Friday, December 24, 2010

Night Lights, Dawn & Winter Solstice

Time for reflection, savoring the wintry weather, darkness leading to light...Playing with my camera, this is a night shot of our holiday trip to Canada a couple of weeks ago. We were just there in October too, we can't seem to get enough of going to this peaceful quiet exquisitely beautiful place. I love the way they leave the lights up in the trees at night - all year long, making it seem magical for those evening walks in the cold air and letting the imagination take the lead.

And this is a lovely dawning of another day in this valley of mountains....
Winter Solstice this week, Dec 21 came in with a special heralding this year.... and I managed to see a small part of the total eclipse of the Moon as it had started - a banana sized sliver with that dark shadow over it. Then we had our Northwest cloud cover.... Imagine, the last Moon total eclipse was over 400 years ago...
As the winter officially begins I think of the cycles and seasons of earth, life, myself. Winter is a time when the seeds dropped earlier in the fall lie dormant underground, but gestate towards emerging into new life in the spring light... as we do. I wonder at it. What random seed was planted in our consciousness, something we glimpsed, some small remark received, an experience lived and felt, that waits for the wintering to bring it forth... are we not all so full of possibilities waiting for the light?

Peace and Blessings

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Canada Trip Sketches, Salmon & Snow

I gazed out the window at the lovely huge soft snowflakes falling from heaven...
Our first snow of the season fell today, their slow glide like a white moving lacy curtain outside our windows. But, they did not stay long as our temperatures were not quite cold enough.

I have been playing this past couple of weeks with fanciful things. I made a "fascinator" which is a frufru cocktail hat (good for parties I suppose or just fun), I dyed and stamped fabric, stitched fabric crows, created small cards with a favorite photo, painted, sketched and mixed here and there. Today I made a couple of minor changes on this blog and am thinking to change the design soon. And worked on which paintings will go into 2 upcoming shows in the next week or so. And we just returned from a trip to the Washington coast late Thursday which I will share about in a later post.

A Canada Trip
Meanwhile, here's a few quick sketches from our anniversary trip to British Columbia in October... It was stunningly beautiful. We took a side trip to a creek that was running with many many bright orange spawning salmon, as you may have heard Canada was having a record return of the salmon this year, it is a fantastic sight and great to hear good news like this.
We took a scenic boat ride up the Harrison River, great sunny crispy cool weather, and the fall skies and light with shadows, perfect for lots of photography with my new camera and relaxing with the sketchbook....
Fishermen were everywhere, on the shore, in the water with hip waders on, standing up in boats...
We had dinner one night in a Chinese restaurant... always fun to save those good fortunes..
People lined up for Tea Time in the hotel after their pool time, dressed in their white robes and bathing suits...
What could be better than a hot cup of lemon black tea with cookies on a cool fall day?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Fall Colors, Trees, and Camera Tips

Sometimes the colors are so luscious, I want to swim in them.....
Fall Colors
We've been out on several occasions lately just to see the fall colors of the trees with the leaves turning. We don't really have to go very far to see the changes. Amazingly beautiful reds, oranges, yellows - cast against blue/white skies and grassy greens... My photo's here are from a nearby park and along the side of the street. Great inspiration for painting!

The New Camera
Lucky me, I have been taking even more photo's, as I finally have a new camera, a Canon G-12 Powershot. If you are in the market, this is a terrific camera. It's the latest model called an "advanced digital point and shoot", that is, it has the features of an automatic, but also has many more options that a SLR would have, while maintaining it's compactness (14 oz). I did quite a bit of research before getting this camera and now that I'm using it, I can say, I'm glad I chose this one. No shutter delay, great low-light pix, a viewfinder and a move-able LED screen, shoots RAW, gorgeous sharp photo's. I will be discovering and learning quite a while what I can do with this camera!

