Friday, December 25, 2009

A Blizzard, Christmas Expectations and JOy and a Zoo

A few words whispered out into the ethernet in the still of the night...
Cougar Mountain Zoo Crane, Kale and Reindeer
Molbak's bottle display

...who knows who will read my words, or what they might do out there......

This time of year is filled even more so than usual, with so many memories. I feel at peace and relieved after talking to several members of my southwest family that they are surviving the sudden blizzard... despite the power outage, now fixed, despite being stranded on a middle-of- nowhere road after feeding and tending the horses, now back home...and despite the 4 foot snowdrifts... I am grateful we have cell phones now, and don't have to worry as much about making long distance calls, so we spend a lot of time recounting stories and good times past.

And I'm satisfied with our own northwest alternative to the holidays... no longer stressing out with winter holiday airport travel, the possible blizzards along the way, the hectic shopping, malls, etc., etc. Along the way we've refashioned our expectations and what we think is important. No cutting a poor tree and hauling all that stuff out, no, indeed, a couple of simple ornaments on the mantle is enough. A special dinner at home. Dinner out with friends. Sharing a play with friends. Local events... one of our annual treks is to Molbak's fabulous nursery and garden store in Woodenville for their poinsetta festival where we sit in front of the poinsetta tree and get someone to snap a picture every time, enjoy kringle and coffee and wander through the lush greenery and flowers.

A couple of weeks ago we stopped in at the Cougar Mountain Zoo in Issaquah, as we had been wanting to see the white tiger born this past May, and the reindeer festival. The four tigers were beautiful creatures, their behavior so like our own cat. I am grateful there are zoos and sanctuaries for them, as they are very endangered, but I am saddened that they live such restricted lives in small territories behind bars. The cranes were lively hopping around, fun to watch, and I was thrilled to get a couple of good photos of them, challenging as they were in constant motion. My Christmas wish is for more humane treatment of all creatures and hope that less habitat will be lost...

Most often for the last decade, we have gone to the Oregon beaches for Christmas and revel in the quiet and peace of the ocean and crispy fresh air, so rejuvenating. Instead, this year it will be at another time, but soon... There are several other local things we may enjoy together during "the season"... all simple things, flexible, and much like we do all year.
Flowers from Molbak's
A Christmas Meditation
Leaving you with these thoughts.....
I read and hear so much about stress during the holidays, especially Christmas. Expectations can create all kinds of reactions in us, including disappointment. Consider what expectations you have and those around you have, about the holidays. Question whether these expectations are realistic, are they stress creating, or do they create peace and harmony for you. Consider how you might change them, start new or simpler traditions. Maybe it's about togetherness, finding joy in small things, sharing experiences instead of stuff, and giving and receiving acknowledgement and love.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Graffiti Art, Trains, and a Day Out

Graffiti is art too...
Having fun with my camera on a gray day out in Seattle... I wonder who did these, how many? There is some raw talent here and creativity and a freedom of expression. The cowboys of the art world.
A trainload of art, a traveling gallery sits waiting on the tracks. All those anonymous artists we never see have gone home... while the train sits on the tracks.
Do you wonder where this train track leads, did we miss a good train trip...?

A fun day out, I do love train trips, have been on several, will do more in the future, it's on my list... good traveling.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

GREEN ALERT, Climate Change, Just Do One Thing Now

“We marched in Berlin, and the wall fell...."
"We marched for South Africa, and apartheid fell.
"We marched at Copenhagen -- and we WILL get a Real Deal.”
Archbishop Desmond Tutu told hundreds of delegates and assembled children at the Copenhagen summit.

GREEN ALERT - Climate Change
I just joined over 13,623,468 people in the world's largest-ever campaign to keep us all safe.
There has never been a more important time to add your name - our message is being delivered to leaders at the Copenhagen climate summit over the next 48 hours.

Please add your voice now at

With just 2 days left, the historic Copenhagen climate summit is failing. World leaders have begun the final hours of direct negotiations. The UK Prime Minister has directly appealed to “Avaaz” means “Voice” in many Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European languages.) to build the tidal wave of public pressure needed to reach a deal that stops catastrophic global warming of 2 degrees.

