Sep 27

Dictator fantasies and Pintrest surfing

It occurred to me a few minutes ago as I was surfing Pintrest for “job chart for adults at a convention” that I may have snapped.


After more than two years of planning, “my” convention is just 11 days away.


To recap, more than two years ago I volunteers to be a co-chair of the Watercolor Society of Oregon Fall Convention. At the time I lived in Oregon City and I felt that a convention there would be a neat thing. Once I found an equally foolish person to take care of the “social/food” side of the convention, we were off.


Frankly, I think it’s going to be a great event.

  • We’ve lined up great location and teachers.
  • Clackamas Community College is allowing us to hang the show in their Pauling Gallery.
  • The list of classes is awesome (if I do say so myself.)
  • The juror is internationally known and his workshop filled up within a few weeks of “opening.”
  • I’ve eaten the food of the caterer and I thought it was great.
  • People have volunteered readily.
  • We met our deadlines for publishing.
  • The budget is in the black.

And you are ALL invited to the Artists Reception Saturday, October 8 from 4-6pm at the Pauling Gallery at CCC!

Now, if I can just stay calm…


Here’s the thing. This is the kind of event that brings out my dictator complex.


Now, it is my observation that people don’t like to be bossed around.


Which leads me to my quest to find a “job chart for adults at a convention” on Pintrest.


Can I count on you all for an intervention if it becomes necessary?


Sep 18


Today I got up early to go with the Salem Audubon Society out to Ankeny Wildlife Refuge. I arrived promptly at 7:00. Not a single person was there.

Tturns out the hike is next weekend; they posted the scouting trip a couple days ago and I got mixed up. So I decided to tour the refuge on my own.

I saw a small variety of birds: Red tailed hawk, song sparrow, white crowned sparrow, golden crowned sparrow, savannah sparrow, kestrel, Great Blue heron, great egret, American bittern (a first for me).

Then, as I was rounding a corner, this young fellow appeared in my path.


He stayed just long enough for me to get a couple of good snaps of him, then…

After those highlights, I’ve spent the rest of the day tackling a lot of house chores and errands. Two trips to Goodwill, a trip to the library, bought some pants, cleaned out the closet, rearranged some furniture, fur management, a trip to the Humane Society to deliver some unused cat medicine, tons of emails, a load of laundry, a load of dishes… you get the idea.

I hope tomorrow to run a couple of errands up north (I’m in the last two weeks before the Watercolor Society of Oregon Convention I am chair of and it’s full-blown panic now) and then sit down and do some painting. I didn’t make it into the show, but I’d like to put in a painting for the critique session and I’ll be taking a workshop from the juror, so I should probably know what to do with a brush…

Sep 17

It turns out no one walks on… water

After a week that I feel could be definitive proof that all people are crazy all the time, I decided to take the time after escaping the office Friday to take Key to do a long exploration of Minto-Brown Park (one of the treasures of Salem.)

We saw a good variety of birds.

And Key had a grand ol’ time sniffing along and getting excited every time a squirrel or rabbit came out.


The problem arose when we came to a muddy little pond. As we went by a frog jumped. And Key jumped after him.

Umm… dude, you’re disgusting.


Oh, that’s a problem? I’ll just rub it off here in this delicious, stinky dead grass.

Sep 11

Ocean Adventures

A few months ago, the Salem Audubon Society put a notice in their newsletter that they were going on a “Pelagic Tour” on September 11 through Whale Research EcoExcursions (Carrie Newell.) I called up my mom and asked if she wanted to come, and with her resounding yes ringing in my ears I called to make our reservation. The September 11 trip was already booked up, but they promised they could get us in on a September 10 trip that they had booked for the overflow. So we took our 8am time and marked out calendar.

Mom and I had taken a whale watching tour from Carrie (and notably, her dog Kita) on June 29, 2013.

Kita on our 2013 trip.

Kita on our 2013 trip.

It was a really great trip, but they advised coming back in September when the whale watching was REALLY good.

Today our trip got moved up about a half an hour due to weather conditions (while it was a sunny day, there was a bit of wind which made the waves pretty high.) So we showed up prepared to be wowed again.



First fluke


2nd fluke (waves are high!)


3rd fluke, probably the best picture


2nd picture of the same whale dive


4th fluke


5th fluke, my timing was off (those whales are tricky!)


also 5th fluke, you can see a little whale lice right on the end of the fluke


This was “SF”. No cropping on this photo; SO close!


I don’t know who this was, but even closer than the other one!


While I was a little disappointed in the “birding” part of the tour (the whales made up for it, obviously,) we did get in quite a few. I was hoping for a little bit more time close to shore really looking at some of the species.

