Library of Flowers

I have thought about coming up with a less lame name for this blog, but I haven’t thought of anything good. Which is why I am so jealous of this brand with the best name ever, Library of Flowers. It combines my love of flowers and books and art. So easy. Would have been a great name for this blog, too bad it’s taken.

Anyways here are some of their delightfully vibrant packaging- pretty floral watercolors: WANT!

Library of Flowers
Library of Flowers

They’re selling a bunch of items on One Kings Lane. It’s not cheap but candles and perfume are pretty pricey even at Target.

Art I Like: Sally Mann

No matter what crazy new phone app or new iphone Apple puts out, you cannot beat the look of a large format photograph. To prove this statement, check out Sally Mann’s work.

I love this portrait-how charcoaly black and soft her face is rendered and how white and sharp the flowers are.

Sally Mann

I love how black the shadows are and that depth of field.

Sally Mann

So elegant.

Check out her work in her book, Still Time.


Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

I’ve always dreamed of visiting Amsterdam. Luckily I got a taste of the Netherlands when I went to the annual tulip festival at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm near Salem, Oregon. They have their own windmill and it is not tacky at all.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

There are rows and rows of tulips at this farm.


It’s a tricky time of year to go, in early spring is when these tulips bloom, and sometimes it is still grey and gloomy at this time of year. But luckily when I went it was sunny with a chance of meatballs.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm


They sell other plants at the farm too, including the most wonderfully scented hyacinths /muscari.


I want for the garden

Gross bugs have attacked my kale. Maybe this variety will turn out better:

"Cascade Glaze" collards in full blooming glory. This great variety has been absent from our catalog for a couple years due to consecutive crop failures…a week of single digit temps one winter, a herd of elk another… Very cold hardy and with exceptional flavor, it also has a gene that makes the leaves extremely glossy, more akin to chard leaves than the usual matte texture of the oleraceas. We've heard anecdotal reports that the glossy film makes it less attractive to insects, but haven't observed it in any empirical way to be able to make that claim. We get a lot of requests for this one. Not coincidentally, it has not been available at all in the seed trade for several years as we were the only seed producer supplying the couple other catalogs that sold it. Whenever things like that happen, it really highlights for us the fact that we need more farmers learning the skills of seed work and helping to steward these great varieties. Based on how it looks now, we are optimistic about bringing in a really good crop!

A photo posted by Uprising Seeds (@uprising.seeds) on

Look at the color on this amaranth:

The things in my Oil Painting Part 1

So I’ll be working on this still life oil painting study and looking at the subject for a long time


One thing I learned from slowing down and taking my time with film photography  is to also take a lot more care in what is inside the frame- meaning no photoshop is not going to fix it. It’s far, far easier to move the random thing out from the background, then to photoshop it out. Ansel Adams would supposedly wait hours to make his exposures, waiting for things like a cloud to come or the right lighting to emerge. From all of the design blogs I read and follow on Instagram, I have learned the importance of styling. What  gets me when I am scrolling through Pinterest and I see these technically outstanding works but they are just terrible compositions- the artist must have spent hours looking at these ugly items in order to paint them and I’m like why.

Here’s the fabulous green vase that I found at a vintage store in Portland:

@okoportland do you still have this vase for sale?

A photo posted by Betsyness (@betsyness) on

The store’s proprietor said it is a 19th century German drinking jug- cool!

I found OKO Gallery when it was based in NW Portland. They’re now on Burnside near some other really awesome shops but it’s pretty inconvenient to find parking around there. If you do happen to be in the area check out Redux (I want to buy everything in that store and it’s a great place for gift shopping) and get some yummy chicken from Nong’s Khao  Man Gai.

OKO hired this amazing sign artist to paint their door – I love gold leaf!

The sun is shining! Come say hello!

A post shared by OKO (@okoportland) on

After I had bought the green jug I took lots of pictures of flowers in it.

And I came across this Cezanne painting on Pinterest. Great minds think alike!



From my old portfolio site: Polaroids

I found my backup folder to my old portfolio site on my external hard drive. It’s nice to remember these images.

These actually aren’t Polaroids…Polaroid film went out of business years before I got the chance to really explore them. It’s a shame. I love the look of Polaroids. I like when there are blurred parts and streaky parts and out of focus parts. It looks like a human took this picture and not some robot – at least not a boring robot.

Impossible Film has been trying to keep instant film going. It’s pretty expensive but they are still doing lots of development to make the film better. I took these on an early batch, when annoyingly the gel part that makes instant film instant would peel off unpredictably.

Why bother with instant film?

Look at these colors. Look at the glow. Look at the softness.




See some more polaroids from film director Tarkovsky in this book.

