Friday, May 27, 2011

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Retreat Weekend

This weekend was Portland Art Collective's spring retreat. 21 of us headed to Menucha on the Columbia River Gorge for a weekend full of art, food, laughter, rest and lots of inspiration.

The grounds of Menucha were at their springtime peak with lilacs and rhododendrons in full bloom.
A great variety of moss to be found in the woods:

And even some garden art tucked in:

Here is some of the group hard at work. No telling what the others were up to.

Didn't get good pictures of all the great projects going on, but here's a little sampling.
Jill worked on intricate paper dolls:

Sandy's watercolors:

Suzanne's soldered charms:

Z'anne's zentangles:
Diane's paper birds in their early stages:

Cynthia's fiber necklaces:

Lorraine's journals:

Tammy's fabulous fiber garden:

Tory's crown:

And I worked on hand stitching prayer flags.

It was a great weekend with laughter that brought me to tears a number of times. Always the mark of a perfect retreat.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Monthly Question--Technology?

Our question this month is Do You Use Technology for Creating Your Art?


The extent of the technology I use is Photoshop Elements on my tower pc. 10 year old laptop is pretty much broke and no iPxx. I’m very low tech. My cell phone doesn’t even take pictures.


I have a love hate relationship with Photoshop 7: with grudging compliance it has opened its mysteries for photo manipulation. But I feel like I’m at the door of the great pyramid, with many photoshop secrets to learn, though I often stumble into dead ends.

I LOVE my Epson printer. The durabright ink makes photo transfers, altered photos easy to get stunning results, as well as printing cards and artist papers to sell

I have taken a few on line classes, that have been rewarding, cost effective though not quite as juicy as in the room with a teacher. Michael deMeng’s tutorials and videos helped me create these wonderful textured canvases.

LOVE my Panasonic 18x optical zoom camera. I have a 2 GB memory card that slides right in to my laptop for fast downloads.

Love my iPhone 4g with 5 MB camera. Couple fabulous apps: Tooncamera (does fast graphic manipulations for iphone photos), VintageMaker (old fashioned look on videos) Pocket Photobooth (creates strips images like going into the photo booth in the mall), ShootIt (converts a photo to a postcard and mails it anywhere in the world)

What I have that I’m not using: Pogo printer, Wacom writing tablet.

Textured backgrounds Suzie made in Michael DeMeng's online class:


I don't use technology as part of my art, but I do love being able to cruise the Internet for ideas . . . blogs, websites, Etsy . . . inspiration is only limited by the amount of time you are willing to sit at the computer!

I use technology when I create altered books, especially those like the one pictured that start with a vintage photo album. If the photos that I wish to use are precious memories, then I make a color copy on archival paper. A passion of mine is to make transparencies of the vintage photos (using transparency paper from the office supply store) and then see what comes about when the photos are layered into the altered book. A great way to use those transparencies is to insert them into an old optic lens which becomes an "instant" frame.

Jennifer's Altered Album:


I have taken Photoshop workshops a number of times and always master basic skills WHILE I'm in the workshop. But I don't use Photoshop enough, so by the time I need it, I have to drag out the workbooks and learn it again. It's much more trouble than it's worth to me, so it rarely appears in my artwork.

I have taken online classes that I really enjoy particularly ones by Pamela Allen, Jude Hill, Stephanie Lee and MaryAnn Moss. I enjoy being able to work at my own pace whenever I want to, so online classes are a good fit for me.

I do love my digital camera and the ability to gather images of my own as a starting point for artwork.


As an artist, I work in several mediums but everywhere I turn, there is a bit if technology mixed in with the traditional materials. From toner transfers on encaustic medium to Google questions to solve a dilemma to scanning ephemera so it can be used in multiple art pieces, technology has become an integral part of my artistic process.

But none so much as Adobe Photoshop Elements and digital cameras. My first love was always photography but the logistics of having a home darkroom was always beyond me. Now, with my D-SLR and the computer, I can turn out photos that used to take hours to perfect in a darkroom with film.

Although I love to sketch, there are times I only have a moment to capture a bit of nature or an object in just the right light. Out comes the phone camera and in the blink of an eye, the moment is preserved to be used in art or just to remember a perfect moment.

I miss the slower, easier days when I had time to create without the worry of time constraints. But with a fulltime job and a fulltime passion to be creating art, technology is the bridge that makes that possible.

