Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Printing with food, and THAT magnolia drawing

Remember the magnolia drawing? It never went anywhere, so now it's all cut up into pieces and being used for a good cause.

I'm participating in the Portland Art Center's December Fundraiser in which some 300 2'x2' panels were distributed to artists to complete and return to the Center for a December show & sale. I started working on my panel on Monday. Here it is -- a basic under-painting in acrylic in magenta, orange and raw siena. And while that's still wet, I drew into it with compressed charcoal and wiped it with my hands (the white spots are the gesso underneath showing through). I just picked up the magnolia seed pod at random, it was hanging around in my studio in a clear vase. I looked up while I was looking around for something to draw, and there it was.

I just drew until the paint dried, which didn't take very long.

Then I realized that I had that magnolia drawing sitting around. So here it is, cut up and collaged onto the board.

Here's a detail of the bottom. I always like these close-up shots of flowers, they can be so striking. But on the other hand, I also lose interest in them pretty quickly, there's just not a whole lot there for me to keep coming back.

Since the drawing is pastel, and these pieces will not be under glass, the pastel parts need to be laminated, which is what I'm doing now. So pictures of that tomorrow.

The Print With Your Food class last night was a lot of fun, despite that we only had 2 people. And actually, I'm not sure that there was room for more, once we spread out all the food stuff on the table. So here's 'the spread' -- I brought all the successful results, puff pastry, apple slices, lunch meats, milano cookies, fig newtons, mini pancakes, and the students brought crepes and tortillas. To print, I brought the nutella, peanut butter, sour cream, hershey's syrup, ketchup, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar.

(Four of the printed items are under the Witness Protection Program, so they have been blurred in this photograph.)

Another shot of the table. Two still under the WPP. No, clicking on the photograph won't get you a clearer picture.

Can this really be true?

It's late, and it's been a long day, so I'll upload photos and stuff from the class tomorrow. But for now -- heard on the radio (npr, so it must be true!) that upon Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah's visit to England, the military band struck up the Star Wars Imperial March to welcome him! (And he was probably even wearing his flowing robe and all.)

Monday, October 29, 2007

The last batch of tests

I was pretty out of it today. Having trouble with all kinds of things, including forgetting to get the milano cookies as test foods and had to go back for least I remembered just before I walked out of the store. After finally deciding I should get some coffee, I brought it back to the car and dumped it head first into the cup holder. It was unintentional -- it slipped out of my hand -- but it made a big mess none the less. But hallelujah, I survived the day.

So I mixed the ketchup and nutella. Another tasty combination. Printed on the cutting board nicely, but it doesn't look very red.

But the cheese slices (havarti and provolone) continue to resist. The pear slices didn't work nearly as nicely as the apple slices either.

Then I cleaned up the kitchen.

Then I turned around and saw the milano cookies sitting on the counter, unopened. The cookies that I had to go back to get...

So another batch of ketchup+nutella. And here are the results. Not too bad, but the cookies are not flat, they have this intentional 'drip' built into the cookie surface, I guess to make them look hand formed or something. So it's hard to get a good impression around that bump.

And naturally, I got the wrong kind of milanos. I meant to get the new half black half white ones, but instead I got the raspberry fillings.

I got started on the piece I'm doing for the Portland Art Center fundraiser. Picture tomorrow, in better light.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Japanese maple, Japanese silkscreen

This Japanese Maple keeps fooling me. On those gray, raining days, I'd look out the window and see the bright yellow tree and think, oh hey, the sun came out!

During the summer, I had thought I'd let the overgrown area here stay overgrown and maybe set it up as a sitting area or something. But had second thoughts -- in the afternoon, it gets a ton of hot, direct sun and really isn't a good spot for sitting. So today, I cleared up the area and put in the path, as I had originally, originally planned. So here's the path opened up. Doug scored a big pile of bark dust from a tree felling crew, so I'm partaking in the bounty and using that for the path.

Doug also insisted that I take the foxgloves and columbines TODAY, so I planted them in the area that I just cleared up. I think it'll be a great spot for them (a nice little shady area underneath some trees):

Plus a photo of text printed on eggplant slices. Mixed the soy with the pb today, and it printed fairly lightly, you can tell that it's there, but it's a little hard to read. I added just a bit of balsamic vinegar and that helped some. However, it did not hold up to brushing with olive oil (completely obliterated the printing). The texts on the unbrushed slices held up ok after the baking, but didn't taste as good as the other slices (with olive oil).

So far, the best results were from the hershey syrup with sour cream (and also powdered sugar, from Gretchin's experiment), and the nutella with balsamic vinegar. I think I'll pick up some ketchup tomorrow and see if I can get something to print at least reddish, if not red, rather just brown all the time.

