Friday, August 21, 2015

Summer Bike Ride, Through The Lens

Last weekend's bike ride began slow and easy, coasting downhill from the house to a nearby park...

bike ride, park, city bike ride in the park, Miyata bicycle, Trek bicycle, vintage Trek single speed, old US made Trek bike frame with Bridgestone MB1 fork, homebrew single speed

Where we laid out a blanket, napped, watched the wildflowers sway in the warm breeze...

summer flower, white summer flower, flower in the park

Noticed the play of shadow and light:

pine tree in shadow and light, shadow and light, summer shadow and light, pine tree in the park, summer pine tree

Then the ride back uphill; blood flowing, hearts pounding. Fifteen minutes of pure hard exercise. Done!

All photos taken with an iPhone.

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Home Is Where The HeART Is: Thoughts On Art And Home

stories of home, what home means to me, vintage furniture, vintage floral vase, vintage bird lamp, vintage dresser, vintage chair

Our home is a place where artistic expression flourishes. As parents, and as individuals, James and I strive for a supportive home environment that encourages active learning, quiet contemplation, and a healthy imagination. For it is these activities, carried out in the refuge of home, that help to develop our creativity and are what connects our family's hearts and minds to each other and to the outside world.  

All that being said, our home is a constant flurry of daily activity (school, work, shopping, errands, and the never ending 'to-do' list), with the added confusion of various creative 'works in progress' occupying the dining room table, the living room floor, and don't even ask about the garage! Guests may notice that our house is small and cluttered, that it is a bit disorganized and the floors probably need sweeping. But frankly, we are too busy to be thoroughly organized and dust free. After all, there are magazines that need to be cut up for collage projects, guitars that need to be hot rodded, and paint that needs to be splattered. Not to mention a garden that needs tending, teenagers (and birds!) to feed, and well, fifteen mile bike rides or paddles up the millrace in the canoe for the requisite exercise.

In spite of never having enough time, each of the four members of our family has found ways to enjoy following our passions: developing our skills, actively experimenting in our chosen mediums and forms of expression, and becoming comfortable working within our own unique styles.

For example our young adult daughter Audrey enjoys working in mixed mediums, incorporating paints, paper and fine-point drawing pens in her art. Besides being a self taught artist, she also loves to knit, is an avid reader of literature and still finds time to go traveling, camping, and hiking. Audrey is on her own now, and although she is quite outgoing and social, I can see that she still values time well spent at home in creative endeavors.

Audrey Anderson, Audrey Anderson art, art by Audrey Anderson, stories of home, what home means to me, multi media art

Our teenage son Takeō is also a self taught artist. In his younger years, Takeō drew mostly in pencil, but these days he draws using a stylus on a Wacom tablet:

Takeō Anderson art, art by Takeō Anderson, stories of home, what home means to me, computer art

Like many teens, he spends the majority of his time while at home in his bedroom creating his art and thumping on his electric bass or strumming his ukulele, and yes, playing video games! Like his sister before him, 'alone-time' in your room at this season of life is all about exploring, learning, and practicing.

James is what I call a Renaissance man. When I met him, James was already an accomplished musician, sound engineer and producer. He also wrote songs, played in several bands, and in his spare time enjoyed customizing his guitars and amplifiers. I was impressed that he was a math whiz, read widely about a lot of subjects, and could repair anything - cars, computers, plumbing, appliances, and turned his basic bicycle maintenance into a full fledged bike rebuilding operation.

Besides taking on the role of running our household and all that entails, you'll still find him rummaging through boxes of guitar parts, pulling the back off some speaker cabinet he just found at a yard sale, or hunkered over his soldering iron intently rewiring a circuit. He also enjoys what he calls "amateur low-fidelity photography".

James Aōyama photo, photo by James Aōyama, Crater Lake Oregon, stories of home, what home means to me

This next photo shows a sampling of some of James' custom work:

James Aōyama guitar, James Aōyama home-brew amp, James Aōyama distortion pedal, stories of home, what home means to me

In his own words: "Playing a jazz standard or a cover of an old rock song can be a lot of fun, but what's really satisfying is performing an original composition. In much the same way, there's a lot of satisfaction to be had picking up an instrument you've put together from various parts, and playing that through a home-brew amp. In the picture above is a "Parts-O-Caster" or "Franken-Caster" guitar created with random components both new and vintage; an ampifier head made by removing the electronic parts from an old tube-style paging amplifier, and rewiring the empty chassis according to a circuit schematic I drew up beforehand; and an early '60s Hammond organ speaker cabinet that was converted for electric guitar use. Between the guitar and the amplifier is a hand-built distortion booster pedal made by my friend David, a luthier and electronics genius."

You can find James on his blog Origami Night Lamp, where he's posted detailed descriptions of the processes involved in some of the creative activities he loves.

Finding time to explore and make art is one of my biggest struggles.  Between work, my kids, an elderly mom, and the general business of home and family, I have a very limited amount of time left to pursue my interests.I find myself seeking out those fringe hours where I can spend some time doing what I'm passionate about. As my kids get older and need me less, a window of time has opened up, and I've been able to follow my dream of living a creative life. Having a home studio is a big contributing factor toward making that happen. It's only a small space, half of what used to be the garage (remember that mess I was telling you about?), and yet it is the place where I can gather my ideas and materials and get to work; I also do a lot of my work at the kitchen table, next to the large patio doors, when I want a lot of natural light.

