Now that the holidays are over and these house portraits have been delivered and gifted, I can share them with you! I love painting other people’s homes. I consider my house portraits to be little painted love letters. These homes shelter the hopes and dreams of the inhabitants and my goal in rendering them is to honor those dreams. Here are some of my latest pieces.
Every New Year’s Eve, I do a little re-cap of the year. It's a nice way to take stock of the past 12 months and breathe a sigh of contentment before pressing on to new resolutions and goals. (If you're interested, you can take a look back at 2017, 2016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 and 2010.)
My goal for 2018 was to step more fully into my career as a painter and playwright. So for my ‘Year in Review’, I’m focusing on my work in the Arts in 2018. In no particular order, here we go!
I am a founding member of a StateraArts, a national nonprofit that works for gender parity in the Arts. This year, we hosted our Statera National Conference in Milwaukee, WI. It was an honor to be with so many incredible artists and activists. Here’s a photo of me addressing the 200-plus attendees on opening day.
My husband and I singing at PineFest was a huge highlight this year.
Thanks to the help of my amazing Mama and and Step-dad, I created a new art studio in my backyard.
It was such fun to participate in the Little Big Show in Baker City. My first art show in Eastern Oregon!
My play LENI was produced at the Bridge Street Theatre in Catskill, NY this spring. This play has been getting a lot of action lately and I’m so grateful for the work and for the amazing support of the regional theaters that are producing my play.
I also had the distinct pleasure of showing artwork at an exhibit called The Wild is Calling at the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, OR.
This past November, I began showing new work at The Carnegie Art Center in Baker City.
I had a 6 month exhibit at the US Bank in Baker City. The series was called Rivers & Waterways.
I loved creating this commission for a family in Dallas. Its called “The High Road”.
Thank you to Martha Richards for asking me to assist her in organizing International SWAN Day for WomenArts.
This year I became a featured artist at “Women Who Draw”, a wonderful directory of women artists.
I completed this commission for a fabulous couple in Atlanta, GA. It’s called “Willow Cabin”.
Thank you to Susannah Mars for inviting me for an interview with her at the Artslandia Podcast.
I completed 9 new house portraits this year. Here are 4 of my most recent pieces.
As Statera’s Director of Operations, I attended the U.S. Department of Arts & Culture Conference this year in Albuquerque. The conference was called CULTURE/SHIFT and focused on grassroots organizing.
I was happy to continue working with Choice Hotels this year. I created a bunch of new pieces for them. Here are six of my most recent ones.
Thank you to Teresa Thuman, Artistic Director of Sound Theatre Co. in Seattle for asking me to create the poster for their production of “Rules of Charity”. This was my first ever attempt at a theatre poster!
The thing I’m most proud of this year is my work with StateraArts. We are moving the dial on gender balance in the American Theatre, and the larger national Arts scene. I’m so proud of our good work and excited for the year ahead. This year we launched our national Mentorship program, built an incredible Resource Directory for artists, hosted a national conference, and just this week, we launched our Membership program. It’s been a good year, friends. Thank you!
Oh there’s so much to love about these cozy cottage workspaces!
I love winter here. The cold forces you to contemplate, to deeply consider what you actually have energy for. There are no easy moments in winter. The fire burns only because you thought ahead, sawed it into rounds just the right size for your fire box, split it, hauled it, and sheltered it from the elements so that it would stay dry. The car starts only because you babied it, let it warm up for a while, and shoveled a path out of the snowy bank that drifted in overnight. You have food on the table only because you planned ahead, drove an hour to the nearest town for groceries or grew it yourself in the heat of the summer months. So its not easy. You must decide where you want to dedicate your energy.
And yet, there is ease. Out here in the wilds of Eastern Oregon, I never expected the pace of winter to be so wonderful. So silent. So comforting. So meditative. Winter compresses life’s flow and asks that you come face to face with yourself. Winter asks that you remember who you are when the “busy” stops and the “have tos” fade. Winter says “stop and look around. Take time and keep your weight over your steady feet”.
This week as the Solstice passes and the light returns to Pacific Northwest, I give thanks for the darkness. I give thanks for the creeks as they ice over, thanks for the howling Coyotes prowling the foothills, thanks for the feisty birds elbowing each other at the edge of my neighbor’s bird feeder, thanks for the hearth that heats the bones of my home, and I give thanks for all the silence that surrounds me. And on this Christmas Eve, I give thanks for you.
Winter Solstice is here. A time to retreat hearth-side and take stock of the year. Our family has just celebrated our first year in our new home. The house was built in 1925 and has seen many many winters. But we are still new here. Winter is teaching us how to depend upon each other, how to listen deeply, and how to stay on our feet when we hit the ice. I hope that you and your families have a beautiful Christmas holiday. And for those of you who do not celebrate Christmas, I hope that you find peace and joy in the winter solstice. The light is returning!
Here are some photos from in and around my home this week:
The La Maison Boheme Holiday gift guide is here! I’m doing things a little differently this year. I’ve dedicated the 2018 gift list to homesteaders and rural folks! Why? Because I’m living in a remote and woodsy part of Eastern Oregon now and my focus has shifted. Here are my top ten gifts for the people in your life who live rurally and have lots of contact with nature and the changing seasons.
For your rural friend braving the ice and sleet this time of year, there is nothing better (or safer on the ice) than a pair of Yak Trax. Seriously. These are life savers when you’ve got to work outside on the ice. They’re available from all sorts of sources - just do a quick internet search for Yak Trax and lots of purchase options will pop up.
Whether they’re making a home brewed ale or brewing Kombucha, your homesteading friend will love a set of clean fresh brew bottles! Purchase them HERE.
For your gardening friends, they love these sweet seed savers envelopes from the Taproot Magazine shop. Purchase them HERE.
Wendel Berry’s “The Mad Farmer Poems” is a beautiful collection of poetry, perfect for the homesteader who needs a little fireside reading material for the long, icy winter ahead.
I bought this wood ring for myself last winter and I just love it. Its beautiful to look at and holds a lot of wood. We’ve got it on our front porch under the awning so on cold mornings we can bring wood right into the house without slogging through the snow to our wood shed. Buy is HERE.
This linen apron is so beautiful that I’d wear it on the town. (Of course my town is a tiny one-street wonder, consisting of one-grocery, one-bank, and 280 citizens. So maybe no one would find it all that strange if I wore it on the town). You can get this apron HERE at Not Perfect Linen.
Folks who are living off the land usually don’t make their own chocolate. Tomatoes and organic greens are pretty easy to come by, but if you’re living above the equator, cacao beans are a bit tougher to grow. My sister-in-law bought this Classic Hot Chocolate for me last Christmas and it has since been my family’s absolute favorite. This chocolate isn’t powdered. It’s shaved. We like to sprinkle it on top of coffee drinks and ice cream as well!
You all know that I'm an incense lover. And I am always on the hunt for warm, woodsy, earthy scents. This scent is one of my old favorites. It's a beautiful blend and it's the right price for gift giving. And personally, I think its perfect regardless of gender. It's called Woodstock from the West Third Brand Modern Apothecary. It has classic incense notes of sandalwood, patchouli, cedar, coumarin, musk, benzoin, olibanum with hints of vanilla. Its a dreamy, heady, perfect winter scent. Find it HERE.
Oh dear readers! I have been away from the blog for SO long. I’ll tell you why in another post, but I had to dip in to say hello and a very happy Thanksgiving holiday to you and yours. I hope today brings nourishment, community, and peace to your world.
Goodness, its been a while since I posted. There is a very good reason, though! I am the Creative Director for Statera, a non-profit dedicated to gender equity in the arts, and we are hosting a HUGE conference in Milwaukee this weekend. And as you might guess, I have been a busy girl.
If you’re interested in knowing more about the Statera Foundation National Conference, you can head over to our WEBSITE and check it out! We have an astonishing line up of speakers as well and two incredible performances. I’ll be back after the 9th of October to resume usual art and design content. But until then, I’m off to smash the patriarchy through storytelling and coalition building with other artists! Wish me luck!
Here in Halfway, OR we have an annual music festival called Pine Fest. Its a two-day celebration in September featuring music from all over the region. In between the big acts, local musicians take the stage for short 20 minute sets. My husband and I joined our neighbor, Curt, for a 6 song set that included some Joni Mitchell, Tom Petty, Indigo Girls, Bonnie Raitt, and The Beatles.
It was a blast playing with my partner for our sweet little community. The audience was very appreciative and said all sorts of nice things afterwards, which made me feel like a million bucks. The takeaway from this whole weekend is that my partner and I want to keep playing together - just for fun. Just for us.
Summer is ending here in the Pacific Northwest and the early hints of Autumn are tapping at the window. Cooler mornings, yellow-tipped trees, corn and peaches everywhere I look. And the telltale sign that summer is over? My kiddos are back in school. If I could write an ode to free mornings without kids, I would.
My kitchen is overflowing with amazing local, organic produce. We are swimming in goodness - mostly gifts of food from neighbors and friends. And because of this bounty, everything in my kitchen seems to be in a state of light decay, screaming "Do something with me right now!!"
I have spent hours upon hours in the kitchen this month canning and freezing food for the winter. And you know what? I love it! I get downright giddy when I see all those beautiful jars of peach butter and apple and pear sauces tucked away in my basement cold storage. My freezer is full of pitted apricots, cherries, peaches, and more. I'm so grateful.
Today I walked around my home with a camera. I wanted to capture a few snapshots of our house when it is not perfectly tidy but rather when it's in a state of use. This is when I find my home to be most beautiful - pillows squished beneath the weight of resting bodies, countertops covered with projects, tea jars sitting in the sun. Today, I give gratitude for a full pantry, the changing season, and the home that shelters my dreams.
I've been finding all sorts of inspiration in the most unlikely places this month. I've included a bevy of images below, all of which have been cut out, or saved in my inspiration file. What will I use them for? I'm not sure. They may make their way into my writing, onto a painting, or into a conversation. What is inspiring YOU lately? I want to hear all about it. (Leave a comment!)
I created a video tour of my new art studio for my supporters on Patreon, but I thought I'd share it with you today as well! This space has been months in the making. And while there is more to do (trim work, painting the floor, etc.) I am all moved in!
This studio truly has everything I need. The best part is that it completely adheres to the manner in which I work. I think, as women especially, we are taught to take up as little space as possible - and to have a room of my own encourages me to spread out, get messy, experiment, work multilaterally, and take up space!
I hope you enjoy the tour. And if you're interested in supporting my work in a more structured way, I encourage you to visit me at Patreon. A small monthly pledge connects you to the art-making process in a visceral way. If you are moved by my work and want to participate in its creation, then consider this your invitation. I'd love for you to join me.
I had the pleasure of viewing some of Hillery Lay's paintings in person last month during The Little Big Show in Baker City. Hillery is an artist based in Eastern Oregon (my new home) who describes her work as 'contemporary rural painting'. The collage-like, pop-art, color-block quality of her work is so unique. Her colors are always bright - neon even - with washes of gold uniting the heart of each piece. I'm riveted.
Hillery Lay uses her art to engage in a really beautiful dialogue with her surroundings and with the ups and downs of events that affect her immediate natural environment. I can't wait to see what she makes next!
One of the beautiful aspects of moving to a rural place without restaurants, drive-thru coffee joints, and convenience stores is that we have to make all our own food. And now that its harvest season in our valley, I'm up to my ears in fruits and vegetables. I have been madly drying, canning, freezing and baking my way through the month.
I'm a big apple butter fan, so when I came home with 40 pounds of peaches this past week, I looked into creating peach butter. Good Gawd! It's my new favorite. I've canned 24 pints of peach butter since the first of August using this recipe. I omitted the sugar because these peaches are so lovely, they need to be preserved as is. We can always add sugar later if we like. But I love the pure, slightly tart taste of the butter sans sugar.
The other thing about living so far from a good grocery store is that I cannot get a wide variety of breads. So, I've whole-heartedly thrown myself into the world of baking bread from scratch. My neighbor gave me a beautiful sourdough starter to work with. And another friend gave me the Tassajara Bread Book, by Edward Brown. This morning I made a Whole Wheat Sourdough Round using the Tassajara Bread Book. Isn't she a beauty? And it was so tasty!
Our new home has only one bathroom. Thank goodness its a pretty good size. We've already replaced the toilet (a must), and my Mama surprised me by doing a nice tile backsplash along the back of the sink. Its a sweet little space and I'm itching to paint it, or create a little no-money magic. Since I'm still not sure what I want to do, here are some inspiring bathroom photos to spur me along.
I have been working with Choice Hotels since 2015 on a series of coasters for their Cambria Suites & Hotel franchise. I create site-specific images for each of their unique hotels. There are four new hotels opening at the end of the summer, which means that I have four new coasters to share! Here's the latest:
Want to know more about this ongoing corporate project?
Check out THIS VIDEO.
Now that my art studio is in place, my mind has wandered to landscaping the areas around the new structure. And as usual, I like to start with photos of spaces that speak to me. Lets get inspired!
All works are 8 inches by 8 inches and are priced at $40 making The Little Big Show the perfect opportunity to discover and start collecting work by your favorite local Baker County and Northeast Oregon artists. I'll have 6 pieces in the show this year. Take a look:
I have two artworks hanging in the Flagstaff Gallery at the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center as part of their art exhibit celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Wild & Scenic Rivers Act of 1968. If you're in the Eastern Oregon territory between now and September 16th, come on by and see the collection! There are 15 featured photographers and painters.
A few weeks ago, the owner of the local bakery here in Halfway, OR asked if I'd like to hang some of my work in her shop! Um... YES!
They are now happily installed on the walls of Dry Creek Bakery, overseeing the daily coffee and maple bar trade. They are also for sale in my online shop. Enjoy browsing!