So this year's experiments have gone a lot better than last year's, during which I printed on wonton skins with chocolate sauce. In that series of tests, Harry and David's chocolate sauce seemed to have worked fine, but Kroeger's didn't. But I really ran out of time to try too many different things and just left it at that. I'm guessing (and I believe Gretchin's results were similar) the wonton skins are just not absorbent enough.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Nutella with balsamic vinegar, peanut butter with soy sauce

The experiments continued today.

I remembered that I had bought the Nutella and hadn't tried it yet, so I mixed that with balsamic vinegar. Now THAT tastes pretty good! Sweet and sour and chocolaty. I printed that on some apple slices, more fig newtons, a slab of tofu, a slice of havarti, more turkey lunch meat, and some pancakes.

And took some pictures.

Then I ate half of the experiments. Then I realized that I forgot to put in the media card again! I can't believe the camera lets me take pictures without the media card!

So here's a picture of the uneaten experiments. The apple slices were really pretty, with the red peel around the slice.

A shot from the side (no reflections off the fig newtons):

So far, the only thing where I could taste the food that I'm printing with (not printing on) was the nutella with balsamic on the apple slices. Everything else, the printing has not been detectable to me.

Of the already eaten items: the tofu printed very lightly, as did the havarti. The lunch meat printed well, as expected. I did not mix up the peanut butter with soy, but since I already tried the peanut butter with vinegar and know that that works, I'm sure the pb and soy sauce would work too. And I know that tastes good since I use variations of that theme in regular cooking, although with chunky pb, not Skippy.

I forgot to try the pita bread, and also the eggplant, which I think would work really well, being so absorbent.

The Randomly Selected Movie tonight was Into the Wild. Way too long, and way too many scenes of him running in the desert, the woods, the whatevers, with joy. And the 3rd shower scene was definitely unnecessary. Interesting guy, but not a very good movie.

Friday, October 26, 2007

I defy categorization, and other fame induced babblings

Someone over at L&TM5K mentioned Clusty the meta search engine, so I went over there and typed in 'gocco'...and guess what!? I don't show up until page 5. And not only that, I don't show up anywhere on their list of 'categories.'

So I've concluded the obvious -- I clearly defy categorization. There is simply no other explanation for it.

And about those famous but fleeting 15 minutes -- it does go by rather quickly, but here's a interesting phenomenon, I bet someone can do a dissertation on it. I normally get around 100 hits on my web site...

Last Saturday (when the on-line version of The Cult of Gocco first came out), it went up to 122.

On Sunday, it about doubled to 254.

On Monday, it about doubled again to 528.

On Tuesday, it about halved, back to 267.

On Wednesday, it approximately halved again, down to 150.

It's a symmetrical bell-shaped curve! I do wonder if that's purely coincidental, or if there is a predictable, computable phenomenon?

There's is a bit of a ripple effect in play here. Because on Tuesday night, L&TM5K blogged about my open studios event, which got me some extra traffic (and a sale!) on Wednesday, and so the hit count 150 is a bit more than half of 267, but without the added PR, it probably really would've halved to 130 something, which it did on Thursday, one day later.

Here's the graph:

Well, it's all very interesting to ME anyhow, and that's what counts here on THIS blog!

Now on to the business at hand, which is getting ready for the Gocco Print on Your Food class on Tuesday at IPRC. Figured out a few things today -- lots of things will actually print, but they don't show because that thin layer of whatever food it is that you're putting down is just too transparent/translucent to show. So dark foods work best. Sour cream and Skippy peanut butter are great for mixing with other things to get a better consistency, and peanut butter mixed with balsamic vinegar doesn't taste half bad. It's actually an interesting taste.

So here are a few of the better results. Hershey's syrup mixed with sour cream printed on Fig Newtons, turkey lunch meat, & ham lunch meat. The Fig Newton results were excellent, but here I've dabbed up most of it with a paper towel, to see what happens, so that I can stack them for transport without smearing:

More of the syrup and sour cream mix on puff pastry, after baking. I wanted to see how it held up with baking. Pretty well, I'd say. They even look like little books, I thought. (Credits to Laurie Mitchell for suggesting puff pastry.)

Another shot from the side:

And a close-up of a couple of them with designs & text on them:

I had bought some lemon curd to print, but after realizing that the light color foods just won't show, I didn't bother trying. But I split one of those puff pastry things (after baking) and put a bit of the lemon curd in there, and it tasted pretty good.

And I just remembered one thing I meant to try but forgot -- the vinegar/peanut butter mixture on cheese slices, apple slices, and pita bread. Tomorrow.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Shipping matted prints

Getting flat boxes of a specific size isn't so easy, as it turns out. I managed to get an assortment today from Utrech's, Art Media, and Pearl Framing, mostly boxes that papers and sheets of glass are shipped in. I needed something slightly bigger than 16"x20", and all I could get were 30"x40".

Anyhow, due to the shoutout from L&TM5K, one of his many readers surfed to my web site, checked out the new The Store page, and bought a print! The Mysterious Gift Horse! So a flat box was suddenly necessary. (I'm not complaining, you of the many M5K's, but you're the Real Thang, we know that.)

