This continues my 5 part series about my Artist Journey. Part 5 is between the years 2000-2010.
I took another inspiring Peggy Zehring Experimental Drawing and Painting Workshop in the San Juan Islands before moving to Portland in 1999. It was so awesome! 5 days of painting in the coolest place ever! I always get really jazzed after taking one of Peggy’s workshops!
My paintings from the class explored the light that you see/feel during each part of the day. There were 6 in this abstract “Light” series, 38″ x 40″, acrylic on canvas. “Sunset” and “Morning” are below. I would end up showing these paintings later in 2000 at the Talisman Gallery in Portland.
I moved to Portland just in time for Y2K. I had great expectations for the new year! I thought I would freelance doing graphic production work as I had in NYC and Seattle but it was a hard gig to break into! Everyone already had their freelancers lined up. I was a little bummed because it meant I would have to look for fulltime work! I did do some freelance for Wieden + Kennedy and a few others before I got a job at an ad agency in Beaverton. Working full time makes it hard to find time to paint! Although I did love my job.
But Art always prevails so I would paint in the evenings after work.
The first series I worked on in Portland were the “Purple Spirit Tree” paintings, I had started doing some small studies of the trees while I was in Seattle preparing to move. And then I worked on my whimsical “Chair” Series. These two series were about putting down roots. Planting myself on the ground and staying put. I was ready to settle down, buy a house, get married, stay in Portland for awhile and that is exactly what happened. It’s funny how once you get some of your lessons learned and you decide in your heart what you want, the Universe provides.
I continued painting my whimsical paintings. I also was going to school at Marylhurst University and taking Art Therapy courses. As I recall, I was getting spread pretty thin. Working full time, going to school part time and finding time to paint and have a relationship! Something had to go! I decided to give up the Art Therapy studies. It was okay though. I decided I could do volunteer work if I wanted to work with people doing art. What I really wanted was to paint! More time for painting makes me happy!
I answered a Call for Artists and started showing my work at the Talisman Gallery on Alberta Street. That was a great gallery for me, and I made some wonderful friendships there. It felt good to be showing my work again and settling into my new Portland life.
I loved Portland…except for one little bad thing that happened…someone stole one of my paintings! It was titled, “One Learned to Spin”. I was showing it in an exhibit near the gallery in a public area of a small shopping mall. And someone took it! So if you see it somewhere, it’s mine! My poor missing baby.
In 2002, I found out about painted floorcloths. The floorcloth below is one I made and donated to a Habitat For Humanity fundraiser. I made a bunch of them. My favorite was one I had under my dining room table for years till it wore out, otherwise I’d show it to you. I made all different sizes and designs on my floorcloths. You can learn more about floorcloths at Kathy Cooper’s Floorcloth website. Hers are really gorgeous and helped inspire me to create mine!
In 2003, I married Peter Hanson and we moved to Bend where Peter had family. Life was good.
Susan Luckey Higdon, an artist putting together an Artist Collective in Bend, discovered my work hanging at an exhibit at the Sage Cafe. She invited me to start showing my work at the Tumalo Art Co. gallery. And that is what I started doing and I’m still showing there today.
I’m sad to say that Peter died from colon cancer in 2005. He was 45.
And here I would like to stop, and mention, the importance I feel in everyone getting checked for colon cancer! I’m a real advocate for early detection! Please go have that colonoscopy! Just do it because it could save your life! Peter had stage 4 cancer which means it had metastasized. It spread to his liver and lungs. Early detection is crucial to survival from this horrible disease! But that is another story.
Then I started working on my Door painting. It was a solid mahogany door. Peter had helped me finish it and prepare it for painting. I knew I wanted to paint a tree with birds on it. Pete and I had discussed what it would look like. He even made a sketch of what he thought I should paint. That makes me smile. His idea was different from mine. I began the painting and it evolved into a beautiful enchanted world. It sold to someone who lived back East.
I painted more enchanted worlds with my Tulip series of paintings.
And more whimsical worlds.
I’ve continued expanding my love of art and the creative process. I’ve won some awards and in 2007 was chosen as the Deschutes Brewery Jubelale artist. Getting this national exposure has been a great experience and I’m grateful for the publicity. My artwork for the Jubelale painting was inspired by the mountains and snow surrounding this area.
I started doing my bird paintings when we moved to Bend. In our yard, we have lots of birdhouses in trees and on the side of the garage, and I love putting bird feeders out in the fall and winter. In the summer, I hang hummingbird feeders off the back deck. I love watching the antics of these little creatures as they flit and flutter about.
The next series I worked on was my Native American Symbolic paintings. In 2006, I purchased a tipi. I’ve been interested in the Native American culture for as long as I can remember. My friend was sewing tipi’s for Nomadics, tipi makers near Sisters, Oregon. I went with her one day to deliver her sewn tipis. We spend about 45 minutes sitting in the most beautiful tipis that Nomadics had on their property. They were gorgeous inside. I felt like I was in a womb…so comforting and warm. It felt healing to my spirit. I bought one and had a tipi raising party for my birthday. I painted the outside of it with dancing horses and a protective warrior spirit.
And then came the paintings.
My sweet man and I decided we would go to Baja, Mexico in Nov. 2008 for 6 months for even more adventure! I quit my full-time job at an ad agency in Bend. We left in Nov. 2008 and came home in May 2009. I know, this is the short version.
(You’ll have to look through my old blog for more about Baja life, art and photos.)
We had so much fun in Baja! And we hope to go back there in the near future.
In Baja, I was able to paint lots! I learned a lot too! I learned how to make art videos. I became very involved in the online world. I started this Blog, joined Twitter and Facebook and when I came home, I opened my Etsy Shop.
In Baja, I painted whimsical worlds and birds…and a few palm trees.
While in Baja, I started putting white dots into my paintings which to me represents connectivity and energy.
Today I’m working on more bird paintings and my Dream Garden series which I’m really loving. It feels very healing and spiritual to paint these images.
I did a recent small series of Metaphysical Landscapes which I enjoyed doing because they combine my whimsical worlds with the dot patterns and symbolic shapes which I love. I call them Mindscapes.
And that pretty much takes me up to today. I hope this wasn’t too long to read. I had a lot to cover so it might sound a little dry. We all have a story to tell and I love reading other people’s stories and how they got to where they are. I hope you’ll share a bit of your story with me in the comments.