Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival This Weekend

[singlepic id=436 w=320 h=460 float=left] This weekend my pastels make their debut in Chicago at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival. This is a botanic-themed show on the grounds of the botanic gardens themselves. I've wanted to do a show in Chicago for some time now, and I can't think of a better venue to do it.

I've been told by the show's promoter that the Chicago Botanic Garden used a few of my art images, including Natarajasana, left, in their promotional materials and banners. I'm excited to see if they made the final cut. Here are the details:

Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival

When: July 6 - 8, 2012

Where: The Esplanade at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe, Illinois

Hours: Friday through Sunday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.

What I'm bringing: Pastels

Booth #87

 

Art in the Pearl 2011

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Art in the Pearl starts this Saturday!

This is my first show in Portland in six years, and I'm looking forward to being back. I've heard glowing reports about this show from so many artists; they can't seem to find enough good things to say about it. Sounds like the perfect last show of the season. And since Portland seems to be the microbrewery capitol of the Northwest, there will be plenty for Paul to do, too (when he's not helping me sell art, of course). Nice!

The scoop:

Art in the Pearl When: September 3 – 5, 2011 – Labor Day Weekend Where: The Northwest Park blocks of Portland, Oregon, between W Burnside and NW Glisan at NW 8th Avenue. Hours: Saturday – Sunday, 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m, Monday, 10:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. What I’m bringing: Pastels and Oils Booth #104

 

Bellevue and Peter Pan

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Can I be two places at once? If only.

This is one of those wish-I-could-be-two-places weekends. The Bellevue Arts Museum Artsfair starts Friday in Bellevue, WA. I'm so excited to see my Seattle-area collectors and find  homes for some new pieces like Shiva Luna (above). Naturally, also on Friday, the Peter Pan Invitational opens at the Tinman Gallery here in Spokane. I'd love to see my cicada "fairy" wings (Dreams of Moonlit Flight, left) in what I'm sure will be a fantastic group show. But alas.

If you are going to be in Bellevue this weekend, please stop by and check out a LOT of new work in pastel at my new location: booth O-9. If you are in Spokane, please visit the Tinman for their great summer tradition: the literary-themed group show. Both events promise to be full of fantastic art and fun.

Bellevue Arts Museum artsfair

When: July 29 – 31, 2011 Where: Bellevue Square parking garage, 510 Bellevue Way NE, Bellevue, WA Hours: Friday – Saturday, 9:30 a.m. – 9:30 p.m., Sunday 9:30 a.m. – 6 p.m. What I’m bringing: Pastels Booth #O-9

Peter Pan Invitational

When: July 29th, 5 - 9 p.m. Where: Tinman Gallery, 811 W. Garland Avenue, Spokane WA What: Nearly 50 invited artists show works inspired by the classic novel, Peter Pan

Eye 4 Art 2011

[singlepic id=502 w=320 h=400 float=left] Ready to kick off the art show season? I know I am. Luckily, Mead's Eye 4 Art is this Saturday!

The show and sale, founded by Harold Balazs, benefits the Mead Education Foundation. This year Eye for Art will feature 34 wonderful professional artists, including Harold himself. The show runs from noon to 5pm at Mead High School in Spokane. Cost is $10 per person or $25 per family at the door, and there will be live music and hors d'oeuvres.

I've created some fun pieces just for the event, including Nishikigoi 1, left. Don't miss it!

Eye for Art Mead High School 302 W Hastings Rd Spokane, Washington March 5, 2011, Noon to 5 p.m. map

 

 

Taking Flight

[singlepic id=501 w=320 h=460 float=left] It's Art Show Limbo Time again, that usually painful two-month waiting period between the first and iffiest art fair jury results (Cherry Creek, et al.) and the rest of them. Skunked again by the C.C. jury, I am naturally questioning my very worth as an artist, at least until the next bit of good news. This is pretty much an annual event.

My coping strategy is to start work on next year's application a tad early. Since I actually did Cherry Creek a few years ago, I have a successful set of images to compare to my less successful set. Although the pieces are all from the same body of work, there are definite differences. The newer pieces are more literal, caught up in detail. The earlier set was quieter, simpler, more abstract.

