Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008, magic, miracles and music!


This years magic began on training wheels - in January I started a new volunteer position at 3Rivers Hospital. At times its been a challenging ride, but each shift leaves me with an attitude of gratitude. I'm so truly thankful to be working with the individuals that staff the surgery department, better known as PACU.
My other volunteer position, selling raffle tickets at the Britt Festival was as usual, a total blast. Pushing over three thousand tickets, I won the big prize this season again, winning two tickets for the concert of my choice next year, and five minutes of fame at the 2008 volunteer picnic.
With so many magical concerts this season its impossible to reach back and pick highlights since every single one was memorable in one way or another.
The season opened with Crosby Stills and Nash and ended with Bonnie Raitt. In between I also worked, Big Bad Voo Doo Daddy, The Neville Brothers, Taj Mahal, Keb Mo, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson, Steve Miller, and Michelle Shocked. Clearly at the top however was the Craig Chaquico concert with Jesse Cook opening, two incredible guitarists each one so singularly amazing. Michael Franti played the Britt for the third consecutive year and we took Daniel along this time. Lyle was back and he was of course simply fantastic, meeting him and having my picture taken with him after the concert, next to nirvana.
It was a great summer weatherwise, and hard to believe, Dave and I made it down the river only twice, but we got out to the coast and camped for a few glorious days on the Chetco river.
Lots of company this year, my high school friend Carol came to visit in March with her friend Lori, who ended up renting my studio downstairs in the fall while looking for a permanent teaching position in Oregon. Ruth Ann came up from the Bay Area two times and joined us at the coast for two days of our Chetco camping trip. Martina, Dylan, and her Mom, in from Germany, came up for a week in July. Francis, Ted, Jamie and Paul, Deb and Robert Yee all visited as well.
Sadly we lost Bullet this summer to cancer and still feel the loss, and even more, so does Maggie. She got into a moonlight tangle with a raccoon this summer and was fortunate to escape with minor injuries and an unwanted (is there any other kind) trip to the vet.
The end of the year was miraculously punctuated by hope and the election of Barack Obama. Here's to the economy rising to a better place by this time next year. 2008 is almost a wrap, and as my friend Leah wrote today in her blog Barn Door Tagz..."Good Riddance!"
Heres wishing you a New Year of prosperity, good health, and peace of heart and mind.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas 2008


The snow, the food, and the beautiful Christmas eve candlelight service at Newman Methodist, it truly was a Christmas to remember. We had Lori and Bills incredible red sauce on Christmas Eve with ravioli, gluten free gnocchi and we fired up the grill for some salmon caught at Albertson's.
After dinner we packed up everything including the tree because a storm was moving in... and the possibility of not getting up the driveway, headed to Daves' in the pouring rain, stopping on the way through town at Newman Methodist for a spectacular spiritual infusion.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

But is it art?


These holidays the lines are blurry, and in a sober way, in regard to the art of making art. Baking, decorating the charlie brown tree with homemade decorations, or the dog...taking photos to post or working on illustration jobs. Its all art and all about art.
Challenging as it is to focus these days on the stuff that brings in an income, and with my studio rental turning over after the new year plus an assignment to work on, I created two image stamps for a clients website in between baking some Gluten free cookies, and uuhhh, decorating the dog.
My computer was just relocated -for the third time this year, and now sits closer to my kitchen, between the kitchen and the fireplace, and with a direct view of the television. Does it get any better than that?
It does, add Pandora radio into the mix and you have commercial free tunes for any musical taste. I love Pandora, (thanks Ruthie for turning me onto it).
http://www.pandora.com/
These days the Christmas tunes are worth dialing in and provide the perfect backdrop for making art, for clients or gluten intolerant b-friends.
I rented two videos this week, The Bucket List, and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. The Bucket List, was as contrived as Hollywood can pump out, yes I choked up at the end, but in the process I felt emotionally manipulated.
I read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly years ago, more than once, its a short read with a lasting impact and I was curiously excited to hear it was being made into a movie. Since its usually the case that the movie is nowhere near as good as the book, this was one I didn't want to see, but couldn't wait to see.
Its taken two years for the desire and the actual video to merge, and I have to say this movie was as good if not better than the book. Julian Schnabel, an eclectic artist and filmmaker was the director, the cinematography and the acting were fabulous, and the result was as artful as a film gets.
Weather wise we have been fortunate here in Southern Oregon to get a light version of the full on blizzard affecting the upper Pacific Northwest. Lori's husband Bill had the nail biting drive up from New Mexico this week, and we had a wonderful dinner together on Sunday evening between storms. Last week Lori landed her dream job teaching art at a fantastic school in Salem, Oregon. I'm sure she will be a tremendous creative asset to their staff. We will miss her spirit and cooking around the ranch!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Fun with Maggie


