Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Art In Ecology

A solo Art Exhibit of fifteen watercolor collage paintings are on display until May 15th at the Department of Ecology in Lacey, Washington.

Watercolor paper when torn creates distinct shapes with wonderful uneven edges. In a fleeting ray of inspiration, I decided to tear parts of paintings and recreate a new one; thus, the birth of my collage watercolor paintings. I have always been an avid recycler! The process continued to evolve when I began to tear shapes resembling nature out of older watercolor paintings, assemble the composition, and continue to paint the picture. More recently, I have added water-based oil paint to the collage to provide greater depth and deeper color. Now, I find myself going back and forth between traditional watercolor and collage watercolor painting so much that they have begun to merge as one. This new dimension of painting continues to inspire my creativity and provides me with a unique way to express myself.

Found Treasures At The Seashore
Watercolor Collage
Joanne Osband

Because of the security for the building, you will need to phone ahead for an appointment to view the art.

The main phone number is 360-407-6000 or Jeffree Stewart, art coordinator, 360-407-6521. Other people you might ask for if Jeffree is not available are Janet Hyre or Kim Collins who are art committee colleagues. The hours are weekdays 8AM to 5PM. The Department of Ecology is located at 300 Desmond Drive SE in Lacey just past the Martin Way exit from I-5.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010


A friend and fellow artist, Becci Crowe, has created a short video of herself working in her studio creating Pen & Ink Pointillism of wildlife and tribal cultures from her travels.

Pointillism is a technique of painting in which small, distinct dots of pure color are applied in patterns to form an image. The technique relies on the perceptive ability of the eye and mind of the viewer to mix the color spots into a fuller range of tones. Georges Seurat developed the technique in 1886, branching from Impressionism.

Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte
Georges Seurat

Becci's art is done in black ink with occassional paintings where color is added. Her subject matter comes from her exciting travels in Africa.

Take a look!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Speaking of Beauty.......

Many posts have been addressing beauty in nature as well as art.

Today, I could not reframe from posting the most beautiful sight:

Haeden Ethaniel Judy
My Grandson
Born March 27, 2010

A Proud Grandma

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Kindred Souls

Claude Monet, one of the best-loved of all artists, was a leading figure in the Impressionist circle. His first subjects reflected the world he knew; the boats of his native Le Havre, the streets of Paris, and the fields and forests of the surrounding countryside. But the subject that was closest to his heart, and dominated his later work, was his garden a Giverny, 65 kilometres northwest of Paris.

For Monet, his garden was a private haven, where domestic pleasure and artistic vision converged. Monet cultivated his garden as a continual source of renewal and inspiration and chose his plantings as carefully as he chose the colors for his palette. The paintings he created in his garden are some of his most famous.

Painting and gardening were the two most powerful influences in his life according to author Debra Mancoff, Monet's Garden in Art. I find myself sharing the same passions; Are we kindred souls?

Throughout his long and productive career, Monet believed that his art served a particular purpose: to give material form to the expression of his feelings in front of the visual spectacle of nature. What a powerful statement!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Return to the Scene

Today I returned to the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington to capture the the Trillium with my camera. The image with my phone camera was not acceptable. I wanted a clear photo of this magnificent specimen.

I must admit that I have never seen a Trillium bud before, so this cluster of two with one blooming and a bud is exceptional. What are your feelings?

Stay tuned for the future watercolor painting.......

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Photos Along The Trail

On a daily basis, I walk the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington with my buddy, Ebony. She does that "happy dog" trot with occassional time off to sniff. I, in turn, have been enjoying the budding of spring and have shared this in previous posts.

Today was an outstanding day for taking photographs, but unfortunately I left my camera at home. Next best thing, the phone camera.

The native Trillium are out and I found lovely specimens. I also enjoyed the curling of the fern fronds.

The phone photo gallery:

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Grace of the Fern

Today as I walked the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, I was drawn to the curling of the fronds of the ferns. They are so graceful!

