Sunday, November 29, 2009

Best Gift

Yes, it is that time of year for gift giving.

The past couple of years I have gifted my grown children by taking them to Whistler to ski. It is a gift of fun and good memories. But this year with the Olympics being at Whistler, I decided to do buy a special gift.

At the Art in the Garden show in Enumclaw this summer, I met a fabulous artist; Julie Michels. Julie paints animals on rocks. She selects just the right rock for her composition. I fell in love with her penguin mother and child.

When I was at the Fair where Julie sells her art, I could not resist an owl.

Julie will paint from photographs, too. I sent her images of my grown children's pets and she capture their likeness perfectly. I was so excited by her renditions of my son's and girlfriend's dogs and my daughter's cat that I could not resist showing them on Thanksgiving rather than waiting until Christmas!

Looking for a unique, creative present?

Visit Julie at her website

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Holiday Art Show
State of the Arts Gallery

More art shows and gatherings here in Olympia.

Sunday, November 29th will be the artist reception for the Holiday Art Show at the State of the Arts Gallery in downtown Olympia which is on 5th and Washington.

The show is well known and attended by many area residents. Now is your chance to meet the local artists. You will be pleased with the array of art and talent.

Two of my watercolor paintings, Lily and Explosion of Colors, will be on display. Here is a preview, but the paintings are a "must see" up close and personal. The internet image does not capture the beauty of the flow of watercolors that you find when you view the original art.


Explosion of Color

I hope to see YOU there!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Rocks - My Latest Art Form

Living in Washington, every time the sun comes out, (very rare at this time of year) I must take advantage and continue on my landscaping project.

I love rocks!

I wanted to create a river around my deck in the front yard and decided to use various sizes of river rock. Because the rocks were so large, I could not shovel them into the wheel barrow. Instead, I placed each rock in the wheel barrow, dumped the load, and arranged them. In other words, I handled each rock twice! I call this my Zen rock meditation.

I found it to be another outlet for my creativity; my latest art form.

This is what it looks like:

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Woodpecker Sighting

This morning's walk was SPECTACULAR!

Not only was the sun shining after many, many days of rain, but also I was gifted with a very close sighting of a pileated woodpecker. Usually they are high in the trees, but this one was near the ground where I could get a good look at him. I watched for about fifteen minutes. The attempt to photograph him with my camera phone was unsuccessful as the image turned out very small.

Similar to "Where is Waldo?" Can you find the woodpecker?

I checked my bird book when I got home to positively identify the woodpecker. How fitting that the book described the pileated woodpecker as a spectacular, black, crow-sized woodpecker with a red crest!

Pileated Woodpecker

Ebony, my dog, and I were on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington where this sighting took place. It is one of our favorite places to walk.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Finished Painting: Mother and Child

A few days ago I posted this watercolor painting in progress. Today, it is finished!

I wanted to capture the tender mood of the moment.

Did I get it?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Holiday Art Show in Olympia

That time again!

Once again I will participate in the Fine Arts and Crafts Sale at the State Capital Museum Coach House in Olympia, Washington.

This juried art sale occurs on the first two weekends in December; December 5th & 6th and December 12th & 13th. It is well known for high quality art and fine crafts created by South Sound regional artists. People come from Seattle and Portland to attend this show. There will be different artists each weekend.

Show hours are Saturdays 10AM to 5PM and Sundays 10AM to 4PM. The State Capital Museum Coach House is located on 211 West 21st Avenue in Olympia.

If you mention this blog, you will receive a 20% discount on your art purchase at my counter. On display will be my latest watercolor paintings as well as the series of paintings I created while on the East Coast. Prints, cards, and ceramic tiles will be on sale, too.

I look forward to seeing YOU!

Sunday, November 22, 2009


On November 21st 2004, the very first global sketching marathon was held.

Yesterday, 21st November it was the 5th anniversary of the very first Sketchcrawl AND
the date of the 25th Worldwide Sketchcrawl.

What is a sketchcrawl?

This is what Founder Enrico Casarosa has to say about it back in February 2006.

