Sunday, April 20, 2014

Discovery and Easter eggs..........

Happy Easter to all on this beautiful morning of Redemption!

For the past several years, our family has celebrated Easter together on the Saturday prior because of a huge community Easter egg hunt that is held in the park behind our house.  The little kids would hunt for eggs and we'd followed it up with a day of food and family.  Well, I've noticed something, those little kids keep growing up.  That means outgrowing things like egg hunts, so we have had to adjust and get creative......which is what we did yesterday.

We do still have one young grandchild and he came in time for the egg hunt.  We were joined for lunch by other family members and then we drove to Salem, for a delightful afternoon, with one of the granddaughters and her family visiting and playing at the A. C. Gilbert Discovery Museum. 

BTW, A.C. Gilbert is the man who invented the Erector set!  He was born in Salem, Oregon attended George Fox College and went on to earn his M.D. from Yale.  At the turn of the 20th century he invented, and went onto build a business empire around, the Erector set and a multitude of other toys and household appliances that he invented.

On the front porch you are greeted by this huge rocking chair that, in this case, is full of the Tomb family.

Inside we had tea and learned about China with Emma and Lucy.........

Emma and her Dad played store...........

Then we were all captivated by this truly "mesmerizing" room with a big screen and fun camera that produced these images.......................
This is Emma, Lucy and I.......

In this picture, Hubby had his walking stick with him and when he moved it....the stick created the lines and the hula hoops the kids were playing with made the circles on the bottom.  Fascinating!

Examples of Mr. Gilberts original toy.....and some of the things that could be created with the pieces.

Toy manufacturing was not enough to keep Mr. Gilbert's employees busy year around, so he went on to design and patent 150 other items, that would create full time employment in his New York City facility.

These are the play structures outside with the squirrel sitting on the table.  In the middle photo you can see how hard it was raining but much of the area is the girls got to enjoy this area, too.

I wouldn't overlook the art......this watercolor was painted by a 10 year old!

If you live in Oregon, or are planning to visit, I would recommend taking the kids to Salem's Discovery Museum because this is just a small sample of all the entertainment offered and the kids will love it!

Hope you are all having a wonderful Easter weekend. 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Sunshine makes me happy......

Spring is popping up in every corner of my world.....happily!


From our backyard to a Camellia show and festival we visited....................

Here are just a few of the amazing varieties I photographed in their judged flower show.

This is a flower I have never grown, they are beautiful but their fragile petals do not hold up well to Oregon's rainy spring weather, they turn brown and mushy soon after they bloom.  That doesn't keep me from admiring their beauty.

This is a collage, with stitching, that I completed this week.  Sometimes an idea comes to you and it goes together easily and you're happy with it when your finished......this was one of those rare experiences!

I finished off the cover for my nature journal, this week too, and have the book assembled.....I am thinking about adding four more pages.

I used a piece of linen towel that had been eco dyed for the cover then added a large black velvet medallion and a piece of embossed paper that was a part of an old manicure set, it would have held the nail files, tools, etc......I filled it with twigs.  I covered the back with a beautiful piece of eco dyed paper done by my friend, Jeanne.

Black book cloth covers the spine that I stitched with a five hole pamphlet stitch using gray waxed linen thread.

This is a brief glance at the inside of the journal.  I am pleased with how it turned out.

With spring and sunshine comes the dreaded.......weeds.  This time of year I think weed pulling is a relaxing activity, not so much in the summer when it is hot!  Guess I'd better put on my garden gloves and get to work.

Enjoy whatever signs of spring you are seeing pop up!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Now, may be the time to hit "delete"..........

...........unless you really want to hear me brag about my Grandson!

All Grandparents think their Grandchildren are exceptional......well, they are, look at who their Grandparents are.  I read somewhere that the reason Grandparents and Grandchildren get along so well is, that, they have a common enemy!  Not sure it is quite that bad. 

But, I do think that kids that you can spoil and encourage to stomp in mud puddles and eat extra cookies are the best kind because you're not the one who has to stay up all night with them when they are sick or worry about paying the dentist bill!  You just get to enjoy them for who and what they are which, of course, is awesome.

