May 29

I did focus

A second successful day of painting. It must be some sort of record!

While I got in church, the library, and two trips to the dog park, today I focused on a series of small paintings of bird that I hope to sell at the Englewood Forest Festival in August.

These are not designed to be new or daring, they are just supposed to be “accessible.” I have a ways to go, but I think they are turning out well enough I may decide to do some sets of cards.

Tomorrow is a hike to explore Willamette Mission State Park and then some studio organizing to get prepared for framing purchases. If I can get just a few more hours of painting in, I should be pretty caught up and can turn my attention to some new projects.

Dare to dream…

May 28

I can focus

Ah…. a three-day weekend. It’s warm, it’s sunny, it’s lovely. So, obviously… I’m in my studio. Since my last post made it evident I needed to get busy and do some painting, I decided to beat the heat this weekend by painting.

My studio set up with extra table space for drying.

Day 1 has been very productive, though you may have a few doubts because I am working on some “stealth paintings” (commissions) that I can’t show you. But I did spend some time on these projects (started last December as ice paintings.)

Modern Charger

At Liberty

Both of these project may be at the pesky “think about it” stage. That stage can last a while, but I’d like to use these as my submissions for the AAEA show.

Other Paintings


I’m not sure if I’ve shown this one before, but it’s been on the pile for a while.



This is another ice painting start. I’m trying something new, and frankly it’s not working out. But… at least I’m trying.


Two Commissions I can’t show you…


Self Portrait

“Every man’s work, whether it be literature, or music or pictures or architecture or anything else, is always a portrait of himself.” – Samuel Butler

Frankly, I mis-remembered the above quote. What I THOUGHT it said was, “Every painting that is not a self portrait is about the artist.”

Anyway, it’s my attempt at a painting joke.

Day 2 & 3

My goal for tomorrow is to get in a similar amount of painting time, putting aside the two horse/ice paintings and moving to work on some bird paintings for my Englewood Forest Festival. Monday I’m going to go on a long hike with some friends and probably do some studio organizing in preparation for buying some frames for upcoming events.

Wish me luck!


May 22

Just do it

This weekend ended up being a smorgasbord of little errands and events that I hoped would help me get ready for “summer season.” I have (probably foolishly) signed up for several events and paint-outs, not to mention “my” big seminar with Ruth Buchanan in coming up in just 8 weeks.

Saturday  morning I started out with critique group (gosh… so long) and admired everyone’s work while coming to the realization that somehow I have done NO painting in two months. I just don’t know how that happened. It seems… wrong.

Still, the next thing I had to do was jump in the car to deliver two paintings for the  2017 Oregon Corgi Beach Day – benefiting the OHS.

“The Sunworshiper” and “The Enthusiast” by Tara Choate – 2016

That little task (finally) done, I did a final hike through Canemah to spread Finn’s ashes.

Though I stopped a my favorite nursery (Bosky Dell) on my way home to pick up some beach daisies, that was basically my whole day… and i was tired and wiped out. I spent the evening watching a couple of movies and vegging out.

Today (Sunday) I got up and took Key to nosework class. From there, it was a putter day. I did some cleaning, organized a few things, updated my calendar, and started a new (but much-thought-about painting.)

Arminda’s Poppies

I actually like it a little better now that I’ve stepped away from it.

Anyway, as you’ll see from the summer I’ve got planned (see below), I’m glad I got those errands out of the way and I can get back to work. I’m going to need to do a lot of it…

List of upcoming events

June 2-4 – Camping and bird festival in Sisters, OR

June 10 – World Wild Knit in Public Day

June 24-25 – Paint for Lavender Festival

July 1 – Deadline to apply for the AAEA Fall Show

July 8-9 – Lavendar Festival activities

July 13-18 – Ruth Buchanan Workshop (see flyer below)

July 13-15 – Equine Art 2017 (Emerald Downs, Auburn, WA)

August 1 – Deadline to enter WSO Fall Show

August 12 – Englewood Forest Festival (Note: My goal is to paint a bunch of small, inexpensive bird paintings for this show)

August 14 – October 14 – An Equine Jubilee, Celebrating the Horse In Art (I entered, but I don’t yet know if I got in)

August 21 – Eclipse and an “even number” birthday for my mom (a coincidence… I don’t think so!)

Ruth Buchanan Workshop



May 20

Public Service

I don’t know about you, but I talked to a lot of people who felt like this was an especially long week. I know I’m thinking: “TGIF!”

So, to brighten your day and get you ready for the weekend (which by all accounts will be lovely) here are 15 random flower photos from my walk around the neighborhood this evening.

May 15

What we share

I went down this weekend to see my mom for Mother’s day. We had a great time. We watched birds, went out to lunch, and did an open studios tour around Lincoln City called “Art on the Edge.” It was a great weekend.

This seagull came down to the patio of our lunch restaurant and watched us through the window.

I ended up doing quite of bit of bird watching without Mom because I had to walk the dog.  On the Siletz I came across a pack of herons looking to feed the young back at the rookery (you could hear the babies, but not see the nests.) A flock of cormorants was also coming by.

