Monday, March 26, 2012

You never know what might get framed

I have such fun finding old frames at thrift stores.
Many of these old frames have some rather unattractive art in them.
OK - let's be honest . . .
they are pretty hideous.
But when I look close - the frames are great!
Remove the ugly - remove the glass -
have Mr. Man cut some mdf to fit . . .
and voila!
A new surface waiting for something special.
A few add-ons for a three dimensional look -
and there you go!
And how about a painted beach rock to finish it all out.
Too much fun!

Friday, March 23, 2012

Work In Progress

I think I am craving the sun and bright light.
I am fantasizing about cruising through old country roads and feeling the breeze in my hair and soaking up the sun.
Birds singing and flowers blooming.

Still details to add to this.
In fact - I'm still processing if I even like this.
I've had a few paintings that I have felt like confused about lately.
I'm not sure why.

Usually - it means I am not finished.
And I am not finished with this one.
The final details are not there yet.
So who knows where it will end up.
But this is the first time I have painted a bicycle . . .and I liked it!
So there may be more of them in the future.

Hopefully - you are enjoying your journey. . .


Monday, March 19, 2012

Let Me Show You Around . . .


I went on a mini-vacation this weekend.
A wonderful respite from the normal routine.
It was my husbands birthday - and I guess we have reached the place where we would rather escape for a few days than receive more 'stuff'.
So I gave hime the gift of time at the coast.
Oceanside, Oregon is our favorite beach destination.
About 90 minutes from home.
I have been going to Oceanside since the mid-1960s.
In 1968, my parents bought a cabin -
ok - it was really more of a shack.
But we loved it - so many memories of adventures, and make believe, and beach combing, and sand castles, and beach fires, and clamming, and fishing, and crabbing and body surfing.
I could write volumes about my beach memories at oceanside.
And none of them involve shopping malls or arcades or restaurants.
In fact - if you want those things - Oceanside is NOT the place to go.
We stayed in the family cabin - although it is not the cabin of my youth.
We actually have all the ammenities of home now due to years of updates and remodels.

I hesitate to share the wonders of this small town because I love the remote feel of it.
But that would be selfish - so let me take you on a tour of this quaint town.

This is Roseanna's Cafe - one of the few restaurants in town. Up until the last few years, it was the ONLY restaurant in town.
And prior to that . . .it was a grocery store.
A little "ma and pa" place - complete with a soda fountain.
I have fond memories of the store -
as kids we would scour the beach and hillside for soda bottles.
We would return them to the store and collect our earnings - anywhere from 5 cents to 50 cents, depending on how lucky we were.
Then we would take our earnings and splurge on a candy bar or a bottle of orange or grape soda.
If we were especially lucky and found several soda bottles, we would reserve one, put part of our riches into the spare bottle, find a remote spot in the hillside and bury it.
Then we would create a treasure map to take us back on our next visit.
Afterall - we were at the beach - we needed to pretend we were pirates!

The store also had a box of 10 cent toys - mostly junk of course.
But I would buy something almost every time we came to stay.
a rubber ball, or a set of jacks, or a mini-baby bottle for my doll.
When my parents were working on the cabin -doing things like cutting back blackberries -
they would send me down to the market to buy a cold drink and a candy bar.
The market changed when the owners died.
they were actually kind of grumpy people - they scared me a bit as a child.
I never knew how I would be received when I went in - a cheerful hello or a grumble.
Roseanna's took over several years back. It became known as a destination restaurant for seafood, homemade desserts and one spectacular view.

This window was painted by a local artist several years ago on the window of Roseanna's - covers up some the storage area.
The colors have faded over the years - but it is a familiar site.




The house with the red door.
Whenever I walk by this doorway, I feel myself being drawn in.
It is such an inviting entryway.
You just know that once you step into this entryway, you will have been transported into a more relaxing state of mind.


This is the retaining wall of one of the older homes in Oceanside.
I love the red with the contrast of the creeping thyme and its blue flowers.
And it smelled amazing.



Brewin in the Wind is the local coffee shop.
For years, Oceanside didn't have a coffee shop.
Before it was a coffee shop, it was originally in the home of the owner of a row of rental cottages.
The owner - Mr. Kirk - was the epitome of curmudgeon.
He ran the cottages with his wife - a very sweet older woman.
He grumbled about people and their noisy kids, the weather, the stupidity of tourists. . .
Even as a little girl, I remember thinking -
"if you don't like tourists, rain or kids - why are you running a motel in a touristy beach town."
I guess some people just like to grumble.

I remember when the coffee shop first opened -
a young couple looking to live in an ocean town had moved to Oregon from California.
It has been sold a few times since then and recently moved to a larger location.
A nice addition to the little town.
Plus - I love their logo.



And then of course - while at the beach, you have to do some "beachcombing".
One of my favorite things to do.
Looking at all the treasures washed up on the shore.
All of the winter storms had tossed up a huge log.
And this log must have been bobbing around in the water for a very long time -
it is completely covered in barnacles.
A bit of art by Mother Nature herself.

 
And finally - what Oceanside is known for best . . .
the Three Arch Rocks.
I never get tired of this view.
(Insert an audible sigh).

Now it is back to reality.
But I brought home a smooth rock to carry in my pocket to remember . . .
until next time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

What pulls at your soul?

