my week

Jan 30, 2012

the view one foggy morning

The weather in Portland the last couple of weeks has been kinda crazy.  High winds, snow, sunny and clear, fog, and, of course, rain . . . and lots of it.  You know it's bad when water is coming up through the cracks of your basement floor.  Just when we had the flooding under control, we discovered a drip from the kitchen ceiling.  It's amazing how unwanted water in the home can take you over the edge.

Looking back a year ago in this post, it was the same scenario.


The toy of choice in our household is Playmobil.  And, for the last few days, it has looked like a Playmobil convention in our home.  I have found little figurines on our dining room table, on our mantle, lined up in front of our media cabinet, even in a shoe storage rack.  My tolerance for toys strewn in high traffic areas is usually about two days, or until an adult steps on a pointy plastic part - barefoot, of course.  Sadly, I'm realizing more and more that all this playing with Playmobil isn't going to last for very much longer.  Soon, the girls will want to move onto high tech toys, and make-believe land will become a thing of the past. Sigh.


This pair of Opening Ceremony oxfords has been hiding out in my closet for the winter.  I bought the suede lattice shoes on ebay a few months ago, just when the rainy season began.  It's still raining, but I decided to bust them out for a day.  



I'm entering my last week of 30 works in 30 days.  And I'm learning that when a strict production schedule is involved, there is little time for self-critique.  You have to take more risks with what you put out there.  On several days, I have been hesitant to post a new piece, because I felt that it was maybe too different from the landscapes I usually paint, like Creation (above, middle).  A few of these works have sold, so that's a great affirmation that I just need to trust my instincts more as an artist. 

To see what's currently available in my Etsy shop, go here.  Three of my works [Emerald Mountains, Lone Peak, and Twilight] are going to The Feather's Edge Finery in Bend, Oregon.  I first wrote about this wonderful little shop here



things i'm fond of today

Jan 26, 2012

The Obliteration Room.  Installation by Yuki Nakano.  Visitors help "obliterate" a white room by adhering colored dots on walls and furniture.  The top photo was taken on day one.  The bottom photo is seven weeks later.  The Obliteration Room is currently at the Gallery of Modern Art in Queensland, Australia. 


Furniture by Los Angeles-based designer Tanya Aguiniga.  Shown are Felt Chairs, Birch Bench, and Zinacantan (steel and wool yarn).



Cendrine Rovini.  I've been following Cendrine's art for awhile now.  This particular piece, La r├ęcolte d'oraisons, is one I'm particularly fond of.    It's part of her current solo exhibition "Liquid Vermeil" at the Da-End Gallery in Paris.  Cendrine talks about her latest works in this video.


Bags and slippers (linen and leather) by Tarco Nakazato.  I love the color combinations and graphic elements.



Cal Lane.  Lane describes her art as "pullling together industrial and domestic life." Above are two of my favorite works of hers: Plasma cut steel wheelbarrow (2007) and Dirt Lace installation at Purchase Collage, New York (2004).
  

new print: it was just a dream

Jan 25, 2012



I tend to have very vivid dreams.  Sometimes I'll spend the first waking moments recounting the stirring details of my dreams to my husband, who, in turn, does a remarkable job pretending to be interested.

My dreams play out like a chase sequence in Bourne Identity or an elaborate storyline from an epic film.  And then there's the perpetual teacher's nightmare- standing in front of a classroom without a lesson plan.  Not sure why I still have this dream seeing that I left teaching many years ago. 

Sometimes the most evocative moment happens before the REM cycle.  While falling asleep and with my eyes closed, there are times when I can see an electrifying display of colors.  The colors are bright and captivating, and before I can think too much about it, I am fast asleep.  Yesterday, I was reminded of this nocturnal chromatic phenomenon when I started working on my latest print design, It was just a dream

I find beautiful dreams are the hardest to remember, or, at least, retain.  With my new work I wanted to capture just a split moment of tranquility and bliss found in a beautiful dream.

To create the soft, blurred effects of this piece, I used pastels.  I haven't used pastels (particularly oil pastels) as much as I would have liked to the past year, because I've been focusing on acrylics.  If you've been following my 30 works in 30 days project, you may have noticed that I like to work with a variety of art materials.  I'm realizing from this personal endeavor that I am ready to explore further the use of different mediums, like pastels, in my art.

This week: not eating paint chips yet

Jan 23, 2012


I can see how artists can go mad working on their art day and night for long stretches of time.  At one point this week, my husband said to me, you really need to get out of the house.  That was code for, when did you take a shower last?

Yup, it's easy to neglect even basic hygiene while hyper focused on some kind of intense cerebral output.  Just think of Einstein.  He came up with the theory of general relativity, but I don't think he brushed his hair for decades. 

Thankfully, my fanatical art run is only for 30 days.  Then I'll be back to my old self, which is still pretty reclusive, but a little bit more in touch with the real world. . . and with brushed hair. 

//// To see the availability of any of the works shown above, just visit my Etsy shop here

more sites to add to your blogroll

Jan 19, 2012

via Jill Bliss
Cabin Porn.  It's basically crack for cabin addicts like me.  Thanks, Jill, for getting me hooked.

