Sunday, May 31, 2009

Northern CA & Oregon

I was pleased to see all of the farm land in northern CA and to know that it is not all developed with strip malls and housing developments where every house looks alike. I wonder what type of markers people use to find their homes in those type of neighborhoods. When I lived in Henderson years ago, my neighbors had painted their house blue - the only one in the neighborhood so I was always able to tell people that I lived next door to the blue house.

My favorite part of the trip so far has been the winding roads thru Mt Shasta CA. There were very few cars on the road there Thursday afternoon so I was really able to enjoy the drive. I found myself cruising into "race car driver mode" able to slide easily back and forth into the inside lane around every curve. For a short distance I was the "lead car" setting pace for the mustang behind me. Then a gold honda civic appeared and became the best pace setting lead car I have ever journeyed with. We appeared to be a team, taking the curves at 80 mph with the grace of synchronized swimmers. The breathtaking view of Mt Shasta appearing around every corner - I was elated. He led me all the way to Medford and I so wanted to thank him and tell him what a great job he did - how I enjoyed our cruise together but I guess part of the fun of the event was that he was a stranger - and would remain one - just offering a moment in time - a memory shared.

As we came out of the mountains and a short ways before Medford we passed thru the Ashland area. I've never been to Ashland and will make it a destination on my return. Perhaps it was the time of day, the sunset reflecting pale peachy pinks off of the rolling green hills or the David Grey cd playing, or the high I was on after my "race car driver" experience, but this place felt magical. The colors in the sunset - hmm - another inspiration for a new encaustic color palette.

Speaking of encaustics - I was able to connect with another encaustic artist on my journey who I found via facebook and blogging sites, Rebecca Shapiro. Her abstract acrylic painting style has evolved into encaustic painting. I love her work. Check it out here. Rebecca graciously invited me, a stranger but fellow encaustic artist, to stop in and see her studio which of course I did. A new friend - thank you Rebecca.

My destination for the day was just north of Portland in Vancouver WA to stay with Robyn and Paul. I had met Robyn when we both lived up in Snohomish county. Last year we both moved. Robyn and Paul kindly welcomed me into their home where I have been able to lounge and recover from all the driving. Simple things like a comfortable bed to sleep in and a place to do a load of laundry while visiting with a friend is a great blessing. Thank you Robyn and Paul and all of the great people I've visited with and met on the road trip north.

And now to head out again for a short journey north to see my family, starting with my gorgeous grandson, Cameron.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Leaving San Francisco

Again we start our day at "Progressive Grounds", a coffee shop around the corner from Amber's place. The back patio area is inviting and a gentle space to enjoy our coffee and discuss life and our plans for the day. Beth will head to the airport to return to Phoenix and I will drive north with Medford, OR as my destination for the day.

One of the little treasures I found at the coffee shop was this old fire hydrant hidden in the patio gardens. I am drawn to weathered and worn, rusting metals, in fences, hydrants, old cars, you name it. The patterns and colors created by the elements and time are so beautiful. This hydrant is inspiring a new palette for my next encaustic work - hmmm. Recreating weathered metals in encaustic - now that's a challenge.

I'll head north on 101 across the Golden Gate Bridge again with a stop in Novato to look up another encaustic artist, Sandy Miot. From there I'll go north around the bay and catch I5 for the long day's drive to Medford.

After a few missed turns and an extra 45 minutes of driving I find the Hamilton Art Center in Novato. I should have mapped it before leaving SF but had shut down the computer and went from memory - always a bad thing.

