Wednesday, September 15, 2010

September - Changes in the Weather, and in the Artwork!

Wow - where did the summer go? While today is a perfect September day, last week was cold, gray and wet, making us yearn for just a little more sunshine. It seems like summer only lasted six weeks this year, with June having been so rainy, and the leaves already turning...

While I'm not ready to acknowledge that summer is officially over just yet, I will state unequivocally that it was a great one! Artwork sales were definitely better this season than the previous two years; I'm not sure if people are finally acknowledging the end of the Great Recession or if it's just pent up consumerism,but either way, we were quite pleased with the change in traffic here in Bigfork. Framing was rockin' too, with an abundance of multiple-piece orders and a return to the Augusts of years past, where intake of work exceeded production on many days. This is the excuse I'll use for neglecting the blog for five weeks now!

Labor Day has come and gone, so it's time to put away the white bucks and seersucker suits...oh, wait, that's not right. What that means here in Bigfork is that walk-in traffic has slowed significantly, and you can find parking on Electric Avenue once again. It's now the perfect time to visit the shops and galleries in town! We'll be celebrating Last Fridays next week with a chili feed here at Frame of Reference, and we've got several new pieces of art on display, including some delightful giclees from Carol Hagan (I want the Baby Giraffe for myself!) and a spectacular new oil painting from Missoula artist Mark Gibson, seen at the top of this page. It's titled "Solitude" and makes me yearn for another evening on Flathead Lake before it gets too cold. Mark built the frame for this painting, too - stop in and see it!

Late Summer/Autumn hours are now in effect; we're here Tuesday through Saturday from 10 to 5:30, Sunday from 11 to 4, and closed on Monday. Happy September!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Glacier Reflections: Reception for Nancy Cawdrey

Friday evening is our premier event of the summer - our reception for Bigfork artist Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey. For several years now, we've thrown a big party to introduce new paintings from Nancy, always on the Friday before Festival of the Arts weekend. We've got five new paintings to add to our already wide selection of Nancy Cawdrey originals, and from 5 to 8 p.m. tomorrow we'll have bubbly and snacks to help entice you in and have a look. Josh Auerhammer of Culinary Design Studio is catering, so you know the food will be sublime! Please join us, and bring your family and friends!

And, do make a point to visit Bigfork this weekend for the Festival of the Arts. If you're unfamiliar with Festival, take a moment and check out the website - - for a little history. In a nutshell, Festival is a street fair celebrating the arts; over 150 vendors this year set up booths on the street to show their wares. You can find paintings and photography, sculpture and pottery, clothing, jewelry, handmade soaps and a host of other handmade items - there's something for everyone! The quality of work exhibited is quite high; in the early years, I thought of the Festival as "Arts and Craps" but no more. It may not all be your taste, but it's all good now. And, for me at least, the icing on the cake is the food - several vendors sell baked goods, and you can find barbecue, crepes, Chicago Hot Dogs, burgers, fry bread, Hale's noodles and even mini donuts! It's an eating extravaganza! Live music is offered at a couple of locations all weekend, rounding out the event. There is no parking downtown, but shuttle buses run regularly, and handicapped parking is available. Contact the Bigfork Area Chamber of Commerce - 837-5888 - for additional information.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Dog Days of Summer

Just a quick entry this week, I'm afraid. Summer traffic has been quite good, and Montana is not on fire yet, though we all fear it's on the horizon... Still, we've been graced with lots of shoppers this season, and the prevailing mood in Bigfork is great - people are having fun, the weather is finally cooperating, and Flathead Lake is spectacular. All ingredients for a perfect summer in Bigfork!

Two upcoming events of note - first, this Friday, July 30th, is our Last Friday evening here in Bigfork. Shops, galleries and restaurants are offering snacks and specials from 5 to 8 p.m. to entice you to mark your calendar and spend the evening in Bigfork. Mark your calendar with our slogan - Last Fridays are Every Last Friday of Every Month!

