Saturday, December 18, 2010

Coal Isn't the Answer

Coal Plant - 5 x 7 - pencil, top
Decay - 5 x 7 - pencil, middle
Save the Bats - 5 x 7 - pencil, bottom
A few small pencil drawings will help clarify my stand on a coal export facility proposed near my home.
I believe everyone has a responsibility to act in an environmentally responsible manner. No exceptions. The decision by our local county commissioners to approved a 5.7-million-ton-a-year coal export shipping facility on the Columbia River doesn't sit right. They didn't adequately consider the environmental impacts, both here in our county, nor in the areas the coal is coming from, or going to. They said that wasn't their responsibility. Why?
Many people in our area are opposed to the project. I've collected information that helps clarify why we don't want a coal export plant built here. It's not in line with what the Governor has ordered. So why in the world is it even moving forward?

Allan says it so well, "It's my belief that different energy sources will take us into the future. Technology will leave coal far behind. It will stay in the ground, but why should we get a coal dusting in Cowlitz County in the meantime?"

Media Articles 
Information Resources

Climate Solutions
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Washington Environmental Council
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Columbia Riverkeeper

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Washington Department of Ecology
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Saturday, December 11, 2010

Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership Annual Art Gala was beautiful!

My artist's booth at the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership Annual Art Gala
December 4, 2010
This year's Estuary Partnership Art Gala was a gala event indeed! The evening was festive and everyone was in a joyous mood. It was held in the Krider Ballroom at the Portland Art Museum. The artists were set up around the perimeter of the ballroom and our art glittered like jewels. I was so happy to be a part of this event again this year. I hope they will invite me back next year. 

The artists contributed 50% of their sales directly towards the Estuary Partnership's outdoor programs. Living so near the beautiful and scenic Columbia River, you can imagine how important this is.

Best wishes for a wonderful holiday season!

My posts from last year's art gala:

Sunday, December 05, 2010

Washington Landscapes for the Twitter Art Exhibit - on display at MossBibliotek

The Twitter Art Exhibit at Moss Library (Moss Bibliotek), Moss, Norway

I met artist David Sandum on Twitter when I spotted his tweet about an exhibit of 140 paintings (to represent the140 characters allowed in a tweet) to raise funds for a library in his home town of Moss, Norway. Libraries are near and dear to my heart, as is painting!

So I sent off my two little paintings and waited. Then yesterday David tweeted that the show was up and very successful, with pictures on Flickr and artists around the world tweeting it out to their friends! The original exhibit was designed to allow 140 artists to show artworks (again with the 140 character symbolism), but there ended up being over 240 artists participating!

All this from tweeting and blogging! The photos above are downloaded from Moss's Bibliotek flickr set, only I added little arrows pointing to my paintings.

It's amazing to me that I was able to show my little Washington landscapes in Moss Norway, along with artists from all over the world. I feel connected, in a global sort of way, to a sort of inner consciousness that binds artists together. We all came together and made a difference to a little library in Norway. Now that's the power of social media!

Friday, December 03, 2010

Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership - Annual Art Gala

Annual Art Gala
December 4, 2010Portland Art Museum

For the second year I've been invited to join the artists supporting the Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership through an Annual Art Gala. It's very gala, held at the Portland Art Museum and featuring many prominent public figures. The artists get to feature their artwork for sale throughout several lobby and reception areas during a pre-dinner cocktail hour, and this year (for the first time) after the dinner as well.

Last year was a great success. This year looks better than ever, with a calm and clear weather report, and many beautiful artworks. I created a collage (above) of some of the floral paintings I'll be featuring. The artists contribute 50% of their sales directly towards the Estuary Partnership's outdoor programs. Living so near the beautiful and scenic Columbia River, you can imagine how important this is.

I'll update my blog with photos taken at the event, along with my set up, and of course let you know how many artworks are sold. Wish me luck!

Links to last year's Gala:
Reach for the Columbia Annual Art Show & Sale
Reach for the Columbia: Celebrating Art and Artists of the Columbia River

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

A Trip to Pike Place Market

Pomegranate, Persimmon and Grapes - oil - 11 x 14, top
Two Pears - oil - 8 x 10, center
Pike Place Market fruits and vegetables, bottom

We spent a day in Seattle marvelling over Picasso's works at the Seattle Art Museum, and strolling through Pike Place Market, followed by lunch at our favorite, Ivars.

