Skip to content

Eclipse and Smoke 2017

September 5, 2017

I’m back after a 4+ month break from blogging. It’s been a busy summer for things around the house, but nothing on the art front.

August Eclipse photos below:

Eclipse party

Hanging out in the driveway for the eclipse viewing. Left to Right: Kim, Dave, neighbor/friend Gail, Jeff

Eclipse excitement-2

Safety glasses on and enjoying the show pre-totality. Kim, Gail, Jeff, Gale & Me Me.

Eclipse crescents

Crescent shadows appeared everywhere!

meme and crescents-2

Me Me with the crescent shadows

eclipse totality

without filters, totality didn’t look spectacular on camera, but it certainly went dark!

August: We had a spectacular viewing of the Eclipse in Oregon. I never quite grasped how amazing totality could be until actually being in the direct path. The weather even cooperated!  State and local officials were totally geared up for absolute disaster. They expected the roads to be full of people, gas and food shortages, everything sold out for those in the pathway, but that only happened in a few areas. Those who traveled to Madras/Prineville were certainly greeted with long lines, no gas or food available. Here in the valley some places briefly ran out of gas on Thursday, but the roads remained open and free from mass congestion. The real traffic snafu took place after the event. I-5 was a mess. Even the smaller highways were congested. Two family members who traveled to Albany on Sunday took almost twice as long to get home, 2 hours rather than 1 hour (50 miles south).



looking south from our back deck

September: Wildfires are the main topic in Oregon. This morning the Eagle Creek fire (man made) jumped the Columbia Gorge (via embers) and touched off the Washington State side. Portland and the Willamette Valley are under a blanket of thick smoke. Ash is falling in the Portland area. At my home we have air pollution in the unhealthy/hazardous zone. I’m scheduling life indoors with air conditioner/cleaner for the next several days (similar to the past numerous days and weeks). I look out the studio window and see smoke everywhere. Breathing outside is similar to being caught in a campfire smoke plume, but one you can’t escape. I really feel bad for all the fire crews and property owners caught in the fire paths,  not to mention the wildlife and environmental damage that’s occurring. Yes, wildfires are part of the game plan here in the Pacific Northwest. Many tree species wouldn’t exist without the high temperatures of fire to open cones. It clears away brush and allows for new growth of everything. However, this season is more harsh than ever.  The last significant rain was way back in June.


looking east into the smokey haze

It will be interesting to see how the next several days go. Will mother nature settle down and allow for containment of more fires? Will the rain come as expected on Thursday?  Will it help or hinder the situation? I’ll try to get back into a regular schedule for posting and possible art ideas emerging.

Happy September to you all. Be safe out there!


Cradle Adjustments

May 18, 2017


Making adjustments wasn’t quite part of my grand scheme of mounting prints. But when your prints aren’t exactly 6″x 6″, one has to do a little fudging.

Last week I put in an order for more unfinished cradles to mount prints. The edges get painted black and everything receives a protective UV coating. I’ve pulled out a few popular blocks and started printing using Caligo waterbased oil ink. One of the blocks I thought was 6×6, only to discover it was about 5.5″ x 5.5″. The only way to correct the problem was to bevel the cradle edge on the table saw. So far, so good! Now it’s time for a few layers of white gesso before the print addition.

I was hoping to be driving to California tomorrow to help celebrate Dave’s birthday. He has always wanted to go ride roller coasters and it seemed like the perfect surprise trip. Unfortunately, my back is still having major problems from last weekends dog trial in Washington State. Who knew 5 hours of driving would make so much trouble?! So, it looks like I won’t be doing any major travel anytime soon via air or car!  😦 Maybe, with a little luck, we can get out to Yachats. We shall see…

On the upside, Moby passed two out of three scents (anise and clove). Hazel passed the last one, clove. It will still be a while before getting Hazel on a trial since she hasn’t been interested in work. Moby will also have to wait for additional training to address his aggression issues and passing the birch scent.


Looking Nifty

May 5, 2017

SaffronFern_towel basket_1

SaffronFern_towel basket2

A basket of finished towels! Not a bad site to behold. They still need one good washing before a hot iron and packaging of some sort. The jury is still out on which towel is the best. I’ll let consumers be the best judge.

Why did I choose these two colors? The blue and orange-yellow? It actually has to do with my grandmother. She was an artist who dabbled in many areas. One was copper enameling. Recently, I found some sweet 1 inch test squares she created (pictured below). I’ve had theses squares running around on my desktop and they were the inspiration to kick off this new project. I certainly didn’t match the blue and orange correctly, but it felt good enough for the first round.

color squares_1

Pushing forward with something

May 3, 2017

Today was the first WARM day here in the Willamette Valley. We hit 80F (26.6C)! Our spring has been overly wet and grey. Some of the native trees have been about 2 weeks behind schedule. On “normal years”, the Plumeria plants move outside around April 1. This year its a month late.

Current art related projects have been slowly coming to life. I’ve branched off into creating paper templates for screen printing kitchen towels. The towels are Eco Friendly, 100% cotton, made here in the USA, well, half the batch. The second batch are bleached and hemmed in India (not very eco friendly, but very pretty). Below is a photo of the non-bleached cloth with one of the templates laying over top.