First a disclaimer, I have NINE Grandsons and each, and everyone of them is special!  I won't make you sit thru all of that.....I'm just focusing on the one that is a senior in high school and just completed his first art that FIRST art class. 

I'll just do show and tell now......

He carved the self portrait stamp and created the design with it.

This is the teacher's critique on the painting below.

 Teacher says "super work, man".......I love it!

I would love to take all the credit for prepping this kid for an art class, except it's not true.  I gave him a ten minute, maybe, description of perspective when he was 12 or 13. 
You know how people are always saying they have no art talent....they can't draw a straight line, never could, never will.  I don't believe that is true, I think one can accomplish a lot artistically with interest and desire.  
I do believe, however, that some of us are born with a better "eye" for artistic details and more drive to make art.  Lots of people, who have never made art in their life, have a great sense of color and design and they can use it masterfully in their homes, gardens and fashions.  Drawing or painting just may not be their thing.
 It seems to me, this young man finds perspective very easy and he "gets" it.  He is able to draw very well, even tho', at eighteen it is not a priority in his life.  He does plan on becoming an engineer.  His eye for design will serve him well, even if he never picks up a brush and produces a painting.  His mother has insisted that he take art again this trimester, the last before graduation.
We are all given gifts, I guess it really is all about how we choose to use them....right now, the world is his "oyster"! 
Now, for the other eight Grandsons.......I'm just kidding, really I am (for today anyway)!


Friday, March 28, 2014

Nature Journal

Well, you took the what?  Guess I'd better get busy and do something with all the renewed inspiration. 

So, I did.....I've been making pages for my Nature Journal that I started in class, last Saturday, with Roxanne Evans Stout teaching and great group of other aspiring artists.......

This page is made with hand made paper layered with dark brown paper and topped with Joss paper that I stamped with my hand carved beetle stamp.  I stole an idea from my friend, Jeanne, and typed the line "these are the nights beetles love" on paper, stitched it to tea-dyed muslin and glued it on....add a button and done!

This is more handmade paper and a dried maple leaf stitched inside of a silk tea bag!  Made use of Mother Nature's handiwork on the leaf and glued it down!

More handmade paper, some tatting stitched down, another tea bag, crocheted heart with a heart shape leaf and a hat pin, stitched around with string and added a rusty key for the finish!

This is one of those pages that you start with one idea and finish with something very different.  The "booklet" started with Roxanne demonstrating a book she had made using a twig for the binding.  An idea I really liked until I realized it would add too much bulk to my already bulky book, if, I added the twig.  So, I stitched it together with blue string and added a brass tag to weight it down, added stamps, some rub-on lettering, a very old photo, real Monarch butterfly wing, sheet music, and a dried yellow flower!!!  The translucent paper that covers the photo......from a box of candy!  Really, you just can't throw anything away.

This is the last page of "booklet".  The birds and berries are printed on a lovely napkin that Roxanne provided, I glued it down on a piece of blue paper and the "metaphor" tag came off of something I purchased to wear......and kept the tag.

This is the last finished page, not the last page for the journal.....I have two more in the works!

This one features a paper doily that friend, Jeanne, eco dyed and gave me....geez, I love that piece of paper!  I really like paper doilies anyway, but when you add the natural colors and the texture...YUM!

The lined paper in the background?   It's from an old music composition notebook I found at a flea market, I love the lines.  The date?  My idea is this journal is my version of a Victorian nature journal so I wanted to add a date, it, ties to the date on the old photo above too.  I guess, if it was suppose to be Victorian, it should have been dated earlier....Oh, well!

So, there it week's worth of work!  It's been a good week.


Sunday, March 23, 2014

What makes a class SPECIAL?

Last night, I went to sleep completely exhausted yet fully restored! 

I had just spent the day with twelve other aspiring artists and one very inspirational teacher, Roxanne Evans Stout.

My one completed page for the day!


