my creative week

Dec 27, 2011

whenever it's a little quiet on the blog, 
it usually means i'm busy working on some creative projects . . .
here's my latest painting, Aura
it's part of my upcoming show at prana next month

i finished this crocheted baby blanket for my nephew in the nick of time
it's just big enough to accompany him in the carseat or a stroller

i found some glass paperweights at a frame shop and 
thought they would look nifty with some of my art
not sure if people use paperweights anymore,
but at least they look nice on a desk

the handful of paperweights were gifted to loved ones

hope everyone had a joy-filled christmas day
the sunrise from our window was glorious

the sunset was beautiful, too

family photo shoot with lisa warninger

Dec 21, 2011

photos by lisa warninger: middle, right and bottom row

Our family had our first family photo shoot just a few weeks ago!  Urban Weeds photographer Lisa Warninger organized a family portrait marathon at The Cleaners in downtown Portland, and we were able to snatch one of the 30 minute sessions.

I have been following Urban Weeds since its start in 2009, so I am pretty familiar with Lisa's photographic style by now.  She captures people as they naturally are, which is what I love about her work.  I also love the sense of place in Lisa's portraiture work, particularly the Portland settings. 

When she's not shooting street photography, Lisa keeps busy shooting for clients like Elle, Chronicle Books, and Wrangler.  The family portrait marathon in November was a one time thing, but Lisa plans to continue her sassy Valentine's Day Mini Shoots.  This year, the mini photo shoots are scheduled for January 28 - 29.  Check her blog in upcoming weeks for more details or feel free to email Lisa at lisawarninger[at]

my week

Dec 18, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like christmas . . .
pulled out the felt tree skirt that i made two years ago
we got our tree [harvested just the day before] from a  christmas tree vendor a few blocks away
did you know that more christmas trees come from oregon than any other state?

the capitol hill holiday market was this weekend
i was a little booth envy after seeing see jill bliss' flowy fabric cutouts!

it was great seeing a lot of familiar faces and meeting new vendors
i think i spent more time shopping than selling
i couldn't resist these lovely ceramic pieces from laura cooke [already gifted as a wedding present]
i also bought an onyx ring from resolute twig  
the silver band was oxidized natually after being sealed in a bag with a hard boiled egg- love it!

right after the holiday market, my husband and i zipped on over to
a sweet wedding in the pioneer oaks church 
the reception was at the cleaners in downtown's ace hotel
the deer and mistletoe place cards were pretty adorable

New work, "Celestial"

Dec 9, 2011

I thought for sure our family could retreat to a quiet, secluded place for the holidays this year.  But that was before I said yes to two upcoming events.  The first is a handmade holiday fair at a local school, Capitol Hill.  I'm actually one of the event organizers, so I've been running around this week passing out flyers and mulling over last minute details.  Crafty Wonderland is this weekend, and some of the participating vendors will be at the Capitol Hill Holiday Market next weekend.  Click here for more information about our little handmade fair.

The second event is my art show at Prana.  For the month of January, I'm the featured artist at Portland's new Prana store.  I'm planning on showcasing a few new originals along with other 2011 works.  My latest painting is Celestial, which is an 18" x 18" mixed media work on wood panel.  

projects i'm still working on

Dec 4, 2011

I love finishing a project as much as starting one.  There's so much satisfaction in knowing that I made something with my hands that can be enjoyed by others.  I also feel a great sense of accomplishment after finishing a project, especially one that takes days or weeks to complete. 

Then there are those half-finished projects that sit at the bottom of my closet for months [sometimes years!] due to a creative hiccup, life's distractions, or diminishing fervor.  Thankfully the closet is small, but it still bothers me to see some of my creative work on a long-term hiatus.

Today, I thought I'd share with you a few of those perennial works in progress.  The montage below shows snapshots of the projects when I first wrote about them on Habit of Art.

