Monday, August 20, 2007

Time Flies

city birds for the Enormous Tiny Art Show II

Whew! What a month... the 20 year high school reunion in Wisconsin was a blast! Was so nice to see everyone again. I miss them so!

Our restaurant, CAVA Tavern, opens in about 3 weeks. We're getting things done, slowly but surely. The kitchen is a functioning space now. Chef JB whipped up a nice ahi tuna lunch for us last week that was divine...

The place is shaping up. Two huge church pews were delivered yesterday, and they look great in the space. And we're going back to our favorite antique shop today to find more pub tables and whatever else strikes our fancy. My dear old friend Todd Robinett is kindly redoing the tiles in the bathrooms at the last minute for us. And Larry from Lumen Essence is delivering our lights today, that he himself designed. They are the perfect combination of castle gothic style and that cozy French amber glow. I'll be running around today like a chicken with my head cut off, gathering things from Liquid Nails to yards of brown velvet.

And there are two shows coming up that I am really excited to be a part of! One is at SQFT Gallery in Nashville, and the other is the Enormous Tiny Art Show II at Nahcotta in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. I'm so happy to be sharing my art in the eastern US through these shows. Sadly, I can't make it to the openings of either of these, but I hope everyone has a great time.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Where did I put that Thinking Cap?

Karin's Twinkie the Kid from the past show "Shelf Life: 30yrs"

Ah - A lovely July morning in Oregon. Gray skies with a tease of "hey maybe there will be a blue sky this afternoon" and a little bit of warmth in the air that smells like fresh rain. The Farmer's Market is calling today! Or is that the baby crow outside who is discovering his lungs over and over again?

I am doing my usual Saturday morning routine here. Friends from Seattle are up stairs in the guest room a sleep (although I hear giggling now and then), I've made a nice pot of Stumptown n the french press, and I'm paging through the latest Saveur magazine, greatly admiring the simplicity of the cover photo: a perfect half of an avocado. It's a green to fall in love with.

Then it's on to the computer to check email. Got a very sweet note today from Linda at Little Flower Designs (I love her ceramics so much!). She has honored me with a "thinking blogger's award". Thanks Linda! Glad to know this blog that has "Dork" in the title is entertaining someone other than myself.

So, now I get to pick my Fave Five Thinker Bloggers... and here I go:

1) design*sponge - I'd be a fool not to mention Grace Bonney's "always an A+" report card on the latest and greatest in art and design. This darling, smart gal has her future laid out in hand-crafted gold before her. In her online kindness, she has launched the careers of so many grateful artisans that have graced her blog entries, and has revealed to her readers that those that are already famous thrive at an earthly level that we can all relate too, which gives those trying to get to the point where they are comfortably at seem that much more achievable. Encouraging, discerningly kind and tireless in her hunt to bring us the world we all love, she's a regular Magellan of the internet, and I owe her free paintings for life.

2) Wexford Girl - Annie Galvin is a dear friend of mine, who is simply brilliant in her words and her art. Today's entry made me laugh and spit a little stream of coffee onto my keyboard. It's dry now - I'll keep writing... The studio that she and her hubby (#3 below) have has inspired me to get my own. She is one of the most clever and witty women I know. And she an excellent travel companion!

3) The Lonely Robot - Eric Rewitzer has been one of my best friends since I've moved out west to Portland. He relocated to San Francisco years back to follow his dreams. And he always, always, achieves them. He is my main inspiration for just taking the risk and seeing what happens. And his thoughtful and loving blog of his exudes his love of life, of his friends, and all he is thankful for in this world. He is a wonderful artist with an amazing knack for printmaking. In fact, he'll be pulling my edition of 25 prints for the We-Are-Familia show coming up in Brooklyn.

4) Stumpytown - I love how artists post their daily works on their blogs. I must take note... I have two pieces of art from Seattle artist Karin Yamagiwa Madan - one a print, the other a painting. But I purchased two more prints of hers from her Etsy shop just now, depicting her take on one of my FAVORITE cartoons from when I was little. It featured Marc Antony and Pussyfoot, where the big rough bulldog befriended the little kitten that drove him crazy in the beginning, after he thought she was accidentally turned into a cookie. Karin has a dropdead hilarious and beautiful style to her work. I will be collecting it as long as she keeps making them. Be sure to check out her sketch diaries - they are insanely good!!