Here is Roxanne on the right and Cleo on the left with students busily working in the background.
Roxanne is a very generous teacher and this is one of the beautiful pieces of her art that she shared with the group for ideas and inspiration.

For some annoying and frustrating reason the photo wants to load sideways but the quality of her work shines through.

This morning I'm thinking about what goes into making a class memorable.  Certainly, the subject matter but, more so, who is teaching the subject.  Roxanne is such a good teacher.  Very down to earth, sharing, caring and encouraging and in an art class attended, primarily, by middle aged women I think "encouragement" in BIG doses is what is called for the most.   When you add friends, food, a lovely work space, a love of nature, lots of great materials to work have not only taught someone something new but added to their bank of great memories.

Roxanne started the class with a warm up exercise!  Each student was encourage to select ten objects from a pile of natural materials, which included leaves, flowers, sticks, moss, pine cones, paper and more, and use those pieces to create "table top" art in pleasing arrangement.  Here are a few examples of what the class created, remember there were nine other creations I did not get photographed.

At the end of the class each student displayed her completed art work, and works in progress, on a table for all to admire.

The work, the artists/students and the teacher.....what an awesome day!  But wait, there was more....

after class, those who were able to, went out to dinner together...friendships formed and bonds built.

So, to Roxanne and all of my fellow classmates.....THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES!  You are an awesome group!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Inspiration is coming from every where!

I am preparing to take a workshop from Southern Oregon artist, Roxanne Evans Stout this Saturday.

An article in Somerset Studio's magazine is where I first became aware of Roxanne, she and Seth Apter had done a collaboration on a project and the idea completely intrigued me.  Later, I would see her work in Seth's book and started to follow her blog.

Last year, she offered a nature journaling class and I immediately signed up.  This is one piece I did in class.

After the class was finished, I wanted to learn more from Roxanne.  So, I invited her to teach at the Woodburn Art Center where I am a member and, just happen to be one of the class coordinators.  She accepted!  Come Saturday, March 22...a mere four days from now I, and thirteen others, will spend a wonderful day experiencing more of Roxanne's gentle perspective on nature and how to capture it in art journaling.

For months, now, I have had a basket that I've been dropping things into that I thought I might want to use for this class.   Today, I'm trying to winnow it down a bit.  In the process, I found things I had forgotten I had which lead to digging out something else I thought would go with that item.

As a result.....I think I've added more stuff is in very tidy order!!!

Since it is a Nature journal, I'm digging out the flowers and the leaves I've been drying all winter.

I love "holey" leaves and clusters of leaves.  On my dog walking adventures in the park, I find lots of feathers and acorns and other interesting twigs and moss.  I only dried a few flowers but I do have a few hydrangeas and tiny rosy blossoms dried.

I am bringing some of the paper and the fabric that I ecco-dyed with leaves and flowers last fall.  I threw in some ribbon, lace, buttons, rubber stamps, hand-made paper, rubber stamps, rice get the idea. 

While I had thing spread out on my work table I could not resist playing with them, so I had to do little arranging.....then I ironed out some of the wrinkles, literally!

More play....with ecco dyed fabric which I didn't like a first because I'm not a big fan of "pink"!  However, when you add some orangey salmon color and a little blue....not too bad!

Time to quit playing and start packing.  I'll share some finished product next week!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Second graders and drawing, not at the same time!

Had the pleasure of watching/hearing my Great Granddaughter's second grade class perform in concert last night.  Kids are so entertaining!  Some are so serious and some could care less and there is a clown in every class.


Here we are...four generations!  Me, on the right, my daughter Leigh,  her daughter Staci and Staci's two daughter's, Emma and Lucy!  We topped the evening off with Baskin-Robbins ice cream!  Fun!

I am taking a drawing class from an excellent teacher, Lori Wallace-Lloyd at the art center in Newberg. Every drawing class starts with spheres, this class was no exception.  I have not done much drawing with charcoal in's fun but is taking getting use to.  Here are some sample practice pieces I've done at home.

What do rocks, sea shells, and globes have in common?  They are all spheres and ripe for practice!