winter wonderland

Dec 29, 2012

Snow. We can throw it, eat it, build a cave in it, and slide on it.  No wonder it brings out the child in all of us.  It's a winter wonderland up in the mountains right now.  The scenery is so beautiful, it's hard to put the camera down.  

inspired by the beach

Dec 21, 2012

Recently, I was flipping through some photographs that I took at the Oregon coast last summer.  The photos were taken with a vintage camera that I picked up at an estate sale.  [Not bad for a metal box that is over 75 years old!]

I snapped a number of shots of the scenery around me.  Realizing a few of the photos went nicely together, I was inspired to create a set of mixed media works on cedar wood slices.  So, here's what I came up with yesterday.

And I just finished this new work, Beach Mountains

One of my photographs is layered in this work as well. 

Both of these items can now be found in my Etsy shop.  These may be the last pieces of the year, at least for my Etsy shop.  For the next few weeks, I'll be focusing on creating new work for Lilk Gallery in London.  They acquired a space on Broadway Market.  So, if you happen to be near there at the end of January, come see my art!

Oh, by the way, there's still time to snatch a free linocut with your order in my Etsy shop.  Last day of special promotion is Christmas Eve, or until the linocuts are all gone.  About a dozen left! 

limited-edition "portland" print

Dec 18, 2012

Today, I hand pulled the first 10 prints of my latest linocut.

The paper I used is made from flax straw + denim and t-shirt remnants.  Very cool stuff.

Read more about the new print here.  Then watch this amazing printmaking demonstration . . . so effortless!

living in a broken world

Dec 15, 2012

The tears flowed down my face when I heard there was another school shooting.  Like any other parent watching Friday's tragedy unfold, I thought of my own children.  And on the heels of a Portland mall shooting just three days prior, it's hard not to fall into a dark place of hopelessness.
The recent devestating news reminds me of a similar tragedy- the school shooting at Thurston High School in May of 1998.  I was a high school art teacher at the time, but at a school across town from Thurston High.  There was a district-wide lockdown, and I spent the five hours in a locked classroom helping students process a gamut of emotions.   

A year later, there was a mass shooting at Columbine High in Colorado.  My husband's friend happened to be in the school's cafeteria that day.  He helped get kids to safety.

Thurston, Littleton, Newtown- these are small communities, yet so many of us have been personally impacted by their tragic stories.  I want to believe that we've seen the last of these senseless killings, but we live in a broken world.  So I turn to God for hope, for He brings light into a dark world.  In fact, He willingly entered a dark world to love it and save it. 

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:5 

Rembrandt, Adoration of the Shepherds, oil on canvas, 1646. National Gallery London.

for the love of calendars

Dec 10, 2012

Growing up, we used to have a calendar in every room of the house. These poster-sized calendars were given out to customers by Korean businesses.  My Korean grandparents lived with us, and it was my grandfather who was the biggest fan of these calendars.  They were used as his appointment books, so it was commonplace to see circled dates and Korean notes on the side. 

My family would have a small stash of these free calendars rolled up and ready to give to visiting friends and family.  When I moved into my own place, not a year went by without my grandfather or mother offering me a new calendar.  I would try to politely decline, but then my husband would make a nice comment about the calendars.  And this always led to,  "Oh, you like?!  I give you two."

It's been 13 years since my grandfather passed away.  I still think of him whenever I see a Korean calendar.  If he was alive today, he would be the first to receive my new calendar that I finished this weekend.  And I know he'd be pleased.  (Although I would have to supersize the dates for him!)

First Thursday event in London

Dec 4, 2012

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .    

