The joy of retirement

Summer 2017 was full of opportunities to do the things that I’ve been longing to do for decades. Retirement is a wonderful thing!  As of July 1, 2017, I can get up and get moving at my own pace and take care of things that come up as they come up. I can arrange my time to do the things I want or need to do, in the order I see fit to do them.

Gardening is a joy for me, and many days this summer were spent entirely in the yard and garden. The flowers blooming all summer were a wonderland to the senses. Along with vegetable gardening comes harvesting and cooking with the fresh garden herbs and veggies, which were plentiful this season. And the blueberries, strawberries, and plums!  There was time this year to use and preserve these wonderful commodities when they were at their peak. 

Painting is naturally high on my list of things to do, and now I am able to paint as I feel inspired. 

In September, I had a retrospective show of my watercolor paintings. It was a spur of the moment opportunity but I was able to put it together in a days’ notice. 

Minto Brown Island series

Minto Brown Island series - 2

Minto Brown Island series

I started going on twice-weekly walks at Minto Brown Island Park with a friend, to get exercise and enjoy the good weather. I took many photographs of the scenery while we walked, and from those I decided to paint a series of Minto Brown Island landscape paintings. I first did thumbnail sketches of the scenes I wanted to paint and decided that I would paint from the sketches rather than the photos, working on several paintings simultaneously and quickly to avoid getting hung up on the small details. I wanted to focus on the composition of colors and open spaces created by the land, trees, and sky. I ended up doing eight acrylic paintings over the course of only 2 weeks, all on the same size gallery wrap canvases that I ordered online in bulk quantity. These paintings went into a show at Roy John Designer Goldsmith for October-November, and they have been well received. (Three samples of this series are shown above) 

A Taste of Provence, Oil on canvas, Triptych

A Taste of Provence, Oil on canvas, Triptych

I also finished the large triptych oil painting that has been looming over me the past two years, since it was first commissioned. I totally enjoyed working on it, but with two broken wrists in one year, and the many other family obligations that took place, along with working full time, the project was limping along at a very slow pace. I wasn’t sure if the person who asked me to paint it would still want it after so long. Once I retired in July, I was able to create time for finishing the project. I decided to show it at my October-November art show. At the October opening, the couple who commissioned the work came to see it and both agreed that they still wanted to have it.  I replaced the triptych with three other paintings and delivered and hanged the commissioned triptych in the new owners living room. It’s nice to have sold this piece and know that they will have this painting to enjoy for years to come. 

During the summer months I also participated in the annual Paint the Town event, plein air painting at various locations in the vicinity, and I finished and submitted two oil paintings into the group show at the Elsinore Gallery and Framing shop, held during the month of October.  

A third art show in October was the Westminster Fine Art Festival, where I showed eight paintings. This show was a four day event and this was their 30th anniversary show. It was well attended and many wonderful works of art. 

I’m looking forward now to going to Hawaii for a vacation with my husband and visiting my son and granddaughter who live there. Hopefully I will have the time to do some painting while we are there. More on that, when I return.

Painting the summer of my life colorful

June is a very busy month, plus this is my last month working for the state of Oregon as a graphic artist, designing publications for Oregon OSHA. I am retiring at the end of June.  My first official retirement day will be July 1st !   Bon Jour et Bon Soir  to an incredible 17 plus years of working for a state department filled with wonderful, kind, and caring individuals. I’m going to miss seeing these people, and working with them everyday, but my life is so full and overflowing with other opportunities and passions that I am sure to keep as busy as I was working full-time.

My house has been neglected for a while and it definitely needs attention. I need to clear out all the accumulation of possessions, organize what I keep, and clean the cobwebs out of the corners.  I need to refinish the staircase, paint walls and update some things that have been put off. like the kitchen cabinets, the basement, and of course ~ my art studio.

Aside from my full-time job, I’m working on the World Beat Festival program, one of my annual outside graphic design projects. Also, I organize the Artists in Action booth at the festival, which is on June 24-25.  The AiA booth is set up like an art gallery for the weekend, showing the art of participating AiA members. It’s fun to be at the festival, but it’s a lot of work to set up and tear down. This year there are six AiA members and myself, which is down from previous years, but it will all come together for a nice art show.

