Oregon writer, Rain Trueax, and Oregon painter, Diane Widler Wenzel co-author Rainy Day Thought, where they write about ideas and creativity. Diane posts on Wednesdays and Rain on Saturdays. There may be extra days or changes as situations warrant. Comments are always welcome as it turns an article into a discussion. They must, however, be in English to avoid spam getting in here.

Saturday, January 19, 2019

Aging-- gracefully or not

by Rain Trueax

 Image from Stencil. 
No, it's not me but isn't that a great old face as she looks at a barren and dried up world. All she's experienced is seen through those eyes-- maybe,as she's getting closer to it, also what she sees of the other side.

There are reasons I come back to the topic of aging-- sometimes it's a lifestyle change, but it can simply be looking in the mirror. As people move into old age, some try to hide the numbers. I guess, that's fear of being devalued for being old. This is a cultural thing as it's not that way everywhere or even years back in my own culture.

The word elderly has its own connotations. I remember reading articles where the 'elderly' person in it was 63 or so. When does elderly begin? I would guess by 75, my age, or is it more than a number? I went looking and found varying opinions for elderly. This article on NPR seemed pretty good-- if you want to be politically correct about it. [An Age-Old Problem].

Thursday, January 17, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: Stretchy, Floppy failing support for collage

I embrace the freedom of working on the worst made canvas ever.  No fear of spoiling it.

Handmade papers I made and collected are glued down and covered with gloss medium. Lots of gloss medium!

When the paper dries, the papers might be lighter and more puckers will evolve, so I am eager to see what will evolve.

Update January 18 : my reaction to my beginning without a goal.

Last night; an inspiration and meaningful direction came in viewing Donna Watson's book, WABI SABI AND COLLAGE. I found a parallel in a my direction in philosophy plus one particular detail.  Rounded rocks and bundles of old cloth wrapped and tied by a cord. I was reminded of my father's values of keeping envelopes and files and when old mending them. All his important records he wrapped with a cotton cord and tied with a beautiful knot. The envelope in the collage held his naturalization certificate, the Declaration of Intention, Passport with the stamp proving legal entry, Social Security Card, and Draft Card. I love my father so much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: Update on light support for painting big

Painting large is physically and emotionally satisfying. It keeps me moving as I age. Only it is becoming more difficult to carry these heavy canvases especially displaying them publicly when windy Or even carrying them from house to shop in the process of painting they can become sales. Of course commercial light weight ones are too often warped. A well made, light weight, large canvas is hard to make with poor wood that is often crooked. The $7.00 Habitat For Humanity Resale store appeared to be amazing at first.
       The above the light weight support held by triangular pegboard corners and triangular quarter round glued to rough knotty wood turned out to disappoint me.  My great praise of it in my January 2nd post was premature.
        Removing the mildewed canvas left the support weakened. If glue had been part of the construction, it had loosened and the empty frame swayed threatening to come apart.  Never-the-less my husband started to stretch the very thin canvas. Thin canvas should be easier to stretch than canvas for awnings, so I thought.  The frame became more and more wobbly.  So Don nailed the corners midway through the stretching.
        I knew I had a problem when brushing the gesso on a canvas that stretched and stretched. It didn't even contract enough when dry. Removing staples from the worst side and stretching a second time helped slightly. Don added a center brace that helped a little more.
        The puckers could be covered by collage.
         I feel humble in my initial mistaken enthusiasm. I am feeling a bit discouraged about writing presuming to be an authority.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

settling in

by Rain Trueax

To be honest, I don't have much to say. Lots going on politically, but I prefer not writing about that-- bad enough to think about. So, where I am out of words, how about some pictures of life here in Tucson. 

Our first project is figuring out a change in our carport (it's deteriorating) due to weather, some mistakes in building it-- and termites.

We also are seriously looking at getting a fifth-wheel trailer after our experience driving south in December. The big trucks caused the trailer to sway, making the drive less than pleasant. I guess fifth wheels handle that better. 

Supposedly in California trucks should go the same speed as anyone pulling a trailer of any sort. Think they do that? Not so much...

Anyway, while my brain recuperates from the travel and some other things we are trying to work out, these are photos from our home, land here where we are enjoying the quail, javelina and birds as we try to settle in for a few months.

