Saturday, July 31, 2010

Paper Sculptures

I came across sculptures of Native American scenes made out of paper by Allen and Patty Eckman.

They are truly amazing!

These stunningly detailed sculptures may only be made from paper - but they are being snapped up by art fans for tens of thousands of pounds. The intricate creations depict Native American scenes and took up to 11 months to make using a specially formulated paper.

Husband and wife team Allen and Patty Eckman put paper pulp into clay moulds and pressurise it to remove the water. The hard, lightweight pieces are then removed and the couple painstakingly add detailed finishing with a wide range of tools.

They have been making the creations since 1987 at their home studio, in South Dakota, America, and have racked up a whopping £3 million selling the works of art. The pieces depict traditional scenes from Native American history of Cherokees hunting and dancing. The most expensive piece is called Prairie Edge Powwow which sold for £47,000.

Allen said: "We create Indians partly because my great, great grandmother was a Cherokee and my family on both sides admire the native Americans. I enjoy most doing the detail. The paper really lends itself to unlimited detail. I'm really interested in the Indians' material, physical and spiritual culture and that whole period of our nation's history I find fascinating. From the western expansion, through the Civil War and beyond is of great interest to me."

Allen explained their technique: "It should not be confused with papier mache. The two mediums are completely different. I call what we do 'cast paper sculpture'. Some of them we create are life size and some we scale down to 1/6 life size. These sculptures are posed as standing nude figures and limited detailed animals with no ears, tails or hair. We transform them by sculpting on top of them - creating detail with soft and hard paper we make in various thicknesses and textures. We have really enjoyed the development of our fine art techniques over the years and have created a process that is worth sharing. There are many artists and sculptors who we believe will enjoy this medium as much as we have."

An Indian mother holding her baby is a favourite of many clients.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Outdoor Sculptures

I have been itching to get some time at the ocean and finally did!

Interesting how a layer of clouds can hang on the beach but two miles away, sunshine. That was the story of yesterday's ocean adventure. But that did not hamper a fun time.

One of the best parts was stopping at Westport Winery. Not only did we have a great glass of wine with cheese and crackers, but also challenged my dear friend to a game of croquet. It was a hilarious time with rules changing constantly since we could not remember from the days of childhood. There were definitely different opinions.

In the garden area of the winery there are two fabulous sculptures. The first one is called Pinot Noirvana by Jeff Vitto of Tokland dated September 2009. As you can see it made from driftwood, metal nails, and cable.

The glass sculpture is called Surfer's Last Hurrah by Opal Art Glass in Cosmopolis dated May, 2009. Looks striking in the sunshine!

Made plans to return to the coast next week :)

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I Think It Is Done, but....

I have been taking glimpses at this watercolor painting all day. Is it done?

I have not decided if the rocks need more variation in color or if the "monotone" is working as a background? Maybe more depth? Suggestions anyone? DJ?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Thoughts on Watercolors

Recently, I read fellow blogger's, Katherine Tyrrell, post about the best art books.

I am notorious for looking in our public library collection to find the book to read before deciding on whether to make the purchase, or not. The book that came highly recommended is The Watercolorist's Essential Notebook Lnadscapes by Gordon MacKenzie. I think I might buy this one!

His paintings reflect his emotional bond with the natural world. "An artist's work is a reflection of their personal aesthetics; the ordinary things that have extraordinary and hidden beauty, meaning and significance just for them. These perceptions are set at an early age."

I love his definition of watercolor: "a process of applying colored water to a piece of paper so that you can watch, spellbound, while it evaporates; a quest to experience all the subtleties and nuances of diluting paint."

Watch him as he paints.

Autumn Breezes
Gordon MacKenzie

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Work in Progress

Yes, I fell in love with the Black Spider Lily which has been blooming in my garden for the past few weeks.

Today I took a photo of the work in progress.

Looking at the watercolor painting as a digital images gives me another view in which to critique my painting and decide what needs attention.

I am thinking more yellow and more definition of the background.

Stay tuned......

Saturday, July 17, 2010


What a delight out my kitchen window.....

Isn't she a beauty!?!

Bella'roma is a Hybrid Tea Rose and a new rose selection for my garden. So far, this is the first bloom for the new plant.

I am ecstatic!

Bright yellow buds slowly spiral open, revealing gorgeous, warm yellow petals blushed rich pink at their edges, and set off by glossy, dark green foliage. The classic, high-centered blooms are said to hold their rich color and flower abundantly all season.