The ferns along the trail are Sword Fern and Lady Fern.

Sword Fern

Lady Fern

A few interesting facts about ferns:

Ferns are ancient plants that developed before flowering plants. A fern does not produce seeds directly, but rather develops spores that grow in cases, called sori, generally appearing as dots on the backs of fertile leaves. Rows of orange-brown shield-covered sori are easily visible on the backs of the fertile fronds of sword ferns.

The spores, when released, do not develop directly into ferns, but rather grow into a tiny leaf-like structure called a prothallium. The prothallium produces eggs and sperm that unite to generate new ferns. It takes several years for a fern to grow from a spore.

The leaves and roots of ferns grow from underground rhizomes that can be extensive and live for many years. Though the leaves, or fronds, of many ferns die back in winter, the rhizome survives to sprout new fronds in spring.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Plants Toxic to Pets

Today is the first day of spring - a day that we welcome whole-heartedly after a long winter. With spring comes warmer weather and a ton of plants with the potential to be toxic to pets.

We all love plants, but we want to keep our dogs safe. So what's a plant-loving dog owner to do? Learn which plants are toxic and plant your garden with that knowledge in mind.

Toxic Plants

The springtime plants that can result in gastrointestinal upset in dogs and cats include:

Calla lily

Plants that are considered very toxic and can result in severe illness or even death include:

Tiger Lily
Easter Lily
Day lily
Lily of the Valley
Morning Glory
Death Camas

Though some plants can cause serious illness or death, irritation of the mouth and gastrointestinal tract are the most common problems. Vomiting usually occurs soon after ingestion, which removes most of the plant from the system and reduces additional toxin absorption.

The most important part of treating ingestion of a toxic plant is to determine if your pet actually ate the plant, how much was ingested and which part of the plant was eaten. The entire plant is not always toxic. Sometimes only the seeds, the leaves, stems or roots are toxic. Also, plant identification is crucial in diagnosis. Get a sample of the plant if you are unsure of the name. This information can help your veterinarian determine the best course of treatment.

Unfortunately, there are very few specific treatments or antidotes for toxic plant ingestion. Supportive care, including intravenous fluids, may be necessary. Without proper care, some plant toxicities can have devastating effects on your pet's health.

By knowing which plants could pose a threat, you can work towards preventing your pet from access to the plant and keep your pets safe and your yard beautiful.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Red Flowering Currant

Now in bloom, the red flowering currant is one of the most beloved and showy of native northwest shrubs. The brilliant display of carmine red flowers in spring are welcomed by gardeners and hummingbirds alike.

A few facts:

Red-flowering currant is native to western coastal North America from central British Columbia to central California. It is a deciduous shrub growing to 4 m tall. The bark is dark brownish-grey with prominent paler brown lenticels. The leaves are 2-7 cm long and broad, with five palmate lobes; when young in spring, they have a strong resinous scent. The early spring flowers emerge at the same time as the leaves, on racemes 3-7 cm long with 5-30 flowers. Each flower is 5-10 mm diameter, with five red or pink petals. The fruit is dark purple oval berry 1 cm long, edible but bland.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


Another fabulous spring day in Olympia, Washington!

Having had dry weather for a couple of days, I decided to get out the Landrollers and take my dog with me to skate on the Chehalis Western Trail.

Being that I am a bit out of shape for the season, I took a break at my favorite spot by the water. This is a late spring photograph; it is a bit more sparse in the foliage category today. Although the water lilies pads are beginning to rise.

The sun was popping in an out of clouds. I told myself that I would sit on the bench as long as the sun was shining on me. When the next cloud covered the sun, I would roll along again. After a few minutes, I was graced with a bald eagle cruising not far above my head.

Our encounter was serendipitously aligned.

I am always thrilled whenever I have a close encounter with a bald eagle!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Beautiful Day at Boston Harbor

Another outstanding day in Olympia, Washington. We are truly blessed when the sun shines and today was one of those days.

