Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Doers and Dreamers.....

On our walk last week along the local Audubon Trail, this was chalked on the concrete at the beginning of the trail: " The hardest step is out the door. Keep Going!"  Yes.

Though we did not see the owlets we had hoped to see on that walk (having waited too long to get out the door,) we did see some marvelous things.

I have always kind of categorized 'creative folk' as either doers or dreamers: those who do the work, or those who just dream and plan, but never really get their hands or brushes dirty, or keep their bobbins full. I know that 'categorization' is a faulty one, for the most part, because I, for one, am both a dreamer and a doer. Lately, however, I have had a life very full of non-work things, and sometimes dreaming is the most productive thing I've been able to do. So I have been checking out books from the library, to take with me when I sat with my mom at her rehab place, or when she was in the hospital, or with my early morning coffee, before the days errands begin.

A lot of the books have been about sketching, and they mostly all say the same thing: Just Do It. I haven't read anything new or earth shattering (or even particularly inspiring) in any of them. None of them will do the sketching, or the painting, or the weaving for me.

So I have been sneaking in a few moments to do quick sketches in my sketchbook - though my sketchbooks have been much fuller by this time, in past years.

I am still not at all happy with the 'new' paper in the Moleskine sketchbook, and that perhaps is also a discouraging factor for my productivity.

Today is another busy day. Busyness is a good thing. But I occasionally need, also, to step IN the door of my studio - and keep going. Work is waiting for me there, and I dream of doing it.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Still here?

I am still here.... but not really still 'here'.... if 'here' is my studio. It has been sadly neglected while I've been busy with other things lately. My mom broke her hip, so the past 8 weeks have been hospital and rehab times, rather than studio times. There are times like that, and I am glad my work is flexible enough to adapt.

I DID get some new 'weaver's shoes' during that time, for my birthday. The first 'weaver's shoes' I had were a pair of brown woven leather Clark's clogs. I wore them to a conference where I was teaching, and almost all my students had the same shoes, in either black or brown! Weavers love 'weaver's shoes!' I have another pair that I almost feel guilty to wear, because they are clogs made from an actual primitive tapestry. These new ones are made of woven elastic bands. They feel great, and I will be looking at every weaver's feet for awhile to see which color and style they are wearing.

While I have been otherwise busy, my roses have bloomed,

and Mother's Day flowers and wonders arrived, including this awesome card from my grand-daughter. My immediate thought was 'if she thinks I can save the world by painting, I need to get busy and paint!' And she may be right. My creativity is certainly the most powerful 'weapon for good' that I have. Must. Use. It. The world is counting on it - at least my granddaughter knows that.

My lilies of the valley are the most beautiful and prolific that they've been for years, and my peonies are opening. Also, my red Austrian rose bush is somehow becoming a pink bush. It is a mystery: it has bloomed red for years, but a few years ago, after the red blooms were done, a very few (2-3) pink roses bloomed. Last year, there were half a dozen pink later blossoms. This year, there weren't as many red blooms as usual, and now that they are gone, there are almost as many pink blooms as there were red! They are on the same branches as the red roses. Very bizarre. They are not just 'faded red' blooms; they are distinctly a different rose. Curious and curiouser.

The only creative thing I have done lately is to begin knitting a 'special order' cap for my grandson, when we went to the cabin for a night. Then I decided to stop knitting and do a sketch. I had only taken a small bag of colored pencils, so it is a very simple sketch, but sometimes those are my favorites. The can that is holding the ball of yarn is an old vintage knitting tin with a hole in the lid for the yarn to come through. 

I hope to get into the studio today, and maybe even tomorrow; at least for an hour or two each day. I have come to a place in the tapestry where I need to make some serious new color choices, so it will need to be during daylight hours. Well, off the computer (which has also been quite neglected lately - I need to go through and deal with hundreds of emails, I see!) and on to other things - including some studio time, I am hoping.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Still here.....

I am still here.... though I can imagine you might find that hard to believe, as I've not posted for almost three weeks! My Mom broke her hip 4 weeks ago, and has been in a rehab facility, and my husband was gone a week of that time, as his dad was in hospital in another state, as well. So we are busy, just not busy with things of general interest to others.

I had a birthday this week. I share the Queen's birthday, so I really prefer to celebrate 'Queen's Day,' as that phrase doesn't necessarily allude to the fact that I am aging. I drank a tea toast to us (Queen E and myself) on our day, in the cup I believe she would have liked me to use (no chipped 'mug' on Queen's Day!)

I have been sneaking in an occasional few minutes of weaving, whenever I can find time. A tapestry still is managing to grow, even though I am just weaving small snippets at a time, so it is growing v..e..r..y slowly, even more slowly than a tapestry usually grows. My biggest worry with doing it this way is that, with such non-concentrated bits of time, I lose track of what I wanted, and feel like it may not be the image I had in mind when I began the piece. But that may always happen, to some extent. It just feels a bit disjointed to weave this way, and I hope that 'disjointedness' does not show in the finished work.

And.... speaking of things done in tiny snippets of time.... I haven't been getting much sketching done either. And the little sketches I've done are not 'artistic' in any sense of the word! They are more to help me to remember things I don't want to forget - to capture some memories. So, the sketch above was done to remember a lovely 'Earth Day' moment. Maybe you can read the story on the sketch, but it basically is of a moment when my husband and I drove over to see Mom, as we do each early evening. We saw a heron circling overhead, and watched as he landed on the roof across the street, which sports a heron weathervane! The real heron sat there a few minutes, gazing at the weathervane, as we and another person in the parking lot watched, then it flapped it's huge wings and flew away.