Click to sign the petition for a real deal -- The name of every signer is being read out right now in the summit hall! Copenhagen is seeking the biggest mandate in history to stop the greatest threat humanity has ever faced. History will be made in the next 48 hours. On an emergency conference call with 3000 Avaaz members today, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown said:

"What you're doing through the internet around the world is absolutely crucial to setting the agenda. In the next 48 hours, don't underestimate your effect on the leaders here in Copenhagen".

Just Do One Thing
Having received an email from a couple of friends and checking this out, I thought it might reach more people via my blog.... and as I say, just do one thing. Easy.

And if you want a little more info/data, and suggestions for greening what you do, go see my blog entry of October 15 for the global Blog Action Day on climate change.

I created the photo montage from my own photos on the subject "Green". A couple of them were for a collaborative artist's photo art journal.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Snowqualmie Falls Icicles, a Sketch and a Blog Tip

A frozen ice palace with giant icicles surrounded the falls while the water created a powdery mist...
A Day Trip
The last few days I have been seeing on the local news how Snowqualmie Falls was experiencing a big freeze around it and lots of icicles had formed around the falls. We had never seen them with snow and ice around them before, so, despite predictions of snow flurries today, off we went since they are only an hour from our house. Absolutely breathtaking, white against the dark rocks, lacey and jagged, solid and fluid in the cold cold air.

These gorgeous falls are approximately 270 feet in length. I have seen them many times, and many years ago we used to go to the bottom of the falls at summer or fall dusk on Seattle Mountaineer "owl hikes" (since they were evening hikes with cookout dinners)... Now I have relished them in their winter coat too.
A montage of photos clockwise starting top left: from the viewpoint in the park, a large icicle about 70 feet long on the left of the waterfall, white wintry sky at noon behind the dark trees, and the utility buildings above the falls.
And though my hands wouldn't work too well in the cold, I managed to quick sketch the feel of the falls to me. Photo's and sketching, good things to do, as it requires a pausing to really take in what the eye sees, to really see the details and feel the awesome wonder out there. My thought for today, go outside even if it's cold or raining, the weather isn't "bad", maybe you just have the wrong clothes... pause, take in, reflect, record... breathe and enjoy.
An old barn along the back roads that we took...

Blog Tip
Way back in time in my blog I mentioned that I had a posting problem I hadn't resolved. Then it worked for a short while and then it didn't again. And finally a couple of days ago, I believe I resolved it. Here's a summary for you, in case you have this issue you can try it and see if it works.

Problem: There are some blogs I visit where my comments disappear and are never posted after I have typed them in and clicked "post". I have noted that these are blogs that make the comment box available on the same page as the posting versus the kind of blogs like mine that open up a comment box on a separate page without the posting showing.

My fix: I spent a bit of time on reviewing my firewall, and even made sure certain blogs were in the allowed category - to no avail. I also checked out "tools>options>privacy and ensured that those certain blogs of friends were in the "exceptions" category and not blocked - also did not work. Finally, I thought of checking something that I even mentioned in my posting of April 15 - changing browsers. So, what I found out is this:
-- Mozilla Firefox browser will work - allow me to make comments on blogs that open a separate page for the comments, while,
-- Internet Explorer browser will work - allowing me to make comments on blogs that have the comment box on the same page.
I don't know why. But now when I want to comment on the few that use the same page for comments, I use the IE browser.......!!! Go figure.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Abstract Painting, Living Exponentially, Shift Happens

Making sense of all that comes in... can be overwhelming... or, on the other hand, you can focus on the inside and listen to yourself...
More Painting
Lately I have been quite busy, I finished six paintings for the miniature show at Kaewyn gallery, and was happy to deliver those right before Thanksgiving. All were acrylics and incorporated experimental techniques I have been playing with: more texture with different materials and intense color. If you are local, stop in for a treat, as there are a great variety of artists works to be seen; the show is there until January 16.

