Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Four Days at the Beach

We are here with John’s sister from Colorado and her husband in a rented beach house. In addition our extended family has been dropping in and out. It is a wonderful end to summer and the 3rd time we have spent the autumn equinox and John’s Birthday at the beach. The weather has been in the 80’s; hot, dry and calm. The big rollers crash in not far from our deck and we have a perfect view of the haystack rock in Pacific City. This is our favorite beach, long and sandy and far from any large towns. The rest of the gang are off hiking while I write this so I have the whole house to myself for a few hours. I brought my watercolors, journal and pens so I will probably have a go at drawing the rock or the beach chairs on the deck or something else that will bring back the moment for me.

The most peculiar phenomenon this morning for about 4 hours was a huge butterfly migration on the beach. They were coming from the north and flying into the wind - clouds and clouds of small, cinnabar colored butterflies. I got one good shot for you and I will try to identify them when I get home but they reminded me of a magical moment in Mexico about 10 years ago with my friend Ellen. She was ill then with breast cancer that finally took her life 6 weeks after our trip. But at that time she felt good enough to travel to Puerto Vallarta to sit on the beach and relax with her friend Nancy and myself. The three of us had made a day trip to the white sand beach at Bucerias where Nancy went out for a swim as Ellen and I watched from the beach. Ellen was dressed in a black sundress and sandals and I watched her as she found a perfect spot to sit and sketch in her sketchbook. As she sat quite still on the dark colored rock a cloud of chartreuse butterflies surrounded her and settled on the rock all around her. In my memory now it seems like a magical dream in which Ellen, so young and beautiful, is being consoled by nature. So I have an idea for a painting now that I’ve given it some thought. Of a trusting young woman on the beach surrounded by butterflies and love, the way Ellen was on that day.
Here are some more pictures of my precious family having fun with Cooper and Moose. The pups are old buddies now who play so well together, play-fighting over the same piece of driftwood and rolling in the sand until they look like twin Snickerdoodles. The grandson is incredible; brought a video about a blind samurai that we all loved. A very serious story with a surprising and delightful dance number by the entire cast at the end. I recommend it.

Last night at sunset we all watched intently for the legendary green flare. The sky was a deep cerulean blue, greening into shades of coral and gold as the great orb sank lower and lower on the horizon. Oh, for a sundown at the beach gasping at the miracle of the changing colors and the fading light. With a cool something in one’s hand. Sometimes life is just plain easy.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Reverse Painting Workshop

I am in the process of painting self-portraits in reverse on mylar in preparation for a workshop I am planning to teach in November. The dates are not firm yet but there will be one or two full day workshops to sign up for. I am writing coil bound booklets for each participant to keep with information on my suppliers, templates for design ideas and suggestions on ways an artist can incorporate this technique into other art projects. Once I have set the date or dates I will send out an email to my email list and begin taking names.

I've had many requests to teach this technique over the years and have never taught it before so this is a first for me. I have taught in the past (watercolor classes at Portland Community College), but that was only for one year and then I needed to return to my schedule of production. The thing I loved best about teaching was the direct interaction with other artists. I am quite excited now and will keep you posted here. I don't think any of the portraits I have painted so far look much like me because my face is never this still and my mouth is always open, usually talking, laughing or giving advice. I have answers!! Ha ha. Maybe the next ones will be more relaxed. Anyhow, it is lots of fun. The idea initially horrified me but now I only regret I didn't start earlier. I think a collection of self portraits painted at intervals over the years would be a wonderful thing to have.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Art in the Pearl: Part Deux

Dogs and tatoos coming up. But first a show and tell. More goofing around in PhotoElements. I doodled some doodles in front of the TV last night with a ball point pen and colored them in with brushes. Now, do you have any idea how hard this would be to do with actual paint? I LOVE PhotoElements.

Here come the tatoos and the dogs from Art in the Pearl.

Tatoo number one. A Victorian face and a red poppy. Taken in my booth.

Tatoo number two. A crisp carp. The bearer asked the artist to sign it. She said that part made him very nervous as he'd never signed his name on someone's back before.

Tatoo number three. Japan influenced with mysterious calligraphy. Lovely. Dont you think?

Tatoo number four. A green mermaid. And the shells! Really unusual colors and detail. Magenta! I didn't know they could do magenta.

Tatoo number five. A froggie with an owie. This woman was herself a tatoo artist and had many many many to choose from. She is an accomplished artist in her own right and shared her portfolio with me. We will be hearing more from her.

