Little blue caboose in Hood River, Oregon
A red begonia framed in blue in Alger, Washington.
On the other side of darkness,
it may be difficult to find a clear path ahead
The journey towards a viable future
may be surrounded by ghosts of what once was
Meander between colorful boulders haphazardly blocking the trail
in a landscape dark and unfathomable
Hike to majestic mountains to discover distant aspirations
but be aware of obstacles lurking in the shadows
Keep climbing upwards because on the other side of the hill,
there is a place full of light and acceptance
How can your canine companions go so quickly from being a clean dog to a dirty dog?
I walked my dog recently along this trail bordered with flowers in the Old Mill district of Bend.
I often play fetch with her after we get home. The second picture shows what she looks like after she catches her ball a few times when we’ve had a little rain.
What a pretty girl! Can she sit on your lap? 😉
Moos & mountains on Chuckanut Drive in Washington state.
A barn beside the road near Redmond, Oregon shown in black and white.
These places show contrasts in voice, feeling, and appearance.
A place’s voice can be quiet or loud.
The quietness of a vast sandy desert
And the pounding presence of a waterfall.
A place can feel ethereal or slightly evil.Continue reading
Morning clouds over Bend, Oregon last Fall in a dramatic High Desert sunrise.
Today I received a little gift of beauty after a tragedy. A couple weeks ago, at a local grocery store, a young gunman killed an elderly customer, an employee that tried to stop him, and then himself. The community is still dealing with the tragedy, but is moving forward.
The store reopened today and employees were happy to see customers returning. Customers received an orchid plant as a token of the store’s appreciation. I thought it was interesting they chose to give customers orchids.
Orchids are epiphytes, often growing on other plants. The host plants offer support to these beautiful plants. Orchids rely on their host plants for survival, but they don’t harm them. Orchids enrich their shared environment.
Bend, Oregon and other places are learning to deal with tragedy. We are hesitant to depend upon each other for support, but when we do, our shared communities blossom and prosper.
Find beauty after a tragedy where you can and share it with others. 🙂
In late August, while out exploring places along the Columbia River, we stumbled upon the Northwest Mural Fest in The Dalles, Oregon. Painters from all over the country met in The Dalles to create 15 murals in three days. Yes, it was a huge undertaking, literally and figuratively.
The 200+ sign painters and mural artists who took part in the event belong to a group called The Walldogs. Imagine a “pack” of artists gathering in a town for a few days to create unforgettable works of art. The murals depict places, people, and products that have local significance. The murals attract tourists and give residents a sense of hometown pride.
Honoring the History
The artists working on this mural, by Anat Ronen, must not have a fear of heights. This mural portrays photographer Benjamin Gifford. He moved from the Midwest to Portland in 1888, and to The Dalles in 1896. His work highlights scenic views of the Columbia River and the scenic highway running beside it. Gifford also featured portraits of local Native Americans.
The Benjamin Gifford mural is being painted on the back of the Clock Tower. This photo shows the building, built in 1883, from the front.
Avian sentry alert at daybreak
Perched on cattails near High Desert lake
Dangerous clouds move in
Blackbird sounds alarm
Protecting marshes from harm
If you’d like to see a large collection of amazing airplanes, be sure to visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum (WAAAM) in Hood River, Oregon. The indoor hangar space is more than 3.5 acres in size.
All of the aircraft have been restored to working condition. This process takes a long time and the Museum restores an average of two per year. Our family donated a Fly Baby homebuilt plane, but it’s not yet on display.
The planes are generally arranged by type within the buildings.
Biplanes have interesting designs and they’re a great subject for photographs. I featured one of them in a black and white photograph in a previous post.
Mike and Linda Strong, friends of the family, donated the two 1929 WACOs pictured below. Mike worked as an airline pilot for many years and liked to fly smaller planes in his spare time. He gave me a ride in one of the WACOs years ago and it was a memorable experience.
