Oregon through a Holga

I bought a plastic toy camera Holga several years ago after seeing some inspiring work by Jonathan Canlas and Leo Patrone of these black and white wedding portraits shot on a Holga. There’s something about a Holga that just adds an extra layer of emotion onto an image.

Long Beach, WA


Holga pictures feel nostalgic, like a cherished memory. The soft focus,  the light leaks, the vignetting, and other aberrations give the image a quality that makes me as a viewer feel like I’m seeing through the photographer’s eyes. These pictures aren’t objective or neutral captures, they are definitely more emotional.

Long Beach, WA


Cathedral Park





Cascade Head

Cascade Head is amazing. I learned about this hike in a great travel book, Photographing Oregon. Apparently there’s a super easy hike that you can do in the summertime, but I went over Memorial Day weekend where you have to climb about 2.5  miles to get to the top lookout point.

Road's End State Park

We went early in the morning so parking was no issue at Knight County park. It’s incredible that such an amazing location is free- not even a parking pass required. Later in the day when we were leaving we did see cars parked on the street along 3 rock road so I imagine on busy holidays the parking situation might get worse.

Thank you to the Nature Conservancy for maintaining such a breathtaking trail. It cuts through parts of National Forest land.

When I think of the Pacific Northwest, I think of trees like these- large, shady, moss covered with so many branches that look like spindles that radiate outward.

It’s an amazing, humbling experience to be in their presence. One of my favorite Georgia O’Keefe paintings is the experience of looking upwards at this giant Lawrence tree:


The awe and the beauty that she captures in that painting, it’s like being in these forests.

You hike through the trees and over creeks and small waterfalls until you finally get to the lower viewpoint and a hint of the amazing view above. Here there are rolling fields of native wildflowers.

We did see elk traveling along some of the lower meadows. I kept thinking there should be little lambs – or hobbits- frolicking through the fields. It reminded me of pictures I have seen of Norway in the summer.

The last stretch is a climb, and next time I will bring hiking poles. There are no guard rails so for someone scared of heights like me I did feel nervous at points. But it was so worth it. From the top you can clearly see the best of that area of the Central Coast, from Siletz Bay, to Devil’s Lake, D River State Park, Road’s End State Park and the 3 Rivers Rock. You can see further inland where the coast becomes an estuary and the salmon river snakes through. It’s so beautiful.

Experimenting with Gouache

I am searching for great greys and blacks in water based paint. I love how darks look in oil paint. But I haven’t found a really great way to do a dark background in watercolor. I’m trying this slate gray using gouache.


Gouache is an opaque water based paint that has a wonderful chalky texture. You can dilute it so it’s like a watercolor or apply it thick like toothpaste. The sweet spot is a chalky soup but as always I tend to use too much water.  I love the soft matte texture that you get, and the colors man. I’m like a kid in the candy store and I want every single color that they make.  One trick about gouache- it’s not permanent like india ink or acrylic— you can always reactivate the previous dried layer. It’s fun or frustrating, depending on your goal.

I love patterns but I normally don’t paint them because of the effort involved in drawing them. Patterns tend to be stylized, so they aren’t the curves or shapes you would find in nature but very precise geometric shapes. IMO they’re boring to draw and you have to have the type of personality to painstakingly want to paint each line and curve exactly.

I was inspired by this blue rug, the perfect shade of blue, I still haven’t mixed it exactly yet. And I love all the antique rugs that are popping up on my Instagram feed. There’s something about the texture and the age of these old rugs that I love (the patina, can I use that to describe rugs?) and wanted to try to emulate using gouache.

Kat + Maouche

Of course a part of me is like, I’m spending all this time to paint something to look like a rug, when I could spend that time to do something like learn to weave a rug and then I’d have an awesome rug, instead of this piece of paper. I am never practical.

Well I went too far with this, I should’ve stopped earlier. But I wanted to try to see how gouache would look with a pure watercolor area and the transition doesn’t feel right. Also the colors are way way way too garish for me. I think that Kehinde Wiley exhibit somehow made its way into this painting.

Road’s End

Road’s End State Park caught me by surprise. It was a last minute addition to my Memorial Day trip and it quickly earned itself a place in my top 5 locations to the Oregon Coast. Impressive.

Road's End State Park

This beach is very long, and a large stretch is very windy. Bring your hat and sunscreen. Plan on walking over a mile to get to the best part, Road’s End Point. It’s well worth the trip. There the sand turns into a floor of kelp covered rocks.