Maggie is nowhere near as amused as we are this morning. She is in fact wasted from the hike around Limpy Creek yesterday, not wanting to even go outside this morning, allowing us to put the silly santy hat on her and pose for some pics I plan to submit to the SF Chronicle holiday pet pics section. As you can see, she has had it by the time its begun, tolerant good sport she is, she let us play for a good ten minutes.
Well we had fun.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Let it Snow!

Many of my friends who have come to visit have walked the botanical trail at Limpy Creek. A mere ten minute drive from the house, no matter the season or the weather, draped in dogwood blossoms or fog, its magical and mood changing. It takes on an even more ethereal quality in the winter when dressed with snow.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Snowing at last


Maggie and I went over to Daves on Saturday night expecting to get snowed in, instead it was only a light dusting, enough for the early morning photo op above. This morning we woke here on Marcy Loop to the real deal and headed outside, meeting up with Lori in the driveway, slideshow below.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Baking cookies


A few years ago in 2005, and my how time flys, I registered a domain and designed a logo and a website for it... (www.doggonecookies.com) the purpose being to create an online dog cookie business, with additional dog related items to buy. At the time there was a gal in town that made the treats and I hoped to partner with her on the actual products. Since then Danielle has moved out of town and I dropped the ball on the website project. Lately Maggie has not been all over the Costco cookies shes been addicted to for years. So I decided to experiment with baking some homemade ones with the outside chance I would get crackin' and get the dog cookie business happening.
Or at least the website finished so I could sell it to someone who actually wants to bake and sell dog treats for a living.
These days with the temps dropping, any excuse to turn on the oven to bake is a worthy idea, and our four pawed test kitchen approved round one. Woof!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Backyard brew haha



This week the sun finally reappeared, Dave fired up Mr chain saw and we went looking around a corner of the property for some dead Madrone to cut for Lori. I was surprised how much we found and hauled out. Afterwhich we torched the pile of brush back there, sipping tea, taking pictures and laughing about past bonfires we've had in the backyard.
City living was never this much fun.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Turkey and ponies and sunshine oh my...

It was a fabulous Thanksgiving mostly due to Lori taking charge, she sure is an amazing cook, she did sweet potatoes, the veggies, pumpkin pie and dressed the turkey, even making gravy with gluten free flour.
The only thing she didn't dish up was some sunshine. In short supply these days, especially in our neck of the woods, we bolted outside this afternoon at the first sign of it in days. Once we lost it here we fired up the car and headed over to this pasture on the other side of 199 and backed into a spot in front of two beautiful ponies and sat on the tailgate makin' friends with two pretty boys for another half hour as the sun dropped and the shadows grew longer on the field.
A dose of vitamin D can go a long way on a gray day.

Friday, November 14, 2008

The Applegate River



After a morning shift at the hospital yesterday, I spent a few hours raking and blowing leaves while Dave worked up on the roof clearing the gutters, it was so warm and sunny and beautiful for a change. Its been days since I have been off the computer and outside for more than a half hour, what a wonderful change of pace and workout for the body and soul. I love this time of the year.
I've been working on a landing page for Skodes Horse Treats, setting up the type design, integrating it with her new artwork and emailing the files off to a new html gal I am just starting to work with.
Posting this breathtaking picture of the Applegate River that Dave took the other day on the way up Joans' driveway.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The Rainbowbama

Todays photo op represents the kind of day and attitude I felt infused with. A new business plan, a new president, and five minutes of sunshine all contributed.
I worked on 3 design projects until late in the afternoon when Dave and I headed to Wilderville to mail off some packages. Already in the neck of the woods I dropped by Joans to leave some greens for her guinea pigs, pet few barnyard animals and pick up some fresh eggs.
On the way home as we passed the Old Mint Farm, and in the five minute pocket of sun, there it was, a brilliant rainbow dropping into an Obama sign on their gate. Clearly a divine sign that there are better days ahead, and the heavens are smiling.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Knowing When to Say When...

