Thursday, January 31, 2008

More Wax

This is my mother and her cousin Wanda. Mom said that Daddy dated Wanda for awhile so I blotted her out. If Dad had chosen Wanda I wouldn't be here. 'Nuf said.

The young gals and the old gals having a good time. The old gals are my great grandmother (in yellow) and her sisters. They called them the Big Five though I'm not sure why. ;-) Their expressions are priceless.

This is my mother-in-law practicing her kissing skills on her twin sister. I love the clothes; those girls were brilliant phi beta kappas and always turned out in the latest fashion.

This is the wood frame house in Jewel, Oregon where my father-in-law was born. I cut the house in half to fit the size I wanted but from that humble beginning he went on to captain Vanderbilt's yacht, travel the world and become a successful entomologist. I have photos of all of it and correspondence too from the 20's and 30's. I was close to John's father and find his life fascinating.

More silliness. I started these because one of the boys in the high school art class expressed an interest in using his photographs with encaustic. I thought if I took in some examples it would get him going. Back to the studio; more fun today.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Just For Fun

I think I have to try everything at least once. I used to do silkscreen prints when I had a bigger studio but all that is behind me. I even (and I do kick myself for this) gave my Gocco machine to the Goodwill in a fit of downsizing. But I found out you can make a faux silkscreen in your photo program which is what the above image is. I'm heralding spring here.

I shot this photo yesterday. Spent a long while staring into a toasty fire. From my vantage point I could watch the rain come down and down and down, so cold and wet. The studio was very cozy.

My stencilled wall. Calling up the spring bulbs. I know they are coming. I can feel them stirring.

In the meantime, lots of ice cream. This always cheers me. I ate this bowl yesterday.

I found this photograph of John taken when he was a little boy. Such an earnest, sweet demeanor. We're cleaning out boxes and the photos keep turning up. All the stages of our lives spread out before us.

Today's bowl of ice cream with Pilar's strawberry jam. Thank you, girlfriend. Your gift reminds me of you daily. More ice cream happiness.

And one last shot of the little philosopher. So young and already carrying the world's troubles on his narrow shoulders.

Friday, January 25, 2008


If you do nothing else today I hope you'll go over to Katie's blog and read what she has to say about serving others. This is what happens to many women at a certain age; along with many other things we see our own mortality and the futility of selfish goals - we take note of the vast joy that flows in when we help others. She says it so beautifully. (Photo above of myself speaking to a group of future artists at a local high school.)

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Three days in a row of sunshine; what have we done to deserve such riches! I practically have spring fever I'm so happy and energized. To celebrate I followed the baby goats around shooting pictures but the sun was so bright (frenzied squeaking noises) that getting good shots was difficult.

I call this one "are you my mommy?" Poor nubbins has no ears to speak of. I think my neighbor is doing genetic experimentation.

Whereas this little guy is all ears. The babies spend the day running from one end of the pasture to the other as fast as they can. Glorious youth.

And the mail brought many riches yesterday. First of all was my copy of Ricë Freeman-Zachary's zine and WOWSA, I laid in bed last night reading it going "yup, yup, that's right, amen sister" to every page. She talks about how to get a lot done as an artist and I found myself agreeing with all her suggestions. I do every one of the things she suggests to get the most out of every day (decades of learning on my part) and her suggestions are gold. Thank you Ricë, for spelling this out for artists. She'll have us all doing more and feeling happier for it (and the world needs happy people).

And whoop! What's this in the middle of the book? Why, it's an interview with yours truly and pictures of my studio and a secret sewing project and, and . . . You'll have to get a copy for the rest. Only $10 from the zine-maker and in my opinion money well spent.

Next came a poste from the land down under, Ms. Ro Bruhn. Goody, lots of strange labels on the parcel for my collage stash (what's a Douane? Cool!) Inside was a treasure of handmade papers.

I felt like a mermaid who'd discovered a treasure chest in the sparkling deep. Bright colors and exotic designs winking up at me along with bright metal, jewels and filmy cloth hiding twinkling bijoux. I peeled open the wrappers one by one to finally reveal the earrings at the heart of the parcel. John looked over my shoulder and remarked, "she sure knows how to wrap a package!"