Road's End State Park

I remember the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California as one of my favorite childhood trips because of their great interactive exhibits of tide pools. At Road’s End, you can see real tide pools up close. They form in between the rocks and crevices and you can see kelp, barnacles, mussels, crabs, and schools of tiny fish. The only thing missing were starfish.

Road's End State Park

There’s another beach that’s tucked behind the cove that you need to climb across boulders to get to. I’d recommend making the trip during low tide.

Road's End State Park

Road's End State Park

This beach is made of these perfectly tiny pebbles, so smooth and fine grained, like a nice exfoliant.

Road's End State Park

There were also collections of larger rocks that reminded me of my trips to the rock store in the NJ mall.

So many piles of shiny black rocks, jasper, agate, and other unknown rocks to sift through. I so wished I had a giant excavator to grab all of these great river rock for my front yard.

Road's End State Park



A Coffee Shop with Cool Art

In North Portland, there’s this coffee shop called The Arbor Lodge. It’s definitely not my favorite neighborhood, but this place is a gem.

Unsurprisingly, this Portland coffee shop serves good coffee.

Today's coffee #pdx

A photo posted by Betsyness (@betsyness) on

What was a pleasant surprise was the quality of the artwork. Look at these graphic, acrylic paintings. They have a quality to them that reminds me of screenprinting or woodblock. Such fun colors!

The line quality also reminds me of cut paper. Have you heard of Swoon? She is a wonderful street artist that creates such intricate work. I could never do this, me with an exacto knife sounds like a recipe for disaster!


Imbrie Hall

Hillsboro near Intel is growing like crazy. I heard that Cornelius Pass used to be this quiet little rural road and now they are doing massive construction on it to handle all of the traffic. Near the powerplants and electrical lines and all of the big box surburban sprawl is a real gem brought to you by McMenamin’s: Imbrie Hall.

The grounds and landscaping are stellar. It would be a great place for an event or wedding.

Super cute wooden sheds.

Look at all of the cool windows inside this rustic barn. I would love a cabin/tiny home like this:

I love this garden, I’m not sure if it’s fennel or Queen Anne’s lace

Cooper Mountain


Cooper Mountain

Southwest Beaverton is growing like crazy, they’re putting up all of these giant mcmansions or starter homes for 450k, and this is deep Beaverton, like I don’t even know if it’s technically Beaverton or Hillsboro or Tigard. I don’t understand what these people do because if any of them have a job to go to in Portland- good luck with that commute. It seems like the traffic and congestion in that part of the suburbs has gotten crazy,like worse than the city traffic.

Cooper Mountain

But it is understandable why so many people are flocking to this area of town when you see these pictures. Southwest Beaverton is elevated above the rest of the valley in Washington County. I guess they’re the Tualatin “mountains” – not really the mountains like the 14er Mount Hood, or the coastal range, but certainly high enough to get great views.

We dog sat for these people who live in this area. And they’re lucky enough to see this everyday in their backyard. With a better camera than my iphone you would be able to see Mt. Hood. Jealous.

And there’s Cooper Mountain. It’s crazy how you’re in a meh, residential area and then all of a sudden you wind up in this awesome area, and it’s like when did I end up in the Shire?

Cooper Mountain

Cooper Mountain


Cooper Mountain

Oh and this is random, but gallairda looks like little sunflowers and is very pretty. I want this in my garden:

Cooper Mountain

Devil’s Lake

Devil’s Lake isn’t impressive when you’re rating it on an Oregon scale, because Oregon has freaking Crater Lake, and Waldo Lake, and Trillium Lake, and the list goes on and on. But on a regular lake scale, Devil’s Lake is pretty rad. So even though Devil’s Lake doesn’t make the top of my Oregon Lakes list, I would snatch any affordable lake house/tiny home/cabin/shanty you have to offer.

We camped at the state park there, and it kinda felt like the state park of last resort, where you would go when the other more popular camps get booked up. But it’s super convenient to Lincoln City and the best that the Coast has to offer.  Note to other travelers, if you are lucky enough to have a boat, they have boat moors accessible from the campground and extra boat parking lots that you can rent.

I have never needed to think about boat parking but I’d imagine that would be handy if one had a boat. Just like I never thought about where to put my horse when camping, but you can do that at other Oregon state parks like Nehalem Bay.

The lots were lined with these interesting leafy things called skunk cabbage.

A photo posted by Betsyness (@betsyness) on

There were raccoons and random ducks cruising around for food. Given the convenience of the location, I think I will come back and I’d like to try their yurts.