Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Seeking Warmth

I needed to get away and clear my mind for awhile, so I drove up to Washington Park. The parking lot was almost deserted. I had it to myself except for the crows who were searching for a warm roost in the face of the coming storm. The grey sky seems to have swallowed the color of the hills, causing them to huddle together in tones of grey and sepia. The wind brought the smells of the arctic down from the north and you could almost see the snowflakes congregating in the clouds, waiting to transform the grounds into a sparkling white wonderland far in advance of January, when the snow usually flies.

The cold wind speaks of lonely. Of a need to scurry home to family and friends and turn the lights on all around for fear the wind will follow me inside. I want warm fires, hot apple cider and a good bowl of soup. Instead I head for Knob Hill for a walk through the neighborhood and a trip to Paper Source. The colors are brighter here and there is the beginning of a feel for the holiday season. People are walking with a little more swagger and joy and kids are running from window to window trying to decide in this year of much reduced living, which toy they want from Santa this year. Christmas decorations are going up along the street and there are friendly greetings heard everywhere.

I passed this house along the way, offering a free poem to passerbys. A wonderful treat for those of us who love the presence or presents of words.

A window from a local designer features elegant undies for sale...and here, the grey blanket of clouds and beginnings of rain has not washed away the colors...

The miracle of fall leaves is that no two leaves are the same color. As if an unknown hand carefully painted each one before they fell to the ground.

A colorful offering of soap dressed up the window of a local business. But even here, it is too cold to wander the streets for long. So I make my purchases and head for home and the comfort of an old quilt and a cup of tea.

As I settle down to work on the laptop, my big grey tom instantly appears....he loves the little fan that blows the hot air on the left side of my computer and doesn't hesitate to snuggle in beside it to find his own piece of comfort and warmth. Welcome to winter.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Back to the Books

November has settled back into it's normal cold and blustery self, dressed in plump raindrops the color of steel and a cape of misty silver fog. Time to settle in for the long winter days ahead. I've stocked up on cider to warm in the microwave with cloves and cinnamon and dark chocolate to savor while wrapped up in blankets with a good book. Time to say thank you for all we have received over this last year and to look forward to the new beginnings each year allows.

You can feel the holiday stir in the air. The anticipation of the solstice and all that it brings: Christmas, Hanukkah, Quanza, Solstice and New Year's. But for now I am looking at Thanksgiving and celebrating all that is good in life and the ability to pass on that good to others. And of course there is the food...

But for now I am bedbound with a horrid cold and trying to find things to do that I can do between bouts of coughing and fever and chills. Because I have two shows coming up and I am woefully unprepared, so sick or not, the show must go on.

I've managed to harvest my lavender and pull it from the stalk to combine with my hops and mint and thyme to make sleep pillows. I've carved a few new stamps to decorate small pamphlet books. I've got lots of bottle snowmen started much like those created by Sue Pelletier in Cloth Paper Scissors a couple of years ago. But I thought I would put a book together for a class proposal and this is what I came up with.

It's a one needle coptic stitch book with 12 signatures and a cover inset with pewter repousse and a scarab beetle. It's a two layer cover allowing the inset of objects with collage covering the layers. It kept my mind off the sniffles and I like it so much, I think I'll make another. If you want a chance at winning this original, please visit the Portland Art Collective blog at I'll be giving away the journal there!!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

Waxing happy!!

Today was a blustery day, best suited for staying inside and working with wax in preparation for the shows and classes I'm teaching in December. First off, I tried a few Christmas ornaments using what I learned in Chystal Neubauer's class at Art and Soul. They were fun to put together with a few bits of extra paper, some wire and a few rubber stamps. This was my favorite.

But the project I spent most of the day on was this encaustic figure made from driftwood, a woven wire skirt, covered with encaustic and collage pieces. She's not done yet, but she is a perfect example of how far you can push wax as an art form. This lady is about 20" tall. Too bad I have to go to work tomorrow....

Friday, November 05, 2010

Falling into Winter

I was so excited to get a call from my friend, Eva, in Australia. She had just received her issue of the Australian magazine, Get Creative, and was calling to let me know I was the featured artist!!! Kaye Wolfe, from the magazine, interviewed me while I taught in Australia last March and I am so honored to be featured in their newly revamped magazine. Thank you Bevlea for making it possible and to Kaye and Eva, as well!!
We have been blessed with the most amazing weather during the last couple of weeks. Breaking heat records with sunny, balmy days in the 70's and no frost in sight, this has been an incredible fall, thus far.

Everywhere you go, the flaming colors of fall contrast sharply with the deep blue skies filled with the delicate feathery clouds - I want to lay in the still green grass and drink in the explosion of color...color brings peace to my soul and fall is color at its best.

Still having fun with my Hipstamatic app on my iPhone - see how it makes something as delicate as a wispy cloud into something bold and dramatic and full of the same imperfections you get in a Helga.
But too soon the holidays will be here....the stores already have Christmas trees sprouting up in the aisles. I couldn't resist taking photos of these pastel, retro trees that Borders just put up in their foyer...
But they are a sharp reminder that I have much art to do to get ready for our Portland Art Collective Open Doors show that takes place in Multnomah Village in Portland on December 5 and 6. Take a sneak peak at our blog to see what will be offered at the show by the 30+ talented artists in our group!!! But for now, I will drink in as much of that sun as I can before the dark rainy winter descends.!!