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Bend Artist Kristine Cooper holds a beloved print titled Summer Dreaming inspired by the Bend Mountain Landscape, 3 Sisters

The Blog

Welcome to my journal musings! I started this beautiful spot in 2020, as a place to bring my stories to life. 

If something resonates with what I wrote, I would love to hear from you!


When I think of what places have inspired me most I try to think back of where I felt most alive and in my body. Here is a short list of some of my favorites that I have discovered and enjoyed while being here. These spots infuse their magic into my artworks, so if you want to see some of the inspirations behind my art, head on adventure to these places:

Kristine Cooper getting married at Smith Rock State Park in Central Oregon. Wedding Event
My wedding day at Smith Rock State Park

I know I refer to this place a lot, but it's for good reason I tell you! I was married here in October 2023, and this place has always stood out to me as other worldly. The rock formations are unique, and there is something for every outdoor adventurer here. Big hikes, small ones, and plenty of climbing spots. My favorite time to go here is in the summer evenings when the crowds thin out, the frogs start to sing and the sunsets cast warm colors onto the rocks.

One day I went to the Flamingo Room Lounge in Bend and stumbled upon this group. My husband and I joined in the dancing and had a wonderful night out. They rotate to different location venues, and are so welcoming and fun. Even if you're not a great dancer, you are welcome here. This is a fun activity to partake in.

This yoga studio located in Redmond, Oregon is welcoming to anyone who walks in the doors. If you have never touched a yoga mat before, this is your spot. If you've done yoga for years, this is your spot. My artwork is adorning the walls of this soulful place, and it's where I regularly go for community and yoga. There is something special in the air here, and you can feel it when you show up.

This mountain offers a really neat way to learn the ropes of snowboarding or skiing. I did the ride in 5 (which is a special program that teaches you how to snowboard). The instructors were kind and energetic. I had a blast learning how to snowboard, and my journey on the mountain made my winters a whole lot more fun. I don't go as often as I wish I could, but this mountain is a really special way to enjoy the day.

Although I don't have my personal artwork hanging in this space, I love visiting and enjoying the afternoon here. Some of my favorite small makers including Amulette Studios & Sansarc sell their goods out of this location. There is a plethora of fun finds and groovy gifts, and I usually find something I can't resist here.

A short drive south of Bend is this beautiful trail, one I find easy to do on my own on an afternoon spontaneously. I love the landscape at this location with the lava rocks and mountain views. There's even a neat fire lookout to explore at the top. Definitely one of my favorites.

Not only have I been a vendor at this market for the past 2 years, I also genuinely LOVE this market. There are so many micro businesses to support that are crafting up creative food, gifts and ideas that it's blossoming with vitality here. I enjoy being a part of this market just as much as getting to attend it. It truly is local community.

Kristine Cooper, Bend Artist showing her work at Northwest Crossing Farmers Market
Northwest Crossing Market

My favorite music venue in town. I have always felt like this spot is a hidden gem in the community. The acts they bring in are great small independent artists and I really enjoy the vibe of the location. If I need a pick me up or inspiration, I usually look up whose playing music at the volcanic.

This special place with the wood plank walls, smell of firepits and the unbelievable soaking pool make it one of my favorite little hangouts in town. This location has so many fun things to do, from watching a move in their old theatre to enjoying a firepit with friends. I always leave here more relaxed and in good spirits after spending the day or evening here.

This lake is one of my go-to spots in the summer. The icy blue lake and the sweet lodge that offers snacks makes it an easy spot to lounge, read a book and paddle board the day away. Definitely worth planning a getaway or a day trip if you haven't been here before.

This is my short list- there are SO many more places I could tell you about! Which ones of these are your favorites? Let me know in the comments below!

Suttle Lake Central Oregon Discover a new destination to travel to.
Hanging out with the art at Suttle Lake

Top 10 places for inspiration in Bend Oregon

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I found Bend by chance in 2017. I had just graduated Seattle Pacific University with an arts degree and very little spare change working full-time as a manager in retail. A friend recommended that I check out Bend, as he thought it would be an inspiring place for me. A couple of months later I drove down through the rainy mountain pass and checked out downtown Bend. I was there during a first Friday which was bustling and electric. I could feel how the community truly wanted to see artists succeed, which was something that really spoke to me. Between the landscape and the community, I was 100% in.

That summer of 2017 I made the leap. I knew maybe a total of 2 people who were acquaintances but I knew the risk would be worth it do something completely on my own. There is a deep calling in all of us to step into something bold in our lives, and this time was one of them. Leaving the comfort of home for something uncomfortable that could potentially expand myself further. 

After moving I got a small apartment and made the entire living room my art studio. I was obsessed with creating because of the majestic beauty all around. I soon found Smith Rock to be a sanctuary and a place of restoration on my weekends. I began snowshoeing, snowboarding and hiking through trails that left me awe struck with wonder. My art practice felt more inspired and authentic than ever before. 

My time here has been full of ups and downs, but I have expanded into a whole different person. Arriving here as a scared 23 year old and now at 29 years old becoming a bold business owner and creator wasn’t easy. This community has supported me in a way that I never could have imagined, and I truly can’t thank you enough for seeing my potential. Every interaction, sale and kind gesture has kept me going on this creative endeavor. There are times I’ve wanted to quit, or throw the entire thing out the window, but here I am showing up and you’re showing up right alongside me. 


The Artist Life In Bend Oregon: A Journey of Inspiration and Creativity

Bend Oregon Artist Kristine Cooper Panting Stories

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Updated: Nov 2, 2020

I'm standing directly in front of a large four foot canvas; I've had an idea sitting in my head for months. My ideas finally start to spill out and with it, I also feel a sense of release and tranquility. My hands are jittery because I care so much about how it looks and I am immersed with every brushstroke. This is art. This is the process. I may paint something in a color that I need to cover up; I may take a week to paint something, or it could take over a year because it needed so many revisions. Art is tricky like that, I may think the piece is coming together, and then I realize I don't like it and I reuse the canvas to do something different.

" The Alley" 36x36" by Kristine Cooper

When I was in college someone told me "I wish I was a painter so I could play with paints in a studio all day, sounds like fun". In essence, that individual gave me the impression that they didn't think painting was hard work. But the truth is painting is hard work, and I am so glad I get to be a part of it. It's difficult and challenging, and once I unlock a new design or style, it feels incredible. I am sure that's how all creatives feel. Their work goes through different seasons, but it's still worth the investment. It is a soul purpose.

While the artistic process can sometimes put me in what feels like pothole, I always come back. I take a break from the studio and do what inspires me. While we are still living through a pandemic, so many of my usual things are off the table I thought I'd share what my inspirations are:

  • Live music, or if at home blasting music on speakers

  • Going to salvage yards and antique stores. Wandering the aisles of strange things from the past always leaves me feeling more inspired

  • Hiking and being out in nature.

  • Travel. New places are crucial in letting my mind be free to new ideas.

  • Cooking, exploring different cuisines from around the world

If you're a creative, what do you do to bring yourself out of a creative rut? Have there been things that have re-energized you through the pandemic?

I curated a playlist specifically to bring some new music to you, for journaling, yoga, cooking or whatever creative moment you want to use it for, click on the image below and enjoy!

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