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Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pics I promised

Ok, here are a couple of images my daughter shot prior to receiving her new camera---for some reason I really like the leg photo---it seems timeless, I can see it in black & white, although then you'd lose the red of the purse. I love the colors in the juice mixes, and the perspective on the last photo---enjoy!

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Birthday girl

Just a quick shot of what we gave my daughter for her 18th---she'd been borrowing her sister's camera, & our camera for a class she's taking. It's been fun seeing the world thru her eyes lately---some images are really classy, others typical teenager funny faces. I'll try and find some photos to share---if she'll let me!

Monday, December 18, 2006

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Well sorta anyway...Some pics to show we're at least trying!

Have had a crazy busy month---finished a semi-commissioned painting that became our Christmas card which took a lot longer to paint than I expected, then had to photograph it digitally to use for the commission & again for the card---took several attempts before I was satisfied (first image I saw flaws in the painting I had to fix...).

An interruption to our already frenzied month came along on Thursday---a terrific wind & rain storm that pounded the Northwest! Many places in Oregon were without power & had lots of trees down, but our city seemed to be hit especially hard! We luckily only lost power from 7:00-9:45 that night (happy it came back on since I'd cooked a 21 lb. turkey & stuffing the night before---didn't want all that good food to go bad!) Unfortunately 2 of our tall cedars that grow in a line up our driveway broke but fortunately fell into the field next door, not on our house. A third tree had snapped earlier that week---sad to see! Many others in town were not as lucky---a woman from my daughter's high school had 7 fir trees fall around & upon her house & cars :(.

Then we had my daughter's 18th birthday to prepare for---she had another dance party in my husband's shop---Black and White was this theme---surprised how many followed along! Lots of cocktail dresses on the girls, white shirts & black pants on boys (looked like a waiter convention!) tho many wore white tees. My in-laws visited the next day & we all went to our favorite pizza & salad place that night, & Sunday her real birthday we had my parents & brother over for turkey noodle soup, homemade rolls & poppy seed cake!

Happy to see Monday arrive today---time to play a bit of catch-up & get most of our Christmas cards out. Next it's time to go shopping I guess.... can you say procrastination?!

Gotta run.....!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Break time!

It was a busy week last week---lots going on, not a lot of time to be online, hence the lack of posts! A huge highlight occurred this past Saturday---the high school my daughter attends as a senior won the state football championship! We were there in Eugene watching the game, and to say the least, it was a true nail biter! The score at half-time was 0-0, and the opposing team then scored two touchdowns in the 3rd quarter, + their extra points so then we were down 14-0! We finally scored one touchdown that quarter, and another during the 4th quarter to tie up the game which then went into 3 overtimes!! The win could have so easily gone to either team, but our defense was cooking during overtime and we managed to finally score with a 26 yard field goal---phew!! So fun to know a lot of the boys playing, and seeing them not give up---as their coach told them, there are 4 quarters to a game---play all 4 quarters!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Studio Friday color combinations

I've discovered I often work in complimentary color combos---using colors opposite one another on the color wheel---usually in bits or pieces to add spark to a painting. Below are some sections I've removed from past paintings to illustrate this:

When faced with choosing a color for a background I often think of what color the foreground or subject is & choose the cool complimentary as part of the background to help make the subject move forward if that's the effect I'm striving for. A bit more complicated when your foreground or focal point is a cool color---but that's where you can then play with a warmer cool and cold cool!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

More Snow images

Ok, maybe a bit excessive, but it just doesn't snow around here very often, so when it does it's a big deal! These photos were from Tuesday---just an inch or two, but enough to delay school for 2 hours, and when the sun came out around 10:30, it was time to take a walk and see what the neighborhood looked like before all the snow disappeared. Here's some of what caught my eye:

Monday, November 27, 2006


It's snowing on and off today---just recently tons of snow was falling from the sky, looking like large white feathers floating to the ground, so fast everything became white within minutes! It's not really cold enough to stick and stay around, but as quickly as it just came down, it blanketed everything, teasing us with most-likely false hope that it'll last...