I also saw band tailed pigeons, what i think is an orange crowned warbler, several song sparrows, a mallard with babies, and a pair of cedar waxwings.

I think this picture of a song sparrow in the mud of the brown Siletz might have some potential as a painting, just for interesting color of the water.

On the way back home on Sunday, I stopped at Basket Slough to see what there was to see. I lucked out and saw a pair of Black-necked Stilts, a bird not even in my much-loved “Birds of the Willamette Valley” book.

In total, I added five species to my list to make 104 species for the year.

I’ll leave you with this short video of a bird walk at nearby Fairview Wetlands I took on stormy Thursday. I don’t know which is more amazing… the swallows or the rainbow!

May 08


I had a cold this week. At first I thought it was allergies, then it was a cold, and by the end of the week I called the doctor to ask for antibiotics because it had morphed into a sinus infection. Basically, all this means is I sulked around blowing my nose. I’m NOT a good patient.

On Friday evening, however, I ventured out of the house to attend the opening reception for the Emerald Arts Center.

It’s considered bad taste to take pictures of other people’s art, so I will only show my piece. However, the top slider for the Emerald Art Center website shows off some of the best pieces of the show.

As i was sitting there at the reception (trying hard not to blow my nose too hard) it occurred to me that I haven’t entered many shows except those put on by WSO…. or at least I haven’t been to many receptions.

When I liked about this one (besides the excellent food) was that the juror, my friend, Ruth Armitage (who I had sort of not noticed was the juror, so it was nice to see her there) gave a critique of every piece in the show. I got a couple of good suggestions that I will take when the painting comes back from the show. I am hopeful, with those changes, that this may be an entry for the WSO fall show.

I was not surprised I did not get an award (it was a really high quality show that I was flattered just to get into), but several other artists came up to me and told me how strong they thought my piece was, which is always nice to hear.

Saturday I attended another reception, this one for the May show on flowers at the Keizer Art Association. I had my eye on this show for my painting, “Ensata” for a while.

In addition to the “normal” part of the show, paintings of iris were eligible for the Keizer “poster” contest (the city of Keizer has an iris festival each year.)

Some of the iris entries in the poster contest, including mine. I think these images are small enough that there is no danger of plagiarism issues.

For a small show, it was a strong one. I did not receive any awards at this show either, which I admit hurt my feelings a little.

Still, at least I’m “out there” again.

Apr 27

I know you’re taunting me

In general, I don’t believe in complaining about the weather. There is nothing I or anyone else can do about it, and my time with God is usually spent having conversations like this: “God, please give me the strength not to strangle office-mate Opal when she tells me that story AGAIN!”

Still, this “spring” has been unusually irksome. Take today.

I ride my bike to work. Like most springs, choosing a coat thickness is hard this time of year, but I have learned not to be fooled. Just because it’s sunny in the morning, won’t mean sunshine on the ride home!

Today did not even pretend to be coy and just dumped rain for my ride. And all day, every time I looked out the window it was the same dismal, rainy view. Until about five minutes before I was due to go home. I was so hopeful, in fact, I stored my coat in my basket and rode out of the garage. Where, promptly, it began raining.

I got home just in time for the rain to stop. When a new concrete contractor arrived to give me an estimate, the rain started again. Just to sunshine again when he left and long enough for me to get to the park.

Once at the park, I hoped it would stay “blue sky” long enough to do a lap, but I’m not sure it would have made any difference if it had (it didn’t) because the path looked like this…

Key literally sunk up to his little ankles in it.

We slipped around the park path. And just as we got back to the car, guess what happened.

If you can’t see that, it’s a rainbow.

Well played, God, well played.

Apr 23


I got to mark a small bucket list item off my list today. The Salem March for Science had a small group of counter-protesters across the street.

I’m doing something controversial!

Though, to be fair, I never did figure out their cause…

Anyway, I did attend the Salem March for Science today. As soon as I heard about this march, I marked my calendar and knew I had to go. I’ll spare you the details: if you’re sympathetic, you know why; if you’re not, you probably aren’t reading this anyway.

I got confused about the time of the march, so I got there much too early. But I put my time to good use, cheering on the MS walkers who were just wrapping up their event. I learned that the Willamette Valley has one of the highest occurence levels of MS in the nation.

I don’t want to post a picture of the MS Walkers because while they were cool, they didn’t necessarily agree to have their pictures in a blog about science.

While I waited, I sat on a bench under the tree decorated for Autism Awareness and enjoyed the ribbons.

As always the people watching opportunities were great. This was my favorite protester of the day.

This was my favorite dog-oriented device of the day.

But others provided a lot of entertainment.

Finally we were gathered and ready to march.

My sign, as always, was small and hung around my neck in a plastic sleeve.


Others had more inventive and creative signs.

My favorite sign at the march was this one.

And my favorite sign I’ve seen on social media…

My sentiments exactly.

