Thursday, April 30, 2015

M is for Mini-Batik

Mini-batiks are a good excuse to have some fun with limited values (as in two).  I call these pieces "minis" because of their size,  but I use the term "batik" loosely; there is only one layer of wax on the little paintings.

Letting Go - Ink Batik on Rice Paper - 7X5 - Sold

 Although they are not everyone's cup of tea, black and white restricted value pieces appeal to me.  I like the drama of them as well as that look of illustration.  They also help reinforce the goals of having a pleasing notan design (lights & darks) and "gestalt."
Some would say that just doing a quick thumbnail sketch can determine whether or not you've got some gestalt going.

Focused - Ink Batik on Rice Paper - 7X5

Well, I haven't seen my sketchbook in a while, ...

Untitled - Ink Batik on Rice Paper - 5X7

and I think creating minis is more fun anyway.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

L is for Laurie Mueller

Michigan artist Laurie Mueller is one of the painters with whom I took a Carol Marine workshop outside of Chicago a few years ago.  About six of us have remained in close contact, and our friendship has deepened.

Laurie's style is uniquely her own.  Her use of color and the resulting luminosity in her paintings has consistently stopped me in my tracks.  Her paintings are so exciting that I thought I would do a batik using "Laurie" colors for the "L" post.

   My husband set me straight, though, and reminded me that only Laurie could paint like Laurie.

Here's a sampling of Ms. Mueller's beautiful work:

So, ... what could I paint that reminded me of Laurie and began with an L?

Lemon in Rice Bowl - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8X10; painted from reference by photographer Lillian Bell  (Boy, I'm having trouble color correcting this one...)
Laurie will laugh that I have associated her name with a lemon.

  But let me assure you, Laurie, the lemon represents everything you are - happiness, fun, and pure sunshine!

Friday, April 24, 2015

Frugal Friday in the Garden

Like many families, we are being financially stretched till it hurts, so Friday sounds like a good day to write about frugal projects around the house and garden.

Local garden center - great place to get ideas

The current dilemma is to create a garden that satisfies our need for a  more self-sufficient lifestyle.  But that doesn't mean it can't have a little panache.   I have a $75 budget for this season's "creative flair" part of the plan, and hope to spend less.

Not in the budget at the moment

Maybe in the budget

Last week our community hosted a bulk pick-up day.  We hit the neighborhood the night before the big event to see what early pickings we could find at the curb. 

My husband was embarrassed, but agreed to drive the "getaway" car.  Since I am my mother's daughter, I went boldly into the setting sun and found these terracotta pots  -  FREE -FREE - FREE!

Free pots - a good way to start


More free pots

So what to do with all these pots?  One of my favorite gardening sites is Gardenista.  They have ideas on color washing, creating mosaics and painting terracotta pots.  I really like mossy containers,  too.

Two of these largest pots will hold dwarf trees:  a fig tree and an olive tree.

The rest of the pots will be homes for flowers and herbs.

Morning glories

There's more where these came from.

This weekend, I'm planning to visit some yard sales.  This will give me something to write about next Frugal Friday;  ah, yeah - that's my excuse. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

K is for Kite Watercolor Batik

Kite - Watercolor Batik on Rice Paper - 8 X 10 - NFS

This rainbow raptor is called a kite.  Like eagles and hawks, kites are birds of prey. 

 A variety of raptors hover and soar above our neighborhood here in northwest Oregon.   We have even seen a bald eagle fly to a nest on top of a nearby cell phone tower;  this will explain the upcoming sightings of two headed birds.

And here are some batiks that don't fly; they didn't
 make the cut.

A couple of them look okay from this viewpoint, but they are not okay - most have holes in them, some are unable to be cropped to fit standard mats, and some my own family does not even want.

So, compliments of my daughter,  here is a very short video consistent with the theme of flight.  You might want to turn down the volume on your computer.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Memory Lane

Alcohol Ink on 4X4 Tile     These are usually mounted into simple black floater frames and look pretty when grouped together on a wall.   This tile was inked last night.


About two years ago,  Ohio artists Kristen Dukat and Kelly Alge visited Portland - Kelly on business and Kristen for moral support.  To read about our week long adventures, click here:

During that time, Kristen and Kelly introduced me to alcohol inks.   Ink projects are not necessarily what people think of as "fine art," but they are definitely "fun art."  Alcohol ink paintings also have a glow that is hard to replicate with other mediums.

Here are a couple of beginner pieces.
Alcohol Ink on Yupo - 5X7
Alcohol Ink on Yupo - 5X7
My lesson with inks is to allow the image to emerge and to practice non-attachment; in other words, they can be tough for someone who has control issues.  If you're on a quest for perfection, inks can be a challenge, but a fun one.
Artist June Rollins started the alcohol ink craze.  She offers free demos for you on YouTube:

Painting has taken a back seat to getting things done around the house, but that's no excuse not to find the time to do something artsy.  Alcohol inks satisfy my need for expression and the need to give my critical mind a break.

Don't forget to wear gloves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Independence Day

This is a conversation I had with myself this morning.
I feel liberated.  The desire to become a daily painter is gone.  And the guilt for failure to become a member of the club is also gone.

The desire to paint, though, is still irresistible - watercolor batiks, palette knife painting, even some plein air painting towards the end of the summer are high on the list.

Plein air painting in Michigan.  Tim - sitting down on the job.
Plein air painting on Sauvie Island in Portland with Tim and artist  Joanne Kollman.
It was a bit windy on Sauvie Island that afternoon.
Plein air painting workshop with artist Becky Joy in Hood River.