The first WACO is a taper wing. At high speeds, tapered wings decrease drag and increase lift. They also make the plane lighter and more maneuverable.
I created this palm-sized Triceratops painted rock about twenty years ago. Many of us, young and old, love dinosaurs and this one lived in my garden for a while. I painted it with acrylics and covered it with a thin layer of clear finish.
Triceratops’ unique anatomy is apparent in this mounted skeleton at the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History. Their name means ‘three-horned face.’ The massive skull has a fringe of bone in the back. The horns and bony fringe may have helped protect this dinosaur from Tyrannosaurus rex, its most common predator. I’ve featured a big T. rex rock and a smaller one in previous posts.
Though they look ferocious, Triceratops were herbivores. This stout dinosaur has been described as sort of a cross between a cow and a rhinoceros. These massive creatures could weigh well over 11,000 pounds.
Models of this and other life-size dinosaurs can be found JuraPark in Baltow, Poland. I’ve seen models at other museums and parks, but have not visited this site. Their Triceratops models look amazing!
Hmmm. After seeing this model, I’m feeling inspired to create a baby Triceratops painted rock. 😀
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
Gentle reminder sign at Yaquina Head in Oregon.
In your travels near and far, you may find weird and wonderful sights.
Sometimes you find a weird sight when you’re driving down the highway and look it up later. This is the Smith Mansion, located in Wapiti, Wyoming, halfway between Cody and Yellowstone.
Lee Smith, a former builder and engineer, began constructing this structure from locally harvested logs. However, he became obsessed with adding on to the building, which led to his divorce. For 22 years he continued construction so that eventually it was 5-stories tall. One day, unfortunately, he slipped while working and fell to his death. His daughter owned the house for many years until it was sold to a neighbor in 2020.
For a better look at this amazing structure inside and out, watch this video by Scott Richard.
At other times you’ll go a little off the beaten path in search of a good meal. This delicious barbecue dinner is from the Apple Valley BBQ in Parkdale, Oregon. Parkdale, at the base of Mt Hood, is a small town with a population of about 650. Fruit orchards fill the valleys in this part of Oregon and the restaurant incorporates fruit into their meals. The coleslaw pictured contains slices of fresh pears. They use local cherry wood to smoke their meat. Yum, definitely one of my favorites!
Seeing seaside sunset with my dog near Waldport, Oregon. She doesn’t like water, but felt comfortable taking in the scene from this distance.
The Lens- Artist Photo Challenge this week is Here Comes the Sun, but this is more like “there goes the sun.” 😉
The Imagine a World exhibition at the High Desert Museum focuses on past and present efforts to create utopian communities. Participants joined for assorted reasons, including religious persecution, environmental concerns, and anti-war sentiments.
The communities featured are in the Western United States. Founding members often thought of the West as an idyllic, “empty” place to settle. However, they did not always consider who was already living in these environments.
As you enter the gallery, two life-sized astronauts suspended in front of a bold painting of bison catch your eye. Two bright paintings adorn the walls next to this display. These works represent Indigenous futurism. They highlight how important cosmology, science, and futurism have been to Native peoples. Grace Dilon, Ph.D. (Anishinaabe) states that Indigenous futurism is part of the process of “returning to ourselves.” The goal is to recover “ancestral traditions in order to adapt in our post-Native Apocalypse world.”Continue reading
This Sisters Oregon mural in Central Oregon is full of life. North Sister, Middle Sister, and South Sister volcanic peaks hover in the background. Local wildflowers and wildlife fill the bottom of the frame.
I especially liked the great gray owl in the middle of the mural. If you stand in front of this mural in just the right spot, it looks like you have wings. Great for pictures!
The Sisters Oregon mural was created in 2020 by local artists, Katie Daisy and Karen Eland. You’ll find it on the wall of Marigold and True, a boutique gift shop. Katie also contributed to murals painted in Foxtail Bakery, which I featured in a previous post.
