Here’s a look at what’s been in my sketchbook and on my table recently.
Springtime in Spokane is one of my favorite seasons. Right now the lilacs are in bloom, but a couple weeks ago was prime time for the arrowleaf balsamroot, my very favorite PNW wildflower. They are so cheery and remind me of sunflowers and I love how they pop up all over town in early spring. Dishman Hills Natural Area out in the Spokane Valley is one of the best places in town to enjoy their beauty. Two weeks ago I hiked out there, looking for some painting subjects and spent a highly pleasant evening sitting among the flowers.
I’m at ARTFEST this year!
At the end of last year I made a foray over to Mukogawa Fort Wright Institute out on the west side of town and was delighted what I found-tall trees lining a long and misty path, surprise public art, a delicately decorated historic church moved from GU’s campus decades ago, rows of brick buildings, formerly barracks and fort offices, now repurposed for the college, a fabulous brick path and more. Thank you to Akihiro Nakahara for the fabulous tour...I was really inspired!
We spent several days roaming about Ireland. I know that the UK experienced a severe drought this summer, but it rained several times while we were there and, as a Spokanite, I hadn’t seen rain in months. It was excellent but confusing.
This is the last of my blog posts about my trip to Japan. We spent the last part of our trip in Kyoto and then Osaka. I'd love to go back. Perhaps I can connect up with Spokane's sister city Nishinomiya!
We were fortunate to see Mt. Fuji. Normally she is shrouded in mist. I grew up just south of Seattle and a common phrase there, usually uttered in celebratory tones, is, "The mountain is out!" Back there, "the mountain" is always Mt. Rainer. In Japan, "the mountain" is Mt. Fuji. I love the stamp I got at the post office half way up the mountain. It is SO CUTE.
So to add to the excitement of finishing my 52 week painting project, at the end of May I took off for Japan with my parents and brother for a little family adventure. We went to Tokyo, Kyoto, Kanazawa, Takayama, and Osaka. I had a great time and I'd love to go back to Japan just for a painting excursion, though I'm feeling very lucky that we just missed the earthquake in Osaka.
YAY! I did it guys! The first week of May, I officially completed 52 weeks of painting all over Spokane! What a wild ride! I learned a lot, got to see a lot of cool things that I wouldn't have otherwise and had a delightful time. Thank you everyone for following along with my journey! I thought it would be fun to look back over some of the things I sketched over the past year.
This year is Get Lit's 20th anniversary. Get Lit started back in 1998 as a one day event sponsored by Eastern Washington University Press and EWU's Creative writing program, according to their website. Get Lit is now a week long festival that has so many events that it is difficult to get to them all! There are readings, panel discussions, and workshops all over town. I managed to make it to three events, one not officially in the Get Lit program, but scheduled to take part in all the literary hubbub. Another I attended somewhat accidentally as there was a reading at Auntie's on a day when I was working the evening shift at Pottery Place Plus and since it was quiet in the shop, I hung out by the connecting door way to Auntie's and listened to David Axelrod, Christopher Howell, and several other Lost Horse Press authors read their poems.
I can't wait till next year!
I had a super early wake up call to be on the KXLY Morning Show-3:30, so I could down to the studio and be ready to go before they started filming at 5 am. Robyn, Derek, Mark, and the film crew all must go to bed really early! I found a spot that was out of the way of the action but still gave me a good view. It was really fun to see how the news casters moved in and out of the small sets around the studio for different clips.
Thanks to my lovely Aunt Judy for doing whatever it took to record these clips of me getting interviewed on the Morning show! It is a bit of an odd feeling to watch myself in video, but I think it is something I could get used to!
Boots Bakery is one of my favorite places in downtown Spokane. Not only do they have delicious food, but also beautiful murals inside and frequently host poetry slams and a bunch of other creative events. I can't wait for sunshine and warm weather so I can sit on the patio and watch people go by.
The white caps and crosses on the top of the towers of Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral peek above the buildings along the Spokane River when viewed from Kendall yards. Situated on Riverside Avenue in a block that holds the Philanthropy Center, the Spokane Club and the old Masonic Temple and just across the street from the Spokesman Review Building, the Cathedral is in good company. Open for short periods of time before and after Mass each day, you can duck in to admire the vaulted ceilings and art. If that doesn't work for your schedule, no worries, there is plenty of beauty to be found in the exterior.
