Sunday, July 31, 2016


When Facebook pulled this photo from 2011 out of the archive as a memory, I actually had no memory of taking it. I didn't doubt Facebook, as I did remember going through a stage of taking closeups of blooms. I just didn't remember THIS particular photo. But Facebook was right. Here's my blog post where I shared this and other photos of tulips from my garden. And my mind started wondering what I could do with this photo, something along the lines of my friend Michele who dabbles in manipulating her photos and adding quotations. As I scroll through her blog to find an example, I discover she has also done one with tulips. I like my photo just as it is, but I did want to get rid of the light to white bit at the upper right.

About this same time, I came across a quotation that sounded like it was Buddhist wisdom:

"And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

Even the name of the author, Anais Nin, sounded like someone coming out of Eastern philosophies. In fact, Nin was born and raised in France to Cuban parents but lived most of her life in the United States and is best known for her journals. Still, this quotation evoked memories of something my yoga teacher shared with us about fear and risk. Fear, she said, makes your world smaller. It is like a turnstile that you must risk working your way through in order to reach something wonderful waiting for you on the other side. Risk opening  yourself to a larger, fuller world. The message resonated because I'd been living more and more fearfully at the time and indeed, my world had shrunk around me. I needed to take some risks and open up my world to wonderful things I didn't even know were waiting for me.

I also thought about a little pot of small carnations I bought along with other plants for my deck garden this spring. I'd been drawn in by their spicy scent and picked one that not only had open blooms but quite a few buds. The blooms lasted a long time before fading but those buds never did open. They just stayed tight and dried up into nothing. What a disappointment. In light of the quotation, it is a lesson for me again, to remember to keep opening to life.

It didn't take long for me to make the connection that this was the perfect quotation for my photo. I'm still fiddling a bit with typeface and getting it into a size that will print as a postcard, but in the meantime, I happily share this with you and say, "Blossom, my friends, blossom!"


Monday, July 25, 2016

Back To My Work

Master stapled over blanks
Things are going slowly with the Sea and Sand quilting but they are going. I mentioned that I'd be drawing out my design on Golden Threads Quilting Paper, cutting pieces to size for the different sections. Most of the blue areas are about 6 inches wide but vary in length. My original trial sketch is smaller than that so I start with it kind of centered under the tracing paper and fill in as needed around it. I'm finding I can use the same configuration for 4 to 6 areas before having to cut and trace a different size so to save time, I thought to stack the papers and needlepunch the design through all instead of individually tracing each paper. 

The areas to be quilted are small enough that I can simply pin the pattern on rather than use any kind of temporary spray baste. I've tried that and found removing the papers afterward a nightmare, the tiny bits refusing to release, so I do not recommend it.  The long flowerhead pins worked particularly well. The paper tears away quite cleanly along the stitching lines, like tearing a page out of a notebook. Slipping a seam ripper under the paper and along the stitching helps in the tight area as do tweezers to remove any small bits trapped under threads.

Trouble following lines but better
But I am easily confused these days and I found the perforated lines were not guide enough for seeing where to go around those swirls. I needed a solid line to follow so ended up running pencil along the hard to decipher perforations before stitching away. And to say I am a bit rusty in my machine quilting is an understatement! However, I have a system now that is speeding things up, even as I take time to trace the design on each paper rather than needlepunch and spend extra time removing said papers afterward. These extra steps are worth it to me when I see the results, and each tracing solidifies the memory of how the swirls swirl. With about half of the areas quilted, I am getting in the groove with a steadier more relaxed movement. I'm thinking I may even be able to do the last few smaller areas on my own, no guide on paper needed. Maybe. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Rest of ArtWalk at the Bank- Mixing It Up

I mentioned that the last of the art from Columbia Bank is a bit in its own league. Most falls under the "mixed media" category and then some clay and mosaics. I should have included this first one with the paintings, but overlooked it until today. It's a watercolor by Jean Spinosa, but she enhances that gnarly old tree with pen and ink - a touch that intrigued and made all the difference to me.

You can see that addition of pen and ink in this detail shot.

Mosaics by Cheryl Klein

Have to admit that rounding the corner to see these bright and sparkling mosaics put a smile on my face. It's been awhile since this medium has been represented.

This detail shot of the piece on the right in the group shot shows the variety of glass she uses. I'm guessing some of those are from dishes. The stones make the perfect border.

Our area is well known for its ski resort at Schweitzer Mountain and the mountain shows up often in photographs and paintings. Not sure I've ever seen it rendered as a mosaic.