Acrylic on wood inside reclaimed frame

Recently, I had a conversation with someone.
They were confused by our "unconventional" lifestyle at our home.
Let me clarify . . .
I am an artist.
But I also work at a day job.
The typical 8-5 desk job where I work with contracts and budgets and spreadsheets.
And even though I would love to walk away from the grind of a 40+ hour work week, I won't.
There are bigger picture things that need to be considered.
My husband, who worked in high-end retail sales for years was the victim of the economy three years ago and was laid off.
That came as a blow to us, for sure.
But as we opened our hearts and souls and listened to what God was telling us,
we decided that perhaps this was a good thing.
The industry he was in was starting to plummet. The writing had been on the wall.
So in many ways - this came as no surprise.
Our desire, for years, had been to grow my art business. Maybe this was the time.
From that point on, the art business was no longer "mine" - it was "ours".
Although, I do all of the painting - My husband does almost everything else.
He manages the money end of things, he preps all of our pieces, he cuts all of the wood, installs all of the hardware, stays in contact with our clients, handles deliveries and shipping, manages the set-up and take down of all of our festival shows that we participate in - in essence, he runs the business.
And that doesn't even begin to cover all of the "extras" that he does around our home.
You know - like laundry and grocery shopping and taxi cabbing and on and on and on.
He is, by far and without question, way busier than when he was working at a traditional job.
And I know that I would be a mess without him.

Now this lifestyle is nice in many ways.
I like coming home from work to dinner already be prepared. I like going to my closet and always having clean clothes.
I love not having to handle the tedious part of creating art . . like screwing on hardware and applying sealer.

But it is hard as well.
If you are an artist, you understand -
usually a good deal of the work is up front, and the
monetary rewards are sometimes. . .
well, let's just say they can be a little unpredictable.

This January - after months of filling orders, sitting at multiple sales on the weekends after a 40+ hour work-week, the craziness of the Holidays and then going straight into over-drive to prepare and pull off a wedding for my oldest daughter -
we emerged wondering who we were and what we were doing exactly.
We were beyond exhausted.
We faced a bit of a crisis - and needed to make some hard decisions.
At that point - the knee jerk decision was - quit the business.
Go back to a traditional lifestyle with us both working traditional jobs.

But for some reason - the more we talked about that - the more it felt like that was not what we were supposed to do.

So we took a deep breath and
we continue on.

I don't know.
Maybe I have something to offer others. Maybe I don't.
Maybe I am being prepped for something much bigger.  Maybe I'm not.
Maybe someday I will be recognized internationally. Maybe I won't.
Maybe what I am doing today is as big as this business is going to get.  Maybe not.

But regardless - I am going to continue on this life trying to live it intentionally.
And listening to my soul.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

A Picture with a View

I LOVE doing commission pieces.
I find that I feel so connected to the future owner.
This piece was just finished this last weekend and will go to it's new home in a few days.
It is quite large and is full of all types of important symbolism for the new owner -
symbols that represent
beloved family, friends,and pets as well as her family's favorite gathering spot.
Hopefully, this will bring her a smile and a warm feeling whenever she looks at it.
Thank you, Peggy, for letting me create this for you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

A Pizza A Pie

Pear, Mushroom and Carmelized Walnut Vegetarian Pizza

I know this isn't a food blog - but it is my creative blog.
And I love working with food.
This week . . .it's pizza.
Who doesn't love pizza - but the older I get the cheaper I get.
And paying $15 or more for a lump of dough with a little cheese and meat seems ridiculous to me.
And that is for the average pizza.
The really good pizza? . . .
here's some perspective.
The last time we went "out" for pizza with friends?
 For 6 adults we ordered 2 medium pizzas, 3 salads and a few drinks. (Most of us had water).
The cost?   Over $60 dollars.
Are you kidding me????
And half the time - the pizza I get from the local pizza place makes me feel . . .well, not so special.
Too greasy.
Too . . .bleck (is that a word?).
Too heavy.

So we have become the pizza kings and queens at our house.
We have come to love making our own.
I have made my own dough - and it is quite wonderful.
But I must admit that I cheat - my local grocery store sells a wonderful fresh dough for $1.50 a bag.
Enough to make a large pizza.
And it is really good dough.
By the time we are finished, our gourmet pizza costs under $5.00.
And it is not greasy and not heavy and anything but bleck.

We have discovered a few shortcuts to make it a wonderful, relaxing experience -
the first is a large bag of preshredded mozarella from Costco.
The bag lasts the whole month and saves tons of time.
A luxury that I don't mind spending a little extra for.
The other - a large jar of Pesto - also from Costco.
In the summer, when I have fresh basil at my fingertips, I will make my own.
But during the winter months - the Kirkland version is quite wonderful and we use it on all sorts of things.
From there -a healthy dose of imagination.

A few of our favorites?
Outside of the traditional basics, we love things like
sliced potato, bacon, cheese, fresh thyme, grilled onions
or
grilled onions, sauted mushrooms, feta or goat cheese, fresh herbs, and roasted butternut squash, pine nuts
or
sliced winter pears (apples work wonderful too), grilled onions, goat cheese, and carmelized walnuts

With spring approaching -
I'm sure we will have some versions featuring asparagus!
Come summer - we will raid the garden and farmer markets for fresh ingredients.

Again the most important ingredient is imagination.
All of the above use pesto instead of a traditional red sauce.
The result is a wonderful explosion of flavors in your mouth.

And with the dough - if you don't want to make it into a pizza -
roll it a little thicker,
top with olive oil, a few herbs and parmesan cheese.
Poke it with a few holes and back for 15 minutes or so . . .
hot, out of the oven foccacia.

YUMMY!

Give it a try - and if you come up with a new version that you just LOVE . . .
be sure and share!