I met Claire Giordano late last September on a hike to Melakwa Lake led by Nikki Frumkin. Not just a hike, but a hike with a group drawing event once we reached the lake. I have not drawn or painted since elementary school, and the thought of doing it with a bunch of other people for the first time in many years was a little nerve-racking. On a boulder at the edge of Melakwa Lake I gamely (albeit somewhat halfheartedly) painted for a few minutes before I gave up and returned to the safety of my camera. My rendering of the clear alpine lake couldn’t have been worse if I was upside down, blindfolded, missing opposable thumbs, and using my left hand. Claire meanwhile swiftly painted the jagged slopes of the mountains before us with an ease that amazed me.

I am so delighted with the painting Claire did for April’s postcard. It’s exactly how the forests feel to me right now. I’ve been grumbling about the long string of misty, grey days we’ve had here in the Pacific Northwest recently. But there is magic in these kinds of days too, and I know that by the time August rolls around I will be sorely missing them. Besides, that delicious shade of green in those delicately furled young ferns is only possible because of all this rain.

Post Art Northwest | Claire Giordano & Emily McCann | April 2017

SIX QUESTIONS FOR CLAIRE

What did you want to be when you grew up?

When I was a child I wanted to be a botanist who created beautiful pictures of flowers that would inspire the conservation of nature. In some ways I am closer to this childhood dream than I thought, as I now share my paintings online in the hopes that they will inspire people to get outside and forge their own connection to nature. I also still love plants. When I am old, I will likely be the crazy plant lady.

Do you consider yourself an introvert, and extrovert, or somewhere in between the two?

I believe I land somewhere in the middle. I am energized by working in groups and helping people, but also need time alone to recharge and re-center. In many cases creating art is my go-to solo activity, as it keeps me grounded in the present moment.

What are your top three Seattle area restaurants?

Oh man, this is a hard one for me because I rarely eat out! I know I am probably missing out, but with a long commute to work I usually just want to get home before traffic gets horrible. That being said, the only restaurant I have been to more than once in the last six months is Square Lotus in Bellevue. Their yellow curry is delicious.

And this may be cheating, but my other favorite places to eat are in the middle of a hike up one of our local forested mountains, and on a chairlift on a powder day.

Do you have a favorite book?

Oh my, this is probably the hardest question you could have asked, as I have always loved reading. Aside from art, it is my favorite solo activity to recharge. I love fantasy and science fiction, but read and enjoy pretty much anything I come across. If I had to choose one, based on lasting impact, it would be Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. I first read Walden in high school for a philosophy class, and the book immediately resonated with me. Thoreau articulated many of the reasons I love being in nature, and the impact I believe nature has on us when we open ourselves to it. Since that first reading, I returned to Walden many times during college, and it was a big influence on my decision to pursue dual degrees, one of which was in Environmental Philosophy.

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?

The last book I read was a collection of the final short stories written by Isaac Asimov. As a child I read anything I could get my hands on, and Asimov’s books were my introduction to science fiction. As I got older I read and re-read most of his stories, and was delighted to find a collection I had never seen. I not only love Asimov’s creativity, but also his ability to make me think.

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Thank you so much Claire, for being a part of Post Art Northwest!

Find Claire: Website, Instagram, Facebook

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Congratulations nmsanchez42, you are the winner of our April postcard! I will be in touch shortly to get it to you.
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter. All subscribers are automatically entered into a random monthly drawing for a chance to receive a postcard from Post Art Northwest.

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smiling girl with braces

This is Lila, who I’ve known since she was three or four years old. From baby teeth to gap toothed smiles, to braces…it’s so fun to watch kids grow up, and to be able to capture each stage.

We are deep into the world of braces with my own kids right now. The older two have them, my youngest is supposed to go in for a consult this summer, and our bank account is positively aching. As a kid my teeth were a mess and I had braces during my junior high (no middle schools in Roseburg, OR) years. One of the things my mom commented on from time to time while I was a kid, and still talks about today, was how she was always a little sad to see my jumbled, crowded teeth smoothed and straightened out. I smiled and nodded at her for years, but now–I understand. Especially with my youngest, whose teeth are the most crooked of all my children. Braces will completely change how she looks, and I will certainly miss those mouse teeth of hers.

