Sunday, May 30, 2010

Ex Libris Exhibit

At our Art Buddy Meeting on Friday, JoAnn invited us downtown to PNCA, to see her exhibit of Ex Libris Bookplates.  There were several hundred on display, but it was only a fraction of her collection of over 8,000 plates!  Who knew there was such an amazing collection of art from the 14th century to present, represented in bookplates?    

JoAnn said that most of the bookplates come from Europe, but they're produced and collected all over the world.  Basically, as she explained it, an artist is commissioned by a client who wants bookplates for their book collection or for gifts. An artist will submit drawings, and then once they're approved, they will use a variety of techniques like Offset, Computer generated, Relief, Etching, Lithography etc. to produce a specified number of plates. The quantity can vary, but usually about 50-150 copies are then produced.  The artist will keep a small amount for their collections (like 15 or 20),  and the rest are given to the client.  The plate is then marked so it can't be used again, or it's destroyed
We were all given magnifying glasses so we could see the detail in the original sketch and etching on the copper plate.
JoAnn had commissioned this particular bookplate for a special book of hers.
It was fascinating to see the process from start to finish.
Above, the final Ex Libris in the book that it was commissioned for.
Above, some of the collection on display
It was wonderful to see the details in these small works of art.  Many were full of symbolism and literary references, with a wide array of themes.  Interestingly, JoAnn said that many of the Ex Libris are of nudes.  We decided that they must be commissioned by men!  LOL
This plate from Japan, was one of my favorites
amazing details...
The bookplate showing this little romantic cottage was my favorite-tea and gardening- what's not to love?
Some of the Art Buddies...some couldn't make it with the holiday weekend, and I was taking the picture.  I am so lucky to wallk on this art journey with such a wonderful group of women!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Reliable 'True Blues' for Your Garden

I was at our local nursery yesterday.  Kordell's Produce on the corner of Stafford and Rosemont in West Linn, has a great selection of plants.  Everything is grouped in an easy to find way, so I spent a lot of time in the greenhouses, while it poured rain outside.  I'm not sure how the 'official' rain totals compare with other rainy May's, but truly most of us who live in the Portland area are on our last nerve, and have lost count of the rainy, icy, hail ridden days.
 This was my first shopping foray to a garden center since fall.  I even resisted plant shopping at the Spring Garden Show in Canby, earlier this month, where I helped set up the sale and got some much needed Master Gardner volunteer hours. Anyway, my garden pots are weed filled and moss covered, so I thought I'd take one pot at a time and fill it.  That is, if my tender plants survived the major hailstorm we had today that covered my patio in washed out bark dust and left two inches of ice pellets on the deck.   
While I was planning out what plants to use in my garden and in containers, I thought of some of the background mainstays that I love. They're not the flashy flowering plants, but these tend to blend in anywhere. They remind me of your favorite pair of shoes that are both comfortable and stylish. This combination of perennials and annuals are my 'true blues.'   
One of my favorites is the Heuchera 'Plum Pudding' although it's a little darker than the 'Marmalade' shown here.  All the purples work well with the 'Citronella' below:
I think my absolute favorite is 'Dolce Peach Melba' since it looks lovely all summer but the three of the above are so beautiful in the fall.
My grandmother and Dad were big fans of Coleus plants, and I always thought of them as an old fashioned plant, but I've been amazed that the number of varieties available.  I use them in containers and in places in my yard where I won't get direct sun.  Here's a few of my favorites:
See the cute ladybug!
Below, another favorite is the Astilbe.  It comes in red, pink and white.  It's blooms in summer, but even as the plant dies back it's still attractive until the first frost.
Another one of my favorites is Euphorbia.  I mostly see them in green, but this one below with red hues, I found at a test garden. They grow really tall, so I often clip a few stems for bouquets.
I think my all time favorite is Hens and Chicks, which are a Succulent.  They are so versatile, love sun and work well for in both the ground and in containers.  There are so many varieties to choose from, although many are not all that hardy in a wet climate.  be sure to bring in the less hardy
ones inside during the winter.  This is Sempervivum, is one of the most common:
Once I can get my shovel in the ground, I'm sure I'll be posting a lot more about my adventures in gardening so check back.  It's got to stop raining sometime!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wine and Cheese Festival in Silverton

Last Saturday, we headed south to the charming town of Silverton, OR.  Pat, from my watercolor class had mentioned that they were having a Wine and Jazz Festival that ran from noon to midnight, so we had to check it out.  Imagine standing on a street corner and hearing a wonderful mix of Blues, Traditional, and Latin Jazz wafting through the air-it was all there!  This was the fourth year of the festival, and I was surprised that I'd never heard of it before.  It was a great time, and pretty inexpensive.  We purchased a 'bracelet' for $25, and it got you into any venue all day long, plus tickets for five wine tatings were included.     
Silverton is a charming town, of shops and restaurants.  Plus, nearby is the The Oregon Garden where there are not only beautiful gardens, but also a pet friendly hotel and restaurant:
The Red Bench Antique Shop was one of the shops hosting musicians.  In fact, most of the shops had musicians, wine samplings and food, including The Palace Theater, Elks Club, and side streets. It was very well thought out, with tons of volunteers.
Award winning wines were everywhere!
This ensemble advertised "Three lifetimes of great musical Experience into one exciting sound."  Their individual experiences ranged from playing with Henry Mancini and Duke Ellington, to playing at President Truman's inaguration as a child.  They were amazing!
There's art and history all over Silverton-on the walls, in the shops, etc.  One of the stories involved a lost and found dog named Bobbie:
This Latin Group, The Bobby Torres Ensemble, was fantastic and had everyone dancing in their chairs!
Finally, the Dan Balmer Duo was another group that I'm going to look for around Portland.  We didn't get to see all the Jazz artists, but this is one event I'll be looking to attend next year!

Monday, May 03, 2010

High Museum of Art-Atlanta

I was going through some images of our recent trip to Atlanta, and had to post some shots of a very fun display of cars from around the world that was being exhibited at the High Museum. 
Just last week, I found an article in the the April/May issue of the International Artist Magazine, on Judith Burton's drawings of cars and motorcycles using Prismacolor colored pencils.  It's not a subject that would normally interest me, but her drawings were so eye-catching showing the light on metal and chrome, that I decided that I want to try and paint some of the vehicles from the exibit.

The museum building was so interesting., it was fun to try to capture the different angles of the interior.
We stayed in Buckhead, about five miles from downtown, and easily accessible with Atlanta's great train system, MARTA.  Buckhead is  a product of the 2000 decade building boom with lots of tall skyscrapers like the one pictured below.  It reminded me of Vancouver, B.C. with all the glass buildings.