Friday, May 28, 2010

From Pansies to Peonies

With all the rain lately, our sketch group started a new routine. We meet at a coffee house and sketch for an hour. Cynthia brought some pansies for us to draw this week. After an hour, we do a weather check and if it's not pouring down rain, we head for an outdoor setting to sketch.
The Peony Place became our destination this week. About half the varieties were in bloom and the rest were full of buds ready to bloom any day.
Love these floppy, feathery blossoms and so do the bumble bees...

The single-petal beauties open up to show their gorgeous centers...
Time to sketch one flower with a fluffy red center the same color as its petals...

Then, it rained.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Time for Renewal and Inspiration

For May, it's unseasonably cold here in our corner of the Northwest. Rain clouds hung over the Columbia River Gorge all weekend. This is one of my favorite places in the world. I always enjoy driving through the Gorge and being outside whether hiking a trail or visiting Menucha. This eastern view shows Beacon Rock in the distance with a rainbow backdrop.

Snow covered hills on the Washington side of the river

A labyrinth walk to turn inward and revive the soul

Wildflowers in bloom... larkspur and columbine
An art retreat to get my creative juices flowing again
Thank goodness for art friends who encourage, inspire, laugh, restore a sense of purpose and the creative muse.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Creative Slumps- How to get Going Again

For the past month, I've experienced a creative slump. It's a major effort to get into the studio and work on projects. Our sketch group keeps me going and at least drawing one morning a week. Usually, I have lots of creative energy and can't wait to get started each day. I'll work until a project is completed and feel a great sense of accomplishment. The time flies by without
realizing where the day went. That's when I'm in my "element".

In her weekly newsletter, 52 Weeks to a Less Ordinary Life, Maggie Kolkena recommends Sir Ken Robinson 's book The Element- how finding your passion changes everything. Click on his name above and listen to his TED (technology, education, design) presentation. He believes that creativity is as important as literacy. It's not only education that needs to heed his words of wisdom but everyone. He says, "Finding the medium that excites your imagination, that you love to play with and work in, is an important step in freeing your creative energies." For many it's a fountain of life.

Today, I made myself go into the studio and do three things that I've been avoiding. The very act of doing got me going. Small tasks lead to bigger accomplishments and keep the creative process alive. Sir Robinson's book put it all in perspective. I highly recommend his book and added it to my book list.

What gets your creative juices flowing?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Verbascum Sketch and Another Giveaway

Discovering new flowers and plants is one of my favorite things about sketching. This week, we sketched at Portland Nursery and I saw this beauty- verbascum "Copper Rose". The long stocks of flowers remind me of hollyhocks which bloom later in the summer.

Please check out the Portland Art Collective giveaway. Our May giveaway is one of my wire crocheted necklaces. Comment on the giveaway post to enter your name to win the necklace. I'd love to have one of my blog readers win it.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Lan Su Chinese Garden

May celebrates the peony collection in the Lan Su Chinese Garden. The Chinese passion for peonies makes them China's official national flower. A friend and I visited the garden early this week. Many of the tree peonies had finished blooming. Peony bouquets filled the Hall of Brocade Clouds.

I really liked the colorful peony seed pods which I observed for the first time. What inspires my passion for peonies? their vibrant colors, lacy petals, beautiful centers, imaginative names?
The walled garden, located in Portland's Old Town, offers a serene nature respite to the hectic urban environment that surrounds it. "Between Lake and Mountain Lies True Meaning".

Each season brings a different feel and look to this scholar's garden. In Lan Su's study, we found his Four Treasures- paper, brush, ink and ink stone.
This garden is one of Portland's treasures.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Cyrstal Springs Rhododendron Garden Sketch

After pouring rain, the sky cleared and the sun shone giving us a window of opportunity to enjoy the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden and sketch a few flowers.
This beauty called "Creole Bell" inspired the above sketch.
The seven-acre garden contains an incredible collection of rare species and hybrid rhododendrons, azaleas and other plants.
Pale yellow, coral and rose color this gorgeous variety. Unfortunately, I didn't get it's name.

Birds flock to the garden- many varieties of heron, duck and geese. This red-winged blackbird fluffed his feathers and let us enjoy his beauty. It's my first sighting of them in the garden. Being tuned into Mother Nature uplifts one's spirit and connection to all things living.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Fun with Pogo Printer Photo Manipulations

Did you know that you can play with the Polaroid Pogo Printer to manipulate photo prints similar to what one could do with old Polaroid camera prints? These three photos are double exposures of the wallet-size prints. My friend, Gwen, got me to experiment with my Pogo printer after reading her blog post Here.

The first photo combines Santos and peony photos. The second photo layers a photo or my new
bicycle over a series of six collaged map 10x10 canvases for a new project I'm starting.
The third double exposes a photo of a large white tissue flower from Monticello Antiques with another peony flower photo. It's fun to experiment with the effects of doubleand triple exposures, layering light and dark photos, patterns and solids. Click on the photos to get a larger image.

Check out the variety of ways Dippold and Hippoyard manipulate their Pogo photos.
Their creativity and originality are amazing. These little printers are great for journaling and creating new images.