Category Archives: Poetry

On My Work Table


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I have been creating patterns on fabric with rust.  I mostly used steel wool in a half and half solution of apple cider vinegar and water.  Before the steel wool fully rusted I dipped the linen into the solution and got the lovely soft gray color.  Then I lay a piece of the steel wool on it to create the subtle color change.  After the steel wool rusted I took out pieces of it and lay it on the wet muslin after a few hours the patterns shown are the result! I’m using the rusted pieces of muslin and linen for the pages of a handmade book.  Gluing them down to folded heavy watercolor paper to create signatures for a handmade book.  I intend to incorporate the rust patterns into the pages, although that didn’t happen below.

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This is one of the pages I’ve created for my book, I’m calling it “The Sacred Life of Trees.”  Using watercolor, oil pastel, pen and ink for 12 original drawings depicting the spirit that humans have given to trees through folklore, religion, and daily life.  The letter “A” is painted in bright gold paint.  I like the kind of medieval look of the gold paint – kind of like an illustrated manuscript. This is my first page so I may discard and have a “do-over.” haha

I’m creating the book for the book arts exhibit at the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon in April for their Fifth Annual Artist Books Invitational and Printmakers; Also, the “Community Press” work by community members. First Friday Art Walk April 4, 5:00 to 8:00 PM




I have finally finished my little handmade recycled book.  I’ve called it “Journeys, Unknown.”  I used a cardboard box for most of the structure of this book.  I cut the box into smaller pieces and soaked those pieces in water and removed the brown paper layers and smoothed them out to dry.  Once dry, they were very nice flat heavy weight pieces of paper.  I saved them in a drawer for about a year, and then had an idea of how to use them!   I’ve used scraps of paper left over from other projects, found objects, leaves, twigs, stones, fabric, and broken crockery.

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This is the cover.  I made it from a piece of cardboard I cut from a box.  The little broken ceramic leaf was a small dish my daughter saved for me after one of her dogs swept it from a table and it broke.  She knew, as she said, that I would find a use for it!

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The back of the front cover.  A mushroom print I made on an old book page a few years ago one hot summer when I lived in Bend.  Another daughter and I went to the grocery and bought some large mushrooms and put them on pieces of paper, caps down, and left them for a few days.  This was the resulting print!  My computer is not processing the colors correctly, but you get the idea!

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Page 1 – I shared this previously.  A little carved rabbit, probably from some cuckoo clock I think.

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Page 2.

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Page 3 A.  A leaf I saved from my garden several summer’s ago.  I save them in a big book of Shakespeare.  This one was so thin, I tore it a little when I stuck it down.

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Page 3 B.  A couple of poplar leaves from Shakespeare.  Page 4.  A Gelatin print I did using a fossil saved from Fogarty Creek beach in Oregon.

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Page 5.  My favorite place.  The sea.  “…the sea whispers a cradlesong”

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Overlay leaf for page 6A.  I bought these years ago at some dollar store.  They were intended to us as a liner on plates for placing cheese upon.  They don’t glue down very well, and they don’t take printing on – so I glued the edges into a folded piece of brown paper and will sew them through the brown paper when I bind the book.

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Page 6 A.  A skeleton leaf my daughter sent me when I lived in Bend.  My daughters are always saving small things for me to use in my art.  The leaf is so delicate its like a fragment of lace.

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Pages 6 B Water over stones.

Page 7.  Recycled pieces of fabric, buttons and paper.  Darning is so beautiful to me in it’s utilitarian form , practical; but as art as well. “Darning our lives together with thread pilfered from our dreams…”

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Page 8.  Some scraps from leftover painted paper edges, torn into mountains, sky and foreground.

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Page 9.  Moths knocking against the screen on a summer night. “The moths have come calling, leaving their silver at the door.”

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Page 10 and page 11. “And the moth-hour went from the fields…” w b yeats.

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Page 12.  Seed pods and birds traveling on their unknown journeys.

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Another leaf overlay covers page 13.

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Page 13 and page 14 A.

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Page 14 B.

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Page 14 C .

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Page 15.  A copy of an old sketch I did and printed onto a piece of bright green vellum.

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Page 16.  These small journeys we travel without knowing where they may lead us; these journeys that connect us to one another, and to the greater mystery of nature.

The artist’s book completed! The Tally Keeper’s Folly – Imaginary People I Know -Will be on exhibit!


Addendum: Since I published this post about this little book,” The Tally Keeper’s Folly,”  it has somehow attracted enough attention to be invited to participate in the April is National Poetry Month.  To celebrate the gift of written word and the beauty of handmade books, the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Or. . The Illahe Studio and Gallery is staging an exhibit of artist’s books of every size and type!  “The Tally Keeper’s Folly” will be there with the best of them!  April 6-28.  It will be a wonderful exhibit if you love handmade books.  Posted Sunday February 12, 1012 at 12-midnight.  Can you tell I am a little bit excited!