I have to say, I balked at the 14 oz size at first when I was researching camera's because the one I've been using forever was only 5.5 oz. And, I have to have something that will fit easily in my purse and go with me everywhere... SO, I looked in my kitchen cabinet and found a can of artichokes that weighed 14 oz and put it in my purse to see if I could stand to carry that around. I am learning to carry less baggage around in my purse (and otherwise). The artichokes passed the test, hence the new camera!

There was one other camera that I liked quite a lot, a Panasonic Lumix, that was half the weight and size, but it did not have a viewfinder, nor as good a zoom. Otherwise it was comparable and is the camera that my virtual travel friends recommend. But for me, a viewfinder was a must, as often the LED disappears in strong sunlight, and a better zoom, well, what can I say?

Another tip, I bought my camera at Kenmore Camera, a great local shop in Kenmore, WA with very experienced people. An annoying thing I've found lately about electronic things, is that often you get an abbreviated handbook with the item, while the detailed handbook is on-line. When I asked about this, Kenmore Camera offered and printed out the 213 page Camera User guide for me (2 pages on each side, saves paper) -- so I can take it with me as I learn how to use all the features. I took the pages to Kinko's and had them coil bound for about $4 or so with plastic covers.

So, for researching which camera to buy, I used the latest Consumer Reports reviews- which I could access free from my local library. Plus a website called Digital Photography Review (, among others. Hope all this helps anyone looking for a new camera.

Happy Picture Taking!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Paintings, Screening and Jurying

I just keep on painting whatever appeals to me, and I see it's mostly nature that inspires...
Screening and Jurying
This past week I presented paintings for screening to the Board of the Seattle Co-Arts and was juried in as a member. I spent a fair amount of time wondering what to submit, as my art has been in transition for quite a while. And so, to demonstrate that, and to acknowledge I wasn't going to be giving up watercolors any time soon, even though I've been painting a lot in acrylics and mixed media - I presented a mix of 3 watercolors and 3 acrylics. Above are my recent painting works that were screened.

Oops, I forgot, here's another one that was in the mix:
It's good to have gone through this step of jurying from peers... I have also submitted several images that will appear on the Co-Arts website soon when their renovation is completed.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ballet Costumes, Beading and This N'That

Behind the exquisite shiny things and airy beauty are the talented hands of the creators...
Our sewing guild was privileged to have a presentation from the talented Larae Hascall, the Costume Shop Manager for our Pacific Northwest Ballet here in Seattle. She brought some gorgeous costumes and head adornments and necklaces created by her shop for the dancers. I was particularly fascinated by this presentation as I know my French GGrandmother was a costume designer/maker for the Lyon ballets many years ago... so this was a taste of history of what she may have been doing, could I only have been there to see! Now I know I must see if I can find some historical pictures of the Lyon Ballet.
A great deal of creativity goes into costume prep - there is actually the sketching and designing to fit the production, the pattern designing/developing, making a mock-up muslin, fitting and adjustments, and deciding on fabrics, dyes, and more for finishing the entire look. And, add to that, making sure that the costume can withstand the rigors of many performances by the dancers, making sure that they can be easily and quickly put on and off for different scenes. I learned that many of the costumes are made in separate pieces - that is, the sleeves not actually sewn to the bodice, nor the bodice to the skirt, so they can move more easily on the dancers and be removed so quickly. The costumes she brought had wonderful detailing done by hand and with machine embroidery techniques.

Here is a lovely ballerina headpiece.
And here is another, and a necklace, all specially handmade by the designers in the costume shop.
We also enjoyed looking through Larae's actual design/sketch books, detailing the beginnings for many of PNB show costumes and choices for fabrics, detailing. I know I will have a much greater appreciation for the behind the scenes work the next time I go to a ballet, opera or theatre production...

I have been very busy at so many things lately, and I'm happy to have finished the project below, more peyote beading, a bracelet and earrings for my mother's birthday.

Here is another set, this one was for my sister's birthday earlier this summer. I'm very pleased to say I designed the earrings myself in both cases. The one below was especially challenging to bead, as it was not in a somewhat straight line as is the bracelet.