I met Sandy Miot in her studio where she was working with a student, Barbara. Sandy has a beautiful well lit and huge studio space in the Hamilton bldg. Her work is facinating, very dimensional with a mix of embbedded metal objects. She is also working in encaustic monotypes and we had both learned this technique from Paula Roland. I love meeting other artists and especially encaustic artists. We always learn something from each other and find so much in common. Notice the book on the table - yup - that's my friend Trish's book, "Encaustic Workshop" which can be purchased via Amazon - the link is right here on my blog page. Seems Trish and Sandy both took Paula's workshop together. Hmm - small encaustic world - I just love it!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

A Day in the City - SF

Wednesday was a day in the city. We ended up on Haight Street checking out all the little shops - mostly vintage and second hand shops. Amber was looking for vintage cowboy boots - I was looking for jeans and Beth was mostly into tops & blouses. We ended spending most of our time & money at Goodwill - go figure - always the best deal but at least we experienced the ambiance of being in the city.

Very cool architecture - lots of detail and artistic touches throughout the city. As a county chick, I felt surprisingly very comfortable in San Francisco. I loved the variety - in everything, the people, the neighborhoods, the food - amazing!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Point Reyes

Karon @ Progressive Grounds

We start our days at Progressive Grounds, a pleasant little coffee shop a block from my niece's house in Bernal Heights. On Monday we headed north west over the Golden Gate Bridge and out to Point Reyes where my niece, Amber is working at a cafe/pizza joint. We stopped at the visitor's center and drove into Inverness for more coffee and discovered the local Artist's Studio Tour was taking place. I much prefer a studio tour to shopping or even hikes out to the beach. So we got the map and made our selections and off we went, discovering a wonderful woodblock printmaker - famous in the area named Tom Killion and also a fellow encaustic artist named Paula Fava.

Its been so nice to see green landscape and water again after being in the desert for the last 7 months. The rolling hills around Point Reyes are so relaxing. Its a farming area with cows roaming the hills. They say - happy cows are from California. they looked happy to me.
Amber at Cafe Reyes

Quick Stop in Vegas

We spent our first night at my brother's place in Vegas. Wow - look at the development that has happened here. Houses everywhere! The city has spread and grown probably 3 times since I lived there 14 years ago. Since I lived in Vegas for 6 years I saw and learned that gambling was a big "looser" thing to do and haven't gambled since. Can't stand to be in the casinos so for me, this was just a place to crash for the night.

The road trip from Vegas to San Francisco is very long and quite boring. Uneventful landscape.
Seems the Atlantis landed at Edwards Air Force Base on Saturday but we must have missed it. Didn't see any additional traffic in the area or things falling from the sky. Oh well.

Probably the best part of this section of the trip was the garlic fields southeast of San Jose. Big trucks of garlic and whiffs of garlic filling the air. A dark grey cloud hovered over San Francisco as we arrived - cold and a big change from our Arizona weather.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Leaving Phoenix - Road Trip Part 1

Beth & Karon - sisters

I left Phoenix with my sister, Beth this morning we headed to Vegas (Henderson really) to see our younger brother Scott. Scott is a helicopter pilot, living part time in LA, part time in Vegas where he flies tours over the Grand Canyon. Beth and I are 14 months apart and look so much alike - right? HA! Its rare that we get to spend this time together as the last 14 years I lived in Seattle and she in Phoenix so didn't have much time together. Beth is riding with me as far as San Francisco where we will visit her oldest daughter, my niece, Amber.

Stopped in a town called Wikkiup - no Starbucks but the ice cream parlor has coffee - but it really sucks. We spotted Elvis coming out of the AM/PM in Kingman. I don't know why people live in Kingman but they do. Maybe its because Elvis is there. We did find a Starbucks in Kingman but they don't pull long shots - didn't even know what they were. Beth thought perhaps living in Seattle so long that I had NW Starbucks lingo but I arguesd the point that it was common not only to Starbucks and in fact I hadn't discovered long shots until I was in Oro Valley.

We passed thru the Joshua Tree forest and had to listen to U2 of course. Beth posed in the tree - I guess just because she could. Helps to get perspective though. Overall, it was a pretty easy drive, especially with the company of my sister and all of her good tunes from her ipod. And then we got close to the dam and the traffic completely stopped. We thought there must be an accident as we were still quite a few miles from the dam, but after an hour of stop and go traffic where people actually got out of their cars to pee at the side of the road, we finally crossed the dam but the back up seemed to be just from people slowing to cross the dam. Just didn't seem right.

