For my pretend cabin in the woods

Jan 31, 2010

I love this handpainted pillow by Roxy Marj entitled Bjorn Catches a Bear.

Still dreaming of hot chocolate in one of Alyssa Ettinger's knitware cups. 

I found this shirt the other day on Etsy.  It's handmade by Olive Crane of Wolf Calls Clothing Co.  I love the feminine cut matched with the casual plaid and corduroy. 

I'm a big fan of the beautiful knit collection, Ruth Cross.  A girl can't have enough fingerless mittens. These sparkle!

Water towers and the urban landscape

Jan 30, 2010

Michele Maule, Water Towers, oil

Old green water towers are classic features of the Portland landscape.  We actually live just two blocks away from one and can see from our home another water tower less than a mile away.  So, I guess you can say that I like water towers because they remind me of home. 

I recently found these amazing oil paintings of water towers from Portland artist Michele Maule.  I love how the water towers are painted in dark, neutral tones and with painterly strokes. It's industrial, but not too linear.   The softened edges in the works, plus the muted colors in the background, also add a dream-like quality.  What beautiful art! 

Michele Maule, Glisan Street Water Tower

Michele Maule, Chown Water Tower

Here is some more great art that I found featuring water towers. 

Renee Press, a crow caws in brooklyn, watercolor.

Crystal Powell, digital art, 2006.

Victoria PlummerWater Tower, linocut print.

View from our home of one of the water towers nearby.  It was a glorious spring sunset.

Three new drawings on 100% recycled paper

Jan 29, 2010

A blank sheet of paper can be the most intimidating start for an artist.  Sometimes I find it easier to draw on tinted paper, especially when I'm using ink.  I like how I can apply white ink right onto the paper and not have to lay down a base color first.

A couple of months ago I picked up a new drawing pad that I'm really excited about.  It's Bogus Recycled Rough Sketch made by Bee Paper, a local company.  I love that it's 100% recycled post consumer waste and chemical free.  It has the look and feel of craft paper but weightier.  The surface of the paper is ideal for conte crayons, but I've really enjoyed experimenting with pen and ink on the brown paper. 

This week I completed three new drawings.  I like how the recycled paper enhances the stylistic look of the drawings.  I am inspired by the arts of many different regions and cultures, and the undyed paper seems to give the drawings a more indigenous quality.  Below are the latest drawings.  Native Land (the second photo) is currently available in my etsy shop.  (The other two pieces sold yesterday- yeah!)

Winner of art giveaway

Jan 28, 2010

Congratulations Karen- you're the winner of the art giveaway!  I look forward to hearing which art work you select from the Etsy shop.  Thanks to all who participated and gave me feedback on the header design.  The new design will be up within the next couple of weeks.

One more day 'til the art giveaway drawing!

Jan 27, 2010

Here's your friendly reminder to put your name in the pool.  Tomorrow is the drawing for the art giveaway.  All you have to do is comment here.  Even if you don't have an opinion about the header design, just say "hi!"  Winner gets to choose one piece of art (up to $75) from my Etsy shop, and shipping is on me!  I just added three new drawings to the shop yesterday, including this one:

Bird's eye view of city parks

Jan 26, 2010

These aerial photographs of parks were taken by Hosang Park of Seoul.  The images remind me a lot of the kid boardgame, Life.  I can just imagine pushing a little plastic car full of blue and pink people through the manmade thoroughfares.

Although I find the photographs to be amusing, they are also unsettling.  It's the brilliant yin and yang of Park's photographs.  The images are of parks, yet they are void of people.  The structures are appealing yet artificial at the same time. . . the world has become man's playground indeed.

If I had a loom, I'd loom in the morning and I'd loom in the evening

Jan 25, 2010

I took a weaving class when I was in primary school and absolutely loved it.  Since then, I have always had an appreciation for fiber art.  Just yesterday, I discovered the incredible textile works of Danish artist Anette Blaesbjerg Orom.  You have to click on the close-up photos on her website to truly appreciate the craftsmanship and artistry of her designs.  I just love the color combinations and the variety of yarns and threads in each piece.  Very contemporary, yet timeless.

Here are a few examples of her beautiful art.

Oilcloth never looked so good

Jan 24, 2010

Oilcloth is a vinyl material backed with cotton mesh.  It is commonly used as table coverings for outdoor furniture, although the women in my family have found more uses for it indoors. Because oilcloth cleans up rather easily and is available in a variety of patterns, it is wildly popular with moms of young children.  And since it's been around forever (well, this century), most all of us have grown up with it in the home.

Today, there is a growing popularity of retro items like oilcloth.  Whenever I'm in the fabric store, I like to browse through the oilcloth section.  I love the bright colors and the fun patterns, and my mind always races with new project ideas I'd like to tackle but realistically have no time to complete.

So, you can imagine my sheer delight when I found the oilcloth art of New York based artist, Kevin Baker.  He paints right on top of floral motif oilcloth, creating beautiful works of art that intrigue and seduce.  His paintings shower the viewer with layers of dynamic colors and dancing dots and patterns. I'm normally not one to fall for floral designs, but these I'm crazy about!