With a box cutter and enough packing tape, you could make a box of any size, probably. So I was able to pack up the print in a more or less appropriately sized box. And it looks pretty darn sturdy too.

Most of the day was spent in town. First, there was the "jury duty" at Print Arts (to jury in new members), then it was off to get tickets for the Marchel Khalife concert, which is almost sold out, so I was glad to be able to get the tickets. In between, I ran an errand for Print Arts, and went around looking for boxes.

And the day is done, just like that.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The money day

I discovered today that the credit union had put my hard earned money from Portland Open Studios weekend into someone else's account! Isn't that special. Well, at least they took care of it pretty quickly. Then it was picking up money from Jeremy for the sale of the 2 violin pieces back in the summer (the buyer only just now paid up), and also giving Jeremy his money for helping me during Portland Open Studios (I pay my help during those weekends). What was funny was that I gave him just a little more (rounded up), and he gave me just a little more, and we pretty much cancelled each other out.

Packed and shipped off the books for the Bainbridge Island book show; packed up the different states of the Trixie print for Marcy, who's doing a display for Print Arts Northwest. Started to pull together some testimonial entries for the Portland Open Studios blog. Debra Carus responded very quickly and with a very positive note, so that's up as the first testimonial entry.

More junk than you can shake a stick at!

This photo is deceiving. If you think this does not look like work, you'd be wrong. I'm sacrificing myself at the altar of science. The science of Gocco, that is. I went places where I had never been before (it's true!) to find this treasure trove of things that I shall make Gocco-ready and then stick in my Print Gocco! All in the name of science.

And alas, after my remark about our weekly randomly selected movie, this week's movie was not randomly selected! It was The Jane Austen Book Club. It had been very unlucky -- on the list since its debut but never a bride. And I really wanted to see it before it left town. So that was the non-randomly selected movie tonight. I thought it was very sweet and romantic, and of course Maria Bello is just heart-poundingly beautiful as always, so of course she gets the guy...sigh...

(And yes, Mike thought it was boring, which it probably was, in reality.)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Day of Recovery

Not a whole lot was accomplished today. I started to take down some of the Portland Open Studios stuff, especially the areas where it really impacted our normal living, like the dining room table and the kitchen counter. Here are a few photos from the weekend:

Gocco demos:

A new 'innovation' this year -- additional lights. The sky is always gray during Portland Open Studios, and the house gets so dark. Every year, I think I should do something about it, and this year, I actually did. It all looks very temporary, which is fine, since it is temporary. I have these cheap little wood frames hanging around for a variety of purposes, and I thought they'd be perfect for this function. They're just hung on picture hangers, with shop lights clamped on them. They worked out really well.

Here's a shot of one of the walls, hung with the recent moths & dandelion paintings.

And a late night news flash! I'm Ms. Runner Up for DorkFest '07! I think I won extra credits for trying to appropriate Mike's dorkiness for my own, for trashing other contestants, and for talking about my cat in TWO entries. But, I'll let the judge speak for himself here:

"The second dorkiest L&TM5K reader in all of DorkFest '07 can check the her database of hours and tell you exactly when, on any day of her life, she was sorting her CDs by region, grooving with the editorial board of the New York Times, or brushing her cat's teeth. It's not the greatest distinction she's had this week -- more on that soon -- but I'm sure that, with her NDS of 37.417, fingerstothebone will be happy to be the Vice Dork of DorkFest '07!!!"

Yay! I almost won! Well, this definitely qualifies for the 'exciting stuff' category.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Portland Open Studios, day 2

The weather was perfect today, dry but not so wonderful that everyone went to the coast or went hiking. There was a ton of traffic, I bet there were 200+ people here. I started the morning with a Gocco demo at around 10:20am or so, demo'ed again and again until 12:45pm when I started to eat my slice of pizza for lunch.

By 4pm, I was not even 1/2 way through my slice of pizza. And it went on like that until 5pm.

My helper this year was Jeremy, my gallery director at Rake Art, who very generously helped me out both days. Yesterday in the morning, he was being asked if he was my husband. But by the time the afternoon rolled around, and I had done what felt like 100 Gocco demo's, he was being asked if he was my son!

So that's what doing Gocco demo's will do to you. (He's 12 years younger than I am. He would've made a very glamorous husband for sure (a dark handsome younger guy and all), but I'm definitely not ready for a son who's only 12 years younger than I am!)

Oh yeah, the credit card machine got a lot of exercise!

Oh oh yeah, Rob Walker, the columnist who writes the Consumed column for the NYT and wrote the Cult of Gocco, put in a link for me on his blog. Yay, Rob!

Oh oh oh yeah, having Doug, my neighbor across the street, participate in Portland Open Studios this year definitely made a difference in how much traffic we each had. Then Erin, an abstract painter who lives just down the street, came by today and sounded really interested in it too for next year. So if all 3 of us get in next year, we'll rock!

