Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden

I literally have a Google spreadsheet with a list of places I want to go to in the Pac NW area. We’ve hit several of the places already, and I would love to go back to all of them: Smith Rock, Waldo Lake, Crater Lake, etc.

I kept saying I want to go see the rhodies at the Crystal Spring Rhody Garden. Finally, a few weeks ago we went and they also happened to be hosting a daffodil competition. I kid you not.


Look at all the darling daffodils, they would make for a great pattern or acrylic painting.


Always lovely hellebores in my favorite shade of dark magenta


   So many perfect azaleas 

Art I Like: Jamie Sweeney

I met Jamie Sweeney in college, and we haven’t been in much touch since then. But I found him recently on Instagram!

I remember how we went to an indie band Spoon (if you couldn’t have figured out from the name that it was an indie band) concert over in the darling town of Northampton and how on the drive to North Adams or Pittsfield I made him listen to Regina Spektor’s Fidelity on repeat because that’s what I do when I like a song, I listen to it exhaustively until I just can’t listen to it anymore.

Anyways he was cool because he was studying large format photography and who does that except awesome people?

For people who don’t know, large format photography means you have to take a ginormous amount of time to setup your exposure and then you literally crawl underneath your cape to take the picture, like a super hero or something.

See I’m not lying:


I want to do large format photography too, except on top of some Vanagon surrounded by miles of forests somewhere in Montana, Wyoming, or Pac NW.

photo of Ansel Adams from

I like these photos of mundane objects that are elevated by the medium: [I wanted to post some of his black and white silver gelatin prints that I remember he did of a close up of a wooden model. But I can’t find it. Put it back on your portfolio Jamie!]

And recently I found these woodblock ? screenprints?  of crocheting and knitting patterns. So simple but delightful.

#printmaking #knitting

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

Working on 2nd layers of next knitting print #printmaking #knitting

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

Printing first layers of the crochet block #printmaking #crochet

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

#printmaking #knitting

A photo posted by Jamie Sweeney (@jksweeney) on

I heard on Instagram that he’s starting an Etsy page. Yay!


Art I Like: Nancy Cuevas

I met Nancy through Gloria who I met on a plane. I was doodling a bunch of- what else- flowers and the woman seated next to me, Gloria, noticed and we began talking about art.  She said she knew this amazing oil painter. Boy was she right.

Nancy Cuevas is seriously one of the most underrated contemporary artists. I mean look at her mastery , I think (actually I know, because I have had the privilege of seeing the works in person) that these photos don’t do her work justice.

Nancy Cuevas


I think because they are so technically superb and realistic, that for some reason our eyes kind of glance over it – like oh another photo on the internet. But people look at the luminosity in those shadows below the neck!

Nancy Cuevas

She’s been focusing a lot on animal portraiture. Once you get over her skill- I mean I can’t even describe the craftsmanship- she paints the most empathetic portraits and brings out the grace in these animals. Look at the glowing colors she brings out through layers of careful glazing.

Nancy Cuevas

#workinprogress #noblewhiskers #cats #nancycuevas

A photo posted by Nancy Cuevas (@cuevasartstudio) on

I think TV Guide had this annual cover story, the best TV you’re not watching or something like that. Similarly, Nancy Cuevas, is one of the best oil painters you don’t know about, and if you’re in Portland run, don’t walk, to see her work in person.

Art I Like: Todd Hido

When I was obsessed with film photography while living in Pittsburgh, one of the photographers that I studied on Google was Todd Hido.

He did a series of of homes photographed at night. I always thought Pittsburgh would be be a great place to just go around randomly taking pictures of buildings at night.  Look at the atmospheric quality and the colors that you can get from long exposures on film….

Todd Hido
Todd Hido‘s House Hunting

On a random side note, I am listening to Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs album which would make the perfect soundtrack for a Todd Hido exhibit.


‘Cause on the suburbs the city lights shine,
They’re calling at me, ‘come and find your kind.’

Sometimes I wonder if the world’s so small,
Then we can never get away from the sprawl,
Living in the sprawl,
Dead shopping malls rise like mountains beyond mountains,
And there’s no end in sight,
I need the darkness someone please cut the lights.

Anyways….I also love these landscapes…I am not the only one who thinks taking pictures through a rain covered window looks cool:

Todd Hido
Todd Hido

The rain giving the images a cool painterly effect.

I also pinned a few of his portraits. Nearly all of his portraits showcase really beautiful lighting and color. There are a lot of NSFW images, and his process is slightly sketchy (I saw a video where he books hotel rooms on a higher floor (better lighting) and then uses the natural light that shines through the blinds to take his pictures.

Todd Hido


Todd Hido

I think this is one of his most striking portraits:

Todd Hido

Read more what he has to say about his work in his book, the Photography Workshop series.


Sometimes it’s really tough to get back into painting, even if it’s something I love doing.
In the mean time I’m enjoying the beautiful Pac NW spring.

Here’s trillium from the rain garden:
  Does anyone know what this glorious plant is and how I can get it in my garden? 

Love the bronze foliage and pink flowers. I’m thinking of getting a ninebark, which has similar foliage and has the added benefit of being drought tolerant.

Here’s another flower that I really want in my garden:

Renown unique tulips-they look like peonies!



I just visited my college roommate in Seattle.

We went to the Seattle Art Museum, the special exhibition, Kehinde Wiley, was worth seeing.

art by Kehinde Wiley
art by Kehinde Wiley
art by Kehinde Wiley

Look at that technical mastery- my favorite part was the transparent fabric drapery and the the way the patterns extend from the background to the foreground.

I was also in town for the art walk downtown

My friend also happens to be  quite an accomplished artist, I’ll post her work soon….