Cherry Creek is a show that leans toward a modern aesthetic, so that makes sense. But they also have a whopping eight Drawing spots and receive literally thousands of applications each year. There is no magic bullet. Juries are always subjective. The same images that got me into the coveted Cherry Creek in 2008 won me a rejection from Boise Art in the Park. You just never know.

Fortunately, my first effort in the Jury Project has an ulterior motive. Waxing Wing, above, is not just a contender for 2012 Jury Image #3. It is the first piece destined for the Salon in St. Aulaye, France this summer. One of many good things coming up that I should probably be thinking about instead. Onward.

Spokane Club, February – April 2011

[singlepic id=483 w=320 h=460 float=left] This week, I hung a nice, simple, low-key, easy-going show... a show which had caused me no end of stress for the past month.

Not the show's fault, mind you. Nor the fault of the lovely Spokane Club, where the pieces are currently installed. Nor of Dean, the friend who scheduled and helped me hang the show. The stress was all me, of course. The short time frame I had to paint following a protracted studio move, the amount of art I had out in galleries, the learning curve of the new glass cutter. But all's well that ends well. Everything is painted and framed and hanging and I can move on to what's next at a more relaxed pace. Yay.

For those of you not familiar with the Spokane Club, here's the deal: it's private. This being the case, there was no public opening for the exhibit. As much as I'd love to invite you to see the show, unless you happen to be a member, I can't. So in leiu of the actual show, I've made a virtual gallery of the pieces in it. If you'd like to see them, go here.

Update: The Spokane Club has featured my work and me with a very nice article in their magazine, Signals, on pp. 18 - 19.

Also, it turns out you CAN see the show if you are not a member---the members-only thing isn't so strict as I thought. Fair play!

Works at the Spokane Club, February - April 2011

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Glassy Eyed

[singlepic id=484 w=460 h=240 float=] There are many artists out there who are much smarter than I am. They take their completed artwork to something called a "Professional Framer," and pick it up framed and ready to sell. I've heard of these creatures, these framers, working in frame shops, framing artwork for a living. I know they exist. I've even dreamed of hiring one. Trouble is, I've never thought that I could afford to have my artwork framed this way, so I have always done it myself.

I've changed the way I do it over time. I've learned to buy custom frames at wholesale, and graduated from cutting my own mats to ordering them pre-cut (once I figured out that it wasn't that much more money, after I've screwed up a few mats). I had my glass cut by the frame wholesaler, too. I had dialed in a pretty efficient, cost-effective system for myself. Then, I had the brilliant idea that I should upgrade my framing.

I found a new frame style that is similar to my previous mahogany stained wood, but wider and more substantial. It costs more but it is elegant and sturdy and worth it. But the biggest change by far has been---glass. After a particularly glare-y show at Sun Valley last year, one where I appeared to be selling a boothful of mirrors rather than pastels, I bit the bullet and switched to Anti-Reflective Glass. Anti-Reflective Glass is amazing, it makes the work look as if it is not behind glass at all. But while its cost alone seems to warrant the capitalization, it is so much more than expensive! It is also ever so delicate. And hard to clean. So much so that my wholesalers aren't supposed to cut it, but instead sell it by the box. Which brings me to why I am questioning my sanity and dreaming of Professional Framers.

Since I have to buy the glass uncut by the box, I have by necessity taken on the job of cutting it myself. Given my personal history, this should really be no big deal. I spent my early formative years (we're talking, two, maybe three years old) in a glass shop cutting scraps of glass with a hand-held cutter for entertainment while my glazier dad ran his business. My mom was climbing around on glass trucks basically until I popped out of her and she had to run to the hospital to finish the delivery on her lunch break. So you would think I had this in my blood! Cutting glass, no problem! Do it in my sleep! But after having a cut go sideways on a $50 piece of glass this summer, I am filled with therapy-worthy anxiety over glass.

I bought a giant wall-hung glass cutter to make the job easier (thanks to my wholesalers who found a used one for me almost instantly and at a very reasonable price). This should have been comforting but instead it, too,  intimidated me... I'd never used one before and here I was staring at it alongside a $200 box of glass. Three sheets per box. I thought, hey, my dad can help! He must have used one of these before, since he had a glass shop. Not so much. Turns out he cut giant sheets of commercial plate glass BY HAND with a long board and one of those little green-handled cutters. He then proceeded to cut several small pieces of my troublesome coated glass by doing little more than look at it funny, like some mythical character from Dune. Looks like I'm on my own with the wall-mount contraption.

