Thursday, December 20, 2012


These postings will now take a brief intermission of a week or two, whilst the artist enjoys her holiday with family, gets married and runs off with the photographer.  

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Green Cat

Moments after the Blue Cat photo.  It looks like her little heart Chakra ♥ is visible in the dim light. 

Monday, December 10, 2012

Blue Cat

I thought I was going to bed around midnight last night, but Sierra was cuddled so sweetly on her rug.  Her eyes BEGGED for a good ear scratch from me before I left her in the dark for eight hours, alone.  I was putting the TV remote away in a drawer, and found a single, Christmas LED tealight candle in there from last year.  It's the kind that changes color every few seconds.  I lit it and laid it between Sierra's paws.  She thought it a most intriguing new toy.  The camera just happened to be nearby...

Saturday, December 8, 2012

You Could Eat The Walls

We had time to pop into Muskan, our favorite Indian restaurant, a couple days ago, and dined on way too much sumptuous food.  As often happens, the artistry of the decor in the place hadn't sunk into my awareness on previous visits until I whipped out my little Moleskine and pen that day.   It's true that one connects with their environment so much more when they sketch!  Even if only to sketch in the ink drawing and memorize the colors to fill in later at home.   I left the little banner that was hanging between the arches blank, as I couldn't remember the colors on that.  Oh, no... that means Jim and I will have to go back!  The figure on it looked like a stylized Ganesha, the elephant-headed god.  

This drawing was done with Staedler black pigment liner (01 and 03)  and "painted" with Derwent Inktense color pencils on water media Moleskine book paper, highlights done with white gel pen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Playing With Textures

Late night creative frenzy in the studio in my jammies produced some test watercolor textures.  This is one.  

Monday, December 3, 2012


Some months ago, there was an alluring moth clinging to the outside of a window at night.... Can a bug be sexy?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Reflection On A Cat

I've been away from my studio for awhile, so I thought I would post a photo or two I've done.  I'm certainly no photographer, but now and again a certain subject matter presents itself, and I just HAVE to capture it!  

This is our Maine Coon, Sierra, whose interest in the new water cooler gave me a morning of fun shots earlier this year.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Peering From Within

I re-found this little slip of a sketch a few months ago, it fell out of a folder.  I believe I once drew it as an idea for a sculpture, but both Jim and I like it on it's own merit.  At any rate, it never made it to a clay version, but who knows...  

Sunday, November 18, 2012

"A Kiss Before You Go"

My new copy of Danny Gregory's book, "A Kiss Before You Go", will arrive later this month.  Danny Gregory is one of my favorite sketchers, and his new book tells of the sudden loss of his beloved wife and his own grief recovery, through journaling and drawing.  Click on the link below to see the sweet and heartfelt video of this soon-to-be-available gem.  It will be at Barnes and Nobles November 28th, 2012, and can be pre-ordered.  I did so through Amazon.
A Kiss Before You Go

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Cove At Point No Point

This magical spot at Point No Point Resort haunts me, so I tried to infuse the drawing with some of that lingering impression.  In spirit I've spent the week back there, as I wanted to communicate the implied, unspoken language of that unique place.  I understood the terrain very well, as the sea and I share the joy of stroking minerals smooth.  If I was made of salt water (which I guess I am), and had thousands of years to kill (not sure if I do), this is how I would sculpt the basalt cliffs.  

I can't help but feel the drawing was conscious of me, even as I sprayed it with fixative.

Pastel and conte on graytone paper, with gouache, black carbon ink block and of course, white gel pen.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cove At Point No Point (Rough Sketch)

I think this could be a good pastel when I'm finished, I'm enjoying it.  The depths of the water show promise.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Crossing On The Black Ball (Coho)

Another sketch from Jim's and my recent visit to Vancouver Island, B.C.   As we sipped our tea/coffee at a nearby table in the dining area of the Blackball Ferry, I noticed a woman sitting at the end table near the exit, who appeared a little distraught.  Another woman came and went periodically who seemed to be traveling with her, so I knew she wasn't alone, but was very distracted by her thoughts.   I couldn't help but notice the range of items on the walls around her that symbolized drama and crisis, so I gave in to the impulse to sketch the scene in my little Moleskine.  