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via minieco

Handmade Ryan Gosling.  If you're crafty and taken, then both of you will get a good laugh out of this tumblr.  This post in particular hit home . . . um, sorry again, honey, for leaving that pin in the sofa cushion!

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Annekata.  After a five month hiatus, Kathrin is back with more creative and thought-provoking posts.  Truly one of my very favorite blogs.

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In the Make.  Studio visits are up there with cabin porn.  Thankfully I can get my fix every Monday when photographer Klea McKenna and writer Nikki Grattan post their latest interview with a San Francisco-based artist.

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Things Organized Neatly.  Not sure why I like household objects neatly arranged in rows, but I do.  It actually is very pleasing.  Too bad my desk doesn't look anything like this.  (Thanks to reader Falco for the tip!) 


30 works in 30 days

Jan 16, 2012

Zenith, a new mixed media painting on maple wood panel
My friends think I'm crazy.  I'm calling it a test in self-discipline.  Since January 7, I've been creating a new original work of art every day for my Etsy shop.  Today marks Day 10 of the challenge. 

I've been focusing on smaller, affordable pieces of art, which has been refreshing after a stint of working on larger wood panel paintings.  Working small allows me to experiment more with different ideas and materials, like the mini canvas panels and watercolor markers purchased a couple of months ago.  

I also found a line of maple wood panels out of New York that I'm trying out.  Due to the closing of a Portland art store in October, I lost my local source of smaller, uncradled wood panels.  The maple wood panels are quite a bit pricier (nearly double), but the material is nicer and the panels come with slots in the back for easy hanging.  

New pieces that have sold.
The 30 day project has made me sit at my art desk every day, which is one of my favorite places to be.  The challenge comes in finding enough time in the day to finish a work of art [that I like!], take pictures of it while there's decent light, and then upload it into my Etsy shop.  The schedule this past weekend was a little hairy, but I managed to get it all done.  

There is no master list or inspiration board to work from.  When I sit down at my desk, I decide at that point which substrate to use, and then I go from there.  I'm actually a little surprised that my works don't look more alike than they do.  Maybe a mini-series of art will surface in the second half of the project. 

twilight, 10 x 10 in. mixed media painting
Five pieces have sold so far, which is so encouraging.  This month, I'm trying to create a number of original works of art that are truly affordable for anyone.  I love the idea that a person can have in their home a one-of-kind art work for $40.  I realize that I may be underpricing my art, considering the time and detail I put into the smaller works.  But it brings me joy to know that people who love my art can afford to own an original.  And just so you know, I pack each one of the little works of art with as much love and care as I do the larger pieces. 

Twilight (above) and the works below are currently available.  You can keep checking back every day for new originals in my Etsy shop, or you can subscribe to the shop's feed here.  

I now know one Dutch word, woonwinkel

Jan 10, 2012


Woonwinkel (say that fast three times) means home shop in Dutch, and it's also the name of a local home store in downtown Portland.  Opening just eight months ago, Woonwinkel has joined the ranks of hip businesses (Ace Hotel, Frances May, and Canoe) in the West End neighborhood. Not to mention that it's across the street from the food carts!  Bubble tea and modern, minimal home design? Sounds like heaven to me. 


One of the first things I noticed in the bright and spacious shop was this tile mosaic of an owl on the floor.  It was discovered after the flooring was pulled up during the renovation.  An Owl Pharmacy had once occupied the space in the historic Pittock Building, which explains the symbols on the mortar bowl.  What a find!


The most fascinating piece in the shop was this collaborative work between Brooklyn designers Chen Chen and Kai Tsien Williams.  In the left photo, you can see what looks like a hodgepodge of everyday objects wrapped in a giant piece of pink taffy.  The found objects are actually bound in a mixture of epoxy, resin, and wax.  And then cross sections are cut to create these unique and stunning coasters.  Whoa.


Woonwinkel is a well-curated shop showcasing beautiful and clever designs by independent designers from Europe and the local region.  Lucky for all you who live outside of Portland, an online shop is in the works.  Now how do you say I want it all in Dutch?

my week

Jan 7, 2012

The theme this week was, appropriately so, new things.  New hobby, new food, new show, and new project.


I got a gift card to Powell's Books for Christmas- actually it was more like I "stole" it from my father-in-law in our family gift exchange.  Powell's is an enormous new and used bookstore in downtown Portland, and it's a must stop for any tourist wanting to get a good dose of Portland culture.  I can literally spend hours in this place, and the beautiful thing is, so can the rest of my family.

Last week, my husband and I had a free night without kiddos, so we headed to Powell's.  I only made it about 10 feet in when a book caught my eye.  It's called Tart and Sweet:101 Canning and Pickling Recipes for the Modern Kitchen.  The title alone made my mouth water!

