Monthly Archives: June 2009

Northwest Encaustic Studio 3-Day

After a zillion years of wanting to learn encaustic, I’ve finally jumped in with both feet.  Just finished a really productive and engaging 3 day studio intensive on encaustic miniatures with Larry Calkins and Sean Doll (Sean, get your website going!).  The class was small enough to allow for lots of conversation, observation of Larry and Sean in action, and hands-on work–really an awesome 3 days.

Northwest Encaustic Studio is one of our many gems here in West Seattle, housed in a 60s style apartment building converted to artist studios. It’s a great place to drop in on Second Thursdays to get access to lots of accomplished artists and their work.  Highly recommended.

Here are a few of the pieces I made this weekend.  The boxes are the sculptural part of the encaustic painting, made with Larry’s own finish recipe that adds a complex layer of depth to the piece.  The colors in the small paintings really shine when set in against the rough finish of the box.

This small painting is deep inside the box; I sort of like the depth of it--it goes to the secret life of birds, an ongoing obsession.

This small painting is deep inside the box; I sort of like the depth of it--the secret life of birds

Many bird books refer to a certain type of nest as a "cup" with a tea cup used as the symbol. I've always loved the idea of a bird in a cup.

Many bird books refer to a certain type of nest as a "cup" with a tea cup used as the symbol. I've always loved the idea of a bird in a cup.

Encaustic on a 1" piece of glass, sort of a joke. Larry fashioned this large frame for the piece which really makes the color of the mini jump out

Encaustic on a 1" piece of glass, sort of a joke. Larry fashioned this large frame for the piece which really makes the color of the mini jump out

Emails from the Western Front: the Pacific Garbage Patch

Over at the HuffPpost, Laurie David is chronicling Charles Moore’s exploration of the path from the California Coast to the northern waters of the Hawaiian Islands. The goal? Plastics. He’s aboard the Algalita, a research vessel dedicated to studying the impact of plastics on the environment of the world’s oceans.

He will be sending regular emails describing their findings, and Laurie David will post them on the HuffPost. I look forward to following the adventure, and hope you’ll help spread the news about this research that affects us all.

Update on Plastics….the only permanent thing in the world

Msjean noted in a comment yesterday that the UN is taking up the cause of plastic bags, so I checked it out and indeed: the topic is being discussed.

In this article, the UN Environmental Programme put forth some uncomfortable information:

Although recycling bags is on the rise in the United States, an estimated 90 billion thin bags a year, most used to handle produce and groceries, go unrecycled. They were the second most common form of litter after cigarette butts at the 2008 International Coastal Cleanup Day sponsored by the Ocean Conservancy, a marine environmental group.

“Plastic, the most prevalent component of marine debris, poses hazards because it persists so long in the ocean, degrading into tinier and tinier bits that can be consumed by the smallest marine life at the base of the food web.”

Plastic is Forever.  Lately I’ve been thinking about things like cassette tapes, video tapes, walkman devices, pens, sunglasses, drinking cups, those little wrist things used for ID in hospitals–all of these things made out of so much plastic and that are doomed to be discarded because they are no longer useful, outdated, unpopular, temporary, whatever.  The funny thing: we think of Plastic as temporary, but it is in fact the most permanent thing in the world.  That’s not an exaggeration.

Look around yourself right now, how much plastic can you see?  Now ask yourself: where will that end up?

Anyway, thanks msjean for pointing me to this news.  Much appreciated!

What’s not to love about this?

What would you give to have a more positive outlook in your day?  Or feel stronger, more confident in your body? How about sleeping better, getting sick less often, having better self-esteem?

Most of us, living in this the-answer-is-out-there-and-probably-comes-in-pill-form society of ours, will think, yeah–what are you selling?

Nada.  Nothing you can’t do yourself. We’ve collectively come to this place where fresh veggies and fruit taste “funny” and processed food tastes normal. Our energy isn’t great, our brains are functioning on less real nutrients, and then we wonder why we don’t feel so good.

Obama is gathering his forces to help make America healthier, and this effort, perhaps more than his other unbelievable number of efforts, has me swooning.  This article on CNN discusses his ideas, and of course finds a way to make the effort controversial (that’s what sells, after all), but the point of Obama’s agenda is this:

A healthy population is a happier, less expensive, stronger, more motivated population.  Period.

Happier: endorphins from exercise help modulate mood, we’re made this way. It’s the way our mechanisms work. Further, even if you don’t go out an run 3 miles, just stretching and walking helps your mood by connecting you with your body.  It’s natural, it’s how our bodies work.  Connection lost: balance lost.

Less expensive: as the article points out, chronic diseases such as adult onset diabetes account for 2 trillion bucks in health care.  That’s Two. Trillion. Bucks. Medical studies have long ago proven that better nutrition based of fresh veggies, fruit, fish, etc combined with moderate exercise can help manage a ton of chronic complaints.  Imagine tossing those pills you’re stuck on–it could happen.

Stronger, more motivated: you know the old saying, if you want something done, ask a busy person.  Once your body is accustomed to moving, whether that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing yoga stretches in your cubicle, going for a walk at lunch instead of sitting around, or even getting up off the sofa to change the channel rather than using the remote, your old bod gets used to it and craves it.  Pretty soon you’re finding ways to keep moving no matter what, and guess what: your body works better that way.  It doesn’t work so very well if you’re always stationary.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I just had to say, Mr. Obama, you are a dreamboat.