Thursday, July 30, 2015

Recycling Old Paintings

This is my latest journal.
I just finished sewing it yesterday and thought I'd share my process to help spark ideas for you in the studio.
I know a lot of you, like me, generate works on paper that stack up in the studio. 
While the paintings may be beautiful, they aren't really enjoyed if they're languishing in a folder in the dark.

The painting above, 12x12" on 140# watercolor paper, was in a folder with a stack of other non representational paintings that I did over a year ago.

This one above was in the same folder. 
I used both of them on the cover and end sheets of my new journal.

Here is the cropped painting mounted on the back inner cover of the book.

For the outside of the back cover I gathered up smaller pieces of random scrap that I keep in a bin for collage.
Arranged and glued them, then painted gel over all for protection.

Some beads and a stenciled canvas spine completed the long stitch journal.

I love the way the raw materials of the old become folded into the new carrying history and memories with them.

It also makes me happy to use and enjoy something that I liked well enough to save. 

Back to my de-cluttering.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July Garden

Despite our drought, John's garden looks as beautiful as ever.

People keep asking if he's cutting back; making it smaller.
Well, the answer is no. It gets bigger each year if anything.

He's cut off the sugar peas that have stopped producing to save seed.
Meanwhile, there's a bean crop sprouting below that will utilize the trellis.

He plants flowers among the veggies, like the English.

And grows lots of peppers, like these jalapenos.

We got our first tomatoes in June. Stupice; short growing season and dependable.

Mystery perennial that came in with a load of chips. Some type of Rudbeckia.

And then there is this mystery flower with huge leaves like platters.
Both John and I have forgotten what it is.

Black Cayenne Peppers. A gorgeous plant.

Stupice again. Early and delicious.

Here are some of the other tomatoes. Lots of future salsa.

And look how tall the blueberry bushes have grown. 
We finally have all we can handle.

Canna lilies. I used to love to paint these in watercolor.
Maybe again some day.

More cayenne peppers.

And big, fat blackberries.

Corn. First crop.

While the second crop gets going in its little waffles that hold water in our drought.
This system we borrowed from Arizona and it works wonderfully.

Apples coming on for a fall ripening.

And the cucumber tower. Makes harvesting so much easier and the cucumbers dont get dirty.

Two varieties of plums on the same tree.

And this shot just for the diversity of the garden. 
I love how it attracts birds and beneficial insects.

We have figs galore. I made my popular Fig Newtons once already this summer.

John calls this his garden gnome.
It guards his mulberry tree.

Mulberries. Yum!

Blue hydrangeas. I love.

Yes, another jalapeno!

Watermelon. Coming right along.

Pineapple Lily.

Along the pretty walkway.

July sunshine. Sunflower-style.

Green beans. So good with potatoes and bacon.

Frost peaches. This one looks ready.

Flowers on the deck to cheer us as we sip our gin tonics. 
Sweet summer.

Lavender Dahlia.

Thank you dear Farmer John for the years of sweet beauty that you have rained down on our lives.

And thank you dear friends for wading through the longest garden post I think I've ever put up.
If I could I'd invite you to sit on the deck and share something cool and refreshing with us.

Carry on.

Monday, July 20, 2015


 Hello my faithful friends. I've taken time out to just live without blogging, without taking photos, without creating the time needed to organize and report. It's been that kind of summer, in a very good way.

(check one more off my bucket list: paddling a kayak)

This photo above sums up for me a time with friends on Bainbridge Island a few weeks ago. Bare feet and fresh air. Campfires. Letting go and letting ourselves just be. Asking life to slow down a bit.

Nia class with the women. Surrounding each other with love, kindness, and willingness. 

We gathered to paint with Misty. Check out her new site. It's gorgeous.

 We painted like no one was watching.

Meanwhile at home the garden is in full giving mode. Jenny and Shellie helped me pick blueberries. That was a week ago and in the cool of the morning today I picked two more containers full. Yesterday I baked fig newtons. I love July.

Pictured above are some of the portraits in oil paint that I've been exploring. I will get back to them once I'm fully prepared for the fall classes I'm teaching in Bali and Mexico. First things first.

My daughters have been spending time painting with me in the studio. It's been a great time for all of us and I've been filling sketch books with abstract paintings.

My friend Joely told me about an indigo class at the local Oregon College of Art and Craft. Knowing nothing about the teachers or what was to be presented I immediately signed up! Yes, I've had a lot of experience dyeing but there's nothing more fun than bouncing off a room full of enthusiastic students.  Five days! Five days of indigo.

We made our indigo with plant material (Persicaria tinctorium), fruit juice and pickling lime. It smelled like fruit cobbler, not the usual swampy smell.

Our terrific teachers Marilyn Zornado and Judilee Fitzhugh guided us through many projects like the lidded box above and the long journal below.

Thirty some years ago I spent several years at Oregon College of Art and Craft taking classes in calligraphy, ceramics, printmaking, papermaking, metalsmithing, painting, and more. It was trippy being back on campus communing with my memories there; most of the students I knew then are teachers now scattered from one coast to the other. I'm proud of all of us; we absorbed our lessons and now we're sharing with others.

Bali Indigo with Sue Stover and myself is only 6 weeks away now but there's still time to jump aboard. We have amazing projects and field trips planned for you and the setting will be divine. Go here for more information. xo