Three of my paintings are now on display at the Vyner Street Gallery in London! The group show is from December 3 - 16, with a First Thursday event planned for this week.  Images of the three paintings are in this post.  For more information on the exhibition, go here

A number of my latest works have also been uploaded into my Etsy shop, including a few weavings and smaller paintings on cedar wood.  Click here to see what is available. 

my week

Nov 26, 2012

it's been 15 years since we've brought a puppy home
she's a lot like our first dog- so very sweet . . . but a tad more fearless
she didn't even cry her first night with us

the day before thanksgiving, we took her to the beach
she chased the waves and climbed the dunes

we named her Scout

the november rain has been relentless
but we caught a break at the beach

when the sun was setting, the sky looked like it was on fire
a young man pointed to the colorful display and remarked, "heaven's a million miles that away"
well said

i've amped up production this week
in preparation for the holiday market nov. 30 - dec. 1

whatever doesn't sell goes into my etsy shop on sunday
tomorrow's feat: designing a 2013 calendar

i think i can, i think i can

Limited-edition linocut giveaway

Nov 24, 2012

I nearly forgot that it is my Etsy shop's anniversary today!  I've been quite busy these past few weeks helping out with a church art project and spearheading the Holiday Market at my daughter's school. Oh, and did I mention we got a puppy?!  Pictures to come in the next post.

In all this craziness, I've managed to eek out some me-time at my art desk. . . sleep is over-rated, I say.  My latest creative output resulted in a batch of hand printed linocuts.  Printmaking was my focus in college, but it's been years since I've tackled a hand printing project.  My daughters watched me this time as I hand pulled the first lino print, and all the oohs and ahhs from the peanut gallery just added to the excitement. 

I used turquoise ink for the first few prints and then switched to a deeper blue (and oil-based) ink.  There are only three of the turquoise available, and I thought it would be fitting to give them away in celebration of my three year Etsy anniversary. 

If you'd like a chance to nab one of these limited-edition prints, just leave a comment below.  On Wednesday, November 28th, I'll randomly choose three winners and post the names here.  

I am also giving away these prints with every order in my Etsy shop.  You can check out the details here.

11/28: Congratulations to the three winners! David Thurston, Emmel Prutsemieke, and Emma-Lee

weaving 101

Nov 13, 2012

In September, I finally signed up for a weaving class at an arts center in my neighborhood.  For years, I have looked through the windows of the weaving class and have long envied the folks working on the looms.

The last time I took a weaving class, I was nine years old.  We never got to floor looms, which, as I've been learning these past few weeks, involves a lot of mathematical calculations and tedious threading.  I thought that I had decent math skills (and patience!) up until now.  Adding and multiplying allowances, shrinkage, fringe, ends per inch . . . huh? 

I did manage to finish my weaving sampler, which I had been working on since the start of class!

One of the things that spurred me to sign up for a weaving class was the purchase of a vintage miniature loom at an artist's estate sale.  Knowing very little about weaving, I bought the loom on faith that I could get it to working order.  I brought the loom to class, and my instructor pointed out that it was missing a heddle, which is the part of the loom that holds the threads in place to create an open space for the shuttle.

After scouring the internet for a heddle, I decided to make my own.  I figured if the loom was 80 years old, surely I could macgyver a working heddle.  So, I did, out of quilting plastic template and craft wood. That's it, the piece hanging from the top bar.

Here are some photos capturing the process.

You can imagine my excitement when it worked!  I finished my first weaving on the little loom just a few days ago.

And I'm almost done with my second piece! I'm planning on selling these weavings at the upcoming Holiday Market in Portland,  November 30 thru December 1. 

hello london!

Nov 7, 2012

I'm excited to announce that my art will be part of a group show at a new London gallery called Lilk.  For the last few weeks, I've been working on new originals for the show.  The three paintings are on paper and are a bit larger than my usual works on paper.  Here's a look at the finished pieces.