As often happens, the face that came out of my pen onto the paper refused to be distraught and instead portrayed peaceful contemplation, so I went with it.  When I finished the sketch, the figure seemed more to symbolize a state of calm and equilibrium within an implied state of chaos.  I like it.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Juan de Fuca View

Jim and I were able to get away to Vancouver Island, B.C., for a few days, and it was a trip worth the long wait in ferry traffic hours (similar to dog hours, only without the multiple stick-tosses to kill time).  The conte crayon sketch on greytone paper above was the view from our cabin, through a two-story window.  The wildlife you don't see, came and went too quickly to draw (as well as some of the trees... what's with that?).   Point No Point Resort in Sooke is so worth going back as often as possible, even if one has to lie to relatives as to why you didn't visit them in Podunk, Nebraska, this year either (oops, sorry Aunt Mabel).   The labyrinth of trails along the shore that the Resort maintains was magical, to say the very least, and the weather transformed itself to accommodate our wildest dreams.   

And yes, the fish images in the clouds might be a subconscious communion with maritime dimensions as we haunted the driftwood- and basalt-furnished margin between the worlds, made possible by immersing ourselves in the electromagnetic field of the transformer, 15 feet from our bedroom window.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Coffee and Keyboard

Yesterday Jim and I had gone to Port Townsend to pick up groceries and order a case of gluten-free beer at the wine shop, but as often happens, we end up eating lunch at our favorite place, which sprawls into an afternoon just hanging out.  Our friend Marian had shown us this sweet coffee shop on the water that makes their own chai (yay), so I took Jim there.  While he was ordering his exquisite coffee and my chai, I grabbed a table and found an interesting model engrossed in his laptop.  I tried to make it look like I was sketching the pier outside, so he wouldn't feel his privacy was being invaded.

Most of the sketch was done with Daniel Smith's Prima-Tek watercolors, made with ground, semi-precious minerals, like Tiger Eye, Hematite, Garnet, Red Fuchsite, Amethyst and Green Apatite.  For the shadows and the fake "paper", I borrowed a little help from Inktense pencils.   Staedtler pigment liner pens for the ink outlines.  The foam in the chai was made with a white gel pen.

Saturday, October 13, 2012


An afternoon sifting through old family photos can certainly be an emotional journey, with each subsequent snapshot triggering memories that haven't been touched for decades.  This was a painting I'd given to a neighbor friend who had helped me move my children and my life to another state in 1984.  The subject reminded that friend of his family's farm and equipment, and perhaps it hangs in their living room still.  The painting has been long forgotten, and I hadn't remembered there was a snapshot taken of it until I found it in the box of family photos my mother left me.  The photo is badly aged and degraded as you can see.   But the darkening of it almost mimics the overshadowing fear and apprehension that tinted my view of the future around that time.   It reminds me of how important it can be to reassure that lonely past self that I am so proud of her efforts to build a safe and loving life for herself and her children, and how strong she was.  I am living the joyful and healthy future she could not see that her trajectory was shifting toward.

Saturday, October 6, 2012


Today's posting won't include a physical image, only one of those little life epiphanies I had to share with you all.   One that an artist would appreciate, especially.

I ran across a reference by Rachel Berman (Canadian painter) the other day concerning "pentimento".  Not the first time I'd heard or thought about the term, but this was the first time it had zinged my imagination.  According to Wikipedia, pentimento is:

 " alteration in a painting, evidenced by traces of previous work, showing that the artist has changed his or her mind as to the composition during the process of painting. The word is Italian for repentance, from the verb pentirsi, meaning to repent."

For instance, the pencil or ink sketches on a canvas that were the first images of the idea for a painting, and were evident through the brush strokes...  revealing that the artist changed her mind before the paint went on.   Or a previous painting painted over with a better idea.  

This word suddenly became a metaphor for instances in my life that had shifted from their initial intent, not limited to paintings or sculpture.  My life is a series of "pentimenti".   I now have a name for it, and it's respectable.  Endearing, even.  I can see my life as a series of minor masterpieces in a gallery, some upon inspection reveal mysterious fossils of the first impulse before an eventual paint-over.     