The detail shot of this one reveals the inclusion of pieces of mirror. See my  camera in the reflection?

And now for something very different and again it made me smile. Barry D. Burgess fashioned his whimsical mixed media pieces from foam board and recycled computer parts.

Be sure to check out the titles of his work - click on any photo for a larger view.

I was happy to see this piece, "NOW", by Kevin Watson, as I'd viewed it in his studio when my art group spent a day on the art studio tour last summer. Kevin is another artist whose mixed media work includes recycled parts in creative ways to come up with pieces slightly skewed and utterly delightful. This however he said he made as a reminder to never put off working on his art, no excuses, get to work now. I myself had just run across an inspirational quote to get one going in the studio - SAY YES - and thought I should put that up in my own studio. I could easily make a quilt banner similar to his metal one. (And no, I haven't done it yet. I may be saying yes about more, but forget the now part.)

Not sure I noticed the bell at the top before.

But I did not get close enough to it in his studio to realize that the metal parts were attached to a thick band of leather.

Finally we have Leata Judd, who is a true icon in this area. She's getting on in years but that hasn't stopped her output of whimsical work, much of it meant for the outdoors. Among her offerings this year is this mixed media piece. I studied it closely and am not sure why it falls in that category, but I couldn't really tell you what she used to make this lovely serene drawing/painting. It was particularly susceptible to reflections off its glass.

This clay piece is more what I'm used to seeing from her.

And what a delight to see her clay rendition of our historic train station. I wrote about it here when I sketched it in 2014. It has since undergone quite a renovation.

Not exactly to scale, not exactly a copy of the real thing, but the locals wouldn't have to be told that this was their depot.

So what exactly is that she's placed on the rooftop? Has to be from Leata's imagination as I've never seen a nest there, and not even sure I've seen a bird like that in our area. Kinda perks it up though.

Hope you've enjoyed my guided tour of a part of ArtWalk 2016. 

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

More ArtWalk from the Bank - The Painters

Time to move to the upper floors of Columbia Bank to view the other artists represented there. This post focuses on paintings that caught my eye. I start with one of my favorite local artists, Ed Robinson. Ed's wife Karen is the professional artist in the family, but Ed as well as his son are accomplished artists as well. Ed's day job is with the Dept of Natural Resources I believe, at least some agency where he gets to spend time out in nature. He generally paints landscapes that include water, and he has become a master at rendering realistic rocks under water. This painting is a bit out of his norm, a scene along the Pend Oreille Trail along the lake that I started walking last year. I think its peacefulness and simplicity is what caught my eye and held it. Because it is under glass, this is the only angle I could get without massive reflections. Click on any photo for a larger view.

Multnomah Falls by Ed Robinson

Detail of Multonmah Falls

This one of Multnomah Falls in Oregon is also a bit atypical for him, but nicely done as well.

Another watercolorist, Jeanine Asche, chose a subject close to my heart - autumn leaves. See the red dot? I believe she is the only artist at the bank to have sold a piece of art. I could certainly see why.

Randy Wilhelm teaches art and graphic design at the high school here. My sense from viewing his entries in POAC exhibits over the years is that he's always pushing himself, playing with different media or substrates or subject matter. I'm not normally drawn to this kind of subject matter, but oh, those colors! They made me take a closer look, and while I presumed it was another watercolor, it is instead done with ink and dye. Love the look.

This pair of oil paintings are by Leona Fox (click on the photo to read her artist statement or here to see more of her work). They are rich and reflective and capture a tiny bit of Round Lake, another place I've hiked along.

Lastly, a few acrylic paintings. Peggy Tessema Compton had several in this long narrow format that I found particularly compelling. It works especially well with cranes in flight I think and are larger than the photo would imply. Her colors are rich as well.

And this one by Bruce Duykers, "Shot the Moon". I stood before it for a long time, finding myself gently pulled into it, then pulling back out to see more. This was quite large, a painting to get lost in.

There's one more group to show you, ones working with less often seen materials and with a definitely different take or subject matter. They are sort of in a league of their own and most enjoyable to happen upon in the midst of so much "typical" artwork.  

Friday, July 15, 2016

Back to the Bank for More ArtWalk

As I mentioned, there are around 25 artists besides me showing at Columbia Bank so I'll be highlighting my favorites over the next few posts. But I'm starting this post out with what became the running joke of my display during the opening reception. Many people stepped off the elevator or while walking by paused to take a closer look at that piece of art on the left . . . including me. And then slightly embarrassed, backed away, perhaps looking over their shoulder at me with a crooked smile once they saw what it was.