Next, August 6th is our annual Artist's Reception for Nancy Cawdrey. This marks the kickoff to the Bigfork Festival of the Arts, a two day art fair in Bigfork that closes the streets and brings thousands of visitors to the Village. We have several new paintings for Nancy's show, and we invite you to join us from 5 to 8 p.m. to have a nosh and enjoy the new pieces. There are two fantastic Glacier Park paintings to coincide with the 100th anniversary of Glacier National Park. And, there's a painting of Roxie, done from this photo:

It is, of course, my favorite Nancy Cawdrey painting EVER! and, we got to use the pink glitter frame again - stop by to see it!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Jelly Belly Bus Comes to Bigfork!

Today was a SWEET day in the Village - the Jelly Belly Bus came to town! The owners of Jelly Belly have a summer home in the Lakeside/Rollins area, and they worked with the owners of S.M. Bradford and Co. to have their tour bus spend the day on Electric Avenue.

Several area businesses participated, putting up signs and banners, and some (like Frame of Reference) had drawings and door prizes that were Jelly Belly themed. The Jelly Belly crew gave away free samples all day, and the highlight for most of the small children was the "Tasting Wheel" - you spun a wheel that told you what color bean to sample, and in that bin were two flavors that looked similar but didn't taste at all alike. For example, Blueberry was mixed up with Toothpaste, and you didn't know what you were getting until you tasted. We heard rumors of Skunk flavored beans, and Christine's personal favorite was Pencil Shavings - not that she was brave enough to taste it...
The Jelly Belly Beetle was here, too.
Our contest was to guess the number of Jelly Bellys used to make the mat for this spectacular photo of Roxie. Email a guess if you'd like - we'll entertain entries through tomorrow afternoon!
The afternoon was supposed to end with Jelly Belly Martinis for the adults, but the flavoring agents were mistakenly left off the bus, much to our dismay! Ah, well - we probably shouldn't have started thinking about Martinis at noon anyway...
Thanks, Jelly Belly, and thanks to Donna Shanahan Interiors and the Emmerts of S.M. Bradford for putting this fun day together!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Clint Walker Opening at Piney Creek Interiors

We closed early this past Friday and headed up to Whitefish to attend a gallery opening for Clint Walker, Editor-in-Chief of Flathead Living Magazine and photographer extraordinaire. We've represented Clint here in the gallery for about a year now; his photographs are much admired and have sold quite well for us. This is a bit of a surprise, not because Clint isn't a talented photographer, but because selling photographs is actually a little difficult.
People tend to look at photos and say, "Hey, that's cool. I could do that." With the advent of better and better digital cameras, much of the technical skill required to take an attractive photograph is done for you now. But honestly, it's all about the composition, and that's where Clint really excels. His vision is unique, and people admire his work, rather than thinking they could duplicate it. Take Buffalo River, for example:
Anybody can get a snapshot of buffalo, particularly around Yellowstone National Park where they're about as common as mosquitoes. But maybe one in a thousand can capture the interplay of light, the scale and the compositional framing to make the buffalo truly appear like the magnificent creature that it is. Anybody can take a picture, but Clint's photographs are truly Fine Art.
Piney Creek Interiors in Whitefish just moved into a new 6000 square foot retail space downtown on Baker Avenue, right next to Coffee Traders. The location is a huge improvement, and Dena and her staff have filled the showroom with a great collection of furnishings and accessories, but the huge "bonus room" upstairs is the gem, so far as I'm concerned. It's a large open loft-like space with high ceilings and soaring windows, and frankly, it's a great place for a party! The space is currently filled with a unique collection of Clint's photos - he's done some really innovative printing with metalized papers and unusual mounting, and he let us go wild on the framing. We're particularly proud of the frame we came up for the photo o Clint and Alisha's daughter, Beau.
Recently featured on the cover of Flathead Living, Beau is shown holding her first fish ever, wearing a red and white checked gingham shirt and fishing gear that would make her daddy proud. We framed her with an Italian lacquer moulding that exactly matches her shirt, and surrounded it with a distressed white frame that exactly duplicated the boards of the dock. The end result is perfect, if I do say so myself. One woman told Clint towards the end of the evening that she'd pay ANYTHING to own the photograph. That's a pretty good sign....
Friday's opening was a great event - loads of people, mountains of sushi and accolades all around.
This coming Friday night - July 16th - marks the official Grand Opening of Piney Creek Interiors, so Clint will be there again, signing photos and working the room as only he can do. Though it's hard for me as a loyal Bigforker, I must admit that Whitefish will be the place to be tomorrow night!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Cool Project - Medicine Cabinet

Another cool project recently left Frame of Reference - a custom built medicine cabinet. The problem started with a newly remodeled bathroom; new sink/countertop, new faucet, new light fixture, new tile backsplash, and a lousy $20 Home Depot medicine cabinet.

