Monday, April 30, 2012

April Recap; Prints Coming Soon

It's been a while, blogger! The last few weeks have been filled with:

• working on my spring collection of paintings for a solo show I have in July -- in a gallery!
• promoting classes and summer camps
• baking (getting quite good)
• teaching bookmaking to talented kiddos all over Portland
• working on my 2012 resolutions, from reading new books to buying curtains • catching some Vitamin D when the sun is out
• admiring the great amassment of blooming things that is spring in Oregon
• trying not to sneeze to much from said amassment of blooming things
• making wares for the "craft fair season" that is the month of May

[Special Delivery!]

One of my recent projects has been tweaking and test printing digital prints of my paintings. I received a large order in today from my printer, which means I am going to begin offering prints of my work on a mass scale. They will debut in two craft fairs in May, and hopefully, in the future, be for sale by request on my website:

[I am playing with framing and display as well]

2012 is the year that my art becomes my business. I am working on that balance of tallying receipts and applying to shows, of studying tax law and finding a decent number of hours in the week to, well, keep creating.

Love it.


Saturday, April 14, 2012

Art Challenge 2012

For the second year in a row, I am participating the an Art Challenge offered by a local gallery. Each spring, a call goes out from the Village Gallery of Arts in Portland. Participating artists are given four 6" x 6" canvases and invited to create a themed series in any medium, as long as it doesn't protrude from the sides. One month is given for completion. Last year's submission is here.

Over 100 artists participated last year and over 100 are set to take on the challenge this year, making for an amazing opening every May. The walls become a grid of 400+ pieces of art, all for sale, all affordable, many clever and fun.

Mostly, it is nice to have a "challenge," a deadline. One of my favorite parts of participating in open group shows is the slight stringency added by perimeters. For me, the winter has been busy getting work from the fall into exhibits. While I have been happy with my successes, it is then not always easy to budget time to make new work. This was the little boost I needed.

And I'm already done! A sneak peek at the pieces here; they will be on view and available for purchase at the Village Gallery of Arts during the entire month of May.

The title? "Always Be Prepared." Both a serious nod to the Girl Scouts' motto in honor of their 100th anniversary this spring, and commentary about the many cabinets that are well stocked with cookies by this time of year. I know mine is. But that was, err, "research."


Thursday, April 12, 2012

Weirdness Showdown: Portland vs. Austin

A little more than a week after I got back from Texas, I was shocked to hear about the tornadoes that hit just south of Dallas. It's comforting now to hear most of the loss was material, and I feel even luckier that Mother Nature was more than kind to me on my trip. Dallas, Austin, and everything in between was especially mild and verdant. Case in point: Part II of our Texas adventure... Dallas to Austin.

[Austin, Texas]

On the way to (but south of) Austin, I went a little out of my way to check out Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs, TX. I think I first saw pictures of the state park on pinterest some months ago. It looked like an oasis in the desert; something, though commonplace in Oregon (horray for that!), that seemed out of place in Texas. I heard the waterfall that runs into Hamilton Pool isn't always flowing like in the nicer pictures, but seeing as Texas just got out of a particularly rainy couple of weeks, I thought the area would be picturesque. It was!

From the parking lot, a path led down a hillside quarry filled with unfamiliar flora and fauna (Giant beetles! Vultures! Cacti!) to the pool. It continued behind the waterfall. Dripping moss cascaded over the overhang. A dip in might have been welcome in the heat, but not that day... e.coli was present in the water after all the heavy rains of the previous week. Still gorgeous!

Finally, to Austin! I've heard a lot about Austin lately, living in Portland. I've heard the cities are similar; indeed, both have the same slogan "Keep Austin (Portland) Weird!" and have been seeing 20-somethings flocking in as of late, keeping up some of the traditions of the hippies that settled in both cities in the 1970s and 80s. Microbreweries and foodies abound. I spent my two days there on the lookout for the "weird." In the end, I witnessed enough to make us feel a kinship between the two places.

[Like Portland, there were pods of food carts (trucks)]

Unlike Portland, the food trucks were closed and empty at noon. They open only for the late night crowd. Too bad; I wanted an organic bison taco from a solar-powered food truck for lunch. Portland's organic solar-powered food trucks only have vegan food. Probably not enough sunlight to cook meat. (I speak nothing but the truth here...)

