A Resident’s Perspective – Lunch in The Gallery

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2016

Enjoying lunch together, our conversation turned toward the walls of Panorama’s new, smaller restaurant called The Gallery. It accommodates about 60, and is next to our largest restaurant, Seventeen51.

“Granny, this is like eating in an art museum!” Our nine-year-old granddaughter Hope’s eyes focused on hand-woven tapestry and fabric hangings, pen and ink, fused glass, and color pencil displays. She laid her fork down. “I like the fat, brown and black, fuzzy caterpillar. I wonder how you make it. The little sign says the caterpillar is on two layers of handmade tapestry. But my other favorite is the fuzzy wolf head. I like how it sticks out from the wall.”

Gallery Wolf

“The caterpillar is cut yarn loops, and the wolf head is needle felting,” I said. “Look at the life-like graphite, oils, and textiles exhibits. They are incredible. Someone teaches those skills here at Panorama.”

Gallery Sea Creatures

Hope pointed to the framed assemblage. “I like how that one has lots of different things to make the fish and seaweed with metal, ceramics, and that string of red sequins. And those rusty metal chains make it look like real underwater stuff. Pawpaw, what’s your favorite?”


“The photos amaze me, but I think it’s so clever how each of the twenty artists made a different interpretation of the theme.”

“Theme, Pawpaw? What is it?”

“For about six months, it’s been Living and Fantasy Creatures.”

Biting a long French fry, Hope studied the displays again. “Oh, I get it. That’s why so many are unrealistic. That’s a great idea.”

Chris continued, “The next theme will be Never Too Old. With our creative Panorama resident artists, we can expect some interesting and comical entries.”

I added, “Yes, past themes were Portraits, Photos, Textiles, and 3D. Artists came up with all sorts of original ideas.”

“Granny, I can’t wait to come eat here when the new stuff is up. Are they for sale?” Hope asked.

“Not all are. Some artists spend months on them. I imagine they want the piece for special reasons, maybe to leave for their family members, things like that.”

“I wonder if anything ever happens to them, since they are in a dining room,” Chris asked.

My eyebrows raised. “I asked that question just last week. The artists sign permission waivers, and nothing has ever happened to the pieces. They’re not in the way of any danger. We only tease with jokes and puns in the restaurant–don’t think we’d resort to a seniors’ old fashion tomato throw!”

Suddenly two couples taking a campus tour with a marketing counselor stepped inside the dining room to glance around. They were captivated. “How nice to sit, dine, and visit with plenty opportunities for conversations on the walls.”

Gallery Living & Fantastical Creatures

We enjoyed their remark. Hope reiterated, “It’s like eating in a fun and fancy museum.”

Chris joked truthfully, “And the famous artists are our friends!”

Mary Jo Bio - Test

A Report from the Blues Mothers – An Indigo Day

Story and photos by Panorama resident, Charlie Keck. August 2016


From cowpokes to sequined models on the catwalk, everyone loves the color blue. Levi Strauss certainly knew a great color when he saw it.

Fabric-dyed-with-indigoIndigo has a checkered past.  In some cultures only royalty was allowed to wear cloth dyed blue.  Later there was so much demand for the color from wealthy Europeans that indigo became a major American cash crop.  Slaves did the difficult work including stomping large vats of the plants.  Cakes of dried indigo were then shipped to Europe.  Indigo was a highly desired dye all around the world including Japan, China and Africa.

Fresh-Indigo-leavesAt Panorama five skilled fiber artists and a couple of groupies gave a try at indigo dyeing using two methods.  The indigo was grown in the pea patch and three members harvested when it was still blessed with the morning dew.  The dyers then met in an “art studio” garage and stripped the leaves from the stems.

The-Cold-Indigo-MethodThe “cold” method is a slam-dunk if you have expendable blenders (The Barn-$5). After blending packed leaves and ice cubes, the macerated leaves were strained out in cheese cloth and the resulting liquid poured into a dyeing container with the fabric to be dyed.  Silk, linen and wool worked best.  After an hour or two, the cloth was withdrawn and dried.  It tended to have a greenish or aqua color.

Cooking-the-indigo-leavesThe “hot” method is a bit trickier. A suspension of leaves and water was placed in a non-reactive double boiler and very slowly (one hour) headed to the magic 160 degrees.  Then the leaves were taken out and a mystery powder called Thiox was added and, finally, the cloth to be dyed was gently slid into the dye.  Some of the artists created designs using rubber bands or pre-stitching.

