Tag Archives: painting

Shopping in Kirkland with my Mom

My parents visited me from their home in Canada recently. They were here for a workshop: my dad worked while my mom shopped! You might remember the kitchen remodel post I shared last week. Here’s a “during” shot of my dad hard at work.

dad at work

One afternoon while he was working, my mom and I went to Kirkland, Washington, a small city just east of Seattle. Kirkland has a lot of neat shops, including one of my favorite consignment stores, Ragamoffyn’s.

My mom and I did a bit of window shopping and had an impromptu photo shoot. When a passerby saw us taking turns with a camera, she took our photo as we posed by a neat bunny statue.

Jean and mom

A few years ago I took a picture of these two rabbits and painted a picture of them, which I call “Snuggle Bunnies.”

snuggle bunnies

I blogged about my dining room before I moved. Here, you can see the table and chairs in my new place, complete with the painting on the wall. I’m still deciding what color to paint the room.

dining room

One of the great things about hanging out with my mom is that I have my own personal photographer (and so does she). My mom runs the blog Fashionable over 50 and captures her stylish moments, shopping trips, and adventures too. It runs in the family!

black and orange

stripes with orange

Jacket: Jones New York
Top: Ross Dress for Less
Pants: Dickies
Boots: MIA
Purse: Crystalyn Kae

It’s a lot more fun to have a friend or loved one snap pictures. Posing with a tripod does the job, but an expert eye for composition goes a long way. I wish we lived closer together. Other than our yearly visits, I use a tripod or solicit the help of my husband–but he can’t always follow me around with a camera!


Filed under Art, Decor, Fashion

Seattle Art Walk

First Thursdays are synonymous with art in Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood. My friend, Autumn, invited me to join her and her friend, Amy, this past Thursday. It was cold so we went straight to the Tashiro Kaplan artist lofts. The entire triangular-shaped block is devoted to artists’ spaces and the lower levels are galleries. We got to stay inside and visit dozens of galleries. When the weather is nicer (for two weeks in July) walking around outside is fun. A lot of artists set up booths in Occidental square.

We saw a wonderful installation that filled an entire room.


Cut paper was the medium for this intricate piece.

cut paper

This installation caught my eye because artist Ellen Hochberg used women’s garments as her canvas. The leaf motif represents the female form. Here, we see the form on garments that span a woman’s life–from infancy and childhood to womanhood. Check out her website for other amazing work in ink and oil.


We used out smartphones to learn about encaustic. These two pieces showing skeletons of a leaf and bird were ethereal. The layered way technique created an otherworld-ness to these pieces.


They say smoking kills, and these paintings, show the subject smoking during a gruesome and violent situation (granted, the cigarettes are hard to see at this scale). I don’t know if that’s the message intended by the artist, but we noticed the cigarette theme and decided to take our pictures next to various paintings in this series. I was trying to juxtapose joy and pain (hence my silly smile). Autumn was far more stoic, and Amy was pretending not to look.




The Seattle Freeze was the theme of this installation. I met artist Troy Gua and chatting with him for a moment about the “cool distance” people who move to seattle encounter when meeting people here. But like the protective exterior of the duct-taped teddy bears, under all that toughness is a soft, cuddly toy. So too, perhaps, are Seattleites.

Troy Gua and bears

Autumn and I said goodbye to Amy and then we wandered to Occidental Square, where we found more yarn bombing! This is the same set of work that I wrote about a couple of months ago. This time, I found out who the artist is: Suzanne Tidwell created it.

yarn bombing

No art trip is complete without a drink so we popped in at Merchant’s Café, Seattle’s oldest restaurant. It’s hard to imagine that in 1890, it was full of men on their way to the gold rush. The bar is gorgeous, carved wood and stained glass ceiling lamps illuminate the room. It’s a real piece of history.


Other neighborhoods have art walks throughout the month too: West Seattle, Fremont, Capitol Hill, Belltown, Georgetown, to name a few. For artists like Amy, Autumn, and me, art walks are inspiring. They’re also a great way to get out, socialize, and support the local arts community. Before you buy a mass-produced reproduction at a department store, consider an original piece from a local artist. Many are very affordable and there are so many mediums to choose from: paintings, lithographs, photographs, sculptures, and more.

Have you been to an art walk recently? Do you buy art? Make it?


Filed under Art, Crafts, Events

Three Little Paintings

three paintingsI really enjoy painting. I have since I was a kid, and I even minored in fine art in university. Lately, though, painting has taken a back seat to some of my many other interests. It’s tough being Jean of all Trades and having my fingers in so many pies!

This evening, however, I kept away from the television and brought out the paints. I chose acrylic for its fast drying time. I kept the paint flowing and worked on style and blending, not perfection.

I like creating painterly pieces and I wanted the bottles to have an element of whimsy to them and possibly even look like you’ve consumed the wine and can’t see straight. Or maybe they look like I drank the wine before embarking on this project!

I like deep yellows and blended a few colors together to come up with a marigold shade and some lighter yellow too. I thought that would be a good background for the richness of the bottles.

I painted the bottles with different tones too, so they look like glass. I didn’t try to make then photorealistic though. They float on a relatively flat plane (although I did add lighter and darker tones to create a sense of roundness).

