Friday, January 23, 2009

France Journal

No, I haven't been to France lately but I'd love to return. Provance is an especially wonderful and beautiful place, but then I like the countryside anywhere. I'm sharing these few pages to keep you content with my upcoming absence. My husband and I are spending the next week on the often stormy Oregon coast, watching the light change and getting some R&R. I'm taking my new easyL lightweight travel easel and will break it in by doing a bunch of oil sketches. I need to practice with oils, something which doesn't seem to get done at home. Perhaps with different kinds of distraction I'll be inspired to paint lots of water and sky.

The Gauguin and Vuillard pages were done to document our visit to Paris exhibitions of those artists work. I'm most found of Vuillard with his orgy of patterns in the wallpaper, table cover, and dresses. Gauguin didn't paint patterned dresses on his women... he didn't even put dresses on most of them! It was Polynesia, after all, and very warm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The School of Uncertainty

Another piece in my Sermon Note series, this piece is simply watercolor and rubber stamps. I work on a 9" x 12" block of 140# watercolor paper, usually Canson Montval cold press. The block works well because all 4 edges are glued together with the rest of the pages in the block, making a very firm surface which dries absolutely smooth no matter how much water I throw at it or how many layers of papers I glue to it. And the paper takes lots of abuse.
I used paints straight out of the tube because I wanted vibrant color, indicating my ongoing current theme of HOPE. I used cad yellow light, indian yellow, cad red light, cobalt violet, ultramarine blue, phthalo blue and winsor green.

A group women at my church are getting together soon to see how much interest they can generate in teaching homeless women in the community to knit or crochet. I was asked to come up with a logo, a task which is definitely not part of my natural skill set, but I think the result will work. It was definitely a stretch for me. Perhaps it was the "logo" word that put me off; I view designing logos to be part of the job description of high paid illustrators.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


Today is Worldwide Sketchcrawl Day and I went with a friend to the Tualatin River National Wildlife Refuge, in Sherwood, OR, to sketch in the 36 degree foggy weather. It is so beautiful there with lots of water fowl happily swimming in the huge ponds that have been created by the melting snow and rains of the last weeks. Big oak trees like this one were standing on hummocks on actually in the water and being reflected perfectly in the smooth-as-glass water.
And yes, I exaggerated the colors.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Working From Photographs

Big D on Green

$250 unframed

22" x 30"
Most people who see this acrylic painting think it's a non-representational or abstract design, simply a big letter D and perhaps they wonder why I painted it. The simple answer is that I wanted to, but that sounds a bit snippy so I go on to tell them the story.

On May 20, 2000 (I know because the date is on the photo) my brother and I were driving down a street in his Arkansas town when I spotted a rather rundown corrugated tin building painted the most wonderful green. My brother is the best person in the world to go for a drive with because he'll cheerfull stop for anything, any where, or even turn around and go back when we're miles down the road. So we came to a screeching halt, backed up and I jumped out to take some photos. I'm sure he was wondering why I would want to make a picture of that ugly building. And the simple answer was that I saw beauty there and wanted to keep it because my memory fails regularly. I wasn't sketching much at the time but I've always kept my eyes open so I collected the image, and that's the image that led directly to this painting. Here's what I saw.

Photograph of the building

Detail Photograph

This is one of the most realistic paintings I've ever done, and it was lots of fun to mix the colors and figure out how best to represent the texture. I used a piece of corrugated cardboard as my brush to indicated the lines of the tin building material and collaged 2 pieces of cardboard to the watercolor paper to indicated the patches in the metal siding.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Keep Your Eyes Open

Two friends and I went sketching Saturday and because the day was so cold we decided to stay indoors and sketch at Multnomah Art Center. We walked the halls looking for a good place to get comfortable and spied the weaving rooms. With permission we went in and poked around amongst the dozens of looms and marveled at all the tools of the trade which were displayed on the walls and counters. I took lots of photos and finally sat down to sketch... and no, you can't see my drawing. I bit off more than I was capable of rendering and the results were not so good. That happens to all of us and I'm not discouraged.

However I made some interesting photos of the tools and looms. The first picture is of shuttles standing upright in a bucket; I'll do some drawings of this shape from this photograph which is what I should have done in situ rather than tackling a complex scene in limited time.

I've learned to keep my eyes open and searching for interesting things to photograph or draw as I travel through this world of ours. I would have never imagined seeing these weaving things had I not taken time to poke around another weaving studio a few years back. This has me thinking about what I might find in my sewing tools and in my kitchen cabinets if I open my eyes to the possibilities.

Here are some other photos.

Twisted wire heddles

Individual Wire Heddles

Thursday, January 01, 2009


Sixteen years ago the talk around the kitchen table was all about a man from a town called Hope. That didn’t work out so well when a deficit of character was revealed. Then we placed our hope on a man of character who led us down the path to war… and that didn’t work out well either. Now many Americans link this country’s future to “hope for change”. We’ll see. It could just work if we all pull together to re-claim the honor that was once integral in the USA.

There’s another kind of hope, one that has nothing to do with the hope and expectation I place in the leaders of my county that they will lead with wisdom, integrity, and strength. This other kind of hope is more personal and has to do with faith, this one woman’s hope in the God of the Bible.

Happy New Year to each of you. May this year bring you hope, joy, and peace.
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