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

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!

Summer ends and Autumn is ~

Orchard Home ~ watercolor

Orchard Home watercolor, painted at Hummingwood Farm during Paint the Town plein air painting event in August 2015.

It’s been a while since I last posted anything on this blog. This past summer was eventful, and it didn’t stop…. Partly because the warm, dry, summer weather spilled into autumn and now, suddenly, it’s almost Thanksgiving, and it’s just beginning to feel like fall is actually upon us. I live in Oregon, and we’ve had one of our overall hottest summers ever, with more 90+ degree days on record than any other time in recent history. Finally, as the days started getting shorter, the evening temperatures cooled down enough to relax in comfort. And yet, there are flowers still blooming ~ in November!

Pinot Vines in Summer Haze - acrylic

Pinot Vines in Summer Haze – acrylic. Painted during Paint the Town event at Ankeny Vineyards, during a smoke-filled, hazey, summer day. 2015

In my little corner of the art world, I had quite a few opportunities to paint in the heat and I placed two of my plein air paintings in the annual “Paint the Town” show which ran through the month of October at the Elsinore Fine Art Gallery, in Salem.

 

 

 

Qick Draw - Westminster Fine Art Festival

Qick Draw – Westminster Fine Art Festival

 

Simultaneously, I had several paintings in the Westminster Fine Art Festival, which lasted three days, from October 8-11. I also participated in the one and half hour “Quick Draw” painting session, which was a scholarship fund raiser for high school students planning to study art in college. The paintings were auctioned off in a silent auction after the event.

Grape of the Vine - Acrylic

Grape of the Vine – Acrylic

Recently, I’ve been commissioned to paint a triptych painting (one painting on three canvases) for a couple who just bought a new house, in nearby Silverton, Oregon. The painting is going to hang on the wall over their living room sofa which is about 10 feet long and the ceiling is quite high. So I bought a set of three canvases, each one is 30″ w. X 40″ h.  and one and half inches deep (gallery wrapped). The imagery they requested is an impressionistic scene of Provence, France. So I have gathered several photos showing the French countryside, and I am creating a scene with a shady garden landscapes in the foreground, a small villa in the distance, and lavender fields in between. The size of the finish triptych will be about 9 feet long and 40 inches high once it is hung with space between the canvas surfaces. Once I have things going, I’ll add some photos of the progress.

In the meantime, I wish everyone a happy Thanksgiving holiday!

Fun in the sun

Wallow Lake - plein air

Painting en plein air at Wallowa Lake

June is one of my favorite months and it is turning out to be a the kind of June you dream of, with perfect weather for this time of year. Painting outdoors is what I most enjoy in this world, and there are opportunities galore this month. One of my paintings was accepted into the Wallowa Valley Festival of Art in Joseph, Oregon, so we travelled there and stayed at nearby Wallowa Lake for four nights, where I was also able to paint in my travel journal while out on the lake fishing, and set up my easel to paint in the park by the lake one afternoon. So beautiful there. My husband, John loves this place too, so we had a great time doing things such as fishing on the lake for five hours, and taking the tram to the top of Mt. Howard to hike around and have lunch at the Summit Grill atop the mountain, with fantastic views of the lake and other snow-capped mountain tops.

Wallowa Lake- journal

A small watercolor painting in my travel journal while fishing on Wallowa Lake with John.

The art show and festival in Joseph was extremely inspiring ~ so many wonderful Pacific Northwest artists. Many amazing artists are from the Joseph, Enterprise, Wallowa County area, and there were also artists from around Oregon, Washington, and Idaho, as well as other states. In other words, I was in good company!

Quick Draw

About a dozen artists demonstrated their media and artistic talent during the Quick Draw event, including the Juror.

Quick Draw 2

Quick Draw 4

Quick Drawer painting flowers.

Kona Red at the WVFA
Kona Red at the WVFA, my entry in the Art Show.
Wallow Valley Festival Art 1

The juror explained his reasoning for the awards given to award recipients.

Wallow Valley Festival of Art 2

Many beautiful paintings, pastels, and sculptures in the show.

During the summer, there are numerous Paint the Town locations planned that I will be attending. I went to the first session in late May, at Glen Creek and painted a small acrylic on canvas. It was so nice to get out and paint again!

