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It’s in the 20′s here in Portland and I’m freezing! My body is seriously resisting winter weather. It’s understandable, because just 10 days ago I was ankle deep in pristine white sand on world famous Lanikai beach in Hawaii.
I can still hear the waves, but the warmth of the sun on my skin has faded quickly. Luckily the sand we inadvertently brought back with us will last for months. My husband Bill and I went to visit my sister for Thanksgiving and take a well deserved (and very rare) vacation in my home town of Kailua on the island of O’ahu. It felt to me like I hadn’t taken a deep breath in a long time and it was long overdue. This is the place to do it.
If you’ve ever wondered what inspires my paintings, view the video below:
If you read this blog you’ve gotten to know my family a little so I feel like you’ll enjoy these updates:
My husband, Bill
Bill and I are looking forward to visiting my sister Laura over Thanksgiving this year. Last time we visited my hometown of Kailua we both got really sick and there was a big storm. Not one of our better vacations!
Bill also has some bragging to do. He just released a virtual rendering of Plum Island Airport in Massachusetts for Microsoft Flight Simulator. No idea what I’m talking about? You’re not alone. Basically he creates the scenery and sometimes even the planes that fly through this virtual world, first talking photographs then making 3D models that you can experience through the simulator. Here are the details in Bill’s own words, and a great video demo of his new product so you can see what he’s talking about:
Happy Halloween everyone! Last weekend we went to the Pumpkin Patch on our traditional family outing to get stocked up for Halloween. This is great fun out on Sauvie Island, less than 30 minutes outside of downtown Portland where we can instantly be surrounded by nature. Oh yeah, and carnival food like kettle corn and elephant ears!
They even have a “Corn Maize” where you can answer trivia questions to see which way to turn at the checkpoints. I think it says something that Bill uses the clues based on American history and I use the ones for TV & Movies, but we both get it right! The dogs love it too and we all had a grand time.
Wow, what a busy weekend! We had a great book release party on Friday for Embracing Encaustic: Learning to Paint with Beeswax and lots of friends came by to wish us well. If you couldn’t make ti to the party here in Portland, here’s a taste of the fun.
My husband Bill was instrumental in getting this book to press so it was a real family celebration. We had books for sale at the party but they will be available to everyone else online by June 15. First we have the really BIG party at the National Encaustic Conference next week near Boston. I plan to blog about the conference most days I’m there, so watch this space for updates from the road. Read the rest of this entry »
That’s it! I just finished my last day at my non-art job. I have been working 4 days a week for an author in another state so a flexible schedule and working from home was convenient, but now it’s time to focus on my art full time. I’m so excited!
I’ve had strangers ask if I just woke up one morning and knew it was time to follow my dream, but my friends know the real story. It took me three long years of planning and building up my teaching schedules and art sales before I could feel comfortable enough to move forward, but here I am. And I know I’ve made the right decision.
As soon as I gave notice at work last month opportunities started to arise. Teaching a week long encaustic class in North Carolina. Presenting at the National Encaustic Conference near Boston. An invitation to teach at Saturday Academy this summer, and the list goes on.
The most stunning sign that I’m making the right decision was from a total stranger Read the rest of this entry »
Just before I got sick we made time to find our dog Sadie a new friend. She was getting very depressed after the death of our wonderful 13 year old dog Grommett in September. Bill and I weren’t quite ready for another dog, but Sadie was very clear about her needs. So, off we went to the Oregon Humane Society for 5 hours of barking madness. Read the rest of this entry »
If you know anything about me you know how hard it is to take time for myself to just relax, so I was very proud of myself this weekend. I spent Sunday afternoon cruising with the Grrls in a boat on the Willamette River in Portland. And no, that’s not a typo. I was with the women of DinnerGrrls Portland, a business support and networking group I’ve belonged to for about 3 years now. What a great group of women!
DinnerGrrls brings together women across all industries and professions to support each other and encourage the discussion of career aspirations, industry knowledge, graduate study, office place foibles …oh, right, and to eat. We always eat well!
Join the discussion list here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dg-pdx_discussion/
Join the event announcement list here: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/dg-pdx/
And now back to our photos already in progress:
Captain Kenny gets us moving. Yup, 35 women and Kenny “manning” the party boat. PLUS Kenny is a big fan of encaustic painting as well. Bonus!
The Willamette River runs right through Portland…
…which explains why we have so many bridges!
Susie and Kristin enjoy the view.
Thanks Grrls for a wonderful, relaxing day.