Oh oh oh oh yeah? Hmmm, I'm not sure there's any more...

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Portland Open Studios, day 1

The weather was bad, but not as bad as I feared. My neighbor across the street, Doug, is also open, so that brought in extra traffic too. We had maybe 80-90 people through out the day. It was a steady stream from about 10:10am; we had a little 15 minute break around lunch, and then it was steady traffic until 4pm. Another little break, and then the closing rush before 5pm. And we had people here until 5:30pm or so.

I filled up one of my classes and added 2 for another class. But not a lot in sales. Definitely a lot less than the first 2 years I did Portland Open Studios.

I posted up the NYT column on the hallway closet door, and people do think that's pretty cool.

And I'm exhausted.

News flash!

It's out! The secret interview I had about a month it is, the New York Times Sunday Magazine Consumed column, titled The Cult of Gocco. Of course I wish they had put in a link to my website (I know, I know, I'm too greedy for words), but hey, at least my name is in the first sentence, on the first line! The print version will be out this Sunday Oct 21.

Now, the business at hand -- of my to-do list from yesterday, everything is done, except for

1) finish cleaning house -- I've decided to skip this step
2) prepare demo prints -- that's what I'm going to do now

But of course, tomorrow, we'll get that huge windstorm they've been predicting and I won't have any visitors and we will lose our power and there will be no light to see any art by and I won't be able to run my credit card machine and...and...and...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Will she be ready?

By definitely, we're gonna be ready come Saturday morning.

All our normal stuff is off the walls. All the furniture that aren't necessary have been moved out of the way. Everything that needs to be framed or matted/mounted are so. I've printed all the cards I'm going to print. The web site update is almost done.

So what's left --

1) Clean and hang all the framed pieces.

2) Labeling.

3) Finish cleaning house.

4) Set up cards display. Set up artist's books display.

5) Clean the litter box.

6) Prepare demo prints.

7) Print out class registration forms...I want to fill those classes!

8) Set up demo tables. Set up food/snacks (Saturday morning).

9) Finish website update.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Good printer, but won't you hurry up?

I spent all day printing, I scheduled my errands, chores, meals, and other art related work around print jobs. I'd figure out how long an errand/chore/meal would take, and schedule the print jobs accordingly, then get back to my printer in time to start the next one. And I'm not finished printing yet!

I'm not complaining, just enumerating the facts. The facts are: it's an Epson C88+ printer, which I bought for $100 last year (which included the first set of CMYK cartridges), and during 2006 Portland Open Studios, I sold about $600 worth of greeting cards printed on that printer. So I'm hoping to repeat last year's performance. I do not remember that it took nearly this long to print the cards last year though. It seems to be printing 8-10 cards an hour today. I'm giving it the night off, and will start up again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Orhan Pamuk in Portland!

But business first -- picked up more matboards and some food for the weekend, and started to put the cards together. I always forget how long it takes to print the cards, so I didn't get very far today. Hopefully I can finish tomorrow in between matting and cleaning up the studio.

Then the evening was the highlight of the week, or maybe the month -- Orhan Pamuk is the speaker for the Literary Arts lecture tonight. He's an excellent speaker! You can't always tell with wonderful writers, sometimes they don't turn out to be great speakers, but he's a wonderful speaker, very open about his art and very good about answering questions. Although I was a little surprised that he objected to too many political questions. I hadn't caught on that the name of his newest book 'Other Colors' was a joke about how so many of his titles contain colors. I always did wonder about that, and apparently he gets asked about that a lot. So this new book is called 'Other Colors'; now I guess he can't be naming any more books with colors because he's already covered them all now.

Apparently Snow is his most popular book in the US, but my favorite, My Name is Red, is his most popular book in England. I just bought Istanbul but haven't cracked it open yet.

Monday, October 15, 2007

What a clean driveway



Since my garden got mentioned in the Oregonian's NWHG section as a garden to see during Portland Open Studios, I've been trying to get things cleaned up somewhat. And this driveway has not been this clean for a couple of years! The rest of the yard is ok clean...don't like to have things too clean, I like things to look like real people live there.

Started to clean up on the inside too. First order of business -- the piles of stuff that have been accumulating on the dining room table.

The movie tonight -- Michael Clayton, an excellent thriller. Only 2 complaints -- Tilda Swinton, who's normally really good, way over-did the gaping-mouth thing; and George Clooney looked like he had too much make-up on.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A weird tale from the garden

I had a mugo pine die on me this last summer. I did not think it was possible to kill mugo pines, but I was wrong. So it had been sitting there, all brown and dried up, between the lilac and the rhodie. And since Monday is yard debris day, I decided to take the opportunity to dig it up and dump it in the yard debris can.

Well, I started digging, and digging, and digging, and surprise of all surprises, it turned out to not be a dead mugo pine after all.

Instead, I dug up the Troll Bride With One Eye in the Front and One Eye in the Back! (But she goes by Troll Bride for short.)