Birdsong is an encaustic using a toner transfer made on a copier - the other image is a photo taken at the spur of the moment using the Hipstamatic app on my iPhone in Fargher's Lake, WA:


Do I use technology to make art? Yes, I use electricity to run my lamps which light my work area and which powers my cd player. If I am using a hot glue gun or a Dremel tool or a sewing machine I will also use electricity. That's about it.


Technology plays a role in my art. I keep an online journal of my creative activities with a blog called Dreamcicle Journeys. My goal is to write a post once a week. Photo Shop is the software I use to alter photos, plan composition and color studies of paintings and to re-size and layer art for cards and other projects.

Recently, I discovered two online programs to help practice drawing- both contour and gesture. The Gesture Drawing Tool helps to practice drawing figures and animals. Posemaniacs is a way to practice life drawing without a live model. It has

an app for iPad and iPhone to practice on the go. The Gesture Drawing Tool is free and the Posemaniacs cost $9.99 for the iPad version.

Paula's Use of Posemaniac and some of her Photoshop experiments:

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tips to Try--Easy Reverse Applique

I like the embedded quality of reverse applique found in molas, but have no desire to finish off all those little edges, so I've been playing around with some raw edge methods.

I did this a while back following Beryl Taylor's instructions in Cloth, Paper, Scissors. You can read more about it here.

I like the results, but there were several things I didn't like about the method. 1. It wastes a lot of fabric. One tiny crescent that shows on the front requires a large square of fabric that gets cut away. 2. It produces a bulky final piece that is difficult to hand stitch on.

So I started looking for a way to get the same effect minus the bulk and waste and came up with this easy method.

1. Place fabric pieces on top of very lightweight iron-on interfacing and fuse them together with the right side of the fabric up. Try to butt the fabrics together as much as possible, avoid overlapping them, but a little overlap won't hurt.

2. Place your cover fabric (in this case the purple that shows in the final piece but doesn't show here) on top of the colored squares and flip over. (Pin the cover fabric on if you need to.)

3. With the interfacing side up, stitch your design using a straight machine stitch. You can easily see where the fabric changes, so can design accordingly.

4. Flip right side up and cut away the cover fabric between the stitching lines, making sure you don't cut through the background fabric. The piece is very light weight so you can easily add handstitching.

Seems like there are lots of possibilities with this method. I'd love to see what you do with it!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Friends Library Store Opens a Pop Up Store on NW 23rd!

I just want to announce the opening of a new Pop Up Store featuring many of the artists in the Portland Art Collective.  The store opened this weekend to great success.  Sales have far exceeded our conservative estimates!  Thank you to the members of the Portland Art Collective who generously helped set it up and to those who are selling their art in the store:  Lorraine Jones, Jennifer Campbell, Sue Girard, Mary Lockyear, Paula McNamee, Cynthia Mooney, Dayna Collins, Robin Olsen, Gloria Sowell.  There are many more artists taking part.  Please come down and check it out!

Stay tuned for link to KBOO Art Focus, Eva Lake radio interview where there is a nice conversation about the Portland Art Collective!
Here is the radio interview with Eva Lake on Art Focus KBOO Radio:

Here's the link for the TV interview on KFOX More Good Day Oregon:


Here's the information:

The Friends of the Multnomah County Library is excited to announce we’re opening a “Pop Up” store on Saturday, May 14, at 801 NW 23rd Avenue (in the former Music Millennium location). The temporary store will be open initially during May and June. The NW Portland store offers a large collection of wonderful used books at terrific prices, works by local artists, gifts, cards, jewelry and the opportunity to support our great library. Hours are 11 am – 7 pm every day.

We invite you to join us for our Grand Opening May 14. Activities include the ribbon cutting at 11 am followed by children’s activities and local artist and author appearances throughout the day.

A unique public-private partnership paved the way for this second store for the Friends. Singer Properties generously donated use of the space to our nonprofit Friends of the Library. Special thanks also goes to Portland Business Alliance, Multnomah County Library and Powell’s Books for providing assistance on this “Pop Up” store project.

Come and volunteer at our new store! Volunteers are always needed to help staff our stores, please contact Shelley Detlefsen at or 503.776.0026. Training is provided.

Thank you for your continued support of the Friends of the Multnomah County Library. Remember, FOL members receive 10% off all merchandise. Memberships are available for purchase at both stores.

For more information go to or call Judy Lindley at 503.989.3213

We look forward to seeing you at our new store location!