Front of Book

The Tally Keeper’s Folly – Imaginary People I Know

Oil pastel, watercolor, gouache, collage on muslin 5 x 7 inches

This is a handmade muslin book created by Lynne Hoppe, which I won in a give-a-way.  I’ve been saving the book for a couple of years.  I started doing some drawings in it, and saw a loose storyline form.  I have been thinking lately about people who have a very strong need to “keep score” or count up all the “wrong” things people have done, but never think much of all the good things people do every day.  So this little book turned into a story about a woman who was driven to keep her scores of every slight, real or imagined, until it began to destroy her life.  She is visited in the end by two strange figures who tell her of the mistake she is making by counting sorrows instead of joys.  In my version she believes them and changes her ways!  I decided to use another time era ambience for this book, thinking of medieval times when people counted their debts on tally sticks where they would make a mark on the stick for each debt owed, and the size of the mark often had bearing on the size of the debt.

The words in the book were printed directly to the coffee dyed muslin with an inkjet printer.  I ironed 8.5 x 11 pieces of muslin onto freezer paper  then I cut each quotation apart with scissors and used a straight pin to pull threads from the edges – then I just glued them down with matte polymer medium (I used Liquitex).  I think sewing them in would have been really perfect, but I would have had to sew through the illustrations on the other side of the page, and it just wouldn’t have worked, so I glued them in.

Pages 1 and 2 – The Tally Keeper is looking at marks on a stick while her favored child observes.

Pages 3 and 4 –  Portraits of her other children.  A sad lost boy and his older sister, who has little to say.

Pages 5 and 6  The Lost Boy in a younger portrait – when he believed in magic.  The Tally Keeper with little time for him.

Pages 7 and 8 – A study of The Tally Keeper’s jumbled dreams.  The Old King who never kept a count of sorrows.

Pages 9 and 10 – Her favored son again, still watchful, older now.  She cut a paper minion – I just wanted to use the word minion!

Pages 11 and 12 – She continues to count her scores, and keep tally of all her woes.  Her husband begins to wonder if maybe his name is on a tally stick too?

Pages 13 and 14 – Two strange old women come to visit her one night to help her see the error of her ways, after  a few tears she agrees to change.

Back of the book

Happy New Year!


For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~T.S. Eliot, “Little Gidding” ~

I recently came upon an expression called “Oblique Motion.”   “Oblique Motion” occurs when one voice (or more) in written music, remains on the same pitch while the other ascends or descends.   This seemed to me as if it could be applied to art as well.  We have our consistent or usual voice in each piece that we produce, but there is also another voice, one just emerging… new and unknown, or sometimes one that is finished but still resonating… and they each have their own harmony to follow.  This may be far too vague a definition for music majors, but please allow me my simple and poetic viewpoint, and my apologies to written music! 

My 2012 art journal(s) will be called “Imaginary Conversations ~ Oblique Motion”

The new year arrives and my door is open and waiting for whatever the future may bring.  It looks dark inside my open door – but that’s because this is only a cookie house – and I didn’t think to put a tea light inside before I snapped the photo.  

I have lots of plans for art projects in this new year ahead  – I always have lots of plans for the new year, but I don’t make resolutions.    Resolutions seem too rigid, especially for artists – we need to be able to change course in a split second; ever aware of the serendipitous moment, free of spirit, and forever reverent.

Happy New Year to each of you!

I’ve been thinking a lot about horizon lines – the line that divides

the earth and the sky, that magic place only the birds really know…

The light returns….


“The light returns – stuck to the sky with black tape – electrical and fleeting as a promise.”

Oil pastel on gesso coated paper (brown bogus rough), charcoal, pencil, handmade collage papers.  9″ x 12″

February is my favorite winter month.  The trees are still bare, but the light begins creeping back.  The beginning of the month it’s very subtle, by mid-February I notice the sky is still light at 5:30 pm, and end month it lasts even longer.   In Portland it’s mostly gray skies, today, there was sunshine – fleeting- but still the promise of spring hangs there just behind those gray clouds! 