The title of today's' posting is a catchy advertising slogan that has, for many years been about what it was traditionally created for and about-drinking.
For me, knowing when to say when, has never been about alcohol. My formative years in design and the creative process were fine tuned at Landor Associates where as a freelancer -and working on a job, possibilities and explorations for logo art were a never ending creative free for all. Churning out one idea after another and continuing until, not unlike those tests in grade school, someone finally said 'OK, time to put your pencils down'.
Today's' question...when to say when, when it comes to concepts - or with clients who are never satisfied.
I realize that there are situations in the advertising and design world where this would be a virtue- not a liability, but for me in the present, I find myself at times, on a limited budget and overworking the time I should be putting into a job. I've discussed this with a few other designers and they say, 'well I just limit my designs to three ideas and that's it'.
When a client is still not happy after three to five options, I'm only too happy to keep on working on designs, bending over backwards with passion and perseverance. My people pleasing genes kick in and I'm a runaway train, often giving them so many possibilities, making a choice then becomes a challenge.
This was driven home most recently by a client and an assignment I was working on and really enjoying ...and thought I had come up with some elegant and nicely designed solutions. Please click here for my designs.
Then the email came in, one of her vendors had created something for free that she was going to use instead. Please click here for her choice.
Simultaneously I have been working with another client, reworking some design elements of her website, a banner with photographs, creating some simple buttons, and next an opening screen for her site. She is just a delight and a joy to work with, couldn't be happier, or easier to please.
It motivates me to continue to do the best I can, which I believe is what it all comes down to in the long run.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Stormy Sunday


Today we went for a short drive and a long walk on eight dollar mountain on our way to Kerby. There is a fantastically engineered handicap accessible walkway out to a field of cobra lilies, a species of plant native only to this area and the Kalmiopsis wilderness. It was a grey day and stormy skies threatened to cut short the adventure.
The destination was the workshop of an amazing craftsman, Jerry Work, to take a look at a used iMac for sale. Jerry appears to me to be one of those left brain right brain individuals that can create stunning fine furniture, and in a former professional life was a software engineer. There is little he doesn't know technically and there is little he can't do artfully with wood. I met him about a year ago while taking a studio photography class he was teaching at The Southern Oregon Guild.
It was a nice break to get out for a drive, and it looks like I will be buying a new (used) Mac to boot.
For more about Jerry and his studio/ work click here.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Remembering Halloween


This was one of the best Halloweens I can remember, on the left, carved pumpkins glowing artfully in the dark.
Friday I found myself downtown in the late afternoon without my camera, wishing I had not forgotten to pack it in my purse as I usually do.
A break in the rain brought many families out to cruise the streets of Grants Pass, and there were so many adorable costumed kids on parade.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Six days and counting


This countdown week marks the last of the all the political news and views locally and nationally. Its been downright ugly, from commercials to lawn signs...and I am hoping for change. The upcoming end of a presidency that never should have been. The divisive atmosphere is driven home daily and I hope that next Tuesday we will be back on the road to a new era. Personally I have checked out of politics going all the way back to Ronald Reagan, I couldn't listen to the actor as president anymore than I can watch or listen to George W. Bush. I'm inspired by Obama and hope everyone gets out and votes with their head and their heart. Love this fantastic video posted above, great music, graphics, outstanding message.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Warm and wonderful


It was a great weekend in the Pacific Northwest. We hit the Growers Market, a few garage sales and had dinner with Paul and Jamie at Aja.
I stopped by Joans for eggs on Sunday afternoon and had a nice visit with her and Bill before returning home to work on a job. Took some pictures at Joans' I will have to download and post in the next few days when I have more time.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

How Sweet it is


It has been one of those "time flies wheter your having fun or not" periods. Been working long and hard on the trailer, an illustration assignment, and watching the season turn, turn turn.
Last night Jamie, Paul and Zoe arrived for a visit. While we were waiting for them to arrive, we made some delicious cornbread. Bobs' Gluten Free Cornbread Mix, THE best, far superior to the -from scratch recipes I've ho hummed over over the years. I've included a link to ordering some from Amazon below, the price is for a four pack.
It was wonderful to have The Pies in for a visit, its been about six months since they came up in the spring and we drove to Takilma and did a tour of the treehouses at Out N' About.
The weather these days is unusually warm and beautiful and all the trees are peaking.
Walking outside at night the sky is clear, stars twinkling and there is the intoxicating smell of woodfires burning.
Sweet as cornbread and good friends on a warm autumn night.