Apparently, on her wedding day, the Troll Bride and the Troll Groom did not invite the Wicked Witch because, well, she was wicked and they didn't like her.

The Wicked Witch being wicked, showed up at their wedding, cursed them, and voila, they turned heads first down a couple of big, black plastic pots. The last thing the Troll Bride remembers was the Wicked Witch's wicked laugh as she cackled "only a very strange gardener will come along and discover your true identity, and they only come along once in a loooong, loooong while...hahahahahah..."

It's a sad tale, and she doesn't even know where her Troll Groom is.

So here's the Troll Bride restored to her old glorious self, all dolled up for her wedding day.

And a close-up. (Yeah, the other eye is in the back. And that's her Bride's Maid, the Woodpecker.)

So, if you happen to find the Troll Groom, do let us know!

No. 2 Experimental Gocco print, day 7

Trixie the Poetry Car!

[You can read about Trixie the Poetry car here.]

I finished this a few days ago but didn't get around to taking a real picture until tonight.

On the last day (7th day), I did print the car over with a slightly darker blue so it shows up a little better.

Here's the print on Day 1, Day 2, Day 3, Day 4, and then Day 5 & 6.

Today was actually a very fun day in the garden, and I took some pictures. To be filed under the Stupid Human Tricks tag -- I forgot to put the media card back in the camera after I uploaded the last set of photos, and this camera is apparently happy to just let me go on my merry way! In fact, I did not discover this until I had also spent half the evening photographing (and re-photographing because I couldn't find the images) some new and older gocco prints. Stupid Human Tricks, Stupid Human Tricks.

Matted and mounted more prints, worked on the web site some more.

Lastly, it occurred to me that somebody aught to make glow in the dark lipsticks; it would be fun and very practical for smooching in the dark. Of course, it's probably already available and I'm just way out of touch. But if it's not, hey, you heard it here first!

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Weeding, matting, & mounting

Weeding first...

So this is the part of the yard that I was working on yesterday and continued to work on today. Where there are paving 'stones' now were covered in weeds and 1 dead daphne. A couple of the pavers (concrete chunks) and the manhole cover were already in place, but the rest were added yesterday. Where the Japanese anemone (the pale pink almost white flowers) is now was where the dead daphne was. That poor daphne was moved 3 times before it finally decided it had had enough.

And seen from the other side:

And here's my stash of concrete chunks and rocks, ready for me to use at a moment's notice. But of course this pile has sat there unchanged for the last 2 years. I think I'll at least move them over onto the dirt so I can clean up the driveway. Tomorrow. Notice how so many things are 'tomorrow?'

Then spent over 8 hours cutting mats, matting & mounting prints, writing up labels for the print series, packaging things up. And also made more changes to the web site. Little changes, a little bit here and there as I think of them.

Oh hey, I got to try my credit card gizmo today. The neighbor bought a Portland Open Studios tour guide, and I took the payment with the debit card.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


I was looking at today's Home & Garden section and saw that a Portland Open Studios artist's garden was highlighted. I read through the article (wonderful garden and very fun ceramic garden sculptures) and then noticed that I was listed in the West Side Highlights section as having a garden to visit.

So I spent the bulk of the day pulling weeds out in the yard! And also setting some concrete chunks (for paths) that I'd been meaning to do for a couple of years. It really doesn't take too long to get a lot done (or what seems like a lot), but I'm either in studio mode or in garden mode, and these last couple of years, it's mostly been studio mode and not garden mode (unless really, really necessary).

Then my credit card gizmo showed up, but by the time I cleaned up and all, I missed the window to call in for my 'phone training' session. So that will be tomorrow.

Picked up some museum board today. Tomorrow will be matting & mounting, and photographing.

Tonight was the first China Council annual meeting since Rosario died. It felt strange not having him there. When we were first talking about going out to the Alvord Desert for the Moon Festival next year, the first thing I thought of was how Rosario would've liked that so much.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Gallery walk

I did decide to print Trixie again in a darker color, but I didn't have a chance to take a photo yet. Tomorrow. Linda and I went on the Oct gallery walk this afternoon and caught the exhibits at Rake, Augen, Froelick, Blue Sky, & Butters. I got pretty hungry in the afternoon (I forgot to pack a snack) and ended up munching on bits of a REALLY GOOD coffee cake from Three Lions all afternoon long, but that kind of put me in a weird way. Didn't quite recover from it until after I got home and had dinner.

And my credit card thing is arriving tomorrow. He is good.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

No. 2 Experimental Gocco print, day 5 & 6

These first 2 pictures were from yesterday. I knew before we went to the Steens that I was going to add 'big cabbage rose' to the print. So here I've cut out 'big cabbage'...

And printed both in 2 different colors with the same press:

When I first started this print, I wanted it to be about Portland, and also about words. After Theresa made the wonderful connection between the horse print and the toy horses hitched to the sidewalks, I wanted this print to also be about some unique aspect of Portland. But I didn't want it to be about books. Not that books aren't wonderful, they are, but books+Portland is way over done already. I wanted to it to be something quirkier.