Currently, I only have 100 towels, which doesn’t sound like very much. They measure about 25″x 27″ ( 63.5 cm x 68.5 cm), a great usable kitchen size. It’s taking me over a day to design and cut the templates out of old Sommerset paper (the recycling of old prints). The templates are then used to burn an image onto a photo-emulsion coated screen. To really get things moving along will require more screens. I’m currently sourcing out new options.

In June, I’ll be participating at a one day Brownsville event. It will be the third year of the Cozy Rose Art sale. I’ll be bringing lots of towels, possibly some of the new format prints on blocks, maybe some garden silhouette work. Less than 2 months away and lots of things scheduled in between.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress forward!

Sheep Time

March 6, 2017


The deadline is approaching for submitting to the Leftover’s Print Exchange and one is finally moving forward! I’m using soft block for creating an image to speed things up. A few more tweaks and I’ll call it quits. I think!


The image is of my favorite sheep buddy named Tractor. He’s a Jacob’s Sheep, known for growing from 4-6 horns. He’s super sweet and I totally love visiting him.

Cheek Scratches

Spring-ish weather has been slowly showing it’s face. Today, we woke to an inch of snow. Rain is expected for the remaining work week.

Removing the Sculpture

February 14, 2017



All good things must come to an end, even temporary wall sculptures. Art in Rural Communities 2016-2017 was installed for 5 months in Halsey Oregon. Monday morning I removed my portion, “From the Land”, and brought it home.

Was it a success? How does one measure a success?? It’s difficult to tell from a small town. I don’t live there and have very little contact with residents. The few people I talked with REALLY loved the piece. One of the public works people wanted to purchase individual panels. He also wanted to make a template from one of the long panels in order to cut a metal duplicate (for one of the town residents). Hmmm, I did the design work and he wants to copy that design to make a duplicate for free. Not quite fair in my brain. I spent hours doing research and design for each panel and I won’t be giving anything away without fair payment. The limited funds I did receive certainly didn’t cover much when you account for research, design and fabrication (plus new machinery and supplies). This will most likely be my final entry into AIRC.  If I created less expensive work that didn’t suck the life out of me, then things might go a different direction. However, I’m an overachiever. Even with little funding I want to create work that I’m proud of and will push myself hard to achieve that level.


Winter might not be the best time to display such a project. Shorter days and nasty weather certainly puts a damper on wanting to visit outdoor art. The piece was up during some impressive winter storms and SURVIVED! Big windstorms, ice, and snow confronted the west facing wall. Damage was minor and confined to warped plywood. Additional screws, along with more paint layers, could have prevented that issue . The main cutouts were fine. Even the skinny-cut portions had no visible damage. Besides the weather, another potential destructive force were the side mirrors on the semi-trucks pulling up alongside the building. Notice the arrow pointing down on the side mirror, about 12″ from my work. I’m so amazed it didn’t get scraped off the wall by a driver! Five months and no damage! Hurray!


An ugly empty space now prevails on the long wall. Weathered outlines remind residents of what was there. The life, color & energy Bonnie and I created is gone. I feel sad for the librarian, TJ, who now has an empty view. Maybe more appreciation has been stirred for exterior public art and the difference it can make in small towns. Of course, with the new partial administration and POTUS, national funding for ANY arts could be cut from the budget (and would then have to rely completely on public support).


How aware are people of the arts in their communities? What would happen if all art was removed? What if clothing designs disappeared? Architecture? Theater? Music? Dance? Literature? Fine Arts? Life certainly wouldn’t be life without creativity and the arts. I’ve always wanted to go around town and cover everything art related with sheets to bolster awareness. Nothing beautiful like the Christo’s draping of buildings. Cover everything in grey or black. Would that wake people up to what the arts do for society? It would be an interesting experiment….

Reexamining a Technique

February 8, 2017


There is an upcoming print exchange that I’ve signed up for and the deadline approaches. What subject should I attempt? What method should I jump on? Last year I created a drypoint on copper and I wasn’t terribly happy with the end result. Do I try it again or do a traditional block print? It’s been several years since attempting the technique of drypoint on linoleum and my brain is already having issues with the final outcome. For those unfamiliar with drypoint, I’m basically scratching lines on my block (copper , lineolum, plexi). The scratches grab ink and hold on to it during the inking process. Once the plate is inked and wiped, you run it through a press with your dampened paper over the top. The paper is pressed down into the scratched plate and picks up the inky lines. So, I need to keep in mind the fact that it’s the scratches that create the darker values. The below test is the lino block on the left and the printed paper on the right. Whites are not really “white” but a light grey. I used a water based ink which won’t be my preference for the finished work. I prefer oil based even though it’s messy. The mini test indicates to me that I’m heading in the right direction. Hopefully I can make a few corrections (somehow) on the main block where mistakes have already taken place.


I’ll also start an eze-cut block to run in conjunction with this print. This technique works opposite. I’ll be removing the white zones and leaving black.  It will save additional stress on my tendons and finger joint issues. Which ever image comes out the best will be sent off for the exchange.

The final print image will be 4″ x 6″. Overall paper size limited to 5″x 7″.