This last week I participated in the ongoing painting critique group I joined about four months ago. What's really inspiring about this group is seeing the diverse work of the group, as there are very different styles (from realism to abstract and in-between) and different media (oil, watercolor, acrylic, gouche, pastels). Taking three more new paintings to the group meeting, it was reinforcing to get positive support for the direction my painting is going, aka, abstractions, more texture, intense colors, getting better at composition. The painting with the reds, yellows, blues is one I took. There is some thread of connection to the paintings lately and I contemplate where I'm going with them, it feels like a series or several may be emerging... I think they have to do with transit from one state to another, the hidden or unseen coming to the surface, among other things...

More Being Outdoors
Determined to be out more often, some recent outings about town I enjoyed with camera and paints... Despite the really really cold weather, in both cases, worth the views, colors and inspiration...

Shift Happens
The UN Climate Change Conference representing 192 nations is getting under way in Copenhagen, and there are positive signs (firm pledges for change from nations) the outcome may be in positive new directions (AP article). AP says over 15000 delegates and 100 head of states are attending and this makes it the largest and most important climate change conference ever. I mention this because of the title of this section, "shift happens..."

I found the You-Tube video below on the progression of information technology to be fascinating and a reminder of the pace at which we live. It was researched by Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod, and Jeff Brenman, remixed. It questions the meaning of living in an "exponential world" (exponential = "a variable or unknown quanitity" per the dictionary; wiki say, a proportional growth rate). The final conclusion was left off this version of the video...but, I selected this version because it has better graphics. The conclusion to the question/data is "shift happens."

A friend sent it to me yesterday. I hadn't seen her in ages and was thrilled to run into her at the bookstore, where we got into a conversation about "overload", too much coming in, too fast a pace we live, environmental tragedies (dolphins being ritually killed, wolves being shot, oh there are too many to count), it saddens the soul. And how, sometimes it is just time to shut out the incoming and listen to your inside, and remember how connected we really are. And that, yes, shift happens. Slowly. Slowly. Not without some loss, it is difficult turning a huge ship set on a course. But shift happens... personally, and in the world. I always remember Gandhi saying: "You must be the change you want to see in the world." And maybe just be the change you want to see in yourself. And share it out.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thursday Meditation, Little Altars and Thanksgiving

Welcome it all, whatever may come... for in the end we are each works of art being shaped by our living, both joys and struggles, along the way...
A few Thanksgiving thoughts before I'm off to the kitchen to prepare our special dinner for today... This picture is of a very small Italian ceramic from a thrift shop that holds these objects that stay on my table where I eat. I have a habit of collecting little things that end up grouped together like little sacred altars here and there, little reminders of places I've been or special times or a way of being. I'm especially fond of beach stones and shells, dropped feathers....

This one holds...
... a lucky penny on the bottom, who doesn't need that?
...a crystal skull, symbolic to me of the shortness of life, you know, carpe diem, do it now
...a stone for serenity reminds me of an African tale of the stones that hold all our stories, they have heard every one, and they still sit silently in serenity
...a few fortunes from Chinese fortune cookies tucked discreetly behind, and
...a winged heart from an Artfest retreat, reminding me of the spirited good times with like-minded souls, and a symbol for choices based from my center, and the English heraldry from my last name...

All this in this small container.... Now I'm wondering, what special little reminders do others keep? Are you a collector of little tidbits of nature?

So now, I'm off to the kitchen. And I send you the most positive thoughts and appreciation for sharing my blog journey this day of Thanksgiving here in the US. Make time for family and friends, and, of course, yourself, do take time to play and create.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Canadian Retreat and Painting with a Red Sky

Playing with colors and a little retreat... so soothing...
Playing with Color
Here is a start on another acrylic painting, I think it needs a little bit more... I have been experimenting with lots of color. Why not have a red sky and blue rocks? Maybe it's to compensate for the northwest rainy season, our "monsoon" season which has arrived and here to stay til, perhaps April or May?