The basic idea: to record nonstop everything I could around me with my pencil and watercolors. A drawn journal filled with details ranging from the all the coffee I drank to the different buses I took. After a whole day of drawing and walking around the city the name seemed quite fitting: "SketchCrawl" - a drawing marathon. The crawl was more tiring than I imagined but also more fun and exciting than I had thought. Giving yourself this kind of mandate for a full day changes the way you look around you. It makes you stop and see things just a tad longer, just a bit deeper … needless to say I loved it.

I soon figured out it was much more interesting to do the marathon with a group of artists instead of all by myself! And so SketchCrawl turned communal. After a whole day of drawing it proved to be amazingly interesting and inspiring to share and compare other people's drawings and thoughts. Different takes on our surroundings, different details, different sensibilities.

The next step was making the SketchCrawl a World Wide event: having people from different corners of the world join in a day of sketching and journaling and then, thanks to the Internet, having everyone share the results on an online forum.

So here it is, we have a website now, a few Crawls behind me, some by myself some with friends and artists from around the world … and hopefully plenty SketchCrawls ahead of us.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Work in Progress

I have mention before how walking by on a daily basis a watercolor painting in progress helps me to see aspects of my paintings that while in the mist of creation, I might miss. Not only does it give me an opportunity to see what the next step is but also if the painting is complete. Completion can be challenging as sometimes one can "over work" a painting and lose its freshness.

Another helpful way to observe my own paintings is to take a digital image. When I bring it up on the computer it changes perspective and gives me a different feel.

Tonight I decided to photograph a painting in progress, so the lighting and the fact that it is taped to the drafting table are handicaps to viewing. Yet, it helps me to study my painting progress and assess where to go from here.

This is what I am working on:

Jayme and Vienne

It looks like I need to darken the shadow of the hat on the baby's face. Kind of scary to do without loosing the details of the eyes.........

Monday, November 16, 2009

Today's Mandala

As I was working with our two International Trauma Treatment Program practitioners from Liberia and Serbia, I noticed how engaged they were with their art. Usually I do not create art myself during an art therapy session because I would not be attentive to my students. But, today was different!

So much is happening in my life that at times I feel overwhelmed. When I create a mandala, I find myself in a natural meditative state. Images appear and I move with them unraveling insights. It is a dance of mind, body, and the creative spirit. As the story unfolds so does the art.

Today's mandala turned out to be the tree of life. Representing my world at the present time; colorful, vibrant, and growing.

I find it interesting that the mandala was created diagonally............hmmmmmmmm.

Tree of Life

Friday, November 13, 2009

Holiday Art Shows

Two shows of note this holiday season in Olympia, Washington:

The State of the Arts Gallery in downtown Olympia on the corner of 5th and Washington will have an art show of several local artists. Two of my watercolor paintings will be on display. The show will run through the holiday season with a kick off reception on Sunday, November 29th from 12 to 4PM.

The Annual Fine Arts and Crafts Sale will be the first two weekends in December at the State Capital Museum Coach House. This is a juried art show of about 22 artists and well attended by people from the Pacific Northwest. I will be there both weekends; December 5th & 6th and December 12th & 13th. The show runs Saturdays from 10AM to 5PM and Sundays, 10AM to 4PM. A fabulous variety of quality art. I have created a new series of paintings from my trip to New England as well as watercolor paintings, prints, tiles, and cards.

I hope to see you this holiday season!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Monet's Gardens in Giverny

Have you been captivated by Monet's paintings of water lilies as I have? Someday I will visit his gardens in Giverny, France.

There are two parts in Monet's garden: a flower garden called Clos Normand in front of the house and a Japanese inspired water garden on the other side of the road. The two parts of Monet's garden contrast and complement one another.

The Clos Normand

The land is divided into flowerbeds where flower clumps of different heights create volume. Fruit trees or ornamental trees dominate the climbing roses, the long -stemmed hollyhocks and the coloured banks of annuals. Monet mixed the simplest flowers (daisies and poppies) with the most rare varieties.

The central alley is covered over by iron arches on which climbing roses grow. Other rose trees cover the balustrade along the house. At the end of the summer nasturtiums invade the soil in the central alley.

Claude Monet did not like organized nor constrained gardens. He married flowers according to their colours and left them to grow rather freely.