In reality, the desire to do anything inspired is irresistible.   

The focus of this blog, then, will expand to include all things creative, artsy and beautiful in and around Portland  (although I think its been going in that direction for a while).

Painting is not the only creative outlet on earth (well, maybe sometimes it is).
But it's okay if I don't paint every day, ...

No, this is not my backyard.  It was an art sale a few blocks away from my house.

This guard-bear was lurking around the art sale tent.
so no more guilt.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Atelier Tipton

While living in Michigan, I discovered the work of Oregon artist Randall David Tipton on  I became captivated by his contemporary portrayal of the wetlands and rainforests of northwest Oregon.    Surely this area of the country could not be as beautiful as Randall depicted...  

Oregon Estuary Rainforest 2 - 40X60  -  Artist:  RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

Fast forward to Spring 2010 when we flew into Portland.  After having looked at different possible relocation areas around the country, Tim and I were hoping the Pacific Northwest would feel like home.  It did - immediately.

 From Portland, we headed down the Oregon coast.
Over the Sea 21 - Artist:  RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

Imagine my surprise when we walked into the White Bird Gallery in Cannon Beach and saw Randall Tipton's artwork hanging on the wall!

Rainforest Morning - 14X11 - Artist:  RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

In 2012, we finally moved to Oregon.   It was easy becoming immersed into the art community in Portland because everyone here was so welcoming.  I kept wondering, though,  how I could see more of Randall's work up close and personal.

Headwaters - 6 X 15 - Artist: RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

The following year, I learned Randall was participating in the Portland Open Studios Tour.  I blush when I say I visited his studio twice.

Oswego Creek - 36X60 - Artist:  RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

Last year, Randall's home studio was on the tour again.  This time I mustered up the courage to talk to him.  What a gracious, generous host!

Falls Creek Falls - 12X36 - Artist:  RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

Randall currently opens his workspace to the public once a month where he provides a dazzling demo.

And although I haven't had the chance to paint too often these past few weeks, our visit to Randall's home studio this morning more than made up for it.  

Today, Randall demonstrated watermedia on watercolor paper to a standing-room-only crowd.

This small sketch of some trees on Sauvie Island inspired the demo painting.

The finished version is on Randall's blog:

Oregon Coastal Bog - 12X42 - Artist:  RANDALL DAVID TIPTON

To the best of my knowledge, all of the paintings shown here are available for purchase through
Randall's studio.  (I have my eye on one!)

To see more of his work, check out Randall's website:  He's got a wonderful blog, too!

Monday, April 6, 2015

There's Something About a Blog

Is Facebook really like "high school on the internet?"    What is all this "friend" - "unfriend" business?   Why do they keep changing the rules?  Why does Facebook keep asking me how I know a certain person, what high school I attended, what my interests are?

 Guess that's why I just deleted my Facebook account. 

There's something about a blog.  Blogging is creative.  It might require more effort than Facebook, but the payoff is greater:  actual human interaction.

Alphabet District - Portland

I love reading other people's blogs.  I love how the stories of their lives are revealed bit by bit.  I get glimpses of who others really are through photos, thoughts, writings.
 That's what I'm after.

I'm seeking a personal connection; that's why I'm reading a blog.

Beautiful flowers called Acanthus.  Thanks, Lydie!
Local lavender farm during annual Lavender Festival

Wine tasting last year .  Never leave home without your camera

In general,  I don't care if you're pushing yourself forward as an expert on something.   I don't need to look at your mini-mansion or your rent-controlled housing unit.

   I really like to see what makes you unique and how you express your creativity - the way you arranged some field flowers, the way you braided your daughter's hair, your artwork on a silly rock - that's what I find interesting.


I like to see how you find something beautiful where you are right now - your babies "piggies," the clouds overhead your house, the quick dinner you just whipped up.

Outdoor lunch in Hood River (I did not whip this up.)
Food - I like reading about it, cooking it, eating it.

  It's fun to see how you notice art and humor in everyday life.  Have you just finished a great book?  Do you sew, make jewelry, have an interest in all things vintage?  I'd love to see a photo of your dog or cat or horse, pig, bird - even your chickens and goats.

Our dog, Cobie.   Found him at a no-kill shelter.  He had been there over half of his life when we adopted him.  He's now grayer (like me) and a bit lumpy and bumpy.

Do you like spending time outside?  Not like I do this all the time, but day long field trips in NW Oregon are fun.

Hiking in the gorge  - behind Horseshoe Falls

Oregon coast - Hug Point

University of Oregon - Eugene  /  They love their football.  (I don't, but they do.)

By blogging, I've made friends and connections I will always cherish.  

Maybe the photos suggest I have a great life.   Is it perfect?  Of course not.   Do I have as many problems as you do - health problems, financial problems, worry over loved ones?  I bet I do.  But that's where  the friends come in.

And then there's the art blog.  Some artists feel their artwork should stand alone; speak for itself as it does on a website.   That's cool.  Your artwork absolutely reveals something about you.   I  love looking at it!

But I still prefer a more personal connection.  I love writing on a blog because blogging is real.

Oh, and by the way, my daughter said while I'm getting real, I need to remove my 10-year-old profile picture from the blog and post a current one.


Taken last summer halfway up Mt. Hood

Taken last week - Carver Cafe (That's Tim)

Hoping to get back to painting this week.  If not,
maybe I'll just kick back and look at your blog.