Monday, July 19, 2010


Rocks & Wings, gouache on paper mounted on board. Yet to be sprayed w/ the GAC 500.

This one has had a long wait. Here's how it started, as a pour, on Feb, 19 this year:

Then I started working on it again on July 11:

Then over the last few days, it went through several phases, including one in which a mosquito made an appearance. But I quickly swatted it out. The rocks went from pink:

To blue:

To spotted & lined:

And finally to marbled and it stuck:

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The pecking order

The black chicken is always the boldest, coming right up to me as I'm digging in the garden, waiting to grab something tasty.

So in this picture, you see the brown chicken & the b&w chicken having themselves a nice dust bath, the black chicken foraging. But before long, the black chicken would go over and join the other two, start pecking at them to make room for herself for a nice dust bath too, right in between the other two.

In the background, you see the progress of the cement path around the strawberry patch. Only did 200lb of cement today. Didn't want to over do it, I'm supposed to go to the weight room tonight. Since the path curves around a crop circle, the paver mold leaves gaps in between. I'll fill those at the end. See yesterday's entry on why there're bamboo poles all around the strawberry patch...

I win!

In the battle of Shu-Ju vs Chickens to see who shall get the strawberries, Shu-Ju has won Round One. (I should note that the Good Prince placed his money with the Chickens.)

Remember that bamboo those unfortunate college boys had to remove last year? Well, they sat in a pile in the backyard until today, when they found their purpose in life:

And I did not observe the chickens going into my strawberry patch today. They walked around it, they walked by it, but they didn't walk into it. And as a bonus, it even has a slight Asian flair to it.

And please note that the chickens are walking around in a rose petal strewn path...what luxury!


Wet Spring, gouache on paper mounted on board

Again, have yet to spray it w/ the GAC 500.

Here's a shot from a little earlier:

And before that, see this entry.

Most of the 'spots' on the first layers got covered up; and then as a last step, I uncovered them by using a stiff damp brush to remove the layers on top, controlling how much of the top layers to remove and therefore, how much of the spot to reveal.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

An almost perfect day

One fine spring day earlier this year (and needless to say, it was pretty wet), I was walking somewhere SE, and the sidewalks were just covered, I mean COVERED, in maple seed pods. Bright chartreuse over wet, dark, shiny cement sidewalks. I've been waiting to paint that ever since.

So after almost 3 weeks away from the studio, I've started 2 more of the 7x7 panels, two different types—a paperbark maple and a vine maple. I'm not finished, but here are a couple of progress shots of each.

First one, paperbark maple. I created the background a few months back with some gray and bright color spots. Today, I added the pods, first in ultramarine. The pods are about actual can see a real pod on the left:

Then I layered a light green and a yellow on top. They kind of look like bugs:

Then the vine maple. Until I decided to paint them, I hadn't really paid attention to how different the different maple pods are. Not only in shape, but also in color and texture, and some are really tiny. So these are starting out the same as the paperbark maple, but there's a lot more red in these pods. The wings are also a lot thinner:

This is as far as I got today. They almost look like peas. I guess they're rather similar ideas:

Monday, July 05, 2010

Harness the power of the Chicken!

Still working on removing grass, but now I have 3 chickens helping me! Here's today's progress, and you can see the chickens resting in the hollow of the log after their long day's work!

A close-up...they're pooped from their hard work.

Here's a shot of approximately the same area from June, 2007. The grassy strip on the left is what I'm removing.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

Always doing things the hard way

Yup, that's my motto.

I've been slowly removing the grass from our yard for the last 20 years. When we moved in, it was probably close to 7500 sqft of grass (lot - house - driveway - a rather uninteresting border of mugo pines and rhodies). I'm figuring that I'm down to about 250 sqft of grass now, about half was removed by hired guns, rest removed by myself. (Oh yeah, that chair, it's holding back the rugosa rose.)

So after these last two days of back-breaking labor, I've removed (by hand!), what, another 30sqft? I'll be putting down a path to go around the strawberry bed and the sedum bed. Another week of work, and I'll be ready to put down the path, which will be a combination of red bricks and cement pavers. It will be very pretty, you'll see.

I haven't done all of the grass-removal the stupid way, of course. If it's an area to be planted, then I've actually done it the smart way—a layer of newsprint and topped w/ mulch. But since this is to be a path, all the organic materials have to be removed, so here I am, with my shovel...

Haven't seen the robin parents for a couple of days, but I'm pretty sure the babies haven't fledged yet. I'm resisting the temptation to get out a ladder and peek. Maybe I just don't get to see the ones that survive, but I don't seem to be having very good luck here with those birds nests. Last year, I had a bushtit nest; mommy and daddy were busy, busy, busy, but then I never saw the fledglings either.

On other fronts

I've been getting the Portland Open Studios website ready for our 2010 tour. It's almost ready to upload now, with new artists, new sponsors, new supporters, new community partner, new scholarship recipients. I've also been interviewing and profiling artist, with 5 interviews in the can and 2 profiles completed. See here and here.