Art show Final Friday/First Wednesday

Art show pano

I have a dozen of my paintings showing in a downtown Salem location that I hosted on Final Friday Art Walk of May and First Wednesday of June. This is a solo show of my landscape paintings in oil, acrylic, and watercolor. It’s a nice opportunity to have a room to show my art! The owners of this downtown building, the Salem Arts Building, 155 Liberty NE, offered the empty spaces to artists in order to utilize the rooms, and to draw more people in in hopes of potentially finding people to lease the rooms for their own shops or galleries.  I’m able to keep my art in the space until the room is leased. The time frame is uncertain, but for now it works great for me.

Once I make it through this month, I’ll be home free!  As much as I’m thrilled to be retiring, I’m entering a new phase of life that seems very open-ended and free, but with that comes a need for self regimentation and willful organization of time.  Being responsible for my own comings and goings may be a shock to my system at first. But…. I’m willing to give it my best.

My plans for retirement include painting, painting, and more painting.  Plus, I love to be outdoors in the garden and doing yard work, especially when the weather is good. It will be a big change from sitting for 8 hours in front of a computer, but a healthy change!  Between painting, gardening and all that house work I’ve stored up, I will be at no loss for things to keep me occupied. Then, there are all those grandkids to visit and places to go!  I will be keeping you posted.

My next solo art show will be October-November 2017 at Roy John Designer Goldsmith on Court Street in downtown Salem. I plan to have all new paintings for this end of summer show.

Paint on!


Fickel Spring: leading the way to a beautiful journey

May.  It should be a time to stroll through the park and sit in the sunshine under blue skies with puffy little white clouds floating by. Right?

Well, that would be nice. But this May has been filled with dark threatening rain clouds, downpours, chilly breezes and even snow on our last excursion to higher ground. OK. There have been a few sunny days that are suitable for working in the garden or mowing the lawn, just trying to keep up with the ever-growing weeds and grasses. But only long enough to get part of that caught up and then the showers return.

Spring. A very beautiful, but noncommittal season. Almost fickle. The whims and fancies of the day to day outlook are always uncertain and never very predictable.  Should I wear a sweater or a jacket? Should I wear sandals or boots? Should I bring my umbrella ~  heck ya! Because you never really know for sure what your going to be facing.

What does all this have to do with art? Not too much, really, but in my frame of mind at this time, I’m less likely to plan an outdoor painting excursion or go on a gallery art walk, since it might mean getting stuck in a shower or hailstorm.

The best thing about Spring is the scenery, the colorful display of flowers, the new green leaves on the trees, the light pouring down or sideways between dark clouds causing the high contrast of light and color that makes you say Ahhhhh. When that happens, I only wish I had my canvas ready to go, or at least, my camera.

As I sit here, at work, in my cubical, watching the dark looming clouds slowly nudge their way across the sky, heavy and ready to drop their water load when the time is ripe, I dream of those warm summer days, with my sun glasses on, wearing my large brimmed sun hat, feeling the bake of heat on my bare shoulders, with my flip flops flapping, carrying a satchel filled with paints and brushes looking for that perfect spot to set up my easel and begin a new landscape painting. That time will be here soon, my friend, and I will be there too!

I now look forward to my retirement years just ahead, when I can come and go as I please, to paint where and when my heart desires. If it is the Lord’s will, that is my plan. I feel that with time and expanding experience under my belt, I will be able to focus on the subjects I have always wanted to pursue with my paints. My official retirement date is July 1st – just in time for the summer sun and the landscapes that await me. I’m really happy and excited to begin this new life journey.

Upcoming art shows:

  • May 26, Final Friday Art Walk, Salem Arts Bldg., Salem, Oregon
  • June 24-25, World Beat Festival, Artists in Action booth, Salem Riverfront Park
  • October-November 2017, Roy John Designer Goldsmith, Salem, Oregon

Such are the plans of mice and men … and women

Landscape paintings by Patricia Young
at Magnus Sandwiches Feb-March 2017

You won’t believe it, but I fell and broke my wrist, … again. This time the left and I had to have surgery. In case you didn’t already know, I broke my right wrist this past July (2016). I finally got the cast off, went through six to eight weeks of physical therapy, and finally started going to the gym again and getting excited about doing something fun and adventurous and then oh – whoops — I broke my other wrist, stepping off a porch the wrong way, where there were no steps!