PTT-Glen Creek

Setting up to paint the creek ~ Glen Creek ~ for Paint the Town.

 

PTT-Glen Creek acrlyic

Getting started…

Also, various art shows in Salem, such as Valley Views at the Red Raven Gallery. The show will be juried by a wonderful plein air painter from Corvallis, Mike Rangner.

The World Beat Festival, which is June 27-28, is a fun event. I design graphics (Poster, Program, and other promotional materials) for World Beat in exchange for a booth at the festival, and share it with Artists in Action members. There are a dozen members signed up to participate this year. Go to: www.WorldBeatFesival.org for more information about this awesome event at Salem’s Riverfront Park.

Beanery – On the Edge

Beanery-Tetons

Grand Teton triptych – at the Beanery through June 2015

I have oil and acrylic paintings showing at The Beanery, a coffee shop in downtown Salem. They are there from June 1-30. Stop by for a cup of jo and see them.

Thanks for checking out my blog. Please leave me a message by clicking on the word cloud at the top of the page, if you have any comments or questions.

 

 

 

 

Art invitation!

I’m so happy to announce that one of my oil paintings, Kona Red, has been accepted into the Wallowa Valley Festival of Art, June 5-7, 2015.  This is a wonderful art community, with many fine art galleries, good restaurants, fun activities, and a great place to enjoy the beauty of Oregon. I’m looking forward to the event!  Hope to see you there.

 

Art inspirations

Setting up for First Wednesday Event at the Salem Arts Bldg.

Setting up for First Wednesday Event at the Salem Arts Bldg.

I started off the month of February with a First Wednesday Event extravaganza, where I secured a space in the Salem Arts Building along with about 70 other artists and vendors.  It was a first event of it’s kind and lasted only one day from 2-9 p.m. I was surprised by how many people attended and the number of sales I made ~ mostly blank note cards, one framed print, and an original unframed watercolor. It was fun to display my art and get feedback from people who stopped just to look.

Having a booth at an Art Fair would be a great opportunity. I really enjoy watching people and their expressions when they look at my work. Also, their comments about certain pieces and seeing which paintings get the best reaction gives me a better idea of what people like about my work, and what they don’t like.  Overall, the experience at this small indoor venue produced positive feedback, regardless of gender, age, etc. I may get much different responses in another environment, but I found the art vendor experience to be more personal than simply hanging work in gallery or shop and leaving it there.

This month I also submitted three paintings to a call for entry at an art gallery in Ellenberg, WA – the Clymer Museum and Gallery, but my work wasn’t accepted this time.  I went through is CaFE www.callforentry.com which is an art submission site that lists galleries and public art opportunities. It works really well. I noticed another art show that interests me in Joseph, Oregon, so I’m going to submit some slides for that exhibit next.

Cannon Beach in February

Cannon Beach in February

Tolovana Beach

Tolovana Beach

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach – a quick watercolor sketch

Most of this February in Oregon has been unseasonably warm. My husband, John and I went to Cannon Beach for a few days mid-month, and I was wearing sandals and going barefoot in the sand, wading through the surf. It was nearly 70 degrees during the day! We walked and saw tide pools around the rocks while the tide was out, and took time to just sit on the beach and watch the ocean. There was hardly any wind and the sun reflecting on the water and sand made it feel like a summer day. I took time for a couple of watercolor sketches in my watercolor travel journal.

Cannon Beach is a town with many nice shops, restaurants and wonderful fine art galleries. We visited a half dozen galleries on one walk about, and each gallery was filled with tasteful art in a variety of mediums.  I also inquired at each gallery about their intake process and whom I should contact to submit my work. I’m hoping to find at least one gallery that will accept my paintings. It would deeply inspire me to paint more often and refine my style if I had a goal to fulfill.

Salem Sketchers at the IKE Box Cafe

Salem Sketchers at the IKE Box Cafe

This month, I decided to attend a sketch group, Salem Sketchers, that meets once a month at different locations to sketch whatever inspires us. This month we met a local coffee shop, the IKE Box. It’s fun and inspiring and good for me to spend time with other artists once in a while. Being an artist is not a lonely road but certainly an individualistic one. It’s always great to see what other artists do and to learn from each other. As one of my art professors used to say frequently, “Art is not created in a vacuum.”  It has to be inspired by something or someone and it’s meant to be shared and seen by all.

