Portland is abuzz with holiday pop-up stores and annual craft fairs this weekend, but as much as I'd like to go out and about, I've decided my time is best spent in my studio, working on my own endeavors. Oh, I guess at some point, I might take a break to get desperately needed food, or to move forward with decorating the house for the holidays. . . . but really, I'd so much rather DO ART! Nevertheless, I've been sticking to my "paint a little/clean a little/blog a little"mantra and it's been most helpful. Each night, this past week, I gently prodded myself to "Spend a few minutes working on something. Just get started," and perhaps not so surprisingly, the above materialized. :) And speaking of materializing, take a peek at one of my favorite images created by Portland artist, Lisa Kaser; and when you do, promise me that you will read her delightful prose that accompanies the image, and then commend yourself for the work you bring forth. (If you missed my earlier post about Lisa, you can find it here.)
Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.
Thanks very much for your continued interest in my work. I really do appreciate it!
Just a quick post to let you know that I'm having a holiday sale on all items in my Etsy shopthrough December 20. If you haven't yet discoveredEtsy,this would be a great time to check it out, since many of the artists, makers, and vintage sellers are currently running Black Friday and Cyber Monday promotions. It's pretty nice to be able to shop in the comfort of your own home with a cup of hot coffee, tea or cider. :)
This rather "summerish" painting is finished and on the wall, the dining/studio table is cleared of paints and related paraphernalia, and I'm shifting to pre-Thanksgiving mode. Wishing safe travels and a joyful day to all celebrating the holiday, and keeping those who recently lost so much in my thoughts.
A few photos from late October that I've been meaning to post. Today, I'm mesmerized by the palette of soft greys and greens of the foggy, rainy Portlandia day outside my window. Meanwhile, I'm listening to great music while finishing a painting and tending to household chores.
Ever see the musical "Music Man"? Somehow, the refrain came to me while mulling over the question of how to move forward with art goals while working and maintaining family and social obligations. I crave long, uninterrupted blocks of time to produce art. As in days/weeks at a time. Not possible right now; so instead, I recently adapted and adopted the slightly modified refrain of Music Man's "Pick a Little, Talk a Little" as my mantra: "Paint a little, blog a little. Clean a little, blog a little. Paint, paint, paint. Clean a lot, blog a little more." I'm serious --it's working. If you haven't seen the movie version, follow the link and watch the song being performed to the end. You'll understand the intensity and effectiveness of my mantra. And besides, the energy of the performance is infectious :)
I've been enjoying the mild weather and splendid autumn color in Portlandia while thinking of those who were impacted by the storms on the east coast. Also enjoying a brave little brown bunny that has made an appearance in our front yard a few times over the past several days. Sampling the clover in our grass, it freezes when it senses me and on one occasion, turned and scampered back into the rugosa rose patch with lightening speed. Mind you, rabbits are not common here. In fact, I've never seen one in Portland, and I can't help but wonder if this one was someone's pet that was released. Regrettably, urban coyotes are prevalent here, so I fear for this sweet bunny.
The sumac bush was absolutely splendid several days ago, when I didn't have my camera on my walk. It was like a weaving with a warp of green leaves interwoven with the intense yellow and red leaves. I kept wanting to get back to it to take photos, but each day, the light was too low by the time I got out for my walk. I finally made it back to it today in the late afternoon, with light in the sky and camera in hand, but wouldn't you know it, the leaves had withered.
The photo of the colorful spools was taken atBeam,& Anchor, a wonderful new store in northeast Portland. More about that next time. :)
Spent a little time trying to finish "Winds of Change" this weekend, but it still needs one more session. Thought I'd share
this photo anyway, because it's been difficult to find the right
lighting indoors or out to photograph it in, and the rains may come before I get a chance to finish it and photograph it again. In reality, the red of the "Kona" rectangle is in
the same range as that of the berries, but it's in the shadow here. The painting reminds me of a fat corner (yardage talk) of printed fabric. Though decorative in appearance, it has special meaning for me.
