red rocks of sedona

May 31, 2013

I recently flew to Arizona to visit a dear friend.  Over the weekend, we explored the natural wonders of Sedona.  Our first stop was the famous landmark, Cathedral Rock.  With its towering red rock and picturesque creek,  I can see why photography enthusiasts flock to this place.

The site also attracts folks seeking a vortex experience.  Sedona boasts four major vortexes- places of concentrated and mystical energy.  Curious, my friend and I tried to find the vortex at Cathedral Rock. We were told to look for twisted juniper trees as a sign, but the nearly nude, bearded man sprawled out on the ground was a dead giveaway. 

We visited two vortex sites that day, but neither of us felt anything out of the ordinary.  Our time in historic Jerome, Arizona (known for its paranormal activities) was uneventful as well.  I'm thinking my cynicism may have interfered with some potentially incredible moments. 

On our first night in Sedona, we watched the sunset from the town's highest viewpoint. And it was truly memorable.  To the east of us, massive cliff walls lit up in an intense orange glow.  To the west, we were mesmerized by the desert sun dipping below the horizon. 

The highlight of my weekend was the West Fork Oak Creek Trail, located ten miles north of Sedona. The trail travels alongside a creek flanked by red and pink sandstone walls.  Although this was my first visit to the stunning canyon, there was a familiarity about it.  When coming upon scenes that reminded me of a recent painting, Canyon River, it became more surreal.  The painting, completed last month, had evolved from my imagination.

My friend and I stopped a few times along the way and enjoyed the warm sun and creek.  I needed the breaks to take in the gorgeous setting around me.  Although a camera can capture details, ambiance is is a little harder to convey on film.  This is why I usually paint places that I've been to. My paintings may not reflect a real moment in time, but they are a projection of a real experience. 

I haven't painted much since returning from my trip to Arizona.  Sometimes inspiration needs to marinate.  As I draw in my sketchbook and work through ideas, I look forward to seeing where these new experiences lead me artistically.  

New online store

May 25, 2013

I've launched a new online store! The shop showcases my larger paintings and my handwoven wall hangings.  Currently, I have six paintings and six weavings available for purchase.  Click here to see all the products. 

My Etsy shop will carry my art prints and my smaller original works.  For the latest listings in both online shops, follow me on Twitter

maybe it's a sign

May 16, 2013

Beach Sky, acylic and gouache on panel, 6 x 12 inches.
Still Lake, mixed media on birch panel, 10 x 10 inches. Sides have been stained and sealed.
Oceanside, mixed media on birch panel, 8 x 10 inches.

Canyon River, mixed media on panel, 12 x 16 inches.

Four new paintings of mine just arrived in London for Lilk Gallery's May show.  Three of the works are inspired by places I've visited.  Oceanside, for example, is named after a small beach town in Oregon.  Canyon River is unique from the others, because it came from my imagination rather than an experience.  I had this image in my head of a canyon with red walls and a clear river cutting through it.  It stood out to me because I usually paint scenes from the pacific northwest. 

I've been to the southwest a few times, but this imagery didn't emerge from a memory.  The colors and even the slope of the rock walls are different from the canyons I've explored.   

I created this painting before planning a trip to Arizona, so maybe it's a sign.  I am headed to Sedona, which is famously known for red rock formations.  It's also considered a very spiritual place.  My friend mentioned there are several different "vortex" sites- places where the earth's energy is greater.  I guess some folks have had some very moving experiences in these places.

I'm not sure what I think about this vortex stuff, but I don't doubt that people have spiritual encounters in nature.  When you are surrounded by grand, sweeping landscapes- and man had nothing to do with its creation- it seems only natural that one would reflect on things that transcend us.  I definitely feel closer to God when I am in nature.

warming up

May 15, 2013

I tend to use mostly blues and greens when capturing the picturesque landscapes of Oregon.  Lately,  I've been reaching for some of the warmer hues- bright reds and oranges in particular.  I'm sure a great part of this has to do with the change of seasons.  It's been unseasonably warm in Portland this month.  And with early blooms in the garden, it's hard not to be inspired by such vibrant and beautiful colors.

Neon red (i.e. Acryla Luminous Red) has been the latest rage in my studio.  I have literally smeared it onto my last two paintings.  Here's a look at my newest work entitled Cadence.

Cadence, 8 x 10 inches, mixed media on Claybord

In a few days, I'm headed out of town to visit a dear friend in Arizona and explore the red rocks of Sedona together.  I'm curious to see how a trip to the southwest will inspire my work.  I may have to expand my red paint collection when I get back! 

I plan to post a bunch of photos on here and on Instagram.  If you're familiar with the Sedona area, I'd love to get your opinion on must-see places. 

taking risks

May 9, 2013

At the end of my eighth grade year, I remember scanning a sea of paper stars on the cafeteria walls for my name.  Each star highlighted a graduating student and their talent.  There it was, my yellow star.  And under my name, it read "Super Writer."

I was disappointed. 

I wanted the star to say "Super Artist."  I felt that that was my true talent, not writing, which is more of a chore for me.  I have an older brother who is a gifted writer, and I've watched him sit at a typewriter and effortlessly craft a short story. 

It's funny how our self-perceptions as children shape our adult lives.  I still don't look at myself as this "super writer." Even writing a blog post can seem daunting.  But here I am, 548 posts later.

I know that many of you can relate to this feeling of inadequacy, and it keeps you from pursuing things in your life that bring joy and fulfillment.  This is particularly poignant in the arts arena.  So many creative years are lost because people feel that they are not a good enough writer, artist, dancer, or musician.

Honing one's craft involves taking risks.  And, often times, these risks are witnessed by others.  It's a vulnerable and scary part of the creative process, yet it can also be so exciting and rewarding.

This week, I took a risk with an art work.  I took a finished painting of a mountain scene and started squirting tubes of neon paint all over it.  My husband looked on in horror.

It was spontaneous, and I could have lost two days of work.  

But, now I have a painting I absolutely love and a little bit more courage to take the next risk that comes my way.

Symphony, 12 x 12 inches, mixed media on birch panel.

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