Sunday, December 28, 2014

2014 ending

For years I have wondered what to do with my Christmas poinsettia plant. If watered and cared for, it can last many months and seems incongruous in full bloom at Easter. Not that I mind the dissonance of a Christmas plant in spring, but eventually I stop watering it and let it die.

Not so this year. Petal by petal, leaf by leaf, I deconstructed my plant and used each piece as part of a nature print. Carefully rolling inks and paints over the parts and then pressing them to paper. It was a sweet labor of love.

By pulling something apart and reconstructing it in a new way,
 the truth and essence and beauty comes into focus. 

Wishing you all a peaceful end of this year, and a beautiful construction of 2015!

Daniel Carter "Auld Lang Syne."

Saturday, December 20, 2014

overcoming dissatisfaction

Mixed media: acrylic, ink, charcoal, pastel

I coach myself: Don't panic, don't worry, don't even feel tense about it! It will pass.

And eventually it passes.

Whenever I put my work out into the world in a show, after the initial excitement and rush of attention and positive feedback, ...

I feel lost.

Empty and grumpy.

And dissatisfied with my art making.

Now that I have experienced this up and down cycle many times, I am better prepared for the down time. And this time I have tried something new.

A challenge.

What would happen, I asked myself, if I painted over one of those scrap sheets I used in my printmaking? Just use the sheets of brayer cleanings and texture wipings as a base and painted over the top to create something new.

Since I considered the scrap sheets trash to begin with, I really had nothing to lose. And I painted. One. Two. Five.

And that empty, growling feeling has lifted!

It hardly matters to me what comes of these pieces, but I am thrilled with the process of taking random colors and textures and shapes and creating something new. Overcoming feels pretty strong and wonderful. It reminds me of brighter days ahead.

One of my most beloved Christmas traditions is making music with my sons. It's harder to do now that they are grown and have families of their own (and their own traditions). This year, we will all be together for Christmas Eve and I am hoping we can play together -- with added music and voices from their wives and children. Even if it's mostly just noisy and not terribly musical, it will fill my heart with joy!

Wishing you all  Merry Christmas, happy holiday, and joy in the coming days!

Enjoy this hauntingly beautiful arrangement from The Piano Guys, "O Come, Emmanuel."

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

"Archetype" in the news!

"Green Eggs" Eternal Child archetype

There's still a few weeks to see the "Archetype" show at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery!

Ellen Spitaleri of the Portland Tribune found a lot to enjoy about the show. Read her article HERE.

Sunday, November 23, 2014


Hanging at the "Archetype" show at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery is this painting, "Pilgrimage." It is exciting to hear people respond to a painting, like this one, with their own stories. One couple told me all about a memorable trip they took to Jordan and Israel. Another gentleman talked about his recent trip to Cameroon. 

It hardly matters what my original idea was when I painted this piece. It has become something much bigger, with a broader geography, and many more layers of story. As each new person sees it and responds, it becomes even more textured by their experiences.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

sketch ... water aerobics

It is so much easier for me to sketch regularly when I am on a trip. Every day brings new sketching subjects and I find myself creating an illustrated journal of the adventure.

But, at home, the every day doesn't excite me so much for sketching. My sketchbook sits on my shelf, sometimes in my car, but I don't sketch. Which is a shame, because I really do love sketching!

Several months back, I signed up for Sketchbook Skool, an online series of workshops all about sketching. I have gathered many new ideas about sketching techniques and materials, and more ideas about sketching subjects to explore. 

Here is a sketch about water aerobics. Part of my every day life at home, but something I have never attempted to sketch. Do you sketch your every day life? Do tell!

Thursday, November 6, 2014

New work at "Archetype" show

"Lear" 22 x 15, acrylic on paper

In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery presents
an exhibition of work by
Roxanne Colyer Clingman and
Katherine van Schoonhoven

Opening reception
Friday, November 7
5:00 -- 8:00

In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery
2025 SE Jefferson Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222

You are invited!