I thought about it and thought about it and came up empty handed (or is that empty headed?). But as I was printing 'big cabbage', it suddenly dawned on me, and it was so obvious, I thought, duh, I shoulda thought of this earlier, as in waaaay earlier.

So here's the print, with the last 3 layers on there already, and it's about Trixie, the Poetry Car!

Trixie is a light blue car (in real life), and it's on there on the bottom left (not in real life, in the print). It's a little hard to see in this image, but a better shot will be coming up sometime later this week. And I might decide to print it again tomorrow with a darker ink; we'll see what it looks like tomorrow in good light.

What can be more unique and more about Portland than this!?

Oooh, and my costco boyfriend is gooood! I got notification from UPS today that they have a package ready to ship to me. It doesn't mean that it's on its way yet, but that it's ready to be on its way.

The movie tonight was Lust, Caution. Pretty intense movie, and the best Ang Lee movie to come along since Ice Storm. I thought Crouching Tiger was pretty bad, and Brokenback Mountain rather over-rated. Although it is awfully long, so don't go to the late showing if you've got to get up early the next day.

Monday, October 08, 2007

My Costco boyfriend

No, they don't come 3 shrink wrapped together, but this one has a very sonorous voice on the phone, and we've been talking on the phone a lot.

He's a sales rep for the Costco merchant, service, so I guess he's really my Nova boyfriend, Nova being the company that handles the merchant, service, for Costco. He's right on top of the situation. Of all the services that I've contacted, he's been the most responsive. And last night, when I figured that I'd missed my boat in getting my application in on time, I emailed him and said so.

Well, the phone rang at 8am this morning, right on the dot. He walked me through the whole application and said that if I sent it in now, I would be up and running early next week.

So we'll see. Hopefully, he's as good as he seems to be and it will all work out. They must get a good commission, at least I hope so.

Naturally, with that seemingly going in the right direction, I decided it was definitely time to add a new 'Store' section on the web site. So I worked on that for a little bit today, and then spent the rest of the afternoon working on my Cabbage Rose print.

When I last worked on it, I already knew what I was doing with it next, but I didn't know how it was going to finish. As I was putting down my first layer today, it suddenly dawned on me. It was so obvious, I once again ask "why didn't I think of this earlier?"

I'll finish the print tomorrow and will have photos and everything then. Tonight, I think I'll crawl into bed early and read.

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I had decided to go ahead and get a merchant account, and figured I would apply for it at the beginning of Oct, just in time for the Oct 20 & 21 open studios event. Well, this is now Sunday, Oct 7, and I just finished filling out the application form. I'm afraid I'm not going to make the 15 day turn-around time and have it be ready. In my defense, I had lots of things that I had to deal with and get ready for, although getting the newsletter out was perhaps less on a time deadline than getting the application in. I guess I didn't think that one through too well.

I continue to fiddle with updating the web site. Now I'm trying to decide if I want to add a 'Shop' page, where I can put cards and stuff for sale?

The Gocco was a hit at Atkinson!

So I was one of the invited artists to work with the kids at Atkinson Elementary today for their A Taste of Atkinson event. The kids did drawing & watercolor with Diane & Anne, and then brought their drawings over to me to make a screen and print. We had kids lined up around the block, so to speak. It was total chaos! In a good way. Two parents got roped into helping me, and we were still barely able to keep up with the demand.

I think the kids liked it. It was fun to see the parents' jaws drop when they saw how easy it was.

And after much going back & forth on whether to send out html email announcements or not, and discovering the problems, I ended up sending out the announcement in rich text format, with a link to the html page online should people want to read it that way. MIke asked if everyone has unsubscribed yet...

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Beet! No, chard!

My Kurdish neighbor and I were talking about my raised vegetable bed this afternoon. She said that they noticed that I was growing beets. "Beets?" I said. "Yeah, in your garden." "Beets?"

She must've thought I was pretty weird all right, now knowing that I was growing beets. Finally, I decided she must be talking about the chard. I had her come over to take a look. "Yeah, beets!" "No, chard."

"So how do you prepare your beets?"

"Um, I cook my beets in the pressure cooker; but with my chard, I just saute it up with a little oil and salt."

"You know, none of my beets came up this year. Where did you get yours?"

"Well, I got my chard as starts from the nursery."

I cut some chard for her to take home. Hopefully, when they cook it up and eat it tonight, they'll say, "ah, not beets!"

When I was telling Mike the story later, he thought I was going to say, " I went over and pulled up one of the plants, and whadyaknow! It was a beet!"

So lets see, on the work front -- scrubbed the deck, so it's no longer a danger to all; cut the paper and fabric for the Atkinson Elementary event tomorrow (took a bit longer than I anticipated, but doesn't everything?); worked on more web site stuff, and more mailing list stuff (turned out to be a bigger headache than I anticipated, but isn't everything?).