Doggie number one. Pink and black polka dots. The glamorous owner was all dressed in pink too with high heels to match. Very ooooh la la. I'm going to paint them this winter. I get great ideas at the shows for paintings just by people watching.

Doggie number two. I think her name was Lulu. Isn't she gorgeous? I just want to hug her for that great, commanding mug. OK, my screen just told me I am cut off from Blogger so I'm going to go now and see if I lose this entire post. Ciao.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Art in the Pearl

The show was wonderful in so many ways. Perfect weather. Enormous, appreciative crowds. Huge sales for the artists I spoke with. Much happy enthusiasm that was shared between the artists in the booths and the artists visiting the booths. I had visits from Paula M. and Edina Tien for example; both artists who could easily have their own booths at the show. They are two friends from Artfest. Paula still works a real job but retires soon and then will devote more time to her creative endeavors. So it was a weekend of purest pleasure enjoying the great people in the Park Blocks, listening to wonderful music and eating exotic food.

Allow me please to introduce you to Chris Giffin, assemblage artiste extraordinaire. Her work can be seen in Found Object Art by Dorothy Spencer. She is a National Art Treasure (says I) and so kind and easy to know and supportive. Can you tell I reeaallly like her? I do. Her e-mail is

Next we have Jacquline Hurlbert. She works in clay and has started painting in addition. I purchased one of her pod people that looks to me like it has just been born (screaming at the shock and horror of sentient life) - wow, I love it. Of course she probably had something entirely different in mind when she created it but that's what I want it to be. Love love love her amazing work.
This is my long-time friend, Tamaris Landsman. Her work has really taken off this year. It is sooo fun. Mosaic mirror frames with chi chi subjects like tubes of lipstick and ruby red lips in addition to colorful spirals and unusual shapes. She is a great artist, a powerful businesswoman, a loving friend.

Heinrich Toh is a very fine printmaker from Seattle. He asked me to shoot his booth from this angle. Check out his beautiful work behind him in the photo and at his website. If he comes to your area to do a show you will not be disappointed in his inventive and original work. It is excellent.

Behold ye pyrate king, Mark Heimann. He is a fine ceramicist and huge cut-up who could not resist creating an entire line of pirate ware in addition to his more serious sculptural work. You can also order from him, off his website, a bumper sticker that reads "What would Blackbeard do?" He has a wonderful website that will make you laugh as well as appreciate his dedication as an artist.

My next door booth neighbor was Sheri Rice and she makes paper quilts out of scraps of vintage images, letters, wallpaper and so on. They are really really beautiful and I brought 3 of them home with me. I told her about Artfest and urged her to submit a teaching proposal. She would be an enthusiastic, fun teacher with a lot of knowledge to share. Her e-mail is

Thomas Rude is a multi-talented woodcut artist and carver. He designed the t-shirts that were given to the volunteers and which he is wearing. Please go to his site and appreciate his primitive wood sculptures. They are really great. He is represented by the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery in Salem.

Dick Libby and I go way back to when I used to drive an old Volvo station wagon. Dick loves Volvos too and he has stuck with them while I have wandered off and switched to an Outback. But I digress. Dick makes assemblages out of recycled materials that he scavenges from building tear-downs and the like. He has a wonderful way with the oil based paints he uses to alter the surfaces of the wood he uses and also incorporates collage elements and writes a little story that he includes on the reverse of each piece. You can tell he has fun as he creates each object and the one I got seemed made precisely for me although of course it wasn't. Coincidence? I think not. Dick has special powers. His e-mail is

Shannon Weber is a contemporary basket maker from Cottage Grove, Oregon. Her baskets are indescribable; you'll have to go to her website to appreciate the colors and intricate weaving she does. Recently she has been incorporating small paintings into the baskets. Unusual and wonderful!

This is my friend Craig Windom and some examples of his fine art furniture. I wish I had taken more photographs as he doesn't have a website and had everything from rocking chairs to garden benches and mirrors in frames in his booth. All of his furniture is beautifully crafted and designed and incorporate vintage objects and whimsical details. Craig is also a talented painter. He can be reached at (541)-935-4147 or

Ann Fleming had exciting new work to show. She formerly worked in clay and is a great surface designer and painter. But these are her new bronzes and they simply take your breath away with their gentle power. Please go to her website and read about her intent and history. It will tell you a lot about this woman who has contributed so much to Portland's art community. Thanks to her organizational skills we have two art fairs that she has spearheaded; this one (Art in the Pearl) and also The Village of Willamette Show which commences in 2 more weeks. Thank you, Ann, for all of it. Portland is lucky to have you.

I'm pooped. The dogs and tatoos will have to wait for the next post.