Monday, October 1, 2012

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Tunnel 3

I'm thinking these "sketches" are taking so long I could get away with calling them "paintings".  As I mentioned to a friend, I'm probably in denial about this, and should just start printing them on canvas or matting and framing them.  To achieve the alluring depths of the tunnel, I used acrylic paint, but the rest of the "sketch" is done with 01 and 03 Staedtler Pigment Liner Drawing Pen, Derwent Inktense pencils painted with a waterbrush, and Winsor-Newton Cotman watercolors on a Moleskine book page (alas, not a wet-media sketchbook).   Oh, yes, don't forget the important white gel pen for highlight touch-ups.  

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Tunnel 2

The day was busy, but progress was made.  How did I reserve six to ten hours a day strictly for sculpting once upon a time?

Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Tunnel (rough sketch)

The weather's been so pleasant these last days that I thought I would grab my sketcher's stool yesterday evening and set up down the street at the Jamestown S'Klallam Tribal Campus and find something in the rich architecture and sculpture to capture.   Alas, the light was fading fast by the time I got the rough sketch done, so I will have to do this in installments.  And I had forgotten the camera that's handy when the light is fleeting, when I need reference.

This is a beautiful tunnel that was built under Highway 101, connecting pedestrians to the rest of the buildings on the other side of the highway.  As is common throughout the campus, the planning, design and architecture (as well as the landscaping) are breathtaking.   As I sketched, a woman emerged from the tunnel and looked at my work, smiling broadly.  She introduced herself as a Tribal Elder and invited me across the street to attend a private tribal drumming celebration, to begin at 5:30.   She grinned and admitted 5:30 had past, but considering "Indian Time", it might get rolling sometime after 6:00 PM.  Jim was due home from town momentarily, so I took a raincheck, but it would've been fun, I think.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Very Thai Food Kinda Day

As often happens, an errand Jim and I needed to run in Port Townsend ended up swelling to a day in Port Townsend.  Groceries at the Co-op became a footnote to lunch, and a matinee at the old Rose Theatre.  Always a treat, even if Jim got confused at the box office and pointed to me when he said, "Senior ticket" and himself when he said, "Adult ticket, please".  I don't think he knew what he had said until he saw my mouth agape and eyes looking daggers at him.  It was good natured, as now that I'm facing my sixtieth birthday, I'm getting pretty used to being a "senior" at some establishments, however, no use rushing things!

And of course, if we didn't eat lunch before we entered the theatre, the smell of popcorn would've inspired us to buy the biggest bag, so a rice bowl at Khu Larb was a pleasant tummy-filler.  And no "extra butter" option.  I love the rich colors in the restaurant, and how could I resist the old stone wall outside the window?  And big, fresh roses every day on each table.  The dilemma of including the deep, green wall to my right in my sketch was solved by including the mirror next to the window that reflected a suggestion of that wall, as well as one of the wonderful, hanging lanterns.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

New Blog Site

No photo today.

I've started a new blog, set it up on September 22nd.  I had a crazy idea earlier that previous day while sipping tea and looking out over the bay, and mulled it over in my head for awhile, trying to figure out how silly it might actually be to do this.  I often do this with new ideas, work really hard at talking myself out of them and believe that if they were so great, someone else would've done it.   I'm probably not alone in this self-defeating syndrome.

I remembered a time in the early 1980s, when I had a tiny cabin studio on the edge of Lake Geneva in Federal Way, Washington (the cabin is now gone and the property is a park), and I started painting 3D-looking faces on little round stones, and placed them here and there in the old forest for kids to find as they walked down to play in the lake.   It was great fun, though I seldom saw who took the stones, just that they were gone the next day or two.

While basking in this cool old memory, I sighed at the seeming insanity going on in the world right now, wondering how we could all be so divided, polarized, angry.  I couldn't help but think how just the tiniest of quiet acts of kindness by enough folks could be contagious.  I thought of how an awful day I'd experienced could be so changed by someone who smiled at me or helped me pick up paperwork that slid out of my hands and hit the floor in cascades.   Or a stranger handing me a dollar at the coffee counter when my change came up short.

These two thoughts naturally wove themselves together and gave birth to the idea that I could begin putting "treasures" out there again, and maybe create a blog on which these numbered treasures could be reported on by those who found them.  There'd be a catch, though.  When someone found one of these treasures, they'd either keep them, or re-place them, but before doing so, perhaps could honor the gift by then doing a small act of kindness that day.  If they wanted to, they could comment on the blog and tell their story, including the number stamped on the piece and where they found it.   They would find the blog address on the back of the treasure.