Sunday, September 21, 2014

crab pot, again

This one was near Saddlebag Island (near Anacortes). I spent a lot of time studying the reflections in the water before I attempted to sketch and paint this one.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

summer sketching

Crab pots present a colorful obstacle for boaters. On the surface of the water are things that float and attached to the floating part is a long line that goes to the ground with a crab trap attached. If a propeller catches the line, it could mean a real problem!

Just because they are obstacles, sometimes a nuisance, doesn't mean that they are lacking in their own particular beauty. Crab pots make an exciting sketching subject, like this one in Roche Harbor.

Ink and watercolor sketch in Aquabee 9" square sketchbook.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

sketching on the water

From a watery perspective, sketching is a challenge and a lot of fun. I especially enjoy tackling complicated shapes and working to understand them with my drawing.

It feels like rubbing velvet with the nap to see a drawing come together. I feel content. And maybe full of static electricity!

Life is very good.

Christopher Cross "Sailing."

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

not Perry Mason

 Courtroom dramas are nothing at all like "Perry Mason" television shows. The action is much slower and doesn't tie up neatly at the end of an hour. There are no surprises. Hamilton Burger doesn't object or get befuddled.

Actual courtroom dramas are slow. Each bit of evidence is explored and layered in testimony and exhibits. The pace is like watching paint dry. Oil paint. The kind that takes months.

Court time provided me with several days of sketching opportunities.

Besides the sketches, I took notes of what the judge and attorneys said at various points. It is now an illustrated record of an unpleasant experience.

A record with my own commentary and observations.
After all is said and done, I think I might enjoy sketching from "Perry Mason" videos. It would be much cheaper!

"Perry Mason." Full episodes are available on YouTube!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

home through Kansas

On our way home, we took the non-interstate highways and byways through Kansas. I saw things I never knew about, things I marveled at, things that made me smile. The Flint Hills area was beautiful! I'm so glad that the settlers could not till its rocky soil and left us with a perfect example of how the prairies looked before human interference.

Sadly, the air conditioning in our motorhome gave up and we endured many days of +90 degrees with 90% humidity. Our trip west was marked by days of driving that started before sunrise, long afternoon breaks with the coach parked in the shade of a tree or two, and long drives after sunset.

Even with that discomfort, I am love seeing our country. Oh beautiful, indeed!

Ray Charles sings "America, the Beautiful."

Saturday, June 21, 2014

inspiration: St Louis Zoo and Art Museum

I am just back from a road trip to St Louis, MO, where my family had a beautiful reunion. I got to see my father and all of my siblings and their kids, plus a lot of family. 

One special treat while in St Louis was going to Forest Park, the site of the 1904 Louisiana Purchase Exposition and centennial celebration, but more commonly known as the 1904 World's Fair. You can read more about the fair here.

As we walked around the zoo and the art museum, I kept humming to myself the song, "Meet Me In St Louis." Appropriate, since my grandfather's name was Louis and he went by "Louie" and it was this grandfather's children and family that gathered... 55 participants!

I loved the zoo (and not just because admission was free!). Their gorilla habitat was wonderful and I spent a lot of time observing these majestic animals and sketching them. It was tough to sketch them, though, because every time one of them got close to the observation window, he would sit down with his back to us people. It struck me as an act of utter contempt. Wow. 

The art museum was grand all together, but especially grand in its huge entrance hall.

I especially enjoyed this Monet painting.

And this Modigliani.
St Louis is a special town and I look forward to going there again. Maybe next time, it won't be 92 degrees with 90% humidity. That was a little hard to take. The best part of the trip was seeing my father again. I am not sure that he knew me, but I knew him, held his hand, talked to him and loved the chance to see him again.

Love you, Dad.

"Meet Me in St Louis." Maybe you will hum the theme song, too.