In the end, I pretty much figured out the cutter. It cuts really well. And after I turned several large, expensive sheets of glass into small, more expensive sheets of glass, I even figured out that I have to run the glass through the cutter with paper to keep the coating from scratching. So I guess this is it, my new system. I'm less anxious now---slightly. The new frames look really good, and the glass just disappears. But after a very stressful week of framing for a show, I can't help but wonder what it would have cost to hire a framer instead. I kind of think I should find out so I will feel better about all the money I'm saving. Or am I?

(Above: Bohemia, ©2011. Pastel, 8" x 24". It will be on display along with several other new works at the private Spokane Club starting this Wednesday, February 2nd. If you happen to be a member, please check it out.)

New Year, New Work

[singlepic id=482 w=320 h=460 float=left] After what seemed like an eternity I am finally PAINTING! In what seems to have become my New Year tradition, I am out of the old studio and into the new. The new studio isn't completely (or even nearly) together yet, but with shows coming up, it was time to stop renovating and start my real work again. Feels good.

I've just sent out my second art fair application, now that I have rounded out my jury images with Moondrop No.2, left. My first application didn't go so well, unfortunately. My Arch Nemesis, Cherry Creek, has given me the raspberry once again. Curse you, Cherry Creek! I know what you're up to... letting me in once so I'll keep applying. Oh well, it's a long drive to Denver, and you don't provide electricity, and there are lots of other shows in the sea. (Harumph.)

But, onward! 2011 is shaping up to be a great year. I've already got two fairs on the schedule (Artfest and Sun Valley) along with an exhibit next month at a private club here in Spokane, the salon in France, and two new galleries in Oregon to keep me busy. And, I just signed on to do Eye 4 Art at Mead again this year.

Check back in the coming months for more on all of those, new shows on the schedule, and progress reports on the new work space. Happy New Year!

Villafranca

[singlepic id=360 w=320 h=460 float=left] Between the Pastel 100 coming out and my acceptance to Art on the Square, I thought I probably had better get my butt over to the pastel side of the studio for a bit. I'd been having too much fun painting in oils, and was getting into a pretty nice groove there. But no matter how many hundred pastels I might have on hand, the first early shows going onto my schedule always seem to induce unnecessary and unreasonable panic.

So I rolled with it and made a few small pastel pieces first, then Villafranca, left, which I named after an obscure species of lemon. The piece looked... well... lemony, and sort of Mediterranean, and the name seemed to capture both aspects. I wasn't even through with it before I was back on the oil side, though---seized with panic yet again as I realized I may have oil shows while most of my oil work is hanging in the Kress gallery.

The drama never ceases.

Works from the Heart Auction is Tonight!

[singlepic id=350 w=460 h=360 float=] If you're an art lover in Spokane, you probably already know it's Works from the Heart season again!

The Northwest Museum of Art and Culture's 25th Works from the Heart Auction will be held next Saturday, February 20th. Happily the auction has moved back to the MAC this year, and will offer a carefully selected group of artworks from the area's best known and loved artists, and me. Proceeds are shared between the Museum's art education and acquisition funds (and many of the donating artists). I hope you can make it to this fun and exciting event, and bid on my pastel, Coral Reef No.4 !

Here are the essentials:

Works from the Heart Auction Saturday, February 20th Location: Northwest Museum of Arts & Culture 2316 W. 1st Avenue, Spokane, WA

Pre-auction events begin at 4 p.m. Live auction at 6:45 p.m.

Tickets $75 by advance reservation only. Call today! 509-456-3931

Digging In

[singlepic id=343 w=460 h=340 float=] Things are starting to happen in the new studio! After spending a weekend moving in (enough to start painting, anyway) I got to work on my first oil painting in my new digs. It went surprisingly fast, which I have decided to attribute to the good energy in the room. Pretty impressive for a 100+-year-old basement. I would have expected something, well... spooky. But it is just the opposite---cozy and inviting.