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: Sharing my paintings at the Corvallis Caring Place

 The Corvallis Caring Place residents and staff have shown so much appreciation that I continue to have the desire to make a good showing.
      To select paintings for the January through June exhibit, I lined up some by my family along with those of  local artists that were gifts, purchases or loans.  Most of these in the picture were selected to replace work that has been hanging in the north wing 1st floor for a year. I am thankful for being allowed me to share my collection that I do not have room to hang at home. Then when I am in the process of  hanging work, residents are eager to show me their art. I am happy these paintings add to life and joy and inspiration to so many.
Whenever I group my work or my collection together for a show, I make discoveries that please me. This time I discovered that I collect work that has a common theme. I favor subjects that are about light or the act of lighting. Rain Trueax's has chiaroscuro lighting from the bonfire.

Other works about light include a Nelson Sandgren print of  a man holding a sparkler on a very long rod. Also a reproduction of Lynn Powers watercolor portrait of  Pharaba gives me warm fuzzy feelings, I think come from the glowing eyes catching soft highlights.

In June when I will be changing these paintings I would like to share someone elses' not for sale collection.  If you have a couple ready to hang pieces that are not for sale and would like to hang them next week let me know because I am also making changes upstairs.
         Another exhibit  at the CCP January and February are 19 paintings  of mine hanging in the ground floor South Hall, an area changed every other month by the Corvallis Art Guild. From time to time I hang art with the Corvallis Art Guild.

Saturday, January 05, 2019


by Rain Trueax

I am a fan of documentaries. There are times when a movie just does not appeal to me. Almost always a good documentary will. On Amazon Prime New Year's Day night, we enjoyed 'When the Moors Ruled in Europe.' 
It's by a British historian looking at the architectural evidence for the Moorish presence in Spain from about 700-1500 AD. It presents a very different look at Muslims of that time and even today with the different ways Islam is seen. Beautifully filmed and quite interesting. This is the blurb for it:
'This program contends that the popular perception of the Muslim occupation of Spain toward the end of the first millennium is largely wrong. The eighth century Muslim invasion of the Iberian Pennisula was largely welcomed by the locals and rejuvenated the area with advanced technology, agriculture and a construction boom. This program describes these innovations. All this changed in the eleventh century when the regional government fragmented. That set the stage for the Christian invasion and the Islamic fundamentalist resistance leading to more of a civil war than a holy war that decimated the region with corruption, destruction and exile.'

Wednesday, January 02, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: Triangle strong painting support discovered while cleaning studio

The certain tolerance that I have for chaos in our home reached a limit when I had to move very large paintings to get into a cabinet for frequently needed supplies ranging from sketch books to picture hanging wire. Worse yet too many painting rags, a large box of acrylic paints on the floor, because every inch of the work bench was covered and piled high. When starting to organize the mess, I didn't expect to discover a better engineered way to make stretcher bars for large paintings from the poor quality of second growth wood now available.
        Organizing my studio space is easier if I can eliminate some of the stuff in it first.
        Looking through my work, I could not bear to select a single picture to retire by making it into a floor covering, tablecloth, or into a practical useful thing. Sifting through my work and retiring a few at a time periodically strengthened the meaningfulness of my personal body of work. After years of sifting, I have come to the point where I feel almost all my remaining works are worthy of keeping.        There were, however, the two large ones leaning against the cabinet. They were from Habitat for Humanity for $7.00 each. I thought they would be good experiments or canvases I could use for play with neighborhood kids. So last summer I  prepared them by painting acrylic colored gesso over the original owner's paintings. A few weeks ago I experimented on one to figure out what combination of glasses or contact lenses would work over my cataract replacements focused for only near vision.  But the other canvas had mildew where it was water damaged. The neighbor kids did not come to paint yet on a damaged canvas. I didn't want to put a lot of effort into painting something that would not be healthy to hang in our home so I felt good about preparing it for the bonfire.  I ripped through the canvas with my utility knife and pried the canvas free. Then the rough knotty pine completely straight was revealed to my amazement

How could the stretcher bars be straight and true made from such rough knotty wood?  My experience was that clear straight grained wood is necessary to make a canvas that would hang flat on the wall. All the warped stretcher bars to my experience had knots.
          The secret was revealed - triangle strength.  The triangular shaped corners kept the corners square and the holes in the pegboard helped to keep the paintings light. For such a big canvas it is amazing that no brace bars were needed. Laminated to the wood is quarter round that has a triangular cross section with one side curved. the triangular shape also prevented the support from interfering with the painting. So strong is the combination of corners and the lamination that there is no need for elaborate brace bars which double the weight of commercial stretcher bars. Another plus to this construction is the relative thickness. I could store two of these to every one of the good commercially built frames this size.

The canvas under the stretcher bars is also usable. The mildewed portion is trimmed away. The rest of the canvas waits for the neighborhood children to come and play with it. The canvas is heavy enough to become an area floor covering or table protector if not wall hanging.