Monday, October 13, 2008

No pain no gain


Pain is inevitable, suffering is optional...


Sometimes I feel like, is it all worth it?
...the initiative and effort it takes to be a self supporting artist in todays' economy and creative world, where imagination and passion come with a huge price.
Recently two new assignments came in that renewed my desire to get past the limitations and challenges, out of the ditch I was in, and back on the road. Hi ho hi ho.
It just feels fantastic to be working on something that makes me aware of how important it is in my life to be designing and illustrating- and what is missing when its not there like its sometimes been lately.
Appreciation and fair compensation are the icing on the cake.
I've been working with Ruth Ann Barrett who has been developing a business plan over the past month involving creating an online presence and branding called The Whole Brand. Her strategic marketing has been an effective business tool and I feel so fortunate to be working with her on this project. This weekend I finished her logo art and banner art-http://wholebranding.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Howling with the wind


Change is in the air, geese are honking overhead in the morning and leaves are rustling and floating to the ground from the birch trees out my window. Yesterday they were downright glowing. Today is cloudy and there's the chance of rain in the next 24, in these parts, its nonexistant for a good 5 to 6 months. Its a welcome change but an unsettling reminder of all the things still to do before it happens, because as the saying goes, when it rains it pours ...through the winter. I noticed along with the beautiful colored trees in my front yard, the pine needles on the roof that will clog the gutters, the equipment around the property that needs to be put away, should tarp the trailer, it needs a new coat of sealer on its vintage roof. And so on and so on and so on. Makes me want to howl, so much to do, so little time.

video

Friday, September 26, 2008

Backing up


"One day at a time unless they all attack at once."

One of the things I've learned the hard way is to back up your files. Two years ago when my computer went down during a power surging, butt kicking winter snow storm, I realized I had nothing, I mean nothing backed up. I thought for sure I was toast and I had earned the burn. Bob, computer genius, once again managed to save not only mr computer but all my files on it. And somehow managed to get Apple to pay for the replacement power thingy that had fried.
You know the saying that behind every good man is a good woman, backing him up? Ok I added the backing up part because it seems to fit with todays blog about backing up, but not just in a lip service kind of way. Jan is the ying to Bobs yang, and when you call Valley Software, trying to contain your panic, her voice is like honey on toast, shes calm, never loses her patience, and most of the time can get you out of the jam before, as a last resort, she turns you over to Bob or tells you to bring the computer in.
Backing up... I swore I would not get myself in the wiggly place i was in last time, and two years ago I bought an external drive on ebay and backed up my files. Since Bob had to rebuild my computer from the ground up this time, it hasn't been the smoothest restart, small things are not happening, like despite his best efforts, Firefox was running when the mothership went down and I lost all my bookmarks.
The one thing that did set me into panic mode last night was the font factor, two fonts I had been working with on my website overhaul, one I had downloaded from Emigre and another missing font I use all the time, nowhere to be found in the rebuilt font folder which I guess goes into the default format when the computers' OS is reinstalled. This morning I plugged in my external hard drive with little hope I had actually backed up my fonts, but there they were.
My miracle d'jour.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mothership crashes


From one pain in the neck to another, my computer crashed right in the middle of updating my website files. I went from making some serious progress to staring at a teeny tiny folder on my desktop with a flashing question mark.
Its been days of feeling lost in more ways than one and hours hanging out at Valley Software hoping for a quick fix. Like my neck problem, this one took days to resolve as well. Thanks to the friendly folks there at VS, I somehow pulled through with an intact sense of humor, and what feels like a new computer.
Thanks Bob and Jan, once again you guys are the best.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Whats New


