Art Show at Tilde

Jun 30, 2011

Tomorrow is the opening of my show at Tilde, and you are all invited to join me at the artist reception from 6 - 9p.  Seeing that a small number of you actually live in Portland, I've created this fun montage of the 19 new originals in the show.

Larger images can be seen here.

The good news is that you don't need to live in Portland to buy one of the pieces.  You can buy the art directly from Tilde.  The works, priced from $55 - $225, are already available for purchase online here

Although I don't like playing favorites, I will admit that I am most attached to oregon beauty (bottom row, second to the right).  The mountain in the painting is Mt. Hood, which is a short drive from Portland.  Locals can attest that it is one of the most glorious sights on any clear and sunny day. 

Along with my mixed media paintings, two of my embroidered works will be on display.  I created these original works last Fall but haven't shown both works together until now.  Although they are different from my landscape paintings, the two pieces go well with the mid-century decor in Tilde. 

The show goes through the end of July, but works are taken down once sold.  So if you were planning on coming by, I wouldn't wait 'til the last day to look at the collection.  And while you're in the Sellwood neighborhood, you should definitely plan on getting one of these.

It's a steamed barbeque pork bun from Jade, which is right across the street from Tilde.  So delicious and just $3.  Gotta love the cheap eats in Portland! 

Topography Love

Jun 29, 2011

I've always had a thing for topographical maps, so it comes as no surprise that I'm digging these creative works.
Anthony Roberto
Aili Schmeltz
Nicola Searle
Mark Alsweiler

My Week

Jun 26, 2011

the 100 mile stretch between Portland and Eugene is called the Willamette Valley
it's some of the most fertile land in the country

roses are in full bloom
this beauty is called abraham darby

a friend's wedding in picturesque Pleasant Hill, Oregon

finished the final pieces for the art show at Tilde which runs from July 1 - 31

My art on a TV show!

Jun 24, 2011

Spirit, limited-edition print

Back in March I was contacted by a set decorator for The Nine Lives of Chloe King.  She purchased some of my prints for the show, which premiered last week on abcfamily.  In the beginning of this week's episode, I caught sight of three of my prints hanging in Chloe King's home.  It was just a blip, but still so fun to see.  

Bloom and Cascade prints [nine lives of chloe king images courtesy of abcfamily]

Journals of love

Jun 23, 2011

As a baby shower gift for the birth of our first daughter, we were given a journal by a friend.  I was never much of a diary keeper, but I loved the idea of recording our daughter's life using the written word.  Each journal entry is in the form of a letter, and we write about two entries a year.  We talk about how she's growing and make sure to mention any memorable moments that had occurred.  Often times, I'll add a picture or some other paper keepsake to go along with our stories. 

When our second daughter was born, we bought a journal for her and began filling it with letters of love and memories.  Here's a snippet from 2005, when she was 2 1/2 years old.
Every morning you are the first to rise.  It's routine now for you to yell for us from your bed.  Even though Dad and I would love to sleep in just a few minutes longer, I never tire of hearing your feet go pitter-patter down the hallway and into the bed.  You're a great snuggler, and my heart seems to always melt whenever you say, "I missed you, Mom."
In the same entry, I describe the terrifying moment of when a coin got stuck in my daughter's throat.  And that very coin is in the journal!   

The girls discovered the journals just a couple of years ago.  Although they've read every entry to date, and even added a few of their own, my plan is to continue recording their childhood until they graduate from high school. 

Journals are truly a wonderful gift.  I have given them to new parents as well as newly married couples. With the birth of my niece and nephew last week, I'm once again on the hunt for two beautiful journals.

If you have a special way of organizing keepsakes and recording memories, I'd love to hear your ideas!

Dazzling chandeliers made from discarded objects

Jun 21, 2011

Drop, 1800 plastic bottles, 2007.

According to British designer Stuart Haygarth, one man's trash is another man's treasure.  He collects thousands of discarded objects, mainly plastic items, and creates stunning chandeliers out of the found materials.   Drop (shown above) is a lighting structure made from the bases of 1800 plastic water bottles.  The pieces were tumbled in a cement mixer to give the plastic a frosted glass effect.

His lighting designs are as thought-provoking as they are beautiful.  Tide (shown below) is constructed with plastic debris and other manmade materials washed ashore along the Kent coastline.  Haygarth shaped the collected items into a moon-like structure, since the moon creates tides that wash up the discarded objects onto the shore. 

Tide, manmade objects washed ashore, 2004.

Spectacle, plastic framed spectacles, 2006.

Icon Experiment: Stuart Haygarth from Penelope Shaw on Vimeo.

Tail Light, vehicle light lenses, 2007.  [images courtesy of]

In addition to his creative lighting designs, Haygarth uses reclaimed objects in installations.  Here is a video of the 2010 installation Framed in the Victoria and Albert Museum (London).   Framed is comprised of hundreds of painted picture frame off-cuts.

FRAMED Stuart Haygarth/John Jones installation at the V&A from Stuart York on Vimeo.

my week

Jun 18, 2011

two miracles- my nephew and niece
born 9 weeks early at 2 lbs. 6 oz and 2 lbs. 14 oz. 
they are so precious //  these photos were taken when they were just hours old
my brother is soothing the babies with his fatherly touch

 since moving into our 1924 home six years ago, i've been wanting to paint it black
it should make the color of the greenery around the home pop!
. . .  now if only it would stop raining

my boots are put away for the summer
just bought these cute sandals on Etsy for $16

/// new work ///
top three pieces are going to Tilde
[a number of my original works will be available for purchase here starting July 1]

and my latest addition to my Etsy shop,

Young Picassos all around us

Jun 16, 2011

Marla Olmstead.  Painting on the right: Dory, 36 x 48 inches, painted at age 5 (2005).  [image sources: map,]

Kids love art.  Walk into any preschool class, and you'll find children coloring, making a collage, or fingerpainting.  When I was an elementary art specialist for a year in the public school district, I had the privilege of teaching the fundamentals of art to primary students.  Even when there was only copy paper and #2 yellow pencils available at a school, children were excited to learn something new with art.

