Monday, October 26, 2009

The Last Camping Trip of the Year

As summer slowly pulls the chilly, yellow-leafed curtain across the days, we seek out the "Last Camping Trip of the Year." On September 21st, we set out for just that - - a lovely day heading up to Diamond Lake and finding a quiet campsite right on the lake. We traverse the lake, ending up at the Lodge and Restaurant. Our plans for the next day would be an early hike and, "how about dinner at the Lodge?" Ok! Our early hike wanders along the south end of the lake and I sit down to sketch the range just north of Mt. Bailey. An ominous yellow cloud, which we've learned is a huge billowing belch from the wildfires just the other side of Mt. Bailey at Tiller, hovers in the distance. The atmosphere is very dry, like 15% humidity and my attempted sketch is frustrating, as the watercolor washes dry before I can mix my paints. But when we follow thru on our plans to return to camp and clean up for dinner at the Lodge, we watch as the winds change and slowly, every so gradually we watch the ugly smoke blanket our view and finally our camp. Within a short time our eyes and throats are burning and we pack up and leave. On our way back towards the Rogue Valley I shot this photo over the Lost Lake Reservoir Bridge - oppressive air.

But, we persevere - we found cleaner air down at Union Creek and claimed another campsite along the gurgling creek. Our Lodge dinner moved now to Betsy's where we, of course, enjoyed her fabulous berry pie and slumbered with our camping dreams dancing in our heads. But . . . guess what . . . in the morn the smoke had crept down to Union Creek . . . and again. We closed down camp, and rather disheartened, drove the remainder of the way home.

But HARK!!!, we shall not give up. With one more lovely autumn-like weather day, October 9th, we drive off to another attempt at a pleasurable "Last Camping Trip of the Year!" This time we head to the beach, Harris Beach Campground near Brookings, to be exact. Once we driven thru the campground during the busy summer and the crowded, noisy sites weren't to our liking. But since this time of year, most campers are staying home and families have children back in school. So the campsites are quiet, greenery abounds among the tall trees and we're a short walk down to a magnificent beach. Following our usual pattern of one dinner out and one in camp, we bip off to Gold Beach, trying out a recommended "Norwester" restaurant. The view, sadly, was the best part of the expensive dinner but, we enjoyed a nice walk thru town and stopped to watch the local football team in action. When we woke to crisp, clean air - it truly was delicious! Roland made a breakfast for king and queens of pecan & banana buckwheat pancakes . . . and I got to share it with him :) With a happy, full tummy, we find a pull out parking lot connecting to the Oregon Coast Trail. Hiking north in the coastal breeze with the sun dancing along to waves, this is the kind of landscape we got to savor for hours! When we returned to our camp, I grabbed my sketchbook and started this sketch of the Harris Beach and its rugged rocks. But, I stopped quickly as the evening breeze brought sand sprinkling across both me and my palette. The day was breathtaking filling our spirits completely with zeal!!! And our down-home dinner of Beans 'n Brown Bread (yep, the one in the can!) filled our tummies rotund-ly. At long last . . . our beautiful "Last Camping Trip of the Year" had come to fruition.

So hey - "never give up" - one of my favorite sayings :)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Our FIRST ~ First Friday Ashland Artwalk

This entry is in celebration of our Studio 8 finally feeling together!! Ashland has a monthly "First Friday Artwalk" which is usually well attended between locals and visitors (especially during the Shakespeare Theatre Season, March through October). Since the Art Center has not officially had it's Grand Opening yet, I wondered how well attended this event would be.

We'd worked through our "sun challenge" where the bright, full sun flooded over our original watercolor and pastel paintings. We found we couldn't use curtains or UV protective film in the windows so finally found a way to flip all four of our work/display positions. In the new arrangement Bonnie and my originals aren't hit by direct sunlight and Thalia and Lindsey's jewelry sparkles in the direct light. A perfect solution!

Having all us four studio-mates together, the first time since the contract signing, felt festive. We gathered around 5pm to get the studio ready, spread out our light refreshments (ginger snaps, cream cheese and apples) and I continued working on a collaborative piece I'm doing with two other wonderful women artists (but that's a whole other post). By 6pm the place was swarming with curious faces and warm smiles of friends who'd come to congratulate.

I loved chattering with people, showing them the process of this combined artistic effort in my collaborative piece and introducing them to my studio mates. Many had never been into the Art Center before and were awed at the size, layout and potential for the community and artists! I, personally, have found that this decision to "take that leap" and rent this space (which has included: stepping out into a more public venue, communicating with peer artists, sharing my thoughts, processes and dreams) has been one of the best things I have done. I'm feeling rewards of independence, integration and invigoration, tumbling at me faster than I could have imagined.

