i heart portland

Sep 25, 2012

Downtown Portland is just a five minute drive from our home.  So is this lush forest . . .

Tryon Creek State Park is a sanctuary in southwest Portland with 14 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.  We pass the park on a daily basis, so we often have the good fortune to see wildlife while running errands.  The most recent sighting was a doe and two fawns jumping out of the thicket.  There were echos of squeals in the car when Bambi 1 and Bambi 2 ambled across the road. 

Portland boasts the largest and smallest U.S. park in city limits.  The green hills bordering the city center is Forest Park, which stretches for 8 miles along the Willamette River.  Wildwood Trail, the longest hiking trail in urban boundaries, is 30 miles long and can be accessed just minutes from downtown Portland. 

Another trail not far from Portland's urban center is Marquam Trail.  This summer, we hiked Marquam Trail to Council Crest, which is the highest point in Portland.  Locals also know it as the popular make out spot at night.  But I, ahem, wouldn't know anything about this.

Council Crest
A couple of weekends ago, we visited Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge for the first time. Located 15 miles southwest of Portland, the watershed is home to many species of birds, mammals, fish, and plants. 

Our highlight was seeing two egrets at this marshy pond.  If you look closely, a white one is perched on a leaning tree and the other one is flying.

I love that Portland offers its dwellers so many places to retreat from the mad dash of city living.  It's on these hikes and strolls through forested lands that many local creatives find perspective and inspiration.  Inspired by Forest Park, Colin Meloy of Decemberists and artist Carson Ellis collaborated on a children's adventure book called Wildwood. It was my nine year old's favorite summer read.

Habit of Art turns three

Sep 23, 2012

Cue falling confetti and nasally kazoos, Habit of Art is a whopping three years old today! Hurray! If I could, I would pull off an Oprah moment and give each one of you a cashmere scarf and a new Pontiac Grand Prix (do they still make these?).  But, seeing that I'm not a Fortune 500 contender, an art discount it is.  From now thru the end of the month, take 30% off your entire order in my Etsy shop! To redeem your coupon, just enter ART30 at checkout.

Thanks for reading and happy shopping!  Oh, how do you like the new look?

things i'm fond of today

Sep 19, 2012

Instagram and newly painted white walls.

Now, that the walls look like a blank canvas, I imagine drawing on them one day. Like this . . .

Lovely drawings by Melissa Castrillon.

Still a huge fan of Doug Johnston's totes and baskets. 

Beautiful work by Amelia Herbertson.

Diggin' the simple, artsy spaces of Sandra Juto (above) and Camilla Engman

And I really want this for my home. . .

Gorgeous yarn scrap cushion by Renilde de Peuter.

New work: River Valley

Sep 16, 2012

Now that the kids are back in school, I've been able to work in 2 to 3 hour stints without much interruption. That is, until our mischievous kitty attacks a house plant, gnaws on Playmobil, terrorizes our other cat, or claws the grasscloth wallpaper.  This week, I worked on an 11 x 14 painting called River Valley.  The inspiration for my new piece comes from the beautiful Hoh Rain Forest, which is part of Washington State's Olympic National Park

Being one of the wettest places in the U.S., the Hoh Rain Forest is home to giant spruce trees and moss-laden maple trees.  Some of the trees grow to 200 - 300 feet in height!  Just as mesmerizing as the surrounding old-growth forest is the grayish-blue Hoh River.  The color is a result of glaciers on Mount Olympus grinding rock into powder.  Gray may seem like a drab color, but it's quite stunning with emerald mountains in the background. 

In my painting,  you may have noticed some chevrons on tree trunks.  I wanted to reference the rich Native American history in this region as well as spotlight the ancient trees.  More images and details of my latest work can be found here.  Earlier in the week, I posted a work in progress photo on twitter.  I plan to upload more of these kinds of shots on twitter.  I also joined Instagram if you want to follow me there. 

now tweeting

Sep 10, 2012

Some folks like to change out throw pillows for a quick, fresh look.  I like to design new business cards.  I scanned a drawing from my sketchbook and layered one of my photographs behind it.  The cards are printed on recycled paper and hand-trimmed by me. 

The mountain design is also the background for my new Twitter page.  I've been hesitant- more like resistant- to the idea of joining another social media site.  But, lately, I've been feeling a little limited with how I update news and links to recent art findings.  I don't want to, for example, write in length about this unfortunate fresco restoration, but it's definitely something to be shared. 

A week ago, my art was also featured on Design Milk.  This tidbit of news didn't quite fit into my last two blog posts, so I shared it as my first tweet.  Granted, I had no followers yet!  So if you would like to see what I'm up to between blog posts (promise, no oversharing of what I had for dinner), you can follow me here.


I did find some time today to paint on cedar wood slices.

in the little details

Sep 8, 2012

My brain is on constant overdrive.  Sometimes it thinks so loudly my husband tells me to turn it off.  Being out in nature is actually one of the few things that relaxes me.  There's something about the roar of the ocean or the sound of the wind in the trees that subdues my mind.

In His created beauty, God calls out to me to be still.  And I listen so that I can see.  I see all the wondrous ways He created this earth, and it's a reminder of how much He cares for me.  The tiniest pebble on a beach can have beautiful markings.  If He cares about these little details, I know that even the most insignificant things in my life matter to Him.   

scenic high desert of oregon

Sep 2, 2012

One of the things I love about Oregon is its topographic diversity.  Known for its dense forests and rain, the state is actually mostly desert.  The majority of Oregonians live in the damp Willamette Valley and then escape to the east for desert weather.  Our family is no exception.  This week, we spent a couple of days in the small town of Redmond in central Oregon. We swam, walked along the Deschutes River (where I gathered a sampling of wild flora), and enjoyed the company of friends. 

On our way back home, we saw from the highway Smith Rock State Park- a famous mecca for rock climbers.  I hear the sheer rock cliffs are stunning to photograph at sunrise.  Another desert spectacle not too far from Smith Rock is the multicolored Painted Hills.  Take a look at these amazing images on Google.  The place looks more like Mars than green Oregon!  I think I have our next family destination to the Oregon high desert already planned.

I've been a little sentimental this week about summer vacation coming to a close.  Our family has had so much fun this summer hanging out together in some of the most beautiful, natural places in the Pacific Northwest.  As I look through the photos from the past couple of months, I want the memories and images to stay with me.  One of the ways I preserve my memories is by painting them.  So my latest painting, Wy'east,  is inspired by our trip to Trillium Lake

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