Clothesline-for-dyed-fabricIt was fun to watch the dye-soaked cloth merge from the pot and develop lovely shades of blue and blue-green when it was exposed to the air. Then, as the cloth dried in the sun, the color lightened a bit.  Re-dyeing to obtain a darker color was saved for another day.

Our leader Nancy has many indigo plants in the garden and might be willing to barter for zucchini.


A Resident’s Perspective – Open Art Wednesdays

Written by Panorama resident, Mary Jo Shaw. August 2016

“I have a nice box of artist chalks, but the box says pastels, what do I do with them?” I asked resident sculptor, photographer, artist Neil.

“Oh, they’re chalks, but are called pastels,” he explained. “Come to the Panorama art studio on Wednesday mornings. Anyone can come, not for a class, but to do their own work. I’ll be there. We’ll help you get started.”

My eyes bulged. “Whoa! Nice! What do I bring? What kind of paper, and…”

Neil interrupted, “Just bring your pastels for the first time. Everything else is in the studio…paper, brushes, acrylics, reference photos, several OTTlites. Even a new overhead projector and light boxes.”

Wednesday came; so did I! I tiptoed into the room, not wanting to distract others. Four accomplished artists looked up and burst out, “Mary Jo, we’re so glad you came. Welcome!”

20160810_093451 (3)

I stood admiring the result of a completely gutted out room, now with state-of-the-art equipment and lights for more natural lighting.

My eye caught Sigree’s and Candy’s works. “The skin tones appear more rich and tan than the photo. You are way past good,” I affirmed.

I worked a while with my pastels on black and on white with Neil’s generous help and suggestions. I realized my cup of tea did not fill with chalks.

“How ‘bout watching a 10-minute DVD on dimension?” someone suggested. Neil got it running on the new large flat screen and tilted it toward our area. Even the seasoned artists picked up new angle ideas. April Works (treasurer of the arts studio) sat down and drew a wooden shed, practicing the tutorial, and amazed us with her shadings and dimensions.

For my visit the next Wednesday, I walked over with two trays of watercolor paints I bought for 50 cents each from Panorama’s Annual Patio sale and a box of 12 watercolor pencils. April popped in a 10-minute basic watercolor techniques DVD. We all learned how to shave the colored pencil with a finger nail file over the watered paper to get a tiny splattered effect.

The large box of watercolor pencils and the smaller brush I borrowed from the art room offered a better selection. I experimented and colored one of my own eight 4”x5”coloring cards from one of the sets I drew to sell in our Gift Shop. I was proud of and comfortable with my work.

Florence looked up from her flawless sketching and reminded me, “Mary Jo, we are allowed check out DVDs from the large selection of tutorials.

April opened new cabinets to introduce me to items available including props such as styrofoam balls, cones, and cubes. In addition, art books, matte cutter, batts and roving, needle felting cabinets donned neat labels.

art_room_booksI was curious, “Why do you come over here on Wednesdays? Is anyone in charge of all of this organization?”

I jerked when in unison they raised their pencils and spoke at one time.

“Interruptions at home and setting up to work on projects take time.”

“Joyce Jaime is chair of the 2D Arts Studio and teaches many of the classes. Besides resident instructors, we have off campus teachers for other classes.”

“Here, we visit, get more art done, share ideas, clean up quicker, and return home with enthusiasm.”

I experienced my question, “Why do you come?” Carrying enthusiasm of friends and ideas in my art bag, I bounced on my feet as I smiled from ear to ear, walking back home–with my pencils and paints.

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I had a story to share about one of the updated, specially equipped studios at Panorama: 2D art, ceramics, lapidary, metal work, weaving, and woodworking. We also have many formal and informal groups who gather in rooms to pursue basket-weaving, embroidery, fibers arts, fly-tying, knitting, Kumihimo braiding, and quilt-making. How blessed we are.

Mary Jo Bio - Test

PC Chorus Spring Concert – May 2016

Written by Panorama staff. May 2016

With ten minutes until the start of the concert, the Auditorium was already packed with people. Residents, friends and family members squeezed together in excitement for the start of the PC Chorus Spring Concert. The chorus eagerly sat on the stage, waiting to start performing the songs they had practiced repeatedly.

As the concert began, a theme was introduced: “A Grand Night of Singing.” Each member of the chorus was asked to pick their favorite song from 10 years of past spring concerts and the top favorites were compiled into the concert’s program. The selections were fantastic with famous songs like “Mr. Sandman,” “Sunrise, Sunset,” and “Amazing Grace.”