It won top honors as a 2003 "Rose of the Year" winner with both sumptuous blooms and a strong, tantalizing scent evocative of 'French Perfume.' But, in my opinion, although nicely fragrant it does not compare to the incredible smell of Gertrude Jekyll.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another Flower in Bloom on the Trail

Summertime on the Chehalis Western Trail in Olympia, Washington, is a delight. Not only is a great place to walk, bike, skate, jog and so forth, but also lush with native plants.

The Spirea - Hardhack has caught my attention the past few days.

Facts about Spirea - Hardhack:

Spirea is a thicket-forming native shrub that produces tiny pink flowers in dense clusters. The flowers are pink to deep rose and tiny, but grouped in large numbers in long, narrow clusters. This plant occurs in moist to wet habitats such as stream banks, swamps, and lake margins.

It is valuable as cover and nesting habitat for many birds. The seed heads provide food for small birds and mammals, while the twigs and leaves may be browsed by the larger herbivores. Due to its dense growth, it may hinder the survival of other wetland species. Its dense growth pattern also prevents intrusion into wetlands by humans or livestock.

The hard wood of this plant was used by early settlers for making fish-spreaders for wind-drying fish. It was also used for mat-making needles, spoons, and spears.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Bit of the Ocean on the Trail

Summertime on the Chehalis Western Trail not only brings out swarms of people, but also an array of blooming native plants.

Oceanspray has plumes of white flowers that cover the foliage reminiscent of the spray from an ocean wave.

Interesting facts about Oceanspray:

Insects feed and find shelter in this shrub attracting insect-eating birds such as chickadees and bushtits.

The Oceanspray foliage is important food for the larvae of swallowtail, brown elfin, admiral, and spring azure butterflies.

Thickets provide cover for nesting birds.

The long straight branches were historically used for arrows, cooking tongs, mat-making needles, and other tools.

Now I am thinking about taking a trip to the ocean :)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flame Calla Lily

Back to painting!

Colors and shapes of the calla lilies and their leaves have been waiting patiently as subject matter for a watercolor painting.

Not sure I like the composition, but I do like the colors! Suggestions?

Joanne Osband

Next on the drafting table..........those incredible black spider lilies.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Breakfast Club

As I drove across the Woodard Bay Bridge early this morning on my way to the Chehalis Western Trail for our morning skate, I noticed an exceptionally large number of herons feeding.

Usually when I pass by I see one or two. But today it was the "Breakfast Club."

How many do you see?

Now, look again. Be sure to count the ones on the shore.

For some reason this heron prefers to dine alone.

Note: The Woodard Bay rookery is the largest heron nesting ground in the state of Washington.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Art Magazines

Do you have a favorite art magazine?

Last month Katherine Tyrrell created a poll on her blog where artists submitted their favorite art magazines. According to her poll the most popular mazagine for artists is International Artist although a significant number of artists prefer online content to art magazines.

The top USA based magazine in the poll is The Artist's Magazine. Since I have not subscribed to an art magazine in eons, I thought I would look this one up online. What really intrigued me was the All Media Online Competition and seeing the winning entries. WOW! Check them out.

I might have to indulge myself in a subscription.....

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Another Fabulous Bloom

I cannot resist sharing photos of beautiful flowers that have crossed my path. Many of which will probably become subject matter for watercolor paintings. Stay tuned!

This plant was a compulsive selection at the garden store. Thankfully, two of the three plants survived the slugs and a small child visiting.

Daily, I watch the unveiling of blooms.

It is a Lily named Black Spider.

Today's display looks like this:

The full name on the tag reads; Tango Asiatic Lily Litium asiaticum 'Black Spider'

What a beauty, wouldn't you agree?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Elizabeth Layton

Elizabeth "Grandma" Layton at age 68 was talked into taking an art class by her sister. From that day on her life changed; the true power of art therapy.

She was fighting a 35 year depression, and by taking that art class she cured her depression and changed not only her life but the lives of many. In the art class, Elizabeth learned contour drawing which she developed into her unique form of artistic expression.

In contour drawing the student, fixing their eyes on the outline of the model or object, draws the contour very slowly in a steady, continuous line without lifting the pencil or looking at the paper. The student may look at the paper to place an internal feature, but once they begin to draw it, they do not glance down, but follow the same procedure as for the outline.