This week I have finally gotten around to working on redoing my website, something that has been on the 'to do' list for about a year. Relearning Dreamweaver, painful but rewarding... I'm almost there, have to add some pages and refine a few things, but it will be much more professional and less personal.
On the homefront, this week Lori moved up from New Mexico and into my studio rental. She is a breath of fresh air, a fun and creative spirit. Today we took her to the downtown Grants Pass Growers market, got some tamales and we hit a few garage sales on the way home.
Big fun in Oregon.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Earthsayers


In September of 2007 Ruth Ann Barrett of Red Direct approached me about working with her on a video based website. Earthsayers.tv was launched in 2008.
I'm posting the series of "category stamps" I created for Earthsayers.tv illustrated around the theme of sustainability. My blog head incorporates a slice of one of these illustrations. She has been using them for various applications, presentations, and they have been adapted to merchandise available through Cafepress.com.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Landslide




My 5 for 5 line was so successful I won the raffle ticket seller prize for the third year. The second place winner sold 719 tickets I sold 3,260 (in ten concerts). I won a pair of tickets to a concert of my choice next summer, and fifteen minutes of fame at the picnic, which was a blast. Afterwards we trolled the streets of J-ville picking up all kinds of free stuff people had put out, leftover from the citywide sale.
Still my neck is totally messed up but I found some leftover painkillers from 06' when I broke my wrist, and along with the Advil I've been mainlining I'm almost back to normal.
We're having a mini heatwave, the temps are approaching triple digits in the daytime, and right now the crickets are singing up a storm to an almost full moon while I'm typing this post.
Dave and I headed out to Kerby today to get more fresh corn, tomatoes and assorted produce, a great day for a drive. We stopped by Joans' on the way back to pick up some eggs and take some pictures of her guinea pigs so I could post another ad on Craigslist for her.
A great day for pictures and painkillers.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Weakend warriors



This weekend has thrashed me. There was a 2 day city wide garage sale in Jacksonville we covered a fraction of on Saturday, as well as picking up the french doors. Blocks and blocks of treasures, we left exhausted with a car full of booty. We head back there in another two hours for the volunteer picnic at The Britt.
Posting a picture of the new downstairs area Dave created on Friday with some cedar fence boards while I was working at the hospital. Used to be an eyesore, the trash is hidden now, and a string of lights makes it a sweet environment and perfect place for the table and chairs I bought a few months ago.
Better bust a move, there will still be a few sales going on I will be tempted to hit in spite of my neck feeling wounded and out of whack, no doubt from trying to keep Maggie on a leash as we walked around yesterday.

Stepping outside the box


Besides the Britt, I work as a volunteer at Three Rivers Hospital. Friday morning was my shift and my brain needs, desires and requires the mental gymnastics. Its been a blur of a month (and summer) of company and work assignments, so I've only put in one other day in August.
I thought when I signed on there to volunteer that I would be sitting at a desk passing out pamphlets or something similarly unchallenging. As it turned out they wanted me to work at the surgery intake desk because of my people skills. Twenty years of working for myself, I thought my people skills were in need of people so I signed on. What I have realized over the past 8 months of working there is how my brain and its imminent functioning has always singularly revolved around problem solving the creative process. Rewiring my brain at 55 to work this position has been a very challenging and rewarding road on many levels.
There is a massive flow chart to keep current as patients check in, their arrival time, family members cell phone numbers, what they are wearing to identify them and in what section they are sitting in, it all needs to be recorded because of HIPPA, you can no longer holler their names across the waiting room.
The core needs to be called that they are here, OR after their procedure, a call downstairs for discharge and a wheelchair. In a morning we check in about twenty to thirty patients for surgery or colonoscophys. Along with the information that must be recorded and the phones, the biggest and most important part of the position is to be simultaneously social and comforting to the patients and family members.
Frankly, my brain has never had multi-task on this level in my lifetime...until now.
One of the reasons I have hung in there and not transferred over to one of the numerous other available volunteer spots, like in the library where I could stare at the computer for hours, (something I am very experienced with) are the women I work with.
I am so impressed with the level of professionalism and social grace these individuals possess. Their brains are in the moment, firing on all cylinders, and they make me want to step outside the creative box and get my feet wet in a different way and world that in no way resembles Greys Anatomy, or any other hospital show I've watched or rolled my eyes over and clicked on or off on the boob tube.
This gratitude moment is about stepping outside the box, one that challenges me and fulfills, in a way unlike any other.
The photo above was taken as I was leaving home Friday morning, a country block from my driveway at 7:15 am

