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April 2009

March 2009

Seeing With My Pen: Sketches From 42 Years Ago

Recording my daily life has always interested me, even when I was a child. Out of volumes of artwork I've done over the years, I've saved few of my off-hand journalistic sketches. Recently, while searching for something in the basement, I came across a page of drawings I did in March, 1967. They were done on the back of a sheet of my mother's historical writings about the place we were living at the time: Cadiz, Spain.
Looking at this page, I remember my bedroom very well, with its single bed, handwoven Spanish bedspread, and my desk with my books. On closer inspection, I see that I was reading The Pearl. These items are recorded here, along with my napping poodle mutt Barby.

Why put this page forth? As I look at it now, as one who teaches journaling and sketching techniques, I can see that my "style," such as it is, has not changed in all this time! A few ink lines contouring the subjects, a few details, and a quick, loose swipe of color or shading are all one need put down. This way of quickly recording images or full scenes serves me and my students well. I call it "capturing simplicity." If you are interested in taking a class with me, please write. Soon I'll be posting a page on this website describing upcoming study opportunities in addition to the North Cascades Institute (there, the focus will be nature sketching) page already posted.

Postcard from Astoria, Oregon

Astoria Collage

Two days away=a world away! We spent two nights on the Columbia River at the beginning of this week. Our digs were deluxe, thanks to a gift from Eli and Amy to stay at the beautiful and hospitable  Cannery Pier Hotel (NOT the place shown above!!) in Astoria, Oregon. Our perfect room overlooking the mighty river included a wine and cheese reception each afternoon, breakfast each morning, and 24 hour beverages and fruit bowl. We braved the late winter snow and hail storms to explore the steep streets of this historic salmon fishing and river port city where the remains of the old cannery piers rise from the river's edge like decayed totem poles. On our walk I took a photo of one stately but decrepit Victorian home belonging to Harry and Mary Louise Flavel, brother and sister, great-grandchildren of the bar pilot and entrepreneur, Capt. George Flavel, whose house is the most famous one in town:

A hearty thank you goes to Elleda Wilson, an Astoria photographer ( and history buff, for finding my original blog post and writing to tell me who owns the old, empty house and for sending the full story of the legendary Flavel family! And thanks to inquisitive friend Marilyn for her full search for details on the house and its famous residents.

The abandoned house is in striking contrast to the beautifully restored Flavel House museum. The photo of the abandoned house inspired me to create a PhotoShop-facilitated collage. Above you see the layered image, and below, the original images I used to create it.

DSCF3127 DSCF3124 Astoriamap 

The house image was used twice, once as the straight photo, and once as a filtered photo. I placed the layers, adjusted the opacity of each, used a couple of filters on one of the house image layers (ink lines and poster edges). I erased parts of the map layer so that the house had some brighter white areas coming through on its siding. The center image above was taken of an ivy-etched concrete wall up the street from the old Victorian. After the images were manipulated, I added some handwritten notes for texture on the dominant house layer using my Wacom Tablet. The map image was scanned from an 1895 atlas page.

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