It is said that what distinguishes Elizabeth Layton's drawings from others is their breadth, their freshness, and their expression of hope. Few artist have depicted such far reaching social concerns such as capital punishment, homelessness, hunger, racial prejudice, AIDS, aging and the right to die.

The Magic Gate,
Elizabeth Layton

“She is almost through the magic gate to the cosmos. The gate opening up broke a thorny branch off the rosebush - the sting of dying. Behind her are ties to the earth - loved ones, wonderful worldly things, good and bad - her life. We can’t see yet what she sees but the look on her face is joyous.”

Today, I shared her art with my art therapy client, an artist who is no longer verbal or creating art due to Parkinson's Disease. How I wish she could have shared her thoughts with me regarding Elizabeth Layton's art and writing.

For more paintings by Elizabeth Layton, please visit her website.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Ballerina of the Flower World

There is no other name for it; the fuchsia is the ballerina of the flower world.

Last blog I spoke of the beauty and grace of the Crocosmia, but the fuchsia is definitely in a category of its own.

The flowers resemble a ballerina, wouldn't you agree?

See the skirt and the arms extended and legs?

Here they are dancing together.....

My preference are the hardy fuchsia plants because I find that although the hanging pots are beautiful, they tend to dry out quickly and I have been known to accidentally kill them.

The other variety that I have growning in my yard looks like this.

A more subtle dancer than the previous one.

I know I will add to this collection of hardy fuchsia because the joyous little dancers make me smile.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Graceful Crocosmia

What grace and delicate beauty!

Each day I watch as the flowers gradually open along the arching path to the tip.

The Crocosmia is a cousin to the gladiolus but they certainly approach life differently. Glads are belle of the ball types, with kaleidoscope blooms and flowers festooned with wild patterns and ruffles. Crocosmia stick to the yellow-orange-red side of the color wheel and deliver a concentrated, straight-forward presentation. Crocosmia are also tougher when it comes to winter temperatures.

Crocosmia stems make fabulous bouquets. Cutting will not hurt the plants and will provide a steady supply of cut flowers. Be sure to choose flower stalks with the bottom half of the blooms open, the remaining buds will open over a several day period.

The name is derived from the Greek words krokos (saffron) and osme (smell), referring to the saffron-like scent, when dried flowers are dipped in water.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Pea Invasion

I love to grow plants and play in the soil.

When I moved, a year ago, my garden consisted of three potted tomato plants and one strawberry pot. The lot surrounding the house was a weed field.

This year along with planting some fruit trees and ornamental trees I wanted to have a veggie garden. I made one 5 foot by 8 foot box and filled it with wonderful, dark, rich soil. This was going to get me by for a veggie garden this summer.

Snow peas are a must and were the first seeds in the ground. I usually plant enough to share with friends and family.........everyone loves snow peas!

This spring was unusually cold and wet here in Washington. In fact, most say we have gone from winter to summer. The lettuce seeds drowned, spinach never matured, and the beets and carrots are scraggly. The slugs ate my pepper and cucumber plant.

But the peas thrived and invaded the garden box.

Other than peas, I have my old faithful tomato plants and strawberries for this summer's garden endeavors. We shall see what next year brings.......

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Mergansers at Woodard Bay

As we (Ebony, Ginger, and I) were coming back from our morning time on the Chehalis Western Trail, I saw my friends on the Woodard Bay Bridge. You cannot miss Barry because he always has a camera with a huge lens protruding from his least that is what it looks like from a distance.

Today his wife, Linda, was with him and I was very curious what they were viewing. I stopped (in the middle of the road which sometimes you can do if no one is around) and asked. Linda described how the Mama Mergansers would carry her babies on her back to move them. I thought about stopping to watch, but having skated 10 miles with the doggies my hunger won over watching ducks.

What a treat when Barry sent me an e-mail with photos! Now I wished I had stayed to watch. Barry is not only a great photographer but also a wildlife specialist who shares his knowledge about what you are looking at when you are with him. Even in his e-mails!

"Here are some of the birds we were watching today down by the bridge. The Mergansers nest upstream, then move downstream with their broods within a day of hatching. Once they head out, they don't return, but spend their early days growing up out in Chapman Bay or outer Woodard Bay beyond the trestle."

Barry Troutman
(reproduced with permission from the artist)

Cute, wouldn't you agree?