The Fall Fix-up, Part 1


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Annually, in the fall when the geese start south, we start thinking of doing something “new” in the house.  “The Fall Fix-up” we call it.  This year the project is growing like topsy…it began with just painting the trim around the upstairs windows after they were repaired,  and then we  decided to switch rooms on the ground floor…make the dining room into the living room and vice versa…and paint the “new” living room a different color.  Tonight we are part way through the process which now involves a re-do of the sewing room, the dining room, the living room…and it’s only Tuesday…who knows what we’ll have going by Friday…?

Here’s the dining room in 1939 when the McElhinneys lived here…I guess it was Christmas as I believe Santa is hovering in the background?

dining room 1939…and here’s the room in 1982 after we removed paneling, swept up, and just lived with it for a year (as a college teacher R could only do projects in the summer…)…

dining room 1982In 1984 we painted the room mauve (…well, I don’t know, it was the 1980’s?)

dining room 1984

but as you can imagine, buy the 90’s we were done with Mauve.  We painted the room a nice latte color and I painted a white grid-like arbor (…I had a restaurant called the Arbor…?…I saw it in a magazine??…)

Dining room with grid

But this morning the grid was on the way out as part of the transition…the table goes to Z&A, the loveseat (R’s grandmother’s) …we don’t know.

dining room last night

The painters arrived at 8 a.m. (obvously NOT retired)…what FUN!!

dinins room ceiling

they painted the ceiling first, reminding R of painting it himself in 1984 …

R paints the diing room, 1984

It involved doors…

dining rooom door kisses

dining room doors

dining room door as a movie star

color choices…

dining room color

we picked “porpoise” figuring that with 4 doors, 3 big windows, a fireplace and a built in china closet, the wall space was limited…and then they started “cutting”

dining room still cutting

dining room, cutting

the grid recedes…

dining rooom, oops

DR:LR Transition 4

and then finally the last stroke…the “twee” is gone!

DR:LR transition 1

DR:LR transition 3

One more coat, then the woodwork…they’ll be done tomorrow.  The rug will go to the “new” dining room…

DR:LR transition 5

DR:LR transition 6

to be continued…






















































































































Cleaning Out the Flat-File


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The painters are coming in November to paint the woodwork upstairs…which means I have to move the flat-file.  Oh “ye gods” as my Mama used to say.  It’s a mess back there…

the mess in the corner

Some paintings on paper, some just plain blank paper, but MOSTLY…drawings.  And most of them are life-drawings.  I was thinking of going to a life class again, but maybe I have enough…really though it starts with a few from high school…1958…


a self portrait from that time…maybe about 1962…

self portrait 1957

but LOTS from the 1970’s.  I had a drawing show in 1976 at Willamette, and just kept on going…starting with my family…

Zach and Chip

the young professor

the graduate student

the young professor 2

Shaving 2

R-thoise glasses

My cousin Irene

J & Z


…my friends

Steve and Linda




…my friends who were also models, like the amazing Audra who I drew over and over again…she of the many “costumes”…

Audra watercolor

Audra box

Audra 10

Audra 1

Audra 2

Audra 3

Audra 5

Audra 6

Audra 8

Audra 7

and Sandy, a beautiful young woman who I LOVED making into a hag…




Joann 1977

Joann 3

Joann 2

Ruth and Paula

and then the models…

sink lady 2

sink lady 1





2 girls at Carol's

bird girl

Doug the theater guy

frowning guy 2

frowning guy 1

blond guy

wonky girl

headpiece girl 2

head piece girl 1


Siskind 2


…some of the London drawings…

Muswell hill 2

England "Alone..."

England fan

bedroom window Muswell Hill


an English nymph

"Time Passeth Away LIKE A SHADOW"

“Time passeth away like a shadow…”



Harry Widman


The Portland painter Harry Widman died last night after a long fight against Alzheimer’s.  He was surrounded by his family and friends, and at home.