I started crocheting a mini blanket last January when I found out I was going to be an aunt again.  I'm nearly done with this blanket (top photo), but I have another blanket to start for the other twin! I'm determined to finish both blankets by Christmas, before the babies outgrow them.  It just wouldn't be Christmas Eve without me madly working on handmade gifts.  

One evening in the Fall of 2010, I had a sudden creative surge.  I grabbed a piece of plywood from the shed and started painting this landscape scene.  The mountains were painted in oils and the background in an ink wash.  After the first stage of painting had cured, I sadly discovered that the plywood had bowed.  I'm assuming from the ink wash.

At times like this, scrapping a work of art seems like the easiest solution (out of sight, out of mind).  But, the teacher in me would not approve at all.  I have fished many works in progress out of the classroom trash can and urged defeated students to embrace problem-solving opportunities.   

After talking with a couple of handy wood craftsmen, I now have a plan of action to fix the warped wood.  I'm going to rewet the front of the painting and then place it face down on the ground with some weight on it.  Once the board dries and straightens out, I'll then attach it to a wood frame. We'll see if this works!

I have a history of taking years to finish quilts.  Then again, that was when I was handquilting blankets.  The quilt shown above, which was started in April 2010, was originally designed to be a queen size duvet cover.  Although I was using a sewing machine, it was still a time-consuming project.  I got about half way through the project and then it sat untouched for over a year.

Fast forward to spring of 2011.  I'm watching two additional cats for a few weeks, and I discover in horror that my basket of fabrics had been used as a cat litter box!  Even if I wanted to try to get the cat urine out of the fabric, I couldn't get past the idea that my face would be snuggling up to it every night. 

So now, the duvet cover will most likely become a twin size duvet cover, thanks to one very misbehaved cat.  

things i'm fond of today

Nov 28, 2011

drifting in the depths, tiel seivl-keevers [brisbane, australia]

paintings by michelle breton [melbourne, australia]

tussle by melissa castrillon [cambridge, england]

ceramic vessels by shino takeda  [brooklyn, ny]

I had this idea of recording my sketchbook via video.  Then I came across this video that artist adriana lozano [buenos aires, argentina] uploaded onto her flickr last week.

Adriana's sketchbook reads like a book.  Did you notice how the drawings continue onto the next page?  This is another project I have been wanting to do but just haven't had the time to work on . . .  one day.

To see other videos of adriana lozano's wonderful work, go here.

my week

thanksgiving day in salem, oregon ::
i learned a new word- spatchcock
my husband says it sounds intrusive
it means to butterfly poultry so that it cooks faster

after four weeks of climbing up and down a ladder or crouching on the floor,
my "tattooing" of the prana store is now done
it was a wonderful experience and i am so thankful to have worked with a company 
that cares about how their products are made and the people involved

i've started including friendship pins with orders:
one with every order thru the end of 2011
just a reminder that my calendar sale ends tomorrow!

check out my latest interview on artists who blog
thanks stephanie!

New! 2012 calendar

Nov 20, 2011

New in my Etsy shop is this 2012 calendar.  The mixed media collage, which was actually created several months ago, was inspired by a trip to Crater Lake.  I love old lodges and cabins, so I created this calendar to have a vintage, rustic-like look.  The months and dates were all handwritten, and the paper is 100% recycled cardstock. 

For the next week and a half, I'm running a special promotion in my Etsy shop.  In celebration of my shop turning two this week, I'm giving away a calendar with orders totaling $30 or more.  To see more photos of the calendar, go here

Almost done

Nov 17, 2011

These are the two floor designs I have been working on in the new Prana store.  In the first pic, you can see the very small paintbrush I have been using to paint the lines. 

I'll be painting during the store's grand opening party Friday night.  If you can't make it to the event, maybe you can stop by in early January for my First Thursday artist reception.  I'm Prana's featured artist for the month of January, so my latest originals will be showcased in the shop.

my creative week

Nov 13, 2011

I managed to find some time this week to finish an 8 x 10 mixed media painting called dreamscape.  When I start a new work, it's rare for me to have an idea of what the finished piece will look like.  My painting process is very organic. I apply one layer after another until all the elements seem to just fit together.  Outside of art, I tend to be a big planner, so it's very freeing to sit at my art desk and not have to plan a composition beforehand. 