Panorama Chorus Spring ConcertThe audience could enjoy songs with the full impact of the entire chorus singing. Sometimes, songs were split within the chorus, between the altos and sopranos or the tenors and basses, allowing those groups to shine and standout. The chorus finished with a huge patriotic bang, singing “Stars & Stripes Forever” and “You’re a Grand Ole Flag.” The concert was a must-see event at Panorama this past weekend! Events like this are a wonderful opportunity to experience the diverse talents alive in this community.

PC Chorus Concert 2016

KPAN Presents Workshops with Katherine Billings






As residents are seated comfortably in the Panorama Auditorium seats, a screen portrays the chapter selection for “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” Between the microphones being handed out and the movie, it is exciting to see what Katherine, Auditorium Coordinator, has in store for her students. As the workshop starts, Katherine dives into the world of voice over animation and post-production sound. Her intention for this session is to give her students a chance to put their voices in place of the characters’. It seems like a simple task until the students take a shot at it. The sound is turned off and subtitles scroll across the screen as each scene is played once before the students give it a try. With a combination of humans and animated characters, “Roger Rabbit” is a nice example to start with. Between the wide moving lips and fast paced subtitles, students quickly learn the difficultly of fitting their voice into a character.

Between multiple movie scenes, including some from “Up” and “Madagascar”, Katherine talks about post-production sound and how it plays a key role in movies. She covers a large amount of “behind the scenes” information of post-production sound, using technical terms and even sharing stories from past jobs. With practice and Katherine’s tips, the students slowly begin to learn how to articulate and pace themselves, improving the quality of their voiceover skills.

What seems to be a fun chance to voice an animated character is actually an in-depth lesson and background into the film industry. One small part of film making contributes a large deal to the creation of a film. If you ever have a moment, turn off your volume while watching a movie. Without any sound, the movie loses its pizzazz. Take out the extras, background noises, or even the music, and the film is just a series of scenes with simple dialogue.

Panorama residents are lifelong learners! In the workshop described above, they challenge themselves to “think out of the box” and find how many characters they can create with their voices and imagination. And…the laughter never stops!

KPAN is a resident performance group which creates live radio shows to delight audiences of fellow Panorama residents. The group has written radio shows and commercials looking back at the 1940’s & 50’s, honored Panorama Veterans in a show about how they served their country, discussed the media’s responsibility to its listeners in exploring the iconic broadcast, War of the Worlds,  and even created their own send ups of all things Panorama called Primose Path and Panoramaland.

Katherine Billings Bio


Requiem for a Giant Sequoia

Written by Panorama employee, Jacklynn Roberts. November 2015

In July we said farewell to a well known and beloved member of our arboretum. A 47 year old sequoia tree had become diseased and in danger of falling. The news that it had to come down safely before it fell on its own was hard for our community to hear but we knew it had to be done. So we gathered around and watched the two day process of tree felling so we wouldn’t forget the beauty of what stood there before. Read one resident’s farewell thoughts here.

After the tree came down, pieces of its trunk were taken for repurposing throughout the campus. Many took small pieces as a token of memorial in their own home, while others had plans for larger pieces. One such case resulted in a beautiful piece of native style art by resident artist, Chuck Magnusson. Northwest Native Style Sequoia Art

In this carving, the top face represents the life of the tree. The bottom face, a traditional native death mask, represents the death and felling of the tree. While the middle, an owl face, represents the life and sanctuary the tree provided for birds.



 About the Artist

Eighteen years ago, Chuck Magnusson took a class at the Seattle Art Museum that taught him to carve in a traditional style with traditional tools, adze, and knives.  Since then, he has been carving masks, bowls, and ceremonial rattles. He still considers himself a student of this stunning art form and the amazing culture of the First Nation people who brought it to us.


A Resident’s Perspective – Arts and Appreciation

Written by Panorama resident, Sandy Bush. June 2015

Panorama is home to many artists working in many media. Recently Panorama and the Arts Guild sponsored a “first annual” Arts Walk here on campus. By all manner of measuring, this was a huge success. 

I must admit to being on the appreciation end of the art spectrum. My talents at crafts, art, musical ability and such are not up to what we were treated to in late May. So many venues displayed artistic talents of residents in the Panorama community. Active work by some involved was being displayed as we “appreciators” moved from building to building. The new clay workroom is quite a generous space and creations coming out of it are great! 


Resident Artist in action at the Clay Arts Studio

Stage works and visual photographic art were displayed at the Auditorium, running and alternating for the event. Piano music was enjoyed in both the Convalescent and Rehab lobby and in the restaurant which served a nicely put together array of luncheon choices. 