Okay, so it's a weird idea, but I've already got the blogsite up and hope before long to create the first edition of these "treasures" and sneak across the countryside, placing them here and there like a human, middle-aged Easter Bunny.

If you'd like a sneak preview, go to Artists For Kindness

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Just Warming Up

I've been whittling away at this little sketch for many weeks.   It's been in my pocket Moleskine since an evening visit to our favorite hangout, Undertown.  I had sketched the wall (love those bricks) with a chair in front of it, but just as I drew the chair in black ink, some guy with a guitar came and sat down and played some riffs.  Just as I got halfway through sketching the guitar player, he put his guitar down and left me with an empty chair and a wine glass.  In the immortal words of Dorothy in Oz, "My!  People come and go so quickly around here!"  So much of the guitar player is invented (as you can probably tell), but I did come back with Jim not long ago and filled in the barista and the bar in the other room.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Starbucks Silverdale

A couple weeks ago I went with a friend to Silverdale, WA.   While she ran an errand or two, I went for a cup of chai at Starbucks, down the street.  I should know better than to order chai, as I'm not a fan of intensely sugary drinks, but when I pulled out my trusty little Moleskine and tiny watercolor kit, nothing else mattered.   I was in the Zone.  Nothing that dramatic to re-create, but then, everything is entertaining for me!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The Passing of a Great Artist

Today I lost a very special, lifelong friend and mentor.   Since before I can remember, Betty Nissen was  a driving influence on my creativity.  She was my "other mother", and as Jim has termed her, she was my "Spiritual Godmother".   This is a photo that was taken of her in 1976, in Hawaii.   Of all the photos in our old family albums, this is the one that to me expresses what I connected with the most in her personality... her sassy, relaxed, creative fire.  I will so miss this beautiful lady.

For those of you who've missed my regular postings, I apologize...  I found Facebook, and have been catching up many "friends" with the creativity you've all been sharing already!  When I finish creating my business Facebook page, I will link you to it.   I've been in denial for a long time as to what a powerful tool Facebook is!

Thursday, August 16, 2012


The previous posting was a close-up of this finished sculpture.   It was photographed by Neil when Hope had just been sculpted, before she was dry and ready to be fired and painted.  She was around 30 inches tall and sold at Trios Gallery in Solana Beach, California, some months later.   The eyes invaded by light gave the impression Hope was gazing into a reality I could not see.   There was a future sculpture, Oracle, that also had those eyes.   I am so grateful many of these pieces bring me a quiet message I'm not able to glean for myself.   Now it's been a year since I've been working with clay, perhaps it's time to put my hands in it again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Hope's Reach

This is a close-up detail of the facade of Hope, a sculpture I had done soon after 9-11.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Friday, August 3, 2012

Arboreal Yoga

Yet another older sepia ink sketch on parchment.  I guess this one is a little strange!  I was pushing the envelope with the tree-being concept.   

Monday, July 30, 2012

Mushrooms In Moonlight

When I had given up oil painting at the age of 30, I had already had about 20 years experience at how well it would serve my creativity, as my mother had taught me to paint with oils when I was ten.   I know, what was she thinking?  The turpentine fumes made me dizzy and nauseated, but she advised me to keep at it, and I would get over it.  I did keep at it, and when I finally gave it up, the freedom to also re-define my style was equally dizzying.... but in a good way!   It's as though finding new media also unleashed new ideas and alternate styles, as you've seen in past postings from the early-to-late 1980s.  My mother didn't seem to be too excited about my paper and ink explorations, or even the clay and sculpture adventures.   Maybe that was a good thing for me.   I was "on my own".  Uncharted territory!  I didn't know anyone who was doing monochromatic nature studies at that time, so I innocently thought I was blazing a new trail, and it got me out of the studio and into the field.   The wet, sloppy, field.   Lots of strange, little mushrooms made their home in wet cow pastures, and some of them did taste pretty good, though they seemed to "enhance" the scenery when I ate them.  Hmmmm..... maybe that explains the tree series!  Just kidding.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Lofty Point of View