Instant Light, Tarkovsky

I used the early version of this film, would be curious how well the film works now:

Art I Like: Laura Letinsky

She is probably the queen of color in the photography world. I mean I seriously can’t think of anyone who does color photography better. From what I can tell, her secret to great color and lighting is long exposures in low light. Which means she must use a tripod.

I suck at tripods. This is when art requires some kind of practical common sense skill and is a total fail for me. I mean maybe the really nice pro grade tripods work better, but every time it takes me forever to get the darn thing setup and try to get my camera mounted on correctly. And then once the camera is attached I realize that my frame is totally wrong and I have to juggle extending the legs or rotating the entire camera or pulling the tripod back.

Anyway her colors are saturated in a subtle way – in areas like the shadows or the slight glow of a slant of light on the wall. It elevates the otherwise ordinary things that are in the pictures. The colors are glowing and more beautiful than in real life but not soooo saturated and over the top as to feel fake and digital.

Laura Letinsky
Laura Letinsky
Laura Letinsky

My top Flickr Photos

I have been on flickr for a long time, maybe even before they were bought by Yahoo. I recommend them as a backup source because they offer something ridiculous like 100 gb of free storage and their app has  saved many images of mine because the iphone os upgrade ate all of my space. I have used both dropbox and flickr to share images, and for that purpose I think dropbox is superior – faster upload/download speeds and allows you to easily download multiple images in a zip file. I tried to download photos in bulk from flickr to share with a friend a few months ago and it was stupidly difficult.

Anyways out of curiousity I checked the Stats page on flickr to see which images of mine were the most popular:

Ah, the epic ferry ride to Nantucket Island. This was late evening near the golden hour when the blues were super saturated and the sky was this interesting shade of reflected blue and dusky pink.

This was a slightly decrepit house in Pittsburgh with awesome texture and I love the pattern of the leaves reflected in the screen door. This was around 2011? when flippers were able to get whole houses for less than 10k.

wabi sabi

We unfortunately left this monstera plant behind in Pittsburgh in our cross country move in my Toyota Camry. I’m still looking for a great monstera or ficus plant to keep the green going all year round indoors.


This is actually a fairly recent photo that I took of some dried blue hydrangeas from my coworker’s garden. The awesome vintage looking pot is actually from Fred Meyers. I was surprised this was so high on my stats page, it’s one of the few that is digital and not film, and I don’t really trust the colors of digital but I guess there is this cool saturated and complimentary color scheme going on.


Old Saybrook, a coastal town in Connecticut. The cloud makes this shot as clouds often complete landscape compositions. The rocks are so interesting on the east coast.

Old Saybrook

An Oil Still Life in Progress

This is a painting that will probably take me a long time. I’m deliberately going about this painting in a methodical manner, using techniques like the grid system and going through with a true underpainting and then glazing layers on top. When I critique my work (like the watercolors I posted earlier) I find that my biggest issues are with composition and value. So that means getting better at drawing and finding the tonal range and also being way more patient. All of which painting in oil like this is helping me to do. I also love luminous shadows which look really great in oil paints.

Right now in this oil study I am concentrating on finding the darks and the mid tone values that will  serve as a foundation layer for lighter values that get applied later. It’s how the painting will hopefully glow.

I didn’t get to the whole painting this time which you can tell by the areas that are still pretty white- that’s not deliberate.

For the Hellebores- I used burnt umber, ultramarine blue, and some alizarin crimson. Alizarin is transparent and staining and also is good for bluer reds. For some of the lighter ranunculus, I just made a grey out of the burnt umber, ultramarine, and naples yellow. There’s also a poppy or something with more open petals that’s got a little bit of cadmium red, which is less blue than alizarin and more opaque. At this point it is so tempting to go lighter and get into the details. With oil painting, it’s actually harder to go over light paint or you get this muddy creamy effect so I’m trying to keep it dark. Its something that you kind of have to reverse your brain around, that you want to go dark first and then build form by removing value or adding lighter shades. I’m not describing it well but I ‘ll try to post better examples later.

For the greens of the leaves and the pot I started using sap green plus some of the burnt umber. If I hadn’t been so lazy and impatient with my umber drawing, I probably could have glazed right over with just the sap green.

Mt Hood and recent Watercolors

I had some lovely Pinot Gris and Pinot noir at a local vineyard near Portland with an unreal view of Mount Hood today.

I’m finally going to post some of my recent watercolors. Normally I hate everything I do until I hide it away and look at it a few years later. A friend has encouraged me to blog more and show more works in progress.

Some watercolors of the dark foliage I have been obsessed with lately.

    I like the colors on this one but feels a little too flat.

 Lilacs. I like the green in the leaves.