Tuesday, June 23, 2009

A Walk through the Market

Sunday morning, I woke early so I could visit the Farmer's Market before I worked my shift at the gallery. After a rainy weekend, Nature blessed us with blue sky filled with billowing white clouds and mild temperatures, perfect to walk the outdoor market.
I love the the vivid colors and myriad of activity at the market. From jewelry to soap, flowers to bakery goods and the best fruits and veggies avaliable for harvest, the market is full of nooks and crannies to explore. The kids are treated to balloon animals and clowns and the wet noses of dozens of dogs of all sizes and shapes with one thing in common: a wagging tail.
And every week, someone puts a posie of flowers in this gentlemans hands who stands at the entrance to the market.
The lavender is in full bloom around the city and the local lavender festivals should begin soon (although I am holding out for the big festival in Sequim this year that will take place in July). All too soon it was time to go to open the gallery, but I left the market with fresh strawberries, red raspberries and cherries, sweet ripe and just harvested from the local farms to enjoy throughout the week.
And I could not leave you without sharing this sunset photo from the night before. This is the silver lining left behind by the departing storm that reminded me of the elaborate skies painted by Maxfield Parrish. The beauty of nature goes a long way in alleviating the stress of these times and I find myself turning to nature more and more as I brace for the upcoming changes and layoffs at work. No matter what happens in the everyday world we live in, we are always blessed with the beauty of nature.

Monday, June 15, 2009

What's in a Name?

While at Menucha, we, as a group, decided to rename ourselves. My new name was Madeline "Maddy" Lily. It was all in silly fun and I adored my new name, but I wondered....could a name change really wipe the slate clean and give you a fresh start in life? Could this be the name for your alter ego, the person you always wanted to be before life got in the way? And, if so, could you say "What would Maddy do?" when a dilema arouse and get an answer not colored by your past experiences?

While tempting, in that I am at a place in my life where I would fervently like to reinvent myself, (and how many times have you asked your younger self, "what were you thinking when you selected your career path in life!?!), the thought of the work required to make a name change (credit, social security, passport, work, etc.) was more than overwhelming. What would Maddy do??? Maddy, I'm sure, would say, "not in this lifetime."

Monday, June 01, 2009

Art in the Gorge

Every spring and fall, a group of artists from the Portland Art Collective gather for a weekend at the Menucha retreat located on the rim of the Columbia River Gorge to enjoy the company of good friends and creating art into the wee hours of the night. I try never to miss these magical weekends filled with fun, laughter and the sharing of art techniques. This weekend was no exception.

The retreat itself inspires art through its beautiful scenery and rustic accomodations. Each night we were treated to stunning sunsets over the river below us. There are paths that wind through the forest everywhere you look and birds and wildlife abound.

There are stone steps that lead to secluded garden areas that wrap around you like a cozy blanket while the fragrance of flowers and deep cedar forests fill your senses with wonder and longing for a world without the trappings of civilization. Even if you do not believe in magic, you will expect a fairy or two to greet you on the path.

In the center of the complex is a stone labyrinth, secluded in a circle of trees bordered by roses. As you walk the labyrinth the world slows down and a sense of peace comes over you. After you travel the maze to the center, you are treated to a beautiful mosaic created with different colored stones.

In the forest surrounding the labyrinth, is a series of ceramic sculptures haphazardly placed here and there, as if left by an ancient civilization for us to discover and wonder about.

And the flowers.....everywhere there were flowers of every color, shape and size that filled the air with an explosion of color and fragrance that left no doubt that spring had finally arrived after a long, hard winter.

And, of course, I could not leave out the bird life that filled the air with song and the whoosh of air through feathers. Goldfinches, Downey woodpeckers, robins, towhees, swallows and jays combined with the usual suspects: crows, grackles and starlings. And in the distance, raptors rode the lazy thermals rising from the river.

Who could not want to create art in a setting like this? Surrounded by good friends and fellow artists whose company is like a healing elixer and whose art is always incredible and inspiring!! All too soon the weekend was over and I had to head back home. But while I was there, I finished my last two assignments for my Nature Gathered group, Elements and the Heavens. Be sure to take a peak, and while you are there, explore the art of all the artists who are participating in this challenge. Our show is coming up in August at the Sixth Street Gallery in Vancouver, WA. I am counting the days until fall, when we will return again.