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.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: From suitcase to watercolor painting in Hawaii

I packed a few art supplies including 11"x14" Aquabord and some canvas boards coated with absorbent ground for watercolor. For paints I had Daniel Smith watercolor sticks not to be confused with watercolor crayons that have a little water soluble wax. Also took a palette with a little tube paint squeezed into the divided slots. In Rubbermaid containers I brought a little absorbent ground white and matte medium. Also an assortment of pencils and pens, collapsible water container and easel with an oven pan table included everything I needed for painting!

These are a few of the paintings. In next week's post I will write about a special experience doing something completely new for me - Hawaiian weaving.

Fishing at the fish pond at Kakoiko-Honokoau National Park
painted on tinted absorbent ground on canvas board
Keki pond at Four Seasons Resort
started at a West Hawaii plein air painters event
painted on aquabord
Energy Lab Beach
painted on Aquabord

Saturday, February 16, 2019

What's up now

by Rain Trueax

It's been cool in the desert with more rain than last year but that promises a beautiful year for wildflowers. We've also enjoyed some amazing sunsets and once in a while sunrises.

Rather than going off and doing fun stuff or even looking for a fifth wheel trailer, to upgrade ours to something a little larger, we've had more time here at the house than we initially expected because of repair work that was needed-- most outside but some inside. I am starting to think in terms of storage here if this becomes our full-time home along with time in the trailer. 

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel: Valentine

Great Aunt Myrtle's hand sewing on paper and fabric
around 1930

To my valentines, my co-author Rain, my supportive husband, and my readers, I thank you. I appreciate you because of the satisfaction I derive from formulating my ideas here. In the process of writing new ideas come to me. And a special thanks to those of you who have commented.

Love all of you!!!

Saturday, February 09, 2019


by Rain Trueax

This week, I got to thinking about how much of life is about luck and timing. Those two items can go either way for whether we consider them good or not so much. In my own experience, timing has sometimes been amazing how a series of events leads to one result. 

Wednesday, February 06, 2019

by Diane Widler Wenzel:The Art of Entrepreneurship in Being an Artist

Exhibits at the Corvallis Arts Center open up fascinating Lunch Box Artist Talks facilitated by the talented curator Hester Coucke. January 31st, Pete Goldlust and Kristy Kunn were interviewed.
 Both after much living are successful at supporting themselves with their art. Both achieve their desires from a long journey including preparatory business experiences combined with various learned skills which ultimately help to shape their art.

