portland's garden sanctuary

Feb 21, 2013

Perched atop Portland's western slope is a traditional Japanese garden, complete with koi ponds, wisteria arbor,  and tea house.  Some consider it to be the most authentic Japanese garden outside of Japan.  

We decided to visit Portland Japanese Garden on the busiest day of the year- free admission day.  Even with the crowds, the place was still very tranquil and idyllic.  I loved all the winding stone paths and lush moss blanketing much of the 5.5 acres.  

One of the central features of the garden is the Moon Bridge.  The structure and scenery reminded me of Claude Monet's Giverny estate in France.  My husband and I were there 15 years ago, and I took this photo of the famous foot bridge.

Monet was an avid collector of Japanese woodblock prints.  The large water garden at the Giverny home was inspired by his collection of Japanese art.  He planted azaleas, bamboo, wisteria, and, of course, water lilies- which became the subject of 250 of his oil paintings. 

My favorite spot at the Portland Japanese Garden was the Natural Garden with its stone steps, cascading streams, and fluorescent greenery.  When you sit for a moment and take in the scenery, it's quite meditative and soothing. 

The beautiful and peaceful imagery from the gardens has stayed with me these past few days.  And, with spring just around the corner, I'm thinking I might try to bring a bit of Japanese influence into my own garden.  We don't have a pond, but I can think of a few great spots for some white gravel and moss.  I'll keep you posted with any successful progress!

new print, "beyond"

Feb 14, 2013

February tends to be a difficult time for Portlanders.  After months of gray, rainy skies and the cold, we start looking like Gollum from The Hobbit.  Okay, maybe that's a little extreme, but you get the point.  We are all chomping at the bit for some summer weather.  And I'm no exception. 

Our family had a blast last summer exploring the Pacific Northwest.  And we hope to continue the adventure in upcoming months.  Until then, I'll keep the fireplace crackling and daydream via paper and paintbrush. 

My latest vision of summer grandeur is captured in a new work called Beyond.  I've made it into a print that's now available in my Etsy shop.  And, this week, you can get it for 25% off the original price! 

I recently discovered that the sugar cane paper I've been using for my art prints has been discontinued.  I have one box left, but I'm transitioning to using premium paper made from bamboo fibers.  Although there are a lot of paper options for artists who want to make their own prints, there actually aren't very many eco-friendly choices.  Fortunately, the bamboo paper is nearly identical to the sugar cane paper.  So I'm relieved that the change hasn't been too problematic and that I can still offer eco-friendly prints in my shop.

a little bit of r + r

Feb 8, 2013

After a crazy holiday season for my husband and I, it was time for the two of us to get away for a bit.  We headed to the beautiful and remote Oregon coast.  As many of you know, it rains a lot in western Oregon, which keeps some tourists away.  But, if you're a true Oregonian, the drizzly coastal weather doesn't faze you and even the horizontal rain is tolerable.

In the three days we were there, we passed just half a dozen folks on the beach.  At first it was a little eerie to have the beach (more like the entire town!) to ourselves.  But we quickly got over the "left behind" feeling and embraced the solitude.  At one point, my husband decided to explore a tunnel in a hillside and I combed the beach for small treasures- one of my favorite things to do.   I found some shell pieces and a couple of small driftwood to use with my latest wall hangings. 

The three on the left are my newest additions.  This week, some weavings and art prints are headed to a shop in Moss Landing, California, which is between Monterey and Santa Cruz.

I didn't find any new rocks on the beach to add to my collection, but I did find some time to paint a few stones from a previous trip.  

The one remaining rock in my Etsy shop is the little black one, and it'll probably be awhile before I paint more rocks.  This month I'll be working on an exciting new project.  My art will be on a product!  I'll share more down the road once the process has commenced.  I also regularly post updates on Twitter and Instagram if you want the latest news or listings of available work.

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