Autumn Sun, 15 x 20 inches

left: Black Forest, right: Timberline, both 11.75 x 16.5 inches

I've uploaded a couple of work in progress pics on instagram.  If you live in the London area, I'd love for you to check out the show at Lilk.  The group show runs from December 3 - 9, with the late night event planned for Thursday, December 6.  For those who live outside of London, my new works will also be available for viewing and purchase on Lilk's website.

supporting the arts at a local school

Nov 2, 2012

Last year, I helped launch an arts fair at our neighborhood elementary school, and somehow I ended up chairing the event this year.  (Note to self: avoid eye contact at next parent volunteer meeting.)  So part of my crazy fall schedule involves after school meetings, event planning, and networking.  I also managed to eek out an illustration for the poster design.

There will be about 30 local vendors (a number of Etsy sellers) participating in the Holiday Market.  For the next few weeks, I'll be working on new inventory for the show.  I'm thinking more paintings on cedar wood slices and rocks.  And I'm hoping to have a 2013 calendar ready by then.

If you're in the Portland area at the end of this month, please stop by and say hello.  The Holiday Market is a great way to shop for handmade gifts and support a local school. Twenty-five percent of all sales goes back to the arts program at Capitol Hill- yay for art in schools! With the proceeds, we are hoping to update the kiln and stock classrooms with art materials.

Unlucky number 4?

Oct 27, 2012

I'm not superstitious, but my Korean grandmother was one of the most superstitious people I've ever known.  She would scold me for whistling, leaving the fan on while asleep (fan death, google it), or attempting to kill a daddy longlegs in the house.  Most Korean superstitions are rooted in the fear of misfortune and death.  Probably the most widespread superstition in Asia is the fear of the number four, otherwise known as tetraphobia.

Much like Westerners' take on the number "13," Asians believe that the number "4" is extremely unlucky.  In Asian languages, the number four sounds like the word death.  So, naturally, avoiding the number four means you're doing your part in escaping death.  This superstition is so pervasive, floor number four is even skipped in buildings.  And I feel sorry for those who were born on April 4, 1944.  Multiple fours in a row is like a death wish.

Now you can imagine what I was thinking when I was checking my Etsy stats this week.  4444 admirers and 443 sales!  I can practically hear my grandmother gasp from heaven.  But, so far this week, the most unfortunate thing that has happened is our kitty chewing up my computer's power cable.  Maybe the fact that I survived this ominous numerical event without major tribulation is a testament to how lucky I really am.  I have, after all, left the fan running on many summer nights. 

swap-a-thon goodies

Oct 22, 2012

Last month, five names were fished out of a bowl as part of an annual swap-a-thon on Habit of Art.  I sent my art to five readers, and, in return, I received delightful treats and beautifully crafted items.  Three of the packages came from afar- New Zealand, Australia, and France. 

I love that I have so many talented and creative readers! The photos below show the contents of each swap package.  

New Zealand artist Sally Reynolds made this felted trivet and linen pouch from woolen jumpers and a tea towel.  The cozy wool and mountain scene remind me of home. 

Yummy tea, luxurious yarn remnants, and a set of very cool buttons made up this package from Katie of Je suis une monstre.  J'adore the stamps on the box- tres French!

I love this simple turquoise drop necklace by Linda of Osage Orange Studio.  Linda also included an original drawing by her husband!

The first swap to arrive was from Annie of California.  Tea, yarn, adorable gnome art, and a chocolate caramel bar- yes!  The chocolate is already long gone, but I'm still putting the yarn to good use.

I was so touched that Lamina of Do a bit created a new bag design for our swap.  She blogs about the creative process here.   I was also given one of her lovely screenprinted tea towels.  Hurray for artsy kitchen towels!

Thanks again to all who participated in the swap-a-thon, and I look forward to another great exchange next year.

new print: rain shadow

Oct 15, 2012

While brainstorming a title for my latest work,  I stumbled across the term rain shadow.  A rain shadow describes the arid land on the side of a mountain range that is sheltered from winds carrying moisture from the ocean.  When traveling over the Cascades, one can definitely see this effect in the change of terrain and plants.  Lush fir forests are on one side of a mountain and ponderosas and juniper on the other.

