Quilt Group at Kate’s


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I first knew Kate Speckman as an artist.  Some years ago I bought a small black and white clay house she made, and sent it to a friend in Italy.  Then I knew Kate as an energetic events manager, a talented and organized volunteer arts administrator, a quilter, a friend.  In 2011 we co-curated a quilt show here in Salem called “Bits & Pieces” featuring innovative quilting from our region.  This year Kate invited me to join a new quilt group forming and I have loved this group of women of different ages, backgrounds, interests and…work.  This past week we met at Kate’s house…

kate house


Kate has chickens, big dogs, and grown-up sons…one who left home making room for Kate’s new sewing room….a very cool DIY project…three bookshelves from IKEA and a table top from their bargain room…

eggs 2chickens2 big dogs

Out of the basement, into the LIGHT!


she made her own giant ironing board out of industrial shelving, plywood and lots of padding…

ironing station


ornamentsfabric 2fabric 1chicken wire

She adapted the cross quilt pattern and made her own version…

cross quilt

cross detail

I loved this double fabric binding technique….

cool binding

and she even shared the tutorial for it that a friend gave her…

binding tutortial

The Frieda quilt is all done…

Frieda quilt detailFrieda Quilt detail B

the happy quilt is almost done…

Happy quilt

and she’s part way through her own version of the wedding quilt pattern LeeAnn and I made in 2012…

Kate's cool quilt

Kate's cool quilt detail

we had a great time…ideas and projects shared, once again…see you in November!


Kristin Kuhns at the Salem Public Library


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The Salem Public Library Foundation has raised the money for improvements to and enlargement of the Children’s Room at the Library (thank you donors!).  The project is underway at the library right now, with hopes to have it ready and open this December.  As part of the project, the Foundation asked Salem sculptor Kristin Kuhns to fabricate two entry-way installations that would invite the young patrons into the Children’s Room.  I described her process, and showed her initial designs and work about a year ago here, but it seemed like it might be a good time for an update, so I spent a pleasant hour over in Kristin’s studio the other day hearing about and SEEING the progress.  It’s going to be very exciting, and beautiful.  Here’s an update:

Here are the spaces and the original concept drawings Kristin made…

ground floor stair

concept downstairs

U[stairs sp[ace

upstairs concept

Though the concept and the end result will be delightful, whimsical, alluring to the eye, make no mistake:  this is work, and work of a kind I can barely relate to…and she’s good at it…templates must be made for the bases, for instance…

templaye 2


template 3

Lots of math is involved (not my strong suit, but I CAN photograph math…and I do remember Tyko saying “measure twice, cut once”…)

math 2

the trees (from Zena Forest Products) are cut and drying, but you can’t just slap them up…the installation has to be closely designed and fabricated so the piece can be a really permanent installation…

studio 5

studio 1

studio 3

studio 2


but the real delight are all the “critters” taking shape right now in the studio…Bisque fired most of them, waiting to be painted…



little owl

bear detail



she has gotten fond of some of them for sure….


the foxes


every aspect of this project interests and and delights the artist, which will make for a wonderful end result…keep your eyes peeled and watch the progress…  And here’s what Kristin Kuhns has said about working on this project…

“The process ISN’T like starting at one edge of a canvas and finishing as you go…The truth here is that the whole thing is wide and lumbering, coming together in some awkward tittering balance.  I interject my hands to continually re-balance the piece…fondly and actively cajoling these varied components into a single entity.”






Barry Pelzner, Katherine Ace, Anna Fidler


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The lost is found…in this case photos.  Saturday, after listening to George speak at Augen Gallery, we went next door to the Froelick Gallery to see Barry Pelzner’s knockout pieces…ball point pen on a good piece of paper:  dense, visceral, wonderful…simple and complex together.

Pelzner 3

Pelzner 3a

Katherine Ace uses pattern and texture to great advantage…

Ace 1

…and then around the corner to Charles A. Hartman Fine Art to see the elegant lines and colors of Anna Fidler…

Fidler 2

and THEN we headed south to Sara’s handmade house, a house she built herself, out in the country.  Besides being a beautiful house, it’s filled with beautiful things: books, art, items she loves…and next to the front door is a truck installation…possibly by Eliot, age three…


and more…


deck 2



fireplace Bartow


little bird



and then dinner by the fire…



hors d'oeuvres




and we were invited to spend the night in the guest loft…

guest room

but we sprung off home…


by the light of the moon…

moon 2

Thanks Sara!  xo








George Johanson at Augen Gallery


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You have until November 1st to visit the Augen Gallery in the DeSoto Building (716 NW Davis in Portland) to see the pure delight that a painter can take in the act of painting, and powerfully transmit that same delight to the viewer.  George Johanson’s big show includes many new paintings from this year as well as prints from this and past years.  He can REALLY draw..exuberantly.  His compositions are wonderful, his use of pattern and line is tasty.  In the middle of this painting year he had cataracts removed, and the colors blasted him almost out of the studio.  He was talking about his work this morning in the gallery so we got an early start.  The place was packed…


and George was in good form…(Phyllis was there, taking it all in…)