I was shocked at the change in the Las Vegas area since I had lived there back in the early 90's. The housing developments alone were overwhelming. Geez it has grown. Glad I don't live there anymore. Found our brother and settled in for the night. In the morning, we're heading to San Francisco. Yippie! The road trip continues.

New Art & A Road Trip

"Primordial Spaces of Being"
Encaustic Monotype/Mixed Media on Cradled Board
10" h x 30" w

In March I took a workshop in Tucson at the Conrad Wilde Gallery with Santa Fe artist, Paula Roland to learn her technique of encaustic monotypes. I had been a printmaker ever since I discovered printmaking at UNLV back in the early 90's. I got hooked on the sound of ink rolling out on the glass and the delicate feel of paper in my hands. Then about 3 years ago after admiring the mystery of encaustic for many years, I finally took a workshop in encaustic with my now bestest girlfriend, Trish Baldwin Seggebruch and was immediately hooked on encaustics. For the past few years, I have switched back and forth working in encaustic and then going back to printmaking. Back and forth, back and forth. WELL - at Paula's class something just clicked for me and I seemed to have found my niche. I am now working directly on paper with cold hard encaustic and a heated metal plate.

I have created a series of encaustic monotype paintings, of course inspired by my relocation to the southwest. Landscapes are my love and this "Aggregate Canyons" series just flowed out of me with little effort, an accumulation of a history of memories, dreams and life experiences, always with a deep question and awareness of who I am and how do I fit into this world.

The 9 pieces in the series are loaded into my car and I am heading out on a road trip from Arizona to Seattle where I will be showing this work at Local Color in the Pike's Place Market area of town for the month of June. If you are in the area, please stop by. The opening reception is on Sat June 6th from 6-9pm.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Inspired by Nature

There are special moments of time captured sometimes with a camera, sometimes just within our memories, an image, a smell, a sound and I find that nature is the most precious and inspiring of all.

As a newcomer to the Southwest I am still in awe of these little moments in the desert, the image from my yard of the moon in an afternoon sky cropped by blooming Ocotillo where the hummingbirds eat and play and the desert blooms under the mesquite tree outside my studio door.

Perhaps its the bright orange red of the Ocotillo blooms that will show up in my artwork, perhaps the blue of the spring southwestern sky, or perhaps just the feeling of complete calmness and joy that I feel from appreciating these precious moments around me that will allow me to be connected to the muse, the higher power or the creative force when I turn on the wax and pick up a brush to begin my next artistic creation.


I have a small studio in my home dedicated to encaustic and mixed media work - a messy space where spilling wax is allowed. No carpet on the floors to worry about, plenty of light with a back door that opens to the mesquite tree and a flower garden where I often watch hummingbirds at the feeder.

I find great joy and satisfaction in teaching workshops in encaustic here. The class size is kept to 4 maximum due to space and electricity and I find that this class size allows for an intimate exchange of instruction, creative work time and personal attention and interaction. A recent workshop I held included local accomplished artists from the area; a photographer, water colorist, oil painter, and pastel artist all together in a in my studio. Its exciting when we all realize that working in the same medium with the same color palette, the finished results are all so individual and completely different from each other. The Bisbee group was excited enough about encaustics that they spoke of creating their own encaustic studio spaces. Now THAT is inspiring.

info on workshops exPRESSive Arts Studio

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Unchartered Territories

My work was recently exhibited at The Drawing Studio in Tucson in a show called "Unchartered Territories" which was supposed to challenge the artist to step out of their boundaries whether in medium, structure or content. The 2 pieces I exhibited, "Another Birthday Celebration" and "Secret & Sacred Spaces" were mixed media and encaustic which included paper, wine corks, twigs, wire mesh, & ceramic. These were some of my attempts in moving from 2d to 3d work.

"Another Birthday Celebration"

"Secret & Sacred Places"