Shiva (above) practically painted itself. It is not completed in the photo, but it was finished maybe an hour after that. One more piece ready for the Kress Gallery show in May! By the way, I do plan to start posting my more professional-looking "official" art photos again soon. One side effect of my ongoing move has been to separate my art and workspace from my usual photography spot, but I'll get that worked out shortly.

Oh, by the way, I seem to have  a correction due... last summer I mentioned that I won an award and thus a re-invite to the Edmonds Arts Festival this June. Turns out the award does not include a re-invite after all! Ooops. Anyway, I went ahead and applied so we'll see what happens. It would be pretty sad if I didn't get in after all that, but I guess I'll just have to wait for it! (LOL!)

Las Lunas, At Last

[singlepic id=340 w=460 h=340 float=] I was starting to think it wouldn't happen, but it did... I finally finished Las Lunas, the 3' x 9' oil version, just in time to move into my real studio. Here it is in the upstairs space where I painted it while waiting for my new studio to be open (thanks to my very nice new landlord Len for allowing me to paint in this cool AVAILABLE office space!) Look for Las Lunas in my all-oils show at the Kress gallery this May.

Now that I've finished this monster, it's all about getting settled in my new basement speak-easy-esque studio, framing for my pastels show opening February 5th at the Tinman Gallery, and making MORE OILS for the Kress!

Oh, one more thing... if you are in Spokane, check out Buttercuppity's new shop in Steam Plant Square... they had my new studio before me and quickly outgrew it. Congratulations Ari and Captain Hotpants! Love your store.

For another view of the new studio click here.

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Twelve Small Paintings

[singlepic id=331 w=460 h=320 float=] Tonight is the First Friday art walk in Spokane and Coeur d'Alene. I will have new work at galleries in both places: six pastels each at the Tinman Gallery in Spokane's Garland District, and the Art Spirit gallery in downtown Coeur d'Alene. Both opening receptions are tonight from 5 to 9 p.m. If you are out and about in either city tonight, please come see the art!

Both shows are the respective galleries' holiday small-works group exhibits, so there will be lots of art and artists to see. I plan to attend both shows for a bit, and hope to see some of you there!

Blue Suspension No.4 Study, above, will be available at the Tinman Gallery.

Living with Art: Lighting

[singlepic id=311 w=320 h=420 float=left] I'm not sure where the past two weeks went, but somewhere during that time I finally managed to finish my first project for my new category, Living with Art. My hope for my Living with Art posts is to inspire you, and me, to find ways to get some of those artworks we all have out of storage and up onto the walls. Or wherever.

One question I hear a lot from people buying artwork is, "how do I light it?" Of course there are so many ways to effectively light pieces of art. What you do depends on your situation, obviously. Some people are able to install beautiful built-in art lighting systems to showcase their collections (for a funny client story about this read to the end of this post). If you have the means to do that, then by all means, do that. I personally can't, so I will be dealing with some more easy-access alternative ideas. But before I get on with it, a story about picture lights:

My first solo show was at a local restaurant, which was funky and fun but very dark---lit only by a few strings of holiday lights, and little night lights over the tables. With a collection of dark, subtle work behind glass to display, I was concerned the art would not be seen at all. So I suggested that I buy inexpensive picture lights for each piece. The owners were hesitant, concerned that it would detract from the ambience of the restaurant. But, thankfully, they let me go ahead with the lights. As it turned out, the lit pastels added such a pleasant lighting effect to the room that when my show ended, the restaurant owners bought all of my lights and used them in subsequent shows.

In her amazing book, The Not So Big House, architect and author Sarah Susanka suggests the use of a lighted picture at the end of a hallway "so that you have something to walk toward." The idea is to open up a potentially claustrophobic space, and make it more inviting. With this project I have followed her advice and lit a painting in my own home's hallway.

For this installation, I am using a fairly standard picture light with a cord. There are many, many different options available, but this particular one came from Lowe's and cost about $26. It comes in a sort of brushed stainless finish or a polished brass finish. Neither of which suited my particular decor, so I ended up sanding and painting a brass one with a bronzey, hammered-finish metal paint. Originally I wanted to age the brass...  I don't want to go into it but suffice it to say, if you buy this particular light, don't try this at home. It isn't really brass and you will be disappointed with the results.

