My friend Carol and I spent the morning setting up an exhibit of a selection of my watercolor paintings and ink drawings at the Elisabeth C. Miller Library in Seattle. The show, which runs through June during the library’s normal business hours, features about 70 framed plant and animal portraits. Called “Local Wonders,” the exhibit is a colorful celebration of the natural world in and around Seattle.
I invite all of you to stop by and see my show. It was gratifying to look through my archives and select my favorite works to share with you. There will be an artist reception on Thursday evening, June 7th, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. I hope to see many of you there.
Art works will be on sale (all sales by cash or check) and I will be donating a portion of the proceeds to the UW Miller Library Fund. Buyers can pick up their art after the exhibit ends on June 29th.
Every year I look forward to iris season in the Skagit Valley and schedule a very special day to paint the irises in my friend Kitty’s gardens on Samish Island. This year when Kitty announced the early blooms were ready, my schedule was too harried and I had to postpone my visit to late May. I worried I would miss this season’s spectacle. I don’t think I’ve ever gone up there this late in the iris season, but it turned out that good things happen to those who wait. Kitty’s irises were absolutely stunning — bountiful and colorful and glorious.
I took way too many photos again this year. The many varieties of iris flaunt their frills and flounces and colors like so many ladies at a fancy ball. Each individual flower or small grouping called out to be photographed. I obliged. I knew I would have quite a big editing and uploading job when I returned home! But it was worth it.
I struggled a bit to find a new perspective, a new point of view, amidst all this clamor. At one point I lay on the ground looking up — a worm’s eye view — to see the flowers against the blue sky.
This year I was also pleased to play and experiment with painting irises using a flat brush. I tried to apply some of the practices I started at Tom Hoffmann’s Palouse watercolor workshop — moving toward more abstract shapes. Here are the results:
When I was in school, we remembered Lincoln’s birthday on February 12th and celebrated Washington’s birthday as a holiday on February 22nd. When the government made Mondays the holiday of choice in 1971, we no longer observed the actual birthdays, but instead began to honor all presidents on the Presidents Day holiday, the third Monday in February.
Today’s post goes back to the more traditional celebration of Lincoln’s actual birthday. Here are some quotes from this great leader:
“As a nation, we began by declaring that ‘all men are created equal.’ Now we practically read it ‘all men are created equal, except negroes.’ When the Know-Nothings get control, it will read ‘all men are created equal, except negroes, and foreigners, and Catholics.’ When it comes to this I should prefer emigrating to some country where they make no pretense of loving liberty — to Russia, for instance, where despotism can be taken pure, and without the base alloy of hypocrisy.”
— letter to Joshua F. Speed, August 22,1855
“I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic destroyed.”
— letter to Col. William F. Elkins, November 21, 1864
“The struggle for today is not altogether for today — it is for a vast future also.”
We are still struggling. Sometimes progress feels like one step forward and two steps back.
The Miller Library is located at the Center for Urban Horticulture on the University of Washington campus. The Miller Horticultural Library is one of my favorite places in Seattle, and I am delighted to use my art to support one of their fund-raising efforts.
The highlight of my trip to Australia was a seven-day hiking experience along the Great Ocean Trail in Great Otway National Park. This is a 104-kilometer (65-mile) trail from Apollo Bay to the Twelve Apostles on the rugged Southern Ocean coast. I had arranged a self-guided hike through Walk 91 — they took care of all meals, lodging, and daily transport to and from the trailheads.
Originally I had intended a thru-hike over all 104 kilometers. But my hiking partner was dealing with a respiratory infection, so my experience ended up being more of a sampling of shorter hikes all along the trail. Walk 91 staff accommodated our changes to the initial itinerary so that we could be outdoors hiking for several hours every day, but not do the longer full-day walks. This ended up being just perfect for me. And I didn’t feel short-changed in experiencing the scenic wonders of this part of Australia.
If I were ever to return to the Great Ocean Road, I would allow an extra day or two in Apollo Bay. I saw from the bus windows that it would be possible to walk for miles and miles along the shores and beaches of this large bay. You could easily do this from your hotel.
The first day’s hike on the Walk 91 itinerary was a short 5-mile hike from Shelly Beach back to our hotel in Apollo Bay. The trail passed along sandy beaches, pastures and farmland, bluffs, a caravan park, suburbs, and the Great Ocean Road (highway).
While the Great Ocean Walk does follow the rugged coastline of the Southern Ocean, long stretches of the walk are too far inland to afford views of the water. We hiked through coastal forests of gum trees and eucalyptus, and along bluffs of coastal scrub bushes that were too high to see over. The occasional breaks in the foliage gave out on amazing ocean vistas. And all of the trail’s beach stretches were our favorite parts of the Great Ocean Walk. And where we took the most photographs!
We stopped for a scone with Devonshire cream at the cafe opposite the Cape Otway Lighthouse. You couldn’t beat the setting for this afternoon break.