Sunday, June 28, 2015

sketchbook -- when plein air painting is not a good idea

Something about the light on Lake Kluane didn't excite me the morning I determined to paint en plein air. I lingered over my morning coffee and looked at the water and the surrounding rocks. I started thinking about how cozy I was inside, how much I was enjoying my cup of coffee, and recalling the visitor information about this area and the large grizzly bear population...

And I decided not to paint.

Not long after, I saw a grizzly bear, favoring one foot, walk right through what would have been my painting space. I was very happy I was not occupying the same spot he ambled through, turning rocks and sniffing at the grass where I had walked the night before.

But a sketch of a bear is a lot of fun. Especially when done from the safety of the motorhome. With a nice hot cup of coffee in my hand.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

sketchbook -- bears

It does not lessen my anxiety to hear a park ranger tell a group of people that the bears in the Banff National Park area of British Columbia are vegetarians. Even when I see them beside the road munching on the abundant dandelions, I am not calmed. Nope. Bears are at the top of the food chain and I, for one, will continue to treat them with respect and hope for distance in all of my encounters with them. My motto for this trip: wildlife from a distance, viewed through a window!

Monday, June 15, 2015

sketchbook -- rest areas

The people I sketched at rest areas were not resting at all. That made them much more difficult sketching subjects. They were walking, sometimes quickly, to the nearby facilities. Just a couple of seconds per sketch and lots of fun.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture

"Hero" by Mel McCuddin at NW Museum of Arts and Culture, Spokane, WA

Sometimes it's good to go with serendipity, to walk into the museum, and to walk the unfamiliar galleries. This painting knocked me to the floor.

I got much more than I expected at the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

sketchbook - travel - leaving home

My sketchbook will get a nice workout this summer as my husband and I travel. I  will share many sketches of the journey ahead.

It almost goes without saying that to travel means you leave home. Before we drove off the driveway, I did this little sketch of home. And, though it's hard to imagine how, I know that when I get back from this trip I will see home differently. I will feel different. My eyes will light on different things. And that's my favorite part of travel: it opens up my perspective.

Already, I can feel the rhythms of life shifting to a less familiar beat. My ears tune in to the new sounds and I lean into it with pleasure.

Sarah Vaughan "Fascinating Rhythm."

Sunday, May 24, 2015

prints for the bride to be

Katie Baker, bride to be, standing with the framed prints made at her bridal shower.

Have you ever been to a bridal shower? I have. Many of them. Long ago, I was even the"bride" and the recipient of the shower. Showers usually have these same elements: cake, flowers, gifts, laughter, chatting, and games.

Today I hosted a bridal shower for a dear friend and lovely young woman, Katie Baker. I was excited to give the shower. Excited for the bride to get the gifts and connect with friends. I just could not face doing games, but I wanted the guests to participate in something fun together.

We made prints!

Sixteen women in my studio and we had a blast! The studio was ready with four printing stations, four aprons, plenty of rubber gloves, paints, brayers, stencils, textures, and paper. After my demo, the everyone participated in making a print. After they dried, people signed their prints.

Those who weren't printing watched the others, or gave advice, or handed them paper towels or other items. From the comments after the printmaking, people had a lot of fun. And no one had ever done such a thing at a shower.

As we left the studio, to get back to cake and presents, Katie and her sister, Courtney, commented to me, "This is like an illustrated guest list of who came to the shower!"

We framed the prints in small shadow box frames I found locally. With four of us working, it took only 30 minutes to frame all of them. Katie is already talking about hanging some on walls, but standing others on shelves and counters.

It was a unique kind of shower. One I would love to do again!

"Isn't She Lovely" Victor Wooten.

Friday, May 15, 2015


Tacoma Art Museum
The newly remodeled Tacoma Art Museum exhibit "Eloquent Objects: Georgia O'Keeffe and Still-Life Art in New Mexico" runs until June 7, 2015. O'Keeffe's work is elegant and gorgeous. I enjoyed looking at them from a distance and then stepping closer and closer until the museum staff person cleared his throat. I was just looking to see the brushwork! If you have a chance to see this show, take it!

John Nieto, "Buffalo at Sunset"
Since the remodel, TAM has opened up a large new gallery space and filled it with the exhibit "Art of the American West: the Haub Family Collection." The collection is stunning, with works by Nieto (above), Clymer, Terpening, Remington, Bierstadt, Moran, and others. This show is up until the fall of 2015.

Museum of Glass
Walking out of TAM, I was lured into the Museum of Glass by the large sign that read "Chihuly Drawings!" I have mentioned Chihuly's drawings on this blog before, and this exhibit expanded my respect and admiration for his work.

The final piece in this large show are plexiglass panels, backlit, with acrylic drawings on them. Spectacular!

For me, the truest measure of a great show is this: does it inspire? These two shows more than delivered and I leave Tacoma overflowing with ideas for my own paintings in the days and weeks and months ahead.

James Brown "I Feel Good."

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

sketchbook musings

These sketches are the first in a trial of a new Stillman and Birns Alpha sketchbook. I love the feel of the paper -- it is smooth and takes ink and watercolor beautifully. I see a little bleed through of the ink, and that bugs me, but overall, I like it. I think I might try a heavier weight paper (maybe the Zeta style) the next time around, though.

My mother came up from California for a nine day visit. I always think of flowers when I think of my mom. She loves flowers! Over the years, her gardens have been famous for sweet peas, roses, gladiolus, calla lilies, and all manner of fragrant flowers. She made sure I had a big bouquet of flowers to enjoy during her visit, too. Filled with carnations, alstromeria, and mums, this bouquet has already lasted five days and still looks fresh.

A miniature rose Mother's Day gift from my son and his wife became the subject of these two sketches. First, I sketched the little plant as I saw it (the "organic" sketch on the right) and then I sketched it again as an experiment in abstracting the shapes toward a more geometric concept (the sketch on the left).

Finally, a page from yesterday. You can see that I am still experimenting with the geometric abstractions, and then just looking at what I see from the windows of the boat. The quiet of my time on the boat allows for dreamy musings. And naps. Life is so good!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

from my sketchbook

A short walk away from my home is the beautiful Lewisville Park. It is one of the oldest parks in Clark County and dates back to 1936 and the Works Progress Administration. I can't say enough about this oasis. It has more than 150 acres of trails, trees, play structures and fields, plus the untamed east fork of the Lewis River.

Yesterday's sunshine drew me to the park with my sketchbook. It was a welcome break from the "busy" of life to spend time in one of my favorite places.

Chicago. "Saturday in the Park."