Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Jane LaFazio journal class in San Diego

When I was in San Diego visiting my son Sam, we spent some time in Escondido viewing this fabulous mosaic creation by . Nikki de St Phalle Unfortunately it was closed on Monday,so we could only peer through the grate. I will definitely be back!

This is at Kit Carson park, and if you didn't know it was here, it would be easy to miss. Keep following the signs to Queen Califia and you will be rewarded when you come upon this magical place.
The real reason for coming up to Escondido area was to take a private journaling class with Jane LaFazio at San Bernardo winery. I had wanted to take a class with her for some time and this turned out to be my opportunity. Jane was gracious enough to meet me at the last minute and we had a great day sketching together.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The top photo is a gaggle of Wish Dolls that I made for the PAC show. They are meant to be a place to pin wishes and dreams to help them come true. Right now I would use them to wich that these blog photos would publish correctly!
These are journals from my student's work in a previous class and I think they are beautiful! You, too can  create beautiful journals like this in my upcoming class on Sunday January 10th at the new Tabor Art space at 55th and Bemont. We will be doing both journal making and journal keeping classes. Come join the fun and get a jumpstart on creativity for the new year!

Here is the scarf detail. I loved the way the roses came out.  This is what I did with the tassels left over from the PAC show. I put them all together and added a fairy body, and  voila! a fairy tassel doll.

Goodness, how can it be that it has been a month since I last posted to this blog? How the time flies at this time of year! I miss communicating this way, and will make a pledge to get better at being timely in the new year. I just have to make it a habit.

I have not been idle since my last post. Far from it! I had fun selling my creations at the Portland Art Collective show in December, along with my many art friends. I hope some of you were able to make it to the show.  Since then I have been thinking green--the color, not the lifestyle. I had such fun making this scarf in a class with Loyce Ericson. It is nuno felting, something I have wanted to learn. Loyce is a great teacher, and I hope to do another class with her soon. Every time I have worn this I have received compliments.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I am having some technical difficulties with my blog posts, so bear with me. I guess I have been away for too long, and for that I apologize. It seems that lately, whenever I sit down to do a posting, I can't connect to the internet, or some other glitch stops me.
I have had more fun with tassels, and decided if the small ones were good, how about making some larger, felted ones. The biggest ball of these is
about 4 inches across, and I have added fibers and recycled sari silk to the tassels. I like the heart danglies, which are inspired by some I saw in a Parisian window.

Here are some of the sachets I have enjoyed making from silk remnants and French wired ribbon. I think they look nice in a pile like this, and they smell so wonderful! The lavender that I picked last Summer is still so fresh. I will be selling these and other frenchie things at our PAC sale coming up December 4th and 5th at the Multnomah Art Center.

This is the beautiful Fall sky that woke me up with the golden light flooding the bedroom recently. I am surprised and delighted that I got such a good photo of it from my window. The painting on the right was done hastily from my window in Redmond. The sky is so big there, ant the weather so changeable.
I love the wide open spaces in Central Oregon and it always does my soul good to see sunshine in November and to drink in the scent of juniper trees. Each evening, and one morning, we were greeted by the sight of white tailed deer right outside our door! I almost thought I could lure them inside...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fall things

Halloween is over, so are all the Dia de los Muertos celebrations, but I must mention one of the best events I went to during the last several days. Lonesomeville Pottery is a line of art pottery made locally in Portland, and sold on the web, but if you are very lucky, you will be invited to the occasional pottery sales where they also sell seconds and firsts out of their amazing old farmhouse in the city. It is a treat to go here at any time of the year, but is by invitation only. In the Fall they have what seemed like hundreds of carved pumpkins hiding amongst the vegetation in the garden, along with their ceramic pumpkins, and masks (think "the scream" by Mucha). In the Summer, their spectacular garden is a showpiece, and probably my favorite garden in Portland, and that is saying a lot as this is a city of gardens. Get on their mailing list!
Oh Sunday I taught a glass painting class to a group of women who were
all very enthusiastic! With little instruction, they dove into the project, which came about when Suzy redid her windows and had a surplus of neat old windows looking for a home.
We all loved this one done by Brenda, in the style of Mark Rothko

