Friday Fair & Rodeo (photo essay)

Friday I went to the Clackamas County Fair & Rodeo with my friends Suzie and Scott. It has been years since I went and it was a lot of fun. I really just wanted to attend the fair, but I hate the parking and driving hassle, so when Scott and Suzie said they were going and staying for the rodeo too, I decided that staying out late (I literally can’t remember the last time I was out until 10:30!) wasn’t too bad because it was the weekend!

We got there about 5:30, and after hitting a few food vendors (what’s a fair without a sausage and a ice cream), I decided to see how my knitting projects did. Two of my three projects were “in the money” with second place premiums. None of my paintings got any awards, though. Seems like it’s that kind of year…

After the hobby hall, I went to see the animals.

After getting my fill of livestock, I headed over to the rodeo. For those who haven’t been to a rodeo, it’s important to remember that pagentry is the name of the game. It starts will a flashy show of riding drills and quick rides by various princess and other royalty from around the state.

Broncos are next. I think I might have some good reference photos here…

Then calf roping; I really like this event because I think the horses have a big job.

After this it got too dark and I couldn’t get any more good photos, so I just sat back and enjoyed!

Plein Air (finally)

fronthouseSaturday was the Three Rivers Artist Guild‘s Art on the Lawn, in conjuction with the The McLoughlin Memorial Association. While attendance was not what I hoped, it was a beautiful day and I FINALLY got to do some plein air painting.

The event was held at The William L. Holmes House at Rose Farm. While a large house for the period (1847), by today’s standards it seems tiny.

The MMA saves money by not watering during the summer, so a few artistic liberties are pretty inevitable, but the porches and balustrades are charming.

Architecture is not my favorite subject, but I gave it my best shot, starting with the small historic home in back of the property and moving forward and around as the day went on. I experimented with gouche (rhymes with squash.) As always, the paintings are too light (I find it hard to get correct values in my on-site work.) These paintings either need another layer of color and value adjustment or they should be considered color studies for a studio session.

My friend Sandra Pearce from the Watercolor Society of Oregon drove across town to come paint for the day as well. Her paintings give you a better idea of the charms of the site.

As the day closed up, Sandra mentioned that she would like to paint the view from the Oregon City Arch bridge but she didn’t know where to park to do it. I told her I’d be happy to get her close if I could tag along and do some painting as well. So off we went…

At 6:30 I had to pack up for the day, but Sandra was still going strong. I did two additional paintings that I am liking much better than my Holmes House ones.


My first painting. I used transparent watercolors here. A good color study for a second start.


I experimented with a sunset scene, using my memory. I also focused more on the falls. I like this as well, but I didn’t get enough interest in the sky and the water needs more darks.

The Fact Check Mission

Dad has been in the memory care facility for about a month now, so I marked my calendar for a quick day trip down to Lincoln City to meet up with Mom and have a little visit with Dad.

Mom and I originally chose today because the Audubon Society of Lincoln City was having a fiend trip, but the excursion was up in Tillamook, we decided to do a little exploring closer to home and took a trail down the road from Dad’s facility.

While we didn’t see many birds (a few chickadees, a pair of brown creepers, lots of Stellar Jays, a couple of unidentified wrens, and a squirrel) it was a lovely and relaxing walk. I took Finn down for the day so he could visit Dad and enjoy the hike.

Mom and I had fun with our cameras and took some pictures of each other as well as Finn. We went out to lunch and also did a quick trip down to the beach at Land’s End, but it was too windy for more than a quick jaunt in the sand.

I saw Dad when I first arrived, after our hike, and after lunch. I am delighted to say that I don’t think his physical condition has changed too much; in fact he has lost some weight (16lbs according to Mom) which is a good thing.

His physical condition–in the traditional sense–is really not the problem.

When Dad was living at home, he had a routine. He got up, ate, sat in his chair, ate, took a nap, ate, and went to bed. His world was small and predicable and he had a lot of time to adapt to this environment; as he got less cognitively able to understand things, he had muscle memory to guide him. Additionally, Mom could actively supervise things like dressing and bathroom habits.

In his new home, which is classified as a memory care wing of an assisted living facility, everything is new and he has a lot less supervision. This has resulted in (almost) a never-ending string of falls. Since arriving, the longest period of time he has gone without falling is three days. Mom has purchased a new (non swivelling) chair for him. He had changed from a cane to a walk and they are strongly urging Mom to get him a wheelchair (though the doctor does not want to do this yet as he feels this would remove all incentive for activity.)