Black plastic frame, cheap stained plastic interior with cheesy shelves.

See? UGLY!
The real problem is that the homeowner just couldn't find anything to make her happy. The bathroom is cool and geometric, and premade cabinets just weren't working for her. So, we built one from scratch! A pale, ice blue lacquer outer frame with a cream lacquer fillet were used to construct the door.
The case was custom built from poplar, lacquered white inside with adjustable glass shelves. We backed the case with mirror and faced it with a lacquered frame that mimics the bamboo shelves hanging to the right of the medicine cabinet.
The end result? Harmony in the bathroom, and a truly custom look that delights the homeowner every morning! Problem solved!

Friday, June 25, 2010

New Art, Busy Summer

Okay, we're a little behind. I've actually put "BLOG" in big orange letters on the scheduling calendar every Wednesday, with the intent being to help me remember to blog regularly. I was out of town last week, and Christine had planned to write the post, but she was absolutely SWAMPED! It's been quite busy these past few weeks, with both gallery browsers (and buyers!) and framing clients, and there was simply too much work for one person last week.

When I returned to work this past Sunday, we agreed to take on a series of very time sensitive jobs with much less than our usual turnaround time, so the blog got postponed again! Today is a fill-in, with two posts of substance to follow this weekend. As a teaser, I'll share that one post is about a custom medicine cabinet which I built and installed last week - it was a fun project that has helped to transform a small bathroom remodel.

For the other post, you get a visual teaser. The painting below - "The Journey Begins" - is an original oil painting by Lakeside painter Tabby Ivy, our newest artist! We've been framing Tabby's work for several years; most of what she painted was for friends or museum fundraisers. Up to this point, she has not been represented by a gallery. We broached the subject earlier this Spring and Tabby jumped at the chance. We've just received five new paintings which will be framed and ready for display by next week. At that point, I'll do a full post about Tabby and her artwork, but until then, feast your eyes on this...

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Cool Project!

We frame all sorts of things here, from the usual posters, prints and paintings to objects like WWII medal collections, a Blackfeet medicine bag, antique firearms and a wristwatch, just to name a few. This project came through last week, and both Christine and I are pretty pleased with how it turned out.

It's a two-dollar bill, circa 1928, and on the back is handwritten, "Northfield - 1943 - the beginning". The owner sent it for framing; it was the first money earned by his grandparents' chicken farm in Northfield, Vermont. Our instructions were to present the back of the bill, but beyond that the design was left up to us.

The problem, for Christine, was that the back of the bill is...boring. Other than the inscription, all of the ink is muddy, and not particularly interesting. The front has some printing in a great vermilion color, and it seemed prudent to show that side, too, so she designed a two-sided presentation. It wasn't particularly difficult, but it is complex in that we chose to have both sides look like the "front" rather than having the frame face one side and attempt to finish the back side of the frame somewhat attractively. The bill was encapsulated in mylar - basically sandwiched between two layers of clear film with no adhesive - so the edges could be shown. We cut a triple mat for each side using loden green linen, a bit of red to match the seal on the face of the bill and a nice mossy green for punch. The frame is a rustic cedar veneer in an interesting brownish-gray tone. When we had the depth of the finished matting and glazing determined, we built two identical frames, ran them through the table saw so that each was exactly half of the required depth, then joined them back to back using a biscuit joiner. Table saws and biscuit joiners aren't generally used for most framing projects, but I'm sort of a tool geek, so of course I own them!

Did you notice Roxie in the background of this photo? She's getting so big...

The completed piece was designed to sit on a tabletop without any support - it's just wide enough. However, we've got these great new easels that just so happen to be the perfect size and color, so Christine put one into the package before sending it back East. It allows for a little more polished presentation.