           Their similarities mostly end with their entrepreneurship skills. Pete originally wanted to be a commercial artist but his teachers stirred him away and he studied fine art at two prestigious art schools. His formal art training was with teachers who were encouraging to his outsider tendencies. He retained his own playful, intuitive, imaginative imagery for making art.  He made work only for his own satisfaction for many years. An example is a very large scroll painted over many years. It is a detailed colorful painting of his imaginary world crowded with detail.
           Kristy had no formal art training. She studied engineering until she found she would not be doing any hands on building. Woodworking was her first passion. She then went to work in a California furniture workshop featuring natural woods and fibers. She married a manufacturer and learned the business end of a craft industry. After separating from her husband on her own, she made a living by starting her own business of importing art supplies for her children's school. One supply was wool fleece for felting. For only the past three years she has started felting and promoting herself as an artist and art workshop instructor. Her techniques are self taught. Interestingly my first response is wonderment at how she engineered perfect right angle joints in felt. The mystery of her work methods is bait for students to take her workshops.
          Pete, after years of making art that was not marketable, he finally just a year ago found a satisfying approach to being economically viable as a full time artist. Some of his work lends itself to designing it while leaving the labor of making it to others. His biggest commissions are his drawings enlarged to gigantic proportions by commercial vinyl laminators. Also on exhibit are his small Sculpey clay animals he hopes will be commissioned. He envisions them as monumental bronze sculptures. His diverse directions include some hands on art work like his delightful colorful "Jellies" that are made of  found plastic kitchen containers purchased at thrift shops.  He screwed them together to look like jellyfish. The "Jellies" were commissioned by a charter school and a dentist.
           Kristy Kun's method is tactile. She has a very general idea when she starts and is open to having a conversation with her materials, interacting with them as she works.  Her work is intensive but never a labor because of her love of the wool. There is nothing she rather do than work on her art.  When a problem in handling the material occurs, one of her approaches is to take a short 5 minute nap. After separating her mind from the work, she wakes up with an idea on how to solve the problem.
           Pete loves the business end. The first work he does in the morning is business.  He spends 90% of his time doing the records and applying for public commissions working in partnership with his wife who polishes his proposals. Pete Goldlust, like a commercial artist of his boyhood dreams, made proposals showing exactly what his piece will look like. Those who commission work want to see what they are buying and no doubt his explicit proposals were a prerequisite to success. When proposals are accepted most of his work is already done and the actual making of his huge wall hangings is done by the vinyl laminators. His challenge is to research the needs of the projects and come up with ideas before the deadlines.
           I asked Pete when during the day does he get his best inspirations. He immediately said happy hour. After a good laugh by the audience, the conversation was moved towards questions of who in his past inspired him. I am left with a vision of him drawing on cocktail napkins while socializing  with friends and family.  Maybe the joyous feelings of the occasion transferred to his drawing late into the night.
         I imagine that if an artist is spending most of the time on business the intuitive subconscious would not be easily stimulated to produce ideas. But Pete's early practice continues to enrich him while he meets the demands of  seeking commissions for public art. To Pete's advantage, he has kept a scroll of tiny imaginary beings and environments which could inform him for years.
          A period of freedom is very important in an artist's early development away from the demands of the marketplace.  My professor Frederich Heidel at Portland State College told me I should keep my early work and not sell it. Having early work as a reference is vital in having a rich art development. I took slides of my work but that is not the same. Interestingly Frederick Heidel and Pete Goldlust studied at one of the art schools in Chicago, a savvy oasis for steering students away from the pit falls of marketing and encouraging the intuitive? My Woodrow Wilson High School art teacher, Henry Heine, said art making must be fun. When making it is not fun, people quit making it.  He also went to the same art school at the same time Heidel studied there.
        I come away from the Arts Center feeling like celebrating the importance of these two artists being in a sweet spot where their original desires are satisfied. They are making art that is true to themselves and are solving the dilemma of being true while making a living.

Saturday, February 02, 2019

life and death

by Rain Trueax

There is one given in life and really only one. Once we are born, we will die. Now some believe only the body dies. The soul lives on for the body to be resurrected (not sure in what form but sounds like it'd be good. The Apostle Paul said without that resurrection, Christians were being fooled). Whatever the case, of an afterlife, our current bodies do die. While that might seem a ways off for some, it's closer for others-- like the aged. What does it mean?

Friday, February 01, 2019


by Rain Trueax

photo for Imbolc 2017

When we are in Oregon, we usually see the first lambs about now. Imbolc, Ewe's Milk, is a Celtic, Pagan, agrarian celebration-- the true end of winter when the grass begins to green up. 

The Oregon farm did have its first lambs already, and they are doing great thanks to the help of our son, who is taking over a job he's not thrilled with. He likes the cows but the sheep not so much. I have to remind him the sheep are why we do not need a lawnmower. He might want to reconsider it.

The link below has some rituals you might consider to celebrate the end of winter. Of course, if you are on the middle of that Polar Vortex, you probably aren't ready to celebrate just yet. 

Interestingly, the West Coast has had a milder than usual winter. Humans have so little real control over climate. It's something to be aware of when people want to demand we do something. Study earth's history, and you know it's a constantly changing place. For humans, we have been through a fortunate time.

We will definitely have a fire in the fireplace tonight to welcome back the sun.

This is not a regular post but a special one for a special day. Tomorrow will be on death... hmmm not sure how that fits rebirth but then it depends on how you see death...