A Short Retreat
Last week we drove up to British Columbia for a couple of nights private celebration in one of our favorite places. This time of year the tourists have packed up and gone home, the sun is only occasionally seen, misty fog covers the land, the lake and mountains, and you can hear the geese flapping their wings as you walk along the lake. Stunningly beautiful, quiet and serene.
Below are some bucolic farm scenes we always see as we come and go to this favorite place. I finally managed to get a picture of the candy cane silos from the car as we drove by. And the skyscapes and mossy trees caught my eye too.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Abstractions, Seascape Painting, and a Quilted Fiber Gift

Sometimes within the chaos, churning, and turnings of our lives, messages emerge from the deep ready to be received...
"Messages from the Deep" #1, a series - copyright Delorse Lovelady
Happily, I have been painting regularly again and must have a dozen or so abstractions finished or in process since Oct. All in acrylic, mixed media, a new direction for me, as I have been doing watercolors for years. Such different properties of the paint and how it can be used... I see lots more experimenting with texture and, of course, color, and have several series in mind to pursue while I experiment with the acrylics and mixed media.... Of course, I won't abandon watercolor totally, as I always like to play with a variety of media.

Although I've done a few abstractions here or there, this too is fairly new territory for me, and exciting to explore. Abstraction fits with my view that there is much that is ambiguous in the world, not what it seems, not totally definable. And that is the subject of the painting above. Another seascape, I love to paint them, but a different quality than the watercolors of the past (look at the one in my sidebar!).... I entered two paintings this week in a local show, and am in the process of preparing six more for the annual small works and miniature show I participate in.

A Quilted Gift
A friend in one of my sewing circles learned she has cancer, and thankfully her news about recovery is very good. Another friend Sharon, thought up this quilt project and sewed together the quilt squares that we all made for her as a comfort gift. I thought it came out lovely and it was much appreciated.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Ashland Road Trip,The Tulies, Lava Beds, Photos and Sketch Paintings

Off we went on our fall odyssey, down familiar roads, and some less traveled blue highways...
Gorgeous scenery everywhere... above, a scene from the breathtaking Three Capes Scenic Route along the coast of Oregon, and next to it a Photoshoped picture of the last of the sunflowers at a nature preserve in Ashland, Or. Below is a view from our room in Ashland... the famous Ashland hills, with vibrant colors in the trees. Ashland is such a wonderful small town mecca of culture and art... the Shakespeare Festival, the Cabaret Theatre, the local art galleries called the "Railroad district", Lithia Park and more... We love the "co-op" food store and often picked up something fresh to eat there.
My sketch painting of the scene...
Tillamook and Abstractions
And here is one inspired by the Tillamook, Or area... famous cheese country, lots of pastures and cows and a pungent aroma. The most amazing thing there though, is actually the Air Museum, or we call it "the Blimp" museum since it is a HUGE hanger built in the middle a cow pasture in WWII specifically to house blimps used for surveillance back then. It is SO unexpected to see it sitting there in the field... and fun to visit again, the last time was probably ten years ago.

I was fascinated with the inside of the building and odd pieces of planes and rusted equipment, and rusted old trains outside, so took many photos which look like little abstracts. I also did this at the cheese factory which had a wonderful collection of very old trucks and equipment. I am compiling a "rust" and "decomposition" series for abstractions which I will organize and post at a later time. Since I am playing with abstract mixed media painting now, they serve as great inspiration.

The Tulies and Lava BedsFrom Ashland we took a 200 plus mile side trip one day to Tulelake National Wildlife Refuge and Lava Beds National Monument in California. We took the "quick" route over the mountains directly from Ashland, which included a stretch of hairpin curves with spectacular views, though we were glad to be done with the mountain driving.

Now I'm imagining I know where the saying about being "lost in the Tule's" comes from. Tules are actually plants that look similar to the thick sturdy stems and leaves of cattails but without the same head, they get flowers instead. The Wildlife Preserve has 39,000 acres and we did see many birds that day in the small portion we visited. We spent most of our time exploring the lava beds and learned that the area has the largest concentration of lava tubes, a couple of which we walked through... And learned the whole area is a massive volcano covering 150 miles, but not in the traditional style you think of, such as St Helens. This one is underground (like Yellowstone), and is called a shield volcano. No steaming vents here, just acres of lava, lots of tubes and cones and interesting desert. And one area of the park has many petroglyphs to examine, some of which we did.

Little Things
Sometimes it's the little things I remember the most about a trip (or a moment)....