Luckily, I took out travel insurance for our flight to Hawaii, which was scheduled for February. And luckily we got the entire refund on the pre-paid condo as well! So, we have rescheduled our trip for next November, and Lord willing, we will go then.

I hung a selection of my landscape paintings on the 1st of February in a new eatery in Salem, Magnus Sandwiches — where they serve a variety of sandwiches as well as soups, tappis, and cocktails, wine and brews.

My paintings will be showing at this location through March.

Magnus Sandwiches is located in Salem, Oregon at 380 High Street NE, open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Sat. Stop in for lunch when you’re in the neighborhood.

Kona Red at Magnus

Kona Red, oil on canvas, at Magnus


A table in the sun, acrylic on canvas, at Magnus

Two Vineyard-scapes – both painted en plein air at Red Hawk Vineyard on separate occasions. Top: acrylic on canvas Bottom: oil on canvas

Something Red in December and more…

In December the annual Something Red art walk and exhibit was held on schedule.  I had a very busy Christmas and holiday season, plus family events, both happy and sad, with hardly any time to write on my blog post. But I’ll try to catch up in the new year.  This show gave me the inspiration to break away from the hectic routine of preparing for the holidays and other significant life events, and set my mind on a creative outlet.

I painted Field with Poppies to place in the Something Red show, and it was hung at a new restaurant in Salem, Magnus, a coctail bar and sandwich shop, for the month of December 2016. The owner there has asked me to show my paintings – about 6-8 – at the restaurant in February-March 2017.  So, although I didn’t win an award or make a sale, I have a new location to look forward to, where I can hang a solo show. Field with Poppies

Field with Poppies, acrylic on canvas



Hope you have a wonderfu new year.

… Paint, create, enjoy the beauty in life, and make the most of every moment!

November First Wednesday

My next art show will be in the month of November at a jewelry shop in downtown Salem, Dave Wilson Designer Goldsmith. If you are in Salem, Oregon the address is 216 Commercial Street NE. I will be displaying 12-14 paintings in watercolor, acrylic, and oil. Mostly “en plein air” paintings that I have done recently and over the past few years. A few of these have never been shown, and I’m still working on finishing a couple of them.

The theme I’m going with is landscapes that reflect agriculture, country living, and the harvest season, but there are several paintings that were painted in the summer and spring showing a perspective of rural or small town life. It’s always interesting to me to put a show together that captures a certain feel. A combination of places, subjects, and scenery that reflect a certain feeling and tells a story.

I hope to see you at the opening on November 2nd from 5-7!  I’m in hopes of a First Wednesday revival in downtown Salem. The more the merrier!

November Art Show at Dave Wilson Designer Goldsmith


First Wednesday, in Salem, started out as an art event, designed for artists to display their work in local retail shops, thus enticing customers to visit shops that they may not usually enter. It grew into a fun event, with an abundance or artist participants, but eventually was taken over by the commercial aspect of marketing and themes that deterred from the artists and their work. After so many years, the artists became the secondary or invisible participants of the event, and eventually the event burned out in a smolder. I think it would be great to bring the focus back to the Arts!



Life is a beach: Just roll with the punches

June, July, and August kind of slipped away without a word.  At least without a word written in my blog.  A quick dissertation of what took place in those months follows.

JUNE was a chaotic month. As in most years, I was wrapping up designing the program for the World Beat Festival and recruiting artists from Artists in Action to participate in our booth at the festival, which is always the last weekend in June. Although there were many other things going on in my personal life, including helping to care for my aging mother- and father-in-law that we moved into a care center nearby, cleaning out their house on the coast, working full time, and trying to find time to participate in the annual Paint the Town event, I just didn’t have time to write. Not to mention, there was also an unexpected, tragic death in our family that was very emotional for everyone involved. A young life was taken and the sad occurrence left many bewildered and broken-hearted. Family members from far and near gathered and consoled each other. An unfortunate event that brings people together in love and remorse. But despite the wave of unexpected and ongoing events, the AiA booth at the World Beat Festival turned out well. Many people helped with the setup, booth sitting, and dismantling afterward. We shed our daily routines, enjoyed the hot summer weather, the food, music, entertainment, art and culture.