Saturday, May 31, 2014

working a design while on anchor, Oak Harbor

When we are anchored, I try to find landscape scenes that interest me. At Oak Harbor, Whidbey Island, I heard an eagle and while I watched him hunt, I noticed these evergreen trees on the spit.

From the sketch, I created these two Notan paintings with watercolor. I like both of these design plans and may work up some larger paintings from them. 

I can sense the rhythm of the water from these paintings. It's sometimes the only music necessary.

Monday, May 26, 2014

museum inspriration: Bainbridge Island Museum of Art and La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum

9" x 9" watercolor and ink
This week, at the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, I saw sculpture by David Eisenhour that blew my socks off! His bronze and stone sea forms were staged in groups and some alone in such a way that I wanted to respond to them. I had to respond. I looked at them, again and again, circled them to see all sides, and wandered around the exhibit many times. In my sketchbook, I listed some sea forms that I wanted to explore myself. And soon! The BIMA is only one year old and if you haven't made a stop there yet, it's worth every moment. Admission is free. Truly great work there!

But, before I could respond to the Eisenhour sea forms, we were cruising the Sound and then tying up at the public dock in La Conner, where I toured the La Conner Quilt and Textile Museum. This is a favorite stop for me, not because I am a quilter, but because I love the variety and imagination of art quilts. And, though I do not sew, I have gone into many quilt shops to fondle the "fat quarters" just for the joy of color and texture.

What a treat it was to discover fiber artist Marianne Burr and her work on the third floor of the museum! The work is as colorful and delightful as she is. All of her work is done on silk which she has handpainted and then stitched. It's really a painting that has been stitched to wool batting and then backed/framed with more fabric. It's enough to make me want to sew.

In the meantime, though, time to reflect and respond and you see some of that in the sketch above. Sea forms, glorious color and whimsey, and "stitches" of ink marks.

Variations on a Shaker Melody, Aaron Copland.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

museum inspiration: Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

Jen Elek and Jeremy Bert at The Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WA

Sometimes, when walking through an art museum exhibit (or gallery exhibition), I feel a buzz of energy that makes my hair stand on end. It is not only a function of the artwork I view, but where I am in my head, what I have been doing with my own artwork, and my openness to looking at something new. That buzz can be the start of a cascade of changes that results in new art ideas and practices.

Earlier this month, I felt a buzz when at the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, WA.

Even the exterior of this museum is exciting, with the enormous metal cone venting the "hot shop" where furnaces keep about 1000 pounds of glass 2400 degrees Fahrenheit!

Even better, inside the hot shop you can watch artists make their glass creations live, or you can stream it. It reminds me of some of my early Catholic lessons on hell and damnation.

Lenny Kravitz "Whole Lotta Love."

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

something right, something wrong

Drawing with a pen is a commitment. No taking it back, just keep on going.

Staedtler Pigment Liner pen on smooth paper in a Robert Bateman sketchbook.

When I first started to play jazz, after years of studying and playing a classical piano repertoire, I floundered. I kept thinking that there were "right" notes and "wrong" notes and it was my job to play the right ones. One of the intriguing aspects of jazz is the function of a "wrong" note to lead back to a "right" note in the ears of the listeners, even if the "right" note is not played.

These figure drawings are like jazz. A little something right, a little something wrong, and I trust your eyes to lead you in the best direction.

Ella Fitzgerald sings "Desafinado." Something slightly out of tune, on purpose, with this song!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

drawing and bravura, a musical connection

I am back at figure drawing and the joy of the contour. 

No sketchy marks of approximation in this drawing. Just a bold line moving across the page, describing the model. When I wasn't satisfied with the drawing on the left, I started again to the right and addressed those aspects that did not satisfy me in the first. I held the same mindset with the second drawing: let a single line carry the form to completion.

With that thought, the word "bravura" came into my mind and was back in my own 40 year piano playing experience base.