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In the MOOD



I must confess, doing Christmas art in September is putting me in the holiday spirit. Its been years since I've managed to get even a few Christmas cards out the darn door, I'm thinking maybe its all about starting in the Fall. Fast forward thru carving pumpkins, raking leaves and lets mooove on to the real deal. Thankfully the election and all the insane hoopla will be over, and we can get down to baking and decorating.
Today I was back to working on "Faith Clip", and today it was a Madonna, an Angel Word art piece and three Shepard's in a field.
I'm ready, bring it on.... I'm breaking out those Christmas cards!
Today is also the anniversary of 9/11, a life changing day 7 years ago that like the day JFK died will be forever etched in my mind. Julie still lived here, and it was the year she introduced me to Dave.
Thanks Julie, another awesome life changing day.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Art and what not


The past two days were spent working on my last clip art assignment - Holiday art...
...a turkey, cornucopia and 4 related borders. These along with the change in the weather and light, a sure sign that summer is almost over and in the blink of an eye I will be wrapping Christmas presents and wondering where the last three months have gone.
I have totally enjoyed working on these and last weeks "breakfast boxes" project.
Today we drove the backroad to Jacksonville to check out the miracle doors I had posted an ad on Craigslist for to finish the shed that started out as a carport. Turns out Bonnie had sold the doors, but had some other possible replacements. Her place was worth the drive, I took a bunch of pictures I will post of her creative displays. She has a little place called Wheelbarrow Lane and is prepping for a citywide sale that takes place this Saturday and Sunday. Bonnie is from the Bay Area, what a surprise, so are half the folks who live in the area, and just talking on the phone I knew she was someone I wanted to meet. She was so sorry she sold the doors, but immediately called some friends she knew that were renovating and selling their french doors. We drove over to her friend Julies' fantastic Bed and Breakfast a few blocks away and bought a set that also included the frame.
Even better!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Signs of Life


Theres nothing like making art in the woods, using natures toolbox and found objects.
Just back from a two night three day campout at The Chetco River off the coast of Brookings Harbor, Oregon. We've camped here before, right on the rivers edge, but this time we tucked in a spot under some great big trees, providing a canopy under twinking stars you can see as the wind blows warmly off the river.
My friend Ruthie is up for a business (and pleasure) meeting all in one. She is such a sport and we three head to the Chetco River and Southern Oregon coast and camp for the night before she heads home to San Francisco down Hywy 101. On our way through the Illinois Valley, we stop at my friend Sandys' Bed and Breakfast Retreet in Takilma. We also brake for all produce stands and get tons of fantastic corn on the cob we'll roast later over a cozy fire. Swimming and cooking salmon and corn and hanging with Ruthie what a total blast. Dave and I stay an extra night.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Monday musings


My client and friend Ruth Ann Barrett drove up from San Francisco on Monday evening, we're working on a new business plan and I'm excited. Plus we're working on revising and updating Mokiethecat, a website we did 5 or 6 years ago. I've created products for an online store and adding a podcast download page as well as a history of the site.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Labor of Love