Fall leaves were on our minds and on the ground, and Kathryn painted a nice collection of them on her window. Can you tell she is a painter?
Joanne brought some stencils to use, and kept the original bright turquoise on the outside of her window. It turned out to be very fun and fanciful!
Suzy contemplates what to do next, and ended up adding a mauve background to her tree, which gave it a dreamy effect.
Too much color? Taking the idea from Brenda, I painted some bright circles, then at home added the stencils with spray paint. This one is going on back fence, to wake us up in the dead of winter. Will it frighten the birds away? Maybe just the squirrels that run along the fence...
Back to some more subtle colors of Fall. The gourds keep speaking to me, begging to be painted. I like how these two look like a pair of swans. Fall is really my time, as the colors are all the ones I gravitate toward, being a redhead, and a November birthday girl.
I think I have finally gotten my fill of painting gourds now, though there is still lots more of Fall to go. Go outside and find something Fall to sketch or paint. You will be happy that you did.
Probably one of the best things I did this year, which was one of the items on my list of "101 goals in 1001 days" was to begin to feed the birds. It was something I had always wanted to do, but with my garden window in the kitchen, I didn't know if they would fly so close to where the window was. I bought my bird feeder at the Backyard Birdshop, and they assured me that the birds would come. I waited for over a month,then one day, the finches arrived. Tom and Kathryn, I called them. Pretty soon they brought their friends, and now they are regular visitors. After we pruned the roses, I put up some mossy branches in front of the window as a perch, and they use that as the lounge, while waiting for a perch on the feeder.
I can stand only a few feet from where they feed, and now they are completely used to me being on the other side of the window.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I lovecolor

This was a challenge that was set forth by a friend and artist-to create something and post it on a blog. I didn't exactly comply with the challenge, but it did get my juices flowing, and set me to the task of organizing my silk ribbons that I have been creating and buying. I just love the colors together, and in person they are even more luscious. They will be used to make my funky tassels with fibers and beads. I love making these so much that it is hard for me to stop!
One of these days I am going to figure out how to do my blog posts a little better. Maybe if I did it more often I would get better at it, kind of like everything in life. Practice really does make one better at all things. Speaking of color, I couldn't help taking this photo of the most gorgeous beet salad, enjoyed in Vancouver BC at Rain City Grill, one of my favorite restaurants in the city. In fact, it was so good we ate there twice in two days! The red and yellow swaths of color are beet puree. So artistic and delicious.
This looks like Paris, but it is really the artful displays at the Hollywood Farmer's market in Portland. Sort of like the before and after of beets.
I couldn't pass up a photo of this sign on the door of a Victoria coffee shop. It just made me want to go inside and meet those people who welcomed time travelers...
This is a window that I saw at a great art supply store in Victoria, BC and I love the sentiment. It made me think of the next class I am teaching on glass painting. Yes, we should all unleash our inner artist! As hard as it is to call yourself and artist, what do you have to lose? Believe me, no one will check on your artist's credentials.
I am loving Fall, as I do every year, once I get over missing Summer. These leaves remind me of going to visit my dad in the building where he taught chemistry .Every Fall they would turn the most gorgeous colors of pinks and reds and I would collect handfuls of them. I still can't resist picking up fall leaves.
These knobby, strange pumpkins seem so beautiful to me for their subtle colors, so unlike the big orange globes we associate with Fall. I love them for their imperfections and would like to try to grow them.
At the same farmer's market I saw these big squash, equally beautiful, but was stumped by the elongated variety. Does anyone know what they are called?


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Golden days

As the days turn cool and fallish, I take advantage of the opportunity to sketch outside a bit longer, and Lusher Farm in Lake Oswego is always a favorite place to draw, as there is such bounty at this time of year. There are scarecrows and pumpkins getting round and orange in the sun.
These are some of the gourds that I recently purchased especially to draw. Each one is unique and delightful and provide endless possibilities for sketching.I love those bumpy things and look forward to Fall when they are plentiful. I won't say cheap, as I paid $3 for one especially unique gourd, but most of them were 33 cents at Uncle Paul's , my favorite produce outlet.
A sketch from Paris at a lovely little restaurant in St Paul village. This was a typical dessert called quatre quarte,essentially a pound cake which was served with homemade applesauce.
Hmmm. This sounds so good that I think I should make some soon.
Even though I have been to this part of Paris many times before, I had never visited St Paul village, a charming collection of antique shops and restaurants. It feels like it is a long way from the bustle of the Marais.
This watercolor was done by one of my students in my Artful Journal class that I taught last week at the Art and Soul retreat. I was so pleased and impressed that she would dive right into her new journal. She obviously is a skilled watercolorist and will, no doubt, fill her journal with lovely paintings as I hope all my students will.
Every student made a gorgeous journal to be proud of ! Here is a small sampling of their creations. My favorite part of every class is getting to see all the journals displayed together. I hope they are all put to use and become filled with stories and drawings of lives well lived.

