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The Zen of Nigel

August 15, 2015

sleeping nigel

This morning Nigel happened to be stretched across the back of the couch, sleeping on Dave’s shorts. I wanted to do something to capture his zen happiness. The sketchbook was downstairs along with all my tools but the ipad was already in my grasp. So I went with it. Happy cat and a very quick sketch using my fingertips on the screen. He didn’t remain there for long.

The baby bunnies have left the nest. I saw one out hopping around this morning. Moby saw it too, but couldn’t catch it! Boy, they sure grow up fast!

Rabbit Friday

August 14, 2015

baby bunny

Can you see me?


This morning I went to check the new brood of baby bunnies. Every 6 weeks or so, we have new guys hopping around the yard. Certainly not a shortage of bunnies this year, in fact we have an overabundance. The nest location remained a mystery until Tuesday. That was the day I decided to reclaim the second half of our garden space from the blackberry brambles. Both dogs (we’re taking care of Ms Maggie right now) were in helping out and Moby discovered the nest. It was situated in the garden box where the soil was shifting away from the walls, covered with loads of grass. Unfortunately, he grabbed one and there was no way for me to save it. Urgh!  After that fiasco, I kicked both dogs out of the space and covered the remaining buns under the grass. Mom continues feeding the little guys because they were still there this morning, getting bigger, ears lifting more and eyes opening.  The above photo is of the larger, who happened to come out of the nest (and I had to shove it back inside). This is the second time I’ve had to handle them and (fingers crossed) momma bunny hasn’t cared. The little white blaze will disappear as an adult. These are the cottontail rabbits and can weigh up to 54 ounces when fully grown. Our cat brought in a juvenile that weighed close to 2.5 lb. I suspect our adults weigh close to 3 pounds.

Fourth day of cutting on the piece. So far my hands are holding up.

Fourth day of cutting on the piece. So far my hands are holding up.

A little more progress has been made, but not much, on the cell cutting. It takes forever to get rows cut. So far my fingers are holding up, but I’m not pushing things hard. That’s part of the reason it’s going so slowly. I’ll get through another couple of rows today before heading to the coast. They say we’ll be having rain, but I’m still doubtful. Fortunately, the weather has cooled quite a bit. It’s nice to be back in the mid 80’s again.

Cell count

August 10, 2015


What have I set myself into now? Cutting plant cell structures isn’t a thrilling subject, but I’m hoping the outcome will look interesting. Boring work and I blow through loads of blades. I’m only working on the first row of three. Once completed I’ll shift to cells decay. Maybe the two sheets will be layered, but I’m not certain right now. My brain really isn’t focusing well these days so we’ll see how far this project progresses. The October 1 deadline is looming….

Quiet and warmish

July 30, 2015


I’ve been a bit quiet on the blog front. My art energy has been missing since working on Karen’s book. Anna’s book rests on my desk, awaiting pencil and other tools. It will get attention, but I’m still trying to regroup my brain. July has been a purging month. Quite a few items have left our home/garage, helping to make space for work (and possibly art!). The biggie was finding a home for the giant mural from the Camas Project last year. 7 full door panels, collage, pastel, charcoal, and paint. About 19 feet long. Today I pulled out a full sheet of Rives BFK, split it and started cutting cells. I’ll talk about it more as things progress.

Testing the camas sculptures in high temps at home.

Testing the camas sculptures in high temps at home.

We’re in yet another major heat wave, reaching possibly our highest temps of the summer thus far. It’s already moving beyond 104F (yes, 40C!) at 4:30pm. I now have 3 of the camas sculptures outside to see how they fair in different weather conditions. Today they are rather glossy, since encaustic wax DOES melt. By tomorrow, they will be firmed up again and ready to take on yet another brutal heat testing day. Personally, I feel like a melting Popsicle right now! Did I mention we don’t have AC at home? I’ve never had it, not even growing up. Tonight I’ll be putting the cars AC to work on the way up to Portland and the Guardino Gallery. A friend, Diane Archer, is one of the featured artists along with ceramic artist Michelle Gallagher. I met Diane many years ago during my time with Corvallis Fall Festival. She creates fabulous work and I think she is one amazing woman! Always a treat to see! So, if you’re in Portland, swing by the gallery. It’s over in the Alberta district and features some incredible work.