I've been wanting to learn how to put up food, and this book walks you through all the basics.  I'm also all about unique combinations of flavors in the kitchen, and I was enticed by the recipes in Tart and Sweet.  Here's what I made this week: Candied Kumquats with Cinnamon and Star Anise, Lemon Herb Pickled Garlic, Southeast Asian Carrot Daikon Pickles, Wasabi Green Beans, and Preserved Lemons.


I like exotic foods, but there are times when I just want a good cheeseburger.  Around the corner from Powell's is locally owned Little Big Burger.  Picture a modern and minimalist fast food burger joint, and that is Little Big Burger.  I ordered my hamburger with chevre cheese, and it did not disappoint.  In fact, it was so good, my husband and I came back a few days later with our girls.  Other nice surprises included the spicy house ketchup and the bold and graphic art of Damien Gilley blanketing one wall of the restaurant. 


Thursday night was my artist reception at Prana.  After a very busy season of work, it was so nice to catch up with friends.

Since my Etsy shop now looks a little bare without these paintings, I decided to take on a new project.  I'm going to commit to creating and uploading one new original work of art into my Etsy shop every day for the next 30 days.  Prices will vary from one work to the next, but most will be in the $30 - $75 range.  Again, these are all one-of-kind pieces that I will create in upcoming weeks.  I just completed the first one last night.  It's titled morning mist.


On this blog, I will show a recap of new works once a week.  If you want to get a daily update in your reader, you can subscribe to my Etsy shop's RSS feed here

my phone talks to me!

Jan 4, 2012

I like gadgets even more than my husband does.  I was bummed in middle school when I couldn't get into Shop class, and I was always a tad envious of A.V. kids getting to wind film onto a reel.  I did take Home Economics, however, and I learned how to make a pencil pouch with a sewing machine. 


Two weeks ago, my husband surprised me with a new gadget- the iphone 4s.  I have been secretly eyeing it since it came out in October, but I was trying to be practical and show a little self-restraint.  Of course, once I had the phone in my hand, all that went out the door.

The coolest function of the phone is Siri, the voice activated application that helps you send messages, make phone calls, and set reminders.  Definitely a handy tool when running errands.  The newer iphone also allows me to process credit card transactions using the Square app.  The little reader just plugs in at the top and you just slide the card through.  Perfect for art events!


Seeing that I needed a new case for the phone,  I ended up creating my own design with Uncommon.  It's as simple as downloading an image and reconfiguring the design in a template.  I came up with four designs.  


An Uncommon case is where art meets function.  I received my personalized crater case last week, and I am really pleased with how it turned out, particularly with the color matching. I will say that the shiny plastic seems to scratch easily and a white trim option would be a nice addition.  But these minor details won't keep me from placing another order in the future.  

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I want to remind those in the Portland area of my artist reception at Prana this Thursday night.  My latest paintings will be on display.  Hope to see you there!


a new beginning

Jan 2, 2012

Caldera, mixed media, 18 x 18 inches, 2012

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.
A Tale of Two Cities, Charles Dickens

Originally penned to describe pre-French Revolutionary times, Dickens' words are poignant today.  Just browse the daily headlines to find stirring stories depicting our precarious times. Thanks to fiber optics, within moments I can go from complete elation to utter disgust and hopelessness.

Sometimes, the insanities of this world are too much for me to handle, and I feel an overwhelming sense of despair and sadness.  I don't lament very often for my own hurt, but my heart weeps for the world every day.

I hold my girls tightly and look to my husband for reassurance.  But, often times, this isn't enough.  So I pray, and I paint in silence. 

Painting has become a time for me to connect with God, and I turn to Him for inspiration, peace, and purpose.  Like the majestic mountains and vast seas around me, God is my constant.  And knowing this is what grounds me.
    A voice says, “Cry!”
        And I said, “What shall I cry?”
    All flesh is grass,
        and all its beauty is like the flower of the field.
    The grass withers, the flower fades
        when the breath of the LORD blows on it;
        surely the people are grass.
    The grass withers, the flower fades,
        but the word of our God will stand forever.
                                                                                                 - Isaiah 40:6-8

People have described my art as calm, mysterious, and bold, and these are all qualities I would use to describe God.  Recently, I had a revelation about my art.  My landscapes are not just pictures of scenic mountains and waters- they are a portrait of God's character.

A new year is beginning, and, frankly, I expect the headlines of 2012 to look no different than the years before.  This can be a defeating thought if it weren't for my faith in a Creator.  This year, in quiet moments of creating, my hope is that God will continue to transform my heart and use my art to impact those around me.

I'm not one to make new year's resolutions, but if I were to choose one for the blog, it would be for more transparency.  It's fun to look at pretty things, but art is definitely more than just aesthetics.  Often times the creative process is a time of personal and spiritual reflection.  Even as I write this, there is a tinge of discomfort at the thought of being more transparent, but I recognize the value of openness and genuineness in an avatar driven virtual reality that we call the internet.

Thanks to all who have supported my creative journey the past couple of years. Your steady readership and comments have been a huge source of encouragement!  I enjoy meeting followers of this blog, so if you have yet to comment, feel free to just say hello from wherever you are : ) 

Many blessings to you and yours in the upcoming year,

Cathy


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