With the passing years he developed a passion for botany, exchanging plants with his friends Clemenceau and Caillebotte. Always on the look-out for rare varieties, he bought young plants at great expense. "All my money goes into my garden," he said. But also: "I am in raptures."

The Water Garden

The water garden is full of asymmetries and curves. It is inspired by the Japanese gardens that Monet knew from the prints he collected avidly.

In this water garden you will find the famous Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, other smaller bridges, weeping willows, a bamboo wood and above all the famous nympheas which bloom all summer long. The pond and the surrounding vegetation form an enclosure separated from the surrounding countryside.

Never before had a painter so shaped his subjects in nature before painting them. And so he created his works twice. Monet would find his inspiration in this water garden for more than twenty years. After the Japanese bridge series, he would devote himself to the giant decorations of the Orangerie.

Always looking for mist and transparencies, Monet would dedicate himself less to flowers than to reflections in water, a kind of inverted world transfigured by the liquid element.

Claude Monet

In Katherine Tyrrell's blog you can watch a slide show from the photos she took on her recent visit to the gardens.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Finally Finished It!

Back to watercolor painting!

I have been consumed with creating a home environment since purchasing my house this summer; painting, tiles, installing doors and windows, building a deck, and then there is the landscaping.

Needless to say, I have not kept to my daily disciplined of painting with watercolors. It was good to escaped to New England in October for a painting & yoga workshop to get the creative juices flowing again.

This watercolor painting of lupines was begun before moving. In fact, I had to carefully transport it in the moving truck because it was taped down on the drafting table. I thought it was finished a while back (and even posted it here), but as I kept passing by it on the drafting table, something was not right. Thankfully, I now have a studio within my home so that I can view art at any time. This method of occasional viewing art has been my measure for completion and composition.

I believe it is finished and I can move on to new creations.

Lupines Galore

Sunday, November 8, 2009

What Makes a Good Art Teacher?

What are the characteristics of a good art teacher?

Most of us have had a teacher who at some point in our lives has a made a very real difference to who we are today.

What are the attributes of a good art teacher? What makes them somebody who can make a real difference in how their students develop and the art they make?

Do you think one or more of the following factors might be important?

active artist; produces good art
very knowledgeable ( art history / specific media)
good at demonstrations / explaining techniques
tightly focused classes (beginners; masterclass etc)
adapts teaching to student's learning style
enthusiastic/passionate about art
strong belief: everybody can make art/draw/paint
promotes originality/creativity (not just copying)
promotes learning and self-evaluation
sets appropriate / challenging goals
encouraging - provides constructive feedback
effective communicator

Most people will have very different experiences of art teaching. What's important is what YOU think makes a good art teacher.

So, what do you think?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Cannon Beach Gallery
2009 Miniature Show

The Cannon Beach Gallery's annual All Juried Miniatures Show begins this weekend and runs until the end of November.

The Cannon Beach Gallery, a program of the non-profit Cannon Beach Arts Association, is located at 1064 S. Hemlock Street and open Thursdays through Mondays from 10-4PM.

One of my New England encaustic painting was juried into the show. I used hot wax, craypas, and colored tissure paper and have several in the series.

Here is their selection:

New England Fall Colors #1

Friday, November 6, 2009

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific

Did you know there was another Grand Canyon?

Surprise! On the island of Kauai in Hawaii you can find a Grand Canyon look-a-like. I was amazed at the similarity of the two canyons. The red sand and stone formation look strikingly the same, but the greenness of the vegetation on Kauai is definitely a distinction. The Waimea Canyon is on the dry, western side of the island of Kauai.

The Grand Canyon of the Pacific, aka Waimea Canyon:

Beautiful, wouldn't you agree?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Wettest Place on Earth

The mountainous region on the island of Kauai, in Hawaii, receives 460 inches of rain in an average year. In Kauai, the wettest place on earth, it sometimes rains 350days out of the year!

Though Kauai has the highest average rainfall, other places on earth have received more than 460 inches of rain in a year.

Can you see all the waterfalls?

Elaine and I traveled by kayak down the Wailua River and hiked about a mile to see the "Secret Waterfall".

Not really a secret anymore!