Category Archives: italy


There are some friends in your life that make a huge difference, who are with you every step of the way, and who brighten your day, month and year. Ivy is that friend. She is so generous and talented and I love her dearly. Now it’s my turn to be the friend who makes the difference, who is with her every step to brighten every day. She is undergoing major surgery tonight to remove a cancerous tumor. I am thinking of her and sending her my love, which will soon be followed by warm healing soup, wheat-free pies, and fun trashy magazines. What are friends for?!

update: Ivy’s surgery went very well with news that the cancer was no where near her lymph nodes. They got it all out, every last bit! Take that cancer!!

Ivy and I wine tasting in the Willamette Valley

Ivy, Tara and I searching for the perfect apple around Hood River, Oregon

Ivy and I traveling through Italy nearly a decade ago…

Ivy painting the beautiful hills around Siena, Italia

Celebrating spring when we were in graduate school at the University of Oregon


this beautiful form took me from a mountain top in oregon to a cliffside in italy – such strength, such simplicity, such contrast between light and dark. i love the way it frames views and forms the foundation for beautiful spaces.

mt. angel abbey

arches at mt. angel abbey

arches overlooking the mediterranean in cinque terre, italy (tara byler sawyer in 1999)

siena in portland

When I think of the four of us being together I can’t forget the image of us saying goodbye to each other in August 1999 on a blistering hot day on the streets of Rome after spending an idyllic month in the Tuscan town of Siena and its surrounding hills painting watercolors. We had capped our month in Siena off with a weeklong trip to the coastal town of Monterosso in Cinque Terre and then to Rome to see the Villa Lante. In Rome we were parting ways, Ivy was heading to Boston, Catriona was meeting up with Sam on Sardinia, Tara was heading south to Naples, and I was heading north to France.

The scene of our most recent reunion was a typical spring-like sunny and misty weekend in Portland where we ate dinner overlooking the city with a view of Mt. Hood and and watched an unusually tempestuous storm roll in. Ivy thought for sure it would just sprinkle a bit and pass by in time for a little jaunt to the nearby rose gardens, but the storm had a slightly different idea and unleashed more rain, thunder and lightning than I ever remember seeing in Portland.

At the end our weekend – after we had prowled around Portland’s east side – we realized we had the most fun when we were just hanging out and catching up. That was what it was all about.