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."

Monday, April 13, 2015


Daffs. 12 x 12. Oil and charcoal on canvas.

By Mary Oliver
I lift my face to the pale flowers
of the rain. They’re soft as linen,
clean as holy water. Meanwhile
my dog runs off, noses down packed leaves
into damp, mysterious tunnels.
He says the smells are rising now
stiff and lively; he says the beasts
are waking up now full of oil,
sleep sweat, tag-ends of dreams. The rain
rubs its shining hands all over me.
My dog returns and barks fiercely, he says
each secret body is the richest advisor,
deep in the black earth such fuming
nuggets of joy!

Sunday, March 29, 2015


2073. 11 x 10. Watercolor and ink on paper.

Appalachian Spring, conducted by Leonard Slatkin. 

Friday, March 6, 2015

poetry and Mary Oliver

I have always loved poetry.

Jump rope rhymes of childhood still spring to my mind at opportune (and inopportune) moments.

Say, say, oh playmate, I can not play with you...

Memorization assignments from elementary school stir around inside me and pop out of my mouth.

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things..."
from "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll

College scrutiny did not dim my love of poetry, in fact, just added to my internal arsenal.

She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies...
from "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron

My appreciation of poetry has continued as I have aged. These days my attention is on the poetry of Mary Oliver. Her contemplation and introspection and artfully crafted poems make my breathing slow and invite me to read aloud her words again and again. Like this poem, "Wild Geese." I hope you will read it aloud. Again and again, too. Like me.

Wild Geese

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
For a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting --
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

I hope you will have about an hour to listen to Krista Tippett's interview with Mary Oliver (from February 7, 2015) on the radio program "On Being." Listen here.

Canada Goose, photograph Katherine van Schoonhoven at Ridgefield NWR

Sunday, March 1, 2015

breaking the shell

Pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding
Khalil Gibran

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

watching paint dry

"Watching paint dry" is a phrase my father used to describe something that exceeded the definition of boring. Funny. I have discovered that it provides a still space of quiet inside of me and helps me be completely in the moment.

Monday, February 16, 2015

I'll meet you there

Out beyond ideas of 
 there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.