The younger kids, in particular, were much more uninhibited about diving into an art project. They didn't worry about making "mistakes," so their works were more spontaneous.  It's this innocent, child-like approach that many famous artists have strived for in their professional career.

Akiane Kramarik, Planted Eyes, 36 x 48 in., painted at age 8 (2003). [image source:]

Art is a learned skill, but some children have artistic abilities that come naturally. The three young artists whose works are showcased here are undoubtedly all very gifted children.  Akiane Kramarik was only eight years-old when she painted this large portrait of an African woman.  It was her first oil painting, and she finished it within 15 hours, which includes the preliminary drawing.

In the past couple of weeks, 4 year-old Aelita Andre from Australia has been spotlighted in the media. Her large scale works are currently showing in a Manhattan gallery and selling for tens of thousands of dollars.   

Aelita Andre, age 4, Autumn, 30 x 36 in. [image source:

These three talented girls come from different backgrounds and places, yet there is one common denominator that plays a significant role in the girls' artistic pursuits and success.  They all have parents who support and foster their aptitude for painting.  Four year-old Aelita even has her own art studio (bigger than mine!).

Below is a short documentary of Aelita painting in her studio.  It is quite fascinating to watch the creative process of such a young girl, especially when she is given so much freedom with art supplies. In the ten years that I taught art,  I've worked with a number of truly gifted kids.   And it makes me wonder how many more young Picassos we would run across if every young child who has a propensity for the arts was given ample supplies, time, space, and parental support.  

New work

Jun 13, 2011

Tomorrow is the last day of school, so it means a change in routine.  I relish my alone creative time during the day, but I am looking forward to spending the summer days with the girls.  We are planning a few short getaways to some favorite Oregon spots, Crater Lake included.  So I'll be posting more scenic photos the next couple of months. 

This is my last week to finish original works for my July show at Portland's Tilde.  I recently finished the four pieces above and have a few more to go.  It is kinda surprising to see how different the works are from one another, but I am really happy with how each one turned out.  You can see my latest wood panel paintings at Tilde starting July 1.  There is an artist reception on Friday, July 1st from 6 - 9p.  I hope to see some of you there!

. . . for those who live outside of Portland, I am still uploading new pieces into my Etsy shop each week.  White stag in the woods is my newest addition.  If you'd like to get the most recent product updates in my Etsy shop, you can subscribe to the shop's feed.  Just scroll to the bottom of the sidebar here and click on "subscribe to feed."

A cheap and eco-friendly alternative to a headboard

Jun 10, 2011

Since moving into our lovely bungalow home with a tiny master bedroom, we’ve been sleeping with our mattress on the floor.  I don’t mind being so low to the ground, but it does pose some decorating issues above the bed. 

Several months ago, I painted the walls by the bed a kelly green.  I love the pop of color, but the blank space above the bed was just as noticeable as before.  I went back and forth on ideas, from floating shelves to decals to oversized photographs.  I wanted to create more warmth and texture in the room, so I finally decided on mounting salvaged wood onto the wall. 

We ended up getting a stack of used wood boards at The Rebuilding Center in north Portland, and it only cost us $16 (which is about $1 apiece)!  On the back of one of the boards, I caught sight of this tree logo that was stamped by a local lumber company.

The timber industry is huge in Oregon, so I’m sure most of the wood we picked up was milled nearby. 

After sanding the wood boards with an electric sander, we arranged them aesthetically on our back patio.  Keep in mind that there might be lead paint on salvaged wood, so you need to take precautionary steps when sanding. 

There was enough wood to create a backdrop a little larger than 5’ x 5’.  We cut the boards at an even length and then nailed them to the wall from the ceiling down.  

After wiping the wood clean with a damp cloth, we applied an eco-friendly finish [AFM Safecoat Polyureseal] as a protective coat.  It dries quickly, and on the same day, I was able to hang my estate sale find of a beautiful coastal scene.  (The little white triangles were my addition.) I also bought a neat retro wall lamp on Etsy that goes perfectly in the mix. 

The overall project took about half a day of work, and the total cost (which includes the wood, poster and lamp) came in at under $50.  I'm quite pleased with how it turned out, and it really is an easy, affordable, and eco-friendly project that any diy enthusiast can tackle.  

Dear blank

Jun 8, 2011

[image source: sapling press]

Thanks to Sapling Press and Jared Wunsch of for the tearful laughs.  The eco-friendly letterpress cards are available for purchase here

Artists I like: Laura Carlin

Jun 7, 2011

Laura Carlin is an illustrator from London whose works have been featured in numerous publications.  I came across her blog a few days ago and was taken aback by her ceramic work, particularly her painted bowls.  The bowls are a wonderful representation of her illustrative work in 3-D form.  The ones with flora and fauna are quite charming.

My favorite one is the one below.  There is a tribal feel to it that just draws me in.

A couple more fantastic designs . . .

[image source:]

It looks like these bowls go fast, so if you're interested in snatching one for yourself, you'll need to get on her mailing list here.  To view Laura's illustrative works, click here

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