Mid Week Retreat at the Hop ‘n Bed


I’m a member of the Salem Art Group, a small closed group of six (soon to be seven) women. About twice a year we plan a mini retreat where we pack up food and art supplies (and a portable latte machine) and head out of town. Last week we landed outside of Independence, Oregon at the Rogue Brewery Hop ‘n Bed. The Hop ‘n Bed is a big old six bedroom farmhouse located along the Willamette River and smack dab in the middle of a working Rogue Brewery farm.

IMG_7437IMG_7446Come on in and I’ll show you my room: The Honey Bee.

???????????????????????????????IMG_7460???????????????????????????????Part of the check-in process included joining the Rogue Nation, which required a swearing in process of drinking a shot of beer and repeating a long oath of allegiance. Tory took the oath and drank her shot (and mine since I don’t drink anymore). PS Being a member gets you a hefty discount on the house.


IMG_7452As our group trickled in, we moved furniture and set up tables to accommodate our huge amount of art supplies. Joanna claimed the living room to set up her sewing machine, Kathy took over the laundry room for her encaustics (there was a back door for ventilation), and the rest of us jockeyed for space in the living room: Tory with her clay, Nancy and Katy with their oil and cold wax, and me, kind of in the kitchen prep area, with my oil and cold wax AND acrylics for my visual art journal.

IMG_7454After getting settled, I took a walk around the grounds.

IMG_7477IMG_7555???????????????????????????????IMG_7495??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????IMG_7435???????????????????????????????It was time to spread some paint. Working in oil and cold wax does not bring immediate gratification the way working with acrylics does, so I brought both mediums. I started with the oil and cold wax, knowing I wouldn’t finish any pieces, but I would sure have the opportunity to add layers, scrape back, and add more layers over the three days. None of these pieces are finished, and some haven’t even been scraped back, but it gives you an idea of what I worked on.


???????????????????????????????IMG_7618??????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Another day, another walk.




When I wasn’t working in oil and cold wax, I was playing in a brand spankin’ new visual art journal. But before I started laying down paint, I did a double take with the cover I had created several years ago. It was time to cover the cover!


Okay, that’s better. Now I can begin on the inside.

?????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????I worked on a lot of pages.

???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????And before we knew it, it was time to head home.


The Heart of the Matter

A Matter of Moments (close up)The Heart of the Matter: A group show about the heart is an annual Guardino Gallery show. I’ve participated the past several years and I was invited to submit art again this year. I created ten Curious Elements with a heart theme. My Curious Elements are found object pieces of art created in a multi-step process. In a nutshell, I cut up pieces of board, apply paint, plaster, sand, stain, and wax. To add depth and interest, I cut up yard sticks, apply vintage paper and a layer of stain. Then I rummage through my bins and boxes of bits, auditioning pieces of metal and sometimes scraps of fabric. When I’m satisfied with the layout and the underlying story, I begin the process of attaching. And that’s how a Curious Element is born – I once counted about 22 steps in the process from beginning to end!

Enough yammering. Here are the ten Curious Elements I created for the show.

"Small Bits of Perfection"

“Small Bits of Perfection”

"Unorthodox Methods"

“Unorthodox Methods”

"Personal Correspondence"

“Personal Correspondence”

"Obsessive Desire"

“Obsessive Desire”

"Familiarity With Chaos"

“Familiarity With Chaos”

"A Splice of Time"

“A Splice of Time”

"A Warm Refuge"

“A Warm Refuge”

"Close Proximity"

“Close Proximity”

"Interlude of Silence"

“Interlude of Silence”

"A Matter of Moments"

“A Matter of Moments”


The show opens at Guardino Gallery on January 30 and runs through February 23. The opening reception is Thursday, January 30, 6-9 pm.









New Year, New Intentions

Prayer FlagsI love the symbolism of beginning a new year. I know it is just a turn of the calendar page, but it is filled with so much hope and promise for the new year. I had a good 2013, so it isn’t that I’m anxious to be done with last year, I just love the idea of a fresh beginning. January is always a time for me to ponder and consider what I want in the new year. I like goals/resolutions/intentions, whatever one wants to call them. For me, I choose the word intentions because it is somewhat fluid. Also, the idea of an intention means I’m aware and awake to what I am choosing to do – whatever the activity.

