Tag Archives: Attic Gallery

Black Bear

Late Summer in Timber Valley

It’s the third week of August. Summer has almost come to an end. It is hot here. It has been hot all summer. Smoke hangs in the air. Fires are burning up my mountain. I drive up to my mailbox where I can always see Mt. Adams. All I see is drifting dark clouds. The mountain is gone. I look for it.

Around the cabin it is very quiet. Hornets have taken over the hummingbird feeders. No hummingbirds come to drink. Deer rest near the shade in the back field. A doe and her two fawns don’t move when I go outside on the deck. Back in my studio I watch them through the window. If the doe leaves the fawns for a short rest, the two of them make a strange sound…somewhere between a bark and a cry. She returns. On occasion the babies nibble on a Hermiston melon that I put out for them near the drinking water. The mother lets them eat. She watches.

The crabapple tree is dripping with fruit. It’s been two years since there have been apples on it. It stopped fruiting after a black bear climbed up the tree and put her arms around it pulling all of the ripe fruit to her mouth. Hugging the branches to her body she fell backwards, mouth full. She pulled down half of the tree. Full and happy she ran from the field.

Two years have passed and the fruit is back. I will watch for her return.

I’m happy. I’m back in my studio painting. I’m working on a series of nature paintings and prints. I am selling my work at Art on Oak in Hood River, the Lawrence Gallery in Sheridan and the Attic Gallery in Portland. If you are interested in my work contact me at fenter@gorge.net.

Black Bear by Jerry Fenter framed, 22″ x 17″. $115.00 (plus shipping)

Timber Valley in Moonlight

Moon 1

Moon 1

It has been snowing in Timber Valley almost every night for a week.  It snows during the day and stops at night. Late in the evening the sky clears and a bright moon can be seen off the back deck of the cabin through dense Douglas fir trees.  The sight of the moon through those trees reminds me of why I choose to live here.  I went out on to the deck last night, barefoot in snow, at about midnight to look at the moon.  Even Cody had gone to bed and it was quiet and clear and the air smelled of fir.  I thought about a painting I once painted called “We Share the Moon”.  I did it when I was traveling almost all of the time and missed Timber Valley and Ron and all of our animals.  I had almost forgotten about that painting.  I thought about how the moon is feminine in Spanish…la luna.  Why feminine?  Is it because of the changing nature of the moon, the fullness of the moon?   I remembered the places I’ve lived before and how I saw the exact same moon then and now.

Moon from the deck

Moon 2

Cody likes the moon.  I know all wise scientists say that a dog never looks back over his shoulder but Cody does.  He does this when he looks up at the moon.  I can hear coyotes during all phases of the moon.  I notice it more during a full moon.  Wolves too sing to the moon.  My cats like a dark moon, the moon you can’t see.  It keeps them hidden from juicy night prey.  I read somewhere that a dark moon is a good time to light a candle and burn it until it goes out. That will rid your life of anything that needs to be gone.  Kind of like smudging a house with sage, it will purify.   I don’t know if it’s true.

I watched a documentary on the artist Ai Weiwei last night.  I’m fascinated with him.  He is a brave man and a stellar artist.  He puts himself in danger with each piece of art and each statement he posts on the internet.  He’s not just a flavor of the month as an artist.  His studio is in China, but he finds a way to let the entire world know about the way the Chinese Government lies to everyone.  They tell lies that are outright and lies of omission.  Take a look at his art.  Google him.  Give him a chance. By the way, he sees the same moon as we do.

We Share the Moon

We Share the Moon watercolor by Jerry Fenter

My shoulder is still injured.  I go in for my second cortisone shot tomorrow.  Hopefully that and one next month will keep me from surgery.  Since I can’t paint, I’ve been reading and watching lots of TV.  High point:  The Oscars.  Why? The clothes, the silliness of it and the fact I don’t think I’ve ever missed the awards as far back as I can remember.  I love movies.  They are real.  Low point:  The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.  Yep, I used to watch Beverly Hills 90210 in its heyday, too.  Why? The puffy lips, glass refrigerators, ugly tasteless art and clothing and my never-ending  search for how can they be so unhappy when they have so many shoes in their closet.  Hot shoes too.