...that perfect shell with lines of shimmery wet color and the undisturbed sand
...the delicate lacey undulating grass on a desert trail
...and the satisfaction of sharing it with someone special

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Photoshop Pix, Witches, Road Trip Doll, Figurative Handstitching, Funky Fiber Stuffies

Fall colors, last of the local veggie/fruit summer harvest, crispy weather, and a witch who wasn't paying attention!
Pumpkins and Photoshop
Above are a couple of pumpkin pictures from our local Yakima Fruits & Veggie Market, only one more week, then the harvest is gone and they switch totally to pumpkins and Christmas trees. The scarecrows on either side were pix I took in Jacksonville, OR, then, "developed" in Photoshop. There are endless possibilities on PS, I have so many more tools to try out...

Witch Way did she go?
I am loving these witch pictures. We were passing through Astoria, OR on our way home from Ashland and the Oregon coast (more on than in another post), and I noticed EVERY street light pole had one of these characters on it.... I took one threw the windshield as my husband drove, then he pulled over and took another better one. SO, happy halloween to you! Be sure to buckle up and fly in the right direction without any brew...
Fibery Fun
Aside from painting and trips, I have been having fibery fun too...
Top row:
1) & 2) Two self designed handstitched "softies" or "stuffies" from a sewing circle challenge
3) Silk beads made in a recent class
4) Dyed fabric & free motion applique technique from machine embroidery group
Bottom row:
1) & 2) Front and back of my recent self designed road trip doll - we went to Ashland Shakespeare Festival plus a side trip to Lava Beds -- so it looks rather theatrical and has lava sewn in the belly.
3) Figurative handstitching/collaged piece with close-up below from a recent class
4) Twin needle technique from machine embroidery group

These were fun and some were challenging, and some are easy things to do in the evening if I'm not journaling, while watching Survivor or Project Runway, yes, I like those reality shows....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Blog Action Day: Climate Change, Going Green, Photos & a Painting

What are we waiting for??? We are the ones we are waiting for...
"My Green Heaven Mosaic" - created in Photoshop

Blog Action Day: Climate Change
We are on a road, a path from which it is difficult to remove ourselves. Stuck in patterns, bad habits, bad attitudes, we wait for a renaissance, but we must create it ourselves, take a new path, alter course........ We are after all, still part of the food chain, a part of nature, not apart from nature... When did we forget that or presume to think otherwise?

There is so much information available about environment these days, which is a good thing, but it can seem overwhelming, what to do, there is so much happening. However, the overarching issue appears to be climate change, because, well, we all need to breath good air, and we must have liveable temperatures... And, it does seem climate change is getting more attention at the higher levels, but it helps to remind them... And if we each took even tiny steps, they all add up to change towards a liveable future...

Data: Check out the environmental section in my sidebar. Also, check out the Pew Center on Global Climate Change which is an independent, non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to providing credible information, straight answers, and innovative solutions to address climate change. Go here to read about the basics and facts and figures on global warming. Or watch the You-Tube video from Al Gore at the bottom of this post. Go here to the TckTckTck organization which is tracking the countdown to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen in Dec 2009 - many many organizations are partnered with them.

Things to Do: Blog about climate change, share what you know with others, write to your Senators, or Congresspersons or President Obama asking them to make climate change a top priority and to push for a real change and agreement of nations to fight global warming at the Copenhagen conference..... and....
here's a cool list of 50 practical green things you could do in your home or in your everyday life. The creators of this list, B.E.S.T. (Building Environmental Science & Technology) showed the approximate money savings in parentheses plus avoided environmental impacts based on CO2, so choose what's most affordable for you to do and start (or keep) greening your lifestyle. Check out Yahoo which also has lots of living green ideas, tools, and resources.

Some Art about Environment
A week ago I had the pleasure of taking a 2 day experiemental mixed media class with Chris Romine. I started a collaged acrylic canvas with an abstracted radial design. Below is the finished painting a couple of days ago, as I was thinking along the lines of sun, light, solar events, too much heat.... And here is a terrific You-Tube video by Aurum, you can visit his website here. It's called "The Drawing of Melting Planet" and it shows him drawing on his PC (I wonder what he used).