If you've never made a trip down to Our Lady of Lourdes Cathedral, it and the surrounding area are definitely worth a visit, then walk down to the Monroe Street Bridge and along the Centennial Trail to admire the falls!
KYRS is a non-profit, non-commercial radio station here in Spokane. It is known as "Thin Air Community Radio" and broadcasts at 88.7 and 92.3 FM. According to their website, KYRS's mission is to, "fill needs that other media do not, providing programming to diverse communities and unserved or underserved groups." They have over 40 programs and many volunteer programmers. Art Hour with Jennifer LaRue on Thursdays 3-4pm is one that I will sometimes listen to and I was quite pleased to be on the show myself on the day I came down to sketch at the station. Jennifer and I spent about a half an hour talking about art and my childhood, my Artist's Eye on Spokane project and the fact that we'd both gone to private all girl's schools with "free dress days"! You can listen to KYRS on the radio or steam it live from their website.
The Garland Neighborhood is such a a fun, artsy area. There's been an proliferation of murals-clockwork owls, Vincent Van Gogh, graffiti inspired craft supplies at Sew EZ Too and more. I visit the area often thanks to my love for knitting supplies, Spokane Art School, and milk shakes!
The Steam Plant building in downtown Spokane is a restaurant and brewery and houses offices and store fronts as well, but the name is a remnant of an older time. The building was an actual functioning steam plant for 70 years according to their website. It didn't shut down until 1986. Renovated with a vision toward making the most of the industrial space, many elements of the Steam Plant's past remain which create a unique atmosphere. I know I'm sounding a bit like an ad for the Steam Plant here, but I have a soft spot for creative reuse, adapting to the surroundings and reusing old material in new and exciting ways, so I was thrilled by the aesthetics of the space. There's a lot of inspiration there!
Boulevard Mercantile occupies a wedge shaped brick building at the intersection of Monroe, Indiana and Northwest Boulevard. Perched there at the apex of the wedge, it has a friendly facade and many antenna projecting from the roof. I am a frequent customer as the owners of the store are great treasure hunters and the store is filled with a display of frequently rotating wonders. Recent purchases of mine have included an enormous coffee table book on the paintings of John Singer Sargent (score!) and an antique cast iron Christmas Tree stand that I got as a present for my mom. Their window displays never fail to make me smile, even when I'm stuck in my car at the red light. Currently they have a huge red star light up sign with a plane on it and it sparkles from behind the glass. Sometimes I day dream about buying that star. But WHERE would I put it?!
As an alumnae of Gonzaga, I have a soft spot in my heart for college basketball and the Zags. I was thrilled to be able to make the Zags a part of my Artist's Eye on Spokane project and spent this past Saturday's game (versus Pepperdine) sketching near the media section. Was I a little teary eyed as the Zombie Nation blasted from the speakers and the crowd of students all began jumping in unison on the bleachers to make an almighty pounding noise? Maybe.
Thanks to a connection made with Mayor David Condon, he and I met a few months back to talk about my Artist's Eye on Spokane project. He was enthusiastic about the idea and a couple weeks after we met, his staff got in touch about having me be involved in the State of the City Address on February 9th, using my paintings to visually illustrate the narrative of the mayor's speech. Since I am trying to tell the story of our city with my art, I felt like this would be a good fit!
You can read about the speech and see a picture of the Mayor talking in front of my painting of the Fancher/Trent Railyard here.
Sprague has recently undergone some big changes-new crosswalks, landscape, bike racks, bus shelters and more. It is spiffy and welcoming and ready for you to come visit! Maybe to Bennedito's for beer and pizza? Or the Ivory Table for crepes or the Tin Roof for furniture and beautiful house decor?
Hillyard is a charming neighborhood with a gritty rail yard past. On Market Street you can see plenty of historic buildings as well as a multitude of murals. In this painting, my eye was caught by the combination of the bull's eye sign and the vintage minty-green building wall!