Common Murres

Marbled Murrelets

Cormorant (Pelagic & Brandt) (these black birds were everywhere, flying every which way, and utterly defied my photography skills)

oystercatchersBlack Turnstones & Shorebirds


Tufted Puffins (it was only looking through my camera at home that I realized the identity of these birds)

Great Blue Heron (actually two, both flying away)

Brown Pelican (at the same time as the first whale, you can guess what happened)


Western Gull


Stellar Sea Lions

The final “highlight” was traveling out to the “whistle buoy” to observe a trio of Stellar Sea Lions (two females and a young male, according to our guide.) They were very photogenic.

stellar_sleepy stellar1 stellar2 stellar3 stellar4 stellar5


Aug 28

Student Issues

One of the perks of being an adult (there really aren’t too many when you think about it) is the right to go off track when you take a class without anyone scolding you.

This is, obviously, is a mixed blessing. While it can be fun to run off on a tangent, if you are earnestly trying to learn something and a shiny object distracts you, well, your choice is to take the class again or put on your grown-up blinders.

Last week (week 5 of Messy Palette Club), for various reasons, I wasn’t inspired by the topic. At the very least I just didn’t want to. So I got to thinking about how to make my horse paintings more simple (the topic of the Messy Palette Club Summer Session is simplicity) and I started going through photos.

Next thing I know, this photo caught my attention.

secret strategy

The pencil came out… then a peach wash… and tonight I’m contemplating the finishing touches on this.

"Secret Strategy" - 22"x15" - unfinished

“Secret Strategy” – 22″x15″ – unfinished

The jockey’s face needs some more work. And I may add some more highlights to the tack.

But this was so much fun, I started another one tonight. Here’s my reference photo.


And here’s my start.


“Chased by Darkness” – 22’x15″ – start

I’d say something about how I should go off track more often, but really… I don’t think I need more encouragement to do that.

Aug 15

Class: Writing & Illustrating Children’s Books (Week 4-5)

I don’t know where the last few weeks has gone, but Thursday my Writing and illustrating Children’s Books class ended with the remaining students (5 out of more than a dozen) presenting their “mini” books.

I present here my book. I have revised a few things and I still have a few paintings to finish. But I think you’ll get the idea. It’s really amazing how much work can go into crafting twelve sentences.











Aug 15

Class: Messy Palette Club (week 4)

The heat drove me from Salem down to the beach to see my mom. I took my paints with me so I would have an excuse other than heat for this migration (not that I really needed one.)

I drove out a side road next to the Siletz Bay Wildlife Refuge to see if I could find an out of the way place to paint. I found a bridge located on a bridge and set up my shop for a couple of hours.

I did a very poor job with my reference photos, but the assignment was to create a value sketch before painting.

Then I went into my “full” painting.


I would have liked to get the marsh grass a richer, deeper yellow.

Then I turned and look east. I didn’t get any reference photos, but I did two paintings.

siletz east

And this one, which took a leap off the bridge when a car went back and into the weeds below. No rescue was possible (if I wished to live.)

painting in the weeds

Aug 15

Class: Messy Palette Club (week 3)

It’s catch up time again!

This week the focus was simplifying the major landscape elements. We were challenged to do a painting, selecting five key parts and to work out how to simplify them.

I went out to the Ankeny Wildlife Refuge and set up on Eagle Marsh for a couple hours of painting.

It was so much fun, I decided to do another version.

In both versions I struggled to get the water to “lie flat.”

Aug 01

Class: Messy Palette Club (week 2)

This week, specifically by Thursday, I have to finish a “mini-book” for my writing and illustrating class. So, in an attempt to clear my schedule, I did this week’s homework for the Messy Palette Club (Vinita Pappas) because that had to be done by Tuesday and then I could procrastinate.

The overarching theme of this class is “simplicity.” Vinita had us do a simple (and very fun) exercise where we picked six items and tried to match their color.


She asked us to sketch out the items very simply in pen. Then to paint “very flat.” We weren’t going for realistic items so much as color matching.


The sweet peas weren’t the correct color, but other than that, I like this a lot.

For “bonus points” we were encouraged to take the exercise “outside” and five or six colors “from life” to use in a painting.


I liked this exercise too. It definitely gets you thinking about what you are really thinking.

Unfortunately my next “extra credit” was to attempt a 15-minute plein air painting. That didn’t turn out so well. I got distracted and forgot to simplify…


Can’t win them all!


P.S. I turned in two paintings for the Fall WSO show yesterday. Fingers crossed. It would be great to get into “my own show.”

Aug 01

And I wonder why I’m exhausted

Today (Sunday, day of rest) I have done the following:

  • Got up
  • Walked the dogs
  • Got my haircut
  • Picked up an item at the store
  • Went to pet store (twice, actually) because the kids think they need to be fed every day
  • Bought groceries
  • Finished my week 2 painting class homework
  • Gone to library
  • Went to dog training class
  • Done laundry (4 loads)
  • Done food prep for week
  • Make 3 batches of pesto for freezing
  • Checked email and facebook
  • Wrote this blog and one more


Older posts «

Fetch more items