I’ve chosen my word for the year, a practice I’ve done for several years and one that I enjoy as it reminds me to pay attention to that particular wish. My word for 2014 is intention.  I’ll be paying attention to my intentions.  I’ve made a list of intentions and I’ll share them here. I don’t have anything that requires a daily activity or any particular time frame because for me, that sets me up for failure right from the start. But whatever I choose to do in a particular day, I hope to have awareness of my intention for doing it. Here goes.


Continued dedication to good health, from what I eat to how I move. I know my weaknesses, so I’ll pay attention to when those urges occur and how I handle them. Sometimes I’ll give in and have that piece of dark chocolate, but just not the whole bag of chocolately goodness (I can’t even have that kind of stuff in the house). Pure and simple foods, walks, and targeted supplements are all part of my routine and have been for a long time. This intention is just a recommitment to what I’m already doing.


Since discovering art (okay, and Facebook), my appetite for reading has diminished. I read art magazines and look at art books, but my reading of memoirs and fiction has declined.  When we were on vacation recently, I read three or four books and I was reminded how much I enjoy this activity. But to do this, I need to give up something else or at least make reading a priority.

 FB Image

Which leads to screens. Oh, how I love screen time, whether it is a movie, TV, or catching up with my friends on Facebook. I don’t plan to give any of these up, but I have begun to pay attention to how much time I spend sitting in front of a screen and with attention, comes awareness;  I’ve begun to make little shifts in how much time I spend sitting at my computer or watching TV. At night instead of opening my iPad to catch up on Facebook, I open my book and at least read a section – then I look at Facebook. A small shift, but it’s amazing how much I’ve read in just a few days time.

 Vintage Art Supplies

I have an idea for a new show. I’m excited about the theme and I’ve been doing research, jotting down ideas, taking notes, and gathering images. I cancelled a July show in order to focus completely on this NEXT BIG IDEA. I don’t want to divulge more than this right now, but you know I will when the time is right.

 Acrylic Paints

Another area where I hope to direct some intention is with big, experimental paintings. My painting studio space is limited, but if a downtown studio space comes to fruition  (my deposit has been placed), I’ll have the opportunity to play with this dream. If not, I’ll have to figure out how to work big in a small space. It can be done.

 Visual Journal

I’ve been called back to my Visual Journal. I haven’t done much playing/painting/experimenting/writing in it for over a year. I am almost at the end of a journal I made so I had to decide whether to start a brand new blank journal for 2014, or complete the old one. I decided to pick up where I left off and just continue.  I don’t have plans to journal every day, but I do have plans to leave my journal out and when I’m in my studio or passing through or when I get the urge to make a mark, it will be easy to add a dab of paint, glue in an image, write a quote.

“Just what is meant by ‘your word?’ It means
your conscious intention, your conscious
direction, your conscious faith and acceptance
that, because of what you are doing, the
Power of Spirit will flow through your word
in the direction you give It.” Ernest Holmes

“A good intention is like the seed of
a tree whose fruit we do not know.” Lloyd Strom

“Choose your intention carefully and then
practice holding your consciousness to it,
so it becomes the guiding light in your life.” John Roger

Life is not a journey to the grave with intentions of arriving safely in a pretty well-preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and loudly proclaiming … WOW! What a ride!” Unknown


Making Way

IMG_6155I’ve spent the past couple of days preparing. Preparing my studio space to begin a new series. Preparing mentally and emotionally what direction I want to go. Preparation involves cleaning and organizing to make physical space. It also means taking an inventory of the boards I have on hand, determining what I need to order. It means writing, lots of writing. Jotting down ideas, looking back at notes in my journal. It means figuring out what resonates with me. I usually begin with the title, and that informs where I go. Of course, where I go brings surprises and unexpected discoveries, but it is my road map of where to begin. No GPS in this process. My show is in July, so I have six months before I give birth.






P.S. I have a tentative title and theme, which I’m very excited about.

A New Batch of Funky Junkyard Birds

???????????????????????????????I just completed 17 (seventeen!) Funky Junkyard Birds! I started the new flock on Monday by auditioning body parts, wings, and legs, then began the arduous task of attaching the different and varied elements. Lots of raw materials go into making the birds, here’s a peek at some of the bits.