This is one of the earlier drawings, maybe 1983, of my ongoing treehouse-cradled-by-tree series.  If I had been a better sculptor then, I'm sure that I would've translated the images to free-standing ceramic versions.  The idea of the tree being a conscious participant in this partnership seemed at the time to have no end of possibilities.   And, my left hand was so willing a model.   It's funny, I only noticed nearly thirty years later that there doesn't seem to be a door to this structure!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tangible Thoughts

This graphite sketch is an imaginary portrait done in the mid-1980s.   One of those instances in which I just let the pencil flow.   When I was finished, I thought, "Holy smoke!  She's on fire."  Later that week the emanations from her head looked more to me like the energy of thought.   It occurs to me that if thoughts seep outward in this way, how far afield do they roam?  

Monday, July 16, 2012

A Child's Refuge

It's amazing how the scent of a flower or the sound of a certain song will bring a flood of memories.  Equally so for me are drawings I have done in years past when they are pulled out of an old box or file.  This is another sepia ink drawing I had done in the early 1980s on parchment.   At the time I was drawing these tree-related pieces (around age 30), I was connecting deeply with my childhood spent primarily in the limbs of trees.  As I count down the months before my sixtieth birthday, childhood seems to me more of an abstract concept, other than what I vicariously sift from my grandchildren.  However, finding these drawings almost begins for me a relay connection with the essence of that little girl I was, through the pen strokes of the thirty-year-old.   We link hands across the decades and flash that sweetness of being, unbroken by time.   Perhaps I can do the same for the woman I will be thirty years in the future.  

A note added later:   Someone pointed out to me since I posted this that the tree depicted here seemed a little scary, and the abandoned rag doll completed the image that was rather Stephen King-ish.   I was astonished!   I guess it all depends on what sort of Disney-esque (or King-esque) upbringing the viewer had.   Craggy trees (like craggy people) spell "evil" for many in our U.S. culture brought up with Hollywood entertainment.   It probably explains why we treat our elderly so badly, and mow down our ancient trees.  As a child, I was very close to nature, and to me a twisted, ancient tree indicated a comforting knowledge.   A being who had come through countless environmental ravages and seasons and endured with it's spirit intact and... much the wiser for it.  Hopefully the same for Human Beings as they weather life's seasons.   This gnarled tree is using it's entire strength to cradle and support the child's self-built refuge, as it has learned to guard and cherish what is sacred in this world.   I also loved the contrasting images!  

Friday, July 13, 2012

Northwest Landscape Mosaic

This painting was mostly an exercise, playing with combinations of my Inktense pencils in colored swatches (oops, you can tell I once knitted, long ago).   Once on the watercolor paper, I thought it would be fun to make the squares a multi-colored lens through which one could view the scenes I love so much on the Olympic Peninsula.   

Yesterday Jim and I took the ferry over to Whidbey Island to meet a friend who has a foundry, and who'd met us there to return a couple of my bronze sculpture molds to us.   While on the island, I treated Jim to a wonderful rooftop lunch in Langley, as I'd made a couple of bronze sales recently.   The ferry we took over from Port Townsend had slowed midway across the water, and sounded it's fog horn numerous times.... we were caught in a patch of fog which cleared by the time we docked on Whidbey.   We learned later that fog had eliminated three of the ferry runs that day, and the reservation we had to go back home at 6 PM stretched to 7:30 PM, as they needed to play catch-up with all the backed up traffic before nightfall.  Oh, well, it was certainly magical countryside in which to pass the time as we waited.   And after all, once on Whidbey Island, you're on island time, so anything can happen!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cherubic Nude Portrait

This was the final drawing of the day, and we could spend more time on a longer sitting.  I chose to focus on the young lady's face, as faces are my "thing".   This sketch on my studio wall has kept me centered in my creativity ever since.  

Friday, July 6, 2012

Cherubic Nude Part Deux

I know, it looks very similar to the last posting, but I played with shading more on this pose, as it was longer.   

Monday, July 2, 2012

Cherubic Nude

This was a drawing from a studio session a local artist holds weekly.   It was done perhaps a couple years ago, and very rewarding.   The model was exquisite, with a very classical shape and angelic face. I don't know why I don't participate more in those sorts of exercises, as I so love the drawn and painted human form and figurative sculpture.   Perhaps I will more in the future.