One of the comments I receive the most about my art is that it's much more detailed in person than on the computer screen.  It's difficult to capture with a camera the subtle gradations of color and texture in an artwork.  In dreamscape, the background may initially look like it's one flat color.  But, at closer observation, the wavy pattern that has been scratched into the wood panel reveals underlayers of color. 

Negative space isn't usually a dominant feature in my work.  But, in this particular piece, the dark empty space between the mountain and clouds creates balance and adds an element of mystery.

dreamscape is currently available in my Etsy shop here.  

I'm helping plan an art fair and fundraiser next month at my daughter's school.  It's a two day event where Portland shoppers can purchase art and handmade gifts by local artists and makers.  My two girls will be sharing a booth with me.  I'll be selling my art, and they will be selling their beaded jewelry.  They want to buy some chickens for families in developing countries, so this is their way of raising money. 

The girls will also be selling some wearable friendship pins.  I helped them figure out how to get the beads on the other side of the safety pin so that it can fasten to clothes or bags.  I have to say that the friendship pins are pretty cute, and I feel like I'm in middle school again!

In the spirit of holiday cheer, I'm including one of these little guys with every order from my Etsy shop this month and next. 

Sketches for a floor design.

This upcoming week, I'm finishing my art installation at Prana's new Portland store.  I have three designs done and one floor design to go.  My back already feels a little contorted from standing on a ladder for hours or being hunched over on the floor.  [I can't imagine what Michelangelo felt like painting the Sistine Chapel- which took four years!]

I have really enjoyed seeing the new retail space come together, and it has brought back many memories of opening my own store.  There are days when I really miss it, and sometimes I do think about opening another art-focused shop. . .  but not anytime soon. 

I'll post photos of the new Prana store and my designs later this week.  The grand opening party is set for this Friday from 6 - 9p.   Enjoy some drinks and snacks while watching me paint on the floor.  The design will look something like the sketch on the right. 

my week

Nov 6, 2011

i have been buying art supplies at art media, a local art store in downtown Portland,  
since i was a freshman in high school [that's 25 years!]
this was my bus stop

a couple of weeks ago, art media became blick art
i visited the "new" store today
pretty much the same stuff . . .  it just feels different
nostalgia is already kicking in

i do love fall in portland

 a halloween highlight: 
severed finger cookies my neighbor made

my latest ebay find:
unworn urban outfitters oxfords,
fairly made in guatamala

i have begun "tattooing" the inside of the new prana store, which opens this wednesday
you can see me at work the next few days and
at the grand opening event,  friday, november 18


Idyllic living in Sauvie Island

Oct 29, 2011

My daughter's class took a field trip to Sauvie Island yesterday, and I was one of the chaperones.  Located just ten miles out of town, Sauvie Island is a wildlife and agricultural haven.  The u-pick farms are a particularly popular destination for locals during the summer and fall months. 

The school bus dropped us off at the historic Bybee Howell house.  Built in 1856, the restored house is now owned by the Oregon Historical Society.   As I peered through the windows, I was saddened to see that the house sat unfurnished and unoccupied.  It's no longer open to the public, but folks can still walk around the grounds and pick fruit (free of charge) from the small orchard in the back.

Standing on the back porch of the house and looking out, I imagined that living on Sauvie Island a century ago wasn't all too different from what it's like today-  kids chasing each other between trees, flocks of canada geese flying overhead, and the sound of the autumn leaves rustling in the wind.  For just a moment, I basked in the timelessness.

I love living in the city, but I also love to retreat to the country.  Time is measured by the digital world in one place and by seasons in the other.  Since I'm not ready to give up my urban lifestyle quite yet, I am thankful to have a place like Sauvie Island just a short drive away. 

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