At his formal one-month review, the staff hinted to Mom that he was beyond the scope of their abilities. He is big enough that they have had to call the paramedics several times to help him get up and they are not staffed to deal with the kind of supervision he seems to need. For example, today after lunch we came back and Dad had decided to undress and get ready for a shower. Except he wasn’t scheduled to have a shower, so essentially he was unclothed for no reason. When Mom inquired to the orderlies about the situation, they were completely unconcerned and unresponsive, leaving Mom to get him redressed. After that, he wanted to sit in his chair, but he was unable to understand how to get across the room and turn to sit down. Mom and I helped him (and by helped I mean we physically lifted him, because he doesn’t have the muscle strength) in and out of his chair four times before he was satisfied with his positioning.

Friday Mom and Dad went to see the doctor, who ordered physical therapy in hopes this would help with some of the falls and improve other task-based skills. The doctor also told Mom that he thought it was time to take Dad off some of his medications; for example, Dad probably won’t live long enough for the cholesterol medication to effect his life in any real way. Also, they have decided to take Dad off warfarin because if he continues to fall, the increase possibility for bleeding could be an issue.

As I left, I told Mom that I didn’t think Dad looked physically worse, but that I could see that he needed more care than he was receiving there. Mom admitted she was researching nursing homes (a higher level of care.) There are not any that she is comfortable with near her at the beach, so Dad may be moving back to my area with Mom living with me at least part time for the foreseeable future. I’m fine with that, though it’s clearly one more stressor for Mom, who is looking and feeling a little worn.

When I arrived home, I crashed for a nap, worn out from the day. I can’t imagine how Mom is feeling.

A few hours later Mom called and told me that the facility had called and that Dad had taken a fall and this time said he hit his head; he went to the hospital where he had a CT scan, but it appears that nothing is wrong with him (other than the normal) so hopefully he will be back “at home” before the evening is out. The facility called Mom to see what she wanted them to do, partially because they are required to call her and partially because they couldn’t find anyone else to tell them what to do (being the weekend, they couldn’t get in contact with any supervisors.) Mom admitted that she find this confusing; she is 30 minutes away and can’t lift him… what are they expecting her to do?

At the end of the conversation, she told me that she thought his move might be happening sooner rather than later.



The first requirement of blogging

The first requirement of blogging is to actually  have something to write about, and lately my life has been lacking that. It’s go to work, come home, sleep, repeat. Between work demands (it’s end of year and very busy) and the heat (have I mentioned how much I hate summer?) it’s just been a struggle to come up with good topics.

So forgive me if this post is a bit of a mish-mash of topics (otherwise known as the random blog), but it’s as good as I can do right now!

My Great Horned Owl

I saw my Great Horned Owl again today, but no good pictures, unfortunately, I saw him fly into his “usual” place, but when I got close enough to snap a picture, he flew off again. I followed him and he flew again and I didn’t find him on his third landing. He is a wiley one! As is appropriate for a wild creature.

owlCanemah doesn’t offer the same inspiration for me this time of year. It’s dry and not too much is blooming. Still, there are various things of interest if you look hard enough.

I also saw this spider spinning her web and watched for a while the other day. Pretty cool.

Artistic Admiration

Down the street from my job is a great gallery called Attic Gallery. Just before First Thursday I always like to walk by on my afternoon walks and see the featured artist for the month. The Attic Gallery carries some of my favorite artists: Janey Belozer, Arne Westerman, Bill Bailey, Pat San Soucie, Tommer Gonser, and Z.Z. Wei.

Today they were setting up for the August artist, Arne Westerman. While I don’t universally love every piece of Arne’s, I do enjoy his use of color and form and truly love looking at his work. He had a couple of REALLY striking pieces in the window, so I decided to go in and get a closer work.

While I was there a charming older gentleman approached me and we chatted for a few minutes. I told him how much I liked the pieces, and he admitted he was the artist (Arne Westerman.) My friend Jin was with me on my walk, so she took a few pictures of us together.

arne2 arne1

While I was chatting with Arne, another gentleman approached us and we got to talking about a lovely crane piece that had inspired me to try something similar in my own work. Turned out, this gentleman was also the artist, Tommer Gonser. It was a big day for me!

My Own Painting

I have been concentrating on “cleansing my palette” as it were by finishing up the many works in progress that I have going. Unfortunately, it is harder for me to finish paintings that it is to start them, so I’m in the slow stages.

Hopefully after this week, things will slow down at work and I’ll have a little more energy to start some projects. I got a new book that I am keen to try on painting large format florals. I also have a few events coming up that should generate some paintings.

  • August 16 – Art on the Lawn with a Plein Air Workshop with Sally O’Neill


Mark your calendars (except for the camping) and hopefully I’ll see you there!

Domestic bliss

I spent today checking off a list of duties, errands, and chores. Nothing too exciting, but adding 7 cans of pickled peaches and another 7 of spicy pickles (cucumbers) to my store gave me an unexpected little burst of pleasure. I also took a couple knitting projects as well as two art pieces to the county fair. I’m not expecting much, but it’s fun to try. If you are going the Clackamas County Fair (August 12-17), stop by and see “Milky Way Fisherman” and “Delight”.

