Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Art in the Mountains

Saturday I had a rare day off to explore the local mountains. Two friends of mine, Tory Brokenshire and Fran Boston, had a booth at the Trout Lake Art Festival near Mt. Adams, a dormant volcano 60 miles from my home. The day was perfect to have the windows down and sun roof open. I had never been to this area before and was taken with the remote beauty of the mountains. Small, quaint towns dot the road as you climb toward the mountain and most were full of eager kids waiting for a raft ride down the river. I reached the art festival and parked in a field in front of an old home and barn surrounded by colorful canopies covering the various artists booths. I love going to the shows that don't force the artists to use white canopies - the mix of colors and flapping canvas leaves the impression you are in a field of exotic birds or butterflies. The strains of good Bluegrass music could be heard throughout the festival and each band had it's own style. I met several new artists, whose work was wonderful, but I was especially captivated by a Portland illustrator, Lisa Kaser ( - she had the most wonderful and imaginative creatures in her art! My friends' booth was wonderful - they are both excellent artists - I especially enjoyed the full size wooden artist model in front of the booth.

After I left the festival, I first drove up the mountain, but was barred from going very far by the roadblock placed due to forest fires on the mountain, so I turned in te opposite direction and headed home. But as I got to the town of White Salmon, I saw they were hosting an Art and Wine Fusion Festival and I stopped to tour the galleries and listened to the live music - it was a small festival, intimate to the town but welcoming to the visitors, as well. The town is full of old buildings and is crouched on the hill above the Columbia River. I could not resist having the salmon and citrus cole slaw dinner being served from a booth on the side of the main road, before heading for the freeway home. Who could ask for more than a day filled with friends, art, scenery and good weather? It was a day I will remember with gratitude for giving me the peace and tranquility that comes with those few perfect days we are given in life.

Friday, July 18, 2008

A New Class for Portland Art and Soul

Just wanted to let everyone know of a new class I am teaching at Portland Art and Soul, The Shaman's Wand, on Wednesday, October 1, 2008. It's an all day class that will be limited to a small group of students. We will explore personal mythology while learning to make a papier mache totem wand using wire armature. The wand will then be decorated with a small lantern and book. and found objects. Hope to see you there!!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

A Day at the Beach

The beach...once you have heard the song of the ocean, it will always call to you. It is the only place I know of where the stress of everyday life seeps away and your soul is filled with the sound of the waves, the call of the birds and the sand under your feet. And even though I moved to Washington to be closer to the beach, it's so rare that I get to go. So when my friend Linda, who I had not seen in several years called to say she had a day away from family and work, I jumped at the opportunity to take a road trip to the beach. We decided to take the scenic route down highway 30 from Portland to Astoria, meandering through the small towns along the way. We stopped in Rainier, Oregon and explored their little farmer's market and tasted the local foods offered for sale at the market. We ventured on to Astoria and visited a local bead show and watched ships enter the Columbia River. The river is so beautiful and peaceful as it flows by and it is hard to believe that just a short ways away is the Graveyard of the Pacific where numerous boats have been sunk by the meeting of the river and the sea. Linda and agreed that a trip across the four-mile bridge crossing the Columbia was in order so we drove over to the Washington side where we visited a lavender farm in Ilwaco, Washington. One of the owner's graciously agreed to give us a tour of the grounds. It was an artist's dream - bright colors, lavender and edible herbs everywhere you looked. We tasted Day Lily petals and various mints, as well as other herbs right off the plant. Everything was organic. And everywhere you looked, you discovered another treasure - a small, secluded sleeping room, complete with mesquito netting, plump pillows, antiques and art and a small store filled with herbs, crystal and linens. Exquisite!! I will definately take him up on his offer to take a day and make art on the farm.

Linda and I continued on to Long Beach and explored their outdoor craft market and adjacent galleries. We were served a blue martini at one gallery and treated to a variety of nautical art. After a lunch of fish and chips, we decided to walk off our lunch on the beach. Long Beach is as flat as a pancake and is the only beach I have ever been to that allows you to drive on the beach. There are also stables where you can rent a horse and ride in the surf. But today, we walked, and talked, and caught up on each others lives....a perfect day. We walked all the way to Cape Disappointment without realizing how far we had gone. It wasn't until we turned back, and into the wind, that we realized we had walked more than three miles and would now have to walk it again! Needless to say, we were happy when we reached the car again and headed home.

But we could not resist one last detour as we went home on Highway 4 in Washington. We took a short loop off the road to drive over the covered bridge just off the highway. The bridge was quaint and beautiful in the setting sun. The visitor log signed by people from all over the states and a few foreign countries. A beautiful way to end a perfect day. I can still hear the ocean in my mind.