Moon 3

Moon 3

I also watched a mini-series called Generation Kill.  It’s based on an article from Rolling Stone by Evan Wright called “The Killer Elite”.  I give it five stars.  Don’t forget to watch the extras on the DVD.  They are worth it.  Also it stars Alexander Skarsgard….always a feast for the eyes.

Now I’m off to read Sanctuary by William Faulkner.  I’m about halfway through.  It’s dark and disturbing.  This is a book that takes some focus to read.

“Everyone is a moon, and has a dark side which he never shows to anybody.” Mark Twain


“Don’t tell me the moon is shining; Show me the glint of light on broken glass.” Anton Checkov

What are your favorite movies?  Best dressed nominees?  Ideas and thoughts on the moon?  Make a comment!!

Good luck on Wednesday Jeremy.





Jerry Fenter Show Opening on Thursday, December 1st

Come and experience "Agonizing Love" at the Attic Gallery with me.


On Thursday, December 1st, I have a show opening at the Attic Gallery in downtown Portland. Earl Hamilton, Sandy Visse and I will be showing our work together.

EARL HAMILTON…Earl who is a great admirer of Marc Chagall’s paintings has a unique whimsical style all his own.  His playful images painted in acrylic with texture and collage take the viewer into a world of fantasy.

JERRY FENTER…This year Jerry set the theme for our holiday show: “Agonizing Love”.  Her tantalizing paintings are humorous with collage bits, capricious sayings and bizarre narratives.

SANDY VISSE…Sandy’s unique ceramic sculptures are playful  and fanciful artistic creations that follow the theme of “Agonizing Love”.

 Opening reception to meet the artists on FIRST THURSDAY December 1st, 6-9 PM.

Attic Gallery..206 SW First Avenue

Portland, Oregon 97204


Gallery Hours 10-5:30 Monday-Saturday


This should be a fantastic opening and I’m hoping lots of people will come and see my paintings and also enjoy the work of Sandy and Earl.  Flowers for ME are always my favorite!  I’d love to see all  of you.  It’s common knowledge that we all have had some kind of agonizing experience with LOVE.  I know it!

SEE YOU THERE!   I was actually inspired both by the old Romance Comics of the 50’s and 60’s and by my high school crushes and long lost loves. Anyone from Parkrose High School class of 65 is required to come!

Things To Do in Nebraska

Each Night I Dreamed of Nebraska


 You might want to re-read my last post to catch up. I’m sure everyone’s forgotten where I was in my Nebraska story. Trips to Seattle, big snow, and an ongoing head cold have kept me away from the computer for a while.


Nebraska. The Junk Jaunt. Let me tell you they were right when they advertised the jaunt as “Shop ‘til You Drop”!

Since we got into Columbus a day late we didn’t start our jaunt until Saturday.  WOW 300 miles of treasure! Amy, me, Janet and Jerry (my cousins) were ready. We all climbed into  Jerry’s truck (in case we had some BIG stuff to bring back) and started out toward the first town on the jaunt. It was like a “pickers” dream! The entire town was filled with places participating in the jaunt. Each place had a number. So we cruised…we’d check out each sale by slowing way down, staring at the treasure, checking to if baby clothes or old clothes were out. (This is a SURE way for the professional junk PICKER to know a good sale)  Good…no clothes or old shoes. Bad…all clothes no good stuff.