The weather was clear and the fruit stands were colorful. I snapped lots of pictures. It brought to mind a recent Oregon Art Beat episode about an artist who picked out her painting subjects at fruit stands. So I decided to try it too. The nice fruit-stand guy kept offering me tastes of this and that fruit but I said no, they had to be pretty for a painting. He got the picture right away and picked out all kinds of nice colored ones with the caveat that I could eat them afterwards. Which is exactly what I did!

As soon as we got home I set up the two still life arrangements you see above. They were direct-painted and finished the same day. It was almost cathartic, because I so often work from photos that I forget how to paint from life. Like the Velveteen Rabbit, I discovered that yes, I'm real, 'cause I can paint something in front of me!

They'll be available, along with a selection of florals, at the LCREP Annual Art Gala on December 4. Then the holidays will be upon us and I'll probably be too busy to paint.

But there's always the New Year!

It's time to subscribe to my blog! just click the Just for You Subscribe link at the top right. I'll be phasing out my old mailing list soon so if you're on it, you'll want to sign up with the new one soon. Don't worry, I'll remind you again. 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving! 

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Rhody #13 (Yellow Rhody)

Rhody #13 (Yellow Rhody) - oil - 11 x 14 top
watercolor study - 12 x 16 bottom
My painting energy has slowed down a bit, perhaps because I'm taking too long to complete each painting. This frustrates me, resulting in even less painting energy.

However; I'm very happy with my latest small floral called 'Rhody, Yellow'. I feel like I captured the essence of a Yellow Rhody in sunshine. I can feel sunshine and petal in both the watercolor study and the oil version. That, I believe, is the definition of a successful painting.

I'm also energized to start a new watercolor, or oil, that incorporates more of the plant structure. Compositionally, this painting is more abstract than realist. Even though I know what it is, some people may not recognize the flower. I'd like to do a larger painting with more blossoms, sky and leaves, so that I can capture all of those beautiful components working together.

The oil version was direct painted, using a fond brun underpainting, which I've explained on my techniques blog. I haven't done much direct painting, although I love  other artworks done this way. Perhaps I haven't been confident enough to tackle a painting done right the first time, finding comfort in the ability to cover up mistakes in multiple layers. But the benefits of direct painting (for me) seem logical and practical.

So perhaps I'll try more direct painting to energize and get more painting accomplished! 

PS: The Rhododendron is Washington State's official flower!

Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Washington Landscapes for the Twitter Art Exhibit

Washington Landscape 1 and 2 - watercolor - 4 x 6 postcard paintings
I'm on Twitter a lot and so are other artists. We're a friendly and supportive bunch. I like the twitter chatter about art supplies, museums, photos and exhibits.

So when Twitterer David Sandum announced he was having a Twitter Art Exhibit in Moss, Norway to raise funds for the local public library, I decided to join. Moss, Norway is a long way from me. I had to look it up on a map. But the call was for postcard-sized paintings, which are easy to ship, and I've always had a soft spot for libraries, being that they were my best friends growing up.

These are my two little postcard paintings; watercolor, done of the Columbia River Gorge landscape that seems to capture my attention so much. I shipped them today; cost me $3.71 via the USPS. The post office guy was nice and did a price comparison so I'd get the best rate.

They'll be auctioned along with all the other postcard paintings being sent from around the world.

It amazes me that all these artists that don't even know each other can join in on something like this. That's the web, connecting us all together!

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Trillium - 11 x 14 - oil, top
Trillium - 12 x 16 - watercolor, bottom
Finished Paintings
Two studies of a Trillium, a three-leafed spring perennial that grows wild in Washington State. It's also known as a 'wakerobin.' When my children were small we'd walk in the woods and my daughter would pick little bunches of Trilliums for me.

Usually I favor my oil version, but this time the watercolor seems to capture the spirit of a Trillium, like a translucent little butterfly.

A white trillium is the official flower of Ontario, Canada. It's also the official wildflower of Ohio. Here in Washington State it isn't anything special, except if you love the underdog, like me.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Rhody #12 (Rhody Glow)

Rhody Glow - 11 x 14 - oil, top
Rhody Glow - 12 x 16 - watecolor, bottom

The finished painting of a white Rhododendron, the Washington State flower. Below it is the initial watercolor study.