JULY was an interesting month. A much anticipated getaway was planned for my husband, John’s birthday. We rented a room at our favorite beach spot for four days and three nights. The weather was wonderful and I brought paints and canvases in hopes of painting while we were there. We made reservations for dinner at one of our favorite coastal restaurants on John’s birthday, July 13th. My son and his wife, came over to help us celebrate the occasion. While taking a beautiful walk on the beach, I stepped over some rocks near the tide pools, planning to walk into the water and as I stepped over, a small wave of water pooled in around the rock, I lost my balance, slipped, and as it turned out I broke my right wrist. I didn’t realize it was actually broken until the next morning around 4 a.m. The ER in Newport X-rayed it and my entire forearm was put in a splint for 2 weeks, until I got a cast for the next 4 weeks, and now ~ at the end of August, I am starting Physical Therapy. Being right-handed, I haven’t been painting for two months.

Featured Artist Show at the Elsinore Gallery, August through October 2016.

AUGUST was my scheduled time to be one of the featured artists at the Elsinore Gallery in Salem, OR.
So I have eight paintings hanging in the gallery from August through October 2016. I opted to show several of my landscape oil and acrylic paintings. Thankfully, I have a large number of paintings that I can show as needed. I’m now looking forward to getting out my paints and brushes and finishing up the paintings I started in June – before my  wrist was broken.

“Life is what happens, while you’re busy making other plans.”
I try to roll with the punches and keep my hopes high.

Inspiration takes devotion

I’ve had a few opportunities over the past months to join in on the Salem Sketchers group which meets at a different location each month to draw, sketch, or illustrate the surroundings of where ever we might be that day. At the end of the session we lay out our drawings for all to see and we share with each other what we’ve created. These drawings are photographed by nearly everyone there with smart phones, and then they are posted on Facebook for the world to see. It’s a fun way to share and inspire each other.

One month we met at a local grocery store and the artists sketched everything from apples to ziti. Isles of produce, baked goods, shopping carts, light fixtures, signs, checkout stands, whatever inspired them.  Another month, we met at a local coffee shop, and the variety of inspiration, style, choice of media and individual flair is, as always, a feast for sore eyes.  

The last time I joined in, we met at a wood shop (Barnwood Naturals, LLC)  where the shop owner creates modern, stylish decor from old barn wood and other types of wood scraps. The products and designs he creates are used in many upscale establishments from New York to Singapore. It’s a small unassuming shop near the Willamette River, at the entrance to Riverfront Park and the walking bridge, in Salem. Artists spread out, both inside and outside the shop and found inspiration to draw from the most unexpected subjects.

The wonderful thing about drawing, and any form of representational art, is that you look at what is truly there – the form, the shape, the positive and negative spaces, the darks, the lights, the shadows, and your mind is transformed into seeing these shapes, colors, spaces, and values for what they are — not for what you know them to be or what your mind wants to imagine them being. A chair is totally different from one angle than it is from another angle. The shape of thing is defined by the space surrounding it.

It helps to draw frequently in oder to get a good grasp of this concept. I’m grateful to the Salem Sketchers for having these sketch meets, since it inspires me to set aside a time where and when I can devote my attention to art of drawing. I need to practice this on a daily basis. AND I’m going to start doing that, since it’s been a trial to get myself motived to paint lately. All my excuses are wound up in not having the time, the organized space, or the energy. So I’ll take those baby steps to overcome the creative blocks I’ve set up for myself. Drawing is a simple way to allow yourself the luxury of exercising your creative side. All you need is a pencil and paper!  How about a napkin? Many artists have started with a napkin drawing to inspire great works.  ( …And if I’m ever renowned like Picasso, my napkins will sell for millions.  But that’s another fantasy.)

Soon, I’ll be joining forces with Paint the Town 2016. This will give me the motivation and enthusiasm to paint en plein air once again. I’m very excited!