We met Harry and Mardy in 2008, when Roger Hull began to write Harry’s story and curate a show of his work that opened at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art in 2009.  The warmth and friendship extended to us by Mardy and Harry made the project easier and more fun…and a visit to Harry’s studio was ALWAYS a treat… R&H beach

R&H studio

Harry explaining

R listening

"paiinted heads

R, M, H at the museum

Harry explaining 2

Goodbye friend…



Art in Portlandia: October


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We “scampered up” (as Harriet J. Connor used to say) to Portland Monday to see SRH and continue our training for a street Band…

yambourine man

and for me to get to play with his toys…

stackcamping tripkinky boots

but we worked in a nice visit with George and Phyllis where we saw the big version of Johanson’s  painting…recently back from Seattle…”Mirrored Porch”, 1984,

Mirrored Porch, 1984

and this is of particular interest to us as we have a small version of this painting that George made for R…2007…

R's George

we talked about Louis Bunce (this was a “research call”) and they shared some photos of Louis including this one with Doll Gardner, Louis, George and Milton Wilson…

Doll, Louie, George, Milton

more jazz

Louis painting to jazz…Jim Smith’s group “The Way out”

L jazz

and, well, fun…

on his head

Tuesday we headed into a full art day running some books by Blackfish Gallery where Carol Benson and husband Michael Knutson are showing together…nice vibrant show…

Benson 1Benson 2Benson 3

Knutson 3

Knutson 2Knutson 1

across the street to Upfor where I kinda loved these oddly nice paintings by Ralph Pugay…

Pugay "Violent Reaction" detail

detail "Violent Reaction""Frying Butterflies"

and then to PDX to see the VERY nice Storm Tharp show…here was R’s Favorite…

Tharp 3

and mine…


Jane Beebee said ROSE COTTAGE refers to Tharp’s favorite Joan Mitchell  painting called “Rose Cottage”, 1953…here it is, for just an art historical moment…

Mitchell, 1953

by now though, we needed a break and a tuna sandwich before going on to the museum…

Sweetie babies


The big show at the museum now is selections from the Arlene and Harold Schnitzer Collection…

The schnitzers

and though various of our correspondents were under-whelmed by the show, we liked it.    First highlight a painting George had shown us in the show catalog the night before and the photo just seemed sooo dark…and the painting isn’t…(Geoge on the left in the eyeshade, Louis Bunce in the dark jacket, then Mike Russo, Jack McLarty, Sally Haley, Don Normark, and Phyllis on the right in profile…)

George family

the docent was telling his group “and he’s still painting”… true enough…

docent George

and then other work by “friends”…Henk Pander’s portrait of Arlene…


a nice James Lee Hansen sculpture…


LOTS of Louis Bunce pieces…

Bunce 1 Bunce chacoal:oil

Bunce 2Bunce 2 detail

Other things of interest included this nice big Katherine Ace…

Katherine Ace

Rick Bartow


…and I was delighted to see the Bay Area artist Squeak Carnwath’s painting…

Squeak 1

“Will or Won’t”

will or won't

since I’ve been sending these cards out for years…

Squeak cards

I was also particularly taken with these two Morris Graves paintings…the first is the catalog cover for the show and is way more vibrant in life than in my not too good photo…


Graves 1

Next Stop the really beautiful Blue Sky photo show.  Blue Sky Gallery opened 40 years ago and we were members right away.  Membership cards in the early years were spatulas, collapsible cups, and so on.  We have ALWAYS been big fans and members and were delighted with the show.  Go see it…lots of nice photos from “away”…but LOTS of nice photos made right here by Oregon photographers.

Blue Sky

or my iPhone panorama version (I’ve been “playing” with panorama)


FAVES:…Winston Link, there’s just SOOOO much going on in this photo, transportation wise…


and then this Abelardo Morell photo from his giant pinhole series that still knocks me out…


By now our energy was waning but we managed to get upstairs to see the newly hung and augmented room of Charles Heaney paintings (the museum owns 376, I noted on the label)…

Heaney 1

White store

but wait…what about this early Johanson?

early Johanson

and what about these gorgeous beaded bags from 1900-1920???

bag 1bag 2bag 3

Enough.  Off home.  Try to go look this month.











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


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