Choosing the perfect Scythe

Amy fixed her goal on buying a good scythe (pronounced “sigh” in the mid-west). We saw some great ones at lots of places on the jaunt but just couldn’t find the one that perfectly fit her hands. Now she wants one for Christmas! I was looking for small stuff to carry on the plane. Jerry was open for anything. He and Janet ended up taking home an entire turntable and speakers for a friend of his just to get the needle to fit his friend’s old record player so he could play old 33 1/3’s! We circled around the town for the entire day…because of a shortness of time we missed all of other towns that were participating in the jaunt! We had the best day. We came home with some crazy and great treasures. Janet got some beautiful little shadow box wall pictures.  Amy was walking on air because she found an original “Moulie Grater” in its original box. We were shopping in a giant barn when she spied it in a pile. She was so excited everyone jumped when she shouted out “Wow, I found MY Moulie!” Laughter. I brought home some small things including a tiny (1/2 inch) porcelain doll that I may put in my manger scene at Christmas. We are hoping to return next September more ready to spend three days picking and having a way to get cool stuff home. A U-Haul? Who knows?

Into the woods to the "Deer Stand"

The most fun in Columbus was just spending time at the Kneifel homestead and hanging out! We spent time outside. The weather was beautiful. We also took long walks on the property. Jerry was especially excited to show us his new “Deer Stand”. A Deer Stand is kind of like a big boy’s version of a tree house…with windows that you can stick a gun out of and shoot at game as it passes by on the ground. It is VERY high and has a zillion steps to climb, at the top of the stairs you pop up through the floor, come to a square room that I think has a heater and probably everything else needed to be comfortable while hunting. (I’m surprised Jerry doesn’t have a big screen TV up there!)

Zoi before the fall

Amy and I walked out to the blind with Jerry and Zoi. Zoi is Jerry and Janet’s RED (Go Big Red) poodle that is the cutest thing on four legs. She is a chunk though. Round and sweet. As we were getting ready to climb the stairs I casually asked Jerry, “Do you think Zoi can make it up?” I was afraid with that round body she might fall. Jerry’s answer was, “Oh no, she’s good.” (Last famous words.) We got almost to the top, Jerry was inside the stand when Zoi tripped, flipped and fell feet to the sky past Amy and down next to the stairs. She bounced off some trees and landed so far down we couldn’t see her. We all ran to her rescue. Thank goodness she got up. She limped a bit until Jerry picked her up and then just looked kind of sad and surprised.  She was probably sore the next day but she was fine! What a tricky dog. All of us thought we were going to collapse from fright but she toddled home just fine. Disaster averted Nebraska style.

One of the other highpoints on any Nebraska trip is watching a Cornhusker game. Go Big Red!!!! Football is right up there with religion in the mid-west. Here’s what you do.

Me at the Nebraska Football Store

1.  Dress up in your Nebraska “Big Red” clothes. This can be a tee shirt, hat, socks, gloves, corn-head, jacket or whatever has caught your eye at the Husker Store (which you’ve visited earlier in the day).

2. Head out to the nearest tavern with the least people, the most Big Screens and the best food and beer.

3. Find a table right in front of the Big Screen.

Popcorn Machine at the First and Ten in Bellwood

4. Get some popcorn from a real pop-corn machine.

5. Order a bucket of beer.

All You Need at a Husker Game

6. Order food.

7. Get all crazy and watch the Husker game in all of its glory.

8. Cheer on the team and watch Bo Pelini, the Husker coach, go crazy during the game!

9. Pray for a Husker win.

It was a wonderful night and a great trip thanks to my family! Amy and I are already talking about a return trip next September for the jaunt. I miss my cousins and Columbus. It must be in my blood.

For more information on Columbus, Nebraska, number 84 from the 100 BEST SMALL TOWNS IN AMERICA, go to www.columbusnedowntown.com

Late Summer in the Mountains

It’s morning. There is a fingernail moon in the blue sky above the fir trees. I’ve just come in from an hour of drinking coffee with my cats, Berry and Arlo. It’s become a daily routine of ours that I make coffee, put Cody out back to soak up the sun and take a few minutes to enjoy my kitties. Berry and Arlo are in Snapple boxes (the kind you get from a huge Costco buy). I put nip in both boxes. They love it. Berry is wild and wants up on my lap. Arlo is aged, slow and squinty. He won’t stray far from me because he’s old. I think he’s almost 16 but I wouldn’t swear to it. He was given to me by Maria from The Attic Gallery. He was best pals with Woody my “excellent” cat who died last year. My third cat, Holly, is up in our bedroom closet, still nervous from a traumatic run in with a raccoon about two weeks ago. She’s staying inside. Each day she spends a little bit more time on the front porch but she’s taking NO chances. Raccoons are BAD.