Christine got an email the other day - the owner was overwhelmed, and the completed frame greatly exceeded his expectations. It now holds a prominent place in his dining room with his other most treasured things. Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

New in the Gallery: Tara Moore

We're delighted to be representing Arlee artist Tara Moore in the gallery this Summer. We remember Tara's work from when we first opened here in Bigfork; her paintings were very well executed and very, very realistic. As you can see, Tara's style has become much more Impressionistic over the last ten years or so - now her paintings are fantastically loose and full of motion! The best part is that Tara is clearly, in the nomenclature of another artist we know, a "Horsey Girl." Tara lives with and loves horses, and you can see it in her ability to capture them perfectly - it's much more difficult than you might think.

Tara Moore was honored with the Ralph "Tuffy" Berg Award in 2007 at the C.M. Russell Auction and Exhibition in Great Falls, and she's been juried into the Auction every year since then. In 2006 she was one of six Impressionists in the "Paint Outside the Lines" show at the Hockaday Museum of Art in Kalispell, and the same year she was the featured artist for the Montana Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Whitefish. She's been a featured artist for the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, has been included in countless juried shows and has had her paintings featured on numerous magazine and book covers. She's also published her own childrens' books! (We're looking into this further - they would be fun to have here!)

Tara is definitely the most "Western" of the painters we're currently representing, but even so her bright colors and wild motion make her work fit in perfectly here at Frame of Reference. We plan to feature her in our June Artist's Reception - stay tuned for more information! The four paintings shown here are currently available; please contact us if you'd like more information.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Vaya con huevos, Joaquin...

This week at Frame of Reference has been slightly less colorful than usual. On Monday morning, Derek carefully wrapped Joaquin, our iconic reclaimed steel sculpture, for the journey to his new home in Calgary. Standing just over four feet tall, Joaquin was created by Billings sculptor Bill Drum and his son, Chris, from pieces of oil drums, a Nissan pickup hood, a Whirlpool washing machine and various other unidentifiable steel bits. He came to live at Frame of Reference last summer and spent most of his time in the front window of the gallery, basking in the late afternoon sun and causing whiplash as many a passerby turned for another look.
The gallery seems a little empty without Joaquin. Yes, I know that the whole point of owning a gallery is to sell art, but we do get a little bit attached to certain pieces. We'll miss him, but we know that Jim and JoAnne, Joaquin's new owners, will take excellent care of him! We hope another Bill Drum piece - perhaps a distant cousin to Joaquin - will enjoy the window seat in the near future. We can hardly wait...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Last Fridays!

For as long as I can remember, Bigfork has had an Art Walk tradition, or maybe that should be Tradition with a capital "T". We have two Art Walks each year, one in May on the Saturday before Mother's Day, and one in November on Decorating Day (the Saturday before Thanksgiving.) They're great events, and folks come from throughout Western Montana to stroll the streets, visit the galleries and meet their friends for a night on the town. The Holiday Art Walk in November is particularly successful because the Elves have spent the day hanging lights and garlands, so the evening celebration is a nice way to wrap up, culminating with the tree lighting ceremony in front of Bjorge's Gallery.

Even so, a few of us have kicked around the idea of doing monthly art walks all year long. Let's be honest here - a few of us have kicked the idea around for literally YEARS! It seems so silly that Bigfork - long known as an Art Destination - doesn't celebrate the Arts on a monthly basis, like Missoula does with First Fridays. I was managing a gallery in Missoula in the early '90s when First Fridays really took off, and it quickly became known as THE event of the month. First Fridays is a huge success in Missoula, and nearly the whole town turns out to spend the evening downtown.