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Spring! Fields of daffodils will soon be upon us, and though my wish for Seattle to be engulfed in a fierce snowstorm (the kind that doesn’t knock out a single power line) for a couple of days remains unfulfilled, I am ready. I took the photograph on the front of this month’s postcard in the Skagit Valley on March 9th of 2015. Unfortunately (or fortunately, for you skiers out there), spring is not coming so early this year, but there are signs of it’s approach all over the city.

Ashley Martin was one of the first artists that came to my mind during the early days of this project. I’ve know her since our first year back in Seattle, when we both had children in the same kindergarten class. Children who are now in the last few months of elementary school (how did that happen?). Ashley’s creative endeavors are unfailingly delightful, and I love how art seeps into every nook and cranny of her life, from pumpkins to stamps to toys to paintings. That’s how art should be, don’t you think?

Post Art Northwest | March 2017 | Ashley Martin & Emily McCann

SIX QUESTIONS FOR ASHLEY

What did you want to be when you grew up?

An artist and a mother.

Do you consider yourself an introvert, and extrovert, or somewhere in between the two?

Mostly I am an extrovert. I enjoy time alone to relax and recharge but being with people is nourishing for me.

What are your top three Seattle area restaurants?

The Monkey Bridge in Ballard (Vietnamese), Revel in Fremont (Korean fusion), and Billy Beach Sushi & Bar in Ballard.

Do you have a favorite book?

I LOVE this little memoir called A Girl Named Zippy by Havel Kimmel. Its very funny & entertaining and she wrote a sequel. Also, I have always loved Les Miserables, which I have read in English and in French (when my French used to be really good, ages ago).

What was the last book you read? Did you like it?

I just finished two books last week over midwinter break; The Silkworm by Robert Galbraith (J.K. Rowling’s pseudonym) It’s the second in a series of three and I couldn’t put it down! The other is Plant-Strong by Rip Esselstyn, it’s highly informative on health, nutrition & food facts and sort of a guide for embracing a plant-based lifestyle. It’s fascinating!

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Thank you so much Ashley, for being a part of Post Art Northwest!

Find Ashley: Instagram

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Congratulations akbrewitt , you are the winner of our March postcard! I will be in touch shortly to get it to you.
If you haven’t already, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter.  All subscribers are automatically entered into a random monthly drawing for a chance to receive a postcard from Post Art Northwest.

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mother and daughter at discovery park | seattle photographer | emily mccann mother and daughter at discovery park | seattle photographer | emily mccann mother and daughter at discovery park | seattle photographer | emily mccann mother and daughter at discovery park | seattle photographer | emily mccann mother and daughter at discovery park | seattle photographer | emily mccann mother and daughter at discovery park | seattle photographer | emily mccann

Every time I photograph a mother and her daughter together I think of this spoken word poem by Sarah Kay (make sure you have a box of tissues handy before you watch it), which was part of a TED talk Sarah gave in 2011. The poem is right at the beginning, but if you have a few extra minutes, you should listen to her entire talk. It’s worth it. After the talk Sarah published it in book form, which is lovely, and I highly recommend. Wouldn’t it be a wonderful gift for a new mother, or from a mother to a tween/teenage daughter?

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spring is coming | pink tree buds | emily mccann

I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.
-Toni Morrison

What are you doing this weekend? Seattle schools are on mid-winter break, and I’m only a tiny bit envious (i.e. positively green) of those who are headed to warmer climes. Whether you need to while away some time in an airport or practice hygge at home, here are a few links from around the web that have caught my eye in the past few weeks.

The Grandeur and Limits of Science: On Being is always a bright spot in my week, however this episode is particularly beautiful. So much so, that I’ve saved it to listen to again.

How to Celebrate President’s Day: Via Austin Kleon. I am going to try and do every single one of these things.

Parmesan Broth with Kale and White Beans: This soup kind of blew my mind. You can find little tubs of Parmesan rinds near the Murray’s cheese counter at the Greenwood Fred Meyer, though I’m sure there are many places in Seattle that carry them.

DIY Finger Knitted Scarf: I’m keeping this idea in my back pocket, should I need something to occupy the children (and okay, fine, myself too) during mid-winter break.

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: Love this. I don’t actually have a copy yet, but it’s on the short list of Books I Need.

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