June Anderson art, art by June Anderson, stories of home, what home means to me
June Anderson art, art by June Anderson, stories of home, what home means to me

As you can see, like Audrey, I enjoy working in collage. These interests of ours developed independently over the last several years, although I guess you can say that we have always been somewhat of the same mind.

Another interest I have is collecting vintage 1950s and '60s furniture and household goods and displaying them in my home. I have been a crazy collector of these items for some years.

vintage styled home of June Anderson, June Anderson vintage collector, stories of home, what home means to me
vintage styled kitchen, kitchen styled by June Anderson, June Anderson vintage kitchen, stories of home, what home means to me

Many of the books I like to collect are also from that era.  They provide great insight into how the vintage items I have were used in the home back when they were made.  I also like books about art, art history, design, and gardening, and use these books for inspiration, often supplementing them with regular trips to the public library.

bookshelf of June Andersons books, art books, art history books, design books, gardening books,stories of home, what home means to me

You could say that the expression, through art, of what home means to me began with photography and memory keeping. Ever since I can remember, I have always loved taking photographs and documenting family and life events. When I found scrapbooking, it provided a context for all of the photos and memories I had been gathering over the years. One of my favorite bedtime rituals as of late has been taking the time to journal. A personal, private journal, where I tell the stories of our family, became a part of my scrapbook journaling, and now is a part of our family's history - a history about life, family, and yes, home.

June Andersons scrapbooks, scrapbooking, scrapbooks, scrapbook albums, pocket scrapbooks, pocket scrapbooking, stories of home, what home means to me

For no matter where we go, we inevitably carry what we've learned at home with us. Home is where the roots of our beginnings lie, where our first memories are made, and where our story begins.  

Thanks for reading!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Owen Rose Garden

Owen Rose Garden, Fourth of July rose, red roses, roses

On a recent very overcast summer day, we spent some time at the Owen Rose Garden. This eight and a half acre park is located along a bike path which runs beside the Willamette River in Eugene.  The land was donated to the city by former city councilor George E. Owen in 1951, and at that time, the Eugene Rose Society donated the original 750 rose bushes. Today, the park boasts more than 4,500 roses of over 400 varieties.

Owen Rose Garden, roses, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, rose garden, roses, rose park
Owen Rose Garden, rose garden, roses, garden

Along with the brilliant red 'Fourth Of July' shown in the first photo above, here are a few other varieties of roses that I took note of:

Hot Cocoa:
Owen Rose Garden, Hot Cocoa rose, rose, red rose, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, Hot Cocoa rose, red rose, rose, rose garden

Julia Child:

Owen Rose Garden, Julia Child rose, yellow rose, yellow roses, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, Julia Child rose, yellow rose, yellow roses, rose garden

Cinco de Mayo:

Owen Rose Garden, Cinco de Mayo rose, orange rose, rose, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, Cinco de Mayo rose, orange roses, rose garden, orange rose

Golden Holstein:

Owen Rose Garden, Golden Holstein rose, yellow roses, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, Golden Holstein rose, yellow rose, rose garden

The park also takes pride in an Oregon Heritage Tree, a cherry which is about 150 years old. This tree is so large that its heavy gnarled branches are supported by several support beams, and there are signs posted advising against climbing the brittle old limbs.

Owen Rose Garden, Heritage Cherry Tree, Heritage Tree, cherry tree, rose garden, roses
Owen Rose Garden, Heritage Cherry Tree, Heritage Tree, cherry tree, rose garden, roses
Owen Rose Garden, Heritage Cherry Tree, Heritage Tree, cherry tree, rose garden, roses

There were some other roses along one border of the park that were not identified, however James became smitten with these pink beauties and took a few photos: 

Owen Rose Garden, pink rose, rose
Owen Rose Garden, pink rose, rose
Owen Rose Garden, rose garden, pink rose, rose

And who can resist some fascinating friends from the insect world?  Here are a dragonfly taking a rest, a ladybug most likely looking for aphids, and a busy buzzing bee gathering pollen:

Owen Rose Garden, dragonfly, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, ladybug, rose garden
Owen Rose Garden, bee, rose garden

Thanks for coming along with me on this tour through a little gem of a park in my town.

Owen Rose Garden, June Anderson, June Anderson Under The Plum Blossom Tree, June Anderson photographer, photographer June Anderson, Plum Blossom Phototgraphy


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Kawaii Corner: Ries Japan Hand Decorated Figurine

Ries Japan, Hand Decorated, kawaii, Ries figurine, cute, Made in Japan

Of the various characteristics that make up the Japanese style of cuteness known as 'Kawaii' (originally translated as 'radiant face', this now means 'lovable'), the most recognizable, and the best loved, is big eyes. Child-like features such as large eyes, along with a high forehead, wide cheeks, and a proportionally smaller nose and mouth increase the cuteness factor, as well as stimulate our desire to care for, and care about, animals and other humans with these unique features.

Ries Japan, Hand Decorated, kawaii, cute, Made in Japan, Ries figurine

And if you ask me, if your kitty (wait - is this a kitty? Or a tall thin lion cub?) is wearing an attractive red polka-dotted bow tie, and is resting its plump head on its curvy tail in an endearing 'look at me!' pose, well, it just can't get any cuter! Our loveable little friend definitely wants to stand out in a crowd.

This adorable Kawaii figurine still has a sticker on the bottom that says "Ries Japan" and "Hand Decorated." The only thing missing is whatever little charm or tag was attached to the wire ring under the bow tie.

Thanks for meeting me here on 'Kawaii Corner', and we'll see you again soon!

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