Sunday, June 14, 2009

Back to Normal

June has proven to be it's normal, fickle self....the sunshine left the day after my last post as the Portland area was hit with a violent thunder and lightening storm accompanied by high winds. These storms always bring back memories of my childhood days growing up on Long Island, not far from New York City, but they are not a common occurrence here in the Pacific Northwest. It was downright scary watching our large trees bend and twist in the wind, seeing branches flying through the air, and hearing the cracking of limbs. It bought the temperatures down and left a lot of debris. Anyone want to play 'Pick Up Sticks'? Luckily our grapevines had just been 'tucked' under the first row of wires so the majority of the new growth remains intact.

My weekend on the Oregon Coast, where I attended a fabulous sketch workshop, was even cooler and wetter than Portland....a typical phenomenon. The Sitka Center for Art and Ecology is truly a unique place. Located on Cascade Head, it is surrounded by lush rainforest and open meadows opening to views of both the Salmon River estuary and the wild Pacific. I stayed at a pole house right across from the cluster of buildings housing the art studios. For two days I sketched and was inspired by Ken O'Connell, a Professor from the University of Oregon, who has over 64 sketch books under his belt. His enthusiasm was catching! Aside from coming home with a filled sketchbook and new ideas, I gained a new appreciation for our natural environment and what it can offer. The beauty of a simple meadow, with long grasses and wildflowers laying over one another as deer and elk wandered through, will remain with me. I woke up to this image, for the bed was pushed up against tall windows looking out over the large meadow that came between the house and the estuary and ocean below. The house, a small cabin, had no phone, or television, or radio, or computer!

Back home, somehow refreshed and rejuvinated, I am waiting for the sun to reappear! It will.....for July is just around the corner, and that is when Oregon's Summer truly begins. I am happy for a bit of indoor time now....having a few designs to concern myself with. The clouds, with a few periods of fine drizzle, aren't hurting the garden, and actually make it easier to do some of the clean-up needed. And the Rose Festival just wouldn't be the same without a little of that
'liquid sunshine'!

I look forward to starting another sketchbook and incorporating some of what I learned into my August workshop here at Cloudrest. I have come to feel that art, in all it's forms, is an ingredient of life just as important as food and drink! It can nurture the soul, slow you down, and sustain you when life becomes too complex.

We need this in today's world. We need to go back to a simpler time when things didn't seem so frantic or hurried. As we get older .....we need to stay busy and active doing the things that truly matter to us ....and not what is expected!

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