Turning forty

Mar 29, 2012

I'm officially four decades old today.  According to my daughters, I've graduated from being old to really old.  I don't usually give much thought to aging, but this birthday has been a little different.  After all, I can remember my mother at this age, and I swear the gray hairs and wrinkles are multiplying at an accelerated rate this week.

It's also strange to think that I've outlived famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Vincent Van Gogh, Bruce Lee, Mozart, and Martin Luther King.  Their lives are forever immortalized in museums, film, and books.  Not that I'm striving to be famous, but it does make me think about my own legacy.  What does the last 20 years have to say about me, and what do I want the next 20 years to look like?

As I turn forty, I realize my life is shifting gears from chasing to slowing down- which is a very good thing.  I still have big dreams, but more than ever, I feel content with where I'm at.  Thus, no big party or hoopla for my birthday.  Just a quiet day at home . . . and maybe a couple of salted caramels to celebrate. 

spring break in Oregon

Mar 28, 2012

550 miles and 48 hours later . . .

headed west // on our way to whale watch at the oregon coast
short sands beach, aka smugglers cove
tillamook cheese factory
headed east // the cascade mountains
mt washington
suttle lake

artists i like: bryce wymer

Mar 26, 2012

I recently came across the works of Brooklyn-based artist Bryce Wymer.  I'm particularly fond of his hand illustrations.  The ceramic pieces are a collaboration with another Brooklyn artist, Farrah Sit

The grasp vase is fantastic!

To see more of Wymer's wonderful art, go to his shop here and his blog here.  He also has a series of time lapse videos you need to check out.  Here's one of his latest videos.

Making a blanket from Pendelton scraps

Mar 20, 2012

Some folks have a weakness to chocolate, little bunnies, or Johnny Depp.  Mine is Pendleton fabric.  I stopped by the Pendleton fabric store on Friday and couldn't resist buying beautiful scraps of wool from their $3 a pound bins.  The blanket scraps weighed in at a little over 2 pounds, which was a steal.  In addition to the fabric, I picked up some white wool tape to join the fabric pieces together.  

When I got home, I arranged the fabric pieces on the floor and then trimmed the frayed edges. 

I cut the wool tape in half lengthwise and started sewing the tape onto the edges of the remnants.  Once I was done with one seam, I flipped the blanket over and repeated this step.

[One of the friendly Pendleton store employees, who had made a blanket from remnants, recommended using a zigzag stitch to join the fabric edges together before laying down the wool tape.  Of course, the zigzag function quit working on my machine at the start of the project, so I skipped this step.]  

After all the strips were sewn together, I finished the blanket with wool tape folded over the outside edge.

To personalize the blanket, I embroidered the year on one side and our family name on the other.  Since it's a nice heavy wool,  it'll make the perfect blanket to wrap up in around a camp bonfire.  I do love those cool summer nights in Oregon. 

Over the weekend, I also found this fantastic Pendleton weekender bag at an estate sale for $15.  The gods must be happy with me.

new work: In the deep dark woods

Mar 19, 2012

I love a good story.  Some of the best stories take place in the forest, where adventure and mystery meet beauty and enchantment.  We are all familiar with the classic tales of runaway princesses, heroic bandits, and grandma-eating wolves in the woods.

After a stint of painting mountains, I was inspired to create a woodland scene.  I centered the work around a pond in the middle of a grove.  Initially, I was going to title the work Wishing Well, but as the piece developed, In the deep dark woods seemed more fitting.  I wanted the painting to read like a story and to conjure up a childlike response of curiosity, marvel, and fear. 

Typical of my landscape paintings, the creative process involved a lot of layering of colors and textures.  I actually did quite a bit of carving into the wood panel, most noticeably with the trees and the triangles in the right hand corner.

Recently, I have been using maple wood panels in lieu of birch panels.  I like the feel of the paint on the maple hardwood, which has a smoother surface.  I would love to find a local company that makes maple panels.  I currently use maple panels made by Art Boards [Brooklyn, NY].    