On a side note, a friend stopped by today to show us his latest finds---these are King Bolete mushrooms---yes, that's really how big they are---no photoshop involved! They're known as porcini mushrooms in Italy, Bolete in English speaking countries. He found these in the forests near the coast. Lucky us, he left a smaller one for us to eat---guess they're quite the delicacy!

Hoping for more snow......

Friday, November 17, 2006

Studio Friday---This is Me

Ok, so this isn't really "me", but it shows a bit of me---I love color---and this shows examples of how color is used in my studio and throughout my house. It also shows that I like the color red. My pastel studio walls are painted tomato red---a color my oldest daughter picked for her bedroom which once she moved out I was more than happy to keep! I work in fiber occasionally, but pastel mostly---hence the detail of a pastel painting we have hanging in our kitchen of my youngest daughter washing dishes while camping.

Happy Friday, & have a great weekend!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Beach Escape

Last Friday, I escaped with a friend to the coast for a weekend. There were supposed to be 3 of us, but one was sick, so sadly, she and her husband bowed out. The guys were to arrive Saturday---which they did around noon. It was a lovely place high up on a hill overlooking the Oregon coast---tucked into a wooded neighborhood off the main highway. We spent the first day shopping and then relaxing after a nasty, rainy drive over. The rain was falling at one point so heavily, if I could have safely, I would have pulled over to wait it out! Unfortunately tho, there wasn’t any shoulder or side road to tuck into, so to avoid being rear-ended I kept going, windshield wipers flapping furiously! It was still daytime, but real dark in the forested area we were driving through.

The next day turned out surprisingly pleasant, after a fast hail shower while we were enjoying a gourmet breakfast at the cafe` down the hill. We had a terrific walk up the beach with the sun warming our backs, then back through the small town, admiring the unique homes and cottages on the way.

That morning before headed out for breakfast, I stalked two deer that were grazing near the house, first noticing one thru the dining room window. After several mediocre pics thru the window, I sneaked out the front door to the edge of the garage for a few more photos. These weren’t tame deer---the slightest movement had their ears and heads swiveling. Luckily the tiny beep of the camera didn’t frighten them away (need to figure how to turn that off…).

We had a super weekend away, and are now looking forward to Thanksgiving----can it really be just next week?!?

This was a view from our bedroom at the house we stayed in:

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

VOTE Today!

Just a reminder to those that might have forgotten---please vote today!

And some fun pics of a mural that was painted in a cool sign shop in Portland, which is becoming a coffee bean roasting warehouse---hence the mural. It was painted during the "closing this shop" party by invited sign artists one evening a couple of weekends ago---this is my daughter putting some paint on the wall to help out before we headed home.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Artistically Connected---Studio Friday - Interconnected

An example of being connected artistically was this Wed. An artist friend traveled 1 1/2 hours to my house to hang for the day with the goal of painting or drawing together.

We started out our adventure by visiting the local university bookstore to shore up her drawing supplies. A quick bowl of soup to hold us for the afternoon was the next stop. From there we loaded our art materials and went in search of an agreed upon view, driving through the countryside down quiet roads and busy highways.

Sadly the lighting was not ideal. Clouds with the rare bit of filtered sunlight made everything look pale and like all the color had been sucked away! The fields were a bland brown, oak trees dark silhouettes, even the occasional fall color was pale, muddy yellow. Nothing sparked us, even though we saw plenty of possibilities for a future sunny day.

We stopped along a river at one point, walked down to the water, and tried to feel inspired by the few dark colorless reflections from the tree line on the opposite shore---the highlight was skipping rocks, and seeing some possible subject matter in the still water caught between the rocky beach and the river bank--but again the shadows were negligent, 2 dimensional, and lifeless!

As we walked back up to our car I heard the oddest sound coming from the dry maple leaves piled along the side of the boat ramp… *plick, plick….plick….. it was as if they were alive, and trying to shift! Then we realized what was making the sound---rain! Not just a short-lived small shower, it started to pour!! That cemented it for us---poor lighting, & rain so we headed back to town hoping to possibly sketch inside a cozy coffee house, looking out at downtown buildings. We checked out a couple of locations, but again just didn’t catch the spark.

