Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Few Words From Jack

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn,burn, burn, like a fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like a spider across the stars and in the middle you see the blue center light pop and everybody goes Awww!" 
Jack Kerouac

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Eyes and Ears, Etc.

I have been trying to draw something every day. This does not come naturally for me as it does some people. Heaven knows I need the practice. I wish I had an over whelming passion and desire to draw, draw, draw. I have heard so many artists talk about this feeling and I wonder a lot what I can do to change and be more like them. I am trying very hard not to be without my drawing materials and this past week it has been pencil drawings of facial features whenever I can. I do love drawing with soft pencils. I like smudging and shading and my drawings aren't as stiff with pencils as they tend to be with a pen. I'll post some pen drawings, soon, so you see what I mean. I drew some of the pics below when I took Poppy to the vet this afternoon to have her stitches out from her spay. It all went very well. Poppy was beside herself to see Dr. Schimdt and the three legged cat that lives in the office. We have the ok for our walks now so tomorrow it will be back to pretending we are at the beach and drawing, of course.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mom

Today is my mom's 84th birthday. When I was little I pretended I was the zoo keeper in If I Ran the Zoo for several days. My mom made sure I had all the paper and supplies I needed to create the animals in my zoo. She let me tape the pictures to the walls in the living room and make cages for them out of the furniture. Another time, she made me a red cape and I "became" Little Red Riding Hood. I would stalk past the dog (TBBW) in the back yard. My dark woods. This went on for several weeks and it is to her credit that she never took me to a psychiatrist. She put my jammies in the dryer every night so they were toasty warm for me when I was ready for bed. I could tell you many similar stories but I think you can see what a lucky daughter I am. Thanks, Mom. I love you. 

Friday, November 12, 2010


I like painting portraits and I practice painting them in different mediums. As you can see, I am not a photo realist painter. I like color and chunky paint. It seems that when I return to my portraits, sometimes months later, I see things I don't like about them. I haven't quite figured out why I don't "see" these things when I'm working on a painting so I can correct it. It is a mystery. Take the painting right below. I painted "Carlos" in a portrait class. We were suppose to paint a portrait of someone from our imagination instead of a model or photo. Now, when I look at him, I like the right side of the painting but the left looks unfinished to me. I think I have too much light coming into the left. I love the blue background and his groovy green shirt so overall I am pleased but I can't help being my own worst critic.  

14 x14 oil on canvas
 Gracie is my first encaustic portrait. Wax is a very hard medium to control. It is also hard for me to blend colors so they often look simply placed on top of one another. Overall, I love her, her expression and, of course, her red hair.
12 x 12 encaustic on maple panel
 I saw a painting that combined skin tones with bright colored hues for shadows. That is what I was trying to do in this painting. I like the way it turned out but I think she looks sunburned. Ouch! Next time I do this I will abandon skin tones altogether and just go with bright and interesting colors.
14 x 24 oil on canvas

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


I found Elukka on Etsy. Elukka lives with her husband in Finland but she is originally from Hungary. Their shared language is English. She calls it their "love language." Very romantic. These tiles are very tiny (1x1) and I have twenty five of them. Elukka calls them My Land puzzle tiles because if you are patient enough you can put them all together so they "connect" through lines she has drawn into the clay. Though I love all the pieces, my favorites are the two that form a small beach. You can see them in both of the photos below. I want to tile the pieces into a wood frame but for now they are sitting on an end table in my living room. I look at the little beach and imagine myself walking from my little house with the red roof to the bench. I sit for awhile and watch the waves and Poppy running on the beach before walking home again.

Nuno Felting

Recently, I took a nuno felting class from Zaynab Falconer at Upstairs Studio here in Anchorage. Upstairs Studio is a co-op of artists who share a several rooms on the second floor of a downtown business building. They have a large common area where classes are held. It also serves, several times a year, as a gallery for art shows. There were five of us in the class so we all got a lot of attention that day from Zaynab. The process is amazingly simple and the results very cool. I can hardly wait to wear the scarf I made when I am out walking with Poppy! 

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Poppy Update

Poppy is doing fine. As you can see, she has resumed her favorite position on the couch. We are not suppose to go walking for 14 days or until her stitches are removed. I discovered a few things about her during this process. She resists medication in all forms. She can still seek out and chew whatever she wants while her head is covered with a plastic hood. The plastic hood becomes a pretty decent snow shovel when she goes outside and she holds grudges. I know this because she has not come when I  call her in five days. I took the hood off yesterday because her ears were not drying being hidden in all that plastic. She is much happier. She might even come when I call. 