5) Drawn! - The Illustration Blog. No explanation required. It gets me going every single morning...

Well, my guests are up and groggily drinking the dregs of the coffee I made hours ago. Time to play!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

New Aviary

My friends Eric and Annie have this amazing studio space in San Francisco. The first time I stepped into it, I was floored. It was amazing. The room, the creative energy in the building, the light - all of it. I was secretly jealous. Okay, maybe not so secretly. And then when Lisa Congdon was in town for a spell, she mentioned she had just gotten a new studio space as well. Near Eric and Annie, in fact.

This got me thinking. I love working at home but I work in a room that's half underground. In a room that we should be using for storage. And my computer is in the bar area of the room next door. Not to mention all the distractions of working from home. The cat (what do you want NOW, Camper?!), the "it's nice outside I should go in the garden" or "go shopping" bug...

I got to thinking about who I could share a space with. Trish Grantham would be a great studiomate, but she already has an amazing studio off her home. And then I thought of my dear friend Evan Harris, but was afraid to ask him. So I put it in the back of my mind. Then during a sort of art opening for my decks at the Chesterfield, Evan asked me if I wanted to get a studio space together. Yes please! I have been excited ever since, and today - we found our space! 1200 sqft of creative bliss, all bare and just waiting for us to make it ours.

The space is in the Ford Building. They actually made Model T Fords in this building back in the early 1900's. Then it was a number of things, but lastly it housed the OLCC and Multnomah County Services Offices. Hence the lovely 'mural' of trees on the wall in our space. I think it's from the 60s. I'll almost feel bad painting over it. I already saw Evan's wheels turning about putting a new collaborative mural there. Anyway, we just have to sign some things and we're in, and at less than $1 a square foot! Insane. There are plans for a cafe/restaurant to go in on the bottom floor, which is all spaced out for retail. And my favorite breakfast place in town, Genie's, is kitty corner from us. Couldn't be more perfect!! I'm just a short scooter ride away from home.

HUGE skylight, 20 ft ceilings

SE facing windows will be cut-in in a few weeks

Evan "scale factor" Harris ponders where to put the sofa

Friday, July 13, 2007

Road Trip

Bender (my trusty Scion) at the foot of Devils Tower in Wyoming.

Well, I am delayed in my postings ;) I had internet access everywhere, but I took so many pictures that after driving for 8 to 12 hours each day, the idea of sorting through them was daunting. So I'll post a few here, and make one of my fancy horizontal strip photo pages. I have narrowed my faves down to 102 pics, so there will be plenty of prairie and mountain shots to gander at soon.

The drive was gorgeous - no bad weather or traffic. Just extreme heat. The first day driving (Portland to Butte, Montana), I was heading east in Oregon when the weather report came on the local NPR station: "Highs from 108 t0 122 in Eastern Oregon, depending on where you're situated." Yowza!! I drove a little faster to get through the desert...

Stayed in Butte, Montana the first night. Quite uneventful, except all the bartenders were really sweet. ALL the bartenders! Sounds like I went to a gazillion bars... only 3. I was on the search for Butte Beer. Never found any, but there were ads for it everywhere. Even on people's t-shirts. It's a mystery beer...

Drove on to Deadwood, South Dakota, the folowing night, where I met my mom (who drove from Fredonia, Wisconsin). We stayed at the Hikocks Hotel and Casino... and our room was fabulous! PLUS - I'm not a huge slot machine payer, but my mom is one of those people who always wins. ALWAYS. We spotted a great new machine right away: Star Wars!! There was a huge Death Star on top, that if you were lucky enough to make spin by getting the bonus feature, paid out a lot. The best part - the movie clips! Even if you didn't win big, the humorous clips were reward enough. When we left Deadwood two days later, mom and I had packed up our cars, and I said "Aren't you going to play Star Wars one more time?" I just wanted to see more movie clips, really. And she said "Oh all right". And subsequently turned $40 into $100. There's your gas money!

We had one whole day to play in te Black Hills, so we drove all over, taking in some windy roads and wildlife viewing. And Mt Rushmore. That was an accident. I took the wrong road and we ended up there instead of Wind Cave. Oh well! We also went to Custer State park, where there are buffalo herds. We saw a few...