My Labor Day Weekend started on Thursday night, with an unforgettable concert at The Britt in Jacksonville, Oregon where I have worked as a volunteer for the past four years. The majority of the volunteers prefer to usher, or work the various concessions, but I love running around the hill selling raffle tickets. The seasonal raffle prize is a for a chance to win two reserved seats to every concert next season, plus parking on the hill. I enjoy telling people, "Its a five thousand dollar prize - parking on the hill...priceless".
If you've hiked the hill to get up to The Britt venue, and most of the patrons have, they crack up. Hopefully Mastercard won't get wind of the fact I have been hustling their ad line over and over and over. This year I have a new line I'm wearing out. Despite the fact that I'm sporting a bright red smock that says in huge white type, RAFFLE TICKETS $1.00 , people always ask me how much? So I respond "only a dollar apiece or five for five". They shake their heads and laugh, but mostly they buy five. I'm not sure if its the power of suggestion or what, but my ticket sales are up this year. Go figure...
Normally I get there early, sell to the folks waiting in line, work intermissions, and then I get to join Dave on the lawn if he's not working the concert too, and enjoy the show.
Thursday night it was a triple header starting out with one of my very favorite groups, The Waifs. From Australia, they have a fantastic new CD -Sun Dirt Water and they were the highlight of the evening. It was too short of a set and they should have been the headliner. The Avett Brothers followed after a short intermission, and they were so uniquely strange and talented, I was glad to be up close to see them perform. Another intermission of running around the hill pushing tickets as it was getting dark, and the headliner, Lucinda Williams came on, lightly toasted. She was more rocking and rauncy than previous shows I've seen her do and the family oriented crowd started to head for the gates, which seemed to upset her but not slow her down a bit.
Saturday night I worked the Willie Nelson concert at Lithia. Dave and I helped an eldery woman to her seat, she was using a walker and we wanted to make sure she didn't get mowed down by the thundering crowd as the gates opened in ten minutes. As she slowly moved across the paved walkway, she told us how she met Willie many years ago at a Farm Workers rally in Salinas, California where they marched for twelve hours until her feet were so blistered, the next day she had to go to the Doctor, who she shook her head laughing, called her tenderfoot. Later that night as I was waiting for some folks in a row behind her to fill out their raffle tickets I pointed her out, and told them how she had marched with Willie. Their respectful awe, and the pride her face then registered was one of those moments I will never forget.
As for Willie, he was a class act, however, I was stunned by the number of woman throwing their bras on stage. I saw seven or eight sail through the air, and one by one he smiled and picked them up stacking them on the amp behind him, remarking it was a bumper crop that night.
Indeed...

Sunday we labored on my vintage retro trailer (see photo above) getting it ready to post for sale on ebay when Joan called to invite us over for a BBQ. We packed up some salsa made a few days earlier and headed over to the lodge and a delightful evening of food and fantastic wine with Joan and Bill, Helen a young 93, Pete and Janice and their kids and three dogs visiting from California, and it was an absolutely wonderful time. On the way over there we stopped to take this picture of a beautiful horse in a field that reminded me of my friend Leahs' horse Jaz.
I'm looking forward to working tonight at The Britt, Bonnie Raitt is headlining. I haven't seen her since 1977 at The Montreux Jazz Festival where she was on stage with Muddy Waters, another simply unforgettable concert experience.
Three concerts in six days, wish I had a pedometer strapped to my leg, bet I will have run a marathon by the end of this holiday weekend.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

On the Rogue again


"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."
John Muir

Working hard these days on a few creative directions, and still pumping out clip art boxes for L&A. Yesterday I decided to take a break and hit the river with Dave, hard to believe we've only been out on the water twice this summer so far. The weather was so picture perfect, not a cloud in the sky, and only a few jet boats to rock our shorter than normal float.
Mallards, mergansers and egrets as usual but the highlight was after we had pulled out and were stopped on the road by a big old bull elk. It took a few minutes to pull my camera from the dry sack buried in back and snap a picture of him ambling off across the meadow. It was one of those 'you had to be there moments' the photo was only marginally interesting compared to the experience of having those two eyeballs staring through our front windshield.
Posting a slideshow of my favorite river shots I put together a few years ago.
video

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My dreams, my destiny

"Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you will land among the stars"
Les Brown

Todays post is going to be short, since I spent yesterday reading a book, my drug of choice. Whenever I want to check out, a novel is my favorite road.
Today I finish the boxes assignment and start working on a new plan, my dream job.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

State of the Art, state of the mind


These days I have been working with L&A, a local clip art company that I found responding to a Craigslist ad for an in house illustrator. Ashland is an hour drive from my house so they put me on a freelance contract 5 months ago, and I have been working on art for their online menu site as well as faith art. The pay is poor but the assignments have been fun and keeping me in a place of creative bliss.
These days I have been working on simple decorative boxes. Three down and prolly four to go, but I thought I would post one I added some type to this morning.
My mental state is so often connected to the challenges and jobs keeping me working and eating. Never in the twenty plus years of being a working illustrator have I been so challenged by making a living. Granted I used to do direct mail, advertise in trade publications, but I even if I had the money to do that, I question wheter there are the freelance assignments out there to justify it.
On a significant decline over the past few years has been the income generated through my 900 plus stock archive that until a few months ago was sold through Stockart.com. I'm trying to decide what to do with my archive, a download from my website, or upload it on iStock...
Good thing I don't have to figure it all out today.
Just for today, one more simple box, ...and no more whining.
Merchandise with the above artwork click here!

