Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving at Westwind

I had a great Thanksgiving at Westwind with the Black Mountain group.  I was able to take a walk before the big dinner and the tide was way out.  It was VERY low.  The picture above is of Cascade Head from the   Westwind Beach.  My friend Ken and I walked as far south as we safely could go and saw this keyhole through the rocks that normally close off the south end of the beach:

Until you got close, it seemed easy to walk through and go to Lincoln City, but actually it wasn't! We didn't try it, but walked as far as we could north...where the Salmon River was coming through.  It was weak because of the low tide, but still a river.  Then we headed East and eventually found the road to the lodge at Westwind...just in time for the big feast.

I meant to take pictures of the Thanksgiving Feast, but didn't.  There were 81 there, and a good time was had by all.....lots of pies!!!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Fused Glass Party

Last Friday, I treated some friends to a fused glass party at "Live, Love, Laugh" Glass in Tigard.  I did it to thank Carrie, Nancy, Jan, Patty and Judith because they helped me get my house ready for sale and get a garage sale going.

We had fun doing it, we each now have a 6" x 6" plate, and we went out for dinner after.  That is having fun with your friends.  I cannot recommend "Live, Love, Laugh" Glass highly enough.  They supplied all the materials and great instruction.  There was a lot of variety in the glass pieces we could choose from to be fused onto the clear glass plates. It was hard to decide, but I think everyone was successful.

Mine is shown above.  It has a little more color than the picture shows because the darker pieces at the bottom are iridescent green and some are a brownish color.

I'm the only one whose seen them so far because I just picked them up today.

Here's Carrie's:

It really is clear glass.  I took the picture out the window with a sheet of white paper behind.  The background scene was too distracting without the white paper.  I took all the pictures that way.  Lively design, Carrie.

Here's Nancy's:

Nancy's has a lovely scalloped edge.  She chose to have hers "slumped" which means it was put in a mold and formed into a shallow dish in a second firing.

Here's Jan's:

It looks like a party!

Here's Patty's:

Sort of like a labyrinth, and very colorful.

Here's Judith's:

Love the colors! and the edge is very pretty.

Hope you enjoyed this glass art show.  I am posting this in the travel blog instead of the Plum Gallery blog because I considered it an outing more than an art project.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Art Overload!!!

I truly don't know where to begin, but will just take this chronologically. I'm writing this on Thursday.  I went to the Freer Art Gallery on Tuesday to see one of my favorites, the Peacock Room.  It was designed for Frederick Leyland by James McNeill Whistler.  Yes, he's the same Whistler who painted his mother.  This room is an amazing work of art in and of itself.  Leyland didn't like it, though, and thought Whistler had gone too far.  That's another whole story, but it is kind of "over the top.".   However, Freer loved it and eventually bought it and moved it to his home in Detroit.  Later, it was bequeathed to the gallery as part of his gifts, and reconstructed as part of the Smithsonian.  The picture above shows just one wall of the room.

Other work by Whistler is in the Freer, and I loved it.  Some is part of the permanent exhibition and some is in a new show.  In my visit this time, I realized how often Whistler created a frame to complement his work.  I also enjoyed a special exhibit of etchings and watercolors of street scenes in London done during the time Whistler was there.  There were a lot of children in those, which made it very charming, yet I learned the children were actually poor children hanging out and trying to score food and such to take back home.  Well, it was documentary.

I saw so much else!  A highlight was a photography show of portraits, including a woman who assumed various persona and then photographed herself as a Japanese skateboarder, a lesbian in New York, etc.  It was very interesting.  I should have written down her name. I also enjoyed a show about the intersection of art and news.  I brought home a printed page with a quote on one side by a policeman who said it is easy to identify criminals and a quote on the other side of the same page by another policeman saying that it is not easy to identify criminals.  The stack of printouts was part of the display, and taking one was my contribution to the whole thing.  I also liked a newspaper that was entirely gilded and made what is a throwaway very valuable because of the gold!.