And, since I love to tell stories (whether in words or images):  This morning at about 4:00 a.m. we heard the unmistakable voice of Siri, saying in her dulcet tones, "What can I help you with?"  The answer; 'Meow!'  "Sorry, I'm not sure what you said," replied Siri.  I chose to ignore it, until the entire two-way conversation was repeated a few minutes later. I sat up and saw Gus, sitting on my iPad, seeming quite happy and proud that he had found someone to converse with at 4 a.m. - which has long been a goal of his. Quite a shame, really, that Siri doesn't speak cat.

Friday, April 3, 2015

A lot can happen when you are away from the loom.....

I have not been in the studio for awhile. I have been busy with other things. At the beginning of March, we went to Kansas to help my father-in-law move. Then, my Mother fell and broke her hip a week and a half ago. So we have been doing whatever needs to be done to help, whenever and wherever we can, and just trying to keep up.

The view above of our beautiful valley is from my Mom's hospital room. The whole valley could be seen, and I loved watching the sky change each day/

While there, my brother found my painting the hospital had purchased a few years ago. It is in the family waiting room on the maternity floor. It was good to see it again! Several people had told me they'd seen it in the time it's been there, but this was the first time I'd seen it in it's new 'home.' It looks good there! They 'matched the sofa' with it. (This is my husband, sitting there for me.)

While we have been busy with family needs, spring has come to Colorado! Our apricot tree bloomed, the lilacs bloomed, the daffodils are long gone, and the tulips and quince bushes are now blooming. I noticed yesterday that my peonies are already knee-high! I need to find a bit of garden work time! And some studio work time, as well. I'm afraid I will not meet my deadline of getting the 'July' tapestry off the loom by the end of this month. I'll just do what I can, and will try not to worry about what I cannot do, I guess.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Working my way towards my work....

I caught Gus in this 'dead to the world' nap pose early this morning. Though the sun was not yet up, I had been up awhile already, making out my various ToDo lists for the day ahead. I have to admit to quite a bit of jealousy on my part: his 'I'm asleep, leave me alone' lifestyle looks pretty good to me right now! But, I have those ToDo lists: as lengthy as Santa's GoodKid lists, I think.

Among the many other things on my lists, I have a new piece of 'organizational' furniture to somehow get into my studio. It is a beautiful antique wardrobe that had belonged to my husband's parents. The idea is that it will take the place of three other pieces of furniture in the studio, freeing up some floor space. So now I have to empty those unwanted (but full) storage pieces and find places for them or get rid of them, and that starts a real falling-dominos effect in the household. Must be done soon, though, as the wardrobe can't sit in the upstairs hallway forever! It also must be done soon so that I can get back to work at the loom. I have a deadline goal of getting the 'July' tapestry off the loom by the end of April, at the very latest.

Another cup of coffee, I think, before I tackle those lists! (Tho' what I really want to do is curl and take a catnap with Gus.) It has been good to visit a minute with you here again....

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

December, coming soon (I hope)

Yesterday was another 'Studio Tuesday' when I didn't even step foot into my studio. But I did get my 2014 taxes done, and that counts for something!

I have also been working out a design for the final Calendar Series tapestry, which will be for the month of December.

These are some of the images I considered, but none of them made it to the 'final choice' stage.

They are all pretty good images for December, but each, for one reason or another, left me dissatisfied.

None say "December" to me, though all are images I collected in the month of December.

These images are from photos; most from more than one merged image. So they might look a bit choppy here or there.

And, though I will not be weaving any of these for this series, there are several here that I love, and may end up painting at some point.

I hope, when I do 'reveal' the final design choice, it will not be a total disappointment to too many. I just have to go with what excites me, as I'll be spending the loom time creating it. Also, I wanted an image that would fill out and complete the series as a whole and would not feel repetitive.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Studio work and play...

I made a bit of progress on the "July" tapestry today. I haven't been at the loom for about a week, so it took some time for me to remember where I was going!

Yesterday I worked for awhile on this little Kansas painting. It is small, just 5x7". It is from a photo I took of a copse of trees the morning we left Kansas. There was a setting full moon; I believe it was one of the Super Moons to be in 2015. I just liked the colors of the mostly bare trees and the bits of snow on the ground. Trees in Kansas are always a rare and beautiful thing! I don't know if I'm done with this painting or not. It can sit and dry while I 'contemplate it's level of completion.' Right now, I kind of like it's sparseness. It says Kansas to me. A place where the moon can be the center of attention in a landscape.

I have been struggling with my 2015 sketchbook. I like to keep a sketchbook, almost like a journal, as a collection of images from my daily life over the course of a year. But Moleskine (which has been my sketchbook of choice for the past 4 years) has changed their paper. I searched the Internet and discovered that I am not the only former Moleskine fan who is unhappy with the change! I emailed Moleskine a few weeks ago, and have not received any response. I hate to lose the first two months of my year's sketches by starting a new sketchbook. So I decided to try using other media than the watercolor and ink I have used in the past. There are several illustrators whose work I truly admire who use cheap acrylic on cheap paper, with great results. So I got some cheap acrylics and put them in these little sealable pots (they remind me of the paints that come with Paint by Number sets.) I did a few pages, and am discovering that it works pretty well. It doesn't work if I try use the paint watered down, transparently. It is then just like watercolor, and the paper absorbs most of it. But if I use it thickly, it it very bright, like a child's painting, and I think I like it! So I'll keep going, and I may end up with a totally new sketch style! New style = new way of looking and seeing, usually, so maybe this will be a Good Thing. I hope so, at any rate.