Resident Artist, Lillian K. – Photo courtesy of Charlie Keck

Many of our artists are busy in work shops (wood, fabric, metal, lapidary) not always seen by folks who live in this amazing community. It was an extra treat to have it all out on display for the walk around. The artistic energy is amazing! 

The day was sunny and bright and Panorama offered shuttles from venue to venue for those who were less steady on their feet. This made the entire outing accessible to so many. I think it was of interest to many who came from the greater Lacey/Olympia area as well. 

A display of this kind is never very successful without the time and effort put in by volunteers. Panorama is awash with caring folks who give of time, besides their talents, to keep activities rolling. Hats off to the entire band of volunteers, artists and staff that made this a wonderful day!!!! 


Resident Artist, Julia T.  – Photo courtesy of Charlie Keck.

Many of us will look forward to next year and perhaps the Second Annual Arts Walk at Panorama.


Sandy Bio


A Resident’s Perspective – Pinch-a-Pot Class

Written by Panorama resident, Beverly F. August 2014.

Co chairs of the Clay Studio, Emily Z. and Beverly F., recently sponsored a “Pinch a Pot” class. With a full roster of 13 participants, Emily introduced the wonders of clay by creating a small pot, pinched out of a ball of clay.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAmazing that from 13 balls of clay, 13 entirely different pots emerged from the hands of the class members. After the first firing, the class met again to learn about glazing. The studio was crowded, and the day was beautiful, so we moved outside to glaze our pots, learning that the color you place on your pot will not be the color you’ll see after the next firing.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe’re all waiting to see the outcome! Most class members were complete newbies, willing to try “something new”, and to their own pleased surprise, found a new skill in themselves! The clay studio is welcoming new members as a result!

The Voice of Panorama – Summer 2014

A collection of interviews, poems and stories by Panorama Writers.

Father and His Crew

Episode Three: Mother’s Mutiny

The family’s 30 foot houseboat, the WESIX, is now located at a marina on Barnegat Bay on the Jersey Shore.

Eldest Son is now 15 years old, Eldest Daughter is 13, Little Sister is 10 and Little Brother is 5.

Mother’s initial doubts about the supposed fun of boating had their beginning at about this time. Although she didn’t want to deflate Father’s ego, Mother was also having some concerns about his boat handling abilities.

The children appeared to be enjoying the numerous adventures, however, so Mother decided to be a sport, and grin and bear it. As a precaution, she imbedded in her mind where the emergency flares were kept and made sure she knew how to use them.

It was during the family’s vacation on Chesapeake Bay that mother mutinied. Everyone but mother thought the large wakes from passing ocean-going freighters and barges were exciting. Father skillfully steered their houseboat through the man-made swells at a correct angle. He and the children commented on how small the sailors looked way high on the decks of their ships. Mother was wondering if the family looked like ants to the sailors.

She became concerned about safety when the houseboat’s engine stopped. The boat began wildly rocking from side to side at an ever increasing angle. there was no way to control it without power.

Father and Eldest Son had the hatch cover off trying to determine what was wrong with the engine.

Mother said, ” We’re out of gas”.

Father replied, “That’s impossible”.

Mother yelled, “We’re going to capsize! I’m going to shoot a flare!”

Father shouted, “Don’t you dare!”

Mother shot the flare.

A very small motorboat quickly came to their rescue and ignominiously towed them to a marina. It was determined that they had run out of gas. Father (AKA captain) was embarrassed.

Mother’s reward for not saying “I told you so,” was dinner in a restaurant on solid ground. (By the way, this was a very special treat because Mother had a tendency to feel sea sick while cooking in the boat’s gallery).

Pacified, and feeling self righteous, Mother set her doubts aside and prepared for their continuing cruise down the Inland Waterway.

…Thank you again for sharing memories with me.

Watch for Episode Four: Sand and Flies

*** Nancy Lee Methenitis


Just Wondering

It is so beautiful

I wonder why

More don’t take time

To notice the sky.

Today it is blue,

Yesterday it was gray;

Sometimes it is mixed

With clouds gone astray.

Whether inside or out

Try taking a pause;

Look up, all around you,

And enjoy – just because.

*** Nancy Lee Methenitis


Readers Theatre and The Grand Christmas History of the Andy Landy Clan

Andy Landy ClanThe Panorama Readers Theatre group gave a delightful performance of the comical short play, The Grand Christmas History of the Andy Landy Clan, by Jules Tasca. The story follows the Landy family through years of Christmas letters as they share the details of their lives with one another. Each character is colorful in their own way and represents the differences we all find between our own lives and those of our relatives.

