The painting harlot?

I am normally a pretty focused person. Point A to point B. I read my emails and file them. I weed one bed at a time, in a counterclockwise path. I knit one thing at a time.

And then there is painting. In spite of having eleven paintings going on, I started two new ones tonight.

"Between Classes" - needs to get darker

“Between Classes” – needs to get darker

untitled - hard to judge, has masking on

untitled – hard to judge, has masking on

My favorite blogger, Stephanie Pearl McPhee, adopted the name of her blog “Yarn Harlot” because of her similar propensity in the knitting arena.

Pearl McPhee calls this “startitis”. According to her, there is no harm in it. No one is hurt by starting a new project. Yes, she occasionally write letters of apology to her unfinished projects, but let’s face it… some project just don’t stand the test of time.

I’m not ready to write apology letters, and without any deadlines looming. Well… maybe I should start some more!

Life list addition

Since taking a hike with Ashley, I’ve been traveling a little extra during Canemah hikes to see if I can spot the dark visitor we spotted but couldn’t identify. And today… I found him! In almost exactly the same place, stalking a squirrel (apparently he had one squirrel pinned and the other was chattering vociferously at him). When I walked by, he took off into a tree and the squirrel darted out a few minutes later.

owlI marked the tree and stepped off the path to see if I could see him.

It’s pretty dark back there, so the photo quality  is not the best. But I’m going to tentatively ID this as a Great Horned owl.

I’m a little unsure because I don’t see “horns”, but nothing else in my ID book fits.

I’m going to email this to the Audubon society to get a firm ID.

This is so exciting for me! I’ve always wanted to see an owl in the wild.

It was really cool the way he waggled his head checking me out.

I just couldn’t be more thrilled!



Unexpectedly domestic

After the excitement of the show this weekend (the last day was a great cap to an awesome weekend) I took an extra day off to do exciting things like laundry, grocery shopping, etc.

quiche_finalAt the farmer’s market on Saturday I had bought a zucchini in hopes of making a Weight Watcher’s recipe that had been featured a couple weeks ago.

This desire to bake something is unexpected. The motto in our family is more along the lines of “When it’s smokin’ it’s cookin’, when it’s black it’s done” or “The fire alarm is the dinner bell.”  If I was to appear on a Cooking Channel program, it would probably be Worst Cooks in America rather than Chopped. Still, something about this recipe appealed to me.

I remember the first time I had quiche; it was at my friend Anna’s house and I didn’t know what it was. It took a lot to talk me into it.

So what inspired this desire to make a zucchini quiche? Got me.

And it was good. My only comment is that when they tell you to chop the zucchini fine, they mean a lot finer than I did! Didn’t effect the taste though.

Other Dinners

I also took Finn for a hike. We saw a robin fighting to kill a little snake. It was gruesome, but a little funny because the snake was so big the robin couldn’t fly off with it as we approached. He kept dragging it down the path. I was glad when we turned so the robin could rest!

Not too many flowers are blooming now, but there are still a few beauties.


A little news update

Open Studios of Beavercreek

setupWell, Open Studios of Beavercreek has been going on for two days and so far it’s been great.

First, I have been so touched by all the people who have helped and shows support. My friend JJ came out bright and early on Friday morning to help me with the last minute details and getting prices on everything. She’s a wonder with setup and visual stuff, so I was really grateful.

Next the ladies from my church came by to show their support. This made me feel so good, but even better a few of them actually bought a few items! One sale in particular seemed to be because the lady really like the painting, which really made me feel good.

The ladies had no more than left when my knitting group came by, and again I made a few sales. So it was pretty exciting!

Sue Allen from Clackamas County Arts Alliance next came out to help with publicity for the show and took pictures of all the artists to post in their Instagram and Facebook accounts. Pretty exciting! But also exciting, I met Sue Allen herself whose art I love!

Today a few more friends, knitters, and fellow artists came out, some doing the whole tour and some just to see a few favorites. I also sold a painting so a completely unrelated stranger… something who just liked the painting! SO EXCITING!