Next month the Salem Sketcher are meeting at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art to sketch together.

The Month Before Christmas…

Winter is in the air and the spirit of Christmas upon us, and it always seems that the season creeps up slowly then hits suddenly. I’m never quite prepared for it, and I doubt I ever will be. I like to hold on to summer as long as possible, then fall approaches with Halloween, and when Thanksgiving is here I want to enjoy the harvest and warm comfort of good food and family. I don’t even want to think about Christmas until it’s December!

Pears in Square Dish with ApplesHowever, when I went shopping for some last minute Thanksgiving decorations, when Thanksgiving was still a week away, I had a hard time finding anything left in the store, or in the several stores I went to. Not even a single marked-down item for Thanksgiving was to be found.

Everything was already set up for the Christmas shopping extravaganza. Red and Green, tinsel and lights. Please don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas — but why do they get rid of all things Thanksgiving a week before Thanksgiving!

I realize that many stores start putting out Christmas trees and decor in September so that shoppers  get in the “mood” for holiday shopping, but that’s just not my game. Sure, when Christmas is here, I’ll wish I had started shopping for gifts in June, rather than wait until December, but I will probably never do that. I never have, so chances are slim I’ll start now.

Christmas, in my mind, is a time to celebrate our lives together in Christ. Born in a manger, with cows and sheep all around, Son of God ~ a Gift to us all ~ given to teach us what Truth and Love are so we can live in Peace and Love one another with Joyful hearts.

But what says Christmas, like Black Friday!  This year, Black Friday started early ~ a week before the day we Give Thanks for all we have. This is the biggest farce of all!

Does it make sense to you? … Not to me!  I stick with my old-fashioned belief that there is a time for every season under heaven. The marketing world wants us to move too fast, to jump ahead, making it impossible to take time for the present moments and enjoy the ambiance of each occasion. Let’s not be sucked into the money-grabbing capitalistic machine where the bottom line for the holidays is increased sales!

  •  I will have a Christmas tree.
  •  I will send Christmas cards.
  •  I will wrap presents and prepare gifts for my husband, daughters, sons, grandchildren and other family and friends.
  •  I will send packages to those I love, too far away to be with.
  •  But I will not make buying gifts the most important aspect of the season!

It’s a time to be joyful and remember the good in our lives and the love we have for each other! The gifts are merely a token of that love. It’s not about getting or giving the biggest, best, most expensive thing you can afford or add to your credit line ~ and its not about fulfilling everyones wishes and dreams. It’s about sharing something special with your loved ones ~ the hugs and kisses, the smiles, the laughter, the songs. Creating happy memories ~ the smells and tastes, the twinkling lights and candles, and sharing the traditional foods and treats.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

 If you are in Salem, Oregon ~

  • Be sure and join the Artists in Action on Wednesday, December 3rd for an Art Walk and reception for the Something Red show in downtown Salem. See the AiA website, www.artistsinaction.org for more information about this fun art event.
  • The Holiday open house at the Enid Joy Mount Gallery, for the Keizer Art Association is on Saturday, December 6th from 11 am – 4 pm, with the Small Works show and holiday gift boutique.
  • The tree lighting ceremony at Willamette University is in the evening on Saturday, December 6th. There is a free Christmas concert and sing along in the Smith Auditorium after the tree lighting on the WU campus.

November ~ already?

September and October flew by, with three art shows running simultaneously.  Not much time for painting or writing in my art blog, but it was a wonderful experience to have all of my recent paintings hanging in various locations, attending the receptions, and gaining exposure for my artwork.

Pacific Dream - APL show

Pacific Dream, oil on canvas. One of the paintings brought in later to fill the additional space at the Albany Public Library. September-October 2014

My husband, John helped me hang the paintings at the Albany Public Library.  I had never been there before, so I had no idea how large the spaces were and how many wall there were to cover, so we ended up making two trips to add an additional six paintings, with a total of 22 paintings on the walls throughout the upper floor of the building. I received many nice comments from the staff and patrons there, so it was fulfilling to show my artwork in different city and gain that exposure. No sales happened, but it was a good experience.  I left postcards announcing the show on display there as well as my business cards, so you never know what will happen. Someone could contact me about a painting in the future. Sometimes art lovers have to sleep on it, before they finally decide to purchase a work of art.

