Art Attacks, Pug-Cams and Reconnecting with Friends

Spring has indeed sprung here in Oregon, earlier than usual I’m told. It is always beautiful here, but especially this time of year. It seems as if every tree, bush and plant is blooming at every turn. Until just recently, I was too busy to even stop and take some pictures of it. My full time work load on top of my full time class load at school did not leave much time for anything else. That being said, I still managed to get out a bit and pursue some photographic endeavors.



Just a Dream

This spring term at Portland Community College, I enrolled in my first ever photography class. My instructor there provided me with some very positive and encouraging feedback which gave me just the extra boost of confidence I needed. Several months ago, I applied to join an artist’s coop here in Portland that I learned about while walking around downtown. Unfortunately, at that time, they had too many photographers in the group but encouraged me to check back in six months. Then one day out of the blue, I received notice that a photography spot opened and was invited to jury my work the very next day at the store downtown. I only had about half a day to prepare five prints for matting and framing as well as put together a physical portfolio of my other work including my artist’s statement and documenting my creative process. Thanks to the help of a couple of friends and working inter the early morning hours, I managed to pull everything together and presented my work the next day (pictured above). If was an amazing opportunity to meet other local artists, learn more about the coop and share the inspiration for my work with the jury panel. The whole process was an invaluable learning experience.

My two prints at the art auction

A few months ago, a friend of mine now living in Eugene asked if I would consider participating in an art auction for ShelterCare where all proceeds from the event support their homelessness prevention programs in Linn County. Of course I agreed and a couple of weeks ago, made the drive to Eugene to deliver the two framed prints while we caught up over dinner. This week, a friend and I drove back to Eugene for the auction at the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art on the University of Oregon campus. It was a lovely and well-organized event complete with tasty wine, delicious food and live music. Both of my pieces sold and I briefly had the opportunity to meet the man who purchased both prints. I’m not sure who was more excited about the sale, him or me? It was a truly wonderful moment indeed.

Over the past few months, I’ve added a few new pieces of equipment to my photography/videography arsenal: a Sony 100mm f2.8 macro lens, a 4K Sony Action Cam and a Cheerson CX-33W droid for shooting aerial video and photos. I’m looking forward to exploring a magnified version of Oregon’s plant life as well as strapping the video camera to a variety of items and making some videos of Oregon’s beaches, roadways and bridges. Learning to fly my droid will be a bit of a challenge but I’m sure once I get the hang of it, I’ll be capturing  and sharing some very beautiful birds-eye-view scenery from all over the Pacific Northwest.

I’ve been trying my hand at a few newer areas of photography and did my first engagement photo shoot for a couple of friends. We visited several locations one rainy Sunday about a month ago including Union Station, the Eastbank Esplanade, Cathedral Park, and the St. John’s Bridge as well as a record store and restaurant. It was a great learning experience and a fun way to get to know my friends better. Thanks to one of my school projects, I also shot some portraits for a friend in and around my neighborhood. I definitely have respect for the work and talent it takes to do portrait photography well. I’m not sure I’ll be adding it to my available services anytime soon but I will continue to work on developing the skill set and see where I want to go from there. Also in the realm of new-to-me endeavors, I’m considering a street photography project where I’d like to explore each neighborhood of Portland by foot. I’m not sure what I hope to convey with that project yet so more contemplation is needed before I get underway.

For some time now, I’ve wanted to make a short film to share the magic encapsulated along the roadways between Portland and the northern Oregon coast. The other weekend, Cole and a friend of mine took a trip to Ecola State Park and it was the perfect time to try out my new Sony Action Cam. I attached the camera to the sunroof opening of my car and recorded the drive along highway 26 through the Tillamook and Clatsop State Forests. Once we all arrived at the park, I moved the camera to a special dog harness and Cole shot his first ever video along Indian Beach. The footage is a bit shakey but adorable nonetheless. Unfortunately, since my computer is not quite equipped to handle 4K video, editing either footage into a film will have to wait until I’m able to upgrade to a newer/faster/better computer later this year. I was able though to make a decent short clip from the beach below.

In early April I carved out some time from my busy schedule to attend the special acoustic Jackie Greene concert at Mississippi Studios with a friend. As some of you may be aware, Jackie Greene is one of my all-time favorite musicians and I see him every time he comes through the city I happen to be living in at that time. After grabbing a bite at the always-delicious LeBistro Montage, my friend and I managed to get to the show earlier than expected which helped secure us a front row seat in the balcony area that offered us an unobstructed view of the stage. As usual, Jackie gave a spectacular performance that made the lack of sleep that night well worth it. The opening musician, The Suitcase Junket, who I hadn’t heard of before, was also very good. I recommend checking both of them out if you are unfamiliar.

Jackie Greene at Mississippi Studios

A dear Wisconsin-friend was in town recently and we were lucky to have two back-to-back evenings together to catch up and explore Portland. On the first night, we met up at my apartment, and true to our midwestern roots, had a Bourbon Old Fashioned while we began the process of catching up on life-stuff before heading over to Papa Haydn on NW 23rd for a scrumptious dinner and decadent dessert. Afterward, we walked to the Pope House Bourbon Lounge and each enjoyed a flight of four bourbons among the low-key and quiet setting. On the second night, joined by a co-worker of hers, we met up at Portland City Grill to enjoy a happy hour cocktail while the sun set in the horizon, illuminating the majestic Cascade mountain range and Willamette River Valley below. Afterward, we walked over to Huber’s Cafe where we enjoyed the always entertaining Spanish coffee prepared table-side and yet another delicious meal. After we had our fill of both there, we headed to A Roadside Attraction for a beer on the unique patio before arriving at the Alibi for a fun evening of tropical cocktails and talented karaoke singers.

The Pope House
The Alibi

Last weekend, Cole and I met up with another one of my friends I hadn’t seen in awhile to catch up while we perused the art at the Portland Saturday Market. There I decided to finally purchase several pieces of art I had been contemplating ever since I moved to Portland in 2014.  My friend affectionately referred to this event as an “art-attack” which seems quite fitting since I walked away with three paintings by J.R. Slattum and two porcelain pieces by Shapiro Porcelain. And just like a good enabler, she helped me carry my stash home and even lent a hand with the hanging of it. Perhaps what I love most about the Saturday Market is having direct access to the talented artists who make all the lovely art. I was able to talk to J.R., the painter of my three new pieces, about his inspiration behind each one of the surrealistic paintings.

Paintings of J.R. Slattum

From Left to Right:

Root of Good Intentions
It’s about acting from the heart, the center, not to be confused with emotion/ego.  Hatching from the center, flying above. To act of love and for others.

Erosion Revelation
You are not the rock. The tides of life, the ebb and flows, ups and downs… wearing away the stone- revealing between the layers- artifacts, fossils, gems of wisdom.  We are all on the same journey but at different places along the path.  View life from the heart.

Forest Thinking
The feeling of being in nature.  The nowness that it provides.  Losing your sense of self while becoming one with nature… the birds, the flora and fauna, the faces in the trees.  There is no yesterday or tomorrow… just the forest.

With summer just around the corner, there will be a lot of camping, hiking and road trips to write about so I hope you’ll continue to follow along my journey.

To view more of my photography, please visit:


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