Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Here is a sample of my other creative outlet. This is the set of Theatre Northwest's recent production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Designed by Greg Carr. Painted by yours truly. Yes, it's a lot of work.

More Grid Series

This one is still a work in progress.

I had to set it aside while I was painting the set for A Streetcar Named Desire, but this week it has been calling to me. Again, on painted brown shopping bag. The black motif on the bottom is actually black plastic shopping bag machine-stitched on. I cut stencils for this one, and stamped on top of the stencils. There is needle lace in the squares on the top head. I do carve all my own stamps and cut my own stencils.

Friday, November 13, 2009

My Foray into Pet Portraiture

My friends Lynne Farren and Mary Preston, both artists, have taken on the task of tree designers for the Humane Society's entry in this year's Mary Bridge Festival of Trees. Lynne's idea was to have many local artists use small 5x5 inch canvases to portray either a cat, a dog, or a rabbit, which she would then use as ornaments on the tree. According to the Humane Society, cats, dogs and rabbits are the animals most likely to end up in the shelter. I was honored to be asked, and, collector of strays that I am, said yes of course I will help out! Rather than work in my current methods, I decided to just paint little portraits of my two beloved pet friends- my 14 year old cat Spanky, and our wonderful 9 year old rescued Border Collie Cody. I have had Spanky since he showed up at a backyard barbecue in July of 1995 as a rather skinny older kitten. My son and nephew showed him how to get in the cat flap, and that was that- our old cat suddenly had a new little brother. No regrets. He has been a good (if sometimes wacky) cauliflower-eared addition to this family. He still hides under the bed when the doorbell rings, but he has made friends with a real dog. That is something I never thought I would see.

Cody came to us in (I think?) 2004. My friend Inga is a foster mom for the Border Collie Rescue people, and my partner Brett's daughter was looking for a companion for her very busy Belgian Terv. We all fell in love with gentle, reserved Cody at first sight.  Lives change, and when the daughter needed to find a new home for Cody, there was no question whether Brett and I would keep him. We already thought of him as ours. Before he was rescued, he had been abandoned and living feral for some time. He was polite, but bonded with the Terv first, unused to kind humans, unfamiliar with play and fun. Now, at the ripe old age of 9, he is still polite, but he has learned to live with a cat, and has discovered the joy of play. Especially frisbee. I am so glad we invited these homeless pets into our lives. I think we got the best part of the deal.

Anyway, here is my foray into pet portraiture. I have no plans to quit my day job and start painting pets from this day forth, but I hope whoever gets to take this tree home can see how much I love my guys.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

What Color is Your Town Today?

I sometimes read the blog of a British artist named Angie Hughes. She doesn't blog regularly because she is busy making art, but in January of 2008 she wrote something that sparked a bit of creative thinking in me, and I have used this spark off and on ever since. This is what she said after a trip to the Tate Britain Museum:

The Turner watercolour exhibition is really interesting... They had a map of Europe and where Turner had visited and the colour palette he had used in each region. I was interested to see that he used lots of different pinks in Paris, I always think Paris looks pink.

If you had to choose a colour palette for your home town what would you use?

If you spend much time outside in your own town, you know that many factors determine color around you, so I like to periodically ask myself that question. Often, living here next to the Puget Sound, my colors are grays and silver. But today.... not so much.....

Monday, November 2, 2009

Tacoma Art at Work

The weekend of November 7 & 8 is the 8th annual Art at Work studio tours in Tacoma. This year 73 artists at 39 studio locations around Tacoma will open their studios and let the public see where they create. I love the studio tours. It's a chance to visit my friends, see what they have been up to, perhaps purchase a gift or two, and to discover new local artists as well. Tacoma is attracting more and better artists and fine craftsmen every year, and when you add them to the substantial talent already established in this town, you have one very fine weekend coming up.

If you follow the link, you can download the schedule of open studios and a map to help you plan your route. See you Saturday!