The Landys were represented by 5 readers who skillfully used voice manipulation and dramatic facial expression to bring life to the words of each Christmas letter. It was a uniquely hysterical  holiday show presented by a very talented crew.


Panorama resident, Mike T. as Bart Landy

Panorama resident, Mike T. as Bart Landy

Panorama resident, Ellie D. as Molly Landy

Panorama resident, Ellie D. as Molly Landy

Panorama resident, Elaine R. as Edna Landy

Panorama resident, Elaine R. as Edna Landy

Panorama resident, Helen S. and Sister Barbara Landy

Panorama resident, Helen S. as Sister Barbara Landy

Panorama resident, Mary Ann E. as Alice Landy

Panorama resident, Mary Ann E. as Alice Landy

Panorama Readers Theatre

The simplistic interpretive art form of Readers Theatre has become increasingly popular on Panorama’s campus. What started out as a subunit of the Drama Group has transformed into its own group of 30 active members performing seven  different programs throughout the year.

Readers Theatre is a form of storytelling that relies almost entirely on the actor’s voice and facial expressions; use of costumes and props is limited and stage set-up is minimalistic. Scripts are often short plays or a collection of readings that revolve around a common theme. For the Panorama Readers Theatre group, material is sometimes written by one of the directors; otherwise a commercial script is used, with funding support provided by the Resident Council.

Readers Theatre at Panorama is a friendly neighbor to two other theatre-style groups; KPan Players and Kaleidoscope Productions. From the perspective of the group’s president, Jeanette Willis, the three groups complement each other by providing varying opportunities for members to cultivate their skills and creativity.

“The more opportunities you have to practice this craft, the stronger everyone becomes. We strengthen each other and Readers Theatre is for those who love the sound of written language.”

 The idea that practice makes perfect is seen in the fact that each of the year’s seven performances is managed by a different director, all who started out as actors and let their talent grow. Membership is open to all Panorama residents, with no required auditions. They do encourage all who are interested in Readers Theatre to begin with participating in monthly Open Table gatherings where residents, including some Readers Theatre members, bring story selections to share aloud. It’s a casual starting point for anyone who wants to share.

Right now, the group is gearing up for their big holiday show on the 16th. They will be performing ” The Grand Christmas History of the Andy Landy Clan” by Jules Tasca, directed by Gail Madden and Elaine Rost. Stay tuned for a review of this show!

Readers Theater Dec 2013 (2)

  Some Readers Theatre members rehearse for the holiday show.

Active Retirement – K-Pan Live!

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to take part in the production of a live radio show? Or witnessed your own original script being brought to life on stage? Introducing K-Pan Live!

Where Panorama residents write their own radio shows and commercials, create the sound effects that bring them to life, man the technical operating systems, and direct the shows as they play out on stage in front of a live audience.

IMG_0240K-Pan is a fun and lively organization of Panorama residents that learn the skills to produce entertaining radio shows right here on campus. They take classes in voice over and radio techniques from the “On the Air” program at Panorama; where an industry professional teaches microphone techniques, script interpretation, and industry terms. Residents learn to create characters for animation and post production sound elements for film and television.

IMG_0264Once they have been armed with the knowledge and skills of production, our K-Pan players get to work! Building their shows from the ground up, members of K-Pan produce the show, direct the scenes, act the parts, and manufacture the sound effects. All their hard work culminates into the entertaining performances they put on in the Panorama Auditorium, which are most thoroughly enjoyed by fellow resident audiences!

IMG_0244When asked about the experience, one K-Pan player described it as a wonderful fellowship opportunity that allows residents to express their talent in a creative atmosphere. A husband and wife who participate in the group together said an experience like K-Pan is “something we’ve never had an opportunity to do. The great thing about retirement is you get these opportunities.”


K-Pan is just one of more than 80 clubs and organizations residents are enjoying everyday here at Panorama.


Featured Resident Poet

Untitled Dream– by Jeanne Gordner

While I slept,
the morning broke-

broke so softly
I never woke. Light slipped
silently off the clouds
and shattered
‘neath the sweet gum tree,
surprising flickers feeding there.

The brightest pieces lost
in unmowed grass and dandelions.

But all that day
in springtime showers
I searched for shards among the shadows,
unmatched shapes
soft and pliable as flowers,
and pressed them in a book.

On worried days I bring them out
and weave them in a golden ring,
warm as the morn they rained to me
radiant and quiet.

Jeanne will be reading her original poetry Sunday, July 24th at Traditions Cafe on 5th & Water St. in Olympia. The reading will begin at 2:00 p.m. and is expected to last approximately 45 minutes. The public is welcome to attend.