John and Molly Morton from Sacred Dancing Gallery, Christine and I, Deliah, Signe and Jill from Persimmon Gallery decided last week that we need to take the bull by the proverbial horns and just start something in Bigfork. We originally envisioned a block party, but the ultimate goal is to get everyone in the Village to participate. We've decided on celebrating the Last Friday of every month, from 5 to 8 p.m. We're inviting everyone, and in addition to having the retail shop and galleries involved, we hope to get some of the restaurants to do drink or dining specials to dovetail with the event. Next week is the first Last Friday, so please join us! At this time, the participants we know are in for sure are Bjorge's Gallery, Sacred Dancing, Frame of Reference, Donna Shanahan Interiors and Persimmon Gallery. I'm going around town tomorrow with an informational flier and we're sending email blasts out this weekend, so I hope the list will grow significantly even for this first event. We'll keep you posted!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Art Walk Recap

Spring Art Walk was this past Saturday; the weather held, the food rocked, and the traffic was great! Now that the event has come and gone, I can explain the Bacon and Eggs food theme. It all began with Christine's desire to make Bacon Bourbon Brownies; last year's Holiday Art Walk featured Chocolate Covered Bacon, and it was such a hit that Christine has been compiling bacon/chocolate recipes ever since! Anchored by that one item, we started casting about for additional bacon and egg recipes. For savory items, we served Bacon and Green Onion Corn Muffins, Spanish Deviled Eggs (with smoked paprika and sherry vinegar) and Gazpacho "Shooters" spiked with bacon-flavored vodka. (The bacon vodka is pretty lousy on its own, but tastes quite good in things like gazpacho, or maybe Bloody Marys.) Sweet items included the aforementioned brownies, Gold Cake (an Italian celebration cake made with twelve (!) egg yolks - see the recipe at and cinnamon meringue cookies. Everything was excellent, if I do say so myself...

Our philosophy for Art Walk is really pretty simple: in short, it's not about selling art. Instead, we look at Art Walk as one of the first big social events of the Spring, and we use it as an excuse to throw a good party! Yes, of course, we do rehang the gallery and we always showcase new paintings during the event, but our intent behind this is to have folks come out and enjoy Bigfork and all that it has to offer - sales are secondary to us. Incidentally, sales were excellent this time around, but that's merely a bonus to our way of thinking. With that in mind, we learned a few things this year. First of all, the organizers of this year's event decided that the hours should be from 1 to 7 p.m., rather than the usual 4 to 7, their reasoning being that people often came early because they didn't know the time. While others may have thought this to be a successful tactic, feedback from our guests showed that it actually diluted the event drastically. The almost universal feedback was that people would much prefer the Art Walk to be from 5 to 7 or 8 p.m., because it's a social event and a shorter window of time would mean seeing more of your friends from throughout the Valley. So next time, we'll push for shorter hours and more advertising.

The other thing we realized is that a small group of us believe having only two Art Walks each year is about ten Art Walks too few! To that end, a handful of us are going to start doing monthly events - sort of a Block Party theme. We're working to agree on a time and day each month, send out blast emails, and try and get something established in peoples' minds, like the very successful First Fridays in Missoula. My goal is for all of Bigfork to begin to participate, so that (for example) the third Thursday of every month becomes known as a rockin' evening in town, and folks plan that week around it. You know, come down and walk the town, have a few cocktails, meet friends for dinner in one of the many exceptional restaurants here, talk it up and invite more folks the next month. And hey, maybe buy a painting or a sculpture, too! We've decided that we're starting in June; I'll share details as soon as we pick a day.

Last thought - this was Roxie the Shop Dog's first Art Walk. Honestly, we were a little worried about her; wide open door, lots of people, lots of food, and generally a fair number of small children, of whom Roxie is still a little unsure. (A trainer tells us that kids are at eye level to dogs, which they find threatening; regular training is needed to overcome this.) It all adds up to sensory overload for a 5 month old puppy! Much to our delight, Roxie was fantastic - she charmed folks left and right, tried just twice to snack on somebody's treats, and only made a break for the door a couple of times. By about 5 p.m., she was pretty worn out (so were we, Roxie!) and fell asleep on the love seat in the gallery. All in all, a successful evening!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Spring Art Walk 2010: Bacon and Eggs?