A friend and I and our dogs walked the beach to the Boston Harbor Marina. The water was so clear that we could see the sea anemones attached to the pilings around the dock.

It was even possible to see the Olympic Mountain range although challenging to decipher in this photograph taken with my phone from the lighthouse. The Dofflemyer Point Lighthouse at Boston Harbor is one of the first lighthouses automated on Puget Sound. The building is on the National Register of Historic Sites.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Trillium Sighting

A sure sign of spring; the sighting of the trillium in the woods.

This plant has a large, often white, three-petaled flower above three broad bracts that look like leaves. There are between 40-50 species in North America. The Trillium is often the first wildflower noticed by casual walkers; other spring wildflowers are much less apparent.

Today while traveling the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, I came upon a cluster of five trillium. What a treat!

Last spring I created a watercolor painting which seems to be well received by trillium lovers.

Janet's Trillium
by Joanne Osband

Monday, March 15, 2010

Results of Nature's Rorschach test

What do you see?

For those of you inclined to take the Nature's Rorschach test,
here is the result:


Do you see it?

The lines coming in from both sides end at the eyes. In the center is a large box like nose. The mouth has a bit of a sideways grimace. The Indian Plum leaves are decoration for this jaunty chap.

Do you see it now?

Or do you see something else? Please tell!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Nature's Rorschach test

The Rorschach test (also known as the Rorschach inkblot test or simply the Inkblot test) is a psychological test in which subjects' perceptions of inkblots are recorded and then analyzed using psychological interpretation, complex scientifically derived algorithms, or both. Some psychologists use this test to examine a person's personality characteristics and emotional functioning.

It is similar to finding images in clouds or in splotches of paint with or without the psychological interpretations.

As I was walking the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington with my favorite companion, Ebony, I came upon this tree stump and immediately saw an image.

What do you see?

My answer in the next post. Stay tuned...........

Thursday, March 11, 2010

For Botanical Art Lovers

From Iris Series
by Rosie Sanders

Rosie Sanders is a self-taught artist.

She's known for pushing the boundaries of ‘botanical’ painting. Her close-ups of flower heads are painted on a hugely magnified scale. Paintings can be as large as 5 feet across and up to ten times bigger than the flowers she is depicting. She works in bold and saturated colours in watercolour on arches paper, building tension by leaving much of the background bare and rarely allowing the flowers to touch.

She uses dramatic lighting and lights her flowers from behind with bright light to reveal the translucency and texture of the flowers’ petals.

Two youtube videos made by Tod Grimwade are a "must see!"

Rosie Sanders Part 1: The inspiration behind her work where she talks about her garden and why she finds flowers inspiring - and shows us a number of very large works

Rosie Sanders Part 2: Rosie at work in her studio where she shows us her studio, her techniques for the way she works and the brushes she uses for watercolour painting on this scale.

Rosie Sanders at work - painting an iris from life in watercolour
from video 2

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Painting on Tiles

I have been diligently working on landscaping and creating a garden space. A friend recently introduced me to an artist who paints on ceramic tiles.

Artist Kris Selby is known for creating large garden murals on tiles which enhance outdoor living spaces and create a focal point in backyard and patio areas. She uses a wax-resist techique. The process used has been perfected through research, experimentation, and many years of practice. Much time and effort goes into creating each unique piece.

Her tile work is FABULOUS!

“California Poppies” 24” x 30”
Kris Selby

Here is her website.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Reflections of Art

Creating art is both a reflection of the subject and the artist.

Everything you perceive is interpreted by your heart and eventually reflected in the finished art creation. All art is very personal - each time you paint a picture, you paint something about yourself. The way you apply your brushstrokes, the colors you use, and especially the subjects you choose to paint all show your individuality.

What inspires you to create art? Most inspiration comes from what we experience and know. Your inspiration is your own personal muse.

