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LoveThisLandia: This Is Oregon

26 Apr

My husband and I love Oregon.  George lived for a while on the Northern Coast of Oregon and last year, we lived in Southern Oregon while he worked in Grants Pass.  The beauty and natural diversity there is just absolutely incredible.  So when Joe Stevens of Shwood Eyewear emailed me about This is Oregon, a photo project “to inspire others to get up, go out and start exploring”, I told him I was more than happy to share it with you!

This Is Oregon, photo by Julian Bialowas

Shwoood Eyewear teamed up with photographer Julian Bialowas to photograph 10 magificient locations, all within a 90 minute drive from downtown Portland, Oregon.  The project’s aim is to “showcase the awe-inspiring landscapes waiting to be explored.”

Columbia River Gorge by Julian Bialowas

There will be a This Is Oregon photo show and party at The Ace Hotel in Portland on May 3rd, admission is free and so is the beer! ( If only we were closer, we would be there for sure! )  Super cool prints of Julian’s This Is Oregon work can be purchased here.  I can’t decide which one I love best.  Each one is more beautiful than the next, just like the landscape in Oregon. ( I’m leaning toward the Columbia River Gorge piece above– it’s one of our favorite OR places! )

I hope you’ll check out the This Is Oregon website and see for yourself.  If you haven’t been to Oregon– plan a trip.  NOW.  You’ll never regret it.

And make sure you watch this video.  It’s almost like being there.  But you need to see it for yourself!

Guest Foraging, Go Navis blog: Artsy in Ashland

11 Apr

Check out my guest post over on the Go Navis blog!  I’ll give you a little tour of one of my favorite Artsy spots– Ashland, Oregon.

The Crown Jewel, Ashland, Oregon

Artsy Spot: Florida Mining

7 Nov

Ninety-nine percent of the time I completely love my life in the Pacific Northwest.  But occasionally, there is that nagging little 1% that longs to be back in my hometown of Jacksonville, Florida, just so that I can be in the thick of the exciting artistic resurgence happening there.  Though the arts in Jax were hit hard by the recession, artists and art supporters are determined to make Jacksonville a cultural destination.  Among them, artist Steve Williams is bringing home forward-thinking, atypical art with his new gallery, Florida Mining.

CPHACE by Laird, inaugural exhibition at Florida Mining

Williams is no stranger to playing gallerist.  He’s been at the heart of several successful galleries in Jacksonville over the years.  As an artist, he thrives on being involved with other artists and their creative processes.  And, being the generous soul that he is, wants to help them succeed and in the process, is bringing his unique vision for the arts to his hometown.

Florida Mining

Florida Mining’s mission?  To present emerging to mid career artists who are thought provoking and fresh with a mix of medium and perspective.  And they were off to a slammin’ start with their first show featuring a new series of work by Northeast Florida photographer Laird, a series infared photographs which begin with organic surroundings and are composited and mirrored so that the resulting image becomes almost hauntingly alien, yet familiar.

CPHACE series by Laird

Florida Mining’s sleek, contemporary space, designed by the brilliant team at Designmind, Larry Wilson and Rebecca Davisson ( both artists in their own right ) is the perfect showcase for making avant-garde work accessible to North Florida.

Florida Mining

Up next for Florida Mining is a new show, Tonya Lee: All Smiles, a new series from the Jacksonville-native, current Philadelphian featuring paintings and wallpaper ( yes, you read that right! ), embracing Lee’s fascination with alternative materials.

Tonya Lee: All Smiles

Tonya Lee: All Smiles opens at Florida Mining this coming Friday, 11/11/11.  If you are anywhere nearby, you will not want to miss it!  Big things are in store for this new venture.  Go and experience it for yourself.

If you’re not in Florida, be sure to check out Florida Mining on their website, Facebook and Twitter.  Always interesting and cheeky fun to be had.

This Artsy Life: Art Along The Rogue

3 Oct

I love and appreciate any community that embraces its artsiness.  Even more, I adore a place that reaches out to bring art into the lives of children who may not otherwise experience it.  This weekend, our little temporary hometown of Grants Pass, OR had it’s annual Art Along The Rogue festival, featuring an entire street filled with chalk-artists and lots of opportunities for the kiddies to get their hands all colorful and chalky!

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Forty local and regional artists came together to create temporary 8’x8′ chalk-on-pavement masterpieces and visitors could pay $5 for chalk and a 2’x2′ square of their very own.  There were also free art activities for kids at the Grants Pass Museum of Art.  It brought a huge smile to my face to walk by and see kids painting and drawing!

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Internationally known street artist Tracy Lee Stum’s 16’x50′ scenic was the featured work of the festival.

Art Along The Rogue 2011, Grants Pass, OR

Folks were lined up for a peek at this painting, that came to life in 3-D when viewed through a special glass window.  Lots of artsy goodness in Grants Pass this weekend, along with a music festival and Beer Walk.  But someone’s wife forgot about the Beer Walk until it was too late to buy tickets.  Not mentioning any names.

How about you, Artsies?  Anyone attend any shows or festivals this weekend?