I thank you for following these misadventures of this adventurer through life. My only hope is that by my escapades I can encourage, even motivate another to try new things in life. The benefits are unfathomable. Come on . . . join me!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

YIPPPEEEE ~ Journal Entry Wins First Place

I can't contain myself anymore. I've been aching to share this with you all but putting it off cuz I wanted to get a couple other posts up. Heck, I'm giving up - - I have to tell you now!

This is an annual show here in the area, Grants Pass to be specific, about 40 minutes north of Jacksonville. Entitled "Spirit of the Rogue", it's theme is the experience or essence of the Rogue River. I've usually not entered the show because my favorite landscapes are vistas, mountains, clouds and florals. This year on a whim, I thought I'd submit one of my journal pages. Shoot, I didn't even know if it would be considered because it's between 2D and 3D work. Surprise! I was chosen as one of the pieces for the show. That was exciting enough.

Then, shortly after the jurying, I received an email from the curator, "Spirit of the Rogue 1st Place". Can you believe it? Amidst some fabulous pieces, including works like a 4 x 6 foot oil by one of the Art Department Instructors - they chose my journal! The piece was a page from a 4th of July hike to Rainey Falls that several of us took. I began the sketch on site and when everyone else was ready to head back for the barbecue, I snapped a few digitals shots. Later, when I got home I finished the painting incorporating a small shell my sweet husband had collected, thinking it could fit into the journal too. And wellah - here is the finished image.

And I wanted to share with you another s-t-r-e-a-c-h this show offered me - and I took them up. They presented an Artists Talk for the public and college students requesting any of us artists in the show to take part. It was casual with a brief explanation of one's process, inspiration and media. Then it was open for questions. I volunteered and didn't do any prep and felt pretty much as ease. The semicircular seating had artists and public all mixed together and artist answers could be melted down to "one must paint with love of subject". All in all I felt pretty ecstatic, only heightened when the curator smiled at me as I left, reminding me that the check for 1st Place, $250, was "in the mail".

One just never knows from where dreams come true . . . again, I invite you artists to step out and take chances in new, uncertain directions.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Jacksonville Art Jubilee

Over many months, some when the whole show was called off because of political mincings of the small-town-sort, our newly formed group, "Art Presence" has seen the reality of our Fall show. Back when it was still chilly last year some of us local artists put together 2 proposed art shows, one Spring, one Fall. The Autumn one was even going to have a poster competition for artists to enter - when - because of the business partner we'd paired up with was at odds with another faction and we cancelled everything.

But us artists decided to muster once again, this time with only us artists at the helm. We wrote up a mission statement and did a survey throughout town, inquiring if businesses would support and feel art could help our small town to thrive. We won an overwhelming positive response, which was written up in the paper. Then, we sent letters to ALL political, business and city groups telling them ALL, that "Art Presence" would partner with any willing or interested and that we had NO political affiliation.

One group offered to couple with us in the "Jacksonville Art Jubilee" to be held September 19th and we were back on course. Our partner took care of the parts they are good at (wine sampling, music, tickets, publicity, location for music & wine venues) and us artists coordinated what we are good at (recruiting professional quality artists, locating artists around town and gathering bios, along with images for promotion).

So, early that Saturday, the hum of our little town was audible with everyone setting up in preparations for our 12noon-6pm show. We were blessed with beautiful weather sandwiched between rainy/cold before the event and 100degree temps the following week! Our 25 artists were set up and showcased their work on lovely lawns.

The sketch I put into my Journal for that day is my location on the McCulley House Inn ( grounds. Three other artists, Cheryl Garcia, Leah Mebane, Roger Robinson and myself displayed on the picturesque bed & breakfast located right at the corner where the main street business district begins. Cheryl's work nested under the shade tree just across from the band that entertained the public all day.

At the end of the day we had various reports, many compliments of the energy and activity in our charming town (did I mention the "Bicycle Oregon" [] came through town that very day?) some with sales (the wonderful metal artist, Cheryl Garcia [] sold 2 pieces and I sold an original and many notecards), some with little traffic (in the less central locations around town), and low poster sales. Overall, it felt like a success, but there will be plenty of reviewing to improve next year's jubilee. We will do a survey/critique of the event for all of our artists and, of course, meeting discussions.