Please join us this Saturday, May 8th, for the Spring Art Walk in Bigfork. The Taste of Bigfork in late April and the Spring Art Walk in May traditionally mark the beginning of the "season" here in Bigfork - this is the time of year when the golf course at Eagle Bend is lush and green, the flowers are in bloom in front of the Playhouse and the folks who summer in Bigfork start to arrive in greater numbers. The "second homers" here now are probably a little dismayed, as are most of us who live here, because Spring seems to be completely unwilling to make an appearance. Yesterday found temperatures in the mid 30s, and snow fell pretty much all day, though it never accumulated here in town. It's May - what's up? We're all a little stir crazy here in Bigfork - not enough sun and not enough time on the lake or in the yard. However, this weekend is supposed to be warm and dry, so you should plan on spending part of the afternoon on Electric Avenue, strolling through the shops and galleries, sampling goodies and chatting with your friends and neighbors.

For several years now we've hired a caterer to prepare the food for our Summer artist's receptions (thanks, Josh!) but we always prepare food ourselves for Art Walk. We generally try and work around some sort of theme; this year's is Bacon and Eggs! No, we won't be serving breakfast, but every single item, both savory and sweet, is going to feature either bacon or eggs or both. I'm not going to spoil the surprise by revealing any dishes just yet, so you'll have to stop in to find out exactly what we've got up our sleeves. We'll be open until 7 on Saturday, so make a point to visit us.

Of course, the point of Art Walk isn't to showcase the food, so we're rehanging the gallery and will feature several new paintings and prints for your viewing (and shopping) pleasure. It's still pretty drab outside, so come in for a bit of color! We look forward to seeing you!

Friday, April 30, 2010

Vibrant Artwork to Combat the Winter Blues

Nancy Dunlop Cawdrey is by far our most popular artist. Known for her vibrant colors, Nancy paints with French dye on silk, a modern interpretation of a painting medium that originated in China literally thousands of years ago. The technique is most similar to watercolor; vibrant dyes are painted directly onto stretched silk with a variety of brushes. Nancy further enhances her artwork through a variety of other mediums, and she's a talented oil painter, creating traditional landscapes and portraits that surprise many of her fans.

Nancy's father was a career military officer and diplomat, so she spent her childhood moving around the world and absorbing a vast diversity of cultures. She's been painting for nearly four decades now and has lived in Montana for more than 20 years after living and studying in Britain, France, Italy and Egypt. Nancy is represented in major galleries throughout the United States, and her presence at the CM Russell Art Auction has helped to transform the Western art market over the past several years. At one time, vibrant paintings like Nancy's were uncommon in an industry that clung to tradition. Now, literally dozens of artists work in the colors and styles that Nancy helped make so popular. Her paintings are widely collected, and pieces at auction regularly bring record prices. Nancy doesn't constrain herself to painting one thing, like landscapes or wildlife; instead, her subject matter is all over the map! I strongly feel that her best paintings are the florals for which she originally became so well known, but her most collected pieces now include tipis, bears and moose, running horses and perhaps most surprisingly, comical French chefs!

We've represented Nancy here at Frame of Reference for almost seven years now. Her husband and business manager, Steve, originally approached us about showing her paintings, but the conversation quickly morphed into a discussion about framing. The end result is that we now frame every painting that Nancy produces. It's great fun for us for a couple of reasons. First and foremost, we get first pick of any available paintings to show here in Bigfork, so our inventory is always fresh. Next, we get to suggest subject matter, from herons to penguins to the tropical fish that Nancy started experimenting with this past summer. Finally, we will frequently collaborate with Nancy to create adventurous frames for special pieces. The fish shown here- "Little Picasso" - is a prime example; it features three stacked frames and an inner detail of multicolored anodized aluminum. The end result is both exciting and perfectly balanced with the artwork. Sadly, this painting is sold (I wanted it for myself!)

After a brilliant dollop of sunshine and warmth in mid March, the weather here in Bigfork has been dismal lately. Gray skies, rain, fog and wet heavy snow have persisted for weeks now, draining my will to live and severely limiting my time outside on a bicycle or working in the yard. It snowed 8" just five miles north of here yesterday - right on my favorite cycling route! With so little color outside, it's the perfect time for bright, energetic artwork like Nancy's! Stop by and visit us for a dose of color that will zap you like a good shot of espresso - we carry Nancy's original paintings, giclees, lithographs, posters and even greeting cards, so there's something to enjoy for every budget!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Shop Dog Blog!