It felt so satisfying to finish up the gang this afternoon. Here’s the proud mama of her new flock:

???????????????????????????????My Funky Junkyard Birds will be flying off to Guardino Gallery in Portland, Lunaria Gallery in Silverton, and I’ll have a few available for sale from my studio. Here’s a sampling of my new birds.

"Little Red"

“Little Red”


























Dynamic Composition – Week Six


Week six was the final week in my on-line course taught by Jane Davies. The theme for our last lesson was creating depth and atmosphere. Jane covered transparency and opacity, and then more specific information on building an interesting composition. All of this requires the use of color, adding paint and removing it, shapes, depth, pattern, veiling, and lines. Since I’ve been on vacation the past couple of weeks, I’ve been working from the table in a condo using the supplies I could easily pack and transport, which means, I was just a tad limited (i.e., in our last lesson, we were to practice building layers using transparent paints, well, I hadn’t brought any transparent paints).



So, instead of following Jane’s instructions, I veered a bit to the left and took a sharp twist to the right. I used what I had learned over the past six weeks and applied those techniques along with my own body of knowledge to create a series of 4×6 pieces (going over some of the pieces I had created in earlier lessons). I enjoyed playing with collage, pattern, color, line, and shape – all things I use regularly in my art. I’ve added some new tools to my repertoire, and strengthened some techniques that were weak.







I totally and completely recommend taking a class from Jane – online or in person. She has another composition class beginning in January, Extreme Composition: Breaking All the Rules. You can bet I’ve already signed up for that one!



Dynamic Composition – Week Five


I’ve done my homework for lesson five of the Jane Davies class I’m taking, Dynamic Composition. Our lesson for this past week dealt with lines and shapes, with the addition of working in grids with lines, and of course, with collage. I lined up my papers along the floor to choose from.


I’ve been on vacation for the past week, so I’ve worked on this lesson from a hotel and from a condo. Here is where I worked on the first phase of the lesson, on a little desk in a hotel room.


Here are the underpaintings I did in preparation for the next phase.


One of our exercises was to experiment with an open grid using only collage papers, no paint, and to add a line.





We moved to a condo for the balance of our vacation — and where I had a much bigger workspace.


The next portion of the project was to add a line to a collage  painting. I worked on two.



Only one more week to go!

Dynamic Composition – Week Four

IMG_5178The theme for Week Four in my online class, Dynamic Composition, with Jane Davies, was pattern and scale. I loved the first part of our homework where we made all kinds of lines, patterns, and repetitive marks. I already use a lot of these elements in my art.

???????????????????????????????But when I went to create three pieces emphasizing these elements, I stumbled and fell. I struggled with incorporating a variety of marks, lines, circles, along with color, into some sort of cohesive composition.

I didn’t finish any of the three pieces I was working on.  I’ll share a snippet of one – just the top half.

???????????????????????????????This piece has the most potential if I decide to go back in and work on it some more.

???????????????????????????????What I learned is that using pattern, scale, lines, circles, and various marks make a composition interesting. My challenge is to find a way to incorporate these elements into my art in a way that enhances what I’m already doing and as a way to add even more layers of interest.

Dynamic Composition – Week Three

???????????????????????????????I just completed week three of my on-line class with Jane Davies, Keys to Dynamic Composition. Our mission for this week was to experiment with the cruciform shape using handmade papers to build the form, then add layers of paint. I’m in love with the immediacy of working with acrylics and the possibilities of working with collage in layers.


Day of the Dead – Guardino Gallery Style

???????????????????????????????I blogged recently about the seven pieces of art I created for Guardino Gallery’s 7th annual Day of the Dead Show. The art got hung and Thursday night was Last Thursday on Alberta, a monthly street party on a very cool street in NE Portland. It is also the night that Guardino Gallery hosts their art opening for the featured artists. This year I decided it would be fun to join the party in a different way: by dressing up in a Day of the Dead Costume. Warning: the only art you’ll see in this post is face make up, costumes, and a little incidental wall art.

The Make Up





Photo Op





Cast of Characters
















The Party









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