Of course, when learning a new piece of music, there's a time for figuring out the notes and stopping at mistakes and correcting them (the "sketchy marks"), but sometimes a bravura play through is what's needed. Needed because it gives the sense of the bigger picture, the scope of the work, the whole.
Ever since I started art making in 2005, I have considered how art and music are alike. And I've hoped to find connection points between my art making and piano playing so that one could inform the other. With this experience in figure drawing, I have found a connection point. 

When I was learning this piece of music, even a rough play through was exciting! Gershwin Prelude No. 1 B flat major.

Friday, April 25, 2014

artists' forum at Trinity

Artists' Forum at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
147 NW 19th Ave
Portland, OR
Sunday, April 27, 2014
9:00 am-- 10:00 am

Come see and hear the artists of PDX Women in Abstract Media share their art journeys and talk about their paintings in a casual setting at Trinity Cathedral. Maybe you have a question? Ask away!

Sunday, April 13, 2014

non-Apron painting

The "Apron Stirrings" show continues to hang and draw positive and excited comments. But, now, for a break from Aprons!

Everywhere I look, the Spring flowers are filling the landscape with color and pollen. Timing is everything when you paint between sneezes.

Since my acrylic paints are still out, I continued with them for this subject. The painting sat on my easel for a couple of weeks, unfinished, and unsatisfactory, with no line work. Then, one day I saw it and thought about my India ink and decided to "wreck" it. The lines brought focus and depth to what were good shapes but a boring painting.

Spring? Oh, yes. Bring it on!

The Lumineers "Flowers in Your Hair."

Sunday, April 6, 2014

what stirs beneath the aprons

 Opening night of "Apron Stirrings" was fun and interesting to see and hear people respond to my paintings. 

And it gave me a chance to talk to people about the work, too. The open exchange of ideas is always stimulating and this night was no exception.

A Little Bit about “Apron Stirrings”

For the last several years, I have experimented with abstraction and ways to communicate in my paintings without being anchored by traditional representations of subjects. 
In “Apron Stirrings” you see part of my experimentation. Only two things remain constant in this series: a very real subject (Bill Park’s printing apron) and a limited palette (Cadmium Yellow, Quinacrodone Red, and Pthalo Blue). From there,  I let the paintings flow and develop over the course of a year. 

Communication involves not only the artist, but the viewer. What you see and how you experience the relationships in the paintings is part of your personal life story.  There is no right or wrong story and I love that!

Although the series started with an apron, the paintings are not about aprons at all. They are about the complex dynamics of relationships. This is what stirs beneath the aprons.

In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery presents

 "Apron Stirrings"
Katherine van Schoonhoven

April 4 -- 27, 2014

2025 SE Jefferson Street
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Opening night: April 4, 2014

"Apron Stirrings" 
Opening Night and Artist's Reception
Friday, April 4, 2014
5:00 -- 8:00 pm

In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery
2025 SE Jefferson Street
Milwaukie, OR

The show is hung and it looks exciting and vibrant and beautiful. In addition to the Apron paintings, you will see many of my monotypes at the show. You can see them in the painting above, arranged on the floor before we put them up on the wall.

I hope to see you at the reception. If you can't make it then, please come by and see the show at your convenience. 

Gallery hours are: 
Thursday 1 - 5
Friday 1 - 5 (except 1st Friday, open until 8)
Sunday 10 - 2
or by appointment

Special thanks to gallery owner and artist Roxanne Colyer Clingman for her unflagging encouragement and hard work. Without her, this show would not have happened. Thank you, Roxanne!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Opening night April 4, 2014!

You are invited to 

"Apron Stirrings" 

at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery for my solo show.

Opening reception is Friday, April 4, 2014 from 5:00 -- 8:00 pm.

Hope you can make it!!

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Ella throws it down!