"Milkway Fisherman" - 2013

“Milkway Fisherman” – 2013

"Delight" - 2014 - After critique

“Delight” – 2014 – After critique

After accomplishing my little slice of domestic bliss, I headed over to SEO to play with the horses. I got there to discover a bunch of younger ones had gone through the fence and were enjoying a hay pile. I herded them all back, but it’s really only a matter of time with them.

On the way home I stopped at a little bridge to take a picture of the Estacada river. I’m seriously considering painting this.

riverviewWhile I was admiring the view, I looked down and saw what I thought was a chocolate lab; but when he didn’t head back to anyone, I took a closer look and realized it was a beaver. A few minutes later another one paddled by!

beaverI got back home and decided to get in a few more exercise points and headed down to Canemah. I hoped to see a great sunset or new animals that stirred at dusk. I did see my deer again, but otherwise, not too much was going on.

Tomorrow I sit at the TRAG gallery from 12-5. I hope you’ll come down and see me, the other artists, and maybe pick up a book at the Friends of the Library Bookstore.

I was afraid of this

I am just entering the extremely busy season at work. This is my second year going through the “year end” process (Multnomah County, like most governments, has a fiscal year calendar that goes from July 1-June 30) and while this year is going more smoothly than last, it’s no walk in the park.

Today I was so busy that I was only able to get away from my desk for a very short lunch/walk and struggled to put everything aside long enough do simple things like head to the bathroom.

It’s hectic.

And, of course, everyone is on edge. Program managers are down to the last minute to accomplish goals and everyone is looking at the bottom line.

Everyone must have gotten recharged for the weekend, because I had to hit the ground running from the first moment I walked in today, and by 10:00 I was fed up. All day long I FOUGHT the urge to walk across the street and buy a bunch of candy bars and simply inhale.

I didn’t do it. And I went to Weight Watchers tonight and weight in for a loss. And I asked people for suggestions how to cope with the season of emotional eating triggers I see around the corner.

With tonight’s loss, that brings my total weight removal up to 46 lbs. It’s beginning to down on me that this isn’t a coincidence or a fluke. This seems to be something that I am doing. And I’m proud. I’m getting closer to that magical number where I will be able to ride a horse, and I don’t want to quit.

But I’m not great at pressure. I’d like to find something I could do, such as taking a walk (other suggestions appreciated), that I could replace the urge to eat with, but with work so busy I really feel chained to my desk.

I’m compromising this way: I bought some of those mini popcorn bags tonight. I’m hoping that if I pop a bag and focus on eating each individual kernal that I can get through the next few weeks.

Tonight’s WW meeting focused on being kind to yourself. It’s a lesson I really need to learn, but the next few weeks will be the opposite of kind. In the meantime, I think I’m going to focus on the good habits I’ve already started (breakfast, walking the dog/activity, no random eating) and see if I can get by with a little popcorn and reliance on what I’ve already done.


aestive, adj.
[‘ Of or belonging to summer; hot, burning.’]

Yesterday I did my last official event of the summer, the First City Celebration. The event was somewhat mixed; low sales and a mediocre turnout, but I did get a couple of good contacts. Here is a picture of my booth with my friend Mary Margaret and her lovely jewelry posting in the corner.

boothToday I put the house back in order, stored my booth supplies, and did some weeding. If this was all I had to post about, it wouldn’t be a very exciting post.

But this is the last weekend before the due date for the Fall WSO convention. After some angst, I’ve decided to put “Sizing Up the Competion” and “Twlght Flight” in as my entries.


“Sizing Up the Competition” – 2014


“Twilight Flight” – 2014

I’m a little unsure about the crop on “Twilight Flight”, so if anyone has an opinion, feel free to let me know.

I also thought I’d post some works in progress… just so you would all know I am working (slowly….)

"The Blue Halter" (tentative title) - unfinished

“The Blue Halter” (tentative title) – unfinished


“Strike a Pose” – almost finished


“Please” – almost finished

"Between Classe" - unfinished

“Between Classes” – unfinished

"Eri" or "Cheese Love" or "Attention" (title undecided) - unfinished

“Eri” or “Cheese Love” or “Attention” (title undecided) – unfinished

I’m trying to beef up my pet portraits portfolio, so “The Blue Halter”, “Please”, and “Eri/Cheese Love/Attention” are pretty much going directly to the owners of the actual pets. But the pieces will fill in some holes in my portfolio, so that will be good. I might keep “The Blue Halter” for a while; I intend it to be an example piece for pet portrait donations I make to Sound Equine Options.