Friday, October 05, 2007

Q3 quarterly report

OK, this last quarter, I was a good girl and put in 416.75 hours either working in the studio, teaching, or tending to the business of being an artist. That works out to be slightly over 32 hours a week (counting 13 weeks). Better than Q2, which averaged out to be slightly less than 30. I'm happy with that.

So, the Steens are behind us, and I'm back to running around, some necessary...and some not, if I had only read the instructions first!

I'm gocco printing with the kids at Atkinson Elementary school this coming Saturday, so I went off in search of paper and fabric for that project. I also got paper for myself for cards for Open Studios, and also test fabric for the pillow books I'm making for the Tennessee show. So that was the necessary and well and good running around part.

For the unnecessary running around part -- I finally submitted my exhibition proposal this afternoon, only to find out that they do not take email submissions! This being almost a whole week late already, I decided to drive over to drop off the hard copies, right during evening commute time. They're totally bending over backwards to accept my late submission, so that is so greatly appreciated!

Uploaded fingerstothebone to its new home, and Mike and I worked on setting up the mailing list on our home computer. His part all seems to be working, and now I need to get my part to work -- as it turns out, when you select Mail Content of This Page from Safari, it does not bundle up everything and put it in the email; it just makes links. But I should be able to get that working shortly...

Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Steens, Sept 29 - Oct 4, 2007, part II

OK, work first -- worked on the exhibition proposal for the show at the G&V Walters Center for 2008. It's more or less done, I'm just waiting for 1 last image to show up. And if it doesn't arrive tomorrow, I'm going ahead without it. Also decided to go with spiritone for web host. They're local, they're nice to non-profits, and they've been easy to deal with for all the web sites that I've done for other people. This will take care of the problems I sometimes have for hosting my web site on a computer at home -- like when our modem went down just as we were leaving on a 2 week vacation last summer.

So, the Steens trip. The 2nd day, we just drove around the Malheur refuge area. Went to the Refuge Headquarters (sounds so official) and the museum, and then drove around on the self-guided auto tour. (All these photos were taken with the phone camera still.)

Every couple hours, we had to loop back to the Refuge HQ because that was the only place we had cell phone reception, and I had to check to see if my Tuesday night class at IPRC was going to go! (As it turned out, not enough people signed up and the class didn't go.)

But anyhow, this is the view at the parking lot at HQ. Across the marsh, but you can't really see it in this picture, is Malheur Lake. There's a telescope set up in the HQ and you can see the pelicans gathering on the lake. Otherwise, you can barely even see the lake.

Close to the HQ is the Sod House Ranch where we stopped to take a look. Just so happened that a volunteer archeologist and his wife arrived at the same time and he offered to give us a tour. A couple of the cows at the Sod House Ranch:

I think these two were from the Buena Vista Lake which is dry right now. They actively manage the lakes to make sure the correct proportions of certain types of plants grow.

So it's just kind of marshy right now:

Late in the afternoon, we came across a couple of 'real cowboys' (horses & bandanas!) with a herd of cows:

That's it for the Steens. Looks like we're going back next mid-Sept for the Mid-Autumn Festival alright!

The movie tonight was The Kingdom. Lots of plot holes!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

The Steens, Sept 29 - Oct 4, 2007, part I

Hang on to your seat belts, here's a tour of the Steens & some sorry excuse on why I haven't finished my print, sent off my exhibition proposal, and written in my diary, for the last 4 days --

We've talked about visiting the Steens for years but never quite made it until now. Usually, by the time we think of it, it's WAY too late to get a room. This time, we were a bit more flexible and actually tried for 4 other weekends before we were able to find a room for these 3 nights. We stayed at the Diamond Hotel in Diamond, population all of 5 but about to become 6 because one of the residents is pregnant!

For those of you interested in county information, here's the official Harney County Oregon Blue book page.

We left Portland around 9:30am on Saturday. Took I-5 S to OR22, which joined OR20 which then took us all the way to Burns, the 'major' town in SE Oregon (population of less than 3000). From Burns, we made our way to Diamond via 78, 205, and then the Diamond Loop. We actually missed the hotel on our first pass through -- how's that possible, you ask, in a town of 5 people? Well, because the web page gave the address as '10 Main Street', when there was no 'Main Street' marked was the ONLY street in town. And it was a very short street at that!

We eventually arrived at the hotel around 5:30pm, in time to unpack & clean up a bit before joining the other hotel guests for dinner at 6:30pm.

(More about the dinners later.)

After dinner, we borrowed a flashlight from the hotel and went out for a walk. The stars were beautiful, of course. The moon hadn't risen yet, so it was quite dark. We walked for a little bit, turned and waited for the moon to come up. I heard all this rustling in the tall grass to the side of the road, turned the light on the moving grass, and waited to see what creature was going to emerge. Finally, a head poked out, and I saw that it was a BIG, BLACK head. Then a BIG, BLACK shoulder, and then a BIG, BLACK body...and it just kept, on, coming.