This N'That
I realized how many things I was trying to do and somehow got a little stressed this week. We put away blueberries, corn and other fresh harvest in our freezer in the last couple of weeks. We tried to go blackberry picking, but alas, there did not seem to be a good season for them this year, very strange. Summer is definitely long gone and the gray days are here til probably April or May, except for the occasional blessing of sun.

I visited a dear friend this week who had knee replacement surgery. So I worked and completed an art piece for her (will post later), as well as a mini-art kit to play with while she recovers. And I have been attending to off and on sick kitty who is 15 and feeling his years, but ok for now.

I'm committed for the invitational miniature show again at the Kaewyn Gallery in Bothell, and will have 6 paintings there starting in December. In addition, I have been languishing as an Associate member in one painting association for quite a long time, and decided I would finally go through the jurying process to become a full member. For this, I must have 5 paintings the last week of this month. And I will be added to their website too.

Many other things going on, plans for major trips, some new directions and some old. PC frustrations, I know it's time to replace the desktop as it seems to crank more slowly. But I'm happy to say I persevered through downloading several different softwares for converting to/playing MP3s, and learned how to download to 2 different units, a Sony and an I-Shuffle. I do believe the I-Shuffle is super... tiny, lightweight, one purpose-play music, minimal button/dials... perfect I think, for my mother to handle.

So, as I was preparing this somewhat lengthy post, I was listening to some New Age angelic kind of music, so very soothing... A good way to write, wind down, and come to the end of another Sunday.


Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sketches, Sketchbook Project and More Sketches

Sketching is a lot of fun, just relax and don't tell your hand what to do and it'll be fine...!
A Walk, A Sketch, Some Rain
Today my husband and I took a walk and enjoyed the crisp air in a nearby park along Lake Washington. The heavy gray clouds burst open as I was sketching in a non-permanent ink pen, and I caught some interesting rain drop effects on my quick sketch. Got it home later and filled in a bit of color and a few more pen strokes. This area of the lake is filled with water lily pads, old posts from a long gone ferry, and surrounded with some wetlands.

And this is what it really looked like today in our exquisite Northwest, but you do know I like color and always have to add some in my sketches and paintings...
On the way back, a stop at our favorite fruit and veggie market, the Yakima Market at 17321 Bothell Wy NE..... We loaded up with all that fresh goodness and nutrition and headed home and he started up his first big batch of fall tomato soup that he always makes. We freeze several containers of it to savor later when the really fresh tomatoes are gone. Mmmm, it's sooo good.
A Few More Sketches
From here and there, along the way, some places I have been... escape to Bandon, Oregon, one of my most favorite places, in March, fresh sea air, rocks, exquisite scenery there...
.....a plane trip to Texas to visit family in April, what else could I draw?...
.....a side trip to the Wichita Mountains, Oklahoma in May, a wildlife refuge for bison...
.....the Seattle Woodland Park Zoo in March, brisk weather, but another favorite place...
The Sketchbook Project
I just received confirmation a couple of days ago for The Sketchbook Project hosted by The Art House Coop. For this project, participants around the world are sent a moleskin cahier to fill with art however they wish, and a theme to focus on. These sketchbooks must be returned in January, and then become a permanent part of the Brooklyn Library of the Coop. But first, they digitize so everything is on line to be viewed. Then all these wonderful artful sketchbooks will go on tour to only 8 cities. Seattle is one of the lucky cities to host this exhibit at the Form/Space Atelier from June 10-11, 2011... so mark your calendars!
The focus for my sketchbook will be: a light in the distance, an intriguing theme that I selected and will enjoy... I notice this sketchbook has quite a lot of pages in it, and they are quite flimsy. I'm thinking of gutting it, and rebinding it with less pages, but nicer paper, like watercolor paper (they let us do that). And of course, arting up the plain brown covers.......

For those interested in this kind of project, the deadline to sign up ends October 31...