As noted in this article in The Nugget Newspaper, Katie and Karen had known the store’s owner, Kelley Rae, for ten years. She commissioned them to paint this piece and it turned out beautifully.
I was in town taking pictures of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show when I stumbled upon the mural. The arts are alive and well in this small town.
The pictures featured in this post focus on part of the picture being in the spotlight. A darker background increases the contrast and draws your eye towards the lighter part.
We visited Steamboat Geyser at Yellowstone National Park in the early morning. The sun rose behind the scene, bathing the steam in light.
These two Northern River Otters at the High Desert Museum were in constant motion the day I photographed them. In this picture, sunlight illuminated both of their heads simultaneously.
A collection of sticks & stones along the shoreline at Yaquina Head in Oregon.
I dip a dry brush into Titanium White and tentatively paint delicate wisps onto Cobalt Blue Wyoming skyscapes
Emboldened, I fill my brush and paint curving lines reaching towards the sky
rolling across windswept plains
Historic Short Bridge, built in 1945.
I saw these multi-colored trailing petunias in a hanging basket in downtown Bend. Since they produce so many flowers, another common name for this plant is ‘million bells.’
These perennials are hybrids from plants originally grown in South America. They bloom from spring through first frost and they’re easy to grow. They make a perfect addition to hanging baskets.
Though I don’t have a favorite type of photography, I prefer to do “lens in my pocket” photography. I use a Samsung Ultra phone or a Panasonic Lumix camera that easily fit into a pocket.
Sometimes I like taking panoramas of scenes from afar with my phone, such as this photo of bison in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park.
At other times, I like a closer view of wild creatures. This Barred Owl in my backyard was photographed with my phone attached to a spotting scope. This is called “digiscoping.” The owl visited regularly last spring, feasting on the numerous Pacific tree frogs in our pond.
I bought an inexpensive phone case and glued on a universal mount for digiscoping. You can quickly pop in a phone, attach it to a scope or binoculars, and it’s ready to go.
This is a pencil sketch I drew of a White-faced Ibis. He is a character in a book I’m working on. The ibis, Arco Iris, gets his power from the rainbow obsidian stone he wears. Sometimes if you draw a character, it helps you write about their personality and physical traits.
I recently took pictures of White-faced Ibis in a field near Paisley, Oregon. The field was full of blue camas and it gave the scene a kind of magical feeling.
When you think of ibis, you may think of ancient depictions of this bird found in Egypt, but there are three species in the United States. You can find Glossy Ibis, White Ibis, and White-faced Ibis in parts of North America, Central America, and South America.
Inlay depicting Thoth as the ibis with a maat feather. Image source: Metropolitan Museum of Art, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons
The plumage of our local ibis looks black at first, but when you take a closer look, it’s iridescent. Their feathers catch the light as they plunge their long beaks into marshes and meadows in search of prey. They eat a variety of prey including insects, worms, and small fish. Ibis are particularly fond of crayfish.
When in breeding plumage, some of the White-faced Ibis’ feathers turn a bronze color, their legs turn pink, and a mask of pale white skin around their eyes appears. What better way to attract a mate than putting on a mask, pink leggings, and a bronze cape!
Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.
First Friday Art (FFA)
emerge from sandy shorelines
embrace life, vanish
Note: These sand “mountains” near Waldport, Oregon are about 1/2 inch tall.
In early June, while participating in a Great Basin Natural History workshop, I took photos of the storm over Playa. Playa, located on the shores of Summer Lake, serves as a retreat for artists and scientists looking for a peaceful place to do their work. They also offer a limited number of workshops.
We had an unusually wet spring here in the High Desert. This photograph shows a big storm over Playa. I stayed in the two-story cabin pictured and had commanding views of the Basin and Range landscape. High winds were pushing dust storms into the air near the lake’s shore.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I slightly increased the contrast and brightness.