To begin, you must make choices about your personal selection of colors, brushes, and paper or other materials, but the most important tool is your own mind's eye. How can you take your thoughts, feelings, and perceptions and translate them to paper?

The essence of art lies in the excitement of creation and the fulfillment you feel when you finish a work of art.

Watercolor Painting
by Joanne Osband

I love nature, reflections, and interesting shapes and forms.
What does that say about me?

Sunday, March 7, 2010

New Bloom on the Trail

It is exciting to walk the Chehalis Western Trail on a daily basis and watch for the new blooms of spring.

My master gardener friend, Janet Mandell, has been assisting me in identifying the different native plants.

The newest bloom is the Coltsfoot which is also called Sweet Coltsfoot and Palmate Coltsfoot. It blooms from March through to July in wet or marshy ground in woods and in roadside ditches. You will find it mostly west of the Cascades from Alaska to California and found east to Michigan and Massachusetts.

This patch of Coltsfoot I found blooming happily in a boggy section of the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pastural Setting

Large Flock of Canada Goose

For the past few mornings along the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, the honking of the Canada Goose disturbs the quiet of the early morning. An enormous gathering favors this area of pastures and ponds. They are fun to watch take off and land as they fly in formation.

My father-in-law insisted that they are called Canada Goose. I remember saying Canada Geese because it seemed to be the plural form, but he corrected me. What are your thoughts?

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Pink Flower Blooming

As I was walking my dog down the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, I spotted a new splash of spring color.

The Indian Plum was the first bloomers and now the Salmonberry is blooming. This shrub is a native of the temperate rainforests of the Pacific Northwest where it provides cover and food for birds and delicious berries for birds and people.

The little pink/magenta flower with five petals hangs down from a rather barren branch. The Salmonberry flower blooms before the leaves form where as the Indian Plum has leaves before the blooms. The leaves of the Salmonberry bush are similar in shape to those of the blackberry as it is in the same family. The leaves and flowers of the Salmonberry emerge quite early in the springtime, providing a welcome splash of pink color in the early spring.

The berries of the Salmonberry bush turn bright orange and move to a deep red color. They are good to eat when bright orange and sometimes taste a little bitter when they are red. The red of the ripe to overripe berry is reminiscent of the red salmon eggs of the Pacific Northwest, and this may be where the Salmonberry got its name.

Salmonberry bushes have less fruit than a cultivated raspberry, but they do bear significant quantities of fruit. The berries are tart and somewhat watery, less sweet than a cultivated blackberry and less tart than a raspberry.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Healing Power of Art

Rita Loyd is an artist and writer. The theme of her work is the healing power of unconditional self love.

She made a video called "In Search of Self Love" that has been accepted into the international on-line film festival called SPIRIT ENLIGHTENED on It is currently in fourth place out of over 300 films.

The video tells the story of how the creative process taught her to love herself after experiencing abuse and illness. As she tells her story she paints the image "embrace all that you are with love."

She feels that this video could help a lot of women find healing.

Here is a direct link to the video.

As an art therapist, I highly recommend watching this video. Rita and her husband did a fabulous job creating it.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Where Do You Start When Making Art
Poll Results

The February Making A Mark Poll created by Katherine Tyrrell looked at Where do you start when making art?

The results show that:

57% are influenced by life and what they see around them

43% work from their own ideas and concepts

38% are stimulated by their own reference photos - rather than those taken by other people

nobody seems to want to take account of current trends or whatever seems to sell!!!

134 respondents had an average of 2.42 options which influenced where they started when making art.

To read Katherine's commentary on the poll results, visit her blog post Making a Mark, Saturday, February 27, 2010.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Indian Plum Blooms

The beginning of last month I was excited to see the little sprouts on the Indian Plum, also called the osoberry, which is a native plant of the Pacific Northwest. It was a first sign of spring in our low land habitats near forested areas.

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.

Now in bloom, they look like little dancing fairies, would you agree?

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.