Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Fast Fungi

Brush pen and colored pencil on tan paper, with pressed lichen specimen. * Pluma tipo pincel y lápiz blanco en papel de color marrón claro, con especimina de liquen.
Eugene, Oregon is a town full of wonderful friends. We got to the Mushroom Festival a bit later than planned, because the morning conversations in the coffee shop were too fun to cut short. And then there were so many people to hug once we got to the Arboretum to see the event. But despite all that, I did manage to sketch some slime molds, mushrooms, shelf-fungus, and lichens before we had to catch our bus back to Portland. * El pueblo de Eugene, Oregon es lleno de amigos maravillosos. Llegemos al Mushroom Festival un poco más tarde de lo que habíamos planedado, porque era demasiado divertido seguir charlando en el café con buena gente y vaso de chocolate caliente. Al llegar al jardín botánico donde el evento tomó lugar, tuve que dar un montón de abrazos a tanta gente. Pero finalmente logré dibujar algunos mojos mucilaginosos, varias setas, y algunas líquenes antes de agarrar el bus de regreso a Portland.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Mushroom Festival, Here We Come!

This Sunday, October 28, is the annual Mushroom Festival at Mount Pisgah Arboretum in Eugene, OR. I am excited about:
  • Seeing friends
  • Seeing how the Mushroom Festival Posters turned out in real life
  • Seeing how the Mushroom Festival t-shirts turned out in real life
  • Admiring hundreds and hundreds of fresh-collected, astonishingly beautiful, artistically inspiring wild mushrooms from the local area
  • Sketching those mushrooms. Oh yes. 
And speaking of sketching, here are some of the very early sketches I did when planning for the Mushroom Festival poster art this year. We were still trying to decide what species to draw, and this is how I was gathering data on the three choices.

I think that brown sketchbook paper might serve me well at the event too!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

One Foot in Front of the Other

This week was first anniversary of the birth of our twins, Alex and Ed. Nothing happy about this birthday, though--they were born 3 months early, and were too tiny and fragile to survive more than a few days. Coincidentally, the hospital's annual perinatal loss memorial was scheduled right on our babies' birthday this year. We decided to attend. And, we decided to walk there.

It's about eleven miles from our house in Portland to the hospital in Beaverton. We were lucky enough to have a beautiful sunny autumn day for the trip. Roughly every hour or so, we'd pause--for a coffee or a restroom, while we were in town; or when we got up into the hills above the city, we'd consult our maps of the hiking trails, or admire the view, or crack into the thermos of tea. These pauses were good chances to sketch snippets of the hike.

Walking can be very good for the brain. It gets me out of my head and reminds me that the world is a whole lot bigger than my own troubles. It takes work, but it doesn't take a lot of higher-level decision making. And it fills up the time--oh what a terrible combination it is, feeling sad while having time on your hands--it fills up that time with autumn leaves and wooly caterpillars and muddy lawns and rose gardens and chicken coops and mailboxes and radio towers and all the other random meaningless but meaningful things you run across while putting one foot in front of the other.

Big thanks to everyone--friends, family, doctors, nurses, neighbors, friendly bus drivers, random retired rodeo cowboys--whose kindness has helped us get through this very rough year.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Mushroom Festival: Matsutakes

Mount Pisgah Arboretum invited me to create the poster artwork for their annual Mushroom Festival once again this year, hurrah! You may have noticed earlier posts where I was sketching pine trees, bears, and more pine trees...that was all research for this poster.

This year's featured mushroom is the matsutake. It's a popular edible fungus, not only for humans but also bears and elk. I started off by reading a ton of books and websites to get a sense of the species. Then I made some crude clay sculptures to get a sense of the size and structure of these beauties.
And yes, I also roughed out a bear's schnozz from cardboard so I could see that to scale in relationship to the mushrooms. It was like a puppet show for a while there, me moving the cardboard bear-head-on-a-stick around to different angles, and taking tons of snapshots all the while. 
I "painted" the artwork in Photoshop, starting with a very simple version, and adding details and complexity based on my reference photos.
There's always a point where it just feels like a muddy mess, midway through...
But with any luck, that resolves itself into a tidy final product.
Posters and t-shirts will be on sale at the big event down in Eugene, Oregon on Sunday, October 28. Hope some of you can make it out to enjoy this excellent educational (and incredibly fun) community event!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Long Way to Work

Oh my goodness, I've fallen behind on blogging. Remember September? It was a nice month. It was the month of the Bike Commute Challenge. And I live close enough to work that it seemed useful to artificially inflate my tally of miles by going the long way to work. Loooooong, indeed. My normal commute is one and half miles, but this new route is a 15-miler. Fun way to start the day.

Especially if you can swing by the food cart pod that's along the bike trail. Sketched the pupuseria (which makes the best horchata I've had in years!) while eating a crepe. Deluxe.

Híjole, hace un rato desde que he escrito algo aquí. ¿Recuerdes el mez de septiembre? Que mes más bonito. Era el mez del “Bike Commute Challenge,” la competencia que ve quién puede andar al trabajo en bicileta con más frequencia. Decidí aumentar el total de distancia que yo estaba viajando por usar una ruta un poco más largo que normal...OK, confieso que era mucho más largo. Normalmente voy un mila y media para llegar a mi empleo, pero con esta ruta nueva, viajaba 15 milas. ¡Llegaba al trabajo bien despierta!  

El viaje más divertido fue el que incluyó una visita al grupo de cocinas móviles que queda cerca de la senda de bicicletas. Pinté la pupusería—que hace la horchata más rica que he encontrado en Oregón—mientras comí un crepe. Que rico.