George 2 George 3 george 1 Phyllis

George paints in red quite a bit …

red 3

and his description of this section of one big red painting included the information that red out of the tube wasn’t really red…describing his elation at the moment he began working pink into the red in this painting…

red 1

red 2

He talked about his choice of subject matter, his various frames of reference (the deck, the pool, the river, the parade) and how he crams color and figures into each composition, often setting himself challenges to use—say—black and white AND color


But for me, what really is remarkable and lovely is his DRAWING in both paintings and prints, his use of line and pattern and juxtaposition…

blue 1

blue 2

Happy New Year

this lovely painting is of Johanson’s granddaughter Sonia, making a print in the studio (“I only helped her with the mechanics…the drawing is all hers”…)


so later at home Sonia showed us one of several prints she made…

Sonia's priint

R and George discussed various matters…



we sang Happy Birthday to Irene…


grabbed a coffee…


and we headed south to Summit and dinner at Sara’s with artists/friends…and ALL these photos are lost…alas…home by the light of the moon.

moon 1

moon 2





The Western Landscape…and a PARADE!


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When you get all the way to the west coast, you almost feel like you’ve gone a little bit back east, lots of trees, rivers, prettiness.  But you have to go through the REAL west to get to the west coast…and it is an elegant landscape in our state.  Friday, the start of a promised warm and sunny weekend, we met up with Doug and Marie in Government Camp on the slope of MT. Hood for a huckleberry milkshake, before heading on to Dufur on a very beautiful drive (take HWY. 35 north around Mt Hood, turn right on the Dufur road and head east) and ultimately to the Balch Hotel…a favorite escape spot for these two Portlanders.  The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places, and is a lovely wedding venue…

leaving Giovt Camp

Balch  last

Balch grounds

We weren’t getting married, so we quickly stowed our stuff in the two very nice rooms…each with a view of Mt. Hood…and headed out to the old grange out of town a ways, to watch the sun go down…wow.

Grange 2

There is nobody out here…the quiet was amazing…no motor sounds of any sort. (R and I were reminded of the Charles Heaney “trail” trip we took in 2004…)

Grange 1



It’s wheat country…not many trees out here…a few remaining old buildings…the “ring of fire” mountains all around you…

grange and Mt Hood

it was a sensationally beautiful moment…

grange medium

Dark was coming on…early days of hunting season and a few carloads of hunters around so we headed back to the Balch…

Balch Lobby

where dinner had been laid for us four….in the breakfast room…

dinner for 4

We turned in early, as the next day was to be busy…and we woke up to this view when we raised the shades…

Mt Hood

At breakfast we learned that it was high school homecoming weekend in Dufur, and there was a parade!!  And furthermore, the grand marshals (they departed Dufur in 1968 for Lacey, Washington) were staying at the Balch…what fun!


Here they are posing nicely (actually Doug was taking a picture of them with their own camera and I jumped in…)

Grand marshals 1

Though we had an agenda for our day, we couldn’t miss the parade, so we walked downtown…passing this relic…

Fort Dufur

and took up our places across from Kramer’s…


parade 2parade 1

and here comes the parade!

parade 3




horse aftermath

And the grand marshals!

Grand marshals in car

Candy was thrown out to the kids…(and the sheriff stopped especially to give a personal candy bar to the tall blond young lady…)

candy delivery

and then the fun part, the kids…dressed as their most favorite hero…the kindergartners got to ride…


but everybody else was on foot (and ALL nicely avoided the “oops”…)

kids 1

kids 2


thank a farmer

very fun…and after the parade we nipped into Kramer’s to grab a lunch to go…more fun.


back bar

Table Kramer'svoguecountry chic

dead animals

We got our lunches and headed to the road to “Friend”…Friend a once thriving community with a rail spur, now a ghost town…with this beautiful and obviously still loved (and used) school…

off to Friend

Friend school

Friend School D:RFriend rfoundation

Friend back in the day...