Al Gore You-Tube

Monday, October 12, 2009

Camano Island Sketching & Painting

A day of exploring a couple of state parks on Camano Island, about an hour and a half or so north of Seattle...This quick painting (no pen) above is my second go at the scene in one of the parks we visited. Much more vibrant than the first that is below. The first one I started with pen, then added paint.And here is a photo I took of the scene, very typically grayed out Northwest, not a lot of color, my eye and hand just adds it in when I start painting...
Here's what lunch looked like in the park, we like to bring out own. Those are tiny tangerines I had just found in the local produce market, honestly, the size of golf balls, but very sweet and good.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

National Parks - Places to Refresh, and Photos

Stunning natural beauty, raw rugged lands, clear moving waters, big skies... I have a goal to see every national park and monument...
"Nature's Painting" - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
This small piece of Yellowstone is a stunning example of what I saw throughout the park. I was amazed by the dramatic colors created by sulphur and other minerals, misty steam, creeks and channels, and the grand size and variety of beautiful scenery. To know that I was atop the huge caldera of an ancient volcano was eerie but fascinating.

National Parks Photos
I just entered these 5 photos in Fodor's National Parks photo contest (wish me luck!)... some of my favorites, these are from recent road trips. Looking at them again, I'm getting the urge to hit the road and see all I can see, drink in that gorgeous outdoor beauty, and crisp cool air, satisfy that desire for becoming just part of the landscape... no phones, computers, lists... And I think, too, my photos are just waiting for me to paint them soon.
"Contrast and Mystery" - Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming
I traveled this planked walkway through the misty steam, over delicate areas hiding thin crust and bubbling underground geothermal activity. This place spoke to me of the beauty and paradox of nature. Yellowstone offered amazing contrasts that I often remember.

"Land of Fantastic Shapes" - Badlands National Park, SD
I was captivated by the array of mounds, spectacular formations, and golden grasses in the area. I could see the effects of erosion on the dry rugged vistas. I understood why the aridity and treacherous canyons led the native Americans to name it "bad lands".

"Otherworldly Beauty" - Badlands National Park, SD
As I walked in the white hot afternoon over the undulating dry landscape, I felt transported to an otherworld of stark beauty... punctuated by the occasional sound of a rattlesnake.

"Dusk at Lake McDonald" - Glacier National Park, McDonald Lake, Montana
The breathtaking beauty of early evening evoked a feeling of being at peace. Rugged glacial mountains, deep green forests, and shimmering reflections in the water called up the desire for adventure and exploration.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Birch Bay Sketching and Painting

Fresh sea air, wispy clouds, people digging clams, crows, a peaceful day by the sea, just you and me...Birch Bay Trip
Another outing for the day, we headed north about 90 miles to Birch Bay almost to the Canadian border. It's a small quaint town where nothing is happening, and it's nice and quiet. And it has a wonderful park along the length of the beach and forested park area in the hills above the beach, a perfect place to sit and observe, take a walk, just be.

Above is one of my on-scene sketch paintings. For this one I did the sketch first, then laid down the paint over it. Sometimes I paint first and embellish with pen afterwards... this time the people kept moving and so did the crows, and I added a bit more color than the real thing. We do have a few brilliant days here, but often we have that NW gray overcast, and I may not want it to look photo realistic anyway, or sometimes I just like to make it up, imagine something a bit differently than what I'm really seeing.
Below is a photo I took of the same place I painted...
And below is the same Birch Bay beach but looking down the road, and even more colorful. This sketch painting I did in 2006 in my personal journal.
And finally, another sketch while riding along in the car....