The wedding

If you don't like hearing about other people's weddings, stop reading right now. But this happens to be a very special wedding for me, as it was the marriage of our son Matthew and his wife(!) Rita. So, while doing wedding flowers is my business, it is a little different when it is your own child getting married. Rita had the vision, and I just tried to carry it out as best as I could. Pink, red and orange were our colors, can you tell? And lanterns, we had to have lanterns! My niece Isabella who is a florist and wedding planner extraordinaire in Menlo Park came to help, thank goodness. As did my sister and lots of other friends and family.
Dahlias and roses were our flowers of choice, and thankfully the weather and my growers co-operated. We had an abundance of these beautiful flowers, one of my current favorites for Fall weddings. Isabella put together the centerpieces, as I walked around in a daze.
This is the beautiful and elegant Rita, my new daughter in law, and her dog Abby who walked down the aisle with her. Of course they were the star attractions!
Did you like the lanterns the first time? Well, here they are again! My sister strung each one
of these one the light strands. What a trooper.
Here is the wedding structure that I created. We were going for the "Indian wedding" theme. This was the most challenging, yet ultimately, most satisfying component for me.
We had beautiful weather, perhaps the last really warm weekend of the year. Just the kind of weather that I ordered!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

out and about

Ah, la vie romantique! These are my wonky French chairs from the courtyard of La Musee de la Vie Romanatique in Paris, a charming little gem tucked into a neighborhood near Montmartre. We enjoyed seeing a cast of Chopin's hand, among the other works of art inside, then repaired to the garden for tea and a tarte. It was a little look into the lives of upperclass Parisians of the period and one of my favorite small museums. Then we saw the erotic museum, but no pictures from there!
Fall is definitely here in Portland, and I have been so pleased, once again, by the gourds that grow unexpectedly each year from the old gourds that I throw into the side garden. I never know what will come up, and I am always delighted when those big green leaves start to appear. I have been especially proud of my one gourd that I trained to climb along the neighbor's fence. It was such a cheery sight to see it hanging there, with big yellow blossoms and it seemed that I could watch it growing daily. The rains came, though, so it was time to harvest him, but I will continue to enjoy my gourds throughout the Fall season atop my mantle.

I wish I had planted this chair myself. I always meant to do one, so when I saw this one at the Lake Oswego antique fair a couple of weekends ago, I brought it home to place by my front door. I hope I can get it to winter over.

I had a lovely day out in the country last week, and one of the stops was Bauman Farm near Brooks. The plantings they do are spectacular, and this huge petunia hanging basket was one of my favorites. Note the figure to the right, which shows the scale.
It is a wonderful place to buy produce straight from the farm, unique plants, and especially baked goodies like their applesauce doughnuts, which are hard to resist. Now they have a giant castle made of hay bales and lots of pumpkins. It is a great outing , only 45 minutes from Portland-that is, if you don't get stuck in traffic for two hours! If you go, say hi to Mary for me.

My favorite stop of the day was Isabella's Garden near Albany. This is a charming place, in an improbable location, right in the middle of a neighborhood. The shop has only been open for a year, but it is full to the brim with unique gift items ,plants and flowers. The real gem is the garden in front, which was planted for the owner's mother when she was caring for her.
She told us that before her mother died she said, "!You must do something with the garden" so Isabella's garden was born,named for Isabella the rabbit. When we visited, the heirloom roses were past their peak, but I would love to see them in full bloom. We were treated to the Fall garden overflowing with lemon basil , plum and cherry tomatoes, and lovely garden vignettes like this topiary dog.
It's a little tricky to find, but so worth the effort! A real gem of a shop and an owner. We wish you the best of luck for sucess.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Chocolat thoughs

Last week in the travel section, I read an article titled, "What's Paris sans chocolate? Just a place with the Eiffel Tower". Of course, that piqued my interest, and it was primarily about taking a walking tour of chocolate shops. The author listed several places, including La Maison Du Chocolate, Jean Charles Richoux, Gerard Mulot (a favorite of mine) and Pierre Herme among others as places to find the best chocolates in Paris. That is not something that sought out while in Paris. Too intimidating! I might ask for 2 kilos of chocolate by mistake, or get some strange flavor of chocolate, like bleu cheese. Once in Mexico I mistakenly asked for a bolsa (a purse) of ice cream instead of a scoop! I did, however, buy some of these big sugary, marshmallow candies which were sold on the street all over Paris, intending to sketch them later. I brought them home for my son, and his friends seemed to like them.

One place that I do indulge in a bit of dark drinking chocolate, though, is Angleina's. Yes, it is touristy, no doubt, but also a Paris staple, where a pitcher of chocolate costs a small fortune, but is sooo worth it. The specialty de la maison is La Africaine. I can never bring myself to use all that whipped cream, though. As Jim and I were enjoying our chocolate, we heard a bit of a commotion behind us, and a few shrieks. Everyone was looking at the floor, and I heard someone mention Ratatouille. Then one of the waiters came over and calmly told the other diners that "she is my very good friend, and if you ignore her, she will go away". Yes, a rat at Angelina's, but apparently a friendly rat.
This is another specialty, the Mont Blanc, a rich mound of white and dark chestnut cream. Very good, but next time I will stick to the hot chocolate. It was a sign of the poor economic times that there was no wait to be seated at Angleina's this Summer. Always in the past I have had to wait for a table, but once discovered that if you are willing to sit upstairs, in the less chic area, there is never a wait.
And a little French whimsey at Le Thabor, the beautiful gardens in Rennes. No matter the season, there is always some beautiful planting here, and it compares with any of the gardens that I saw in Paris.