Rain shadow seems to perfectly describe my new piece.  The focus is the remote and rocky landscape of central Oregon, but, in the foreground, there is a dense, shadowy forest layered with cloud-like formations.

As promised, I'm working on offering larger prints in my Etsy shop.  So, Rain Shadow is available as an 11" x 14" print as well as the standard 8.5" x 11" size.  This week, I am running a special promotion-  save 20% on your purchase of Rain Shadow!

Oct 8, 2012

It's been over a week since I've painted at my art desk.  I have to remind myself that progress isn't necessarily measured by a count of finished products.  It's okay to mull over ideas- that's what the sketchbook is for.

Recently, I've been thinking about creating more works on paper.  I enjoy working in pen and marker, as evidenced by my sketchbook.  I think I'll also start using more gouache in my art.  Initially, I wasn't too excited about its chalky finish, but I do favor its opaque quality. 

Looking ahead, I have a number of projects to work on the next few weeks.  I'll be restocking a couple of local stores, designing a new calendar (put in any suggestions below), and starting three pieces for a new online gallery out of London.

I'm curious to see how these new works will turn out.  But first things first . . . adding blue to my hair.

my week

Oct 1, 2012

This is my favorite time of the year in Portland.  The late afternoon light is ideal for shooting pictures, there's a slight crisp in the air, and I can start wearing layers.  I love scarves, in particular.  The beautiful hand-dyed scarf is from Driftwood & Fossil.   

Our family had a couple of outings this weekend.  On Friday, we took advantage of free admission night at the Portland Art Museum.  We spent an hour looking mostly at the works of Oregon artists.  I can't wait to come back in a few weeks to see the upcoming exhibit, The Body Beautiful in Ancient Greece

On Saturday, we drove to a farm outside of town to pick some apples, asian pears, tomatoes, and raspberries.  We couldn't have asked for more perfect weather.  On our way home, we witnessed the stunning sky and moon.  Mt. Hood was in a purple glow.  I had never seen anything like it before.

My time at my art desk has been limited this week, but I did start a marker drawing inspired by a trip to central Oregon in August.  One of my goals this fall for my Etsy shop is to add more 11" x 14" prints.  I just listed a larger print of In the deep dark woods.   I'm hoping to finish a couple new print designs this month, including the one shown above.

i heart portland

Sep 25, 2012

Downtown Portland is just a five minute drive from our home.  So is this lush forest . . .

Tryon Creek State Park is a sanctuary in southwest Portland with 14 miles of hiking, biking, and equestrian trails.  We pass the park on a daily basis, so we often have the good fortune to see wildlife while running errands.  The most recent sighting was a doe and two fawns jumping out of the thicket.  There were echos of squeals in the car when Bambi 1 and Bambi 2 ambled across the road. 

Portland boasts the largest and smallest U.S. park in city limits.  The green hills bordering the city center is Forest Park, which stretches for 8 miles along the Willamette River.  Wildwood Trail, the longest hiking trail in urban boundaries, is 30 miles long and can be accessed just minutes from downtown Portland. 

Another trail not far from Portland's urban center is Marquam Trail.  This summer, we hiked Marquam Trail to Council Crest, which is the highest point in Portland.  Locals also know it as the popular make out spot at night.  But I, ahem, wouldn't know anything about this.

Council Crest
A couple of weekends ago, we visited Tualatin River Wildlife Refuge for the first time. Located 15 miles southwest of Portland, the watershed is home to many species of birds, mammals, fish, and plants. 

Our highlight was seeing two egrets at this marshy pond.  If you look closely, a white one is perched on a leaning tree and the other one is flying.

I love that Portland offers its dwellers so many places to retreat from the mad dash of city living.  It's on these hikes and strolls through forested lands that many local creatives find perspective and inspiration.  Inspired by Forest Park, Colin Meloy of Decemberists and artist Carson Ellis collaborated on a children's adventure book called Wildwood. It was my nine year old's favorite summer read.

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