Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Look What I Got for Christmas!

My eldest daughter, the one who was married in September, and her divine husband, now known as Uncle Critter, had a surprise for the whole family. Apparently J is a walking advertisement for, as she put it, high school sex education classes....You CAN get pregnant the first time as this baby was conceived on their honeymoon weekend.

They expectant parents have had some testing done already and know that the little one is a girl.

Early summer will bring the newest of our granddaughters. My heart is over flowing!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Art Journaling Catch-Up

I'm just going to post a few random pages from my journal. I have been enjoying my journal a lot the last few months and find myself doodling away in it or adding to previous postings more than I have ever done before. Any given spread never seems to be totally finished. I like the freedom to go back and add or edit at will. It is, after all, not chiseled in stone!

The leaves in the photo above all are from my garden.
I went to the Picasso Exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum in October and used Picasso's blue period as my inspiration for my pages in a collaborative art journal. We have been doing pages recently in colors, and this was the inspiration for my contribution to "Blue." By the way, it was an incredible exhibit and if you can find some way to go, do so! It's running through most of January, 2011.

Autumn is my favorite season of the year and I find I love working with those colors, which is odd because if you asked me my least favorite color I would immediately announce, "Orange." And yet....
I love Halloween!
These two spreads (above and below) are from journaling work I did at JournalFest in late October in Orly Avineri's class "Mapping Me." I really enjoyed the class and I'm going to take another of Orly's classes next spring at ArtFest.

This is a pastel I did in Carla Sonheim's class at JournalFest. We had only five pastel colors and our fingers and an eraser. It was fun and surprisingly effective.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Ready for Christmas

Winter came early to Western Washington. We had our first snowfall of the year before Thanksgiving. That is really unusual for this area. While I am not a big fan of lowland snow (in fact, I hate it!), I must admit it was sort of pretty.

It was fun to be at the beach a few blocks from my house and watch the snow fall.

Having the snow around got me into the Christmas mood early this year. I'm pretty much ready for the holidays now.
I'm baking cookies....

...in my decorated kitchen.....

My funny Indian truck that resides in the dining room is sporting it's Yuletide "load."

There are several Santas on the tree, peeking out from here and there.

The living room is looking festive.

And outside, my little house is well lit.
Dear Nonie celebrated her 63rd birthday this last week. Happy Birthday, Nola, and many more!

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Art Retreat at Harmony Hill with Anna

Finally, I'm finding a moment to update! I apologise for the long silence, but it is going on Christmas and there are so many distractions from blogging. I know, I know, excuses---but honest excuses.
I spent four days at the Harmony Hill Retreat Center with my art teacher, Anna Rhodes, and a very compatable group of women in late October. We made art, laughed, ate great organic food provided by the amazing cooks at Harmony Hill, laughed, walked, talked and made some more art, all the while laughing a lot. It was lovely. That is my friend Mary, pictured above. One of my favorite things about Anna's retreats is how often Mary attends. I enjoy her humor and insights and I love her laugh. I wish she lived closer.

This is a little gouache I did at the retreat. It's a copy of a detail from a Xenia Hausner painting. I have to admit that I have hated gouache for years. Anna loves the medium, but I have never taken to it. This time the beauty of gouache became apparent to me and I really enjoyed working with it. I was amazed at the clear color I was able to get. One of my biggest complaints in the past has been that gouache always seems "dead" and murky to me. I guess it was more operator error than a flaw in the medium! Anna likes to have her students work at copying a painting, or detail of a painting, to learn how to mix color well and to get the feel for applying paint. Above is a photo of Anna, on the right, and her assistant, Laurie, on the left. Pretty ladies, don't you think?
Everywhere I looked during my time on the Peninsula there were beautiful autumn views. The weather wasn't great, but the foliage colors more than made up for the gray skies. Late October is a beautiful time in the Pacific Northwest.

Ths is a view from Harmony Hill looking west towards Hoods Canal.
Here's an example of the creative use of found objects to get a little pear at the right height for a gouache I was doing.

I'll be posting some photos from JournalFest in a day or two. I promise!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Scary October Witch!

I know. I know...pretty dreadful. It is the season for dreadful and scary and even frightful! I do believe this witchy portrait fits the bill.

To make it all up to you I'll share my latest favorite Mary Oliver poem. (To be honest, if you ask me tomorrow to name my favorite Mary Oliver poem it would most likely be another. I am a serious Mary Oliver fan and I love so many of her poems.)


Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I'm not where I started!

And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.

Halleluiah, I'm sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings

I am still away. Tomorrow is the beginning of JournalFest. I'll be there until Sunday. If any of you Dear Readers cares, I will be posting a piece or two of new art work next week.