Meanwhile, some little garden spiders were busy crafting snares for "passers-by," and I feel lucky to have discovered their handiwork quite by chance today when I happened to glance at the fencing from a new perspective. Somehow, the mixed media piece that I did on Saturday morning seems in keeping with the wire fence web graphics. This work was done on white sketch paper that appears grey in this photo. Late Saturday night, I got brave and put a raw umber wash on top of it all. Risky business, to say the least, and as you can imagine, it looks totally different now. Some might even venture to say it is ruined. Which reminds me of the words of wisdom ofNon-indigenous Woman: "Never give up on a piece." :)
Everything is dry . . . bone dry and parched. The weather is lovely, but we will welcome the rains.
I've cleared the dining room table and have set out paints, brushes, water and -- most importantly-- a bare canvas. I'm intending to lay some paint down tomorrow, but I'm in a bit of a quandary as to whether to jump into uncharted territory. Meanwhile, the above painting has found its way into the shop. Perhaps if the sun shines, I will be able to get a better photo of it in the next couple of days.
How quickly fall arrives!
Happy weekend everyone. :) Hope you find time to be creative!
Somehow, we did it! Somehow, after eight months of fretting and worrying, and refining Plan A and inclement-weather-Plan B, we scored three days of glorious sun for our daughter's outdoor wedding festivities. Somehow, between the rehearsal dinner and the ceremony, our youngest
daughter was able to complete nearly seventy small and medium bouquets, three
gorgeous porch bouquets, her sister's bouquets (yes, two) and the attendants' bouquets; all from
flowers she had either grown herself or had sourced from a local grower,
and from greenery she had foraged from the woods and shore. Somehow, everything else fell into place for the main event: the backdrop for the ceremony was completed in the nick of time; the decorative string balls were hung at the very last minute so as not to collapse from the dew and condensation from the previous night; the electrical considerations for the music and the tent lighting were worked out; the photographer, band and caterer all arrived from afar on cue; etc., etc.
Somehow, all the guests from distant lands arrived safely and in time for the short, but very meaningful and personal ceremony. Somehow, the evening fog stayed away, and the chilling breeze held off through dinner and beyond. Somehow we made it through our toasts without falling apart, and were still on our feet and dancing to the wonderful music when the nearly-full moon rose over the bay, accompanied by a legion of twinkling stars.
And somehow, a week and a half later, we are still thanking the weather gods, and counting our blessings for all the help and love that was showered upon our daughter, her husband, and all of us.
I have been visiting your blogs, but after a rather lengthy stretch of preoccupation, I feel I can safely say I'm finally back in "posting mode".
"Veiled Ovoid" is almost finished and I couldn't resist capturing it with these fabulous onion orbs from our garden. We've never used them in a bouquet before, and although a mild onion fragrance permeated the air when my husband first brought them in several days ago, it has since dissipated and surprisingly, not a single floret (no doubt the wrong term) has fallen.
A lovely soft rain has brought relief from the heat to the west side of the Cascades this morning. I am reluctant to look at the news to see how many wildfires were started by the lightning storms predicted in the central and eastern regions of the state last night. Currently, the largest wildfire in nearly 150 years is burning very close to a tiny, favorite "hamlet" that is near the southern border.
Now that the "sun switch" has been turned on, our suburban vegetable garden has reached a nice state: The plants have come into their own but have not yet gone wild. Well, that is, all but the flowering phlox. The phlox (not shown here) is another story. Phlox is considered a bit of a "thug" plant by perennial gardeners in Oregon because of its rampant spreading tendencies. It has systematically crowded out our strawberries and is now threatening our few blueberry bushes. Furthermore, it has paid no attention to our property line and has spread unrestrained into our neighbor's yard. I have begun an earnest campaign to eradicate it but as my husband pointed out, it will continue to trouble us as it will simply march back across the property line!
I am almost finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's 2007 book, Vegetable, Animal, Miracle. Even though I have been tuned into the local, organic, sustainable food movement for over ten years, and my husband has faithfully planted and maintained our vegetable gardens for twenty-seven years, I gleaned many new insights from Kingsolver's book, which also features contributions from her biologist husband and her grown daughter. I wouldn't say it is a particularly fast read; rather it moves along at an enjoyably leisurely pace with each chapter reinforcing the tenets set forth in prior chapters.