Monday, November 8, 2010


While I was in Seattle, my cousins took me to see the Picasso exhibit at the Seattle Arts Center. It was the first time I had ever seen a master's work in person. I was in awe. There were so many paintings, drawings, sculpture, and photos on display that we wondered what was left back in Spain. The works were presented chronologically and it gave an insight into his life and his genius. I was particularly drawn to a small painting of two women running joyfully on a beach. One is looking skyward and the other is looking to the horizon. For me it symbolized the endless possibilities for joy. The women are robust (which, of course, I loved) and full of life. They obviously know and love each other. Best friends on the beach. 

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Young People Creating Art I Love

I bought this awesome little toaster from Tiphoni Moore at the vendor sale during Journalfest. Tiphoni is a graduate of Rhode Island School of Design and lives in Ballard, Washington. Her work is detailed, expressive, and busting with personality. This piece makes me smile every time I look at it. Tiphoni has been experimenting with interactive art and this is a great example. If you push the the lever the toast goes down into the toaster and then flies out when you push the button in the front!  You never know on which side the toast will land! Tiphoni also has a successful web design business. You can read about and/or contact, buy from, or hire her at She also blogs at


I'm going d-o-o-w-w-n!

The evil side of toasty.

Sam Buchanan is one of my former 8th grade English students although he probably would rather forget he even knows me. Even then he was (and still is) one of the most multi-talented students I ever had in 30 years of teaching. We both survived that year and I was a better teacher from the experience. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon. Both Tiphoni and Sam work in a way that I am more drawn to individual pieces than the overall style but I think you will agree they are very talented kids! You can see more of Sam's work and purchase them at

Friday, November 5, 2010

Journalfest Day 3

My favorite class was, "Learning To See," with Lisa Cheney-Jorgensen. What a talent! The objective of the class was to take us through exercises to train our brains to access the right-side when we are drawing. I was exhausted yet inspired after this class was over! I definitely want to take another class from Lisa in the future.  
Lisa showing us some pictures on her camera during a demo.
She quick sketches with a  PITT pen and fills in the watercolor
and colored pencils at a later time.  She uses the photos
to help her remember the colors she needs to use.

Lisa sketching.

A classmate working on the "right" side!

Our group portrait of Teesha Moore. I did the following squares:
top row, 4th from the left (hair and forehead); second row from top,
3rd from left (eye); third row from top, 3rd from left (nose)

Journalfest Day 2

On Friday, I took a class called, "Soul Food." The instructor was Juliana Coles. Throughout the day, we went through a series of quick journaling exercises to help free ourselves from whatever might be blocking our ability to express ourselves through art.     

Juliana talking to a classmate.


The last weekend in October I was lucky enough to go to Journalfest in Port Townsend, Washington. It is a yearly event hosted by the fabulous Moore family ( and held at Fort Warden State Park. The park has a beautiful setting right on the beach! I wasn't feeling well so I didn't attend any of the nightly social events. Instead, I went to bed early so I could last through each day and, my oh my, was it totally worth it! These pictures are from the the first day. I took a class from Orly Avineri titled, "Passport to Journal." Everyone was asked to bring a passport. It was interesting to see all the passports that everyone brought to transform into a journal. There were many from different countries and they came in all sizes and colors. I'm still not use to working backward on this blog so you will see the second day's class above this one.  

My journal included lots of pockets to hide personal things.

This journal was dedicated to a grandmother.

Another view of the journal I made

My journal standing up.

Orly with a classmate.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Poppy is home.

I brought Poppy home from the vet's this afternoon. She is a little wobbly but doing well.

It is time to begin this walk to see where it leads me.

It's raining. Poppy has gone to the vet for her "operation." Poor lamb thought she was going for a ride in the car to the bank for a biscuit. I started this blog in 2009 with one posting. I finally figured out how to delete it so I could begin again. I restart many things. My plan this time is to share my thoughts on the art I create and the art of other artists that I like. I'll write about moving to a small beach community in Washington and cleaning out the house I have live in for thirty years. I do live by the water here in Anchorage, Alaska. Cook Inlet, the body of water that Anchorage is built around, does not have a walkable beach. The city has a beautiful, multi-use coastal trail that runs 12 miles from downtown to a recreation area called Kincaid Park. Unless, I am with a friend, I rarely walk the trail. For the time being, my beach walking is done around the neighborhood. I hope you will walk with me.