Red Hawk View, acrylic on canvas

Red Hawk View, acrylic on canvas. This painting was awarded an Honorable Mention at the Paint the Town exhibit.

The Paint the Town show at the Elsinore Gallery ran during the month of October. Paint the Town paintings are generally plein air paintings that were done during the Summer months at various locations in and around the Salem area. I had two paintings in the show. One of my paintings, Red Hawk View, received an Honorable Mention. I’ll add that ribbon to my collection. It’s very flattering and encouraging to receive an award for a painting. This particular painting was one of my favorite painting experiences, because I really felt connected with the landscape and the scenic atmosphere while in the process of painting it en plein air at Red Hawk Vineyard in July. So, it was very nice to get the perk and receive recognition for the work.

The Westminster Fine Art Fair was also in October. This is juried entry only show. It was up for three days, and there was a total of something like 63 artists participating in the show. Each 2-D artist could enter up to eight hanging pieces. I was very impressed with how well the show was hung, and the beautiful variety of artwork in the show. Everything flowed together, which is not easy to do successfully with so many different styles and subjects that are submitted into the show. Paintings in oil, acrylic, watercolor, pastel, as well as sculpture, jewelry, pottery, photography, digital art, and multimedia. Large and small works, landscapes, portraits, modern, expressive, realism, impressionism, and linear. The volunteers did a fantastic job of presentation considering the variety of styles and mediums. It was a very tasteful and upscale display.  I sold blank note cards of my artwork. It was good to have more exposure in a different circle of art enthusiasts and to enjoy the camaraderie of fellow artists at the reception.

Now it’s November already, and there is still another show to consider before the end of the year. The Something Red show is coming up in December. This an annual Winter show that Artists in Action organizes with local merchants in the downtown Salem area. Many artist (up to 300 in past years) submit work that focusses on the color Red. The work is juried by several local artists or business owners, and the Mayor. It is then hung around town in various shops that participate ~ usually around 25-30 merchants. On the First Wednesday of December there’s an Art Walk throughout the downtown area, with artists present  where their art on display and afterward a gala art reception with lots of food, music, and other refreshments, and the awards are presented to the winning artists. It’s usually very well attended and always a good addition to December Christmas shopping atmosphere for the downtown shops.

Vertical shelves

Vertical shelving for painting storage.

On a personal note: Last weekend, I built  a vertical shelving storage unit in my basement, so that all my paintings can be properly stored while they are not in a gallery or other location. This also frees up space in my art studio upstairs, so that I can paint indoors during the winter months. The storage unit came out pretty nice, using particle board shelving from Bi-Mart, turned onto the side and doubled up to create vertical shelves that fit most of my paintings.

Now I need to go through my photographs to find inspiration for a painting that features the color Red.  Each artist can submit up to three paintings. I will probably only have time to finish one new painting by the submission date. So I may go through my finished paintings, to see if I already have a painting  that features the color red — something I’ve never shown before at the Something Red event. Stay tuned….

Goodbye July…

The Salem Art Fair on July 18-19, was fun-filled with creatives as far the eye can see. Our Artists in Action booth “Outside the Box” has a silent auction each year for boxes created by AiA members using whatever materials or ideas they desire. We raised over $1200 at the event this year.

Outside the Box – my box of watercolor note cards auctioned for $50!

Good news! I heard back from the Westminster Art Festival, and my work has been accepted. The show is in October, so I will be busy getting things together for that. Each artist can show up to eight paintings. This will be my first time showing at this event.

I will be hanging my paintings at the Albany Public Library for the months of September-October, and the Paint the Town show at the Elsinore Gallery is also in October. I’ve only attended three Paint the Town sessions so far this summer, but I think I have enough to finish at least one painting for the show. I have some ideas to use from the photos and rough sketches I did on location at the Salem Art Fair in July and at the World Beat Festival in June.

Painting at the World Beat Festival.

