Sharing what I love to do

img_0595Portland Open Studios (PDXOS) features 106 artists who open their studios, showing their art and work spaces to visitors. This past weekend over 100 guests learned a bit about encaustic collage, hand embroidery and my art practice. Additionally, everyone was given the opportunity to create their own small piece – working with beeswax, demar resin, oil pastels and encaustic colors. They had a blast and so did I! img_0582img_0583Monday evening I visited 8 of the studios in my artist community  (Community #2). Betsy Levine #11, (her meticulous oil paintings of flowers are delightful) organized this private tour – since we’re all booked during the two weekends of the event. The studios and artworks I saw were amazing and getting to know these artists was a treat. David Friedman’s, #17 paper cutting must be seen in person – photos just can’t capture it’s depth and beauty. Kamala Dolphin-Kingsley’s #20, watercolors and acrylics are wonderful – scientific and whimsical at the same time. Dan Pillers #16, heart-felt mixed media/reclaimed wood sculptures tell stories and share his visions. Mona Cordell’s #19, bi-level studio was full of her powerful figure paintings, sumi brush drawings and more. Would so love to see her body painting on the NW Dance Project performers this weekend! Mandy Stigant’s #18, sturdy wood-fired stoneware would be a great to use. Scott Conary’s #13, masterful oil paintings tell stories of places, people and more. Hilary Pfeiffer’s #12, works embrace several mediums: wood, metal and book publishing. Her painted wood birds and animals are truly delightful. Three hours later I came home visually sated, feeling very honored to be included with this talented group of working artists. pdxoscardfront       I’m gearing up for this weekend’s tour (October 15/16, 10am – 5pm), creating some small encaustic pieces (3.5 x 3.5) on the left-over pine blocks that my sweet husband so graciously cut and sanded for me. Sharing what I love to do, having people appreciate my work and also enjoy trying their hand at making is the best! Here are some the Little Art Works (L.A.W.) that will be available this weekend – $25 each and ready to hang. img_0593img_0591Today’s lovely sun is giving way to a weekend of rain, rain, rain. So please do drop by, have some tea and chocolate, play with wax and see my work – I look forward to sharing it with you. Portland Open Studios guides are available at New Seasons, Collage, Dick Blick, Artist and Craftsman Supply as well as other local businesses and there’s a free app, too!img_0589img_0590img_0594img_0588

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thankful for everything that is here

We’re all back home after a busy Thanksgiving holiday in Portland. The trips down and back up the slab (I-5) were relatively painless. Our kitties (Henry is pictured above) were quite content during our absence as they were well-cared for by Miss Sophie. Wonderful food, family, friends and a little shopping at some favorite local stores filled our days in the Rose City.

Rain played a BIG role in this past week’s weather. Could barely see the garden and we thought that Lake Ballard was being created at the feet of our flamingos, Della and Perry.

Today’s drive home was quick and sun-filled. Seattle’s skyline looks mighty fine, even through the windshield.  The Solumination Holiday Sale is this coming weekend – December 1 & 2 and our Spark Studio Holiday Sale the following one. Would love to see you at either venue! Tomorrow I’ll be back to work AND thankful for everything!

Creating a garden . . . worth every minute

Loving gardens does not make me a gardener. Donning gloves to pull weeds, digging holes, removing dead foliage – tasks associated with planting and maintaining a landscape are NOT how I choose to spend my free time – I’d definitely rather be working in my studio.

Never having studied about gardens or plants, my horticultural style tends toward the “dig and plop” school – I dig a hole and plop the plant in – it if thrives, fabulous, if it doesn’t – I pull it out and plop in another type of plant.

When we down-sized from our 1918 Arts & Crafts home to a brand new townhouse, the yard was a blank mess. Two totally inappropriate columnar hornbeams (generally regarded as windbreaks or driveway trees), a sodded lawn and several small shrubs were the only growing things.

The compacted grass sod (laid on top of the notorious “Ballard” hard pan – a clay layer made worse by construction) refused to allow any water to permeate its surface, resulting in numerous, small muddy lakes. Every time our dog Rose ventured into the yard 20 minutes were then devoted to cleaning her sodden fur and dirty paws.

Spending a year looking at this soggy space spurred us into action. Ripping up sod (that was attached to plastic webbing), digging 30 feet of a 3-feet deep trench and inserting a bamboo barrier (our back-fence neighbor has a bumper crop) and amending clay soil (chock full of rocks and construction waste) occupied a good portion of our second summer in the house.

The increasingly tall hornbeams were traded for several lovely Japanese maples and more trees were purchased (we have 14 in all – some in pots, most in the ground). 1000+ pounds of pea gravel, hauled in one bag at a time, replaced the grass and assisted in soaking up some of Seattle’s ever-present rain.

Gardens are always works in progress and ours continues to evolve and change. While I still do hate weeding, I now know that creating a calm, beautiful growing space is just another way of making art and well worth my time.

Weekend bobbing in flotsam & jetsam

As a devotees of The Killing, my sweetheart and I scoffed at its depiction of Seattle’s weather – yes it rains here, but never THAT much. Yesterday’s 1/2 inches made me feel as though I’d been plopped down into the show’s TV- Land reality. All this precipitation keeps me inside and provides the time to download photos from my phone, set up the studio for tomorrow’s Fun & Games class and work on several projects.

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 Wednesday evening photo, taken during our walk to the Sounder’s game. Don’t you love alleys?

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Mock-up of invitation package for an upcoming Olympic-themed party. 

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As I’ve mentioned before, I am part of an artist postcard group. Every once-in-a-while I loose my tiny mind and send out rather elaborate mailings. This month’s is inspired by very clever paper dolls of the Downtown Abbey cast. My niece sent them to her mom, who showed them to me. I re-printed all the pages onto card stock and added some more photos for the mailing labels. Now my postcard pals will have a fun activity to keep them occupied during our wet weather.