At my location there are three other great artist, so the camaraderie has been fun as well.

Customers have been very nice and quite talkative today. I’m going to think about maybe doing some smaller pieces, though there are drawbacks. Chickens are popular, but a theme about birds in general is something to consider.

Thoroughbred Racing

Well, the Triple Crown excitement is over. California Chrome gave it his best, but he was outrun. I was hoping for a different result, but I wasn’t too surprised. The Triple Crown is a challenge of (literally) epic proportions.

I am a little disappointed with some of the un-classy comments I’ve been hearing. While I think there is a point about being disgruntled that “fresh” horses are allowed in the racing, that is the way it has always been. It’s a Grade I race with a large cash prize. The winner, regardless of Triple Crown or not, will go down in history. The stud fees of the winner will increase because the horse is a “classic” winner. Is everyone supposed to back off just to give another horse and owner a better shot? Doesn’t sound like a real sport then, does it?

As this year has proven, the thoroughbred industry has its faults. From everything to the breeding to the way racehorses are treated, there are problems. I really respect California Chrome’s owners because they have really done a great job showcasing what a responsible owner and committed team look like. I hope they don’t ruin it with bitterness.

A little Canemah

Friday night after the show I went to Canemah. Upon arriving I thought I saw a bald eagle, but ended up changing my ID to a red-tailed hawk. Looking at the pictures, I’m less sure.










Anyone else got an ID?

Short post because I painted too long

Tonight was my painting night and I made a lot of progress. In fact, I painted so long I hardly have time to post before bedtime!

I worked on this painting:

egret_1egret_2This background was created while ice painting back in February. I recently saw another artist’s piece doing a white egret on a red-orange background and was inspired.

The image on the left is the egret done in guache (rhymes with squash). The image on the right is acrylic (with a few other tweaks).

I think it’s coming along.







I took the texturing off the abstract I started last week, and I’m pleased. It reminds me of the ocean. I think I’m going to do a piece inspired by my whale watching tour a year ago, but I’m not sure how to get that specific with an abstract!










I also worked on the second of my “Trackside Discussion” series. I’d like to take this up to Equine Art in July, but I’m not sure it will be ready.

trackside2I did a few strokes on several other paintings, but nothing too exciting.

It’s all about the grass now

Today was a big day. “Delight” was turned in to the Oregon Society of Artists Rose Festival Show. Fingers crossed it gets juried into the actual show. I was so excited I had trouble sleeping last night.

After surviving the excitement of the day, I came home and took Finn to Canemah.

No matter what the calendar says, it’s now summer. While there are some flowers still blooming, it’s really all about the grasses now.

Of course, that isn’t to say the flowers aren’t blooming; but even the flowers are long and whispy.

Today we went a little further than normal, into the Douglas Fir area in hopes of seeing the (possible) Great Horned Owl seen on my last hike. No dice, but it was clear that the song sparrows had recently fledged. There were several that were unusually loud and still on our hike. I swear, one kept following me and let me get incredibly close.

friendlysongsparrow youngsongsparrow

ospreyAlso I confirmed that the osprey nest across the river is definitely being used this year.

The courage to post my anchor

Last week Weight Watchers’ topic was: “The Power of an Anchor.” The program encouraged users to think about something that keep them inspired to stay on the program and thus meet weight loss goals.

The first thing that popped into my mind on this topic was horses. I sort of started this because I would eventually like to be able to start riding horses again.

A book I read a few years ago, “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin, posed the theory that the things that we did when we were young children are the things that make us most happy. But as we age, we find other, more practical things to take up our time. During her happiness project, Rubin started reading young adult books and even started a book group (for adults) about them.

I have a picture in my home of a four-year-old-me reaching up to pet a horse. I love this photo.

As I was looking for photos for my post about my dad last week, I came across another series of photos of myself at about 10 with my cousin’s horses and my Montana friend’s horses.