I've painted Rhododendrons, oh, about 20 times, and each time I fall in love. They are so unique and full of personality.

These are fairly small, compared to some of my other paintings. But they required intense concentration. And you can see the top version contains some extra leaves. I felt they were needed in order to balance out the composition. That's why I always do a watercolor study first, so I can see if the composition really works.

Well, on to another painting!

Monday, September 27, 2010


Peony - 11 x 14 - oil on canvas (top)
Peony - 12 x 16 - watercolor (bottom)

Indulging a new found passion for watercolor includes doing preliminary studies for all my florals. The top image is a glorious Peony, at bottom is the watercolor study. The oil version gave me more flexibility to be creative with the background.

Peonies are from the genus Paeonia, the only genus in the flowering plant family Paeoniaceae. They are native to Asia, southern Europe and western North America.

The peony is also named after Paeon, the Greek god of medicine and healing.
I hope to have several peony plants blooming someday in my flower bed.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Energy Company Acquires Three Wind Paintings

October Wind #3, 16 x 24, oil on panel (top)
Nine Canyon Wind, 12 x 16, oil on canvas (center)
Klondike Wind, 11 x 14, oil on panel (bottom)

I'm pleased to announce that an energy company has acquired three of my wind paintings.
Nine Canyon Wind and Klondike Wind are from my first series of wind paintings done in 2006 - 2009 and are featured in my book, Power of the Wind. October Wind #3 is from the second series which began in late 2009 and features turbines on the Washington side of the Columbia River gorge.

Thanks so much to Andy Perchlik at REimaginations. He does a wonderful job of promoting the beauty of windart.

If you are in the wind energy business, original windart is a beautiful way to decorate an office, board room or lobby. Please contact REimaginations to purchase or inquire about commissions.
Original Posts:

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

All the October Wind Paintings

The October Wind Series
left to right
October Wind #3 - 18 x 24 - on the artist's lap
October Wind #4 -  18 x 24 - middle, top row
October Wind #5 - 18 x 24 - far right, top row
October Wind #2 - 12 x 16 - bottom left
October Wind #1 - 18 x 24 - bottom right 

Sometimes it's hard for people who don't work with typical artwork sizes to visualize how big (or small) they are when hung on a wall. Of course, how big or small the artwork appears depends upon the size of the wall!

Reimaginations sent me a purchase inquiry for two of my October Wind paintings, so I decided to post a picture of myself with the series on my couch so that the potential buyer could get a feel for their size. Yup, that's me in my living room with the whole October Wind series!

I'm hoping to paint another one soon, but time is scarce these days and I have some other painting commitments. I hope the potential purchaser likes them. I think they belong on a wall where people can see them and think about the importance of wind energy, instead of collecting dust in my storage closet!

 I love the colors because they remind me of eastern Washington, which also reminds of western Montana where I went to school. There's so much sky there. The actual location that inspired them is the Washington side of the Columbia River gorge, where wind turbines can be seen churning away from almost every vantage point. 

Even more interesting, for anyone with connections to the maritime industry (like me) is that the components for most of gorge turbines were handled through either the Port of Longview or the Port of Vancouver, two international shipping ports on the lower Columbia River. They compete with each other for the business, but more importantly, they are helping to shape the future of wind energy.

So here's to the Power of the Wind!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Eve Dipping Her Toe in the Waters of Eden

Eve Dipping Her Toe in the Waters of Eden - 30 x 40 - oil, top image
Eve installed at Naked Winery middle image
Adjacent wall featuring Orchid bottom image

My latest painting is a continuation of the Eve series, although done in a different technique. My focus continues to be the figure, because it's my first love. When I was a girl I drew ladies in the Sears catalog. In college I loved my live figure drawing classes. Today Allan and I try to get down to Hipbone Studio for figure sessions.

But not having live figure models for my paintings is a dilemma. I resolve it by using Flickr. There are wonderful photos by photographers from all over the world, much better than I could compose myself. As an artist I feel justified in using technology to aid my artistic vision. Artists like Vermeer did the same, using a camera obscura.

Eve is based on a photo taken by Alexandr Zadarika, a photographer from the Ukraine, who gave me permission to use it. Thank you Alexandr!

Other photographers have been equally generous, giving me permission to work from their photos, and often e-mailing me high resolution photos not available online.