Berry enjoying our morning

 Sitting outside in the late summer is the best therapy ever. I’ve had a busy month. I’d planned to complete all sorts of projects, do lots of writing and painting, and work on our yard. I did a few things. Some will wait until later. I’m ok with that. Instead of finishing my list of shoulds, we drove to Renton to play with our grandchildren. It was so much fun seeing them with my son and daughter-in-law who are the best parents ever. Tavish (who’s eight) also spent a week up here with Ron and me. Nothing special was planned (except a trip to the Goldendale Observatory…a story I mentioned  in my previous post). We hung out. We ate. We had treats. We played with aliens and space invaders. We even secretly watched “Ghost Whisperer” on TV in the afternoon. (A show Tavish called PG 13!) T is an avid reader. He spent time with Harry Potter, stayed up late, and played keep away with Cody, Ron and me in the front yard. We walked a lot. Ron and T set up a tent and then got too busy loading wood into the barn to use it.


Monsters vs. Aliens


 Later in the month I took a trip to Walla Walla. I went with my painter friend Sue Martin who is thinking of moving there in the near future. My daughter went to Whitman so I’d been to the campus before but only for a short period of time. Sue and I tasted lots of wine, found a thriving art scene, painted up at Bennington Lake (she used oils, I used crayons), and had wonderful food. The best meal we had was at my friends’ small farm. My friends, Brian and Cindy, are a couple who have about 10 acres, 3 huskies, some chickens, a kitty and a huge garden. Cindy is a gourmet cook. The dinner was delicious. It was made with food right from the garden. Anthony Bourdain and Alice Waters would be proud. Sue and I brought wine from The Foundry Tasting Room to share. Everything was delicious.


American Gothic Walla Walla Style

 We also spent a day at Night Song Husky Rescue in Dayton where I was again tempted to bring home another husky. I controlled myself. It was great seeing Susan who owns and operates the rescue. Susan is the closest thing to a Saint that I’ll ever meet. Night Song is the rescue that connected us with Cody. Susan cares for over 40 huskies who have been abused, abandoned or who just can’t be placed anywhere else. Check out her rescue on Google.


Almost Our Dog

 My evil deer hasn’t been seen for the past few days…but I know she’s around. About a week ago she came up to the front gate and stared directly into my eyes with her own round saucer-like ones. I made noise to chase her away but she stood firm until I went inside. I’m amazed at the people who have asked me about that deer. She’s almost famous.


Unflattering Rock Sleeping Exercise

 Yesterday Ron, Cody and I spent a whirlwind day at the beach. We dropped off 26 pieces of art at the Ryan Gallery. Cody even got to go in for visit with Emily the owner. The rest of the day was spent on the beach, running with Cody and Ron. It was a perfect day, partly cloudy but warm. I took time out for a nap on the rocks. Ron says I REALLY fell asleep (and this unflattering picture is his evidence). We got home late, tired and a little bit sunburned. 


 Coming events will be listed here on the post soon. I hope to have a class at The Dalles Art Center in October.

Richard and I in San Sebastion

A sad goodbye to my friend Richard Lennie who passed away in Melaque, Mexico last month.  He was a wonderful person, good friend, family man, loved animals and will be very much missed.  I’m thankful for all the fun he and Nancy and I have had over the years at La Paloma and traveling to other great places in Mexico.  Keep traveling, Richard. My thoughts are with you Nancy.