2011, Begin Again



I have moved.   I have finally emptied all the boxes, arranged the furniture, and hung the curtains, put the books on the shelves (new from Ikea);and now I am ready to begin my new self and new life in 2011.  Change is the only thing that is constant.  The studio has not yet been christened  — it is the last room to be arranged, not because it isn’t important, but because, it is the most important.  Now I take my time to find and explore the energy in this room.  I have more storage than my old studio, as the room has two closets, but I think I actually have less floor space than my old studio in Bend.  I haven’t found the rhythm of this room, yet.  The view is nice if I am sitting at my work table.  There is a hill to view from the window, (part of the west hills of Portland,) forested with trees and dipped in hanging mist much of the time, very mysterious and poetic -looking.  Standing-up, there is a neighboring roof top to look at—oh well, nothing is perfect .  There is decent light from a northwest window, and I am the boss of the studio, the one in charge, the queen bee!  Actually having a room for art making is a dream I never thought would realize during those years growing up without even a bed, much less a room to put it in.  As I’ve said before, there were a bunch of us, and only one bedroom, and whoever went to bed first got the bed – the rest camped out here and there as best we could.  So having an extra room for art is all bonus in my world,as I actually have my own bed plus a pretty room to keep it in.  The studio does seem to   come with certain responsibilities, and a certain amount of niggling guilt.  Like maybe I don’t deserve it because I am such a lazy do nothing person – if I am so fortunate as to have a studio, why am I not in that studio every second pushing out newborn works  of some kind of art by the day?  I wanted to say by the hour, but even I admit it takes more than a hour to create a newborn work of art. 

Well, I have a decent excuse for the last month.  I was moving, (over a mountain, which happened to be frozen on the day, December 17, the procedure of driving a truck loaded with every scrap of my belongings.  I am most grateful I did not have to personally drive the laden truck.  It seems there are people in my family who love me enough to risk their own lives on occasion for my benefit.    I did, however have to drive my own little car which was also laden with all manner of scraps, castoffs, and possibilities.  All things no artist could live happily without, including five years work of paintings and other art from Bend.  The trouble began as darkness came before I had planned on it, and that’s when I knew it was going to literally be a bumpy ride, and it was.  The road was very dark, narrowed with cast off snow drifts, and lumpy traction grabbing gravel, layed down by the nice gravel trucks. And ice, 4 inch think skating rink type ice, only dirtier, and way too lumpy for fancy spins and glides. 

Cookie Moon, sweet, patient, loving. 8 years old this Christmas Eve.

My traveling companion, Cookie Moon, was polite enough to not mention I forgot to bring her a cup of water for the 3 plus hour trip.  I gripped the wheel with both hands and sat as far forward as I could.  Peering out from the black window and being blinded by every passing headlight, and every tailgating 4-wheeler behind me.  Fist sized chunks of gravel flew up a few times threatening broken windshields, with probable facial injuries at the least, but it was the curves around the edges of the mountain in the frozen dark and nothing but blackness past the edges of the narrowed curving road that gave me every impression I would be better off to be a crow or an owl on this night.   As I came down from the mountain, and the highway was wet with nothing but kindly rain, and the street lights began to occur every 15 or 20 feet, and the posted speed was a safety enforced 45 mph it seemed I had entered yet another land and barely escaping the terrifying misty mountains created an immediate backup plan to never return!  I began to experiment with breathing again, it was a heady exercise!  Easy to hyperventilate under the circumstances!  Soon I was home, well home to my daughters house – she arrived a short while later, and although she is a spring chicken at 30 – she was just as terrified as I had been negotiating a safe plan down the side of a frozen December mountain.  And her husband in the moving van loaded with all my vanities which certainly are not worth anyone’s life, he too made it safely until he hit a patch of black ice and spun out into oncoming traffic – but  the spinout was puny and stopped as soon as it began and no one was hurt nor property damaged. Just a short snort from the mountain I believe, to let us know we had been graced and we better say thank you.  Which we did later that night, and the next and the next – just to be sure all bases were covered.

 My grandson, my dream boy, met me at the door when I arrived and I carried in a small gift for him to begin the Christmas celebration with, we eyed each other serepticiously for a few minutes, he taking stock, trying to remember this woman whose voice often puts him to sleep with her stories about the moon, and baby birds in their nests, and little foxes in their dens, then I took him outside in the cold rain and we caught cold little raindrops in our hands for a few minutes mixing them around in our shared hands.  Then he began to remember me – this is Mimi – the one who saves him when he is in trouble, the one who reads him book after book, after book,  if he wants, and the one who knows all the songs about the wind chimes, the stars, little animals, the nighttime trees, raindrops, pebbles and sticks, and making wishes on the moon. Our holiday had begun!

Cabrin two years old now.

Cabrin’s parents, my middle daughter laughing Elizabeth and her husband, Christian.  Elizabeth is the photographer – she has taken all the photos of Cabrin since his birth.  She is now beginning her own photography business in Denver.

Beautiful Cait , the oldest, the ballet dancer.

Cabrin posing for his mother

Mairwen Rose, the youngest of the sisters.  Beautiful, a talented artist, and graphic designer, tempestious, passionate.

The three sisters 1986, San Luis Obispo, Caifornia.  Mairwen, 9 months, Elizabeth, 3 years, Cait, 6 years.

Icicles in the window.

Ice Candles!

Good-bye Bend and good-bye ice!