I'm grateful, because without the technology and ability to communicate with people all over the world, I wouldn't be able to paint what I love.

We installed Eve at Naked Winery yesterday where she is hanging with many of my figure works.

Can you see the apple and snake?

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Wind Paintings at Heritage Bank in Kalama (formerly Cowlitz Bank)

The artist space at Heritage Bank in Kalama (formerly Cowlitz Bank)

Several of my wind energy paintings are on display at Heritage Bank in Kalama. A couple of years ago the bank decided to feature local artists, and over the years many artists, including myself, have had the chance to display their work for free. Lots of people go to the bank regularly, giving the artists great exposure. It also gives local people art to look at during their daily activities (like banking).

My friends Liz who manages the bank, and Coco who recruits the artists and hangs the work, believe it's important to support the local community. I do too! I wish more banks and local businesses would do this. 

So if you have a chance to stop by Heritage Bank in Kalama (formerly Cowlitz Bank), please do so. It's the first time I've displayed any of my wind energy paintings since the Power of the Wind show at Lower Columbia College in January 2009.

You can see more wind art at REimaginations, the only online art gallery devoted to the beauty of windart.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Paintings at the Naked Winery

Do you like wine and art? 

Naked Winery is a family-owned winery based in Wishram. They have a tasting room in Hood River, Oregon that's seen several expansions. Every time I visit it's a busy place.

Recently the owners agreed to feature my paintings exclusively. For this artist, that's a dream-come-true! In late June we installed the first group of paintings. They include the Angel and Eve series of figure works, along with selected florals.

As with any installation, there are details to work out. We have to revise our show cards (they're too big), and make more table cards so that people can easily learn about my work and see the names and sizes of the paintings.

I've read a bit about the winery business, specifically challenges small wineries are facing in this economy. People are being conservative in what they purchase, and often eliminate luxury items like wine when dollars are tight. But Naked Winery seems to be sailing with flying colors. The are expanding their tasting rooms, and every time we've been to Hood River, even on weekdays, the place is hopping with activity.

I'm not a business person, but I think credit is due to the out-of-the-box marketing strategy they've adopted. It intrigues people so much they can't not check it out. The fact that the wines are fabulous keeps them coming back and telling their friends (which is exactly what I'm doing)! Surf their website and see if you don't think it's creative marketing at its best.

It doesn't hurt either that their tasting room staff are about the friendliest and most accomodating people I've ever met. They know the wines, they know what people like, they make them feel at home, and now they can see my artwork!

The support the Naked Winery owners have given my artwork has been the coup needed to return me to what I've always loved best, figure work. Thus, I'm almost finished with a new Eve painting that we plan to hang soon, and one-by-one, we'll replace the florals with new figure works.

I only uploaded a few pictures here, but you can see the complete gallery on flickr.

I hope you are able to make it into the Naked Winery tasting room in Hood River one of these days to enjoy my paintings, and of course, the wine.

I'll get back to painting now, that's what I love best!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Blood Red Angel

Blood Red Angel - 24 x 36 - oil on canvas, topStudy for Blood Red Angel  #1 - 9 x 12 - watercolor, middleStudy for Blood Red Angel #2 - 9 x 12 - watercolor, bottom

all are available

My angel series continues in this recent angel inspired entirely by the intense red cloth falling over her reclining form. In looking for a counterpoint accent to the intensity of the red, my mind obsessed over a fruit with similar visual and alliterative qualties: a Blood Red Orange, which subsequently inspired the title.

Placement of the orange was the most challenging aspect of this painting, as you can see from the two watercolor studies. I wanted the orange to compliment the composition, not lead the eye out of it, as I discovered was happening in the middle image. I also did two separate watercolor studies (not posted) of the orange itself. In order to do the orange studies I had to peel, paint, then eat several oranges!

To create the yellow gold background area I used Daniel Smith metallic Pale Gold from the Luminescents line, the only metalic oil paint I've found that sufficiently mimics gold leaf (without the expense of gold leaf). To simulate an antiqued surface I glazed over with thinned Burnt Sienna and Sap Green.

After evaluation, I think the orange itself is the focal point of the composition, in that you cannot help but wonder, why is it there? What does it mean? To which I say, only the viewer can answer!

Also, in terms of the recent popularity of vampires, blood or any related medieval concept made popular by the entertainment industry, I have to stress that this angel is not of that genre. My angels are gentle, kind and oftentimes, sleeping!

