Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Celebrating Solstice with Weathergrams

Happy Summer Solstice!  This morning, I hung my weathergrams that we created in our calligraphy class, one from each student and our instructor, Christine Colasurdo.  Famous Portland calligrapher, Lloyd Reynolds, encouraged his students to make weathergrams to practice their Italic hand on recycled paper (grocery bags), honor nature with their own written poems or haiku and hang them in the garden each season.  At the Fall Equinox,  I'll replace these with ones to celebrate autumn.  The idea originated with the Japanese who exchange tanzaku paper strips with their hand written messages.

 Mine are stamped with a hand-craved eraser stamp and Chinese vermillion ink.

Here are the weather grams of fellow students....

It will be fun to see how they 'weather' and deteriorate during the summer season.  I will enjoy seeing them outside my studio window flutter in the wind and change with time .
Next week, I'll be attending the Calligraphy Northwest, the 31st International  Conference for Lettering Artists, at Reed College where Lloyd Reynolds taught calligraphy.  The Portland Society of Calligraphy, which Reynolds established in 1969, is sponsoring the conference.  Each member who joins the society receives a copy of Reynold's Weathergrams book.  An exhibit of members artwork is on display in the Pearl Room  at Powell's City of Books until July 3rd.  I'll share with you some of my experiences the first week in July.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Pino Pie Day at Apifera Farm

Today, Cynthia took me out to Apifera Farm near Yamhill for Pino Pie Day, a fund raiser for organizations that help senior and needy barnyard animals.  Katherine Dunn, farm owner, artist and illustrator, adopts many barn animals in need.  She's facing the camera, wearing a hat and holding the donkey lead in the photo below.
Pino the donkey grazes in the grass.  Katherine and Pino used to deliver pies.  Now, folks come to visit her farm, the animals and eat pie.  Darn, I didn't get a photo of the pies.  She baked 18 pies for this celebration.  I want the recipe for the walnut pie.

Adopted goats...

Lavender in bloom...

A lavender sachet and some cards that I bought with Katherine's artwork...

Check out Katherine's blog HERE for more information about her farm, art and animal rescue efforts.  Her book, Creative Illustration Workshop, is one of my favorite art books.  She's also started an online class this month.

Friday, June 15, 2012

From My Sketchbook

It's time to share some pages from my sketchbook.  It's almost summer and the June flowers are in full bloom.  This is my favorite time of year in Pacific NW gardens with roses, iris, peonies in their full beauty.  One of my goals this is to work on painting more landscapes. 

We spent one glorious, sunny morning in May at the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden watching ducks swim and all of the lush foliage and color.  Another rainy day, we stayed indoors and drew flower bouquets.  A rose...

and peonies...
Thanks for stopping by and seeing what I'm doing in my sketchbook.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Creating Mandalas

Mandalas fascinate me and I like creating them as you can see from a previous post HERE.
A friend told me about Margaret Bremmer's blog the Enthusiastic Artist.  Margaret teaches how to create Zentangles.  She posted What is a Mandala? and a great video on How to Grow a Mandala on her blog.  I drew the mandala below using her technique.  It reminds me of a childhood toy- a plastic, folding puzzle- that I used to like to play with.  I can't remember what it was called.
I used my favorite colored pencils (Farb-Riesen color giants by Lyra of  Germany) to color the mandala.  The whole process of  drawing and coloring mandalas can be a great meditative practice.

Inspiration for mandalas can come from many sources and are often found in nature.  A rose...

A bunch of lettuce...

or a peony...

Here's my finished mandala.  I hope this post encourages you to create mandalas, too.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Taos, Taos Pueblo and O'Keeffe Country

My New Mexico journey continues with photos and journal pages from Taos.  It's beautiful here with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and the open spaces.
1. Sangre de Cristo Mountains  2. Dragonfly Cafe  3. Bells outside gallery
4. Virgin de Guadalupe   5. Porcelain poppies  6. Mabel Dodge Luhan House
7. Barbara Latham illustration  8. E L Blumanschein Home  9. Iris- Ingar Jirby Gallery

One of my trip highlights included Taos Pueblo.  We had a guided tour.  It's the oldest continuously inhabited  Pueblo community in the US. The structures are believed to be over 1000 years old.  It's home to the Red Willow People.  In Santa Fe, we heard Robert Mirabel, a Taos Pueblo artist, play his flute. His blog- Red Willow Voices - wonderfully describes his culture and Pueblo history.

Taos journal pocket full of postcards and other ephemera.

After our visit to Taos, we returned to Santa Fe.  The last day of our trip, the Georgia O'Keeffe Museum opened its doors to a Fifteenth Anniversary Celebration Exhibit entitled Georgia O'Keeffe and the Faraway: Nature and Image.   The exhibit shows how the New Mexican landscape influenced her art and life with a combination of photographs, her sketches, her paintings, her art supplies and camping equipment.  She loved the outdoors.  She said, "When I got to New Mexico that was mine.  As soon as I saw it that was my country.  It fitted to me exactly."

In her lifetime, she created over 2000 pieces. She became an early pioneer in abstract expressionism with her geometric and organic forms.  She did not paint en plein air.  She worked in her studio and painted from her simple sketches or photographs.  She was very meticulous about her painting techniques.  She made hundreds of color swatches- 150+ greens, 25 whites, etc. -writing in detail the color mix on each one.  She also trimmed her brushes to get different edges when applying paint.  Her paintings demonstrate her rich use of color and value contrast.

I like this quote about color that she said in 1977,  "The meaning of a word to me is not as exact as the meaning of a color.  Colors and shapes make a more definite statement than words.  I am often amazed at the spoken and written word telling me what I have painted."
1. Black Hollyhock and Blue Larkspur  2.Back of Marie's No. 4  3. Bella Donna
4. Near Alcalde   5. Canyon Country, white & brown cliffs  6. Ghost Ranch Landscape
7. Black Place III  8. Black Place, grey & pink  9. Red Hills & white flower

She painted Black Hollyhock, Blue Larkspur in 1929 on her first trip to New Mexico after seeing the flowers in Mabel Dodge Luhan's garden.  O'Keeffe and my grandmother were from the same generation and both lived to be 98 years old.  It amazes me how both of them lived and all of the changes that they saw in their lifetime.

 I also had the opportunity to see Illuminating the Word: The Saint John's Bible exhibit at the Museum of  New Mexico History.  Studying calligraphy has given me a whole new appreciation for this project to create the first written Bible in over 500 years.  The size of the Bible at 2x3', the illuminated pages, and the work of the scribes impressed me.  The process of making the vellum pages, the quills used to write the words and how the layout was computer generated first for text and illumination placement is incredible.
1. Creation, Covenant, Shekinah, Kingdom  2. Creation  3. Genesis 1
 4. Homoioteleuton or scribe error  5. Luke 2:14 Glory to God in the Highest  6. Daniel
7. Isaiah Messianic Predictions  8. Matthew Genealogy of Jesus  9. Wisdom Woman

I came home so inspired by all of these experiences and wanted to share some of my photos.  You may wonder how I created the photograph montages.  I have wanted to make a montage of my photos for some time for this blog.  I learned this Photoshop montage process from Jane Davies.  I bought her tutorial HERE on her Collage Journeys blog.  It's easy to follow and I'm pleased with the results.