“Please” and “Strike a Pose” are also supposed to be rather whimsical pieces, as opposed to serious paintings. Pieces like this feel like a palette cleanser after working so hard to get things just right.


P.S. Oh… in case anyone was wondering, Stacey Riggs got 2nd place (Reserve Champion) at the Extreme Mustang Makeover. This is her second “Reserve Championship” this year. I am thrilled for her, but I hope she doesn’t get bridesmaid syndrome.

Stacey and Noname during their final freestyle event. From the picture, I'm guessing she did some "mounted shooting" type of stuff. Pretty cool.

Stacey and Noname during their final freestyle event. From the picture, I’m guessing she did some “mounted shooting” type of stuff. Pretty cool.

Focused Friday? Fatal failure.

Like many bloggers, I am going to do a “random” blog today because, well, this week has just worn me out.

1. First City Celebration

This Saturday I will be in downtown Oregon City meeting and greeting the public along with 100 other artists and vendors for the 5th Annual First City Celebration. There will be music, food, and wine. This promises to be a great event, so if you haven’t already, put it on your calendar and come on down. Even the weather looks to cooperate by not raining and not frying us like so many eggs.

The event is from 11am-9pm (as an artist, I’ll be leaving at 7, but there will be music and wine going on until later.) I really hope to see you all.

firsticyt2. Go Stacy Riggs and NoName

My friend Stacey Riggs is once again taking a mustang (NoName) to Extreme Mustang Makeover, this time in Nampa, ID. Unlike last time, she hopes that someone will adopt the horse that she has worked with for the last 90 days. To facilitate this, she gave him the name NoName (pronounced No-Nah-Mi). At the end of day 1 they stand in 3rd place.

I guess she’s going “Dressage” this time instead of Western. I don’t know if this is part of a larger plan, but I think they look great.

I hope she’ll forgive me for stealing her Facebook photo in order to wish her luck.

riggs3. Swallows

The swallows have fledged. But before they left, I managed to verify 3 babies.

threeswallows4. Big cats

For the last week there has been a sign up at Canemah.


Now, I’m not sure, but I think I spotted it today.

cougarWhat do you think?

5. Birding at Canemah

Things are so quiet at Canemah (maybe the cougar has scared them all off?) I haven’t even seen the vultures the last few times I went down. Then today, I had a pretty good birding day.

6. Other things that fly

It’s so dry that it is hard to get good photos (or at least photos that I find pleasing) at Canemah.

But today I took a little break in the shade and I saw a little flock of the most lovely damselflies.

damselfly1 damselfly27. Madrone trees

I think the madrone trees are so striking this time of year with their sunburned and peeling bark.


It’s almost time for goodbye

For the last five years I’ve had a family of swallows nesting outside my office window. I love this. I love the swooping of the parents, the cries of the babies, the briefness of the whole affair.


This year the nesting has been later than normal; based on my records, the swallows nested about 10 days later than in other years.

Tonight I went out and took pictures of the near-fledglings. I think they’ll fledge in the nest day or two.

This year I was able to use my new camera that can take pictures more quickly. I got some great shots. Including this one of a VERY full mouth.

fedThese swallows are my favorite thing about summer. I’ll be sorry when they leave, though they’ll hang around looking all fluffy for a few weeks.

This post by Anna Blake, Muck Meditation on Swallows, posted at Anna Blake Blog, is a beautiful description of these beautiful birds.


Monday evening I attended the Three Rivers Artist Guild monthly meeting. As the vice president, it’s my job to line up speakers for each meeting, and this month we had Laura Valenti Jelen giving a presentation on “Creating a Visionary Portfolio.”

As a photographer, Laura’s focus is little different than mine as a painter; not only are the mediums different, some of the protocol and etiquette is different.

These differences proved to be an insignificant barrier. Laura explained that in her world a portfolio was the development of a theme or idea, not a collection of greatest hits. She invited us to really explore an idea, giving examples from her own work an others.

For example, she has a current project called “Atlas of Remote Islands” which is loosely based on a book she read. She selects photos evocative of a place, real or imaginary and names them after these remote island (Laura, forgive me if I’m not explaining this correctly.) It’s a fabulous idea and so inspiring.

Many people in the room commented on ideas that they had base on Laura’s ideas. I, too, have some ideas. I’ve been toying with the idea of going smaller and more frequent with my work, and this seems like a great jumping off point. Here are some ideas:

  • Skies (sort of a sky scarf idea)
  • Birds (either yard-based or Canemah-based)
  • Horses on Yupo
  • Hawaiin fish series inspried by work of Carol Bennett
  • More abstracts
  • Insects (particularly bees)
  • The madrone trees at Canemah
  • Sketching every day
  • Hummingbirds at my flowers
  • Whales

Maybe doing a series of smaller works would allow a little more play and experimentation into my life.


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