More Angels

Friday, July 09, 2010

Pet Portraits and Floral Commission - on the customer's wall!

I don't always get to see how my paintings look after shipping them unframed to the customer. This time I got to see the final result!

Recently I completed several pet portraits and floral studies in watercolor, along with an oil floral. I'd never done pet portraits before, and don't really advertise my watercolors, so I was really happy that the customer liked them enough to send pictures of them framed and hanging in her home!

The top image shows the pet portraits: Buddy and Tator - here's the original blog post, done on hot-pressed watercolor paper and framed by the customer. She did a nice job! Below are close ups of each framed portrait.

The last image is the watercolor study for a larger oil painting of Hibiscus blossoms - here's the original blog post. I did the watercolor to show the customer what her finished painting would resemble, and allow her to make any changes to the color scheme and composition, before I started the oil version. She liked the watercolor study so much she purchased it too!

It's nice to know that my artwork is making someone happy! Thank you to this special customer for sending these pictures to me.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Painting at Entiat Park

Entiat Park - 9 x 12 - watercolor
done en-plein air at Entiat Park in Entiat, Washington
 Video: Watercolor Painting at Entiat Park

Have you ever tried to capture the hills and valleys of Eastern Washington? It looks easy. It's not!

We took a trip to Wenatchee to watch a baseball tournament and research family geneology. I'd been to the area 15+ years ago but didn't remember much. The surrounding towns of Leavenworth, Cashmere, Waterville and Entiat were quaint, picturesque and small-townish in a good way. Lake Chelan was beautiful but we didn't have time to stop. The weather was perfect! There was even a Bavarian festival happening in Leavenworth

So one morning we took a drive along the Columbia River and ended up at Entiat Park. It was as scenic as the Columbia River gorge. The view I captured in my painting is pretty much what I was looking at from a park picnic table anchored to the grassy bank. A park ranger on what looked like a mini-humvee motored by several times to check us out, while rowdy picnikers and waterskiers seemed to be having a great time. I wasn't able to finish though; had to do that back in the hotel room, which I did.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Pet Portraits: Buddy and Tator!

Pet Portrait of Buddy - 9 x 12 - watercolor, top
Pet Portrait of Tator - 9 x 12 - watercolor, bottom

Que sera, sera, sometimes paintings happen like magic! These two tri-colored cocker spaniels are the love bugs of a favorite customer, but I feel like I know them myself. I stroked their soft, glossy fur with my paint brush and looked into their liquid brown eyes for weeks while I patiently applied layers of color.

I've never painted doggies before, only a few cats, but I'd do it again just for the joy of capturing their little faces. They're so much different than everything else I paint.

Watercolor is a mysterious medium. It changes as it dries, so you never really know if what you put down is right. I guess that comes with experience, which I don't have (in watercolor that is). But I feel like I'm getting the hang of it. You can't handle it like oils, You have to put a wet wash of color down, and leave it alone until it dries, which is really hard.

I like to do a layer, then go do something else, then come back the next day. Mostly I use watercolor to do studies for larger paintings. Sometimes I end up liking the watercolors better than the bigger paintings!

These two little guys are in the mail to their Mom, who already said she likes them. So off I go to other paintings! Voila, little cockers! 

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Wedding Dress

Allan and I made our annual trip to Lake Sacajawea to photograph the blooming rhododendrons. I took so many pictures of all the blossoms. This year I fell in love with the creamy white and yellow rhodies for the first time. They reminded me of ivory lace, fluffy tulle and silk fabrics, like a wedding dress.

I looked through all my photos and my first inclination was to abstract the shapes. I kept going back to one photo for the shadow and petal shapes. It reminded me of a Georgia O'Keeffe, but with pink and purple pastel colors.

I tried to capture the shadows as if they were alive and moving, which they were when I took the photo. I think being an artist means putting colors in that your mind believes should be there, even though you didn't really see them. At least the camera didn't capture them, as you can see here.

I did two studies before starting the larger painting, The bottom image is the watercolor study. The middle image is a small oil study I did in one setting.They helped me determine placement and shape. I think the watercolor can stand on its own, because I'm getting better at watercolors.
I like Wedding Dress and I'm adding it to my collection of rhododendron paintings. This is number 12.