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Friday, July 27, 2007

Beachy Keen!

Two weekends ago, we popped over to Florence---a little town on the Oregon coast. Time for us to get away and pick up some out of town inspiration along with a much needed beach fix! Here is what we saw that day--this first photo shows the bridge heading south of Florence taken from "old town".

The flowers at the coast always amaze me---I think it's the cooler temps, and abundance of water that makes for some pretty spectacular flower boxes!

We then drove up hwy. 101 and stopped to wander the beach at Bob Creek---a new discovery for us. There was the creek, and then further down the beach were some great tidal rocks that had more sea stars planted upon them than I'd ever seen before so close to the shore!

The colors of the day were orange and purple...and this tiny little shell was just shouting for attention amongst all the other tidal treats...

As we walked along we discovered another cool find at Bob Creek---a lovely green slime rock wall and cave that tucked under the highway we'd just been driving on!

Then to end our day, we found a couple of "wild" animals marching on the road as we headed home...Yep, it is a fine life...

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Too many Limes!

My youngest daughter is working for a real cool flower/event shop that makes wedding flowers (bouquets, boutonnieres, "tosses" arrangements etc.) and helps decorate wedding sites or other business events around the area. They do centerpieces, linens, drapes and often hang out at the weddings to help with other parts. A lot of the flowers they use are preserved flowers---which means a bride can keep her bouquet and it'll look pretty much the same years later as it did on her wedding day. They also use real flowers too (lucky us, after an event is over, my daughter often comes home with gorgeous flowers!)

A week ago they used limes in vases with the flowers on each table at a wedding reception---and after they cleaned up they returned to the shop with buckets of limes! We ended up with a ton so decided to make juice using our old Sunbeam mixer with its juice making attachment. This mixer has been tucked away for years, I wasn't sure it still worked, but it plowed through 1/2 of the limes we had and made a pitcher of lovely sour lime juice! We're freezing it in ice cube trays then transferring those into baggies to use for margaritas, daiquiris, limeade, gin & tonics & sorbet. Sadly, when we turned on the mixer the next day it barely ran...think we may have burnt out the motor! Another friend said we could bang on the thing with a hammer & it'll probably work again---haven't tried that yet. In the meantime we bought an inexpensive hand juicer...and have been handing out bags of limes to anyone that stops by! Want some?!!

Friday, July 13, 2007

My new obsession...

I've been in search of a way to paint in pastels and then frame the finished painting without glass. Impossible usually because of how fragile pastel is on paper---just the slightest touch will brush away the pastel, smear the image, or rub out any texture you've created. Most pastels are framed under glass with a spacer between the painting and mat to allow any loose pastel dust to fall between the mat & spacer to avoid marring the face of the mat. Pain-in-the-butt framing, but a necessity with pastels. Because framing is one of my least favorite things to do (and it's darn expensive too having to use archival matting, acid free foam core, etc!) I've dreamed of finding a way to paint in pastel without all that framing fuss. After doing some extensive research, I went to work on Wednesday and tried a technique for the very first time that was suggested by another pastel artist (http://www.rockmouthart.com/art/content/glasslesspastels.html) whom was very generous with sharing her method. (Thank you again Tricia Messinger!)

As I sprayed the first layer of diluted PVA size onto my pastel, I was just a touch disappointed to see it melt the pigment and watch bits of it drip down the surface I'd prepared... Once I blew it dry tho, I was beginning to get excited---the color that seemed to melt while wet returned almost completely (tho a tad darker which she warned about). The drips added texture (ok, so I didn't really want texture right there, but that was ok---it was my first attempt and I knew this was essentially an experiment!) I have a hard time not producing a piece of artwork that isn't supposed to be immediately saleable upon finishing...so I don't often experiment like I should! Happily, I was able to continue working on the piece and with added layers of the size (and a more careful application to avoid dripping) and continued use of the blow dryer I was able to produce something in pastel that was truly "sealed"! It still looked like a pastel, it was still brilliant with color, but it was protected---WITHOUT GLASS!!!

I'm just a little EXCITED!! With an abundance of wood boards leftover from signs my husband has made, I have materials galore to draw from to create surfaces of all sizes for future pastel paintings---no more am I limited by what I can afford in framing materials---no more do I have to even use frames (the latest look in galleries seems to be wrapped canvases where the painting extends around the edges of the canvas or board) which means NO FRAME!

Here is the finished painting---I used the pastel I painted in Independence as my subject matter, so now I have one to keep and one to sell---tho this one is not quite finished---close tho.

This next photo shows the board I used as my surface---I puttied the edges and then used acrylic silicone to seal the edges which I'll probably just paint black now or use some simple wood molding painted black to frame the piece. I covered the surface I painted with 2 coats of Art Spectrum Colorfix Pastel Primer in black (http://www.cheapjoes.com/art-supplies/5643_art-spectrum-pastel-primer.asp) before I went to work with the pastels. Time to go finish this painting and start a new one---think I'll try something big next time...

Monday, July 09, 2007

Featured Artist

It's been a while since I was the featured artist at our local gallery of which I've been part of for 16 years this month... I've had at least 4 other shows thru the years, but this is the first that only has one painting in it! With all the fun I've been having this spring with taking photos I decided to feature them for a change with a painting tossed in just to mix things up. After we hung the show a week ago, along with the little tags and sign, I shot a quick photo of the finished product.

We also visited my two paintings hung in a group show at the Eugene library at a reception Friday night. Our first time inside the library there---what a nice facility! Not sure the history, but it seems pretty brand new.

Feels good to be finished with those two projects!

Painted in the little town of Independence last Tuesday, the day before Independence day! Our plein air painting group that meets on Wed. met a day early 'cause of the holiday---most people stayed on main street painting some of the historical buildings, or were down in the park painting the Willamette River. I was in the mood to paint fields and sky, so spent too much time hunting for the perfect scene---finally finding it on the north end of town. Because of my shortened painting time (we were going to meet at 12:30 and it was already 10:45) I painted fairly small (8x10) and fast! It's now my favorite painting!! Might have to create a 2nd and keep this one... Sorry for the tease, but I haven't taken any photos of the finished painting yet---so you'll have to come back and see it in a later post!