This low-growing Oregon Grape is coming into its glory right now -- at least as far as I'm concerned. (I much prefer the red leaf / green berry stage to the intense yellow flowering stage.) As summer progresses, the berries will turn deep blue-purple and develop their own sort of patina. They were a mainstay of the indigenous tribes' diet but I have yet to try them. They are said to be very sour but it's hard to imagine they could be any more sour than cranberries and they're no doubt equally nutritious. Hmm, perhaps I should get with the program; our yard is full of this native plant!
It's a very quiet, soft, and misty grey day in Portlandia. The kind that rather demands a slow start to the weekend. Hope you are enjoying yours, whatever the weather might be.
So here's where I've landed after having taken the flying leap a couple of weeks ago. I guess this painting confirms the "Ovoid" series is still alive and kicking. I spent hours, literally, on the pink bar in the lower right corner last night, and I still don't have it right. I suppose I will persist.
Tenaciousness can be a good thing when painting, but sometimes one needs to let a painting go and move on in order to bring forth what lies ahead. The element in this particular painting that just might provide the impetus for me to let it go is the ambiguity of the band in the middle. Ambiguity in various areas of my compositions is a goal that I've held in my mind for quite some time. It will require a new way of applying the paint for me, and I know there is a steep learning curve ahead. Although I had planned to take a break from the ovoid series, I believe this center band might serve as the jumping off point for my next painting, which I envision as having a great deal of ambiguity and perhaps transparent ovoids of one size or another. :)
Hope you are happily engaged in some sort of creative process!
As promised, here are two mixed-media collages on paper that I just finished. They're comprised of remnants of various monoprints, a couple of potato prints, painted recycled paper, ink, and gold gouache. Many more of these are in the works.
In response to my last post, Patti Roberts-Pizzuto encouraged me to let myself "play" with my paintings. I must admit, I'm not very good at that. Seriously, I think it must be the canvas. I should probably work on paper for awhile and trick myself into believing that I am merely working on preliminary "sketches". I do feel that freedom when I am printing. Hmm. . . must have to do with the fact that I'm printing on paper, which allows me to try this, that and the other thing -- one sheet after another, as fast as I can go ad infinitum.
Which brings to mind Dale Chihuly, master glass artist. I must confess that when I went to an exhibit of his work at the Portland Art Museum years ago, my favorite pieces were his quick, sketches on large paper. Would have loved to have each and every one of them. So spontaneous!
Well, I took the leap and my 30" x 40" canvas is underway. Feels good to be painting; especially so because I keep the music cranked up loud! Ha!
So today is the day. Yes, I am committed to breaking out the paints and beginning a new large painting. In fact, I was intent upon getting everything set up on Thursday evening so that I could jump right in and get started in advance of the weekend. But it didn't happen. Trouble is, I'm feeling a little skittish about the prospect. Not quite sure which direction to jump. Perhaps you know the feeling . . . when a big white canvas is staring right back at you. I began to wonder if I was perhaps just a bit rusty. So last night, I took a look back through this blog and found out that my last large painting was completed FOURTEEN months ago. Seriously?!! Well no wonder. . Guess it really must be time to simply close my eyes and jump! I'll keep you posted. (And I hope to have a couple new, small mixed-media pieces to show you tomorrow.)
Speaking of "small," have you had a chance to check out Patti Roberts-Pizzuto's daily drawings on tea bags?
Finally! We've replaced the camera that was lost . And just in time to capture the essence of late spring, when "newness" still abounds. Above: new fern fronds; a new (?) lovely (?) fly; new salmon berries, and a new board in the bird "condominiums" that my husband built twenty years ago. (The downstairs units are accessible from the other side.) The condominiums are a focal point in our coastal garden and there is now a bit of a sad (and now silly) story associated with them: My husband built this hoping to attract the birds that had frequented his father's garden through the years. However, when he built it, the birds were no longer coming to his father's garden and there was some uncertainty about what kind of birds they actually were; were they Purple Martins or Tree Swallows, or perhaps both? And then, many years ago, his father passed away. And all the while, no birds established residency in our condominiums. So disappointing! Then. . . while we were in our garden last weekend, the Tree Swallows were suddenly circling overhead and occasionally swooping down to land on the perches, before quickly taking off again.
