Watercolor painting of hydrangea

Watercolor painting of hydrangea

“Ever since the invention of photography, making a painting at all is an act of wilful inefficiency.”
— Amy Whitaker,  Art Thinking

I like my photographs of hydrangeas.  I like this watercolor painting as much or more.  Thank goodness life is big enough to embrace multiple ways of seeing, doing, and being.  Efficiency isn’t the most important thing.


Welcome sign, Gordon Skagit Farms

Welcome sign, Gordon Skagit Farms

Each October I look forward to seeing Eddie Gordon’s new paintings on display at Gordon Skagit Farms.  This year’s outdoor gallery was as amazing as always.  I particularly liked the painting of the pumpkin included like a land form into the Pacific NW  landscape, creating a feeling of whimsy.  This year’s bountiful squash and pumpkin harvest was matched by a prolific year of painting.

















An exhibit featuring Georgia O’Keeffe paintings just opened at the Tacoma Art Museum.  Her paintings, which focus on some of her New Mexico still lifes,  are juxtaposed with those from Pacific Northwest artists.  This exhibit has travelled here from Indianapolis and the Tacoma Art Museum is the only West coast venue for this show.  So it is well worth a day trip to check it  out.


Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Yellow Cactus, 1929. Oil on canvas, 30 × 42 inches. Dallas Museum of Art, Texas. Patsy Lacy Griffith Collection, Bequest of Patsy Lacy Griffith. 1998.217. (O’Keeffe 675) © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts ®.

I like this article in which the Indianapolis Museum of Art talks about still life painting:

Rarely do we think of still life painting as depictions of a specific area, which is why Georgia O’Keeffe and the Southwestern Still Life is such a unique and important exhibition.”

I am very fond of Georgia O’Keeffe’s art, and I was particularly pleased with this new exhibit which featured several of her paintings that I had never before seen in person or reproduced in books such as a cockscomb and a wooden virgin.  Here are some of the other new (to me) paintings:


Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Mule’s Skull with Pink Poinsettia, 1936. Oil on canvas, 401⁄8 × 30 inches. Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, New Mexico. Gift of The Burnett Foundation. 1997.06.014. (O’Keeffe 876) © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts ®.


Georgia O’Keeffe (1887−1986), Deer Horns, 1938. Oil on canvas, 36 × 16 inches. Collection of Louis Bacon. (O’Keeffe 941) Photography by Christie’s Images. © 2015 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Courtesy International Arts 

You can read more about this exhibit from this article in the Los Angeles Times.

While you are at the Tacoma Art Museum, be sure to wander through its new addition, which houses “Art of the American West: the Haub Family Collection.”  It includes another new (to me) O’Keeffe painting, Pinons with Cedar, 1956.

Pinons with Cedar, 1956

Pinons with Cedar, 1956

 Georgia O’Keeffe (American, 1887 ‑ 1986)
Piñons with Cedar, 1956

Oil on canvas
30 × 26 inches
Tacoma Art Museum, Haub Family Collection, Gift of Erivan and Helga Haub, 2014.6.91
© 2014 Georgia O’Keeffe Museum / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York



Entrance sign to the Gordon Skagit Farm

Entrance sign to the Gordon Skagit Farm

There is something special about seeing art outdoors on a farm.  It is worth driving up to the Skagit Valley each October just to see Eddie Gordon’s new work.  Each year the Gordon Skagit Farm becomes a gallery for his latest “crop” of paintings.  Take a look:

















Riding the ferry to Bainbridge Island

Riding the ferry to Bainbridge Island

My friend Carol and I made a day trip back to the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art to see its new exhibits.  The ferry ride is always a welcome transition away from city life, and it is a joy to stroll the streets of Winslow and enjoy the small town ambience.

I love that the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art changes its exhibits so frequently.  Who knew that there is so much local talent to showcase!  The current exhibits, which run through January 5, 2014, feature the works of oil painter Gayle Bard and children’s book illustrator and artist Richard Jesse Watson, as well as new selections from its permanent collection.  Admission is free, and the museum is a short walk up from the ferry terminal.  No need to bring a car.

Gayle Bard: A Singular Vision exhibit

Gayle Bard: A Singular Vision exhibit



From Richard Jesse Watson: Inner Zoo, Outer Orbit exhibit

From Richard Jesse Watson: Inner Zoo, Outer Orbit exhibit

Richard Jesse Watson, Quilted Angel

Richard Jesse Watson, Quilted Angel

Richard Jesse Watson, Infinity Within

Richard Jesse Watson, Infinity Within

Richard Jesse Watson, Star Gazer

Richard Jesse Watson, Star Gazer

Pumpkin paintings displayed on the side of an old barn — Gordon Skagit Farms

The highlight of my day trip to Gordon Skagit Farms was the art.  Eddie Gordon, one of the Gordon farmers, is also a talented artist, and he displays his large paintings en plein air.  (He is also offering three prints for sale this year.)  I thought the presentation of art on the farm was delightful.  I’ll show you some photos, but I highly recommend that you make a visit this month to see the paintings in person.

Close-up photo of pumpkin on the barn

Old truck with another of Eddie Gordon’s paintings, a rural landscape

A painting outdoors amidst the pumpkins and gourds

Painting of a rural road is hung over an old concrete watering trough

Another painting set back from the produce tables

Enjoy a painting while you grab a wheelbarrow for your pumpkin purchases.