During this whole time, although our search was in vain, we visited, talked, reminisced, and completely enjoyed the process!

Finally we settled in my dining room with a pile of Anaheim peppers and a pumpkin for inspiration and succeeded in fulfilling our goal to create art. We were warm with the wood stove blazing, comfortably listening to great music, concentrating quietly at times, then chatting amicably at other times---once again enjoying the process with one another. Artistically connected.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Creativity Challange

The challange: create something that celebrates your own creativity.

This week I let myself play with pastels and pears. I painted a pear a year ago and have wanted to paint more---so last weekend, I bought some fruit and instead of going outside to paint another landscape I decided to work in my studio. I played with the shadows created by the sun streaming in the window, composed some still life images & took digital pics, then after fiddling with those images decided to just set up a pear to paint from life at that moment.

I placed it on a shelf and put a sheet of black paper behind it to cover the shelf brackets & a badly placed wall plug. Then pulled out my pastels & went to work. I discovered several issues in the process---aside from the lighting issues with the late afternoon sun moving quite fast, I was also dealing with easel placement issues---in order to use the sun, shadows, & shelf I had to put my easel with its back to the window---making the painting surface difficult to see (can you say backlit?!) I quickly put together an overhead light system that helped me see my paper easier, but the time that took was enough to move the sun & shadows away from my set-up! Luckily I’d already finished my preliminary drawing so I just scooted the pear along the shelf, with the paper & worked as best as I could with the traveling sunlight. Nothing is ever easy of course!

Working on this pear was a way I could celebrate my creativity---something I’ve been wanting to explore ever since I painted the first with pastels on sanded paper. I’ve always been blessed with creative people in my life which made it easier to embrace my own creativity---As a child I wanted to be an artist when I grew up, and happily this dream wasn’t discouraged. Art was my primary focus in school---especially in high school when I could take all the different art classes offered (jewelry, ceramics, along with art). That’s what I continued doing in college, and after. I’ve taken many side roads into many different art forms, from learning to spin cotton, silk, angora, llama, wool & playing with dyes, then knitting sweaters, mittens, hats, to continuing my studies with paint---oil, acrylics, watercolor, then colored pencils and pastels. I’m married to a sign artist/graphic designer, and we both have been learning how to use computers with our artwork. I’ve always loved photography and several years ago learned how to develop and print my own black and white photos which eventually led to creative photo albums and scrapbooking. Each of these have been continued explorations in creativity, some quite successful, some not. Some have gripped me for years, then I’ve moved on to other creative interests depending on different circumstances. I started playing with pastels about 10 years ago after working for a long time in watercolor and only just last year took my first workshop in pastel, learning secrets about the medium I’d yet to discover on my own. I still paint in watercolor, but it seems more like work to me than pastel---it’s still playing!

This brings me back to pears---my subject of choice this week. Next week I might move onto landscapes again, or maybe apples. Or maybe I’ll finish some of those watercolors upstairs that have been languishing by the way-side. All depends on which way the creativity blows!

This first painting is the pear I painted a year ago---with a close-up showing detail.

This is the pear I painted this week---again with a close-up.

One of the many digital photos I took before starting to paint---for the future when this pear no longer exist---part of my creative process, collecting images for future painting + playing with lighting.

Lastly a favorite image of my pastels!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

We survived!

My tally was around 55 people here---maybe more, maybe less, but was kinda hard to keep track with people coming, going, coming back, going outside to talk on their cell phones to give instructions how to find our place... all occurring outside, in the twinkle-lights of the driveway, dark backyard, shop door opening & closing... trying to be hidden ourselves (request that our kitchen lights not be on so the darkness outside was more complete which helped us to see easier!) As far as we could see and from reports our daughter made and several of her friends it was a blast---super fun, "tight" etc.! Lots of costumes, loud music thumping, fog machine, dry ice with punch, squealing girls, black lights, exclamations of "Whoa" from arriving guests as they opened the shop door... yep, success! Our daughter was a great hostess, keeping the food supplied, the punch bowl filled, the music flowing, and after 11:00 she announced "last songs" & had people filing out by 11:30---most gone by 11:40! Just herself & 4 other girlfriends + 2 quiet guys left to hang out visiting 'til 1:00, then after the fellas left the girls were asleep by 1:30!