Watercolor Painting from Photographs


Watercolor Painting from Photographs


Jerry Fenter


On Saturday and Sunday February 19th and 20th from 11:00am to 4:00pm I will be giving a class on watercolor painting using subject matter from your own photographs.  All levels of students are invited.  We will work on drawing, composition, original approach, contrast, value, and creating a center of interest.  This is a fun way to spend a winter weekend.

 The class will cost $40.00 per day.  Pay and sign up early at The Dalles Art Center at 541-296-4759.  The art center will have a supply list if you don’t already have one.  Please in addition to your supplies bring a few of your favorite old or new pictures to work from.  Snapshots of figures or animals would be great.  You may get some great presents out of this for your friends and family.  Check out my work on this site or on the Attic Gallery site www.atticgallery.com

I hope lots of you will make the class. This week I’ve been working in my head, conjuring up ideas for new paintings.  I also just finished a commission that was lots of fun to do.  I do a lot of my work by commission.  I’ll be starting another one in the next couple of weeks.  If you’re interested in having me do a commission for you in watercolor or acrylic just let me know.  It’s one of my favorite things to do.  I have done most every kind of commission you could imagine and some that I’m pretty sure you couldn’t. Parents, families,and animals (from dogs to raccoons, cats to goldfish).  The piece shown at the top of this post was done for a group of good friends who live in Arizona.  The painting represents the strong friendship among the women and portrays something unique and important about each one.  The group hired me to paint them.  When the painting was done I did giclee prints (enough for all of them) and then they had a contest to see who got the original to hang on her wall.  It was lots of fun and lots of work meeting each woman and photographing them before actually doing the piece.  I’ve also done lots of family portraits, pet portraits, horse portraits and club portraits.  Of course commissions are done in my crazy style and are done with complete cooperation with the person who hires me.  For example…if you want a dog portrait, you could send me a picture of your dog and his/her toys, list favorite things they like to do and in general tell me about them.  I can also take photos myself if am close enough.  I use all of the gathered information and create a portrait.  SO a horse portrait won’t look exactly like the portraits you might see at the Kentucky Derby.  They all have my own style and twist to them.  In other words they don’t look like I took a picture.  I add all of my own little inspirations and thoughts about the subject and then go to town!

The piece above was commissioned by the Trout Lake Art’s Festival a few years ago and was used as their poster.  Never fear.  My mind can come up with lots of ideas and can help you to create great gifts for anyone you might have in mind.  Support the Timber Valley Artist….hire me to do a commission for you or your workplace! 

 I’ve been engrossed in a great book.  The title is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand.  She wrote the book Seabiscuit .  I have been totally engaged in the story of Lieutenant Louis Zamperini, his early years, his years fighting the Japanese in the Pacific,and his amazing survival of events like being adrift in the ocean after his B-24 was shot down. Sharks are involved and Hillenbrand gives one of the best descriptions of the Japanese POW camps that I have ever read.  I would recommend it for anyone who is interested in WWII.  It’s quite suspenseful and totally true.  If any of you would like to recommend books or movies I’d love to have you leave your choices in comments. 

So stay warm.  I hope all of my friends and family in the midwest are inside by their fireplaces like I am. 


Ron and Jerry’s Holiday Sale 2010

Ron and I are busy getting ready for our Holiday Sale in Portland on Saturday and Sunday November 6th and 7th.  The hours are 10:00am-4:00pm at 210 NE Fargo (if going north on MLK turn left on Fargo…when you see the Popeye’s Chicken).  We have lots of great items for gifts and for indulging yourself.  Plus we’ll have some sweets, wine and cider for your enjoyment.  I wish I could put on a show, but I know I’ll be much too busy writing up sales!  We (as artists) really need your support this year.  Times are tough…BUT we have been lucky enough to survive this “recession” because of our loyal customers and are confident that our callings as artists are the right and true path for us now and in the future. We are obsessed with our work and will always keep making art. The quality of our work reflects years of experience and growth. Our Holiday sale is a blast!  See you there. (503-282-4520 or 509-365-5119 or fenter@gorge.net)