The whole reason we drove out to meet halfway between our homes, was to transfer that huge painting that Randy and I had gotten awhile back and kept at mom's house for the time being... I was getting my "I need to drive across Montana and Wyoming!" itch, and the timing worked out right for her as well, so, there you have it! I would make this drive four times a year if I could. I just love it. I don't even have cruise control. I just love the long drives under vast skies beside grassy plains and distant mountains. Thunderstorms make the trip, but I only saw one so far. Has been blue skies and 100 degree temps all the way.

As you can tell by the photo at the start, I stopped by one of my favorite places in the US: Devils Tower National Monument (first National Monument ever, for all you history buffs). There's something sacred about this place. I feel recharged every time I go there.

Well, I will retire for the evening... am going to try to drive 13 hours tomorrow (I'm in Bozeman, Montana for the night - GREAT town!). I am so happy to have organic food options again. But... I may chicken out and stay in Walla Walla, Washington to see about all these great wines from there I've been hearing about. Good excuse, eh?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Well, since it's 106 degrees here and it's too hot to paint (or ship paintings safely, for that matter), I'm on a mission: to drive to Deadwood, South Dakota in 2 days, leaving tomorrow at 4am. Easy enough - it's 18 hours straight, but I do like to meander and take pictures of odd things and landscapes across the vastness of Montana and Wyoming, especially if there are storms. Deadwood is near Devils Tower, so I am really excited. I've been there before, but it's always such a rush, coming over the small crest of that park road leading to it, and then Wow! There's that crazy alien monolith looming over everything else in view. So amazing.

Why am I going to Deadwood? Because I need a jackalope from Wall Drug... just kidding. Because it's nearly halfway to Wisconsin. My mom is driving out to meet me there to hand over a rather large but fancy painting Randy and I bought in Cedarburg, WI, a few months back. I don't trust it being shipped (for we don't know it's true value value - it is a museum-worthy Austrian piece painted in 1845), so we're driving it out ourselves, all wrapped safe and snug. Meeting halfway was a smart thing to do. And we get to play the slots, and perhaps take in a nice mine shaft tour.

I'll be posting from the road. I'm staying in Butte, Montana, tomorrow night, in a hotel called the War Bonnet Hotel... and yes, I am staying there because of the name. And they have free wi-fi.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Happy Birthdays

Today is my sister Kris' birthday, who is way over in Wisconsin where I grew up. It is also my dear friend Trish Grantham's birthday! She and I are the same age. It has been great having a friend that not only is a full-time artist like myself, but also loves the same things I do, including our food and drink! Except she doesn't enjoy live concerts and shows... I have to work on that! Here are some pics, one of the birthday girl herself, and others of her amazing yard and little vignettes in her home, taken at the bbq she hosted on the 4th. It is probably the most charming and welcoming home you would ever step foot into. And I could learn a thing or two about keeping my house clean from her.

Happy Birthday Trish and Kris!

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pollen, my Nemesis

Bad allergy day today... Maybe it had something to do with the fact that I was out at 7am pruning all the plants and deadheading flowers? The backyard is so inviting but it's a no go zone for me most of the time. Lisa DeJohn told me that "Willamette Valley", where I live, means "valley of sickness". I Googled it. She's right!! But no matter how much I sneeze and get forehead-boring migraines, I'll never leave.

My Japanese yellow plum has 5 fruits on it this year! I might be able to make a small danish pastry... if the birds don't get them first. The Fuyu Persimmon tree out front had 3 fruits last year, and now I see over 30 starts. It's going to be a gorgeous tree once autumn arrives. The Japanese varieties do so well here, which makes me happy.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

It Has Arrived

I am speechless... I ordered the "
Limited Edition #3: Charley Harper - An Illustrated Life" by Todd Oldham from AMMO Books a while back, and it has finally arrived. I have to say, this is such a beautiful book, such gorgeous presentation and design, I almost started to cry as I turned each page. I was grinning ear to ear with every new image. And I finally have a Charley Harper print! Have to get this one framed. Check out the amazing box it came in... Makes me want to play with Sharpies. I will be pouring over this book for hours and hours upon end.

Charley Harper recently passed away, and Todd Oldham should feel honored for giving Mr. Harper this beautiful honor and tribute to his life before his passing.