Friday, February 26, 2010

On a Clear Day

You can see the Olympic Mountains from East Bay Drive in Olympia, Washington.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Heron Nests

The other day my friends and I took the Woodard Bay Trail near Woodard Bay and at the end of the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington. We wanted to view the nesting grounds of the herons. In our area I have seen both the white and blue herons. I would like to imagine that they are not discriminatory and share this wonderful nesting ground. Soon the trail will be closed to people so the herons will not be disturbed.

Photo from my cell phone:

Some interesting facts regarding the heron nests...

Usually, nests are about 1 metre in diameter and have a central cavity 10cm deep with a radius of 15cm. This internal cavity is sometimes lined with twigs, moss, lichens, or conifer needles.

Great Blue Herons normally nest near the tree tops. In colonies made up of several species, they will take possession of the top of the tree and leave the lower branches to other species.

In the spring, males and females reach the nesting grounds at about the same time. Males settle usually where there are nests from former years. Each male then defends his territory in the tree where he plans to build a new nest or restore an old one. From that site, males put on grand displays and shriek loudly when females approach them. New mates are chosen each year. Birds aged two years or more mate almost immediately upon arrival, usually at the nest or, when one is not available, on a branch.

The building of the nest soon follows. The male gathers nest-building materials around the nest site, from live or dead trees, from neighbouring nests, or along the ground, and the female works them into the nest. Ordinarily, a pair takes less than a week to build a nest solid enough for eggs to be laid and incubated. Construction continues during almost the entire nesting period. Twigs are added mostly when the eggs are being laid or when they hatch.

Most female herons lay from three to five eggs in April. Incubation, which is shared by both partners, starts with the laying of the first egg and lasts about 28 days. Males incubate during the days and females at night.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Watercolor Painting With Passion

Fabulous book by Alvaro Castagnet, Watercolor Painting With Passion!

I share art books with one of my art therapy clients. Today Alvaro's paintings captivated us. He is an expressive painter and exhibits a strong, impressive and colorful style with superb interpretation of light effects that capture the soul of places he paints. I like his impressionistic style with realism. His "cityscapes" instills in me a desire to travel.

I found it humorous the foreword of the book quotes Picasso's on painters and painting encapsulates the basic qualities, the prerequisites, for entry into this peculiar pastime of painter - sensitivity, insecurity and insanity.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

America's Most Wanted Painting

What would art look like if it were to please the greatest number of people? Or conversely: What kind of culture is produced by a society that lives and governs itself by opinion polls?

A project begun in 1995 by the Russian emigrant artist team Vitaly Komar and Alex Melamid identified the most wanted and least wanted paintings on the web.

This project attempts to discover what a true "people's" art would look like. Through a professional marketing firm, a survey was conducted to determine what Americans prefer in a painting; the results were used to create the painting America's Most Wanted. This project was expanded in both scope and audience through the Internet at Dia's website, allowing visitors to see the paintings based on completed polls of over a dozen countries.

This is a link to the Most Wanted and Least Wanted paintings by country. They're actually a composite based on the answers to the survey questions.

This a link to the survey results - which analyse responses to each survey question by country.

So you ask, what is the Most Wanted Painting in the United States?

The Most Wanted Painting in the USA
(dishwasher size)
Komar and Malamid - survey results

Monday, February 15, 2010

118 Self-Portraits

Karin Jurick has been leading monthly painting projects on her blog, Different Strokes for Different Folks. Recently, she has been very busy preparing for an exhibition in March and consequently wasn't able to lead her Different Strokes for Different Folks crew in their normal monthly project.

However, her monthly painting project blog is so popular that her 'students' decided to do a project of their own and surprise her with it. So 118 artist bloggers all painted a photo of Karin!

a small sample of 118 paintings of Karin Jurick
A project by the arrtist bloggers on Different Strokes from Different Folks

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Is It Done, Yet?

When to call a painting done?

One of the most challenging aspects of being a watercolor painter is deciding when a painting is finished. This one has been on my drafting table several weeks in process and the colors have changed several times. I believe it is done. Or, am I just ready to move on?

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Moss Trees

The Pacific Northwest and moss seem to go together.