Detail of another pumpkin painting by Eddie Gordon









“The last fruit of summer becomes a lantern to guide us.”
— original quote by Eddie Gordon, on a sign at Gordon Skagit Farms

The old barn with Eddie Gordon’s pumpkin paintings, Gordon Skagit Farms

Pumpkins (decorative and edible) for sale

October is a perfect time for a drive in the country.  The charms of the harvest season are evident in the Skagit Valley, just one hour north of Seattle.  The snow geese are returning to their winter feeding grounds near Conway.  Farmers have gathered the bounty from their fields and are preparing for winter.  Apple trees are yielding their fruit.  And this is the month for visits to the pumpkin patch.

I met some friends to see the pumpkins at Gordon Skagit Farms near Mount Vernon.  The two Gordon brothers offer a wide array of specialty gourds and pumpkins, all grown locally on their farm.  During the month of October, this agricultural bounty — decorative and/or edible —  is showcased in strikingly designed displays, and there is a U-pick apple orchard and a U-pick pumpkin patch if you want to get your hands dirty.  The whole presentation is inviting and welcoming, but a definite step up from a gimmicky Halloween destination.  (The Gordons have created a haunted barn, with little staged vignettes, but I won’t spoil your surprise now.  I’ll do another post about the haunted barn on Halloween.)

My favorite aspect of my visit was definitely the art.  Eddie Gordon displays his large paintings outside amidst the farm implements and pumpkins.  It’s like a gallery show en plein air.  I don’t want to overwhelm you, so tomorrow’s post will focus on the art.

Today’s post celebrates the harvest — the pumpkins and the gourds.  Enjoy!

Pumpkins for sale — Gordon Skagit Farms

I loved these turban gourds.

Mini-pumpkins in orange and white. If you have an old wooden pop bottle case, display these little pumpkins instead of pop bottles.

Pumpkin on an old yellow Ford tractor.

A school group in the U-pick pumpkin patch

Decorative Indian corn and straw flowers

Apple baskets

An unusually beautiful gourd — love the color and texture and shape!

Mixed gourds — such variety!

Green striped gourds by the barn — Gordon Skagit Farms

Sneak preview of one scene in the haunted barn. Stay tuned for a post about the barn on Halloween.












Zinnias in Art

September 23, 2012

I came across this Mary Cassatt portrait, which features a red zinnia.  That was inspiration enough to try my hand at painting one (which ended up being two).

Woman with a Red Zinnia, 1891, by Mary Cassatt

Detail of Cassatt’s painting, Woman with a Red Zinnia

Watercolor sketch of zinnia

Another watercolor sketch of a zinnia

Jon B Dove garden cottage, Georgetown Garden Walk

Yesterday was the 2012 Georgetown Garden Walk.  My friend Carol and I strolled around, map in hand, enjoying the garden ramble.  We re-visited old favorites from last year’s Walk, and eyed a few new surprises.  This year the Garden Walk was made extra special by art in the gardens, a co-event called “Cross Pollinate.”

My absolute favorite part of the Georgetown Garden Walk was Jon B. Dove’s garden cottage.  I would love to have a garden retreat like this to write, paint, and work on my blog. Here are some photos:

The Jon B. Dove garden cottage interior

A relaxing spot to read a book

Dove garden cottage, another view

A profusion of clematis, Dove garden

Honeysuckle blossom, Dove garden

Another garden shed being made over into an extra living space

Red poppy

A small backyard space converted into a magical oasis, lined by votive candles


Garden gate, Georgetown Garden Walk

Garden arch, a cool, green spot

Many gardens sported interesting art objects, like this vintage toy airplane

Foliage from Solomon seal

Purple and green grape leaves

We saw borders lined with hubcaps, bowling balls, and this one with bottles

A gardener and her passion flower

Pink hollyhocks

Old-fashioned flowers — hollyhocks

Tea in the garden

Carol resting on a bench in Oxbow Park

Parasol and long braid

This woman with her parasol was perfectly attired for the garden walk.

Plein air painter in a garden

Budding artist, Piper, painting in her garden

Poster for 2012 Georgetown Garden Walk

Flora & Fine Arts Exhibit, Tacoma Art Museum

The Tacoma Art Museum’s weekend-only exhibit, Flora & Fine Arts, paired flowers and art in a uniquely collaborative way.  About 30 local floral designers used works of Pacific Northwest art from the museum’s permanent collection as inspiration for some dazzling floral arrangements. This idea has apparently been executed previously by the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the de Young Museum in San Francisco, and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts.

I felt so lucky to have been able to see this exhibit with my gardener friend, Carol.  I loved the florists’ interpretations.  Their arrangements felt like natural extensions of the artwork, a true sharing of vision.  Here are some photos:

This arrangement of calla lilies and pussy willows was a study in greens and browns.

Another pairing of art and flowers

The flowers' colors echo the vibrant colors in this painting.

A celebration of springtime

An arrangement of intense reds

Flowers interpret art


The floral arrangement sweeps into a wave, an extension of the beach painting.

Lovely interpretation of the art

This floral arrangement captures the circular lines in the artwork.

My eye was also caught by these interesting shadows.

More shadow play