Time to ponder and reflect is time well-spent

Triptych - 1 - ProvenceTriptych - 2&3- ProvenceFinding the time to write my blog has been tricky lately. Sometimes life just happens. Also, I’ve been rethinking the way I approach my art blog. I’m hoping to be able to share something that is more interesting than talking about the weather –although my painting is often influenced by the weather. I’d like to find a way to inspire you with some knowledge about art that I can impart, like a recent development or discovery in my approach or technique. Something that will contribute to your painting experience and mine.


One thing I’ve been doing lately is thinking about my approach to painting and the techniques I use to get to where I’m trying to go. Life has sort of been taking me on a ride lately, that doesn’t allow much time to actually put my brush to the canvas. But in my mind, I’m often working on the next step. This is normal. One thing I’ve learned about painting over the years is that half of the process of painting is the mental visualization you put into it before you actually pick up a brush. I’m in the middle of completing a triptych oil painting I started last year, and even though the canvases are covered with paint and the image is developed, I’m still visualizing what it will look like when I’m done with it. It’s a commissioned work, so I really want the completed painting to be right! As it stands now, I feel that the image is too literal. What I mean by that is not that it looks realistic and it’s also not impressionistic, which is my aim. There are some things I like about it, and some things I’m not yet pleased with. I don’t want it to look like a cartoon, and when I look it now, that’s what it reminds me of – like the sidewalk drawings in Mary Poppins. So, I’m planning the next steps to take to turn it around, because my intention is to create an impressionistic painting. To achieve this, I plan to soften the edges and add contrasting colors throughout the open spaces with an impasto layer. By adding oranges into the blues, purples into the greens, greens into the reds, etc. I will unify the overall color scheme, adding texture and dabs of light. Some of the areas of the painting are already taking shape in that way. I think because the overall size of the work is quite large, it has forced me to cover large areas with color, too much solid color, which seems to breaks up the continuity of the impressionistic style of brush work I want to achieve.

I’m glad I took this opportunity to express my thoughts about technique and plan the next steps I need to take with my current painting. Now, when I finally have the time to get going on it again, I can approach the work with clarity and make each brush stroke count!

Winter is best served with Christmas

It’s time for Christmas, to just warm up by the firelight, with a cup of hot cocoa or glass of red wine. But not until all the shopping, and wrapping, and cleaning and decorating is finished for the day. I look around my living room and see ornament boxes, wrapping paper, half-finished decoration trails and a mix of slippers on the floor, blankets on the couch, and newspaper advertisements stacked on the table just waiting for the coupons to be clipped. It’s kind of scary to think I need to finish up all this shopping for personalized gifts, get them all wrapped, clean up all the paper messes, bake cookies and pies, and have it all ready in a week before family comes over to eat, drink and be merry. Then we will all unwrap gifts, and when everyone leaves, I will be left to clean up afterwards.

But when I look at the beautiful Christmas tree standing in the corner, with twinkly little lights, and smell the cookies baking, and slip into my cozy slippers, all the heaviness of the chaos seems to dissipate and the spirit of Christmas ~ the joy, the love, and the hope ~ takes on a new life of it’s own. The joy of seeing loved ones and sharing our hopes and dreams. With Christ in my heart, the worry and stress seems to vanish.

The commissioned oil painting (triptych) that I’ve been working on up until a week ago, when it suddenly hit me that I need to prepare for Christmas, is on hold. But it is coming along – slowly. I will once again work earnestly on it in the new year. It has been an interesting experience working on large canvases (30″ x 40″) – all three simultaneously. Oil painting is a slow process, because oils dry slowely.  Plus, my studio space this time of year is generally quite chilly.  I open the doors and turn the heat on when I get ready to paint, and it warms up nicely. But in the meantime, it’s chilly. Oil paints take much longer to dry when it’s cold than they would on a warm summer day with the windows open. So, this painting may take a while to take shape at this rate. But luckily, I’m patient, and the client who requested the painting is not in rush to have it finished.  I will reveal photos of the painting when it’s farther along.

For the month of December 2015, enjoy the season, no matter how you celebrate it, but remember to keep Christ in Christmas!  He is a friend and helper in times of need, and He is the Savior of the world. And the world needs that more than ever!  Rejoice! Hope springs eternal.