Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Journal Version of Recent Trip

My goal today was to complete this final double spread page in my journal, the last enty into this journal which began on 7-21-09, nearly a full years worth of life. Those of you who caught the previous version of my "photo" version of the trip to San Jose will, sorry to say, see some replications. But I thought you might enjoy seeing the watercolor translations into my journal.

Of course, we start with the amazing vision of Mt. Shasta. I love how watercolor depicts clouds, with that heavenly transparency that only transparent pigment can. I've added some white wax crayons for edges of the clouds and it simplifies the process when I'm painting - don't have to be concerned with my white edges so much.

Next is the completed version of my two dear friends at the restaurant table. I'm totally happy with the portrait on the left and finally, with Floy on the right. I had to shorten her chin abit, and nip off the tip of her nose, to make it more delicate. Check out the in-progress version of this twosome on March 21st blog post.

And the memory I most wanted to capture for my hike at Uvas Park was one of the glistening creeks. I loved the small, intimate cascade into this pool with the ferns softening the edges of the pool and the image. I'm fairly pleased with this image.

I'm asking for input on the presentation of the final page. As you know I'm not the happiest with my Micron pens right now. They just wear down so quickly on this watercolor paper - so on this page, I've tried out the Ultra Fine Tip Sharpie. Yes, it was consistent with the same amount of ink BUT, the thing I didn't like was that even with the Ultra Fine tip, I still got a real heavy text. I'm unhappy with the overall final full 2 page spread. I really want the images to have the strongest presentation in my journals. But, to me, now this page has strong text that battles with the images for priority. Hey, it could just be me. But . . . I'd love to hear your ideas and opinions.

But, just keep creating and experimenting . . . life continues to be full of lesson, artistic and spiritually. Trust the process!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Valentine's Day & Mentoring Sweetness

I've wanted to share this page in my journal for awhile - - but you know the "getting-to-the-computer" challenge. So, finally here's the entries for my Valentine's Day and the ending of my Mentoring with my Dear Kiri.

Valentine's Day was a bit unpredictable. I'd received this lil flier from a fellow at the February Ashland First Friday in my studio, and it intrigued me. The presentation of film shorts included beautifully hand-colored films and - I thought - perhaps Roland, my Valentine, would find that entertaining. So it put me into action of reserving dinner at his favorite lil Ashland restaurant, Lela's ( with a brisk early dinner in mind. That way we could wisk off to the University Campus and see the shorts. But as the day approached, I realized, to be open, compassionate and self-less (well, at least an effort towards that), I asked him to make the decision as to whether we'd hurry a single course, or revel in a slow, "muse-ful" dinner. When we got to the restaurant and he saw the menu (did I tell you, he's a "closet" fabulous chef?) - you can guess which direction won out. Yep, the leisurely dinner. And it felt calming, pleasing to watch him savor his dinner and my company :) I've kept a portion of the tender card Ro gave me at dinner, to complete this entry.

Now the ending of my mentoring project was pretty tender too. I'd been invited by both Kiri and her parents to be present for her formal presentation of the "Mentoring Project" that she and I'd endeavored to fulfill over the past 40 hours and 3 months. I was so touched and amazed at the maturity of the 3 earlier presentations - I could hardly contain myself. But when Kiri took the stage, she'd framed beautifully her final piece (the triptych) and matted uniformly in dramatic black mat all the exercises and sketches we'd every developed.

Her presentation took awhile as she dialogued what she'd learned, opening with profuse compliments for me. I delighted as she unveiled each piece and heard the audience exude a "wow". I was immeasurably proud of her and impressed by her progress when viewed this way in entirety. Following the assembly, her mom and dad handed me a lush and gorgeous rose bouquet and thank you card. Of course, I teared up :)

Over the next few days I pondered our whole endeavor and came up with the word "worth" - because out of all that investment and interaction - what I felt most and saw Kiri beam with - was worth. Increased worth.

So, now for the new technique - I'd been aching to try this new technique with Golden's Light Molding Paste. I understood you can spread the paste onto WC paper, then, carve in different textures and words. It dries white, light weight, and absorbent. When dry I dropped in various colors that went along with my feeling of "worth" and lastly, some delicious acrylic liquid bronze. Yippie - did I have fun! LOVE this new process - so unpredictable and luxurious in texture. I did find tho, that after it had dried and I'd dangled my dried rose on string (to add movement), the rose petal stuck to the paste, tearing it off my yellow string. But I'll use this again, guaranteed.