Sunday, June 24, 2012


Today there is no visual posting other than the text.   I hope that will suffice in the interim, as this was a day that wine in a terra cotta cup thrown in a perfect cylinder by a Quaker friend brought inspiration to me.  That and a visit by two miraculous women I didn't know before today.

This is a journaling of priorities.   Something that in this time of our culture usually involves little more than what brings money to us.   However, we can starve physically and die happy in a resolve of appropriateness.   Perhaps in these times, what we need to refocus on is what our deepest priorities are.   Let me give an example from my own history, a story of a man I didn't think much of at the time, but who ended up having a huge impact on my worldview in later years:

My first husband, Bob, and I moved to the Pacific Northwest in the late 1970s, after Bob had been honorably discharged from the Navy.  We found ourselves renting a small cottage on 14 acres in Federal Way, Washington, on the edge of Lake Geneva.   This was acreage that had been a resort in the late 1930s, and had a few of the buildings left of that era in various states of disrepair.   The forest was ancient between the buildings, the sun on the lake dominated the light and the atmosphere.   It was a fairy land between the growing town of Federal Way and Auburn.   The houses on the property were dilapidated, and subject to sudden invasions of large mushrooms and giant slugs you could hear sliding across your bathroom walls in the middle of the night.   The human inhabitants of the property were equally unique.  But the only other neighbor I want to focus on today is the man who referred to himself as "Dallas".

Dallas was a quiet man.  He had long blond hair, drove a Volkswagen "Thing", and had a Doberman Pinscher named Cher.   She was a delicate dog, diminutive for a Doberman, and gentle.  But what I remember the most of our light friendship with Dallas, was his living conditions.   He had taken up residence in the old garage of the resort property, and, as the hands-off landlord allowed with no questions asked, he had remade that building into a very intriguing living space.   Very spartan, concrete floor.   Stark white walls.   However, the ceiling was punctuated with numerous skylights, each bathed a unique sculpture beneath it with hard daylight.   There was little of furnishing, Dallas had invested almost nothing in comfort other than a soft place to plop down as you focused on the islands of sculptural interest throughout the residential gallery that he lived in.   He existed for the sculpture he had spent the majority of his income on.

Dallas's quiet, uncluttered lifestyle honed my worldview of priorities.   Looking at Jim's and my current house, one would wonder how Dallas's life influenced our living space, but we are also unique individuals with our own priorities.  I see in my present day life definite traces of Dallas's influence braided with my own, however.   Those islands of sculpture and visual art Jim and I have nurtured are to us like the cat's eye band of light that moves and glows on the surface of a gemstone, like a Tiger Eye.   Ever in transit, but always the highlight over our background life of normalcy.   Our colorful living foundation basks in the opulent glow of the chatoyance of art.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Olive Tree On Crystal Planet

This is another drawing from 1983 (mostly 'cause I'm too busy to sketch right now).  Unfortunately, the black paper I scrounged at the time was not very good, and it was accidentally left near a window, where the daylight faded it in places.   I really love this painting (with the marvelous white opaque Dr.  Ph. Martin's ink... still can't find that version, maybe it contained lead), and hope I can figure a way to doctor it back to health.   Perhaps I can recreate it with paints.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Quiet Day At Undertown

Last Friday my sister and I took a rare and special day together, just us two, as she is retiring to Idaho (I know, kinda backwards, isn't it?) from Sequim, at the end of June.   She's lived here for more than a decade, and it's been great to have her in the same town, even if we were unable to get together very often during that time.  On Friday we played at Akamai, my favorite art supply store in Port Townsend, where we probably spent way too much money.   The weight of our supplies eventually sucked us below street level, where we took refuge at Undertown to slurp a gluten-free beer and sketch.

