One day it is summer light full-bodied, hot, and shining brightly.  The next day, shimmer light with a definite nod to the changing season.

My new identified plant finds for the past month.

Bigleaf maple  Acer macrophyllum

White willow Salix alba

Sweet birch Quercus garryana

Red Alder  Alnus rubra

My winter undertaking is learning to identify plants that are on my daily walks.  A lovely challenge, and I am enjoying finding out about what I  have passed so often but haven't taken time to learn about.  Some can be used in making inks and paints, and some parts can be used as edibles.  Also, to my delight, ones that are native to this specific region. So far, I have found and identified Black hawthorn, Crataegus douglasii,  Sour cherry, Prunus cerasus, Pin cherry, Prunus pensylvanica,  Beaked hazelnut, Corylus conruta,  Nootka rose, Rosa nutkana,  Oregon white oak, Quercus garryana, and Striped maple, Acer pensylvanicum.  These are just a few and more identifying to come!


As stumbled across this wonderful story as I worked with a fundraiser this month to provide sketchbooks for Santiam Canyon students, as the result of the Beachie Creek Fire.

How important it is to just share the everyday events of life!


Plus a link to the fundraiser that will provide the sketchbooks!


I consider myself an artist grounded by the earth, in the land; feet planted while I walk, senses heightened and amplified by nature. Thus my work, reflecting that profound connection. The skies, always above me.

This past fall and winter, I had opportunities to visit eastern Oregon and specifically the Great Basin region around Summer Lake. I was held by the expansive land but also mesmerized by the dark, vibrant night sky colors: velvety bluish-blacks, luminous purples, combined with paintbrush sweeps of sparkling glitter, splashed from edge to edge. The depth of those skies helped me to dream and wonder.

I had hoped to return again later in the winter to the Great Basin and deepen my work into the sky landscape. However, with all of our lives turned upside down as the result of COVID-19, that became impossible. Instead, I sat in my backyard, bundled in my down jacket, looking up as I contemplated the moment. I considered my options: abandon the initial dark sky encounters or continue pulling back the curtain from my current vantage point. I am fortunate to live in an area that is surrounded by open spaces and holds some darkness as a result of less light pollution. Even though my backyard sky pales in comparison to what I witnessed in the Great Basin, I moved skyward, letting my emotions drift in and out of the vats of inky colors, using my earlier encounters as a foundation for the work.

We are invaded by light. Artificial light overpowers the darkness. Losing the dark of night threatens all things on the earth as the overuse of light disrupts plants, animals, even our sleep rhythms. With those additional thoughts, I embarked on Dark Sky Rhythm. This body of work explores seeing the dark skies as a way to value our physical, mental, spiritual health. So many times in our western culture, we turn away from darkness; we literally turn the light on to make ourselves feel more comfortable. So during this time of great vulnerability I asked myself questions, some of which Paul Bogard mentions in his writings about light pollution.  How can I not divide life into seeing things as good (light) and dark (bad)?  How can I reach deeper into the darkness to connect to life and just maybe, feel safer with the lights off?  How can I use both the brightness of natural daylight and the darkness of night to be as healthy as possible?

Particularly now, as we face so many challenges for healing and unity in our country, this breathtaking, profoundly wild dark sky provides us a connection to all life; if only we can head out into the darkness.



The special blue goes commercial!  The best part, "I don't want to have anything toxic because we won't be able to create a pigment used in various applications.  So we're only looking for materials which are non-toxic, but at the same time trying to get the same vivid color",  OSU's Subramanian stated.