Monday, August 18, 2008

Finding balance, and taking stock...

One thing that has been a constant over the years has been change, not to mention evolving on the creative path, maintaining some kind of balance and making a living.
In 1995 I worked with a group of 6 women utilizing a book called Wishcraft, we all read the book, did the exercises, and each actualized our goals. I wanted to live off my stock illustrations and created an archive that sustained me for years thanks to Stockart.com.
With the popularity of royalty free stock cds, the emergence of iStock and the ability to purchase vector art for as little as one US dollar, my royalties slowed to a crawl. Stockart.com began focusing on chasing and litigating clients stealing off their website and then as their staff dwindled along with sales reports and any accountability, I decided to terminate my contract with them a few months ago in order to do something else with my archive, which I am still trying to figure out.
For the past five months I have been happily working for L&A - Letters and Arts, a small clip art site locally located, creating clip art mainly for their new menu site, combining two of my favorite passions -food and art. I create art they then own outright and where I used to make 200 to 600 an illustration -sometimes more depending on rights and usage, I make at best 50 dollars and they prefer to pay 30 an illustration. Along with the Menu Clip art, I've also been doing art for their Faith Clip site. I'm humbled by having to embrace the fact that they pull apart my submissions (they do own it after I'm paid) and break it into multiple pieces, giving me some serious reflection in respect to clients taking creative liberties.
This was driven home a few months ago when I had another assignment, for the Siskiyou Project. The executive director I worked with, owned a copy of illustrator and decided to work over my final logo I had been hired to create. Even after a few rounds of changes, apparently, my logo was not realistic enough, and he claimed it was about making the staff happy.
After months of working on the project, not to mention wanting to be paid, once again, I'm struggling to find some balance between wanting some creative respect and wanting to be compensated for my time. I work tirelessly to visually balance my art and when clients remove elements or rework the art, it throws me. I wonder if any other illustrators have encountered this and can share how they have handled it.
Its sure been putting me through some changes....
On the right, my logo design, click on the Siskiyou link above to see the reworked logo.

What it is...

I've heard it said, write in down, make it happen.
Inspired by my friend Leahs' blog Barn Door Tagz , I've decided to start an online creative journal.
Mostly overwhelmed with whats going on in my world outside of my art, I'm attempting the possible, a little bit here and there when I can, I'll post photos, jobs I'm working on and most importantly, what in my wildest dreams I would love to be working on.
Since my crazy life is so much more than the assignments that come in, (or these days rarely come in) music, cooking, photography are all going to be woven into this blog as well.
As I embark on this journey, I think its important to thank two individuals in addition to Leah, one I have met and the other not. I'd like to thank Diana Coogle, whom I took a short writing class from 5 years ago, her voice, encouragement and joyful spirit left a permanent imprint on me... and one of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, whose books I read one by one over the course of a summer in 1999. Her book, "Bird by Bird" gave me the motivation to begin this...word by word.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Hot as Hell...

The heat the heat, OMG, I guess this is the reality if you live anywhere but here, the Pacific Northwest. We have some of the most amazing weather. Well, the winters are gray and rainy a bit more than I would like, but no humidity like when I lived back on the East coast and even when its hot during the day it always seems to cool down at night enough to pull it in with fans in the morning, close the house up and chill inside during the day. Since I work at home, inside during the day is a factor, like health benefits, which I don't provide, and exceptional places to lunch, which for me revolves around my fridge and Albertsons 10 miles from my so called home office.
The past week has been triple digits, the most heat I have experienced since moving here thirteen years ago. Thank God its supposed to be the last day of this heat wave, today. But thunder and lightning are starting and with it the threat of sparking fires.
A good time to turn off the computer.