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.”
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.
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.
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.
The Powder House building, near Prineville Reservoir State Park in Central Oregon, makes a great subject for photographs. This historic rock structure was once used to store gunpowder. It’s located next to a popular boat ramp on the reservoir.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the contrast, brightness, and white balance slightly.
The first two show the original and the same picture with a Retro effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Retro Lab>Surreal. This effect blurred the edges like a vignette. I thought this effect emphasized the door in the building. It looked like a portal to another place surrounded by misty fog.
The next two show the original and the same picture with a Time Machine effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Time Machine>Albumen. This monotone effect reflects a technique used in the 1850s-1890s. It works well when you’re trying to emphasize the history of a place. A picture such as this might have appeared in newspapers of the time.
When cannabis was legalized for recreational use in Oregon in 2015, dispensaries popped up all around Bend. Dr Jolly’s is one of these appropriately named establishments.
The first picture shows a vibrant mural at the south end of the building. This looks like a color-filled view of Cascade peaks located near Bend. Red flowers and blue marijuana plants grow in the foreground.
The second photo shows a view of the front of the building. A hand points the way to the entrance. Barbers poles, with green stripes instead of red, flank the doors.
The artwork at this business was created by Janessa Bork and Josh Ramp, of VIVI Design Co., in 2020. Their website refers to Janessa and Josh as the “dynamic duo [who] founded VIVI in 2018 with a focus on unique tactile presence.” They create murals – inside and out, signs, menus, and other graphics. The pair’s impressive talent is on display at Dr Jolly’s and many other local businesses.
Today I’m sharing pictures of the doors of Shaniko, Oregon. Once a bustling town known as “The Wool Capital of the World”, it later became a ghost town. Its current population is somewhere between 12 and 32, depending on the source.
The doors and doorways of abandoned and occupied buildings in Shaniko have a lot of personality.
You’ll find The The Bend Wall mural on the side of Newport Market, a neighborhood grocery store in Bend, Oregon. The bright painting covers a 100-foot long wall on the side of the building.
This impressive piece of artwork was created by Bend artist, Kim Smallenberg.
The mountain in the center of the mural is Pilot Butte, a dormant volcano. On the right side near the peak, you can see a small fire. On the Fourth of July, commercial fireworks are launched from Pilot Butte, and sometimes, it catches on fire. Our Fire Department is always there and ready.
A large metal sculpture of a bear sits in front of one end. The mural behind the bear shows dogs around a campfire. Bend is a dog-centered town. Many residents own one, or two, or…
Today I’m sharing a photograph of a Lost Forest pine tree processed three ways. The Lost Forest is a geographically isolated forest in the High Desert of Central Oregon. A visit to this unique forest inspired me to write a short story.
I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the contrast and vibrancy slightly.
The first two show the original and the same picture with a box camera effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Time Machine>Box camera. I was pleased how this effect enhanced details of the tree’s structure.
The second two show the original Lost Forest pine tree and the same picture with a warming filter effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Film and Filters. I chose the Warm earth tones option with an orange warming filter. This effect made the tree’s red bark stand out. The puzzle-like bark of ponderosa pines is one of their most interesting features. This effect also highlighted the bare branches better than other effects I considered.
This Mix Tape A & B mural, by artist Erik Hoogen, is located at Silver Moon Brewing in Bend, Oregon. Erik worked on this labor of love seasonally for two years. This large work of art is located in a narrow alley so instead of trying to show it in one photo, I took several.
I am so impressed by this mural! It’s difficult to paint with a monotone palette and Erik made it look easy.
He captured the essence of these musicians from different times and genres.
Many of the musicians are portrayed in iconic poses.
This brand new Landscape of Dreams mural shows special sights you might see near Bend, Oregon. The mural is located in southeast Bend at the Bend Upstyle store.
The dream-like mural includes a landscape of volcanic peaks surrounded by towering trees and colorful wildflowers. A bighorn sheep ram gazes into the distance. Meanwhile, a longhorn bull, with a quail perched on one horn, looks directly at you. What’s the quail whispering to the bull as they drift through the landscape?
This rendering of Landscape of Dreams was created and painted by Kelly Odden of Kelly Thiel Studio. She was grateful for the assistance of her friend, Kristen Buwalda, for several hours.
Kelly, whose studio is in Bend, creates sculptures and paintings that include impressionistic portraits of animals and people. When I contacted her about the mural, she said the following:
“One of the best parts of working there was the folks who would stop by to chat, watch and ask questions! I had everybody from house painters to moms with sweet, disabled children come over to chat. It was wonderful to connect with others like that!”
We are lucky to have so many special artists sharing their work in and around Bend!