After finishing the new painting, I tackled a blanket project with scraps bought at the Pendleton fabric store.  Check back tomorrow to see the finished product!

my week

Mar 13, 2012

It snowed overnight in Portland.  I guess Punxsutawney Phil was right after all. 

Another outing with my daughter's third grade class.  We took public transit to the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall in downtown Portland.  You really can't miss the 65 ft sign out front with over 6000 lights.  The 1928 concert hall is home to the Oregon Symphony. On Friday, the symphony performed a concert for students in the Portland area.  These special concerts have been a longstanding tradition for the Oregon Symphony.  I remember going to them as a young school girl! 

I went to see renown makeup artist Bobbi Brown speak at my alma mater.  She shared her story and gave some practical tips to entrepreneurs starting out.  About 95 percent of the audience were women.  I guess that shouldn't surprise me, especially since there were free makeup samples.  

During the Q and A session, Bobbi talked about persistence.  She mentioned working for a company for free if that means getting your foot in the door.  I wholeheartedly agree with this, and this is actually how I got my teaching job.  I volunteered at the neighborhood high school, and after a few weeks, I had an interview with the principal. 

Our new pet.  He's a beauty.  My eight year-old named him Leonardo DiCaprio. 

Here's a sneak peek of my current piece about half-way finished.  Mountains are a favorite subject of mine, but I've been wanting a change of scenery.  So a night forest scene it is. 

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Just in case you didn't catch the little promo box in the sidebar, I am running an art print sale in my Etsy shop.  Buy two prints and get a third free.  [Sale ends this Thursday.] For more details, go here

things i'm fond of today

Mar 8, 2012

latest work by street artist tellas

left: beautiful piece on flickr by common elementsright: graduation project by kirstie van noort, a student at design academy in eindhoven, netherlands
aunt by inca pan
this put a smile on my face today.  photo by artist sabine timm.

new work and new series

Mar 5, 2012

New painting in my Etsy shop, Harvest Moon.
Harvest Moon in progress.

Like birthing a child, some works of art can be a lot more laborious and complicated than others.  My latest piece, Harvest Moon, was one of these works.  It was as if I was working in slow motion the entire time; everything just seemed to take twice as long.  Like any other work, I had to get over that hump, but that marker was pushed much further into the creative process of this painting.   The most difficult section of this work was, surprisingly, the water.  I had initially painted some natural ripples in the water.  Ultimately, I didn't like how it looked with the green zigzag, so I painted over the waves. 

The painting came out a little more linear than expected, but I am very happy with the finished piece.  I like that it has a retro Atari vibe to it.  Pong anyone?

close-up of finished painting

And I normally keep the sides of my wood panels natural, but I went for a darker look with this piece.  Think wood paneling on an 80's station wagon.  Yes.

After a great experience [albeit challenging] with the 30 works in 30 days project, I wanted to start another series.  You may remember the box of vintage note cards I scored at an estate sale last year.  Some of them are handwritten and others typed, but all of them have something to do with plants.

I like working with vintage and found objects.  There's already a story there that I've now become a part of.  And I love the idea of making treasures out of ordinary or expendable objects.    

I don't have a timeline or a number of completed pieces in mind for the vintage note card art series.  I figured I would get to at least 20 and see how I feel.  I priced the pieces at $25, which I think is fairly reasonable for small, original works of art.  Overall, a series like this is more work than one large painting, but if it means the start of a one-of-a-kind art collection for a buyer, it is well worth it to me.

My week

Mar 3, 2012

Painted these for my daughter who turned 12 this week.  On the day of her birthday, my husband and I chaperoned a class field trip to OMSI [Oregon Museum of Science and Industry] where the featured exhibit is Body Worlds.  My group was ready to move on after 20 minutes, which speaks more to the attention span of adolescents than the exhibition.

My dear friends brought back for me some anchovy stuffed olives from Spain.  I'm already on my second can today. 

I shipped off some of my original works and prints to a boutique in Beacon, New York called Blackbird Attic.  I'm the featured artist at the shop from March 10 - April 13.  Wish I could follow my works to New York, but that'll have to wait for another time. 

Here are two new originals that will be part of the show:

night journey and mountain glow, 2012.

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