Sunday, March 29, 2015

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

J is for Japanese Print - Watercolor Batik

Evening Snow in Asakusa (detail-1) c.1845
After Utagawa Hiroshige
This batik was copied from a portion of a 19th century woodblock print.

Evening Snow in Asakusa (detail-2) c.1845
After Utagawa Hiroshige
This batik was copied from a portion of a 19th century woodblock print.

 "One day in 1871, legend has it, a French artist named Claude Monet walked into a food shop in Amsterdam where he had gone to escape the Prussian siege of Paris.  There he spotted some Japanese prints being used as wrapping paper.  He was so taken by the engravings that he bought one on the spot.  The purchase changed his
life - and the history of Western art."
Don Morrison, Time Magazine

Monet collected over 200 Japanese prints.

The only thing I remember from art history classes is the story of the Impressionists and post-Impressionists (a selective memory, I'm sure).   During the time of the Impressionists, there was a particular frenzy for all things Japanese.

"In the West, what we admired most of all was this bold way of cropping images; these people taught us to compose differently."
Claude Monet 

Monet, Manet, Degas, Pisarro,  Toulouse-Lautrec, Van Gogh, and Gauguin are among those whose work was impacted by 17th-19th Century Japanese woodblock prints.

“I envy the Japanese artists for the incredible neat clarity which all their works have. It is never boring and you never get the impression that they work in a hurry. It is as simple as breathing; they draw a figure with a couple of strokes with such an unfailing easiness as if it were as easy as buttoning one’s waist-coat.” 
Vincent Van Gogh

If it were only that easy, Monsieur Van Gogh.

Monday, March 23, 2015

I is for Ivory Watercolor Batik

 Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 10X8

“But perhaps the most important lesson I learned is that there are no walls between humans and the elephants except those we put up ourselves, and that until we allow not only elephants but all living creatures their place in the sun, we can never be whole ourselves.”

Lawrence Anthony,  The Elephant Whisperer:  My Life with the Herd in the African Wild

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Around the House

Cilantro, Oregano

Sunflower nursery
Raised bed with snow peas, radishes, spinach & kale
Right outside the window
The rhododendrons in our front yard are next to bloom.

The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and the plants are happy here in the Pacific Northwest.

We moved to Oregon from Michigan in June, 2012 and have enjoyed mild green winters and long growing seasons.  

It's the perfect spot to nest and get dirt under my fingernails.  I've even had dirt under my toenails, but that's kind of gross.  I probably shouldn't have mentioned that.

This year, my goal in the garden is to make it more edible and more"artsy."  I've been scouring do-it-yourself garden decor articles to find some projects to do on a budget. 

Our backyard is really small, and our dog Cobie has claimed one of the raised beds as his personal outdoor lounge area.  That's okay; I've got the plans for vertical plantings and container gardens.

So, I'm hoping for an abundant imperfect organic backyard with some handmade pieces of garden art.   It won't make it to the garden tour, but I hope it will be a great place to unwind.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Friday, March 13, 2015

For My Artist Friends

 A few years back, I stumbled on a great art marketing book called "I'd Rather Be in the Studio" by Alyson Stanfield.   The book has received off-the-charts reviews on Amazon, so I'm not the only one who loves it.

Guess what?  Alyson has an awesome blog, too.   And it's chock-full of really valuable information just for you!

  Thought I'd share this goodie with you:

Friday, March 6, 2015

H is for Humble

An " H" painting will appear soon, but for now I'm licking my wounds over  failed attempts at  a commissioned portrait.  It's for a family member so I hope I'll be forgiven for getting it back to her in a very untimely manner.

In the meantime, I spent a mental health morning with my favorite group of artists at O'Connor's Pub in Multnomah Village, an eclectic neighborhood in SE Portland.  Our group is called Alla Prima Portland and we meet to exchange ideas, share current news and generally support and encourage each other.

Artist Celeste Bergin presides over the meeting with elegance and humor.  Celeste takes exhaustive notes and photographs, and posts the results on a blog.

If you need a dose of art talk and artwork, take a look at the blog:  Alla Prima Portland.