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Sketching and Painting Boats

Moored momentarily, they had been on many journeys... and patiently waited for the next adventure.
Perhaps I am seeing a metaphor for myself, patiently waiting, for my next adventure. Perhaps it is the turning from summer to fall. As I drove down the street a couple of days ago I noticed a few leaves, turned a light tan, dancing on a breeze in front of me. It's cooler, rainy, and full of the seasons moving into change again...

This recent sketch/painting on a wonderful day out started out with a watersoluble pencil. That wasn't enough, so then I added some oil pastel. And that wasn't enough, so then I added pen work. And then heavy watercolors on top of that. And more pen work. Finally I felt satisfied with the saturated colors and look of it, I don't usually do boats. Sometimes you have to just keep experimenting.

And here is where I was doing this sketch painting with some art buddies:

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Color, Free Motion, and Dyeing

"When all is said and done, artists need to struggle on their own." Robert Genn
It really seems like summer is over here in north Seattle, today is so gray and rainy looking, cool, breezy, same as yesterday, this mid-August. So I needed a blast of color - and here it is.

These colorful pieces were created last May in my machine embroidery group. So much fun and experimenting. We did spray dyeing of the specialty papers with procion dyes, then zigged, zagged and looped some free motion machine embroidery, and added puff paints for texture... I love the brilliance of the colors and how they wash together like watercolors.
I really like the loopy flowers below, they seem so painterly, amazing what can be done with thread. I am only a beginner at painting with thread, there are those who do very precise beautiful work including words which I find difficult. That will take lots of practice. Here is the reverse side of my loopy flowers which I like just as well, you can see the stitching better. And speaking of stitching, if you look very closely you may see where I stitched these photos together because these pieces were bigger than my scanner. Easily done, but not perfect, in Photoshop.
I'm not sure what I'll do with these or future pieces, they could be book covers or part of another art piece or book. Somehow I'm thinking some of these techniques will find their way into my journey into acrylics and mixed media paintings... Meanwhile, I'm looking forward to our machine embroidery group reconvening in the fall which is only a whisper away.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Paintings, Sun and Seascapes

The lines blur, who knows where the sun, the light and the seas begin and end.
I am continuing in my series and studies of sun, light and seas... getting lost in the lines of where one begins and one ends... as I paint the textures and rhythms of the waves, clouds, or shimmers. Painting these are like meditations for me, going to a serene peaceful place with no time, swimming in the unconscious bliss...
I have a couple more canvases ready for my brushstrokes, they are waiting for me to bring them to life. Soon, maybe tomorrow I will step into my studio and flood them with color.

Meanwhile, I have been attending to life... travel, my sometimes sick kitty, lots of telephone talk with my family at a distance sharing in the events and ups and downs of days that swim by so fast as we all get older, taking small steps to organize a completely disorganized studio, and participating in the camaraderie of various art groups. And so, also I have not blogged as much as I had for a while, as I attend to all my other interests, and of course, the so short summer we are having here in the Pacific Northwest. But soon, more postings to come, with updates and photos on travels and some fibery art I have been creating....

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Art Show, Painting and Seascapes

Summer time, a lovely time for arty events...On the postcard above, the small painting with tulip fields is mine. I have been so busy, painting and painting.... I just hung my artwork for this show yesterday, 18 new acrylic and mixed media paintings, mostly seascapes, suns. Feels great to see them finished and hanging... And this morning I started on 3 more canvases! I am loving the colors and textures....

Join us if you can, here are the details for the art show this weekend, plus the artist's reception on Friday.

July 15-18: Thu/Fri 4-8pm, Sat/Sun 10am-5pm
ArtWorks, 201 2nd Avenue, Edmonds
• Original artwork by over 35 artists • Miniature Sale
• Artist demos • Free admission & parking • Visa & Mastercard accepted
For more detailed information, visit the ARTSplash website.

Artists Reception - You're Invited!
Friday, July 16, 6-8pm, Food & Refreshments
ArtWorks Building, Second & Dayton, Edmonds, 425-774-6049
ArtistsConnect is an affiliate of the Edmonds Arts Festival and Foundation.
A portion of the event proceeds support community arts programs.
postcard design by Spectral Designs, LLC