Explanations aside, the main thing is that I had fun painting the bottles. I hung them in my kitchen (next to my wine rack) so I could take pictures for this site and for Etsy (I’ve posted them on my Etsy page so, yes, they are for sale).

Fortunately for me, they fit right into my kitchen where I’ll be keeping them on the wall until someone buys them.

I have a few other painting projects in mind. A coffee cup series is probably next. I also want to paint a giant enlargement of what viruses look like under a microscope, but I doubt people would want to hang those in their kitchens.

Do you paint? What type of creative endeavors are you interested in? What inspires you? Feel free to leave a comment and tell me about it.

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Filed under Art, DIY

Santa Fe Art Walk

Canyon Road is Santa Fe’s premier art district. It’s an old part of town and boasts over 100 galleries (and a smattering of shops and restaurants). It’s an incredible place. The rows of adobe houses-turned-galleries offer art to view and purchase. Of course there is classic Southwest art, but there are a lot of other styles too: abstract, photorealistic, sculpture, glass work, jewelry, pottery and more. Truly something for everybody.

To me, even the buildings on Canyon Road are pieces of art. I photographed the structures on the walking tour I took with my friends. It didn’t hurt that the weather was perfect.

turquoise door

blue window


On our walk, I noticed an unusually large quantity of animal sculptures. Mostly horses and cattle, with some bears and rabbits thrown in the mix. These animals seemed representative of the local fauna.


burro and scooter

dancing sheep

Yes, Laura, Cheryl, and Autumn are following the herd. It takes two to tango and apparently three to can-can. Well, four can play that game.


Dress: Forever 21 via thrifted
Wrap: NYC Street Vendor
Sunglasses: Target
Shoes: Timberland

Leave it to me to shift the conversation to fashion. Today, however, I saw a fashion/art connection, as you can see by the dresses at various galleries.

dress sculpture

dress as art

notes dress

Canyon Road was probably the highlight of my trip. At lunch, I had the best veggie burger in the world at The Tea House. It was homemade and so delicious. They make a mean latté too. On the way back, I couple of other pieces of art captured my attention: The honeycomb and bee pattern is similar to the dress Laura wore yesterday.


Glass is a popular art medium in the Pacific Northwest and that’s probably why these sculptures drew me to them.


Prices for art ranged from less than $100 to well into five digits. There was a variety of things to look at and a few pieces I could actually afford. Mostly, I found the day inspiring. I’ve already pulled out my paints and canvases and have a few plans. Just in case my plans fall through, I wrote down the number of one of the galleries. There’s a wonderful abstract painting at a manageable price—and they ship.


Filed under Art, Fashion

Thakoon: Target Dress #2

Here’s the second of my four Target dresses from the GO International Designer Collective. Admittedly, it’s a bit cold for bare legs and no sleeves, but the color is perfect for today: St. Patrick’s Day. No, I’m not Irish. I am half Scottish. Does that count? Either way, everyone is an honorary Irish person today.
 blue and green dress

blue and green dress

Dress: Thakoon for Target
Trench: Thrifted
Clutch: Boutique in Pittsburg
Shoes: Nine West

I’m really looking forward to summer evenings when it’s too hot for restrictive clothing. This shift drapes nicely and will be so cool and pulled together. In fact, this would be the perfect dinner outfit for a vacation in Hawaii or the Caribbean (the ocean blue and green is very tropical). It reminds me of a painting I made. I always think of the ocean when I look at it.

blue painting by Jean

In case you’re wondering, the car isn’t mine. But isn’t it cute? Those little Smart cars sure are adorable.



Filed under Art, Fashion, Thrifty

Despain and Araujo at Roq la Rue

painting by Brian Despain

"The Deference Engine" by Brian Despain

My friends Suzanne and Angie organized lunch and a gallery visit today. We visited Roq la Rue in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. This gallery has always delivered; it’s the place to check out alternative contemporary, pop surrealism, and low-brow gothic art.

I hadn’t visited for a long time and the new exhibit featuring the work of Brian Despain and Mia Araujo was a great reason to get back to Roq la Rue.

The humanoid robots in Despain’s paintings, drawings, and sculptures exude a lot of emotions. They are sweet and evoke a smile, but they are set in a moody, dark world that is slightly unsettling.

The fine brushstrokes and realistic backdrops in his paintings could belong in a Renaissance portrait of a royal family member. To contrast that with the image of a robot is delightful. It’s deeper than a mere juxtaposition would suggest and I found myself looking at the pieces for a long time.

painting by Mia Araujo

"Bluebeard" by Mia Araujo

Also intriguing are the paintings of Araujo. Their style might be described as gothic-meets-Pre-Raphaelite. The subjects are elegant women, but the remainder of the spaces are filled with hidden symbols and imagery: skulls, candles, machines, tigers, and such.

Araujo borrows themes from mythology and literature and creates a haunting world in her paintings. It’s as though the entire contents of the subjects’ minds are displayed visually on the canvas. Normally, I revel in negative space, and there isn’t any in Araujo’s work; however, the pieces are captivating and they drew me in nonetheless.

The show runs through March 5, 2011. If you have a chance, go see it. If you don’t, be sure to visit the artists’ websites and visit Roq La Rue another time. They won’t disappoint.

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Filed under Art