Thursday, June 30


Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
I just set me camera down in a meadow, on the ground and pressed the button. Talk about point and click! This photo seems like a happy image - the flower's face seems so bright, open and the colors so cheerful. Taken on my way home from a job, around 7pm on one of the last days of June ... light still so bright even though our days are getting shorter already.

Wednesday, June 29


Seen Better Days
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
An old scratched up gate from out at the Rodeo grounds caught my eye just after a rainstorm.

Monday, June 27

Our 2nd Hailstorm of the Summer

Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
The hail wasn't as huge as it could have been. Tore up some of my plants leaves, especially the big-leaved ones like the hostas and ligularia. Oh well. A day of storms makes for better photographs ... or at least that's what I thought until I got home and put the photos on the computer.

Well, I managed to get a few interesting shots from my outing.

Stormy Day

A Bouquet for Today

Lady Holding Her Bouquet
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
This ceramic vase was a wedding gift from our friend, Kay. Made by Richard Swanson, a Helena artist. I love the way the vase-lady's personality changes with the different flowers and leaves we have in the vase. The way she is holding whatever bouquet I put in the vase, also changes the flowers.

I like using the hosta leaves in flower arrangements. They last for weeks.

Here's another of Richard's pieces, one of a series of teapots:

A Bird in Hand

Saturday, June 25

Flaming Purple Passion

Flaming Purple Passion
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
I stopped by the Helena StreetRodder's Club show at Women's Park. So much color all in one place -- it sure transformed our normally drab downtown for the afternoon. I love all the smooth shapes of old cars. The proportions, details, craftsmanship.

The Yellow Line

Hot Rod  -  Cool Color

Control Center

Friday, June 24


reds blues & purples
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
Carol and Paul Worthen are our neighbors across the alley. Jesse and Rosie take care of our cat, Baggins, when we travel. They used to feed myfish, too, when I had a 45 gal. aquarium, but they took such good care of the fish I gave the aquarium (w/fish)to Jesse so now he has it.

A year ago, Carol and Paul opened the Fiber Whorl, a warm, cozy and comfortable fiberarts hangout/store in the 400 block of Last Chance Gulch. It's a great place to visit when I need a hit of earth-colors.

Mom got some knitting advice from Cindy who works there -- Mom's been making scarves out of "fun-fur" like they're goin out of style. Here's Baggins modeling my new scarf (by Mom)

Anyway, since I was just in their store stalking color pics, I thought I'd give them a plug. Check out the Fiber Whorl if you come to Helena, and if not, they have a website. Carol is at the 31st Annual Black Sheep Gathering in Eugene Oregon this weekend. Her kids are there w/her too - and Congratulations, Rosie for winning the Best Skein two years in a row! You're on your way to starting a whole flock of sheep!

Patterns Around Helena

Pattern Mosaic
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
Flickr has inspired me to take photos of things I never used to photograph. Like these everyday "mundane" objects: the bathroom floor, bathroom wall, marble steps and mosaic tile steps at our state capitol building in Helena. Together, as a group I think they're beautiful. I really like how the colors came out -- which has more to do with the design of the remodeled building than it does with my photos.

Thursday, June 23

Retro Fun

I've been Polaroid-o=nized!
Originally uploaded by MontanaRaven.
Over on Flickr, there is a new-ish tool for turning a photo image into a polaroid look-alike. It's called the Polaroid-o-nizer.

Here's the one I made for my "flickr calling card"

Wednesday, June 22

i Madonnari : the Chalk Painting Tradition

Chalk Painter
Originally uploaded by seeA.
This photo is by SeeA (Christine) and is posted originally at her Flickr website. (click on photo to see her photo pages)

I am in awe of the work these street artists produce in Denver, Colorado and other cities around the world. It will be washed away by street sweepers or rain, admired for a day or maybe a few days by people passing by. It is given to the public in a spirit of service and artistic adventure ... the artists must practice the difficult art of non-attachment to make such beautiful ephemeral art. This one really struck me because of the vibrant colors and playfulness of the design. SeeA shot this colorful painting and painter-at-work so the incredibly bright colors really come through.

Here, quoted from the Pasadena Absolut Chalk Festival, from their page on the history of street painting in Europe:

Historically, madonnari have been itinerant artists noted for a life of travel and freedom. They were, however, aware of the many festivals and holidays unique to each province, and would time their arrival to join in the celebrations. Today, one can always find a festivity taking place each day of the year in Italy. Upon arriving in a town or city, the madonnari would go about their business of creating paintings directly on the sidewalk or public square using chalk as their medium. Until the local police moved them away, they survived from money they received as alms, and from small commissions. After the holiday, or with the first rains, the picture and the painter would vanish.

The Absolut Chalk Festival is huge - it's free and happening this week, June 25th and 26th -- that's just a couple of days, so go if you can!