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Installation of the light couldn't be simpler---two screws to hold up the bracket and set screw to hold the light securely, and you're done. I've added a few touches to make the installation look more clean and professional. First I painted the cord with some leftover paint from the wall, then I used a staple gun to secure the cord behind the picture and behind the old radio beneath it. This keeps the cord straight and taut for a more custom look. And that's it! This light comes with a cord switch that can be installed anywhere on the cord. I didn't add it, but if I did I would again paint it to match the wall, and put it directly below the bottom of the frame so it would be hidden in shadow but easy to reach. And that's it! The hallway looks great with its new painting and light.

Oh, and as for that story... a young couple bought a pastel from me at one of my earliest art fairs. They were concerned about lighting it, so when I delivered the painting, I brought them one of the same lights I used in this post. They were inexpensive and I wasn't using them, so I thought it would be a nice thing to do. That was maybe five years ago. When I went to get the lights out for this project, I found an extra bag of hardware containing a bracket, cord switch, screws and allen wrench. I realized to my embarrassment that this hardware went with the light I had given away---the couple had no way to hang the light. I ran into them at a show recently. I told them what I had discovered and they started laughing. Their inability to hang that one free light had led them to install a professional, hardwired art lighting system that I'm pretty sure cost at least twice as much as my painting did.

Didn't I Just Do This?

[singlepic id=302 w=460 h=340 float=] It seems that I am barely back from the last round of shows when the juries start for the next round. My first deadline is in about a month and a half. It seems like I just did this around, oh, yesterday or so. Has it really been a year?

At least my previous show entry mistakes are still fresh in my mind. Last year I started entering shows as soon as they started accepting entries. Never again. After submitting my images, I changed my mind about what I wanted to enter. But once submitted, the entries were basically set in stone. This year I plan to spend the time leading up to those deadlines producing more options rather than kicking myself.

Generally about four art images are needed for an entry. I could easily find four images each of pastels and oils that I think are strong enough to show a jury, but here's the thing: they need to look great together, not just on their own. And right now, I have three of each that I am happy with. So in the next month and a half, I need to come up with one strong oil and one strong pastel that flow with the other pieces. It's an oddly difficult thing to do, but I'm enjoying the process. It gets me back into my painting groove, and even if some of the paintings don't match my jury images, I do have several shows coming up that need new work. Win-win.

(Above, a sketch for a possible pastel jury image, Warm Spring Study.)

The Studio Beckons

[singlepic id=298 w=320 h=460 float=left] At last---I've finally gotten back in town, through with my outdoor shows, caught up on my various business, over the flu, and into the process of making art. Although this week I spent a great deal of time just planning new paintings and gathering reference, I did manage to finish a new pastel (Limoncello, left).

The pastel actually has nothing to do with Italian liqueur, but was instead inspired by a neighbor's dying barberry bush. I'd seen this poor barberry most mornings for several months as I went on my morning walk, and was fascinated with the subtle colors in the early light. So last week, I finally got my camera and did something about it.

I always feel weird when people see me taking my reference photos, imagining what they might think. I was just getting my last few shots of this barberry when a woman and two young boys walked out of the house. I started walking again, thinking they hadn't seen me, when I heard one of the boys say, "that lady was taking pictures of our yard!" Ugh. So, I stopped and explained what I was doing. The woman was very gracious and told me to take all the pictures I like (while probably thinking "as long as you stay away from my kids you crazy person"). Oh well, I got what I wanted and no harm done. So thanks, neighbor lady, for being so understanding and for not being overly fanatical about your garden.

(By the way, the unusual aspect ratio of my new pastel is in response to numerous mentions of a need for "tall skinny artwork" to fill odd spaces in customers' homes. Hopefully this new size [24" x 8" before framing] will fill that need.)

Thank You Spokane!