I’m always on the lookout for beavers when walking the river trails in the Old Mill District of Bend. I listen for the sound of a tail slapping the water and search for the silhouette of a rounded head breaking the water’s surface. Why look for beavers next to a shopping area? Because these industrious creatures found an ideal spot to build a lodge there. I’ve always wanted to know more about beavers, so I visited the Museum’s Dam It! Beavers and Us exhibition.
This multimedia interactive exhibit offers visitors the opportunity to learn all about the North American beaver, Castor canadensis. Tall, cutout panels representing forest trees divide the room. Dappled light shines onto the imaginary forest floor. A re-creation of a beaver dam is tucked into a corner for kids to explore.
In another corner, a large box suspended from a parachute drifts towards the ground—more on that later. An Oregon flag, featuring a beaver, flutters against a wall near the entrance. Video featuring the important connection of beavers with Native Americans plays in another section. A colorful animation featuring the life cycle of beavers plays on a large screen on the back wall.
I thought this windmill at Fort Rock would make a good candidate for showing three ways to process a photograph. I used the photographic effects in Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. This picture was taken at the Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum in Central Oregon.
Prior to trying other effects, I decreased the brightness by 4 and increased the contrast by 10.
The first two show the original and a platinum processed image. This processing was popular from 1873 to 1920 but was discontinued due to the high costs of platinum. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Time Machine>Platinum. I tried black and white processing but liked the slightly warmer tones of this effect.
The second two show the original and a cross process image. This process resulted from mismatching the film and development chemicals on purpose. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Time Machine>Cross Process. This effect oversaturates the colors and they really pop.
The South Tunnel Murals, designed in 2012 by local artist, Paul Allen Bennett, are located in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon. These works were completed by 20+ designers from Nike working side by side with Arts Central Art Academy students and Boys and Girls club members.
See the tracks of shoes running along the lower border? I wonder if those could possibly be from Nike shoes. Hmm…
These brightly colored images of fish echo the inhabitants of the Deschutes River, located right next to this tunnel.
For now, there are no paintings on the exterior walls of the South Tunnel Murals. I’m hoping another artist will brighten up the dull concrete like they did for the “Tunnel of Joy” nearby.
Once a year, in the middle of June, Clearwater Native Plant Nursery opens its gates to the public. This contract grow nursery provides native plants for restoration and landscaping projects. Plants sold here grow well in upland, riparian, and wetland habitats. The nursery is located in Redmond, Oregon.
Clearwater Native Plant Nursery provided plants to the Deschutes Land Trust for the restoration of Whychus Creek, 15 miles to the northwest. The plantings provided wildlife habitat and helped stabilize the soil near the creek.
Clearwater Native Plant Nursery Annual Sale
I had never been to their annual sale before. This nursery is not open to the public the rest of the year.
We arrived soon after opening and there were already a lot of people there. Plants ranged in price from $3 for a 4-inch pot, to $27 for a 5-gallon pot.
Here are ten pieces of alley art you can view along NW Gasoline Alley in Bend, Oregon. I previously featured artwork decorating another alley in Tin Pan Alley Art in Bend.
This collection of artwork is part of a public initiative supporting local arts and culture in Bend, Oregon. The paintings take Bend’s outdoor lifestyle into consideration.
The people in Alley Art
The first piece is Firebreather by Avlis Leumas. This artwork serves to recognize the work of wildland firefighters in the past, present, and future. When it sells, half of the proceeds will go to The Wildland Firefighter Foundation, a group providing emotional and financial support to firefighters.
This piece, by Sheila Dunn, is a portrait of legendary Bend skier, Emil Nordeen. He moved here from Sweden in 1920 and was instrumental in establishing the Bend Skyliners Mountaineering Club. The group promoted local skiing as well as search and rescue and alpine climbing.
I took these photos from the Phil Brogan Viewpoint. On a clear day, you can see Mt. Bachelor, the Three Sisters, and other peaks in the distance. On this day, clouds covered them in soft shrouds. The visitor center reopened on May 20, a couple days after my visit. It’s a great place to learn more of this area’s volcanic past.
Here are a couple pictures of the volcanic views from a closer angle.
This 1.1 mile trail winds through basalt lava flows surrounding Lava Butte to the viewpoint.
This Colocasia Esculenta mural, created by Danny Fry in 2020, shows colorful elephant ear plants. This plant, referred to as taro or kalo, is common in Hawaii, where Danny grew up.
The colorful leaves of this mural represent the mix of people here in Bend, Oregon. Many people move here from other locations, and this mural reflects that growth in a positive light. For example, Bend hosts several thriving restaurants and businesses run by Hawaiians.
I’ve been out and about more recently and photographed several spectacular sights seen in blue and green.
