The Recycled Rain Project 2017: Getting Started

I am honored to be invited to participate in the Recycled Rain Project, for the third consecutive year! If you're unfamiliar with this event, it's a curated show of artwork made using recycled rain water. A percentage of proceeds are donated to a water conservation non-profit (it's been Solve in the past, but I don't know who it is this year). All of the work in the show has to have something to do with water.

Last year I created a Portland cityscape painting with the Willamette River in the foreground. This year I have been pondering Water Towers a lot, and they have been appearing often in my cityscapes so I decided to create a painting to capture that.

 

Step one: Capture rainwater. Easy enough considering how much rain we've had here in Portland this year.

I decided to try making a diptych this year, since I just scored a great deal on these odd shaped canvases. 

So that's where I left off after my last painting session. Stay tuned for the next post with progress. Do I add windows? More water towers? So many choices to make! Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Feedback always welcome and appreciated. Updates coming soon, but if you're in Portland please come by the opening on June 3rd at the Ford Building on SE Division Street. 

Goals: Apply to Shows

One of my goals this year is to pay more attention to my art. I've finally found myself in a place where I have a great balance between my day job and having enough time to create. It's pretty exciting! So now that I have all this "free time" I'm striving to invest more in making and promoting my own art. 

Besides making time to create, I have also committed to applying to shows. A simple goal of one show application per month seems like a good starting point. For January, I was thrilled to discover the Glean Residency right here in Portland! My friend Marcia invited me to attend a RACC networking event one evening a couple weeks ago, and Glean had a representative there talking about the project. I've linked to their site above, but in a nutshell Glean resident artists are invited to Metro (the Portland dump) for five months to glean materials to repurpose into artwork. How cool is that? I was so excited about the possibilities of this project that I seriously couldn't stop thinking about it! A good problem to have considering the application deadline was just four days after I first leaned of the project.

It was a good push to get me to write a CV, bio, artist statement, and think through a proposal for what I would do if accepted. As much as I am a planner in my day to day life, I am a lot freer in my artwork. I don't plan much, and when I sketch out ideas they seldom translate to a finished piece of work. Instead I spend a lot of time thinking, and then I just... make something! Narrowing down all the possibilities in my head was nearly impossible. At first I thought I'd propose making marionettes! I mean, life sized marionettes made from trash? How cool would that be? But as I sat down to write about what inspires me and what I've been creating recently, I realized that this was a perfect opportunity to push the envelope with my cityscapes. Here's my proposal:

The Glean Residency would allow me to further explore my love of architectural salvage and to create interactive installation art. I’d use the opportunity to collect discarded life affects to build a collection of two and three dimensional cities. I envision this series of individual sculptures and hanging pieces, will stand alone and work together to tell a bigger story, similar to a large scale diorama. I’d like to construct sculptures, mobiles, and “paintings” that represent some of the feelings we experience when visiting unfamiliar places and cultures: the fear of being lost and not grasping the language well enough to ask for directions; impossibly tall buildings looming overhead; the joy of making a wrong turn and discovering something unexpected and wonderful; the contrasting energy of day and night. I’m intrigued by the idea of conveying the energy people bring to a city, without representing them in the art, but inviting the viewer to temporarily become part the piece.

Of course, 86 other people also applied! Portland is so full of talented artists I'm sure the competition will be stiff. Either way I should hear whether I've made it to the interview round in the next couple of days. Here's hoping! In the meantime I'm thinking about making my February application for Art in the Pearl; another long shot, but hey, por que no?

 

30 Painting in 30 Days: Painting # 17

Sometimes paintings come together faster than I think they will. Painting # 17 came to life in a couple of hours on Sunday morning. As always, I feel like I could keep working on this one, but in the spirit of completing the larger project, 30 paintings in January.

Last year we made a day trip to visit a fellow artist friend at his home in Washington. We stopped at Moulton Falls park on the way and wandered the short trail, and climbed on the rocks to get down to this view point of the bridge.