[singlepic id=290 w=320 h=420 float=left] I think that unless you live in New York City, if you are an artist you probably don't think of your hometown as being an "art town." I know it's easy not to think of Spokane that way, but if I've ever said that, it's time for a retraction. Spokane continues to surprise me with the amount of support I see for the arts. This weekend's Little Spokane River Artists' Studio Tour was yet another example. We had great attendance for a second-year show, and people weren't just looking---they were buying art. And (from me at least) not only studio sale items, but major new works such as Golden Ascent, left. I was thrilled with the amount of support shown at not only this show, but Artfest, Arbor Crest and Eye4Art earlier this year, and many other shows over the past few years. So a big "thank you" to Spokane, Washington: Art Town!

I also owe some thanks to Casey Klahn, who linked to this site from a blog post full of praise for my work. Sheesh, Casey, you're embarrassing me! Thanks! And by the way, your pastels are looking better than ever... your award in Sausalito is well deserved.

Now it's just about time for me to disappear into the studio and prepare for the four gallery shows I have coming up between now and May. So be on the lookout for more new paintings (at last). Also, I'll be writing a bit about how to make original art work in your home in my new "Living With Art" series. I hope to provide some simple tips for displaying artwork to its best advantage, while finally getting a few pieces up around my own house (bonus!) Stay tuned.

Little Spokane River Artists' Studio Tour Saturday

[singlepic id=293 w=320 h=420 float=left] This Saturday is the Little Spokane River Artists' Studio Tour. For the last outdoor show of the season I have some special things planned. Of course I will bring some of my newest work in pastel and oil. but I have also searched my studio for some of my favorite early pieces to offer at special prices for the day of the tour. Ripple 2, left, is one of the works I will have available.

If you haven't taken this annual studio tour before, this weekend promises to be the perfect opportunity. The forecast is eighty degrees and sunny---a perfect early-fall day. All artists on the tour are professionals offering the highest quality work. The area is absolutely gorgeous and the studios are amazing. Hulda Bridgeman's studio, where I am a guest along with Harold Balazs and Timothy Ely, is nestled in a secluded garden that instills calm the moment you enter. My paintings will hang in the wooden gazebo that sits, literally, on top of a stream running through the yard.

Beautiful weather, amazing studios and gardens, and of course lots of fantastic art---what a great way to enjoy a beautiful September Saturday.

Little Spokane River Artists' Studio Tour - September 26, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.

For more information and a map go to www.littlespokanestudios.com

For a preview of more pieces I will have on the tour, click here.

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A Change of Season

[singlepic id=258 w=460 h=340 float=] Today is my first day home from Sausalito, my last art fair of the season. I can't quite wrap my mind around the fact that summer is almost gone. Although the weather is still beautiful, it was cold when we walked into our house last night, which seemed telling. At the moment I am debating whether to go get a hoodie, as the chill has lingered. Maybe this is for the best. Maybe it will help me transition into the studio season. But the fair season has been so fantastic that it is not easy to let go.

Fantastic comes in a lot of different forms. Of course we all hope our shows will be fantastic in terms of sales. In some places, this was true. But in other areas, the economy definitely seemed to be taking its toll. All in all, I was lucky enough to have a pretty much profitable season thanks to a few shows where the patrons really came through for us. To all of you who purchased art this year, thank you. It means everything to artists.

This year was also fantastic for me in terms of recognition from show juries. I won three awards this season: the President's Award at the Edmonds Arts Festival, a Benchmark Award from Art in the High Desert (Bend, Oregon), and First Place in the Drawing Category from the Sausalito Art Festival. All awards include an invitation to exhibit at the following year's festival, so I will happily return to all three shows in 2010.

One more aspect of the show season I will miss is the fantastic camaraderie that goes with the show circuit. Every summer brings an opportunity to reconnect with old friends and make new ones, and I did more than my share of both this year. Over the past few seasons the shows have evolved from odd places filled with strangers to familiar haunts full of friends. With each passing year it takes longer to walk from one end of a show to the other as I stop to chat at more and more booths. And in the towns, annual traditions take root, such as shopping at Burnsies in Ketchum, eating at the Lotus in San Rafael (we ate there so often the restaurant bought our dinner on our last night in town!), and now lunch from Cafe Yumm in Bend.

Thankfully, there is still a little bit of summer left to savor. I have one more outdoor event ahead: the Little Spokane River Artist Studio Tour. It promises to once again be a beautiful event and a great way to wind down the season. Much more info to come, so stay tuned.