I’ll try to get back into the swing of posting again as this new project progresses!

Urgh, I checked the temp and we’re at 105! At this rate, we might reach 107!


Patterns in Nature – Forests

July 9, 2015

book cover_KarenBaileyBook

I can finally reveal Karen Bailey’s book at this time! It’s a subject that really grabbed me from the start, since I do a bit of forest work already, but had the most difficult time figuring out what to contribute. Basically, too many ideas! Above is the outer cover of the book created by Karen. The cover was hand-colored and she added the beautiful designs.

front page_KarenBaileybook

The first page now holds 3 artist’s work. Karen created the whimsical fiddle heads in the lower left corner and Anna the elegant leaf and flower cluster. The salamander was my contribution.

karen bailey_KarenBaileybook

Karen’s spread is of a liverwort (no, not liverwurst!). I love all the undulating edges and negative space. I tried to explain what a liverwort was to my husband and said “you know, a Bryophyte”. Then I second guessed the terminology. Was it really a bryophyte, or is that a term for something else? I googled it and I was actually correct. Sometimes those scientific names actually stick in the brain, not that they’re of much use anymore.

anna warren_KarenBailey book

Anna created a beautiful graphite drawing of wavy shelf fungus. So delicate and a strong image.

gale everett_karens book

I added a watercolor of a plant that shows up in disturbed soils. Scouler’s Corydalis had lovely elliptical leaves.

joint spread_KarenBaileybook

The joint spread starts with Karen’s fern in the lower left corner. Anna created the beautiful red seedpods. I added my rendition of the seedpods on a stalk of Fox Glove (Digitalis). Now it’s up to Cathe to finish off the page!

back page_KarenBaileyBook

And finally the back page where we add our comments!

Anna’s book  has been waiting patiently in the studio while Karen’s book received it’s last touches. Once I send the Forest book off, I’ll finally open the last book! Something fun to look forward to tomorrow.


To see the work of the other three artists please click the links below. I linked the start of each book created. You can figure the rest out on your own. :)

Karen Bailey- Karen Bailey Studio (Occasional Artist) – Australia (VIC)

Anna Warren- Anna Warren Portfolio – Australia (NSW)

Cathe Jacobi- Amaryllis Log – USA (Minnesota)

Digitalis Seedpods

July 8, 2015

digitalis seedpods

Oh so close! The final drawing is coming together. Yes, I’m ashamed to say I’m still working on Karen’s book. Things in life have piled up causing artistic momentum to falter. Mini vacation, family crap, more family crap and more stuff that clouded my brain. At least I’m not in an arm brace after a jarring rock encounter in the kayak. It bruised the heck out of the bone. Pain and limited movement for about 12 hours, then it settled down. But no resting the giant goose egg on any surface! Yowza! The next outing will be much better and NOT involve the dog. Unless we take the canoe…. and that would bring up a whole new kettle of worm to deal with.

Gale Kayak


The book should leave the house tomorrow morning to Minnesota and Cathe’s waiting hands! I’ll post the final images at that time.


Sally Mander

July 1, 2015

sally mandersalamander2_galeeverettSlowly the front page of Karen’s book is coming together. It’s been another crazy couple of days and I’m just sitting down for a little sketch time. So far I’ve laid out the salamander body. Why a salamander? I have no idea, but it just seemed like a fun forest critter to add. It did become rather large, but I can’t go backwards now. This is a long toed variety. They have a lovely green pattern that runs from between the eyes to the tip of the tail. The body color is dark, shiny, with flecks of the same spotting on it’s sides. I really love the patterns down their back. It also surprises me at how their body gets creases and folds as they walk. These little guys live underground throughout our valley and into the mountains.

I should make my way through this image today. Tomorrow I’ll finish off the other joint page. The studio is so enviting these days since the temperature is about 15-20 degrees cooler than outside. Yes, the heatwave continues….

graphite, watercolor, colored pencil




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