Saturday and Sunday November 20th and 21st I’ll be doing another class in “Figure Drawing and Painting” at The Dalles Art Center.  We’ll be working on drawing the figure, painting the figure and developing your own style of expression.  The class is $40 per day. (509-365-5119 or fenter@gorge.net )

I have the Mexico class dates!  The dates are April 13th-19th 2011.  That is a Wednesday to Wednesday. (This will save us on airfare.)  I’m very excited about the class and will be sending out flyers soon.  Nancy Lennie and I have been cooking up all sorts of fun experiences.  I can’t wait for the sunshine, magic and creativity.  If you are interested please send me your names and addresses or e-mails to get specifics and have me send you a flyer.  (509-365-5119 or fenter@gorge.net)

Here’s a plug for The Attic Gallery.  I have lots of work there just waiting to be put under someone’s tree.  Go and check it out or click to www.atticgallery.com .  Thanks Diana,  Maria and Becky for being such great support to me.  Your gallery is the best in Portland!


Mondo should have won on Project Runway!  He is a genius. 

My birthday was and still is a huge success!  So many cards, so many presents and so many good wishes.  I’m so fortunate to have the friends that I do.  Maureen (my pen-pal of over 50 years) called me from Liverpool England!  What a treat. Also my family was great.  Ron, Hans and Amy never forget and I love them for that.  My friend Bill (even though just out of surgery) sent a special “variety” package that was Halloweenish and Birthdayish. Thank you, Bill.  I look forward to sharing gifts with Rick Harvey when we see each other at my sale.  He and I were born one day apart!  I still look at all my cards each day!  No, I don’t feel old, just energized. 

If you haven’t seen it yet, watch Boardwalk Empire on HBO.

The deer are playing tag in my front yard.  How lucky can one person get?

Ideas For the New Year

I’ve been reading lots of lists of New Years Resolutions and would like to share my own strange list of suggested resolutions for artists, writers and all those outrageous creative types who walk daily on the rough path towards creative meaning.  Take them or leave them but I’ve tried all of them at one time or another and found them invigorating and inspiring. They will really get those juices flowing. Trust me. These are in no specific order. 

1. Take some of your supposedly awful ideas…long rejected…and transform them into a miracle piece. Rework it. (Terrible ideas…don’t you just love those?) Do this at least twice this year.    

2. Set aside a whole day: No plans, no responsibilities. Start driving, biking or walking. Go in unexpected and random directions. Document your day with photos, sketches and odd memorabilia. Do this at least once a month. Warning: This may bring lots of new ideas into your brain. Welcome them, write them down, sketch them, remember them and maybe even sing them.

 3. If  rejections make you crazy (I know this is true of all of us) do this. Write an incredibly cold and generic rejection letter to that irritating gallery owner, book publisher, juried show, reviewer or person that has pissed you off in the past. Explain why you won’t sell any artwork /stories/songs/books to them, no matter how much money or fame they might offer. Make it clear that they are not worthy of your talent. No amount of compensation will change your mind. The price to them will always be too high! Don’t mail it.  Treasure it.   

4. Nourish your childish enthusiasm each day of the year. For instance read a small part of a favorite childhood book, look at your old view master discs, notice smells and tastes that remind you of the good parts of being a child. Buy a hula hoop.  

 5. Give away things, without hesitation, to someone who does need them at the time. You can do this anonymously.                                               

6. Share your talent for free with at least one person per month.

7. Spend a whole day without speaking. Try this once a month. Warn your family and friends.

 8. Look for signs during all of the seasons.

9. Be discerning in who you choose to spend time with. Don’t waste your own precious time with unworthy people.

10. Paint, draw, joke, laugh, write, sing, talk and laugh as much as you can.

11. Write, draw or tape a long personal letter. Send one of these to a special person each month. Enclose a picture, photo or clipping that makes you laugh, cry or ponder.

