Thursday, September 27, 2012

History on the Farm

One of the most striking things about Local Roots Farm is the row of huge trees in the middle of the fields. They are the stumps of giant cedars, cut maybe a century ago, from which maples are growing. It's an extraordinary sight. I'm heading back to the farm today, though the farmers will be here in the city at my local farmers market! We're trading places.

You can see the notches cut into the cedar by the loggers so they could insert springboards to stand on. The picture below dates from the early 1900s. I found it in a history of the trees of West Vancouver, written by my Mum! (West Vancouver: A View Through the Trees)

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Discovering Local Roots

Two kinds of kale at Local Roots Farm in Duvall, WA. I am still experimenting with brushstrokes for these little plein air paintings. I love Van Gogh's staccato dashes but I haven't found a plein air style that really suits me yet. 

Painting in a farm field with the warm sun occasionally bursting out of the clouds was, as always, one of the most peaceful and glorious things I can think of.  

Sunday, September 23, 2012

More Tomatoes

My audio book yesterday was about Picasso. So I'm trying to paint with swagger. It feels a little disrespectful to paint the tomatoes but not the leaves. There is something uncomfortably egotistical and brutal about abstracting so much from nature as my work is usually about the gentleness of the world. But it turned out to be quite a jolly little painting. (It measures 9x12 inches)

It was painted on the roof deck of my studio in the warm sun with the sea sparkling in the distance - almost like the South of France. Next I'll be wearing a striped fisherman's shirt and being cruel to all my mistresses. 

It was a very good tomato day. My friend Sandra brought over these tomatoes. The salmon bowl was made by another friend - Tina. How delicious to have friends who make and grow beautiful things.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Have You Seen This Chipmunk?

A couple of months ago this chipmunk was kidnapped from an exhibition on Bainbridge Island. I'm posting this sad news in case its new owner is reading this and can return it to me. No questions will be asked. You could simply drop it off in the place you took it. Come home little chipmunk.


 A plein air study of the tomato plant on my roof deck. 

Picasso - as wonderful as usual. He had more red to work with than I do since all my tomatoes are still green. 

I just read "Tomatoland" by Barry Estabrook about the tomato industry in Florida. He has an article here about tracing the original wild tomato in the Chilean desert.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

September Garden

A Cardoon Artichoke.

A Zinnia.

An Echinacea.

A Sea Creature. I mean a Zinnia.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Ballard Pediatrics

I have just finished a painting for Ballard Pediatrics to commemorate the retirement of Dr. Telzrow. The painting is a landscape of Ballard and includes the pets and animals of the staff at the clinic.

Here are the dogs and cats who live with the staff. The painting is in the waiting room so I think the kids will enjoy looking at all these characters.

The painting measures twelve feet wide.

I love the backs of sunflowers.

The painting shows things that are special to Dr. Telzrow. The children's book "Make Way for Ducklings" and his Scottie dog. His fishing boat and favorite lunch restaurant are also included.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Harvest Fair

I spent Saturday at Seattle Tilth's Harvest Fair. What a glorious day of colorful vegetables, music, children and sunshine. Many farmers in this area are conscious of 'salmon safe' farming practices. I have painted Full Circle Farm and Oxbow Farm's conserved wet lands and will do some more this month. Here in Seattle we can even buy 'salmon safe' chicken eggs. 

Human carrots (organic of course) led the children's parade past my booth.

 Here I am manning (womanning) my painting booth. The tent was lent to me by artist Lisa Lamoreaux. Thanks Lisa!

Last week I spent some time with the teens at Seattle Tilth Youth Garden Works teaching botanical illustration on their urban farm. We painted veggies from the farm while we were sitting outside in the field. Such a beautiful day with such amazing young artists. I loved it.

One of the students from the painting workshop showing his friend's work at their harvest fair veggie stand. These paintings are destined to the be row markers at the farm. I wish we had had time to paint the writing as well. ( I borrowed this photo from Seattle Tilth's Facebook page. )

Monday, September 3, 2012

Happy Labor Day

My friend Johanna posing for scale in front of one of the Coit Tower murals in San Fransisco. I have just finished reading "American Made" by Nick Taylor about the New Deal and WPA during the depression in the 1930s. How amazing to have government employ artists! And what beautiful work they did. 

This is Coit Tower again.

This one is by Henry Bernstein for the East Lansing, Michigan post office. 

I like the very modern style of this one by Paul Julian but the sexy romanticization is odd. The clothing is surprisingly twenty-first century looking. It is in the post office in Fullerton, California.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Bees in My Garden

I loved the warm late summer sun yesterday and so did the bees in on my sedum plants. I feel a bee painting coming on.


I can't think about bees and art without remembering the Barberini bees in Rome.

I love these four legged Medieval bees from the Barberini Exultet Roll,  (Vatican City),  The Praise of the Bees

My friend Johanna and I had fun visiting Rob Keller and his bees (and Bob Dylan) in Napa last month.