Dear family and friends,
All of you no doubt know how over-the-top crazy we are about our dogs, and how much a part of our family they are. Knowing that, you’ll understand how sad we are to report that our boy Grommett passed away last night. His health had been declining for some time, as kidney failure and arthritis took their toll on his big frame. We had an excellent day together, starting with his breakfast of scrambled eggs and pork chops, a slow walk around the block, and a few hours soaking up the beautiful late summer weather at the park. He watched the other dogs play from his perch in the shade of a huge cottonwood tree, sniffed the breeze, and relaxed. He was exhausted after all that, as you might imagine, but wasn’t too tired for a t-bone steak dinner! He recovered some of his old verve when we asked him if he wanted to go to the park, and we were lucky enough to have a video camera present. To see real happiness, visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLftJHljUx4 .
Thanks to all of you who’ve expressed concern about him lately, and followed his progress on this blog. He was one in a million, that boy, and we’ll miss him terribly. We’re not up for phone calls at the moment, promise we’ll reemerge soon. In the meantime, send us your good thoughts, and Grom too as he heads off to his next big adventure.
Linda, Bill and Sadie
My sister just sent this wonderful photo. Grommett was such a special guy who touched many lives in his 12 short years.
“Tonight after hearing the news, Alan picked plumeria and strung lei in memory of Grommett. We took Kula and Pikala down to the lake for a picture to let you know that you are in our thoughts and prayers.”
As soon as I finished this piece I knew my work had taken a new path. This might even be the beginning of a new series! Time will tell. It’s usually obvious when I start a new series, but sometimes it creeps up on me. My mind is telling my body what to do but not always WHY I should do it. I’m really glad I thought to photograph this one in different stages because it really illustrates how much the work changes from beginning to end, and how you have to build up the layers of information as you go along in order to create complexity in the final work.
So here’s how my new work, Always in Season, came to be.
I was trying a new red, Alizarin Crimson, which my husband appropriately nicknamed I-just-killed-my-roommate red. I had to agree that it was a bit much. That launched me into a quest on how to tone it down, which led to a fantastically layered area. I’m learning to embrace the mistakes as opportunities (though sometimes painful!) to try something new.
At this point I was getting concerned about how dark the background was getting. I know some artists start with a layer of black and build up from there, but I’d never tried it before and I was afraid I’d get nothing but mud. A layer of clear medium on top of the black prevented the problem and I was very happy with the results.
Always in Season, 16″ x16″
Encaustic, joint compound, and silver leaf on wood
OK, so it wasn’t on film at all but I did get up close and personal with a local reporter. Yesterday I met with Josephine Bridges who writes for numerous papers including a local favorite that covers my neighborhood: The Southeast Examiner. Josephine is writing a story on four Portland Open Studios artists who work with unusual materials, and our resident publicity hound, Bonnie Meltzer, put her in touch with me.
Josephine and I had met before, but last time I was doing demos in my dining room so she was very excited to see my new studio and all of my new work. I was nervous because I don’t usually get to talk with reporters — they usually review my work without any interaction from me — but she put me right at ease. We just sat and had a conversation as if she just stopped in for tea and the time flew by. Of course I did my homework beforehand and had a press kit ready. I haven’t made too many of those either but it’s easy to find advice online on what to include.
My press kit included:
- A copy of my resume
- My art statement
- My two latest press releases (about the HGTV show and my solo show at City Hall)
- A sheet titled “What is Encaustic?” so she can write knowledgeably about my technique without having to do any additional research
- Two promotional post cards with images on my work on them, one with a sticker announcing upcoming shows.
- Two business cards (Someone once told me to always include two so they can give one to a friend or have one at the office and one at home)
- A CD with high resolution images of 5 recent paintings, an image list with titles and sizes, 2 images of me with my work, 2 images from my book (Embracing Encaustic). After looking over the book she was so enthusiastic that I gave her a copy of that too!
- What I forgot: Copies of previous press clips (duh!) and a class schedule. It turns out that she wants to take a class!
Josephine was pleasantly surprised when I gave her the folder containing my press kit. Hopefully it will make it that much easier for her to use one of my images in the story. I shamelessly pointed out that I haven’t even done a press release on the book yet, so it’s something she might consider for another story. It seems like it could have a good DIY angle.
She did ask one question that I hadn’t had before: “What’s the one thing you want people to know about your work?” This is a great question! I told her that all the technical aspects of encaustic tend to scare some people off and they should know that it’s really not that hard to get started if you just know a few basic techniques.
Look for the article in the October issue of The Southeast Examiner.
