Bird nest with a guardian angel

Bird nest with a guardian angel

This bird found the perfect place to build her nest – complete with guardian angel.

bird nest with a guardian angel

I took this picture a few years ago. The piece I referred to as a guardian angel is one of the terracotta figures that adorn the front of the Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington. It is a stunning work of architecture.

Suzzallo Library at the University of Washington - guardian angel

The Reading Room inside the library is also worth a look. It’s one of my favorite places to take a quiet moment and goes by the nickname, the Harry Potter Room.

I {heart} Seattle

It was a crisp October morning, 21 years ago that I moved to Seattle. I was 21 years old. That’s half my life.


I was the girl from the small town in Alaska. I had a line on a job, and a line on an apartment and roommates. Neither were set in stone. It was all a big gamble.


My friend, Russ, picked me up at the airport and drove me to the place I was staying. He pointed out landmarks along the way, as I experienced Seattle traffic for the first time, and the downtown towers loomed in the distance. I was at the same time wondering what I’d gotten myself into, and falling in love with my new home town.


The most important and amazing events of my life happened right here in Seattle.


I fell in love. I fell in love again when my child was born. I beat back cancer. I grew into my own skin and learned to love myself. I surrounded myself with intelligent, authentic, and compassionate people who share my values. Of course these things can be done anywhere, but in Seattle, the fit was right.


Access to art, culture, education, excellent medical care, urban villages with a small town feel and the benefits of a big city, mountains and water – yes, I definitely {heart} Seattle.



Women Take Over – Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris

Women Take Over – Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris

Women are often well represented in art museums, or at least their bodies are. They are pinned right there to the wall.

Women Take Over - Seattle Art Museum - CoffeeJitters.Net
Ensemble of posters, Guerrilla Girls American artists, active since 1985 variable Centre Georges Pompidou, Museé national d’art moderne, Paris, T2011.206.101

Women artists are not so well represented

The current show at the Seattle Art Museum takes aim at that issue. Anchored on the groundbreaking Paris exhibition, Elles: Women Artists from the Centre Pompidou, Paris, Elles puts the focus on the vision and craft of female artists. Just as our understanding of history changes, expands, and takes on new depth and texture when the voices of women are added, so to does the addition of female artists change our understanding of art history, as well as informing history itself.

Seattle Art Museum

This show does not attempt to represent women from all cultures everywhere throughout history. The scope and breadth of such an ambitious project could no more adequately represent women around the world, than it could men. Just because female artists were largely ignored does not mean they were not prolific. This is a showcase of mostly European female artists in the 20th and 21st Centuries. There is a need to address art created by women of other cultures and times, but that necessitates not just one, but many more shows. I hope someone gets busy curating some of those shows soon.

The Seattle Art Museum is coordinating with a number of organizations and venues throughout the Seattle area to celebrate women artists, ongoing through January 2013, including musical events, films, lectures, and a symposium.

Women Artists - Espagnoles - Natalia Gontcharova - CoffeeJitters.Net
Espagnoles, (1920-1924) Oil on canvas Natalia Gontcharova Russian, 1881-1962 36 1/4 x 28 3/4in. (92 x 73cm) Overall h.: 37 3/8in. (95cm) Overall w.: 29 15/16in. (76cm) Centre Georges Pompidou, Museé national d’art moderne, Paris; AM 3111 P, T2011.206.135

Elles showcases the work of more than 75 women artists. I’m tempted to wax on philosophically about each of these pieces that I’ve selected, but each time I return to these images, I have something additional to say. I’ll never get this post up at this point, so I’ll just leave you with a few of my favorites. If I could take one home and just sit and stare at it all day long, it would Espagnoles (above).  It just pulls me in.

La Chambre Bleue - Suzanne Valadon - CoffeeJitters.Net
La Chambre Bleue (The Blue Room), 1923 Oil on canvas Suzanne Valadon (born Marie-Clémentine Valadon) (born Marie-Clémentine Valadon) French, b. 1865, Bessines-sur-Gartempe, France; d. 1938, Paris, France 35.4 x 45.7 inches (90 x 116 cm) Centre Georges Pompidou, Museé national d’art moderne, Paris State purchase and attribution 1924, T2011.206.1

On the other hand, there is, La Chambre Bleue (The Blue Room), above. I hated this piece at first. It was featured on much of SAM’s promotional material, and I couldn’t figure out why. It really bugged me. But, the more I look at it, the more I see.  The picture has grown on me, and now it’s one of my favorites.

the frame - Frida Kahlo - CoffeeJitters.Net
The Frame, (1938) Oil on aluminum, reverse painting on glass and painting frame Frida Kahlo Mexican, 1907-1954 11.2 x 8.1 inches (28.5 x 20.7 cm) Centre Georges Pompidou, Museé national d’art moderne, Paris State purchase and attribution, 1939, T2011.206.48

Frida Kahlo lived in my imagination as a larger than life figure. Her self portrait on the wall, at eye level, stopped me short. It was so much smaller than I expected. And tangible. Suddenly, behind the tiny painted glass, she was less mythical, and more a woman, with hopes and dreams and fears and insecurities. She became real. And maybe that’s part of the point of the exhibit, as well. Beyond drawing our attention to these amazing works by female artists, this show reminds us that women in art, whether subject, artist, consumer, or all three, are individual people. Not objects, myths, or concepts; just people, connecting with other people.

FTC disclaimer: I received free admission to the Seattle Art Museum, and permission to take photographs of the exhibits. 

St. Paul Outside-the-Walls

He had just completed two flights from Seattle to Newark, then JFK to Rome, and he had just a few hours in Rome before hopping another flight to Istanbul. Somewhere in his rush to see as much of Rome as he could, he zagged when he should have zigged, and found himself in front of St. Paul’s Basilica (also known as the Papal Basilica St. Paul Outside-the-Walls) instead of  the the more popular tourist destinations.

He said it wasn’t even all that much to look at from the outside, deserted even, but once he entered the gates – wow.

Sometimes that’s how it works. Sometimes it’s the errant zags that lead us to the magic – magic we wouldn’t have found if we weren’t in motion in the first place.





I’ve been googling all morning, and I still haven’t figured out why “Outside-the-Walls” is so important that it became a crucial part of this basilica’s name. If any of you know, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Above photos are all by Aaron Albert Haley.