I thought, Oh My God! It's a BIG, BLACK, BEAR! Well, you can laugh about it now, but it was a cow, of course. Despite my best rational efforts, I do feel spooked being out there in complete darkness (the flashlight doesn't really do a whole lot for you), so we didn't stay out too late.

The next day, we followed the advice of the guests already there and decided to do both of the Steens loops -- the one at the top of the mountains and the one that runs around the bottom. We also followed the advice that we probably can't do the entire top loop in our little city car, a low clearance Saturn, so we went up the north rim and turned around and came down the north rim as well. In fact, we couldn't quite make it to the top, it was quite steep (with snow on the ground) and we had no chains. But we got pretty close, and here's one of the view points.

(These are all taken with the phone camera...why didn't I use my new Rebel? Well, that would be another Stupid Human Tricks entry.)

I was facing north here in the first shot, and then turned to my right for each subsequent shot.

The Steens rise very slowly on the western slope but drop off very abruptly on the east side. So I'm looking into the valley to the east.

In this shot, the white oval shape at the top right is the northern end of the Alvord desert.

Here you can see more of the Alvord desert.

And I'm facing south at this point.

The gentle western slope...

The gentle Mike...

The gentle car...

And that, my gentle readers, brings us back to right before the first shot.

We came down the north rim rather than making the complete loop around the top and headed south to the town of Frenchglen. Frenchglen is probably about the same size as Diamond, or maybe it's twice as big, but how would you be able to tell?

There is the Frenchglen Mercantile...

...which was not open when we were there because the person running the store had to be over at the Frenchglen Hotel to serve lunch, because it was lunch time. We peeked into the store, and there were maybe 3 shelves of was all a bit lonely looking.

And that lunch was an experience all in its own class -- it was the crankiest , most ornery service! We walked in, and not only was there no greeting or smile (in return for our greetings and smiles), there was no 'sit anywhere you like', 'menus are on the table', etc. You just stood around while she ignored you, until you finally figured out to just sit down. One of the diners asked for menus (their table had none), she said 'on the table' with that are-you-blind-or-stupid tone of voice. When we said 'thank you,' there was no response. She never once smiled at anyone, said an extra word (kind or not), or was the least bit pleasant to anybody in the room.

In a lot of ways, it was all part of the experience, but I was so happy that we were staying at the Diamond Hotel and NOT at the Frenchglen Hotel!

Besides the hotel, the general store, there was an empty house in Frenchglen:

After lunch, we continued on to Fields (SE of Frenchglen), to have a 'famous chocolate milkshake' which so many people rave about. Sadly, I have to report that I thought it was a lot of nothing.

From Fields, we headed north to loop around the east side of the Steens. The road travels between the mountains and the Alvord Desert; hot springs dot the roadside. I wanted to go out to the desert itself, but found no roads that I could recognize as public roads, everything looked like a private driveway. As it turns out, there was one difficult to find road, which we completely missed, so we did not get out to check out the desert surface. But I guess that's what next time is for. And there will be a next time, more about that later.

Anyhow, we stopped at one of the hot springs. This was taken right at the side of the road...

...where the hot spring water comes bubbling out:

Here's another shot:

There's a little tin shack a little further away from the road; it's set up for soakers and such. There were people soaking in it so I didn't take a picture. We walked a little further on and here you can see the desert in the distance. I'm not sure what the white stuff is. Not very far from the Alvord Desert, there's a town called Borax Works, I assume there's borax there, and maybe that's what this is too?

That was pretty much the tour for the first day. We got back to the hotel, had dinner along with the rest of the hotel guests, went out for another walk in the dark, and called it a night.

Now, about those dinners at the Diamond Hotel --

1) They're pretty delicious, but you've got to like beef! Steak the first night, beef stew the 2nd night, and lasagna (with ground beef) the 3rd night.

2) They're communal -- everyone sits down at 6:30pm at 2 large tables and eats family style. These dinners were really half the fun, you never knew whom you'd be having dinners with, and we met some interesting people with wonderful stories and great suggestions on what to do and what to see. Some of them have been going for years and knew a lot.

As it turns out, the woman who used to own the Mockingbird Gallery in Bend (she recently sold it) takes a bunch of her gallery artists to the Diamond Hotel once a year, and they just go out and paint, and several of them were there while we were there. And besides me and them, 2 other photographers showed up, one of them recognized me (we later figured out it must've been from OCAC). The man who owns and runs the hotel also owns and runs a ranch, which is not too surprising. But turns out, he's got an art degree too. A couple of his oils hung in the dining room, and one of them I really liked.

One of the things that came up in our conversations about the Alvord was the subject of the moon rising over the desert. Now, this sounds like a very lovely thing to see! Plans are underfoot [underway & afoot?] to return for the Mid-Autumn Festival (Aug 15 on the lunar calendar) for next year...

Part II tomorrow.