For the last three years I’ve participated in Portland Open Studios, a juried tour of 98 artists work spaces which happens in the Portland Metro Area over the second and third weekends in October. My studio will be open on October 13 & 14 from 10 am – 5 pm, and as usual I’ll be doing demonstrations all weekend of different techniques of encaustic painting.
This video was put together by one of our members, Kindra Crick, and posted on YouTube so everyone can get a feel for the different types of art available on the tour this year. As you’ll see here, we have an amazing group of artists!
This is an amazing event, not just because you can visit so many artists working in such diverse media, but because each artist does a live demonstration of their work too. It’s like getting free art classes all over town! You will see artists painting, sculpting, blowing glass, and more, in all kinds of settings from elaborate lake shore studios to modest spaces in houses and garages. You are welcome to ask questions about materials and methods as you watch the artistic mind at work. You will even have a chance to purchase memorable artworks from the artists for a truly personal connection.
Tour Guides are available all over town including Art Media and Powell’s Books as well as from participating artists. Check out the Portland Open Studios web site for more locations and more previews of the artists work. Tour guides are only $15 for two adults for BOTH weekends. Oh, and did I mention that the kids are free? Can’t beat that.
If you’d like to receive a reminder a couple of weeks before the event join my mailing list to receive my monthly newsletter. By joining the list you’ll also receive invitations to my private studios parties.
My friend and savvy Mortgage Broker, Mona Das (far right, above), threw one of her famous private parties in her trendy Pearl District condo last night, featuring my encaustic paintings on her walls. My husband Bill and I LOVE Mona because she is the one who helped us refinance our house so we could build out my new studio! Most of the guests had never heard of encaustic painting before so I put on my teaching cap and went to work. People were excited to learn about it and using my book to illustrate the process made it so much easier to explain.
The favorite pieces of the night were easily Awakening (foreground, above) and the poorly placed “one above the toilet,” also known as All Things of Nature (below). Gee, I’m glad I decided to put it THERE. But I knew everyone would visit eventually! Oh well, live and learn. Thanks Mona!
It’s true, I’ve been missing in action on the blog for a while but there’s been a lot going on! My cousin RJ was visiting from California (see photo) and he got us to do lots of things we never seem to get around to:
- Playing nickel arcade games at Avalon/Wunderland
- Attending my first (but certainly not my last!) Pink Martini concert
- Taking a ride on the Mt. Hood Railroad
- Playing 3D ultraviolet black light mini golf (you’ll need a strong stomach for this one!)
- Attending and selling my work at Cracked Pots
- Getting a massage at Dosha (for my birthday on the 29th!)
As if that weren’t enough I also taught a sold out Basic Beeswax Collage class and was a panelist discussing how artists can get their work noticed for TV and in print. Whew! Now that I list it all I feel like I deserved that massage. Anyway, I’m back and have already started two new 16″ x 16″ panels so there should be more photos soon.
For those of you following our Grommett saga, today started out bad but got better with time and drugs. We got him out to Laurelhurst Park this afternoon and he was so very happy sitting in that grass! Tomorrow will be better, I can feel it.
I recently met Anna Magruder of Keen Creative who is organizing the brand new Rebel Rabbit Craft Fair next weekend (on my birthday!) . She made it sound like so much fun that I wanted to be sure to spread the word.
Rebel Rabbit Craft Fair
July 29 (Sunday), 11am – 4pm
1847 E. Burnside
Here’s what they say about the fair: “We are hopping excited about the Rebel Rabbit Craft Fair. We have a full house of fabulous and talented crafters. View a list of our crafty vendors on our website. Purses from old cowboy boots, wallets from grandma’s wallpaper sample books, accessories made from lawn chair webbing … there’s a lot of creativity going on!
We will be partnering with local nonprofit Ethos Inc. and offering a fundraising raffle. One of Ethos’ goal is to provide free musical instruments to local kids who have lost their school music programs. We share their desire to develop and encourage creativity for people of all ages.”
Everyone is heading for the Park Blocks this Sunday, right? The Museum of Contemporary Craft will be holding a Block Party to celebrate their grand re-opening in their new building. It’s this Sunday, July 22, from noon – 7:30 pm.
The Museum is located at 724 NW Davis. There will be craft booths of all kinds, live music, and food booths on the North Park Blocks in front of the Museum. You can see demonstrations in glass-blowing, metalwork, woodworking, and more. And the Church of Craft, Portland Super Crafty, and DIY Lounge will all be there with fun make-and-take projects. (They’ll all be on Broadway, between NW Couch and NW Davis streets.)
More details and a schedule of events are at http://contemporarycrafts.org/programs_events.php.
Also take a moment to enjoy this great video they posted on YouTube to promote the party! I hope to see you there.