Fish, acrylic and enamel on oilcloth, 24" x 24", 2006.

Love, acrylic and enamel on oilcloth, 24" x 19", 2008.

Blue Ice, acrylic and enamel on oilcloth, 40" x 40", 2007.

La Fiesta, arcylic and enamel on oilcloth, 24" x 24", 2006.

Totes that showcase art and help the earth

Jan 23, 2010

I won't be able to look at my plain reusable grocery bags the same after finding these artist designed totes- each under $20!

Bird Pattern Tote ($20) by Nick Lu

Geometric Totes ($20 each) by Pawling Print Studio

Recycled Mini Tote- Bird ($16) by Good On Paper Design

White Bag ($11) by Mieke Willems

Organic Tote- Mushrooms ($18) by Nikki McClure

New work, "Girl and the Tree"

Jan 22, 2010

I bought this blank 6" x 6" canvas to wrap an embroidered work around, and it ended up being a little too big.  I prefer working on panels, so this piece sat in the art cupboard for many months.

Patterns and colors are always dancing around in my head, and one day this week an image of a bright, colorful tree just came to me.  I grabbed the little blank canvas, sketched a basic outline, and started painting.

I kept the background white, so that the focus was on the tree.  After I finished painting all the tiny squares,  the tree looked a little lonely to me.  So, I sketched a little girl with a balloon.

Girl and the Tree reminds me of one of my favorite children's books, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.  In my piece, however, the child is the giver, and the tree is the recipient.

Oh, by the way, I'm running an art giveaway; all you have to do is leave me a comment here.  Don't be shy, you could win! 

The wonders of salt

Jan 21, 2010

photo courtesy of The Meadow

Last summer, we toured Oregon's wine country for a day with several other couples.  At one of the vineyards, we stopped for a lunch break and had an Italian inspired picnic.  Our friend Mary- who is the most gifted hostess I know- brought along many goodies, including  a salt block.  She sliced fresh veggies on it, and I was hooked! 

The Meadow is a wonderful little shop in town that specializes in salt, chocolate, and wine.  It's my new favorite place now (thanks to Mary!) to look for gifts for family and friends. With fresh cut flowers by the door and every inch of the space filled with fine edibles, I feel like I'm transported back to France.

From mountains to seas, salt is a natural resource that is gathered by people all around the globe. Recently, I stumbled upon amazing works of art made from sea salt.  The following are installations created by Japanese artist Motoi Yamamoto.

Utsusemi.  Toyama, Japan.  2005.

To Remembrance. Ishikawa, Japan.  2009.

Sakura. Ishikawa, Japan.  2008.

close-up of Sakura installation

Bones, a great subject for value drawings

Jan 20, 2010

My favorite art class to teach is drawing.  I believe that drawing is the foundation of all other art forms.  It's also one of the more difficult art skills to master.  I tell students on the first day of art class that it's like magic.  Drawing is creating an illusion of three-dimensional space on a two-dimensional surface.

To help students see and capture depth in their drawings, I like to do a lot of still life drawings in the classroom.  Drawing a bone, in particular, is a great way to learn how to differentiate light and dark values.  For this activity, I normally prefer using vine charcoal (which is really soft and brittle), but an all graphite pencil (shown below) is a lot cleaner and easier to handle.

I set up the lighting in the room so that there is only one light source shining on the bone.  This creates lovely cast shadows, which are important to include in still life drawings. Since bones are relatively white, it's much easier to capture the variance of values on tinted drawing paper.  For the lightest areas of the drawing, I instruct students to leave blank.  Only at the last stage of the drawing will I pass out a white pencil or charcoal and have students highlight the brightest edges. A couple of other rules of thumb: try not to outline the bone when starting the drawing, and the darkest values should be on the subject itself, not the cast shadow.  

Students are always surprised to find out how difficult it is to draw bones.  I tell them that objects that look simple often times are the harder ones to draw.  The lack of details in color and form push the artist to look for slight variances in other elements, like value.

If you're wondering where to find bones to draw, I actually found the one in the photos at an antique store!  (It cost me $25, but I had to have it.) A natural place to find bones is the desert.  Once I found an intact cow skull in Eastern Oregon that I hauled back to the classroom.

While we're on the topic of cow skulls, here's a beautiful painting of one by Georgia O'Keefe.

Cow's Skull with Calico Roses, 1931.

Another art giveaway, in exchange for your ideas!

Jan 19, 2010

I'm working on creating a new header for the blog and etsy shop, and I need your feedback!  Leave me a comment below on what direction you think I should go with the header design and you could win one of my art works (a $75 value).  I know that all of you out there can contribute something, even if it's a favorite color!  I'm also open to changing "Everything Art and More" if something catchier comes my way. 

Feel free to leave me more than one comment, but for the prize drawing, only one submission will be counted.  Winner will be selected randomly from the list of participants on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 9pm PST. 

I've attached below the past two header designs for the blog, so you can see what the header used to look like the past few months.  The current design is a temporary look until the new design is revealed.

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to your comments!
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