Wonder in the Woods

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Ive been working on an artful identification guide to 6 Northwest trees. They are some of our most common and types that all of us trailrunners, dogwalkers, and urban wanderers should know.

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I was inspired by my own lack of knowledge, one of those “think you know but really dont” times. When my 5 year old can rattle off the tree species in Discovery Park faster than I can (thanks to the awesome Nature Kids Preschool there) then it gives me pause.

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I received a grant from local King County arts funder 4Culture to make this set of images. They have been reproduced as a cardstock take-a-way, and piles of them will be available free for passerby at parks and outdoor recreation spots around King County in November.  Sites include; Discovery Park Environmental Learning Center, Camp Long Visitor Center, Seward Park Aububon Center, Lewis Creek Park Visitor Center and the Ballard Branch of Seattle Public library. WonderFirfinal

If you are interested in seeing the set of papercut images full size and all together, and presented in a cool printed metal format….. they will be on display at Venue in Ballard through November, if not longer.

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For a great book that is a beautiful and broad reference for us treehuggers, check out “Northwest Trees” by Arno and Hammerly. It has excellent pen and ink illustrations and sets each species in its place in the larger picture of our forests and history.

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In the field

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This weekend I get on the Alaska ferry for the 4 day ride north. The 5 year old and I have matching forest green sketchbooks, fresh and new to record whale sightings and sketch mtn vistas and perhaps draw schematics for new improved X-wing fighters. I am beyond excited to have time sprawling ahead to just notice and be.

Last month I jumped onboard to lead an Outward Bound course sailing the San Juan and Gulf Islands, and though it had many wonderful challenges and moments, the 2 weeks were far too full to stop and sketch around in the way I really love to do when on my own. Really I hike so I can find an amazing spot to sketch/ write/ watch the world go by. I ski so I can get up above the trees and sit on my gloves, drawing with chilly fingers and a hot thermos nearby. Art and adventure go hand in hand for me.

In an attempt to share this love of mine, I will be teaching a weekend workshop through the Cedar root Folk school. It runs the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd on Marrowstone Island (just down the road from Port Townsend). We will be roaming the beaches and forests, finding spots to sit and notice and turn observations and emotions into art and words. I will bring basic art supplies for each student and a number of other media to try out through the weekend. At each stop I will share new ideas and exercises to heighten awareness of our surroundings and start integrating art into the observations of nature lovers and nature into the practice of artists.

Come join! Sign-up is through Cedarroot HERE. If you have any questions feel free to contact me.alaska watercolors (Sketch from a visit to Sitka, AK last summer)

Mayday

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One mayday morning I woke up in a strange and almost empty house deep in bright green leaves. The house was still asleep, so I roamed. A stuffed iguana on the mantlepiece scared me half to death and woke the house with my 14 year old screech when It lept out from under my curious hand.  Not stuffed after all…. Some things are surprising. Like the moment of calm in a week of busy-busy-rush-rush-what-are-we doing-with-our-lives.  Suddenly time stops, the iguana blinks at you, and cherry blossoms fall so gently in our glowing, sunny city.  It will all be just fine.  Mayday  can downgraded to a mere Securitae

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Last week it was the HOH Haul trail marathon, my first, check, done, saw a bear. Now I am on to an epic framing marathon to get ready for all of my alphabet book originals to go on display and up for sale at CLICK in West Seattle May 8th. There will be a lively artwalk at the Junction ( 6-9pm) and me signing books, I might even bring the Octopus.

Limited edition prints of the letters will be available (by special order through CLICK). Also a few wispy winsome new pieces will be up and more to come as the show progresses. Its up for May and June, if you cant make it next Thursday.

If you are mostly wanting to make sure you see the Octopus in a jar that has been my traveling companion on the northwest book tour of late, come to my reading at Elliot Bay Books this Saturday the 3rd at 11 am. Wiggly kids welcome!!!.

Mockingbird books is the following Saturday  at 11 if you are more of a Greenlake type than a Capitol Hill type, we love all kinds.

And after that, let the spring wind blow away your list of things to do.

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In the bookstacks

“S is for Salmon” comes out today…. officially to be found all around in indie book stores and library shelves and of course online. Boy does it take a long time to get to this point, but it feels lovely to hold the finished product in my hand and see it going out to a new generation of little naturalists/artists/superheroes.

IMG_2911IMG_2918And as is the way of publishing,  we are already deep in the next project coming 2015. It might be titled “Through the locks”. It might have a small naturalist/explorer/ninja fighter for a main character, and this might become the idea for the cover……stay tuned, and see you in the book stacks.

Click here to buy signed copies of “S is for Salmon” from me via Etsy, or shop your local indie book store.

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There and back again

puertocitos wtrclrThree months on the road, and in the sea…. a huge expanse of freedom. The desert had been wet and was in bloom. The winds were strong and sent us back to the beach to explore many a day, but we covered 6,000 miles by oars and wind and chevy van. And none of it was black and white.

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These images are notebook sketches made with watercolor and ink along the way.

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At home now the color sneaking into my life continues despite the grey weather. “S is for Salmon” comes out next week in full color! Signed copies can be pre-ordered now HERE.

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A rolling stone

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Bands get to go on tour, usually stay-at home moms, sadly, do not. Usually…

But how can one refill that well of inspiration, look at the dilemmas of life from an objective distance, and reconnect with beau and babe in a not-so-9-5 kind of way?

Just pack up and go. Anyway. In spite of all excuses, and fussing about not enough time… (thats really the crux, we never know how much time we will have, right).

Not that there wasnt a year of planning and angling and giant piles of anchors and spare tires and expired safety flares growing in the garage. But now there is a tiny green boat hitched up behind an unpredictable old van and piles have been pummeled into drybags and an artkit has been made for the road. So work can continue as inspiration flows with the miles, land and sea-miles. They say there is no sky like a mexican sky, so perhaps I will use colors, like prickly pear skin and the burnt orange of desert rocks. Cortez blue and Saguaro green to fill up the well.

*The images in this post are a set that is packed in the depths of the van to be dropped off in Truckee, CA at Riverside Studios, a wonderful shop/gallery that carries my work. Both are 16″x20″.

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Summer slips to fall

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Every year the fall comes and I get itchy, antsy for the crispness in the air and for new adventures and change. When I was young, Maine’s Common Ground Fair marked the change with bluebird days and annual sighting of my blacksmith friend Zack, (who still exists, see his wonderful workHERE) then dockside departure preparations for sailing ships, and  winter work seasons in the sun or even southern hemisphere….

Now its the first day of preschool.

But im still itchy, expecting that change to come that will somehow re-arrange complicated life into a new and clearer path.

In the meantime, standing by…. i am preparing,

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Sneak peek of Emergency Preparedness Poster Series, coming soon to an Island near you.

It has also been a summer of love in the studio, with a bunch of commissions for anniversary gifts and wedding Kettubah. here are some snippets, and best wishes to all the happy couples.

Sadly, this summer has also seen the passing of loved partners and changing of longtime loves. It is an imperative reminder to me that we can never be prepared to loose someone, so instead  may we have and hold and love so sweetly, making the most of whatever time we get to share.

 

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