"Ella Throws it Down" 32 x 24, acrylic

"Every child is an artist. The problem is 
how to remain an artist once we grow up." 
Pablo Picasso

There's nothing so refreshing as inviting a child into my studio to play. Before long I remember what it is to be fearless, curious, and completely involved in art making.

And so it was when almost seven year old Ella came to play. She picked up art materials and experimented with vigor and abandon. My role as guide was hardly needed as she drew, painted, and created some wonderful and very personal expressions of art.

For some of our splashy fun with acrylic, I had her wear an apron to protect her clothes. Ella wasn't thrilled, but she complied. As soon as she was done with the acrylic work, she asked if she could take off the apron. Of course. I was intrigued to see her not only take off the apron, but throw it down. That gesture was priceless.

After she and her mommy left, I picked up my sketchbook (you thought I was going to say that I picked up the apron, right? Hah!) and quickly sketched some little thumbnail ideas of Ella in the studio, including her throwing down the apron. This painting came from some of those sketches.

As I worked on this painting, I thought about times in my life when I put on some covering of protection. I accept that I needed it for a time, but when I am released from that need, do I take it off? I might ignore the constraints, the itchy neck, the binding strings, and adapt myself to the discomfort of it. Over time, layer upon layer build up to create an entire shell of protection and my voice becomes muffled under the burden of it all. 

I think I will take a lesson from Ella. When protection is no longer needed, I'll take it off and THROW IT DOWN! 

This painting, and many others that relate in some way to aprons, will be in my solo show "Apron Stirrings" and I hope you will come to see it!

"Apron Stirrings"
Artist reception: Friday, April 4, 2014
2025 SE Jefferson
Milwaukie, OR 97222

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Triad at Trinity, opening reception

Triad at Trinity
Portland Women in Abstract Media

Nikki Dilbeck
Ann Fullerton
Jan Heigh
Bonnie Garrett
Collin Murphy
Katherine van Schoonhoven
Marilyn Woods

Exhibition: March 9 -- April 27, 2014

Reception: Sunday, March 9, 11am -- 1pm
                   Guitar music by Allen Matthews
                  Kempton Hall
Forum with artists: Sunday, April 27, 9am

Trinity Episcopal Cathedral
147 NW 19th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97209

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Show at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral

Gathering: Alone in a Crowd, acrylic on panel, 24 x 24
"Do you know about 'Quirkyalone'?" a viewer asked me when he saw this painting. 

I had never heard the word before that moment, but I asked him about it and then looked it up on line. According to Wikipedia:

"Quirkyalone is a neologism referring to someone who enjoys being single and generally prefers to be alone rather than dating for the sake of it"

 The word has been around for 15 years and this was the first time I heard it. 

There is no greater compliment than to hear that a painting touches someone in a meaningful way.

This painting is part of a group show of abstract work with some paintings based on a specific triad of paint colors. I hope you will be able to come and see the show!

"Triad at Trinity" work by  Portland Women in Abstract Media
 Artists' reception March 9 at 11:00 am
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral 
147 NW 19th Ave Portland, OR 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

monotypes for the shows

Monotype, "Breeze" 14 x 14
 These are just two of many monotypes that are getting framed and ready for two shows coming up this Spring! 

Simple black wood frames and wide white double matting make these pieces windows of color wherever they hang.

In March/April 2014 you can see my work as part of a PDX-WAM group show at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral in Portland, OR. 

In April 2014 you can see my work in a solo show at In Bocca al Lupo Fine Art Gallery in Milwaukie, OR. 
Monotype, "Ascending" 14 x 14
More details to come!

Friday, January 31, 2014

this land

Yosemite Falls, 16 x 20, pastel on BFK
I cannot resist a national park when I travel. A month in California afforded me the chance to see three: Joshua Tree National Park, Pinnacles National ParkChannel Islands National Park, and Yosemite National Park.

I will never forget my first trip to Yosemite. I was eight years old and we went on a family summer vacation there. 