Happy Halloween!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Autumn Art Travels

I am off today on another art adventure. My first stop will be a painting retreat with Anna Rhodes, my painting teacher. Anna puts on retreats a few times a year under the name An Artists' Retreat. The retreat is being held at Harmony Hill, a retreat center, on Hoods Canal. I haven't been to the Canal in years and am looking forward to spending some time on the beach. I used to fish the Canal every summer with my Dad and it has a special place in my heart.

Anna is a great teacher and I always learn a lot in her classes. I'm looking forward to doing some work in oils and getting back into my painting 'groove.' I've been away from my easel far too long.
On Sunday, the end of my time with Anna, I'll meet up with Nonie. We are going to spend a few nights at Port Ludlow Inn. We don't have any real plans except to prowl around the area, finding some new parks to visit and maybe going as far afield as Poulsbo. Who knows what devilment me might get up to? It is the right time of year, after all!
Wednesday I say good bye to Nonie and I'm off to JournalFest at Fort Worden in Port Townsend. JournalFest is brought to us by the same great team who bring us ArtFest each spring. I love both of these retreats, but I think JournalFest might just edge out ArtFest for me as I am a long time journaler and love all the classes that are all about journaling or bookmaking or things that pertain specifically to journals. It's a great group of people and I love my time there.

And so, Dear Reader, I'll be back about the first of November. Hopefully I'll have some art to share with you, but I will have a report of my adventure for sure.


Thursday, October 07, 2010

Sunday at the Smithsonian

I returned earlier this week from my first visit to Washington, D.C. I went east for a family wedding that was held in Virginia. On the Sunday following the wedding I spend part of the day in D.C. with my daughter Annie and her family. It was a lovely partly sunny early autumn day, the sort of day that was the perfect introduction to my nation's capitol.

This lovely old castle-y looking building is part of the Smithsonian Institutions. It is the iconic image that is engraved on most of the literature you see pertaining to the Smithsonian. I knew that before I went to D.C. but it surprised me all the same when I saw it 'for real.' Funny how that happens.

This is one of the moon gates in a garden that is modeled after the Palace of Heaven in China. (I am going to be going to China in the spring and will get to see the original!)
We found this moth (or butterfly?) in the moon gate garden. I have never seen one like it and I've no idea what sort of moth/butterfly it might be. If you know, Dear Reader, please enlighten me by leaving a comment. I'd love to be able to put a name to this lovely.
12/2/2010: My dear friend George has just solved the mystery for me. The butterfly, not a moth, above is a common Buckeye (Junonia coenia).
Thank you, George!
The Capital.
The Washington Monument.

This is my daughter and her family in a classic tourist snapshot.

This plump little birdie was sitting right outside of the Museum of Natural History.

We had decided that since we had such a limited amount of time to visit the Smithsonian (19 separate museums make up the Smithsonian Institute, all free!), we would concentrate on the Museum of American History. This museum houses something I have wanted to see for some time, something that thrilled me to be able to see with my own eyes....Julia Child's kitchen!
There, on the back wall, where all the pots and pans are hung so neatly, if you look carefully you'll see the outline of the object on the pegboard. Paul Child did this when he and Julia arranged their kitchen. I read about this in Julia's biography and thought it very interesting. It appeals to my OCD, I think. I myself have never been quite so organized, but I do admire it in other's .

I was thrilled to see Julia's diploma from Le Cordon Bleu. Have your read how difficult it was for Julia to pry this very document from the woman who ran the school's hands? I enjoyed reading the story of the diploma in Appetite for Life by Noel Riley Fitch. Julia Child is a hero of mine. I first came across her in the early 1960s and like the Julie in Julie and Julia, I have made many (many!) of the recipes in her cookbooks. In many ways, Julia taught me to cook by explaining techniques and methods so clearly in all her recipes and she certainly taught me to cook with passion.

On the counter just outside the edge of the above photo is Julia's rather sophisticated telephone, circa the 1970s I should think. While I was viewing the kitchen, there was a couple also looking into the display. The husband remarked to the wife that had you been on Julia's speed dial, you'd have known that you'd arrived. Oh, how I yearned to have been on her speed dial when he made that comment! Wouldn't that have been something?

Above is a photo of a photo of Julia Child in her kitchen in France. I have always loved this photo of her.
Being able to visit the kitchen of Julia Child was very special to me. It was one of those moments we sometimes are gifted with. I am happy to say that my daughter, Annie, felt the same way. It was even more special to me to be able to share the experience with her.
Ian, my two-year-old grandson, however, found the cranes and construction machinery we saw outside the Museum of American History to be much more his cup of tea.

Annie's daughter Alex, 5, was enthralled with the ruby slippers from the movie The Wizard of Oz. It was pretty cool to see those famous slippers, but they didn't hold a candle to Julia's kitchen to me.
Seeing Julia's kitchen with my own eyes was something, something special.