Vibrant Earth: Deanna Marsh

19 Sep

After three months in the cultural dead-zone that is Aberdeen, WA, it feels good to be living in a town with an active arts community.  Grants Pass, OR isn’t exactly Portland or Seattle, but it is a welcome change.  Last weekend, I was delighted to tour the current show at the Grants Pass Museum of Art , Vibrant Earth, featuring the glass sculptures and tapestries of California artist Deanna Marsh.

Gone Rogue, kiln-formed glass and steel, 36x36

It is really no surprise for artists to be inspired by the Western landscape in all it’s dynamic diversity.  Deanna Marsh’s fused glass and metal sculptures capture the essence of the rushing rivers and steep mountain slopes.  Recalling the wild spirit that still resides throughout so much of this landscape.

Golden Geodesy, brazilian geode, kiln-formed glass, copper and steel, 48x18x3

Deanna’s work is beautifully wrought and large in size, making her ideal for corporate & healthcare placement ( *hint, hint, to all my art consultant & designer readers!! ).

Accommodating Land by Deanna Marsh, kiln-formed glass and steel, 64x30

So if you happen to be anywhere near Grants Pass, Oregon, A) Let’s have coffee! and B) visit the Grants Pass Museum of Art before September 30th to see the work of this talented artist in person.  If you can’t see it in person, please make sure you visit the artist’s website to view more of her work.

Featured image is Choose Your Path by Deanna Marsh.  All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.

Artist Diggs: Foard Above

25 Aug

Please note that unfortunately, Christina is no longer in this studio.  She is actively created from her home studio– but I loved this insight into her creative world.

Christina Foard is above the clouds– literally and figuratively.  Her new studio space sits high above downtown Jacksonville in the AT&T building.  How could she not be over the moon? This is her view, ya’ll!

Despite the breathtaking view or perhaps, in part, because of it, Christina admits her new studio was a bit overwhelming when she first moved in.   An empty office space, originally intended for row upon row of cubicles, proved challenging to figure out how to best utilize as an art studio.  But a huge advantage to so much space?  Christina has room to breath and room to create.

Ditto goes for her three kids, who are often at the studio with her, sometimes for hours on end.  There is plenty of room for them to run around, even skateboard(!) throughout the studio and Christina has set up a “living room” so that she and the kids have a place to relax while she’s in the studio.

There is also room for Christina, the artist, to “play”.  When stuck for direction or just needing to get some creative juices flowing, she can plop herself down on the floor and play with paint and paper or stand over it and do some “Pollock-style” action painting.  If that won’t get your painting mojo working, nothing will.

Christina’s work is autobiographical– each piece is about a particular time, place, person or memory and is often used as a kind of catharsis, a way of working through a particular memory and replacing what may have been a negative with a positive.   Though a lot of her work is technically representational ( centered around recognizable objects ), it is also highly symbolic.  Circles and ribbons have begun popping up in Christina’s work lately, often symbolizing the intrusion of a chaos of thought on a peaceful mind.

Just as her life is constantly changing and evolving, so too, is Christina’s work.  For this artist, it is more about the process of creating than a finished “marketable” product.  ( Though people do respond to her work and it sells quite well ).  The paintings she creates aren’t necessarily “precious”, she will often go back and not just tweak but completely rework a piece so that it hardly resembles its former self.

The pieces pictured below, for instance, are works in progress.. they may not exist as you see them a week from now.

This new space is allowing Christina to grow as an artist like never before.  She is filled with ideas and there are stacks of new canvases just waiting for paint.

The new studio is also giving her a chance to venture into collage and sculpture.  She has wiped her slate clean of exhibitions and shows until early next year, to give herself time to rejuevenate, reinvigorate and explore where her art will take her.  I can’t wait to see where the journey leads!

You can see more of Christina’s work on her Pick of the Crop page here at Artsy Forager or drop by her website.

Pick of the Crop: Meet Miss Maribel

22 Aug

It’s been such a grey, gloomy week here in North Florida, that I thought we could all do with a little sunshine!  Maribel Angel’s work never fails to make me smile.  Maribel grew up in a Spanish speaking family and their influence definitely comes through in the vitality and liveliness of her work.

Maribel’s work tells a story, one that comes from within her own imagination and world of dreams.  A place filled with festive color, galloping horses, flying bunnies and fanciful birds.

As Maribel’s work symbolically explores the effects of layers of time and history, so her treatment of her mediums are often a layering of paper, images, paint, text and symbols.

It is in these details that Maribel’s graphic design background comes through.   Not only in the use and placement of text, but also in the juxtapositions of color and pattern.  Actually, I’ve always thought she could be a very successful textile designer.  I would totally buy a fabric or wallcovering in the design of “Bohemian Blossom”  ( pictured below ), wouldn’t you?  I’m picturing a this on a full skirt with a crisp white shirt and floppy straw hat!

So, Maribel Angel.. Painter-Graphic Designer-Future Textile Designer ( if I had my way! ).. let’s see, any other hyphenates to describe this multi-talented artist?  Oh, that’s right–she’s also a sculptor!!

