Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Art . . .New Friends

Some new work to share. I have been dabbling with a new style recently. I am using alot of reclaimed frames and "boxes" that my wonderful partner in crime builds. The frame is embellished with bright colors to give it an original and cohesive look. The pieces are then built up with lots of three-dimensional elements.

One of these projects was created as a special order for some new friends. We met Dave and Ingrid at our Memorial Day sale at the Coast. I have never met anyone as warm and open as they were. From the minute they introduced themselves they treated us as long-time friends. They truly have never met a stranger. They asked for a piece that reflected a statement they live by - "You are only invited once." They believe, embrace and practice an "open door policy". Once you have been invited - you are encouraged and expected to come again and again and an invitation is never needed. How many of us are that approachable? What a wonderful attitude. From the minute we entered their home we felt comfortable. There piece will hang above their front door to serve as a reminder to all that come to visit that they are welcome to come back often. We will be delivering their art work to them so that we can spend more time getting to know these friends.

We are building our inventory in preparation for the annual Sandy Mt. Days Festival. It will be held on July 10th and 11th. Lots of great art, food and music. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

The Class of 2010

A new painting I am working on - it is still a work in progress -it is tall (almost 4 feet) and narrow (about 18 inches). I have had this canvas for a few years - white and blank - just staring at me - daring me to paint it. It initially started with me painting my "left-over globs" of paint on it. I paint in acrylics and they are expensive. I can't stand the idea of wasting it. When I am finished for the night, I smear the left over colors on a blank canvas to begin building a background. I rarely know what the end result will be. As the colors began to build up on this canvas, I still wasn't sure what it was going to be. Maybe it is our slow-starting Oregon summer this year. But I needed some color and flowers - so I painted them!
June has been an exciting month so far. On Tuesday night our middle daughter, Chrissy graduated from high school. What a night! We were all so excited to see her accomplish this task. There were moments where we weren't sure this day would ever come - but it did and she made it! It seems like just yesterday that I was putting her hair in braids, watching her crawl around on the floor playing make-believe, coloring bright pictures with her crayons and snuggling her favorite stuffed animals. Chrissy has had some challenges in her life, including being diagnosed with juvenille diabetes at age 5. She has attacked her challenges with her own sense of purpose. Her outlook on life is her own. She is loving and accepting, has amazing patience and a wonderful creative spirit. She writes her own rules. How did I get so blessed to be chosen to be her mother? Here's to this adventure called life! Any other graduates out there?

And tomorrow night we will celebrate the graduation of our son Collin - he will be receiving his Associates Degree in Business. YEAH!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The Rhode Island Roost

Our family is entering into a new adventure - urban chickens. We have a rather small backyard. Even when our children were small, it seemed like there wasn't enough room to do much. In a lot of ways, it was wasted space. We have spent many years revamping it to adapt to our family's lifestyle. Several years ago, I (with my husband's help) dug up a fairly large portion of the grass and we put in raised garden beds. At first they were filled with flowers. It was beautiful. Over the last few years we have been tearing up even more of the grass and putting in more garden beds. Now; however, those beds are filled with vegetables. Lots and lots of vegetables. We have even tried a few "new" veggies - last year it was eggplant and this year it is soybeans. We liked the eggplant - but not enough to grow it again. We had a huge crop and couldn't use it all.

There is so much information in the media today about where our food comes from, how unsustainable it is, the cruelty to our land and to animals. I feel compelled to be more in charge of my food supply. I want to know what I am putting in my body. I want to feel more self-sufficient and not rely on outside sources whenever possible. I want to support the local economy as often as possible. All of these reasons have led to the expansion of our backyard urban "farm". Our goal is to eventually have no grass, only paths for tending and harvesting. The rest will be filled with growing beds for our vegetables and berries.

The new addition this year is chickens! I am so excited. My husband and son-in-law have been working over the last week - dodging rain storms to complete the coop. It is almost done. And then my girls and I want to paint it up fun. I have dubbed it the "Rhode Island Roost". (named after one of the breeds we are getting - Rhode Island Reds). We should have chickens by the end of the week. I get giddy just thinking about the fresh eggs, the bug control, the fertilizer and of course, just watching them.

The next addition to our farm? Rainwater collection.

I love to hear about other people's gardens and how they came to be. Share your story.

I just finished this painting. A version of "For the Beauty of the Earth. . .", this was a special order to fit a very particular space. It is much shorter and longer than the original, so I used 2 small canvases rather than one large one. I think it turned out great. It will go to live in it's new home this weekend.

Mark your calendars for July 10-11 and July 17. Those are upcoming summer festivals and sales.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Sun, Sand and Surf

We just returned from a wonderful weekend at the Oregon Coast. It was our annual Memorial Day Art Sale in Oceanside. The weather was not bad for this time of year. The days were gray, but the temperatures were mild. We experienced some low tides and were able to explore tide pools. We watched the waves crash and paragliders float through the sky. Magical.
We had a full house since almost the whole family came with us. Joining us was also our "surrogate" daughter. She recently lost her grandfather. I feel the ocean is one of the most healing locations when a person is trying to work out life's dilemmas or grieve the loss of a loved one. I shared with her my beloved rock that I sit on to think and meditate. It has special powers to heal. She wrote her grandfather a note in the sand to be carried away by the sea.

My girls and son strengthened their bonds over the weekend. They played together and laughed; we shared meals around the table and told stories; they jumped and even tried to fly. These are the moments that make motherhood worth it.
The weekend ended much too quickly. We concluded it by sharing a meal with some new friends. A wonderful couple commissioned me to create some art for their home. They asked if I could drop by to see what their wall color looked like. I agreed. When they learned that I had the whole family with us, they graciously insisted we all join them for lunch. We did. They opened their home. We entered as strangers and left as friends. It is a rare gift to meet people who are so warm and friendly, with no strings attached. They only wish to strengthen their lives by inviting others in. It was a wonderful lesson for all of us. Driving away, my daughter commented, "why aren't more people like that?" A good question indeed. I left there wanting to be more open, more accepting, and more inviting so that everyone I encounter will feel welcomed. It was a wonderful experience.
Oh . . .and the sale was great as well!
Our next sale is not until July - I'll post details as it gets closer.