Another thing that made a big impression was a show of digital photographs by Weingarten.  They were a real breakthough, and I just ran across the show accidentally yesterday.  To give you an example, here is his portrait of Dennis Hopper:
Doing this review on line does not do it justice...the images are huge (60" x 90"), and are done in collaboration with the person they portray. The show was called "Pushing Boundaries."  I know I have not done it justice, but I try!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Ai Weiwei

Followers of this blog know that if this is coming from Washington DC, it is likely to be about art.  In DC, there are so many free museums, and they are first class!  This is coming to you from the Smithsonian, specifically, the Hirshhorn Museum which specializes in contemporary art.  The physical building is a "doughnut" and the photo above shows the interior courtyard with a piece done by Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei. 

The rooster above is part of a zodiac series done by Ai Weiwei and installed in the courtyard.  Twelve pieces are there showing the various animals of the chinese zodiac.  The rest of the Ai Weiwei exhibit is on the second floor--virtually the whole second floor--and one piece on the third floor.  I think there are also some pieces in the Sackler Museum, but I didn't see them.

I like to keep my blog entries short, but Ai Weiwei is a special case.  I went yesterday and then back today to see this show, and nothing stops me from going again. It is remarkable.  There are photographs, woodwork, a light sculpture, a snake made of backpacks of children killed in an earthquake and much, much more.  All of the work is engaging, provocative and beautifully executed.  Weiwei is known for being a dissident and the Chinese government hates and harasses him.  However, he keeps producing and speaking up.  I have so much respect.  He also takes common objects and makes them into sculptures, such as the one of chairs that I show below.  Please ignore the people...they are just viewers, not part of the sculpture.  There's also one of bicycles...specifically, bicycles called "forever."  It is all great, believe me.  

Part of the power of the show is quotes from Ai Weiwei that are posted on the walls about the work::.  The quote relating to the chairs is: 

"I make the useful become not useful; these objects combine the practical with change and illusion.  They open up a perspective so that we can have an understanding of the material or an understanding of space.  It is a basis for dealing with perception, and when you think about how people use an object, you're also using so-called knowledge in the sense that "useful" has a meaning.  The meaning is the use.  And that plays a great role in human understanding and culture."

I planned to include in this post some other art I've seen in the past couple of days (which is also good)...but it will have to wait.  My honors right now are with Ai Weiwei.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A Walk in the Fall

There is nothing quite like a walk on a Fall afternoon.  Here are Sophia and Louisa walking at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.  This was yesterday and, although it was a Monday, there was no school and no work for federal employees.  It was Columbus Day.  I am not sure I agree with the holiday, but an extra day with family is always nice.

The Gardens are known for amazing lotus and water lily blooms mid-Summer when they buzz with color, frogs, turtles and all kinds of wildlife, though they are essentially in the City.  It is part of the National Parks system.  Times are quieter least at the Gardens.

We saw a beautiful blue heron, who flew away when we tried to take a picture.  We also saw a lot of partly decomposed lotus pods and a banana plant in bloom.

As we left, we saw a doe and her fawn, who still had spots.  They hid behind grasses and we couldn't get pictures, but we have great memories.

Here's something else remarkable:  huge lily pads, just waiting for a froggy convention...and they stood still for their picture!

Monday, October 8, 2012

National Arboretum

I'm in Washington, DC, for a visit with family.   One of our favorite things to do is to go to the National Arboretum.  Yesterday we went there and we were surprised to see a wonderful orchid show.  I had never seen anything like it.  The orchids were beautifully displayed in very creative ways and there was a huge variety.  Here's Griffin and Sophia with the display done by the Smithsonian Museum in the background.  There were amateur and professional categories....this was professional.  Lots of ribbons for special types of orchids.   The judges got a workout.

In short, we saw some amazing orchids, mostly raised by members of various orchid societies in the area.   The cake in the background here is to celebrate the 65th anniversary of this particular show.  Griffin asked a guide why it wasn't dirt because the plants need dirt, not cake!   Sophia couldn't decide which was her favorite, but we all ended up favoring either big, flashy colors or tiny, subtle plants that were barely noticeable.  There was something for everyone, but hard to know what was most attractive. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Camp 18 for my Brithday

One thing I like to do to celebrate my birthday is to go to Camp 18, which is on the way to Gearhart.  What makes it especially fun is to go with artist friends and paint there.  And what makes that even better is going with special friends like Celeste, Carrie and Eileen.