*NEW* Friends’ Library Store “Pop Up”

801 NW 23rd Ave.

Portland, OR 97210

Open: Monday–Sunday, 11 am – 7 pm

Also visit:

Friends’ Library Store

Inside Central Library

801 SW 10th Ave.

Portland, Or 97205

Open: Sunday 12 – 5 pm

Monday 10 am – 6 pm

Tuesday & Wednesday 10 am – 8 pm

Thursday-Saturday 10 am – 6 pm

Proceeds support Multnomah County Library

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Dayna Collins Featured in Fearless Show

Artist Dayna J. Collins has a solo show that just opened at Venti's in Salem, Oregon. The show, FEARLESS, will be on display for the months of May and June.

Here's Dayna in front of her art as well as a few close-ups of the pieces on display.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Artist Profile--Robin Olsen

This month I'm posting my own profile--Robin Olsen. I started Portland Art Collective 8 years ago after moving to Portland from Calif. It was one of the best things I've ever done! I am thrilled to have such a wonderful group of artist friends for continual inspiration and support.

1. What are the main mediums you use? What do you find satisfying about them?

I love painting and stitching and pretty much focus on those 2 things. I like to work intuitively, but I also want a piece to have good design principles when it's done. I love that I can paint fast and furiously but then make as many changes as I want. I might do the first painting in a couple hours, but spend the next 2 months making changes until it all feels right. I'm always trying to find that line between freedom and control. It's much harder to make changes after I've spent a lot of time hand stitching pieces together in fabric. But I love the meditative quality of slow hand stitching.

2. If someone were going to get started in those mediums, what suggestions would you give?

Don't wait for the perfect time, place, class, materials, just start. I started painting after reading Michele Cassou's Life, Paint and Passion. At the time I had 2 toddlers and a tiny laundry room to paint in. Every day I put on a Magic Schoolbus video for the kids and spent 30 minutes painting. I used cheap paper and kid paints. Every painting went into a stack, not to be looked at again. I think it's really important to have time to experiment, play and find the joy in what you do, without expecting great finished pieces. Later I took painting classes and was then ready for the sometimes tedious exercises like value scales.

There are so many different ways to learn, find what works best for you. When I started in mixed media, I loved taking classes at big retreats where I was energized and inspired by all the novelty. Now I find those events over stimulating and prefer to work and learn in solitude. I love online classes and books for that reason. A few favorite books that come to mind--Stitch Magic by Jan Beaney and Jean Littlejohn, Expressive Drawing by Steven Aimone, and Creative Illustration Workshop by Katherine Dunn.

3. A perfect art day would look like_________

Any day when I wake up with a creative spark and no obligations is pretty nice. Ideally, I'd wake up and go to a Nia class. Have coffee and an oatmeal scone at Baker and Spice, then head home to plunge into art projects. I'd be at that stage when ideas are flowing and I lose track of time. I'd alternate between painting for an hour or two, then sit and work on stitching for a while. I'd head out to a great dinner probably at Apizza Scholls or Por Que No with my family, and they'd be intensely interested in everything I did that day. An evening walk and a luscious dessert would round out the day.

4. Do you have dedicated studio space? Give a brief description of where you work.

One of the features that sold me on our house was a nice size daylight basement for studio space. It wasn't entirely finished when we bought it, so I was able to choose cork flooring which I love because I often stand when I work. I have my easel set up in front of a window. And an area designated for fabric work. My studio is more functional than beautiful.

5. Favorite place you've visited or lived?

I feel very lucky to live in Portland! My favorite place to visit is New York City, and I go as often as I can. Theater, museums, great food--I never get tired of it. I love to walk from one end to the other and absorb all the sights on the streets.

6. What inspires you (or are there recurring themes in your work)?

I am inspired by artwork that has a spontaneous energy to it such as graffiti and outsider art. I used to teach children's art classes and love the exuberance in their work. I get lots of inspiration from ethnic textiles and art. And I find big cities very inspirational.

7. I still struggle with_________

My moods. I wish I could wake up feeling creative everyday, but sometimes the funk sets in.

8. I'd be lost without__________

This probably makes me schizophrenic, but my alone time AND my family and friends.

9. Favorite dessert?

Anything chocolate, but nothing beats a warm chocolate chip cookie loaded with nuts and an ice cold glass of milk.

10. What's on the horizon?

More of the same. I'm experimenting with painting on wood. I'm working more and more with reclaimed fibers--bits of old linens and handwork, the more worn and frayed the better. And I'm looking forward to warm weather when I can dye a new batch of recycled fabrics.

You can see more of my work on my blog