Saturday, September 19, 2009

North Cascades Mountain Trip, Sketching and Painting

A relaxing day of road tripping, sketching and painting in the mountains... Peshastin Pinnacles and a Painting
This is my final painting of the day, painted in the car in the dark while my husband drove back to Seattle at the end of our day. I'm very pleased with the vibrant colors and had wondered how it would come out given the lighting, but I challenged myself to paint it in the dark anyway. One of the last stops of the day's outing was at Peshastin Pinnacles State Park near Cashmere, WA, basically very dry rolling hills with lots of golden grass and orchards... almost a feeling of the Southwest. I took artistic license with the colors in the painting, as I had to have some reds in there, and my golds are much more gold than the rolling hills I observed that day! The above photo is of the 200 ft pinnacles, very craggy sandstone slabs and spires which are a rock climbers paradise. They are quite stunning shapes, almost looking like gigantic dinosaur spines rising from the ground, and I can imagine several paintings out of the photos I took. Originally located within private land in the midst of orchards about a decade ago, several local climbing and outdoor groups, including REI (great outdoor store), mounted an effort to save these and have them accessible, thus they are now public lands, a state park.

North Cascades Hwy 2
Above is my first sketch of the day, pen and watercolor as I was riding in the car on our way east on Hwy 2 which is a portion of the fabulous North Cascades Scenic Loop trip which we have driven many times. And below is a quick photo right through the windshield, you can see some of the fall color changes beginning. The vine maples and wild huckleberries turn brilliant reds while the cottonwoods and other trees scattered among the firs wear various golden colors. Spectacular mountain scenery along this route and as it get closer to Leavenworth, bordered by a river on one side.
We stopped in the town of Leavenworth which is known for it's "Bavarian" style and cross-country skiing, but skipped the actual town as we have seen it many times. Instead we revisited the Icicle Creek park area, some serious rock climbing areas with huge boulder overhangs, and a salmon fish hatchery. Below is an on-site painting sketch done in a gazebo at the hatchery where we enjoyed lunch and more mountain views.
Nature never fails to inspire me, the shapes and lines, the shifting colors, a never ending art work in itself.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Red Rock Fossil Beds, a Sketch and Inspiration

I have always loved red land and rocks and spare desert landscapes and find myself still painting them...
Here is a glimmer of red rock inspiration. This on-site quick pen sketch and watercolor painting above was done on a road trip last year to Ashland, OR. We took a side trip to California where it turned out to be the hottest day, over 100 degrees. But we had a fun day anyway when we got to Lake Shasta, seeing the bluest blues and redest reds. We took a short boat trip across the lake, headed up a mountain, and walked through relatively cool Lake Shasta Caverns.
Red Rocks and Fossil Beds
The above two paintings are recent ones. These both are compositions of my imagination, a synthesis of remembered scenes from road trips, remembered pictures from countless books or documentaries, and my sense of those places. The first one is watercolors with a bit of pen (Sep2009), and the second is acrylic, entitled "Fossil Beds Revisited" (Jun2009) which I included in a July show this year. I will be "revisiting" and painting more of these. It is interesting not only to see how my interpretation has evolved over time, and also to try out different media for a subject.
The bottom painting in the above set of 3 is probably my first take on the fossil beds from a photo I had taken in the mid-90's. The first two from 1997 and 1998 are very large watercolors painted with a very loose interpretion of my photos in a more free expressionist washy style after taking a class from one of my favorite painters Jan Hart who shares a love of O'Keeffe and desert.

My inspiration comes from many road trips with some camping and backpacking to the Southwest a couple of decades ago... the Grand Canyon, Bryce, Zion, Canyonlands, Arches, Nine Mile Canyon, to name only a few of the many places we explored. Another inspiration, which I was quite astounded to find on yet another road trip a decade ago, was almost in my own backyard (sort of), at least only one state over, in Oregon, the John Day Fossil Beds. Unfortunately, I couldn't find any of my old pictures to post yet (they were pre-digital camera, if you know what I mean). But, check out my friend Lisa's blog, La Vida Artistica, in my sidebar of blogs to inspire. She shares similar inspiration in her Aug 28 posting that includes fabulous photos of this wonderful place and also details of her upcoming studio tour showcasing her spirited art.

For me the desert and red rock areas have always been those exquisite areas of beauty that get down to the bare essentials, lots of sky and horizon, and vibrant land with undulating shapes, and so metaphorical in so many ways. That sense of place with the O'Keeffe kind of feeling from the sheer grandness of it.

Sunday Meditation
Where do you get your inspiration? Have you tried expressing the same subject in more than one media?