I will so miss her.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Loitering In Italy

This is a photo taken during a show for my work and that of painter Rene Flynn-Federspiel at Gaskill-Olson Gallery in 2002.   The gallery is now closed, but was a vibrant and much loved art hub for the community.  That building in Langley, Whidbey Island, Washington, now houses Brackenwood Gallery.   The show for Rene's and my work was a success, and I sold both the sculptures depicted here, as well as several others.  The one on the left, "Hums His Tune", sold the night of the reception, and the one on the right, "Clifftop Innocent", sold some days later.  I so loved the way the gallery staff positioned my pieces with Rene's fabulous paintings of Italian street scenes.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Puyallup Barn

Before I get back to my masa paper workshop paintings again, I thought I'd post an old watercolor painting I'd done in 1982, when I lived near Puyallup, Washington.   The valley was rich with old historic architecture still standing from the era in the mid-1800s, when the hops crop was burgeoning and creating wealth and commerce to the Puyallup and Sumner area, before the hops lice infestation ended those golden times from California to British Columbia.   I'm not sure if this barn is a hops barn, as it doesn't have the characteristic cupolas at either end, but it certainly seemed historic.   At the time of this painting, I used watercolors dry, right out of the tubes, much like the oil painting I'd done from 1963 until 1983.   I guess gouache would work very well for me at this point, as I like that style of watercolor.   Opaque and dry-ish.

Anyway, I received my shipment of masa paper, sumi ink and wheat paste today, so we'll see what comes of playing with those toys!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Nude On Masa Paper

Last week I took a workshop in Port Townsend at the Northwinds Art Gallery, taught by Sheila Sondik.   A couple friends took the workshop also (see Marian Morris's results).  The technique used Masa printing paper that we soaked and crinkled, then using sumi ink, worked the values of our subject into the surface of the wet paper.   We all enjoyed it very much, and it was fun watching the varied results of the other students during the two days we participated.   A few of us brought watercolors and colored inks, also.

In my usual unorganized-right brain way, I am posting the last of my three masa paper workshop paintings first.   No, we didn't have a nude model to work from, I just made it up as I went along.   I'd brought photos my husband had once taken in Scotland to paint architectural subjects for the first two paintings, and I will post those later.   Being a more figurative and portrait-oriented artist, I just HAD to try a human form with this technique!   I think it worked out okay, though without having glued the paper down to a backing (as we were taught to in class) it's difficult working the details on the crinkled paper.   I DID take an iron to it, though!

*A note on June 7th.....   The wheat paste arrived, I pasted down the paper on heavier watercolor backing, and did more work on the nude with gouache.   I'm liking it much better!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

"What Will I Do With This Room?"

A week or so ago I was digging through the photo box again, and found a picture my daughter had taken of me a couple months after my husband's suicide.   I hadn't seen this photo since it was taken, and forgot there was one representative of that period of my life.   We were in the midst of re-sorting Neil's office, reorganizing stuff, and trying feebly to do the same on an interior level, as well.   I had lost a great deal of weight (for me) and I saw for the first time, in that photo, how lost and shattered that little 92 lb. widow was.

It was a comforting gesture of closure for me to sketch her, lovingly, from nine and a half years later.  Where I would not only be 20 lbs. heavier, but light years happier.   I followed artistic impulse, and thought it interesting I'd left the hands off of Neil's Regulator clock, the clothes in the closet were Neil's, a jumble of unorganized bills in a box (maybe representing the debts he left behind?), and I had drawn both the clock's pendulum and the wedding ring in metallic gold ink.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Manresa Castle

This week Jim and I interrupted our "stay-cation" or stay-at-home vacation to stop at Jefferson Hospital in Port Townsend so Jim could get his allergy shots.   I waited in the car and drew the parking lot's view of Manresa Castle across the street.   I wonder which window is the haunted room?

Toned, acid-free recycled paper with Conte crayon sticks and Staedtler pigment liner (01), as well as white Pentel Sunburst medium gel pen.  

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Ascension Dream

And just in case I begin to lose my reputation as a sculptor, I thought I might post a photo of a 30 inch sculpture I created in 1998, that was exhibited at Gallery Mack in Seattle, then Gaskill-Olson Gallery on Whidbey Island, only to sell to a collector who hunted this piece down on the internet, purchasing it in 2003 through Trios Gallery in San Diego.   Ascension Dream is hand-sculpted from white stoneware clay, and painted with oils after final firing.   Inside the tower is a little girl, rising upward, hair trailing.   I have a photo somewhere of that feature, maybe I'll post it when it turns up.  