Maribel takes found objects and gives them new life in her assemblages and I must admit, I find every one of these “Cuckoos Nest” birds absolutely charming.   Seriously, I’ve never met one I didn’t completely fall for.   Maribel was sweet enough to give me a wonderful miniature guy and it is one of my favorite possessions.

I hope you’ve enjoyed getting acquainted with Maribel’s artwork.  I’m looking forward to sharing more with you soon!  In the meantime, you can check out more on her “Pick of the Crop” page here at Artsy Forager or on her own website. Her work can usually be seen in person at Plum Art & Design in St. Augustine, FL, Southlight Gallery in downtown Jacksonville or if you’re near Sarasota, see her work at Bolivar Art Gallery.

Ambiguous Incarnations Of The Other Worldly Kind: Anne Goodrich

11 Aug

I love it when an artist’s work causes me to do a double take.  When I spotted the ceramic sculptures of Anne Goodrich amongst the work at Guardino Gallery in Portland, I almost passed them by.  From afar, they just seemed like botanical ceramics, which would likely just have elicited a “nice” from me.  But upon closer inspection, I saw that these were something more.

Wall 10

These beautifully formed ceramics, in their soft pastels and rich earth tones play a delightful little trick on the mind.  At first glance, you may think you know what you’re seeing– Oh, pretty seashell, no wait, flower, no wait, gourd.. snail?  alien?  What is it?!


It is in the ambiguity that Goodrich’s work finds its simple, sweet power.  We aren’t sure exactly what these forms are, but even still, they speak to us.  They are achingly familiar, like the face of a stranger who reminds us of a long lost friend.

Wall 4

They may remind us of forms that exist inside our own bodies.  Or of organisms surrounding us, both seen and unseen.

Nest 1 by Anne Goodrich

Whatever they are, I want to bring one home, give it a name, let it speak to me and discover its mysteries.

To see more of Anne Goodrich’s work, please visit her website.  If you’re lucky enough to be in or near Portland, OR, you can see her work in person at Guardino Gallery in the Alberta Arts District.

Soulful Accoutrements: Gabriel Fernandez

8 Aug

I’m a sucker for furniture.  I love the mixture of function and design.  And paintings of furniture?  Well, those hold a special place for me as I went through my own “chair” phase while I was studying painting in college.  So when I spotted the work of Gabriel Fernandez at Guardino Gallery in Portland this weekend, he had me at hello.

Eichler Book on Table, oil on canvas, 24x36

Fernandez creates scenes using furniture as another artist might use human models.  He sets the stage to tell a story, of a moment that just happened or is about to occur.  His compositions focus on the beauty of the objects themselves, the lives that they have led.. maybe an interesting life in a public place or a spiritless existence in a warehouse.

Orange Chair In Front of Radiator, oil on canvas, 25x21

The artist seems to be exploring the relationship of the objects to their environment, as an important player in a larger scene.  His use of light and shadow create a sense of emotion and mood, keeping the images from becoming mere still lifes, but instead imbuing them with a sense of story.

Coos Bay Laundromat, oil on wood, 14x19.25Green Chair With Three Suitcases, oil on canvas, 20x22 Green Chair With Three Suitcases, oil on canvas, 20x22

These are objects with soul, with personality, experience.  A past, a present and a future.

Green Chair With Three Suitcases, oil on canvas, 20x22

To see more of Gabriel Fernandez’s work, visit his website.  Or, if you’re lucky enough to be in or near Portland, OR, drop by the Guardino Gallery in the Alberta Arts District.

All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.

Elegant Embodiments: David Engdahl

3 Aug

I have not tried to reproduce nature, I have represented it.

— Paul Cezanne

Never where these words more true than in the work of sculptor, David Engdahl.  The former architect has been shaping wood to create beautiful sculptures for over twenty years.  Inspired by the forms in the environment surrounding his home in north Florida, Engdahl takes his cue from organic shapes, simplifying or exaggerating them to create elegant embodiments of the natural world.

Lamelliform 128

Using plywood, a mechanically manipulated natural material to create these organically inspired sculptures creates a dynamic tension between the material and inspiration source.  By taking a normally lower level type of wood source and creating spledid sculptures, Engdahl is not only taking something “ugly” and making it beautiful, but also hearkening back to the wood’s original forms.

Lamelliform #91

Lamelliform #21

The beauty in nature is all around us.  But we rarely notice it, much less ponder it.  Engdahl’s work may help us recall the glimpse of  antlers in the woods, the shadow of a sea turtle making its way across the surface of the deep or the swaying of thin branches in the breeze.

Lamelliform #200

He brings nature and artifice together in a way that reminds us that they can work together to reveal the best in each.

To see more of David Engdahl’s work online, visit his website. Be sure to check out this wonderful video in which the artist explains his creative process and give you a glimpse inside his home studio.  If you’re in the North Florida area, stop by Studio 121 at 121 W. Forsyth Street in downtown Jacksonville, where he will be the featured artist, August through October.

Featured image is Lamelliform #194.  All images are courtesy of the artist’s website.

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