Amazed to see my daughter up by 10:00 & happily making muffins for her still sleeping buddies, bubbling over with excitement still about how well it all went last night, talking about who was there, what they did (danced mostly) & later sharing pics she'd taken. So glad it went well---but now am thinking "oh no---this is just the first!" The year is still young...

Here are some party images---blurred on purpose to protect the "innocent"... ;)

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Halloween party...

Ok, wish us luck... My 17 yr. old daughter is hosting a Halloween party in my sweeties shop (oversized garage space that he uses as his sign/graphic design shop/biz) tonight---luckily for us the weather is dry so the kids can spill out onto the driveway---last I heard there may be 80 partiers! Yikes! So far we've had 5 kids by, 2 girls showering, another boy supposed to be here soon to shower after football practice, and the party doesn't "start" 'til 8:00! Don't think my husband is ready for this---when he hears 80 he may flip! (lucky fella is out playing frisbee golf, oblivious to the fun about to begin... he thinks he's all ready!)

Hope we all survive!

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Studio Friday Theme---Autumn

My favorite season---and it seems like a lot of people agree! I love the colors of the trees, leaves, and how everything mellows after the heat of summer. Woodstove fires, harvest veggies and fruits, homemade soups, baked and roasted meals....all favorites! My previous post could work for this theme---but I'll include some new pics for variety.

Lastly is the pastel I worked on Tuesday----happy Autumn!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Another challenge

Time consuming, but a great lesson in how to play with photos in Photoshop Elements. (only time consuming because it was my first time with this program grouping several photos and playing with the background.) In a way I guess you could say this is my first digital scrapbook page! I'm sure there are better ways to do this, quicker methods, but it was fun to give this a try and see what I could do (can you say trial and error!)

Our plein air group is through meeting for the year, but yesterday was so gorgeous I had to go in search of some fall color to paint. I tried campus first and saw tons of brilliant trees but the settings weren't very inspiring (parking lots full of cars just don't thrill me---even if they're surrounded by leafy reds, oranges and golds...). Next I checked out a local park and was happy to see some great areas of color just sparkling in the afternoon sun. That's the story behind the pastel in the montage below. I was hoping to get out again today but the fog this morning has turned into solid clouds---it would be great for portraits, but I'm not seeing the intense lights and darks I like to try and capture with pastel. Might have to pull out some past photos and play in the studio with my new easel instead!

Thanks again Ali for suggesting this weeks challenge---just the nudge I needed to learn more about my photo software!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Ready for winter!

Struck gold today---a once-a-year antique sale has been going on since Wednesday, but only this morning did we get a chance to go check it out---figured most was already sold (which it was) but did find a treasure we couldn't pass up! After creating my pastel studio out of the room my daughter recently moved out of, I've been toying with the possibility of purchasing an indoor easel, one I could work on in the studio and not have to pack it up when ready to head out for plein air painting. I've been glancing at the studio easels in art supply catalogs not really paying much attention to them, other than noting how spendy they seemed! Then at this sale we saw a wooden studio easel, and decided it was perfect! I needed something with a small footprint that wouldn't take up much room since my space is somewhat limited (especially since we've moved the futon in while remodeling our dining room...!) I really liked how big of a canvas this easel could accommodate also---and it was so simple to use! With this being the last day of the sale I decided to ask if they'd take less---and she did! I was a very happy camper---the best thing is that it's not brand new, it has paint blobs already on it, and aside from a bit of wobble from needing another bolt it's just what I need! Timing couldn't have been more perfect either since we just had our last plein air paint-out on Wed.---time to start working indoors and now I have a new toy to use! Here are some pics of my new studio addition: