I don’t know what it is about the work of this month’s Featured Artist, Jennifer JL Jones that reminds me so much of the Pacific Northwest. Maybe it’s the watery, downward strokes that make me think of the softly falling rain or perhaps it’s the subtle glowing light, so different from the blaring bright this Florida girl had been used to!
This piece in particular, Sukha [Totems], is just the perfect representation of a Pacific Northwest Fall and I’m pretty sure that wasn’t anywhere near her mind when she painted it! Autumn here in the NW is such an interesting mix of brilliantly changing leaves, grey skies and rain soaked earth. Days that are made for cozy sweaters, boots and definitely don’t forget your raincoat!
My perfect Northwest Autumn day would be spent wrapped up in these cozies, grabbing coffee and heading to the art museum, followed by an evening at home by the fire gazing up at Jennifer Jones’ painting. 😉 One day, I will have one! One day.
Our life seems, as I’m sure many of yours do, like a stream of times of hurry and peace. When we’re looking for our next spot– hurry. Once we get there and settle in– peace. Autumn and spring– hurry. Winter and summer– peace. In her abstract paintings, Colorado artist Krista Harris finds inspiration in that natural push and pull that the journey of life brings.
Through her process of building up and tearing down, adding and subtracting paint intuitively, Harris ends up with compositions that are flooded with movement, yet we find moments of respite among the fury. Warm colors are tempered with contrasting cool hues, a perfect parallel of our own seasons of peace among life’s fray.
Remember when I mentioned the need to stretch some creative muscles? While not exactly the painting project I had in mind, this Instagram project, initiated by Sandra of Raincoast Creative Salon and Christie of Bedside Design, came along at just the right time! #Foliophoto is the name of the game and the objective is to take an Instagram each day of October based on a word prompt [ see list below ], then use hashtag #foliophoto to mark your Instagram and follow what everyone else is doing.
The project is about bettering our visual storytelling, improving our photography, and building creative community. A definite assortment of goals I knew I could benefit from and have some artsy fun at the same time! Want to join in? It’s not too late! Just find the word prompt below corresponding with today’s date [ i.e., for today, Oct. 8th, the word is pattern ]. Then take an Instagram inspired by that word. Get creative!
I hope you’ll play along with us! I love going through the #foliophoto entries at night and seeing what everyone else has come up with. So much creativity, you guys! You’ll be more creative and you’ll be inspired by what other folks are doing. Come and play! #foliophoto
Once in a while, I come across an artist whose work really captures me and I want to drink in each detail. While perusing the work of another artist, I came across the website of his studio mate and immediately fell in love with what I saw. The sculptures of Toronto artist Gosia haunted me with their delicate grace.
The shrouded faces, the graceful features and gentle expressions, all rendered in snowy white. They remind me of a quieter place, perhaps a place that doesn’t even exist, where time moves slowly and people are unfailingly tender and kind.
With every new place, we make out a list of our “must sees” while we are there and this weekend, the sun finally came out, so we took full advantage and happily crossed a few items off our list! One of our favorite “perfect day” activities is to do a little wine tasting. So we headed down to the Williamette Valley in Oregon to enjoy some Fall color and hit a few vineyards. You might remember we did a little wine tasting while we were in Southern California and while a day spent tasting wine is never a bad thing, we did find the SoCal style, with cavernous, crowded tasting rooms and glamorous, perfect people flitting about a bit off putting. We like a quieter, cozy atmosphere, one where the winemaker himself might proudly take you on a tour of his vineyard, where staff take the time to chat and get to know you. Maybe we’re a bit biased towards the NW, but there is just something about the wine country atmosphere up here that just feels more inviting.
So we spent a beautiful, cloudless day exploring the Oregon countryside and finished the day with a quick detour into Portland for dinner at our favorite Thai restaurant, Pok Pok. I swear, Mr. F fantasizes about the Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings. This is one place where, though the atmosphere is definitely NW cool, it is all about the food. They could serve their yummies out of a brown paper bag on a street corner and we would still line up to eat it.
So many of our Sundays these days seem to be spent catching up and running errands, and we got a bit of that in, but took the afternoon to make the drive over to the coast, hoping to catch one of our former landlords at their coffee shop, Tinderbox Coffee Roasters in Westport. Have you ever run across people who were just instant friends? Tara & Nick, the owners of Tinderbox, rented their house to us a few years ago, my first time living in the Northwest and being away from Florida. Friendly, warm, genuine people that we took an instant liking to. The kind of people who get it. And it shows in the coffee they brew and the atmosphere they’ve created at Tinderbox. Unpretentious, cozy and full of life, just like them. If you find yourself in Westport, or passing through Aberdeen/Hoquiam ( where they have a drive-thru stand ), make sure you stop and get a cup of java. It will warm you inside and out.
I’ve found that occasionally, where and how I see an artist’s work will influence how I feel about it. If I see something while relaxing on vacation, I might think more highly of it than I would have if it had just been hanging in my local coffee shop. A beautifully designed gallery or thoughtfully hung gallery can positively influence the way work is viewed. Context is everything! New York based artist Rudolf Stingel‘s installation of work at Palazzo Grassi in Venice turns the context of the gallery on end by blanketing expansive surfaces in an Ottoman-style carpet.
The carpet, a nod to the palazzo’s history ( it used to be a trading spot for rugs from the Middle East ), creates a dramatic backdrop for Stingel’s monochromatic paintings. The work ranges from small scale portraits of classical sculpture to large minimalist abstracts. In a white wall gallery, they would still grab attention, but somehow the carpeted space seems to create a more intimate experience with the artwork. And set against all that pattern– the work still calls out, perhaps the pattern serves to even enhance the work, drawing the viewer in and intensifying details that may have been overlooked.
It’s an interesting thought, isn’t it? The way in which the context of work might influence our opinions and feelings toward it. Have you ever experienced something similar? Seeing work in one context and feeling a certain way, then completely changing your mind when you see it differently?
Transitions are always inspiring to me– the changing of seasons, the shift into a new life, the evolution and transformation. The transitional seasons of our lives always seem to bring about a renewed energy and purpose. In perusing the work of Toronto artist Kyle Stewart this morning, got me to thinking about how each experience builds upon the next as we move through this life.
In Stewart’s work, you see him working out, playing and stretching through each canvas. Scrolling through his paintings, you get a visual sense of each transition as he moves from tighter, more constrained abstracts into looser, quieter work, trying out narrative details along the way. How amazingly does the life cycle of art mimic our own? We too, move in and out of seasons, changing and transitioning, sometimes ever so slightly, sometimes in big, big ways.
If you’d like to see more of Kyle Stewart‘s work ( and I highly recommend you do! Every piece is stunning! ), please visit his website and follow along on his artistic journey through his Tumblr, Facebook & Instagram feeds.
Moving every few months is not without its hassles, but one of the advantages to our gypsy life has been the privilege of experiencing a variety of places and ways of living. From being Seattle urbanites, to Idaho lake bums, and California desert dwellers, each place has filled a longing within us and taught us lessons about ourselves, what we can and can’t live with and a great deal about what we can live without. Since ours is a fairly unique adventure few people experience, I thought you might enjoy a peek into our latest temporary home by giving you a little home tour of our Shelton bungalow!
One thing we’ve learned is that we don’t need a ton of inside space. This is our second studio apartment and it functions better than some of the houses we’ve rented. Storage and me space in studios can get a little tight.. good thing the vast majority of our worldly goods are packed away in a Seattle storage unit! Just a wee bit more space and we could call it good for keeps.
Our landlord is an interior designer and she outfitted this little bungalow to the max– textural finishes, reclaimed materials and lovely designer details make it a beautiful place to spend each day. That little table and chairs behind the sofa is my office, our dining table and the game room, all in one. The tall armoire houses the tv, a nice selection of dvds & books, as well as extra pillows and blankets. If you look closely, you’ll glimpse a peek at Mr. F’s latest batch of beer swathed in an old comforter, all nice and cozy.
The second thing we’ve learned is that we DO need a good bit of outdoor space. Access to an outdoor living space can make even the smallest or least desirable place feel like paradise. While living in Seattle, I knew I really wanted our next stop to be a more restful spot. Spending just three months living on a busy street corner made me crave peace and quiet. When looking for our rental in the Olympia area, we made appointments to see three rentals, all of which were outside of town and either near or on a body of water. This bungalow was the first place we saw and we took it immediately. It was budget friendly, a good central location for Mr. F’s home health position and well, this is our backyard–
Each day as I’m working at that little table, I can look up from the laptop to see the reflection of branches in the water and the soft cascade of the waterfall. We can sit under the Japanese Plum tree with a book and a glass of wine and just be.
This place has been the perfect antidote to the whirlwind of activity and decision making that overtook our summer in Seattle. We finally have time to rest and reflect, even while working hard and making plans. Sometimes, that extra space you’re craving is inside your own mind.
If you ever plan a trip to the Olympic Peninsula, you can rent this little Bungalow for yourself! ( Although not until at least mid-November, it’s ours until then! ). Check out the VRBO listing, if you’re interested, it comes highly recommended from this Artsy!
I feel like I’ve been writing a lot this week about our traveling lifestyle. Maybe it’s been on my subconscious lately. We’ve been talking about our future home a lot recently, what that might look like, where it might be. These collages by San Francisco artist Amy Wilson Flaville reminded me that none of us are guaranteed a dry and comfy bed each night.
Upon first glance, I fell for Flaville’s use of color and pattern in these shopping cart collages. As I looked a little more at her work this morning, I saw more. I saw those colorful patterns as happy memories, the kind we store up in our hearts and carry with us everywhere we go.
We carry our homes within us, which enables us to fly. — John Cage
Whatever our situation, whether we find ourselves living in the lap of luxury or pushing all our earthly belongings in a shopping cart, it is what is inside that sustains us. The people who love us, who we have loved, we carry that with us and no four walls can contain it.
What better way to kick off the Fall than to give away a beautiful autumn-inspired original painting? Artist Deann Hebert generously offered up the chance for Artsy Forager readers to win this gorgeous 30×30 canvas and folks, WE HAVE A WINNER!
Each entry was assigned a number corresponding to when they commented on the contest post ( 1 for the first entry, 2 for the second, etc ) and according to the Random Number Generator, the winner is..
Claire Alderman, this is your number! You are the winner of Caramel Crisp by Deann Hebert! And just look at some of the lovely fall-ish images she pinned to her board!
Claire,I’ll be shooting you an email so we can get your new painting on its way to you!
Thanks to all the participating Artsies! You guys sure got me into the Fall spirit. Now excuse me while I go make some cider..