples when you are digging deep in the pantry. (If cooking is not for you, the anecdotes and stories of travel featured in these artists’ cookbooks are still a delightful escape to another world.)

Frida’s Fiestas, Recipes and Reminiscences of Life with Frida Kahlo: A Cookbook

Recipes below for Mango Sorbet and Lima Bean Soup, inspired by Frieda Kahlo’s trip to the Teotihuacán house of Don Thomas Teutli and his wife, Doña Rosa, as told by Guadalupe Rivera (Diego Rivera’s Daughter). 

Mango Sorbet (6-8 Servings)

Combine ½ lb sugar and ½ cup water and heat until syrupy. Remove from heat and stir in 2 cups mango pureed with ½ cup water (or other fruit available). Chill, then place in an ice cream maker and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Sparks note: No ice cream maker? Place the puree in the freezer and break up every 20 minutes for 2 hours with a fork for a flaky texture (Granita).

Lima Bean Soup (8 servings) 

Soak 1 pound (500g) dried lima beans in cold water overnight. Drain and discard the water. Cook the beans in 3 quarts (3 L) chicken broth until tender. Let cool slightly, then puree with their liquid. Set aside. Heat 4 Tablespoons corn oil in a stock pot. Take 1-½ cups (450g) tomatoes and puree with ½ onion and 1 garlic clove and strain. Add this tomato puree and 2 parsley sprigs to pot and cook until thickened. Add the pureed beans and season with salt and pepper to taste. If necessary, add a small amount of chicken broth. Simmer for 15-20 minutes to blend flavors. Serve the soup piping hot, garnished with fried bread slices. 

Monet’s Palate Cookbook

“Monet grew his own peaches, espaliered against a walled enclosure that surrounded his vegetable garden. But it wasn’t enough for Monet to grow the fruit; a white flesh peach called pêche de la virgine also appeared in one of his paintings.”

Peach, Apple, and Raisin Gratin with Walnut Streusel

For Streusel: In a medium bowl, combine ⅔ c flour, 3 Tablespoons brown sugar, 2 Tablespoons sugar, 1 teaspoon cinnamon, ⅛ teaspoon freshly chopped rosemary, ⅛ teaspoon salt, ½ cup chopped walnuts, ½ cup unsalted butter, and ⅛ teaspoon vanilla. Set aside. 

For Gratin: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 C). Butter a 9-inch glass pie dish. Combine in a medium bowl: 2 cups of thinly sliced and peeled peaches, 1 cup thinly sliced tart apple, ½ cup sugar, ¼ cup raisins, and 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice. Transfer to buttered pie dish. Bake about 35 minutes until fruit is tender. Remove and spread Streusel on top. Return to oven and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.  Let cool and serve.

The Normany (non-alcoholic cocktail – makes 1) 

In regards to the apple, “Monet’s love for the traditional Norman fruit showed up in his canvases — many of his most beautiful still lifes included the pommes  — as well as on his dining table. And a glass of cider was never far from hand.” 

Place 6 oz of nonalcoholic cider or apple juice in a tall glass with 1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice and 1 ½ teaspoons smooth applesauce and stir very will. Add ice cubes and garnish with a cinnamon stick. Serve immediately. Sparks Note: inspired from other recipes in the book, whole cloves may be substituted for the cinnamon, or zest from an orange added. Alcoholic apple cider or apple brandy may also be substituted for the lemon and apple juice. 

A List of Gaslamp Quarter Restaurants Offering Takeout or Pickup Options

If you are not ordering prepared meals at this time, consider gift cards to support your favorite restaurants. This updated restaurant list by Yelp shows which restaurants are still offering these services near you.


At the Sparks home, we brought out our vintage collection of 78 RPM records and played these from the 1930s and ’40s for a musical break. 

Listen to music by Carpenters, which inspired Alexander Arshansky’s latest piece, “The Carpenters.”


We do understand if acquiring a new work is not in your plans at this time. Another way to support us is by submitting a review on YelpGoogle, or Facebook, which is free and very much appreciated. If you do submit a review, please email us and we will send you a special digital letter (or hand-written if requested, since we love to share art in analog form) to thank you from the Sparks’ home/current remote office. 

We are also shipping all orders free domestically with code FREESHIPUSA; please add this code at checkout if purchasing from our website,

We look forward to sharing more virtual updates with you on our social media accounts  – check back on our Instagram page (@sparksgallery) where we will have the freshest content and live interviews. 

Our hearts go out to those affected by COVID-19 and we wish you the best from our homes to yours. We look forward to seeing our visitors again once it is safe for our doors to re-open. In the meantime, please do not hesitate to reach out to share your own creative resources with us. 


Sonya Sparks and the Sparks Gallery Team: Jesscia, Zach, Levi, Gianna, and Barry