So close to my own framed pieces, looking framed itself and actually of a kind with my Eisenberg Fountain, it is actually the building's main floor plan with exit route marked in case of fire! Many suggested I make a tag and put a price on it, it would probably sell. We all got a good laugh out of that.

 The rest of the art in this post belongs to Denys Knight, who also displayed on the main floor but nearer the Tango Cafe. I own one of her pieces and am so intrigued with the way she manipulates metal in so many interesting ways. She has begun incorporating strung beads in some pieces, which I'm not sure I like. What I do always like is the weaving, the texturing, the colors and the way in some bits of metal escape over the frame or in other ways come off the background. You can click on any photo for a larger view - do enjoy!

Yes, every bit of that is metal

Another angle, note the crystal bead dangles

Bead dangles on this one too

Those woven metal strips curve WAY out beyond the frame

Monday, July 11, 2016

Doin' the ArtWalk

Couldn't resist the classic feet shot
While it is a great honor to be in ArtWalk, that ties you to one location during the opening receptions so you don't get to do ArtWalk, not until later. I know it's not the Third Monday of the month, but my art group had to juggle dates again and chose today as our July meeting date and doing ArtWalk as our activity. There were 5 of us today, and although we started out at the bank where three of us are exhibiting, we soon realized we'd all gotten a chance to see the art on the other floors.

Foiled by a closed site, we contemplate jaywalking

So it was off to other locations. The bank is just one of 30 businesses displaying art for ArtWalk with a total of 120 or so artists participating (around 25 artists just at the bank). With map in hand we struck out only to discover we'd picked a bad day. Many businesses are closed on Monday - even the event sponsor POAC itself. Oh well, we saw what we could see and enjoyed ourselves anyway. ArtWalk runs into September so we have plenty of time to check out the other locations.

Snails anyone?

I forgot to get the camera snapping so this is the only art I captured today. Aren't these yard ornaments great? They are at Petal Talk, a florist shop, and made by Melissa Hollis.

Love the turtle's eyes

I'm guessing one reason I didn't think to take pictures of the art today is because I'd already taken a bunch at the bank on another day, ones that I will share with you in future posts. Stay tuned! 


Sunday, July 10, 2016


Things have been humming along in the studio. I finished piecing the "tiles" top and it is ready to layer for quilting (but must wait until I free up some safety pins!). I cleaned the lint out of my machine and set it up for stitching in the ditch with walking foot. "Sea and Sand" now has all that stabilizing stitching along seam lines done, ready for addition of free motion motifs. I tried a few ideas out on paper, wanting to incorporate some swirling lines that would invoke the idea of waves. I could barely draw decent ones with pencil; I can't imagine I can do it sufficiently with the machine without some kind of guide. I've tried this sort of motif before without marking, a long time ago, and it barely passed muster. I may mark at least some of it on Golden Threads Quilter's Paper just to take away some of the stress, time well spent to avoid the anguish of seeing wobbly weird waves under the needle.

This one is going to my godson's baby boy who is named Kavi, and I want to quilt his name across some of the yellow bands. After several tries, I could see that quilting it in print rather than script would look the best. Some of those bands are quite wide though, so I may add some gently curved lines above and below the name. What to do with the vertical yellow bands? I think the same curved lines, something that I hope will read as rippled sand.

I always feel a bit of guilty after my posts in memory of my late husband. I'm not looking for sympathy when I write them but feel the need to share about him within my blog family. A bit of catharsis for me and perhaps a window to a better understanding of me for my readers. And perhaps, for those who have loved and lost as well, a bit of solace and the knowledge that you are not alone in your grief. So I thought it very timely that I ran across a little essay this week on Solace by an author I discovered not long ago, David Whyte. He has combined these essays based on words we think we understand but upon which he puts a slightly different view in his book Consolations: The Solace, Nourishment and Underlying Meaning in Everyday Words. You can read the excerpt of the essay on Solace in its entirety on his Facebook page here. But it was this last bit at the end that caught my attention, here in this week when I am remembering my dear husband the most:

To look for solace is to learn to ask fiercer and more exquisitely pointed questions, questions that reshape our identities and our bodies and our relation to others. Standing in loss but not overwhelmed by it, we become useful and generous and compassionate and even more amusing companions for others.

But solace also asks us very direct and forceful questions. Firstly, how will you bear the inevitable loss that will accompany you? And how will you endure it through the years? And above all, how will you shape a life equal to and as beautiful and as astonishing as a world that can birth you, bring you into the light and then just as you were beginning to understand it, take you away?