On my morning walk, along the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, I was enamoured by the green outlines of the trees. It happened to be one of those dark, cloudy mornings with a surprise sun break. I believe this condition intensifies the color of the moss. Would you agree?

I also like the little ferns which grow on the moss.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

More Spring Sightings

Indian Plum also called osoberry, is an early blooming deciduous shrub native to the entire West Coast.

It is a member of the rose family, and thrives in low land habitats near forested areas. Typically it is found west of the Cascades in the Pacific Northwest and west of the Sierra Nevada in California.

In the Pacific Northwest, blooms of white bells begin appearing on the branches as early as February. The flowers turn into clusters of small, seeded fruits, that attract birds, including hummingbirds.

There is a history of Native American use of the shrub for food and medicinal purposes, however very little commercial harvesting of the fruit is undertaken today.

I have had several sightings of Indian Plum while walking my dog on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington.

I have had several sightings of Indian Plum while walking my dog on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington.

Spring is coming!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mandalas and STARS

I will be doing four art sessions with the participants of the STARS Program at the Senior Center in Olympia, Washington.

The STARS and Respite Care Program offers supervised therapeutic activities in a group setting for frail seniors and disabled adults. With excellent staff and volunteers, STARS is able to offer fun and creative client focused activities along with excellent personal care. While their family member is enjoying the day at STARS, caregivers are able to receive a needed break, enabling them to continue to give loving care.

Today was the first day of my art program with the group. I brought in books with photographs of mandalas and shared about how to create a mandala. The media we used for this activity was colored markers.

Enjoying being creative........

STARS Program Director, Cheri Knighton, assists one of the seniors

Sunday, February 7, 2010

"On The Go"

Watercolour artist Carol Carter has an interesting project 'on the go'. She is creating a series of portraits of her son - and she started 23 years ago! She's wondering whether, if she continues, he will become the only person documented throughout his life in paint.

Watercolour portraits of her son by Carol Carter

You can read about a recent exhibition of these portraits in Opening! Schmidt Art Center and you can see them at Here's Looking at You Contemporary Portraits Schmidt Art Center, Southwestern Illinois College, Belleville, IL. The Exhibition continues until March 6th.

With my grandson on the way, I might just borrow this idea.

Friday, February 5, 2010


I have a bad case of spring fever and it is only February!

Yesterday I saw some rhododendrons blooming and color in branches (photos in yesterday's blog).

Today, I could not resist the primroses with early spring blooms in almost every color of the rainbow. I love their sweet fragrance. I bought a flat and planted them in my front yard where I can see all the time.

Oops! I just learned that they appreciate full sun in the spring, but must have semi shade as the temperatures warm. Good thing they are quite tolerant of being transplanted, even when they are in bloom, because I will have to move them as they are in a very sunny spot in my yard.

Until then, I will enjoy them as they are.....

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Color Coming!

I realize the groundhog saw his shadow, but on my walk this afternoon around Capital Lake in Olympia, Washington, I saw color in branches and flowers BLOOMING!

Signs of spring in Olympia taken with my camera phone:

Rhododendrons starting to BLOOM in February!

Notice the colors of the branches of this bush

YES, spring is coming!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where Do You Start When Making Art?

What triggers your art?
What are your sources of inspiration?
What are your reference sources?

Katherine Tyrrell, artist and author, has a poll going this month on her blog. asking artists, where do you start when making art? I look forward to the discussion at the end of the poll which is Saturday, February 27th.

These are the options - and the poll is multiple choice so you can choose all which are relevant. She suggest sticking to those which are your usual practice so we get the most insight into what most poll respondents do most of the time.

My imagination
My ideas and concepts
Paintings by past masters
Life and what I see around me
My sketches
My sketches and my photos
My reference photos
Ther people's reference photos
Current trend/whatever seems to sell

Monday, February 1, 2010

Butterfly Garden

Have you been to a Butterfly Garden?

It is a treat to have butterflies fluttering around you and be surrounded by colorful flowers. I remember visiting my first Butterfly Garden at Seaside, Oregon. I went searching for it again, but learned that it no longer exists. I will share some of my photos from a bygone era.

Spicebush Swallowtail


Polydamas Swallowtail



The next time you have a chance to visit a Butterfly Garden,