I thought the pictures deserved a story, so I made up a tiny tale to go with each one. At a virtual conference I attended yesterday, I learned a “micro-story” is a form of flash fiction with 300 or fewer words. I’m calling the following stories “mini-micros” since they range from 43 to 58 words. Not sure if they qualify as true stories, but they were fun to write.
A crowd of manzanita shrubs watches a shifting skyscape in awe. Their pink blossoms open in silent applause. Snow-covered Cascade volcanoes rumble in the background, taking in the show from a safe distance. Steam billows from their peaks, merging with the dancing clouds.
Clouds emerge from a crack in the ground on a chilly spring morning. They radiate outward from the ridgetop and tree branches stretch and reach towards them. Striated boulders celebrate by tumbling and crashing down a steep slope. An osprey drifting overhead crows in anticipation as another glorious day begins.
I took this photo of the Miller cabin in the morning at the High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon. I used the platinum process for this image. This method, popular from 1873-1920, was discontinued due to the high cost of platinum.
I’m always amazed by artists who collect seemingly unrelated bits & pieces of things and combine them into impressive works of art. This week I’m featuring War Paint by Greg Congleton. I have featured some of his other artwork on my blog since he’s one of my favorite local artists.
On a recent trip to Prineville, Oregon, I made a point of stopping to see this work. Greg created this piece in 2020. I decided to photograph the details of this sculpture more closely.
Here it is as you approach it from a distance.
When you get a little closer, you can see the attitude of the horse and the rider.
Greg is a master at showing expression in his welded metal sculptures. Look at the horse’s reaction to the situation.
The Deschutes River mural is by husband and wife artists, Paul Bennett and Carolyn Platt. The artists created this mural in 2012. This piece, along with their Dogs mural, is on display at the Strictly Organic coffee shop. These works are in the Old Mill District of Bend, Oregon.
In this shot taken from a distance, you can see the smokestacks of the old mill building that now houses a REI store.
Last week we visited Crack in the Ground in Central Oregon near Christmas Valley. You may be wondering what exactly this place is. Well… it’s a huge crack in the ground in the middle of the desert.
I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I was impressed by the crack’s picturesque angles and curved surfaces.
There’s a 2-mile trail inside that reaches a depth of ~70 feet below the surface. We took the left path that has a more gradual entrance. It’s in the middle of the picture below. This trail is relatively easy but if you go the whole length, expect to climb over boulders and through some cracks.
But how did this crack get here? It’s an ancient volcanic fissure. I learned in most climates, fissures fill up with soil and rock from erosion. Since it’s so dry here, there has been relatively little filling.
Crack in the Ground sits within the Four Craters Lava Bed. During the Pleistocene, four cone volcanoes were active here. A shallow depression formed when older heavier rock sunk. The fissure opened near the edge where there was tension along a fault zone. This Bureau of Land Management map shows the extent of the lava beds and the location of Crack in the Ground.
The 0.4-mile Trail of the Whispering Pines winds its way through the forest near the visitor center. You get great views of pine trees, Lava Butte, and several nearby volcanoes. This path sits on part of Newberry Volcano, a 1,200-square mile shield volcano.
South Sister, pictured on the left above, is the youngest and most geologically active of the Three Sisters volcanoes. The mountain last erupted 2,000 years ago, but a “bulge” began forming in 1997. By 2001, the bulge grew to 9 inches in height and 10 miles in diameter. Its growth since that time has slowed considerably. Both South Sister and Newberry are regularly monitored for volcanic activity.
When I was a young child, my grandfather often told me the tale of the Lost Forest. Here is how he told it…
The people of the village disliked them for their beliefs, distrusted them for their appearance, so they fled. The villagers pursued them so they ran faster and faster.
They paused on a faraway hill and sought shelter beneath the sagebrush. The pursuers shouted in the distance. Unsure what to do, they became a part of the environment.
One by one, they stood still and extended their arms with palms tilted upward. Long green needles sprouted from their fingertips. Puzzle-like bark crept over their skin. They wiggled their toes and pale white roots snaked their way into the soil. A shudder ran through their bodies and branches poked through their buckskin clothing.
And then they grew. They shed their human form and grew taller and taller.
I have many favorite birds, but today I’m turning my lens towards favorite songbirds that live near me in Central Oregon.
The first bird, is a sage thrasher. Plain of feather, these birds have a lovely melodic song. Thrashers are one of the songbirds of the sagebrush sea that I studied for my graduate work. They are a canary in a coal mine kind of bird.
The second bird is a varied thrush. They look like a robin with a mask, necklace, and checkered wings. I love their haunting song.
The third bird is a California scrub jay. These bold birds have expanded their range. They’re entertaining to watch and hear.