We have a new employee here at Frame of Reference - her name is Roxie, and photos are attached for your viewing pleasure. We plan to have her answer the phones when we can find a headset that stays on her head, but until then, her only task here is to be adorable and greet our friends and customers. (Walmart's got nuthin' on us!) She loves people, and we encourage you to stop by and say hello!
Roxie is part Boxer and part Something Else; she was born some time around Thanksgiving and was abandoned by her previous owner in Kalispell's Woodland Park at the tender age of ten weeks, so we don't know her actual lineage. Puppies are not kept at the Flathead County Animal Shelter because of the Parvo Virus, so she was cared for by a foster family here in Bigfork. Christine met Roxie at Crossfit ( when her foster mom (Martina) brought her to a potential adoptive parent. A couple of weeks later, Christine mentioned to Martina's mother that Martina had brought the cutest puppy in the world to Crossfit, only to discover that she still hadn't been adopted. The next day, Roxie came to Frame of Reference for a visit, and three days after that Christine formalized the adoption. That was eight weeks ago, and now we're wondering how we survived without a Shop Dog for the last 12 years! Roxie has a huge fan club, and a handful of people each day stop in just to get their "Roxie fix". Christine would like Roxie to be a therapy dog when she's older, but we're realizing that she already fills that role for a whole pile of folks here in town!

We're very respectful of our customers, so rest assured that if you're not a dog person Roxie will stay in the workroom.
In addition to looking for that headset, we're slowly grooming Roxie to take over the blog (typing is hard in the absence of opposable thumbs) so drop her a line sometime!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sarah Rogers

Sarah is one of two new artists in the gallery this year; the other - Tara Moore - will be featured in a later post. Like the vast majority of art shown here at Frame of Reference, Sarah's work is bright and colorful. She works in watercolor, a medium I generally think of as pretty quiet and soft, and the results are anything but. Bears, bison, wolves and horses feature prominently in Sarah's work, and her art is available in a variety of forms and price ranges - everything from greeting cards to original paintings. One of Sarah's paintings was featured on the cover of the April 2009 issue of Southwest Art magazine, quite a coup for her. She describes her images as "tropical western wildlife" - you can certainly see why! The pictures below are just a small representation of the pieces we're showing - please drop us a line if you'd like to see more!

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nonna's Kitchen blog

A few months ago, I started writing a series of articles in the Lakeshore Country Journal, a biweekly free newspaper published here in Bigfork. Entitled Nonna's Kitchen - Italian Comfort Food, the articles contain recipes and stories about my family's Italian heritage. Several people have inquired about accessing back issues, but the LCJ doesn't have an online presence, so I'd originally intended to post articles here, on the Frame of Reference blog. I've decided that may get a bit confusing, so I've created a blog specifically for the articles. The address is - the hyphen is important, as was already taken. I hope you enjoy the recipes! Mangia, mangia, fatte grande!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Reviving the Blog

Okay, new year, new committment to having an online presence. Yes, we could wax poetic about the best intentions of mice and men, but the truth of the matter is that it takes a lot of time to keep going on something like this, and clearly, Christine and I both suck at it. It's not that we lack the ability - I think both of us are pretty tech-savvy for 40-somethings. The primary obstacle to our electronic presence is simple lack of time; the reality of picture framing is that we must build everything we sell, so there's always work to do, even during the painfully slow winter months. Add in building maintenance, paperwork, cleaning and working with clients and we find that we could always use a few more hours in each day. I suppose nearly everyone feels this way, so it's a pretty lame excuse...

We've essentially abandoned the traditional webpage concept, largely because of a sour aftertaste that lingers after an unsatisfactory experience with the designer we hired. The plan was for this blog to supplant the website and serve as a forum for us to talk about new artists, great framing design and all of the intangibles that make Frame of Reference unique. So, starting now, we're going to follow through, even if it means less sleep. Here's a little teaser - a new giclee from Wyoming artist Sarah Rogers, who is new to us this season. We've admired her work for years, and are delighted to represent her work here in Bigfork. I'll post a bio and more images here shortly, but until then, feast your eyes on Calfleen!