Friday, April 29, 2011


The sculptural shapes and date palms make this painting look like a travel poster from the 1930s. I am still working on the plants but am happy with the calm dignity of the goat. They are such wonderful creatures.

Here is the most recent version of the goat. The new plants I added grow wild in the Jordan Valley and I am working from photos taken by the some of the women in the photography workshop we did there.

My wild flower guide book says the plant is Calotropis procera and it grows in tropical and central Africa but I found them as roadside weeds in the farms of Dead Sea. They can grow to fifteen feet tall. They are also known as Apple of Sodom, which is appropriate for the region where I found them. In Arabic they are called "ashir". I have noticed them before with their poisonous grapefruit-like fruit later in the season and would like to try using the sap as a glue or pigment binder. I like how the leaves are similar in shape to the ears of the goat.

I can't decide if I like the palm tree or if I shall change it into a procera too. Trees are so hard for me!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Animals in Jordan

I loved all the goat herds wandering the hills of Jordan. This family are my favourite colour to paint - white!

What wonderful faces they have - and ears which I suppose may help to keep them cool.

A sleepy donkey waits for a customer in Petra.

Petra is also home to many working Arabian horses and the Brook Horse Hospital that ensures they are well cared for. This horse got away from it's owner and enjoyed a spirited gallop for about ten minutes. It was beautiful to watch.

Another gorgeous white animal. There may be a painting waiting in this one.

Baby camel and it's mum.

I love this picture.

So many camels.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Plants in Jordan

I didn't take many pictures of the plants in Jordan but here is one of my friends and me standing in front of some bouganvillia. It must need very little water to grow as it hardly ever rains in the Jordan Valley.

Geraniums are grown in olive oil cans just like in Greece. These were odd because they were soy oil. I wonder where the soy is grown.
This is a date palm flower. 

I was warned not to get the sap of this plant in my eyes. 

This is the tree outside the Women's Society building. In Arabic it is called something like "dom" and the berries are edible though pasty and bland.

After I taught some botanical illustration we cut a stencil from recycled x ray plastic and stenciled it with mud.

Here is the result!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

A Crazy Fun Time Teaching Art

I just got back from Jordan where I organized two weeks of art workshops with the women of Safi Crafts Women's Society. We tried silk screen printing which was a disaster. Our light sensitive screens fried in the intense sun of the Jordan Valley. Stenciling and mud dyeing were much more successful and fun. I taught digital photography, botanical illustraion and drawing both from life and from photographs that we took.

What a crazy and wonderful time. I am having a hard time coming back down to earth. The snow here in Seattle yesterday didn't help!

Fatmeh holds a stencil cut from recylced x ray plastic.

Here are the mud dyed bags we made. We used tea and iron to get the grey.

You can read about the project at our new web site.