Watercolor painting at the World Beat Festival

To those who actually read my blog ~ Thanks!  I’ve been enjoying the gloriously warm weather we’re having this summer and taking time to spend time with family visiting from Hawaii, including my five-year-old granddaughter June and my son, Jesse. I’ve also been working in my garden, and getting outside whenever possible, so there hasn’t been much time to write in my blog. Today is the last day of July, so I’m at least making an attempt. Hope your summer is a good one!

June, 5, painting with watercolor ~ Truly an artist!

So much to do ~ where does the time go?

The month of May was a productive month as I recall, but  it whizzed by so fast I didn’t have time to write. Aside from all the art activities, we also took a “mini-vaca” and I planted a vegetable garden. We celebrated birthdays, and other family events, and did some Spring cleaning as well.

I entered a watercolor painting – one that I had painted en plain air several years ago entitled “Botanical Garden Painters” in the Keizer Art Association Celebration of Flowers art exhibit in May at the Enid Joy Mount Gallery.

This year I managed to submit a CD and application to enter the West Minster Lutheran Church’s annual Art Fair, Creativity ~ A Gift of the Creator, and dropped it off at the last hour, before the deadline. This is a well attended art show held during October in large room in the church located in South Salem. It is a juried show and always displays some very well known artists in the area. I’ll find out in July if my work is accepted.

Again, at the last minute, I found out about a new show in downtown Salem, at the Salem Arts Building ~ Anything But Painting. And like the show’s title, the work could be anything except painting. It was a beautiful show with sculpture, pottery, fiber arts, collage, printmaking, and jewelry. I entered a large woodblock print that I had done while living in Alaska, when I was studying printmaking at UAF, entitled “Mountain Reflections ~ Denali.” The print was framed under glass. I’ve shown it before, but for many years, it’s been stored in my “archives” of artwork. It was nice to get it out again so people could enjoy it.

I think it’s sad when art is “stored” and not hanging somewhere where it can be viewed and enjoyed. I do a lot of paintings and other artwork that I’ve framed and shown but then no one buys it, so it sits in my attic or storage closet until I bring it out again. I’ve actually considered giving my work away, so someone can take it home, hang it on their wall, and maybe get some of the same enjoyment I experienced when I was creating it. But, it’s also meaningful when someone buys a piece. It shows that they truly care enough about the work you’ve done and they are willing to compensate you for your talent and effort. It also shows that they truly love it enough to purchase it for their own. I hope that in time, all my artwork will find a place to hang and be enjoyed by someone!

I was also very busy during May, designing the World Beat Festival poster,
program, advertising materials, etc. Working with the dedicated folks at
Salem Multicultural Institute to produce another annual multicultural event at
Riverfront Park in Salem, the largest of it’s kind, is quite an intense experience. The festival draws close to 20,000 people over the course of the weekend where the festival events and entertainment are widely varied, representing many cultures worldwide. I’ve been working with the World Beat marketing team to design and layout the printed materials for this event for over 15 years. Each year it is bigger and better than ever!

June is now in full-swing and the World Beat Festival is on the last weekend of the month, June 28-29. Part of my compensation for designing the poster and program is a 10 x 20 double booth, which I open to Artists in Action members to display artwork, demonstrate, and partake in the booth during the two-day festival. We set up the booth with our artwork, on Friday the 27th and the festival is open on Saturday from 10 am – 11 pm and on Sunday from 10 am – 6 pm.  The Artists in Action booth is located in the European Village. Hope to see you there!

Following Tail Lights

I entered another painting, literally at the last second, for the June showing at the Enid Joy Mount Gallery, with the theme Transportation. Again, I recycled a painting that I had painted and shown last December, “Following Tail Lights,” acrylic on canvas, which received an honorable mention. I just found out about
the award, because when the reception was held, I was busy painting outdoors at nearby
Sebright Garden with Paint the Town painters. It’s a beautiful location just north of Salem, with Hostas of all kinds and so much more!

Looking ahead, I’m scheduled to have a solo show at Dave Wilson Designer Goldsmith jewelers during the month of July. The art reception will be on Wednesday, July 2nd from 5-7. Dave Wilson’s is located on Commercial St. in downtown Salem, between Court St. and Chemeketa St. I plan to show paintings with summer imagery. More about that next month!