My grandmother was with us and that filled our stations wagon with: four kids, three adults, luggage, ice chests, pillows, and all manner of toys and books and other stuff for the four hour drive.

To help pass the time, my grandmother started to sing songs. Mom knew the songs and the two of them sang in a magical kind of harmony that captivated all of us kids. I begged them to sing the songs again and again so that I could learn their words and melodies and harmonies.

This week, Pete Seeger died and the media is filled with many tributes about the man and his music. Much of what I hear are the songs my grandmother and mother sang in the car on our way up to Yosemite. Maybe your family sang these songs on your car rides when you were a kid, too. "If I Had a Hammer," "Where Have All the Flowers Gone," "Swanee River," "On Top of Old Smokey," and one of my favorites, "This Land is Your Land."

Rest in peace, Pete Seeger. Thank you for your great love of our country and the people who live in it and for your legacy of music. Your message of peace and beauty will live on.

Pete Seeger and Arlo Guthrie "This Land is Your Land." 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

learning from the plein air line up

Here are all of the "Times of Day" paintings from my time in California, painting plein air at the beach. Now that I am back in the studio, I have pinned all of these paintings to a corkboard, where I can see them all together. The line up teaches me a lot. Actually, the line up just sits there and waits for me to figure out what there is for me to learn. 

In the first piece, "9:00," I was full of excitement about being out painting plein air. I was stimulated by everything: the sky with the dynamic clouds, the shape of Santa Cruz Island out in the water, the reflections in the water, and the varied colors and shapes in the sand. This piece has no focus because I had no focus when I was painting it. The painting is an accurate depiction of my enthusiastic visual jumping all over the scene.

The second piece, "11:00," shows a little more restraint. The sand is simplified and rests at the bottom of the picture plane as do the reflections on the water. Santa Cruz Island, slightly obscured by hazy fog, is less firmly stated. In this piece, the sky takes center stage, well-deserved for its variety and value range. I can see how I settled down for this painting and I painted what interested me most about this scene.

The third piece, "1:00," is nearly an abstraction. Fog completely hid the island and formed a pinkish gray band of separation between the mid-day sky and the reflective sea. I left off the sand because it seemed less important. The cirrus clouds break up the dark blue sky expanse and the small fog band and sea bands balance out this piece. 

I was excited by the abstraction of the third piece and pushed it harder in the fourth, "2:00." I deepened the intensity of the sky as it was the heat of the day and a flatter, grayer fog hid Santa Cruz Island. I had a difficult time capturing the shimmering violets on the water surface and felt frustrated by this piece. 

The final piece, "4:00," was a challenge as all pieces are when the sun is directly in your painting view. I looked at the sky and tried to memorize what I saw and then when I looked down into my pastel box, everything was dark and nearly monochrome. My eyes were dilated by the light and not quick to respond to looking down to a shadowed box. Because I could not see well, I painted this by feeling it. I reached into my pastel box, organized by value and hue, and pulled out sticks and used them because they were where I thought the right one should be. Back and forth, chasing the sinking sun. Looking at it now, I think it is my favorite of the group. It smells of salt spray and sounds like gulls and surf.

January 2014, California beach at Rincon parkway.
It's good to be home. I am reflecting on what I learned from the above series and thinking about how I might create some new plein air situations for myself for more learning opportunities. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014


Here is the last plein air painting I made from Rincon Parkway, near Ventura, CA. 

As the sun set, the line between sea and sky blurred and color became the most important element. Staring into the sunset put my pupils down to pinpricks, then looking at my pastels and paper with those same eyes made everything impossibly dark. 

Yesterday I got to see Robert Burridge's show, "Soulmates" at the Buenaventura Gallery in Ventura. Click here for a photo of some of the pieces. It was like drooling over the dessert table at a buffet to see his vibrantly painted figure pieces in a row on the wall. And a tender juxtaposition to see the quiet nudes in their black and white simplicity. 

"The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see." Gilbert K. Chesterton