Friday, August 28, 2009

Exciting NEW Studio Space ~ "Studio 8"

It all started with a friendly call from one of the local ladies who'd attended my "Women's Mexico Retreat" for Journaling and Watercolor Sketching. We'd kept in touch after we both got home from Mexico and had had coffee and I'd attended her gallery's "Grand Opening". Bonnie was calling to tell me she is gathering, hopefully, four women artists to share a 255 square foot working studio space.

This space is on the second floor of the newly acquired Provost Building, by the Ashland Art Center ( for a fantastic art hub for Southern Oregon. I've been first onboard Denise Baxter's (now the Executive Director) trail when she invited me to show in her gallery around two years ago. Shortly after Denise began representing me, she launched off into her dream of starting up non-profit that benefited artists, community and patrons alike. Over many months of hard work, finding an appropriate building, raising funds (in this economy!!), this dream moved into this old furniture building, Spring of 2009, and began refurbishing. October is the Grand Opening but, it's up and functioning n-o-o-o-o-w!!! Part of the income guaranteed to the Art Center will come from the entire second floor where somewhere around 13 different fantastic artists have rented the working, open-to-the-public studios. That, my friends, is where Bonnie comes back in!

I'm initially tentative with Bonnie's invite to hop aboard creating this foursome but . . . Cody (our sweet golden retreiver) & I take a drive (about 25 minutes worth) into Ashland to take a look at the space. The energy is quiet, warm and positive. I'm pleased to see how Cody responds to the place (see photo) by spreading out like a "puppy rug", completely relaxed and at peace. Next, the full foursome planned to meet, to talk over space division. I felt comfy with two of the three ladies, those two I'd met and had warm, mutual relationships with before. One I'd not met before.

The signing of our lease was hurried up, when Denise told us others were looking at the very same space. So, all of us, Bonnie, Thalia (, Lindsey and I, gathered last Sunday, August 23rd, and we signed in agreement. Here we are gloating new owners of "Studio 8". I have to admit, this is the first time, in any photo, where I've been the tallest in the group. Well, just another new experience coming my way. I'm really excited and the more "neighboring" artists I meet, the happier I am with my decision. These are all devoted, talented and warm people aiming at making this space physically, creatively and financially a success.

At this stage, we are furnishing and deciding necessary working, storage, display and teaching space, lighting and furniture. Lindsey and Thalia are amazing jewelry artists and will work hand in hand, sharing tools, storage and display space. Bonnie has a plethora of extra furniture for our half (the painter side of "Studio 8") and I was struggling with finding a work table. But the Universe has a delicious way of answering needs when you take that "leap" (haven't I talked about that "leap" somewhere here before?). So, just last Thursday, when I was at my monthly Critique Group, one of our members, who has lately experienced some big health challanges, announces he's going to be getting rid of furniture and books in his studio. Everyone, first-come, first-serve, is welcome to come check it out. Long story short, I got my beautiful work table: a 36 x 55 inch drafting table!

So, I can't wait to see what else the Universe has in stock for me. I'm envisioning swarms of sales, full and delighted classes and a new dedication to committed, longer, more focused hours of creativity. Join me in turning around the verbage and outlook for artists in this economy. I'm ready - - how about you? Think about what "leap" you can take, knowing you are deserving and guided. It's an amazing ride . . .

Monday, August 10, 2009

Escaping the Heat

We have been having a run on "hot" weather, like five consecutive days over 100 degrees and the two previous days were 99. So, we began to seek out the cool coastline of Oregon, now in the 60s or low 70s, for refuge.

My hubby had researched some camping sites and we hooked up the camper and were off. When we got to the city of Brookings, the temperatures were f-a-a-a-a-r-r-r-r-r more comfortable. Unfortunately, many other people, either in retreat from heat or on vacation, were occupying the camping sites we'd hoped to fill. So farther up the coast we meander. Once thru Gold Beach, we turn right just before the bridge spanning the Rogue River and head upstream. Of the several campgrounds available, none were what we were wanting and we made a U-turn back towards Gold Beach.