The subjects to paint include a creek, a little bridge, general greenery and LOTS of old logging equipment.   We've done it several times.  The first part of the day is chattering on the drive over.  Actually, we chattered over coffee before even starting out.  When we get to Camp 18, we have breakfast in the huge dining room.  I got some great presents, including a sparkly "bachelorette" tiara.  That called for a picture, of course.  Carrie photoshopped the picture to say "sparkle" all around it and put it on Facebook..reminding me to sparkle.  The bottom part got cut off when I hijacked it from Facebook.

After the "celebration," we were treated to a watercolor demonstration by Carrie, which was great...though there was rain and she had to deal with some sprinkles on her painting.  I hope she does it again when there are more people present.  A lot of people thought it would be cancelled because of the rain.  We then painted machinery and buildings for awhile and Kathy Pugh joined us.  We hadn't seen her in some time, so that was nice.  It never did warm up, but we were warm and cozy with friends.....we had a surprise birthday cake and then came home.

What a nice day...and it wasn't even my birthday yet....that was the next day.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Smithsonian Craft Show

30th Anniversary Smithsonian Craft Show - Celebrating the Creative Spirit of America - April 19 รข€“ 22, 2012

Thursday was the first day of the "new schedule."  After walking Sophia and Griffin to school, I wen to the annual Smithsonian Craft Show.  It is a quite different than other Smithsonian shows....everything was for sale.  The prices were not as high as they could have been....considering the creativity and quality of work.  I met some great students from the Savannah College of Art and Design with some fantastic wearable art, jewelry and other creative designs.  They were so excited to have been accepted into this very competitive show.

I also enjoyed the work of Lisa and Scott Cylinder, creators of that snail brooch above.  They had a lot of birds and other small animals, made from mostly recycled materials...including pieces of musical instruments. Their website is

I also enjoyed furniture made by Tom Wessells, which were cabinets with an inlaid image on the door and then interiors reflect a luna moth on the door and a moon on the inside.  It was beautifully done inlay work.  His website is

There were also some ubelievably creative cakes...well, decorated cardboard cakes.  I had never seen anything like some of those.  One was little truffles served inside a giant crinkled paper poppy.  Really special stuff.

There was much more and I could go on and on.  It was something to remember.
Also made a quick trip to the National Museum of Art, but will have to go back.  I had to leave in time to pick up the kids from school.

Peter and Louisa are off to Edinburgh

This was actually on Wednesday, though I am posting this on Friday....just trying to do a little catch-up.  

This is Peter and Louisa on their front porch as they set out for the big adventure in Scotland.  Sophia and Griffin went to school that morning as usual.  They love their school.  I drove to the airport, which was a little adventure for me because it was in their minivan and in pouring rain.  Then, I had to get back to DC and pick up the kids from school.  All  the trips that day went well.  Of course, the one to Scotland wasn't concluded until the next day!  They have a great apartment on the Royal Mile and we've received good reports.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Washington DC Today

Space Shuttle Discovery, mounted on an airplane, being transported from Cape Canaveral to the National Air and Space Museum Annex near Dulles Airport.  The shuttle was piggy-backed on the plane and was "shown off" above the Capitol Mall and around the area today.  Louisa and I were on the 6th floor deck of the Department of Labor for this shot.  We saw three "fly bys".   The most spectacular was the one aboe, where the shuttle was flown over the Capitol Building.  Below is a shot of the actual "rig" when it was a little closer to us.

This was an incredible sight to see.  There are better pictures on the internet, but these were the "real deal" for me.  I felt very lucky to be there with Louisa who, by the way, had clocked out and was not on official duty.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Reed College---Nuclear Reactor?

In my on-going qwest to do different things in Portland, this evening I went to Reed College....specifically to see the nuclear reactor.  Yes, Reed College has a real nuclear reactor with uranium rods and all that.  I don't think I knew about it, but it seems like Howard (who loved Reed) must have told me at some point.  I couldn't take pictures, so the picture abive is a picture of a postcard we were given.  