The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Retro effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Retro Lab>Process 2. This effect slightly blurs and darkens the edges and increases color saturation. I thought this effect made the center appear brighter and gave the photo a vintage feel.Continue reading
Trying to choose only three of my favorite photos for this challenge was very difficult. I decided to focus on memorable moments from home.
The first shows a glorious fall sunset behind my juniper tree muse. I like the combination of color, lightness and darkness, and texture in this photo. The branches of the western juniper tree seem to be directing a symphony of clouds.
The second is a close up view of a different juniper tree’s bark. Though some see western junipers as an unwelcome invader in sagebrush habitats, I’m impressed by their beauty. Their rough bark varies in color, as does their wood. Wrinkles add to their character as they age. The birds in my yard are grateful for the shelter and food these trees provide.
The third picture is of my “pet” Cooper’s Hawk. I’ve taken a lot of pictures of her. On this day, she took an extended bath and spent a long time preening her feathers. Her fluffed up feathers, piercing gaze, and stance are not the typical view you get of these raptors. It was one of those memorable moments!
I’ve noticed odd plants, animals, and natural features recently and wondered if they were real or surreal.
I had an odd feeling when my flight flew over Mt Rainier a few weeks ago. Just as we passed over its peak, this strange creature emerged from its depths. Yikes! I was glad I was able to take a quick snapshot before it disappeared.
While exploring Crack in the Ground on a June field trip, I was overcome by a sudden feeling of peacefulness. I paused when I noticed a movement from the corner of my eye. This benevolent Picasso face emerged from the rock walls and smiled and nodded at me.
On a recent hot afternoon, I dozed off in my comfortable recliner. I was awakened by a strange noise. A few feet away, I saw a weird creature. It had the head of a ground squirrel and the body of a cat. Was it real or surreal?
As sweltering temperatures occur here and elsewhere around the world, my mind keeps wandering back to the landscape near the pagoda lantern at the Portland Japanese Garden. I visited this impressive garden on a cool day in late October. The waterfall near the sculpture, Heavenly Waterfall, enters a small pond, full of koi fish.
This ‘snow-viewing’ pagoda lantern (Yukimi-dōrō) is located in the the Lower Pond section of the garden. The roof, or umbrella, on these lanterns is designed to catch the snowfall. These sculptures are traditionally placed near water.
Though it’s still a couple of months away, I’m looking forward to the cooler temperatures of autumn and the bright splashes of colorful leaves.
When I was strolling down Hood Avenue on 9 July 2022, something across the street caught my eye. I was there to see the art of quilters at the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show. Though the event has taken breaks due to wildfire smoke and pandemics, it proudly celebrated its 47th year in 2022.
A WOW! quilt
I had to take a closer look at this quilt. WOW! I think it was my favorite of the whole show. The intricate stitching and subtle changes in color drew me towards it. There are signs telling you not to touch the quilts, but I really wanted to touch this one.
I continued my walk and noted some of the interesting architecture in this western-themed town. This clock business was one of my favorites. I’ve always wanted to live in a house with a tower.
Some quilts attracted a lot of attention and I had to wait for visitors to pass by before snapping a picture. Here is one of those.
Once again, I am sharing images of the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show on 9 July 2022. Today I’ll show quilts with critters, people, holidays, and places.
Buzzing bees on quilts
One of the groups attending the event had a bee-themed challenge.
The one below was my favorite. It’s simple but complex at the same time.
This “Phoebee” quilt had a lot of quilting stiches.
This one had a more traditional design.
The Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show is one of the biggest events in Central Oregon. You know it’s summer when you start seeing advertisements about the show.
Set in the small town of Sisters, Oregon, this show “is internationally recognized as the world’s largest outdoor quilt show.” The show often displays more than 1,300 quilts. Visitors from all over the world gather in Sisters on the second Saturday in July to view the quilts.
The quilts shown include more traditional patterns.