I prodded Roland to turn into the odd little campground named "Secret Camp" and it turned out to be a charming, privately owned place! Well kept, nicely landscaped, personalized (yes, nature posters framed in the bathroom) and some privacy for each site. We jumped at site #16. We were backed up to a fern forest, delighted with sprinkles of sunshine most of the day and humored by the "No Parking, Except for Donna" sign by the registration office. For a treat, we took to the "city" and happened upon a delicious dinner (recommend by Donna, the camp owner) at "Spinners". And enjoyed the next episode of "Big Love" on the laptop before we curled into crisp, refreshing night air for slumber. Even Cody, our sweet Golden Retriever, got chilly enough to join us up on the bed before morning.
We woke to hazy fog and delicious temperatures - exactly what we'd desired. After breakfast, we'd planned to go swimming in the river, so headed upstream a bit more for sunshine. Well, we got excited and launched into this mission to go see the much talked about town of "Agnes". This took us upstream, past lovely river curves, tee-pees along the bank and, I know you'll laugh, back into temperatures of 100 as we reached "Agnes"!!! We relished a fruit smoothie, caught the mist from "mister" on the porch of the local store (the ONLY building in town besides the post office!) and beat feet back towards cooler surroundings. About half way back to the coast we spied a pebbly beach and dawned out swim suits. For probably and hour we lavished in the cool water, watching the grey heron across the river from us, waving at the "tour boats" that travel up the river and savoring our quiet, pleasant spot. Along the winding road next to the river we glimpsed many Osprey nests high in the dead trees, as well as their young inhabitants.

Once back to the coast, we headed to the coast hiking trail, part of the Pacific Coast Trail, which can be accessed many places along the drive around Brookings. We turned at the first one, since it was getting early evening, and caught views like this on our short trek. Our evening nourishment was sandwiches and reading aloud of a sweet lil book (one of my honey's favorite, shhhhhhh, don't tell him I told you) entitled, "I Heard the Owl Call My Name". And we drifted off to dreams of living among the native peoples and nature.

Ok, our escape from the heat had come to an end . . . we needed to head back inland . . . but postponed it as long as we possibly could. We stopped up Highway 199 at the "Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park" where Roland swam, Cody snoozed in the shade and I did the above sketch in the afternoon sun. It was a calming preface to the oppressive heat (we saw 111 degrees on a bank sign) of the Illinois Valley and Grants Pass. Pleasantly, we rolled into our dear J-ville, where temps were only 99 and heading into evening cooling.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

A Missed Appointment = Artist's Playtime

My how time flies ... I have been busy AND painting too. Here's just a quick entry from my journal for July 23rd.
I'd had plans to meet one of the fun ladies who'd participated in my Women's Mexico Retreat (see: just to catch up and talk artist talk. Those of you artists out there know what I mean :) ! We've been having such hot days (five consecutive with over 100 degrees and the two previous days were 99 degrees) that we wanted to meet early. So I arrived around 9:20 and got my Chai Tea, nestled into a comfy table with a charming view . . . and waited . . . and waited . . . and waited. About 9:45 I decided to pull out my trusty journal and start a sketch while I waited.

I'd picked a enchanting view of ole' feeling and cozy, stuffed furniture, skirted by the oval table. I got along in the sketch well . . . in the interim, I'd called my second appointment to see if we could meet early . . . and when she called back, I had to conclud my sketch. I'd just started some watercolor washes, so let them dry, finished up my tea. And trotted on my merry way.

I did finish up my sketch later at home (luckily I had my swell digital camera along with me and had shot a couple of images) and, yes, my artist friend and I DID finally get to meet a week later and had a delicious time rambling and cajoling for over two hours. "What do those women talk about", the guys ponder! :) They will never know!

Just a plug here for A-L-W-A-Y-S having your journal (or some creative potential) tucked along with you when you go anywhere. My dear journal made this missed appointment turn into a lovely memory and a chance to work on my still life sketching skills.

Happy trails are you delightful, life-enhancing creatives!