It was very interesting, and I felt totally safe.  While there, we got 0.0 exposure to radioactivity, so that was reassuring.  They mostly do experiments to find out the basic composition of things....I mean down to the atomic cell structure.   In the world of nuclear reactors, it is very small and we learned it would be virtually impossible to have an uncontrolled reaction there.  In fact, we got a demonstration of how quickly it could be shut down in an emergency, and it was about 7 seconds!  The whole operation is very interesting, and the "blue glow" you see above was, indeed, something never to forget.  I was standing where I could see the scene portrayed.  Too complicated for me to actually comprehend....much less to explain!!!!

I also got a quick tour around the Reed campus.  The days are longer now, but not quite long enough to take pictures of the campus.  It  was getting too dark.   I went with a Meetup group called "Uniquely Portland," led by a great guy, Tom.  It was a memorable experience.   

By the way, the periodic tables have changed a lot since I was in Chemistry 101.  They have so much more information on them for each element!!!  What we know about our world is expanding....and that will continue.  The young people I met today will make sure of that!  Very inquisitive, creative and imaginative!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Port of Portland

My travels today took me on a tour of Terminal 6 at the Port of Portland.  The picture above shows shipping containers stacked four high in the yards of T-6.  We rode around the port facilities on a bus.  It was a little disappointing not to get out of the bus, but we did get to go under the huge cranes they use to unload these containers. It seems that all the cargo coming into T-6 is either in containers or is automobiles.  The Ccontainers are standardized, but each company that uses them owns their own containers and the chasses (plural of chassis) that are hooked up to truck cabs. The different colors of the containers indicate the company that owns them.

There wasn't much port activity because it was a Saturday and because no ships were coming in, but it was still very interesting.  There was a lot of security and it seems you can only see it as part of a tour.  I went with a Meetup Group called Uniquely Portland.  It was my first activity with that group.

I also made a new friend, Andy.  He and I paired up for car-pooling.  He is a young man who has just been in Portland for a few months, having moved here from Germany.  His English is great, and it was fun to have company for the ride.

Friday, March 9, 2012


Today, my travels took me to North Portland's Mississippi Avenue to see Mary's band, Succotash, and eat pizza with some friends.  The band was great, the food tasty, and the company fun.  Mary is on the right in the picture.  Her bandmates are Allison and Joe.  More information about the band can be found at

It was especially nice because today would have been Howard's 84th birthday.  With a "tear in my eye" and love in my heart, I enjoyed hearing the band sing "Good Night Irene" in honor of Mary's dad and my beloved late husband, Howard.  Lots of other good music, too, but that was special!

Mississippi Avenue is a fun neighborhood.  I saw lots of other restaurants, some nice shops, and a huge recycling center where you can take stuff you don't want and buy stuff you do--mostly for home remodeling.

Thursday, March 8, 2012


I had a big treat today when I went to see the Tony-award winning play about Mark Rothko, Red.  There are only two characters in this play---Mark Rothko and a fictional assistant, Ken.  The dialogue deals with the big issues about such as why an artist makes art, why Rothko worked big, the meaning of color, and the "life" of the painting once the artist brings it into existence. There really were more issues, but this is a blog--not an I share with you the ones I thought about on the way home.

Rothko has Portland roots because he emigrated here from Russia when he was 10.  He went to high school here and studied art at the Museum School, which is now the Pacific Northwest College of Art.  His first exhibit was at the Portland Art Museum PAM).  I give them credit for knowing his work was important, even then.  PAM has survey show going on now.  I am organizing a group for docent-led tour.  

The time frame of the play is the 60s when Rothko was working on a series (which he called murals) of paintings for the Four Seasons Restaurant in New York.  Eventually, Rothko withdrew the pieces from the restaurant and returned the commission.  

I felt privileged to see this thought-provoking play.  Although Rothko is someone I may not have wanted to know personally, I never tire of looking at (and being with) his huge confrontive, and yet also comforting, works of art.  They do seem to have their own presence.  The viewer is almost forced to interact with them rather than just looking at them.

As a performance, the play has some unique elements.  Ken actually stretches a huge canvas and he and Rothko give it a base coat of red---of course!  It was a powerful demonstration.