Looking at the page . . . can we have too much sweetness in our lives . . . heck NO!!! Go enjoy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

A Trip Full of Planning and Play

I really have not fallen off the planet. I have had planned for several weeks a trip down to the Bay Area to satisfy many requirements. With plans to participate in three (yes, actually THREE) different shows down in my ole stomping grounds, the San Francisco Bay Area. I left early in the morning and pass the gorgeous Mount Shasta en route. There was an incredible northward wind pushing the cluster of clouds around the peak into mesmerizing patterns. I did sneak a shot as I drove by. Nature truly is astonishing with it's ever changing visions.

The first show upcoming is "A Year in the Secret Garden" that will be the culmination of a project involving six artists who painted monthly in a beautiful El Cerrito garden full of exotic, amazing greenery. I was honored to be among these amazing artists (including Jane Hofstetter, Charlotte Britton, Charlotte Panton, Jean Warren, Anne Fallin and Ruth Beeve). The show will take place at the "Glenn Gallery of Art", running from April 1-30, artist reception April 10th, 1-4pm.

During my visit I met/stayed with my very dear artist friends, Jean Warren and Floy Zittin planning our collaborative show in Los Altos, July 6-30. This show I'm so excited about - as we three have kept in communication since we all moved five years ago via painting! YES, I did say painting! We have been mailing full sheet pieces, each contributing a 6 x6 inch comprobable space. Here's a sample of one we've completed, "Puzzling Nature". Also, we have an ongoing dialogue with 5 x7 inch pieces, responding to the previous artists entries or just where we are in our lives. Those we now have 67 pages!!! And along with hanging challenges we plotted out a workshop we will make available on the Saturday,July 10th after our Friday Artist Reception at Viewpoints Gallery ( I've just begun this journal sketch of us planning at the restaurant table - the poor waiter never knew what hit him :)

The day before I left I joined and dear friend and her hubby on a hike of Uvas Park in the Almaden Valley. It was a lovely day and the park offered lush fern with numerous waterfalls. The Madrone trees were blooming with their tiny with flowers and scents of various bushes filled the air. I've got some juicy images for paintings now gurgling in my mind ... here's a sample.

But my home was calling ... after I'd picked up the two (yep, not just one) of the favorite pizzas from his most-missed-Italian-restaurant for my hubby and a cup on my favorite Starbuck's Chai Tea ... I was on the road. I've got it down to just under 7 hours travel between San Jose, California and Jacksonville, Oregon. So now I'm tucked sweetly back with my two boys (the hubby and the furry one, Cody) and relishing what a beautiful, full and joyous life I have - on a pretty gorgeous planet.

So just take a moment and especially during this springtime, savor the goodness and wonder of our world. Blessings?? beyond counting ...

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

First Plein Air Painting of this Spring

Well, according to the calendar, it's not r-e-e-e-e-a-a-a-l-l-y Spring yet. But I'm ignoring that. One of the artists who is my dear neighbor at the Ashland Art Center, Sylvia Trujillo (, 2nd Floor Artists Studios, set out to have our first plein air session on her birthday, Sunday, February 14th. She sent off invites to her students and other interested artists. I got there just after her suggested meeting time, 1pm, giving the morning chill a chance to burn off.

We all met at the southwest end of Emmigrant Lake, near Ashland, Oregon. It was a warm afternoon with only the breeze coming off the lake to cool us. I treked around with my camera to catch potential paintings. Although I favored some of the views right on the lake, I opted for the south side of a knoll with exaggerated, bare trees and a manzanita bush with gorgeous cast shadows.
I'd planned to work on a flat format 12 x 16 inch block, plotting out a design that would eventually wrap around 6 x 12 x 1.5 inch stretcher bars. The drawing took me awhile but I did get in my sketch and the majority of my wax crayon resists. I've been working on the piece on and off for these couple of weeks and finally feel about 3/4 done.

At this point, I seperate the single sheet from the block. First, I wet only the back of the paper (remember, the image is already on the other side), readying to wrap the paper around the stretcher bars. I center using the sun streaming in my kitchen doors to position the paper, centered over the bars. Gently, I lay down the face of the painting on a soft, plastic wrapping and begin pulling the opposite sides of the paper tight before stapling with a staple gun. When I've got the corners tucked and stapled back, I let the piece dry, braced back up, while resting on any object about 1-2 inches high.

I've spent some time finishing up details. Softening some hard edges, darkening focal point values and dotting in some color to balance out the painting and increasing interest in my area of focus. Here she is from the right side, demonstrating what I love about these lil' "intimates" as I like to call them (no frame or glazing to seperate you from the painting surface). When you walk up to these, because of the wrap, the side of the painting introduces you to the image and it changes as you walk by ~ ~ even from the top or bottom. I believe her name will be "Early Spring Break". What do you think?