Apr 20

Goodbye, Finn

Today I said goodbye to my darling Finn.

October 14, 2001 – April 19, 2017


I got Finn from a rescue. His parents had come in during a drug best, and they had gone to a friend of a friend’s rescue. Finn was one of the two surviving pups. How could I not fall in love with that face?


At six months we took these photos so Finn could get his Indefinite Listing Privledge from the AKC. After he grew into his ears, he was a very handsome, long-legged boy. I moved from Portland to Oregon City this year.


Here is Finn at his first agility trial. He got two clears to be in the running for high in trial (at his first show!)


Posing for some Easter photos.

We continued agility.

This is one of my favorite photos of us. I don’t know why.


Along with Ginger, we also hiked and played (Sean was living the high life of retirement with my parents.)


We did more agility. When Finn tore his ACL I decided to retire from agility.

That summer we went camping at Moran Lake, Orcas Island, Washington.


In the spring of this year, the whole family (Mom, Dad, Sean, Ginger, Finn, and I) drove up Drift Creek. I got some of my favorite photos out of the day.

Finn remained ready for his close up.


I spent much of this year sick, though I managed a trip to England (without the dogs). It was a year with many transitions. All I caught was this photo… Happy Holidays!


Still recovering, it was a year we all stayed close to home. We also said goodbye to Sean this year.


There was a lot of hiking this year (mainly at Molalla State Park. We said goodbye to Ginger this year.


Without Ginger, we shifted to hiking Canemah.I started to see a little gray on my boy’s face.

This is my favorite photo of Finn, ever. He’s in the camas at Canemah. I will spread his ashes here.


Still at Canemah. 2012 was my “annus horribilis“. Finn was always there for me.


This is the last year I can find pictures of Finn really running hard.

It was a good year, with stable employment finding its way back into my life.


A thoughtful year that saw the death of my dad.


The beach could still bring up the puppy in my boy.

And of course a roll in the grass.

We moved at the end of this year.


We settled into Salem and started enjoying the parks. We said goodbye to our feline friends, Bella and Lola.

And of course, I brought home Key this year. I’m not sure Finn was ever completely convinced.


And today we said goodbye. He got a big breakfast, treats, and a plate full of whipped cream.

More than any other dog, Finn always just wanted me and my family to be happy and close to him.

He’ll be keeping everyone close in heaven now.

Apr 17

Around the state and back again

Some weeks are just too full, and this last week was one of them for me. As I said, I went on the lovely Seattle tour with the Traveling Ewe last weekend, came back for a day, then went back on the road to Eastern Oregon for work.

Eastern Oregon Trip

One of the parts of my job is to provide trainings around the state about the grant program I work for. I enjoy these trainings, but they can be exhausting. I am not a natural “public personality” and the work that goes into and out of these events really drains me.

Luckily, there is usually an opportunity somewhere to stop at the side of the road and take a picture of this beautiful state. While visiting Pendleton and John Day, I was able to take the following pictures out the car window or at the side of the road.

We saw elk, pronghorn antelope, deer, and coyotes. On the bird front, we saw Osprey, Golden Eagles, and Sandhill Cranes.

The pictures are a little blown out (sorry) because I had my camera settings wrong.

I think that last photo just might be a painting…

Art Contest Results

The results of “Other Opinions are ‘Out There‘” are officially back.

American Academy of Equine Art

  • Strategy Session – no
  • Chasing Dark.- no

Emerald Art Center Emerald Spring Exhibition 2017 – National Juried Show

  • Scent of Season – yes
  • Learning the Ropes – no

2017 Artworks Northwest call by Umpqua Valley Arts Association

  • The Turn – no
  • Night Racing – no

So, for this round my success rate was 16.67%.

Including the spring WSO show and the NWWS show, that’s 10%. Actually, that’s not too bad. We’ll see if I can keep the up for the rest of the year and maybe improve for next year!

Tax March

Warning: This is about politics.

As I have said earlier this year, I am not supportive of the current President of the United States, a feeling that has only intensified as his administration has progressed. This particular month, I have committed to three marches: one regarding the failure of Mr. Trump to release his tax returns and allow us to watch for conflicts of interest; one regarding the attack on science, particularly around global warming; and one billed as the People’s Climate Movement.

The first of these marches was the Tax Day March this weekend up in Portland. I was not excited about it, but I felt like it was my civic duty to protest the lack of transparency the current President embraces.

Like the first march I attended, there was a lot of amusement to be had in the signs and costumes.

My sign was pretty boring, but I won’t do anything to make fun of the President and I don’t care about how much he does or does not make. I’m only interested in the potential for conflicts of interest.

This  march was slightly more sophisticated than my first protest, with chants and a marching band. Still, the basic concept is the same.

Apparently, Mr. Trump responded in his usual fashion, Tweeting (I don’t know the emoji for eye rolling) a reply that completely missed the point and was filled with the usual… whatever.

I just have no words for all this that comply with my goal of a PG site, so I’ll stop here.


Older posts «

Fetch more items