Street painting is enjoying a rebirth and there are many other street painting festivals happening this year. Another one to check out is the Massey, Ontario Street Painting Festival in Canada. Check out some of the street chalk painters like Rod Tryon, Julian Beever, Jay Schwartz and Mark Cummings. Julian Beever does FANTASTIC chalk paintins that look so 3D you feel like you're going to fall into them.

These two chalk paintings below, are from a Flickr photo page that has a dozen or so of Beever's street art posted. You can see more at Beever's own website:

How to do Street Painting from eHow. Just a bit of instruction, in case anyone reading this is interested in rebelling against the commercialism of art and giving your artworks away to the public for free -- and temporarily. Of course, some chalk street painters make lots of $ painting commisioned chalkworks for big corporations -- guess there's always the corporate sponsors :>(

Monday, June 20

Design Project in Progress

A quick sketch with just one idea for a decorative fence in the front garden of one of Helena's old houses. It's conceptual at this stage. I often do sketches like this one to help folks visualize when a plan view of the idea just don't cut it.
House Before

Here's another idea for a patio in the entry garden, below, and below that, the front yard the way it looks now. With a fence like this, the front yard will be much more private and they homeowners will be able to actually sit out there in the evenings w/o feeling like they are in a fishbowl:

Sketch Idea for Entry Garden Patio & Fence
Front Yard Before

More Drawings to Finished Container Plant Combinations

Here are two more drawings from idea to finished plantings:

Threesome: ideas for container plantings

Newly planted shade containers out in the garden

Maiden Hair Fern container

More ideas for short, square  containers

Two Square Containers for partial sun

Wednesday, June 15

MakiSushi Rolling & Sushi Rice Recipe - Illustrated

I drew these weird little illustrations in my sketchbook for Gabe's Harbingerous Happening in Eugene. I had tons of fun demonstrating making sushi rolls with lots of different ingredients, to all Gabe's friends (along with some strangers who dropped in from the ArtWalk I think) .... plus eating a delicious maki-sushi once in awhile. Quite an experience.

Sushi instructions
Illustration © by Maureen Shaughnessy. All rights reserved.
Please do not reproduce these illustrations without permission.
I'm easy - I'm sure I would give you permission, but please ask first.
Thank you!

If you click on these photos, it will take you to a Flickr page where you can view the larger sizes by clicking on "All Sizes." You might have to be one of my contacts at Flickr, though, to make the "All Sizes" thing work. That's easy. Just sign up for a flickr account, then make me a contact. simple as pie -- oops I mean sushi...

Sushi rice recipe
Illustration © by Maureen Shaughnessy. All rights reserved.
Please do not reproduce these illustrations without permission.
I'm easy - I'm sure I would give you permission, but please ask first.
Thank you!

Planting Container Gardens

I had an amazingly fun weekend day with one of my clients a couple weeks ago, planting her containers with some of my design combinations. We shopped at nurseries for all of her plants on Friday. On Sunday, we spent almost 8 hours together out in her garden (right on the shore of a lake near Helena) ....sunny day, light breeze to keep us cool, shaded temporary potting area set up under the cottonwood and maple trees. It was a beautiful day and so much fun. Part of me wishes I could do just that for a living... designing and planting container gardens. Here are some more of the results of that day:

Elephant Ear, Coleus, Ipomoea,
Creeping Jenny, etc:

Newly planted shade containers out in the garden

Coleus, Maidenhair Fern,

Shade Container

Gold Hakone Grass, Blue Hosta,
Dark Blue Lobelia, Creeping Jenny:

Hakone Grass & Hosta in Shade Container

Tuesday, June 14

i'm back and hoping to be a little more regular on my blog. I just feel like posting a few pics of the landscaping project I've been overseeing for the past few weeks, off and on. I was out there on Monday by myself, checking progress, making notes on plants the deer are nibbling (we have to spray especially those plants, with a deer repellant) and checking the installation of some slate steps (they are being installed wrong, so I have to do a sketch to show the contractor what I want there.) Here's a sketch of what was there when I checked on it Monday:
Slate Steps sketchFirst attempt at stone steps on a gravel path

And here's the sketch of how I want it. We worked it out today. They want the job to look good and function perfectly, so they can be proud of their work. I want it to look good, etc, for the same reasons and I want my customer to be happy with it.

Stone Step Construction Technique

. . that sometimes happens when the client doesn't want construction drawings. We end up needing sketches like this one anyway, as the job progresses.

It was a sunny break in an otherwise rainy day (we've had a colder, rainier spring than usual here in Helena)
Moleskine in the Garden

Sunday, June 12

One Way to Design & Plant Containers

Entry Garden Containers

The sketch/idea for planting these particular pots for Elizabeth's entry garden. A set of two will be placed on either side of her entry slate steps, under the pergola:
<Drawing idea for Container PlantingsAnd the containers when we first planted them... (they haven't had time to perk up and start filling in yet)
Entry Containers Planted