The intense and varied shades of green present in the Pacific Northwest is one of the reasons I love it here so much. Even in the dead of winter, luminous moss grows fat on rock faces and cliff sides. Flipping through my Instagram photos to choose which to paint has been a welcome reminder of how much natural beauty there is in this world, and that I should get out to experience it more often. So should you!

Until next time...

 

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Painting #16

At the beginning of this project, I claimed my theme to be a series of paintings based off my Instagram photos, but yesterday I broke the theme to create a sign for the Women's March on Portland. Unfortunately I did not capture any "professional" or well framed photos of it, and now it's pretty banged up from the rain, the march, and my lack of ability to dodge tree branches.

In process, paint still wet.

I didn't decide to make a sign until late on Friday night, and when my first attempt didn't pan out, I gave up and went to bed thinking I didn't have time to make something I'd be proud to carry. Saturday morning I was wide awake at 5:00 am, so I decided to try again. I wanted to make a sign that was direct, and didn't directly mock the president or new administration. While flipping through my Instagram feed, I saw this collage of signs, and my inspiration. A simple but direct reminder to resist the behaviors that I find unacceptable.

Images borrowed from @funpots on Instagram

So I made my own  version of my favorite and off we went to the march, with the paint still wet in places.

I am not a fan of large crowds, and I have never protested anything before, but this felt like something I had to do, something I  needed to do. The initial estimates called for a crowd of 30,000 people, and when you're on the ground it's difficult to gauge the size of the crowd, but as we stood under the  Morrison Bridge, shielded from the pouring rain, we could see streams of people crossing the Burnside and Hawthorne Bridges towards the rally. We stood there nearly 90 minutes waiting for the marching part of the march to begin. People chanted "let us march!", which struck me as funny- Portlanders protesting their own protest. But in all sincerity, I was beyond moved and inspired by the kindness, compassion and good energy this crowd, of what turned out to be 100,000 people.

This article from the Willamette Week captures the day perfectly. Agree or disagree politically, you must admit there is something truly moving about tens of thousands of strangers coming together of their own free will to peacefully make their voices heard. And it happened all over the world. To me, that speaks volumes about human nature, and the goodness most people have in their hearts. I left the march, thinking "what next?" This can't end with a march. We must take action to make a difference. Get involved! Donate. Volunteer. I have lots of ideas percolating.

For now, I'll finish up my 30 in 30 project, and keep talking to people in my community, and doing my best to be empathetic, and kind to the people I encounter every day. I hope you'll do the same, no matter which side of this thing you're on. 

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Painting #11

Ok, so I'm even more behind now than I was a few days ago, but that's more because of my inability to call something complete, than my lack of effort! I have five other paintings in process and nearly complete, so there's that.

We've been buried in snow for 8 days in Portland. 14" of snow and unusually cold winter temps have made for some serious cabin fever around here. The roads are a thick sheet of ice... still. The rain finally returned today so here's hoping it's all melted in the next day or two. That being said, my mind has been desperately hoping for spring. Enter this painting inspired by last year's visit to the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm's Annual Tulip Festival! 

I've always loved spring in Portland. The contrast of our dark gloomy skies and all the plants coming back to life- so lush and vibrant--- It's my favorite!

30 Paintings in 30 Days: Day 8

Last year we decided to rent a room at a B&B in a remote area of Washington. Just get out of town for the weekend, do some hiking and cut off the technology. As we were packing up the car to leave, the owners of the B&B called to say they had an opportunity to rent their entire place to a tour group from Dubai, if only we would relinquish our room reservation. Everything was booked solid that weekend, so the kind woman suggested we stay at their friends place down the road. We thought it was another B&B but when we arrived, it was clear it was just the home of an older couple, and they were gracious enough to open one of their rooms for us. Reluctantly we stayed.

The home had been recently built by the couple; nestled into a giant rocky hill. There wasn't much to do there once the sunset, so we bought a bottle of wine and sat around the dining table talking about life with our hosts. When I woke up in the morning and looked out my window, this was my view.

So we didn't have the weekend we expected, but I think in the end it was much more interesting.