For those looking at my blog outside the U.S., Australia or the U.K., there is a translation gadget you might have noticed now on the top right of my blog page.   Those more comfortable reading in their own language can use that to translate my blog text!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

La Jolla Pastel Sketch

In the early- to mid-'90s, my husband, Neil, worked in San Diego, building huge ships.   Often I would spend a week or weekend with him then, spending time relaxing on the beach or visiting my favorite gallery, Trios (since closed), which also sold my sculptures.   One day I was hanging out at the park above the beach in La Jolla, sketching with pastels the sculpted rock cliffs.   As so often happens, there were occasional curious bystanders and tourists.   Most were respectful, just watched my drawing and maybe mumbled, "Very nice!" before they walked on.    At one point it started raining big drops, but the sun was bright.   I looked up and there were two boys, maybe 12 or 13, leaning over me from behind.   They'd been scuba diving and didn't realize they were dripping on my drawing.   It was easily blotted, and we had a very pleasant conversation about art.   

Monday, May 14, 2012

Sap Rising

Once upon a time in the early 1980s, I was a lot more in tune with nature.   Trees, especially.   I spent a great deal of time outdoors, listening to trees, sitting in them, drawing them.   There certainly were elements about them (or maybe Elementals?) that felt as though they returned my gaze, or at the very least were sentient consciousnesses unto themselves.   Spring seemed like a symphonic orchestra tuning up for the Summer's performance.   This sketch is the quickening and rising of the tree's consciousness toward the warming sky.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cat Repose Amongst Antiques

This version of Cat Repose was done a few months ago.  The Moleskine page was painted loosely with Burnt Sienna acrylic paint, then on another day Inktense Pencils finished the job.   The cat, however, was white Conte crayon, with a spray fixative.   Even Inktense pencils have a difficult time on an acrylic surface.   Pastels and Conte crayons work really pretty well on it though.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Party Kitty

In the late '80s I lost my mind for a few months and applied to a greeting card company that was calling for artists to submit their ideas.   It made me a little nervous to send in my drawings without any assurance they would not steal the ideas, but it sounded like a fun gig.   Turns out they didn't like my work.   At the time I was having great fun entertaining my teenage daughters with cat drawings that had human facial expressions.   Oh, well, that company's loss, I guess.  I stuffed these into the ammo crate where they've spent the last 24 years.  They still make me smile. 

It's interesting looking at all the different names I used through the years, signing my work.  Tays was my maiden name, that I took again after my divorce.   Poulk was the married name I took in my first marriage.  McLeod was my second marriage's name.   I use it to this day as it has become the identity I've carried through my professional career as a sculptor since 1992.  

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Maggie's Imaginary Friend

In the early '80s I had a little Siamese cat named Maggie.   Through her short life she often would spend endless hours tumbling around on the floor as though there were a companion she was wrestling that we couldn't see. I've had many cats through my life, most have at some point enjoyed pretending they were chasing something that's not there, but Maggie's preoccupation with this obsessive, one-sided game often raised the hairs on my neck with it's eerie exercise in engaging the unknown.   Sometimes she would roll over and over, her paws wrapped around an empty space, her teeth gently nipping at the air within it.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Alder Sprite

Now you know the source of those awful March tree allergies you've been suffering with for years.  
This was an India Ink drawing I did in maybe 1983 as part of a series of tree-related illustrations.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Old Mill Cafe

I guess the text says it all.   Excellent place to eat, lots of great atmosphere, greens are organic whenever possible... fresh from Nash's own crops.   We have had no complaints in all the meals we've eaten there.   The staff is great!

Monday, April 30, 2012

Olive Tree

I'm not remembering the reason or the story behind the above sketch apparently done in 1993, but I do know it's an olive tree.

Since I was a girl, twisted, gnarled trees have been a favorite subject matter in my drawings and paintings.  Once I'd spent my entire two week Christmas break in 12th grade sizing up my black ink drawing of a twisted pine and painting it as a mural on my bedroom wall.  My mother taught me how to use the grid technique and use blue chalk powder through pin holes to trace the full-sized template onto the nine foot by eleven foot surface, which I then afterward painted in Prussian Blue acrylic paint, mixed with black on an azure blue wall:  

Here is the original ink drawing of the tree I painted on my bedroom wall as a teenager.   The grid ratio is 6 inches to the half inch square.    Needless to say, I was grief-stricken when a couple years later they
sold the house.   I was told the mural was a selling point, but I did not profit from it.