12. Actively acknowledge the people and animals that you love each and every day.

13. Celebrate your birthday for at least a whole week but always try for the longest celebration you can negotiate.

14. Tired and crabby from over creativity? Curl up in your new Snuggie and watch Law and Order, Criminal Minds or Top Chef to rest your brain and renew your energy. (Other programs on TV can be substituted but they must be mindless and must not make you think). Mad Men is a must see. Artists need to be up to date on the latest cultural happenings, news and weird trends. Artists are the canaries in the mine shaft. That is why it’s important to read and watch as much as you can.  Become familiar with more of the world than your own little space.  Expand your thinking.

15. Find yourself an incredible mentor or creativity coach if you need help on your path.

As I re-read my list I realize it’s a little crazy, sometimes too sentimental and sometimes a little cruel. But I guess so am I. Have a good new year. This list is dedicated to one of the craziest and most influential people I’ve ever known.  He was a loved and respected professor and mentor to me.


Don Berry 1931-2001

Find out more about him at donberry.com and berryworks.



Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth

Just a short post to wish all of you Happy Holidays and thank you all for being part of my life this year.  I’m looking forward to next year and keeping my fingers crossed and my prayer flags flying for the whole country.  Hopefully the economy will begin to come back, we’ll start bringing our troops home from Afghanistan and Iraq, and that all of us will get some form of public and affordable health care.  I am optimistic that this will happen but need all of you to be aware of what needs changing and to be an active part of that change.  We are the force behind this country and we need to get much more creative about our ways of solving problems.  The old politicians in a back room with cigars, pat on the back, closed door type of policy making should be left in the past. (Can you hear me President Obama?) Our elected leaders should answer to us…not to the insurance companies or to the drug companies.  Think of the money we would have to take care of our poor and homeless if we weren’t spending such disgusting amounts on war. The troops would come home, have health care, get jobs and go on with their lives.  I support that.  Ok…my rant is over now on to other things.

Here are Ron and I and Cody in a photo together.  This is a rare occasion.  To get this shot our neighbor and friend Sara Draeger took many many shots, most where one of the three of us was moving.  And it’s true, we haven’t stood still at all this year.  Ron is working on art and driving school bus, I’m working on shows (you can still catch The Darkside Show at the Attic Gallery until January third), teaching at The Dalles Art Center (check out the last post for January class), and teaching a Magical Realism Class in April in Mexico (there is still room in the class for you to sign up).  We are also working around the property getting it ready for  winter.  Ron has done a great job on our new pump house which is now finished until spring. It actually looks better than our cabin.  We should move into it.   We have wood, our animals, and a  giant Costco food supply for survival, although most of the neighbors here think the winter won’t be too hard.  I also will be starting my creativity coaching in January.  Please pass the word on to friends that may feel a need for this type of coaching. I think I’m pretty good at it.  Word of mouth is the best form of advertising. So have as little stress as you can during the rest of the year…life is short.  Spend time with the people you love and don’t waste time on guilt and anger.  In Cody’s words, “Wag more, bark less!” Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

Take Time to Listen

drawing ears

I hope everyone had a happy Thanksgiving. Ours was simple and pretty great. After Ron and I visited my mom at St. Anthony Village, my son, daughter in law, grandson, daughter, Ron and I got together at Amy’s house in Portland. We played with the new kittens for awhile, took pictures and talked. Then we went out to dinner at The Rhinelander. Going out to dinner may sound kind of un-Thanksgiving like to some but we had a traditional dinner along with fondue, sausage and sauerkraut and had lots of time to spend together without cooking or washing dishes. It was nice. It was relaxing and most of us love eating German food. My grandmother used to cook kraut and schnitzel for Thanksgiving so I felt like we were honoring her and my favorite uncle at the same time. My son and his family came down from Seattle on the train. They say it’s the only way to travel. I’m going to have to try the train the next time I visit up there. It sounded comfortable and affordable.