Friend class

Friend school 2

R plays

room with a view

school room FriendFriend picnic 2009

and then on to White River Falls…which had a flour mill as early as 1850, according to park host Charlie…

White Rover Falls sign

White Rover Falls

and then to Shearar Falls on the Deschutes River on Warm Springs land….where the fishing platforms are still in use…

Deschutes at Sherars falls

fishing platform 2

fishing platform3

but by NOW, we needed a coffee so tookoff to The Dalles where there was coffee, seating, and reading material…

Petit provence


little free library

and then across the river…


and on to dinner at Henny’s (sun dog reflected in restaurant window…) before yet ANOTHER art opening…

sundog in Henny's window

and finally, blissfully, home.  Get out and see this beautiful state if you can…

dusk sunflowers












Putting the Garden to Bed


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There is no doubt about it…it’s fall.  Chilly mornings, clear bright sun, a little rain…a good season here in the Northwest…BUT, time to put the garden to bed.  We’ve been weeding, pruning, tossing stuff in the garden bin like crazy…


…though in one little corner the geraniums and begonias seem blissfully unaware…


Today, very early, came the three yards of compost which, thankfully, Bill will spread on the garden after he does some more weeding…it was fun though…

driveway 1truck 1driveway 2

truck 3

porch 1porch 2

and this year we’re trying the newspaper-under-the compost to keep the horrible yellow violet-ish weeds out of the herb garden…

n3ewspaper 2

newspaper 1

newspaper 3

newspaper 4

(It reminded R of the papier mache mountains he made for his Lionel train, back in the day…)

And by the time I got home from uke class…voila!

compost gone


Just enough time to move into my new studio space… studio before

and welcome my first visitor…

studio 1

Where Art Leads You…


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Sometimes you just have to sit on your hands and let it all roll over you…in a good way.  Friday night was the Sponenburgh Lecture for 2014 at Willamette University…this time a favorite son.  Adam Stennett graduated from Willamette in 1994 and two weeks later he was in New York City seeking his fortune as an artist.  We saw 87 slides of his work and heard of a long string of studios, gallery shows and adventures.

AS title

He began with illusionistic  paintings of mice and rats (roommates)…

AS, cat and mouse

AS poppies AS , mouse on a glass

and ended with a recent and intriguing installation “performance” piece wherein he lived in a shack in a Long Island meadow for 31 days, self-sustaining, painting 14 hours a day…and soon he may repeat this here in the Willamette valley.

artist's shack

Saturday up early and off to Stevenson, Washington…a beautiful drive up the gorge…we were heading to the Stevenson Public Library to jury a public art show sponsored by the Friends of the library…(we did this same thing back in about 2004 or so, and it was no easier this time…)



Lee Kelly

library interiorIt was a daunting task…86 submissions from 47 artists.  We accepted 47 art works from 36 artists…23 of which were landscapes.  We were looking for work that was fresh and original, work that expressed a sense of place.  We discovered that most of the work we chose had a good feeling for light.  We were surprised to find only 5 figures, only 3 drawings, very little non-representational work.   Gorge artists love the landscape, and after a weekend there I am reminded why…

Monday gorge

Monday Hood


gorgeous gorge

And maybe the drive reminded us that highly colorful moments really do occur in nature…and that when you get a bunch of them together they make a statement…


Interestingly there were 5 or 6 paintings that arrived still wet…including this one which at least was so noted…we accepted this piece but think wet paint isn’t a great idea…especially from the jurors’ poinbt of view…

wet paint



Here are Andy Pate’s two faces….

Two heads

With our work all done, we headed up the gorge to our loved ones in White Salmon



TUNNEL 1tunnel 6

where the welcome mat was out…


the delicious dinner (by George—our chef de cuisine in Italy this summer)was ready and the wine was breathing…thankfully…

light at the end of the tunnel

and where we spent the next day sitting, drinking coffee, napping and doing a tiny bit of wine tasting…


black bear diner

black dot

Today was Sidney day…

SRHso we headed to Portland early to get the chicken soup pot on the stove…we all seem to have that first fall cold…

chicken soup

No art today…but TOMORROW…!?