What struck me about these photos was the look of awe and happiness in all of them.

tarajgjI have another photo in my house. I am 19 here and think I’m fat (I wish the horse I’m on was… she needs some weight). But I remember the thrilled feeling of riding English. This picture and this horse are about my only good memories of this period in my life.

It’s taken me all week to post this, but I want to remember this:

  • Joy
  • Awe
  • Happiness
  • Thrill

This is my reason for loosing weight. I want to ride again.







Kindly refrain from pressing the panic button

In one week the Open Studios of Beavercreek begins.

indexA couple days ago I found out that I will not be using my tent, as I assumed, but I will be in a garage. While this is preferable in many ways, it means all my planning was wrong.

My plan is to spend this weekend shoring up Plan B and getting the last of the things I need printed.

Tomorrow is the reception at Grapevine Gallery (newsletter below talks about the event.)

Next Tuesday I need to turn in my rose piece (“Delight”) to the Oregon Society of Artists.

I think my post title says it all.



Grapevine newsletter-614

Apply paint, let dry, repeat

Tonight was painting night. When I sat down to look over my (extensive) list of paintings in progress i knew I didn’t want to work on any of them. So, I resolved to kill two birds with one stone: I would clean out my palette of all the great colors I no longer am in love with and start some abstracts.

abstract2This was my first attempt. I had some green and purple on my palette that I no longer use (I tend to mix these colors now.) So I mixed them up and started applying, intending to cover my paper. I got so entranced by the way the colors flowed, I stopped and just added some stones to see what kind of texture developed. I’m not sure what is coming from this, but it is interesting.

abstract1Take two was a little more elaborate. I have some textured paper that I like to use. I put it down and applied paint on top of it. Then I added salt and some more rocks. We’ll see what shows up when it all dries.

Two abstracts seemed like enough of a start, so I moved to work on a couple of paintings that were sitting around needing finishing touches. Nothing much to show there, just a few brush strokes added.

Even after all this I hadn’t had enough painting this evening. I wanted something BIG and BOLD and SILLY! So I dragged out an ice painting background that I knew wasn’t going anywhere exciting, spent about two seconds thinking, and sketched what I saw.

sketchThis hit the spot. I might make a few more tweaks to enhance the theme, but it’s just what I wanted to do. A quick painting with big strokes.


Canemah with Metro’s Ashley

Ashley shows the group poison oak.

Ashley shows the group poison oak.

Monday I went on a guided hike of Canemah with Metro naturalist Ashley.

It’s amazing how much difference training can make! Ashley demonstrated some significant geographic features of the area. She answered myriad questions about plants, and showed me birds that I didn’t even know were in the area!

cedarwaxwingFor example, I had no idea that Cedar Waxwings were in the area; I thought the gray/brown birds that I saw eating berries up the in trees were robins. Ashley knew they were Cedar Waxwings by their song! She was also able to identify black headed grossbeaks, marsh wrens, brown creepers, woodpeckers, Anna’s hummingbirds, robins, and towhees the same way!

One of several large Pacific yews overlooks the historic graveyard.

One of several large Pacific yews overlooks the historic graveyard.

Ashley also showed the group how to properly focus their binoculars (worth the $6 all by itself). She pointed out trees that I had seen, but I didn’t know they were interesting. I have walked by this Pacific Yew lots of times without knowing what it was or that it was such a big specimen.

hazelnutIt was really exciting to walk this familiar terrain with someone so knowledgeable, but also with other people just as excited about nature. I will look for more of these Metro walks.

The most exciting part of the walk (at least for me) (and it was all pretty exciting) was that we (probably) saw a great horned owl! We were walking and we saw a large raptor in a heavily forested area. A few minutes later we saw it again. Neither Ashley or I was able to get a good enough view to positively identify it, but based on its size and coloring, and owl is the most likely visitor. At Ashley’s suggestion I will go back and set up camp to look for him again!


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