After my last post where I shared with you information about Dr. Pam Wible, a person who I have come to admire, I was pleased and surprised to hear from Dr. Wible herself. Just as I thought… she was kind, informative and totally inspiring. I questioned her more about how her practice is run and found that she works about three days per week and sees an average of eight patients a day. She spends quality time with her patients and gives them the space and courage to question, talk and play a part in their own diagnosis and care. She kindly sent me two sites that some of you might like to visit. The first is a Spirituality and Health article she wrote that got Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama interested in her work and in doing a book on her new direction in medicine. http://www.idealmedicalpractice.org/docs/DreamClinicS&H.pdf The other site is a six minute radio interview from last week http://www.idealmedicalpractice.org/radio_interviews.php I hope you are as impressed by her as I was and will share the article with your own doctor or HMO.

nature's design

 What always seems to happen as soon as you open yourself to new ideas you find connecting ones all around you. Another article from The Sun popped out at me titled “The Sincerest Form of Flattery…Janine Benyus On the Virtues of Imitating Nature” by David Kupfer. Ms.Benyus is a biologist and science writer of Biomimicry:Innovation Inspired by Nature. I was fascinated as an artist by what she so clearly talks about in the book. As she explains,”Biomimicry is the practice of borrowing nature’s design principles to create more sustainable products and processes. When designers, engineers, architects, chemists, city planners, and so on have a problem to solve, I encourage them to ask, ‘What part of the natural world has already done what I’m trying to do?’” Benyus, as she was writing books and guides about the natural world, began to collect examples of how the natural world and our world can work in rhythm to solve hard problems in our society by watching and listening to nature. For example, if a company wanted to invent a new glue, naturalists and biologists could work with them by studying how geckos stick to walls or how mussels glue themselves to rocks underwater. The wood glue that is used to build most houses emits formaldehyde. With the help of scientists like Benyus, companies like Columbia Forest Products switched to glue that mimics the adhesive mussels use. They make it out of soy flour. Check out more on biomimicry at AskNature.org.

form follows function

 I was excited to hear that science is doing what artists have done for many years, looking to nature for inspiration. I remember finding a book by accident one day stuck in the very back of a cupboard in my classroom in Multnomah County. It looked as though it hadn’t been touched for years. I dusted it off and looked through it. The title is Nature as Designer: A Botanical Art Study by Bertel Bager. It is a black and white photo book with photos of seed pods, small leftovers of weeds and tiny beautiful natural things. The patterns and designs are fascinating and inspiring. Bager really took time to see pattern and listen to nature while preparing this book. The combination of form and function is perfect. First published in 1966 The book is out of print now as far as I know, but you can find copies floating through Powell’s Used Books from time to time. Wible, Benyus and Bager all have one major thing in common. They listen and observe with great care and concern. They take the time to do this. I hope taking time to become more observant will catch on in our society. We can’t continue to value money over time. To live our lives to the fullest…with the most meaning…we need to slow down and look and listen to nature and to each other. Only then can we find ways to be creative and to solve the big problems that face us. So thanks to these good people who are so innovative and inspiring to others. Pass it on, please. The nature photos in this article are from Nature as Designer:A Botanical Art Study by Bertel Bager.

from Nature as Designer

 I’d like to plug a place in Portland that has been around for awhile. I thought I was cool, but I had no idea this cool place existed until about a year ago. It’s called The Tidal Wave Book Store and it’s run by Multnomah County Library. They sell books, CD’s, magazines and videos that have been retired from the library for one reason or another at really cheap prices. It’s located on NE Knott Street right off of Martin Luther King Boulevard. If you are a book lover you have to go there. You’ll find lots and lots of great books for both children and adults. Amazing!

Remember the opening for my Dark Side Show is on Thursday, December third from six until nine pm. Costumes are encouraged but not necessary if you’re too shy. It’s going to be fun. Also congratulations to Nancy Rooper of The Dalles for her Mt. Hood Christmas Card image being used on the flyer for The Dalles Art Center Holiday Show. Nancy is a student of mine and is developing her talent very quickly.