That Tennessee Thrift Store Quilt


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As my quilting “practice” takes up more space in my life, things shift and change a little (art is still number one though…new studio coming on line in October!).  I find I really like having a “vintage” quilt to work on…off and on…and this weekend I finished up the quilt-top I got in Tennessee a couple of years ago that I’ve been hand-quilting.  I decided to post it here because I noted it was in the background of sooo many photos…since I dragged it with me everywhere…thought it might be interesting to see where it’s been…

Q just starting

Q mig

q in basket

q Sidney 2

just Q

q inroom

q with Sidney


beginning April:May

the whole thing, almost

the backing is an old sheet from Value Village…all done…on to the next…


in this case the ugly fabric challenge quilt begins to be quilted (I have until Decemeber…phew)..the orange and the black and white are Japanese Ikata cloth I got in Seattle this summer.  The swirly stuff is what Kathleen gave us in quilt group…just a tiny bit…and challenged us to make a quilt all done by December…ugly

The Wave Crest


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Last weekend we stayed at the wonderful Wave Crest in Cannon Beach, being lovers of the authentic Oregon experience, and it was fun.  When owner (Daryl)Hank Johnson was a Portlander (curator at the Washington Park Rose Garden) he often stayed at the Wave Crest, and then just up and bought it from his retiring friends in 2000.  He moved to Cannon Beach full time in 2003 and became an innkeeper.  I like the Wave Crest because, though authentically coastal Oregon (it was built in the 1920’s), it has the same feel as Wisconsin lake houses of my youth…  We were in room #6 (one of the few with it’s own bathroom)…

Wave Crest sign

Wave Crest


Room 6


the kitchen is a warm and friendly place…


and the new deck is gorgeous…


Hank built the “Tea House”…site of a recent wedding…

tea house

tea house detail

view west

checkers 3checkers 1detail 2

I found this in one of the bookcases…


On Saturday night Hank made a terrific anniversary salmon dinner for us (he doesn’t serve dinner, but does provide coffee tea and yummy pastries), Rex and Diane, and Linda and Peter…


The wave Crest has no phones, no TV, but it DOES have a piano…and is only two blocks from the beach…a beach which has THIS view…haystackdahlias celldeatil 1dahlias by candle light

(Wave Crest Inn, 4008 South Hemlock, PO Box 292, Cannon Beach, 503-436-2842…a good place for total escape…!  Think about it…)

We said goodbye to Hank Sunday morning, AFTER we all went for an authentic American Legion breakfast (no kidding, it was fab…these little crispy thin Swedish pancakes…yum)


Bye bye

and took note of the beautiful single climbing rose by the front door, a rose called “Leda” that I’m now on the lookout for…


Leda detail

As it turned out, our trip to Cannon Beach last weekend it wasn’t ONLY our anniversary weekend, but also a working trip.  R has started researching Portland painter Louis Bunce (1907-1983) in earnest, and had a chance to interview Laurel Hood of Cannon Beach.  Laurel’s Dad Ernie Hood and her late husband Jim Smith played in a jazz band called The Way Out and they played in the early 1960’s in a club called The Way Out Club under the east end of the Hawthorne Bridge in Portland. In 1961 Hood and Smith with painter Bunce made a pilot TV show with the premise that painters and poets and jazz musicians could all create together…and it contains fantastic footage of Bunce painting to the cool tunes of The Way Out.  Laurel brought along her copy and she and R watched it on TV with Laurel identifying all the players, and giving her remembrance of the band, of the scene, of Louis.  It was fascinating.  (Laurel said the club folded because they couldn’t get a liquor license and the club couldn’t financially make it on soft drinks and burgers…)

R Laurel and Louis

Louis ptg.Louis pTg 2Louis Painting 3

and when Laurel took off to work in her wine shop, R and Linda Janke sorted through a box of her family’s papers.  Her grandparents Dr. Vernon and Ruth Douglas were very involved in Salem life and the beginnings of the Salem Art Association, and her aunt Stella Douglas was an Oregon artist/painter/print maker.

R and Linda

Rex and Diane drove us up to the beautiful Ecola Park for a view where we noted there were some Portlanders around someplace

view from Ecola

a bird on it

We headed to Astoria in time to see the absolutely PACKED farmer’s market in full swing (the cruise ships were in port…) and grab some street food for lunch…

Astoria flowers

and then headed to Portland to position ourselves for Monday, now known as Sidney-Day…and this week the birthday of Sidney’s Dad.  Happy Birthday Zach.


Person-Shaped Nature…


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Lots is going on in the person-manipulated natural world today in Salem.  First a visit to Gaiety Hollow, the Lord and Schryver home garden, where a crew of volunteers were putting down newspaper mulch in an effort to tame the hideous aegopodium…a nasty weed.


wet papers

on to Martha’s where Big Trees Today (I love them, they planted our dogwood) were arriving to plant four big and beautiful Katsuma trees in full fall foliage…


root balls






I had to leave…three more to go!!  By evening she’ll have a fall grove in the front garden.

Then on to the creek to see what David Craig has been up to…he’s a wit you know…

creek 1



a beautiful day to stand on the Church Street bridge…


and now off to celebrate the auspicious 45th anniversary!



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