I'm glad I went.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Art I bought in Cuba

I had a couple of objectives on my trip to Cuba.  One was to paint a mural, which didn't actually happen...but I am OK with that.  It was to be in the artist community at Muraleando.  We did glaze some tiles that will be part of the mural eventually.  I just feel that means I have to go back!   

The other objective was to connect with Cuban artists.  That was very successful.  I bought four pieces of art from artists who I really care about and who I want to keep as friends.  Oh, and the art is very fun!

Here's a very colorful acrylic painting...with collage elements by my dear friend Nivia.  She is really a wonderful artist and we have established some e-mail communication.  I am pretty excited by that.

I also bought a "portrait" by one of our guides, Victor.  It is interesting, and he explained the allegorical implications of the woman's hat being a home on her head and the fact that leaves for hair indicate she is still growing.  There is more, but it was pretty complicated.

Yoan was one of the very special people I met.  He is a ceramicist, and helped us to glaze the tiles.  He also became a good friend and helped me with transportation of a carryon that had been filled with art supplies, Yoan made sure I always had a good seat for various presentations.  I think he particularly liked me because I brought some high quality ceramic glazes and he got to keep what we didn't use.  He also gave me a little ceramic dish, which I will write about on the Plum Gallery blog, but this is a lithograph print I bought from him.

Nivia's husband made a lineoleum print I especially liked, and so I brought it back.  I love the way the chicken uses a saddle to ride the fish!

Hope you enjoyed a little Cuban art.  I do.  It always cheers me up.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

My Trip to Cuba - Part 2

My favorite thing in Cuba was Muraleando.  It was such a great experience to see a community where "art rules."  I wanted the above photo of me with a "mood selector" in Muraleando because it is one of the few things I had seen on the internet about Muraleando.  The arrow was missing, but my mood was "amistoso"---friendly.  Muraleando is actually part of an area called Lawton---please don't ask me to explain that!   Several years ago, people started painting murals in this neighborhood to make it look more lively.  The idea caught on and thrives.  

A couple of years ago, Manolo (who is kind of the executive director of what is going on) had an idea to take an abandoned water tank in the neighborhood and clean it out and turn it into a gallery/classroom.  It is called "El Tanque."  This is a view of the structure, with the courtyard in front where there are art activities, dancing and music.

On the inside it is a gallery/classroom.  Below is a picture taken on the inside on the day that we glazed some tiles made by a previous group.  On a future trip, the tiles will be incorporated into a mural.  

I hope to return to Muraleando, and work on murals.  During the month of April, people come from all over the world to work on them.  An obelisk outside documents countries that have participated.  Countries are listed on all four sides.

If you want to see more pictures, check out my Picasa album, Trip to Cuba December 2011.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

My Trip to Cuba- Part 1

I took a trip to Cuba in December and have been so busy since I got back that I haven't been able to catch up and make posts on my travel blog.  I had no internet access during the trip.  When I came back, it was time to get ready for Christmas, then New Year's, and then the Rose Ball...all keeping me busy and in touch with people I love.  There will be more than one travel post about Cuba, because we did and saw a lot.

Now's a good time to reflect on what I saw.  I cannot forget Havana.  It was once a beautiful city, and parts of it, such as Old Havana, still are. It has a Spanish colonial style.  Very classic. This is the Capitol:

But we also saw a lot of crumbling buildings.  It was surprising to realize people were living in buildings that had already started to come down.

We visited David's friend Richard.  This was David's fifth trip to Cuba and he had met Richard on a previous trip.  To get to Richard's apartment, we had to walk up a spiral staircase without a hand rail.  The first time we did it was in the dark, so I didn't even know what it was really like.  I didn't realize that it was propped up with a two by four until we came back on another day when there was more light.  I took some pictures:

When we did get in the apartment, it was very small--I think less than 200 square feet--and very sparse. Four people live there--Richard, his wife and two children.  I got the impression that they are a fairly typical family.  Despite their challenging living conditions, they were very happy and welcoming were all the Cubans we met.

I learned that the Cubans have a great love of children and family, and they really don't seem to be concerned about material things. I noticed that there is virtually no advertising.  There are billboards, but they have mottos encouraging people to support others in their community or to value education.  Some had pictures of Fidel and quotes from him.  I got the message that humanistic concepts are valued more than things.  More later.