[Taco wraps from this guy! Austin Weirdness: + 2 points]

Luckily, I was there for the Austin Saturday Farmer's Market, always a good bet for street food. I grabbed some tamales and taco wraps.

[Colorful street graffiti art. Austin Weirdness: +1]

Nice art scene; fabled music scene.

[This truck thing. Austin Weirdness: +1. The fact that we were stuck behind it in heavy traffic on a major highway : -1. Too "Anytown U.S.A." Cannot handle traffic after living in Portland for three years.]

How many hipsters need to wear a tie-dyed T-shirt with the city's slogan on it for it to be ironic enough to still be weird? What is the maximum amount that can wear it before it is not?]

[A playable mini golf course/art installation temporarily set up on the grounds of an historic mansion on a bayou that doubles as the city's art museum? +4 weird points!]

Keep it weird, sister city! While your famous donuts are sold from a truck and ours from a little shop on a sketchy corner of Old Town, in the end, they are both topped with bacon.


Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Recycled Words: at the Evolve Gallery

A brief note to say I will have several works in Recycled Words, the juried April show at SE Portland's Evolve Gallery. Work features castaway text with a heavy collage component. The First Friday opening this week on April 6th promises a reading from author Karen Karbo, a sneak peek at upcoming Wordstock events (the show's co-sponsor), and, as always, a good party.

Show Dates: April 6-27, 2012
First Friday Opening: Friday, April 6th from 6:00 and 9:00pm

Featuring a reading by author Karen Karbo,
from her book "How Georgia Became O'Keeffe."

Juried Group Show Exhibitors:
Boz Schurr, Erica D. Maggi, Holly Sanders, Jen Rombach,
Katie Pippel, Lulu Moonwood, Robin Ator,
Sarah Fagan, Shannon Martini, Sue Clancy, Vicky Dekrey Vasey

Non-profit partner: Wordstock


Monday, April 2, 2012

Dallas to Austin: Of Tulips, Kolache, and Little Quail Legs

[The Dallas skyline]

Easter is supposed to finally bring warm spring weather to Portland. Until then, I have fond memories and a fading tan line from my four days in Texas last week.

[The tulip-filled Dallas Arboretum went on for acres, and was beautiful despite flood-causing rains just the week before. Perhaps more beautiful because of them?]

Texas was a convenient "half-way" point between Oregon and New England to meet up with my mom and an excuse to meet some extended family. A bit of a family vacation like the good old days.

Dallas was a blast, and from what I hear, a totally different city than it was ten, or even five, years ago. New buildings, bridges, sculptures, museums, and restaurants seem to spring up daily, according to the locals. If we asked for directions, we were often met with a "you and me both!" Navigating the changing highways was a bit of a chore after living in a little city like Portland, but we still had a great time soaking in some vitamin D, checking out art, and, of course, eating. I can't remember when I last had so much, and such a variety, of meat... not my everyday menu, but I'll be darned if I wasn't going to try some Texas quail while I was there.

[My quail entrée comes in a little pile of tiny quail legs -- at Wolfgang Puck's Five Sixty.]

After two days in Dallas -- a road trip down to Austin with a stop in West, Texas and Dripping Springs along the way.

[A lotta' kolache in West, Texas]

To most, the town of West, Texas (not to be confused with West Texas) is a quick stop on the side of the highway for folks traveling between Dallas and Austin. It also shows Central Texas's Eastern European roots (specifically, Czech). The truck stop on the side of the road is called the "Czech Point," filled with baked goods familiar to those with Czech, Polish, or, like me, Slovak -- ancestry. KOLACHE! Baked tarts of fruit, cream cheese, poppyseed, and other sweet and savory delights. The line was out the door, making me think I had found the go-to place for the best treats in the tri-city area.

[We got an apricot kolache. Yes, just one. You know, to save room for all the meat we would inevitably have later.]

[Hamilton Pool in Dripping Springs]

Next stop: Dripping Springs (after an out-of-the-way detour through Austin to get more water at a Target. Man, it was hot!)