I hope something came your way today to make you happy. Don't forget to enjoy the full moon if your skies are clear; it's been breath-taking in our neighborhood. Playing hide and seek with inky clouds lined with silver just like in the storybooks.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008


This is my encaustic for the month of February. Our theme is "red". It was ridiculously simple to execute after I scraped off the wax from the previous try (not the mandala, the previous try at "red"). The sun has been shining for 2 days in a row here; this is the first sun we've seen in months and it's all I can do not to stand at my window with my face turned stupidly up at the sky. I feel like a flower myself on a very long stem stretching toward the source.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Monday Monday

Got up early today (early for me is 7:15 am - I'm a sloth in the winter) and went to the newly uploaded Art Unraveled site to check out the listing of classes and artists. The retreat is held in Arizona in August (I know - I know) and I'll be teaching 3 classes there. I attended last year to check it out and had a great time; if you can make it there are some great classes being offered. I grew up in Mesa and graduated from ASU so going for me is an opportunity to revisit my old stomping grounds and drive by the house I grew up in again. I always have to do that while I'm there.

So now I'm ready to get back in the studio and melt some wax again. Yesterday I made my 8x8x2" piece for PROJECT EIGHT. You can read about it at the website here; 8 artists will each create 1-8x8" piece once a month for 8 months. Each month has been assigned a theme; the theme for January was Mandala and for February it is Red. At the end of the 8 months all the work will go into a gallery in Albuquerque and than on to travel to other galleries. I thought it sounded like fun!

So here is my encaustic mandala, mixed media of course. I uploaded a huge file so that if you click to enlarge you can see lots of detail. Encaustic is kind of hard to photograph so that will help you see what's really going on (lots of texture and depth). Today I'm going to work on the red piece.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Last Night's IEA Meeting

Just a quickie post for all of you encaustic fans out there. Last night we met at the home and studio of Linda Womack. When I have time I'll set up a group of links just to our members' sites but for now suffice it to say we had 13 present and 2 new members. One of our new members drove down from Longview, Washington so don't think you have to live in the Portland metro area to join us.

We admired the work of new member Barb Mallon and discussed the upcoming show in June at the Newberg Gallery in which most of the members plan to show their work. We discussed the upcoming Conference (Boston) and retreat (Carmel) and had a demo of several tjanting tools by member Kimberly Kent. Then I did a demo on photographing your art and manipulating the images in your photo program and of course we shared food and libations.

Now I have to go to the lumberyard and buy Gorilla Glue, wood strips and more substrate for encaustic. I love the way these meetings inspire me to do MORE.

I read an article last night by Eric Weiner on the happiest places in the world that I thought I'd share with you. He cites Reykjavik, Iceland as a wonderful place to live; much like Renaissance Florence. The city has a small population (95,000) and is filled with exceptionally creative people. He says, "Every other building, it seems, is an art gallery or a music store or a cafe filled with writers. ... History's great thinkers have long pointed to a connection between creativity and happiness. ... I ask (a fellow) about the creative buzz in the Reykjavik air. Where does it come from? - And how can I get some?"

The fellow goes on to explain that there is no envy in Reykjavik because artists SHARE with one another. Any new idea is freely shared and incorporated into the work of any of the others. The root of the word compete are the Latin competure, which means to "seek with".

The article can be found in "The Week" magazine of January 25th if you are interested in reading it all but it reflects my ideal that instead of hiding our innovations we should make everything available to all so that we can all thrive. Instead of each of us moving slowly, one by one inventing the wheel, we could learn and grow at warp speed. We could cooperate, give it away, make it easy for each other to succeed. That's what I'd like to see a lot more of in our culture. Instead of all for one, the individual genius, how about all for all?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

The Moving Hand Has Writ

It has writ, glued, torn, stamped and doodled. My conumdrum is that I dont like to attach as many bulky layers as my heros do (a little anal, that) and that the release I get from doing my morning pages comes more in the form of writing than it does from the visual side.

My recent pages have been halfhearted in the visual department. It really is true that I'm still not back in balance from the shutting down that the holidays force on me. It is hard to get going again although I try to gentle myself into action by doing a little each day.

Winter just has a different vibe to it than summer does. Right now I am envying people who winter below the equator. Imagine never having to hear the wind howl for a year. That's for me!

Plus I get more introspective and slow in the winter. And Hermanito! Oh my! He totters about, sees poorly, sleeps all day cuddled up next to the woodstove and only reluctantly spends a few moments outside. I keep telling him to persevere; that spring will be here before we know it. And yes, there was a tornado across the river from Stumptown at noon today. So I sat entranced in front of the telly watching that as the clouds rolled dramatically overhead. Happily, no one was injured but a number of houses lost roofs and trees were snapped off.

Yeeks! Nature's trying to kill us!