Not far away, we saw a swallow land on the perch of a stand-alone birdhouse, enter the hole, and then emerge to fly off. While observing this, I commented that the entrance to that house -- which he had also built -- looked like it had a bigger diameter than those of the condominium entrances. My husband replied, "Wouldn't that be something -- to find out after all these years that the holes hadn't been large enough!" Well, he got right to work. He measured the entrance to the other house, removed the entryways to the condominiums (south side, only -- so as not to overly commit to the new design) found a replacement board and drilled three new holes, hammered new perches into the board and nailed it to the structure. Within minutes, the Tree Swallows returned. We then spent the rest of the afternoon watching assorted pairs swoop down to investigate the "south-side" units while we fabricated funny dialogues between the spouses regarding the respective features of the various units, and why one unit should be selected over the next. For awhile, they limited their investigations to peering in from the perches, but eventually, the females (I imagine) hopped inside to take a look around. The following morning, there was still activity around the condominiums and now, one week later, it appears as though residency has been established! Such a happy ending! (Or rather, now, a new beginning.)
I think I'm "back in the groove." My gluing "production" area has been moved to a new location and after finishing these two pieces, it stands ready and waiting for me whenever I get an hour or so. It had been so long since I used my drafting table, triangle, architectural scale, glue, etc., that I sort of had to re-train, if you know what I mean. (Does this happen to you?) Like, it was only after I glued my first piece down, with sticky fingers, that the little voice in my head kicked in with, "Oh . . . remember, you need to get an art "rag" and dampen a portion of it so that you can use it to clean your hands periodically while gluing, and can also use it to dab up any glue that gets on the face of your collage." And, "Okay, use your parallel bar and your triangle to mark off where on the support paper your print should go. But remember, make the marks on a blotter paper -- not directly on the support paper. And, by the way, use a Micron pen instead of a graphite pencil so you don't get graphite on the support paper or your work." :)
But the retraining was no big deal, and now I'm ready to roll.
Thanks very much for visiting!
Hope you have a wonderful week.
Acrylic relief print and painting on reused papers
4" x 5"
Acrylic relief print and gold gouache on paper
7" x 9"
It seems like I've been "clearing my very full plate" forever so that I can get back to making art. Meanwhile, I've been without a camera for over a month. All of this by way of saying: Forgive me for the lengthy hiatus from here; I hope to not be away so long again.
Finally, I found some time this past weekend to ease back into creating while visiting my daughter. I took a small sketchbook to her home and proceeded to make some simple potato prints while she worked on a painting, knowing that I would at least be able to fit the prints on my scanner. Nothing too demanding on my end, and certainly no high expectations. Still, the fact is that creating even the simplest works of art or craft requires thoughtful decisions throughout the process, and those who don't participate in the artistic creative process often don't appreciate that fact. And actually, it's that problem-solving process that makes the act of creation so stimulating and engaging. Well, at least that's my take on it. :)
Lots of things on my plate right now so I'm still a ways out from having any real blocks of extended time to devote to artistic pursuits. But I am managing to find an hour here or there to devote to experimenting with small printed or painted samplers on fabrics that I've made over the last couple of years.
The above pieces include a screen print on twill (on the left), and relief prints done on upcycled linen with a found object and a vintage wood block from India. I painted the red, silk-covered, found button and placed it on the screen print to cover a printing blooper. (ha!) The fading on that piece occurred during the machine washing, even though I had heat-set the piece with a hot iron. Unfortunately, I did a series of this print during the last half-hour of a studio session late at night at Oregon College of Art and Craft (OCAC). I realized after I finished printing that there was a good chance that I had not used the right type of ink. But actually, I do not mind the mottled effect at all. :) I added machine-stitching to both of the above pieces.
By the way, something seems to be amiss with the OCAC website. I hope you will be able to view it because the college's programs and facility are wonderful!
It's been a very busy week and I have thoroughly enjoyed my slow start to the weekend, although a significant amount of work lies ahead. Hope your weekend is going well. . .