Tuesday, July 22, 2014

From my sketchbook....

I have been pretty busy lately, but have had moments to sit, usually while on the phone. So I started doing this 'scribble' in my sketchbook - it's not really even well-planned enough to be a Zentangle, more just a doodle I guess.  But, over the past couple of days, it  has been growing to  fill a double spread of my 5.25"x 8.25" Moleskine sketchbook, and it was very calming and meditative to do... and, dare I say it?.... fun.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Trying to Catch Up......

Last week my husband was off work. He had scheduled it as a vacation week long ago,  as we had hoped to go to Convergence and the related exhibits in Rhode Island. But we decided that we just couldn't do that this year, for various reasons. So we went to see our kids in Denver for a few days, then went up to do some much needed work at our cabin for another few days during the week.

While at the cabin, I worked a bit  on a larger painting (which I will share at a later time) and on these tiny paintings. These three are each just 5x7 inches. It is really hard to get a decent photo of them! They are so small, that the texture of the canvas seems to interfere with photos. I'll have to work at it, to get better pictures somehow.

 The one above, especially, is hard to capture in a photo.

Anyway.... they are all a part of my little 'Places I Remember' paintings. The top one is from Ghost Ranch in New Mexico, and is of the Pedernal, the mountain Georgia O'Keefe said God would give her if she painted it enough. So I call it "Georgia's Mountain." 

The lower one is of Mesa Verde, here in Colorado. The middle one is just from my back yard. I will try to get a better photo of it. And - I'm not at all sure any of these are really 'done' yet, but I thought I would at least know I am still doing a bit of work. 

I hope to get into the studio later today to finish up the larger painting, and get things ready so I can weave tomorrow, on my Studio Tuesday!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

The Week that Was....

I feel like I have been very busy this week, but if you ask me what I did, I'm not sure I could tell you. Maybe because it has been so H.O.T..... and even humid, for the desert. I guess I have been very busy filling and emptying iced beverage glasses.

And I cleaned my house. That is a Big Thing, when it is hot and humid, and it hasn't really been done for awhile. I also tried out a new guitar (which I did not yet purchase,) and I began a new painting (which I did not yet finish,) and I sent the above little painting off to it's new home. (Thank You again, Julie, for supporting my Art Habit!)

While I did all these things, and felt 'busy,' but also guilty for not actually accomplishing more, I thought of my grandmothers, as I often do. I don't remember seeing them 'feel guilty' about not doing more. They both did quite a lot, but they also both knew that, in the heat of a summer's day, sometimes the best and right thing to do was to sip iced tea in front of a fan, watching a 'story' on TV; or to find shade on the porch with the newspaper; or to lie down in a cool bedroom with a good book, never minding if a short nap was the result. My grandmothers were both early-risers and early-to-bed-ers. They weeded their gardens and baked bread in the cool of the morning, then let the heat stop their industry, if need be. I am a grandmother myself now, but I don't feel like I live the simple and wise lives I saw my own grandmothers live. I run errands in the heat of the day. I chase my tail, trying to catch up with all the impossible tasks and endless ToDo lists I have set for myself.

Time to wise up, Granny! That iced tea I have been hauling around as I go here and there? I need to sit and enjoy it, letting the glass sweat with condensation, instead of sweating so much myself! And I need to grab a book or a magazine from that tall-to-toppling stack by the bed, and get better acquainted with the glider on my porch. The world will not end if I give in to the season a bit. In fact, maybe it will open up and become sweeter. And maybe my grandchildren will come to learn from me, that slowing down might just be a wise way to live, after all.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Tuesday is Work Day...

I have had so many life distractions lately, I have decided to set aside at least one non-negotiable, non-interruptable work day each week. For now, that day is Tuesday, which seems to be the most open day in my current calendar. So I have spent the morning in my studio, and have reached the one-third-of-the-way-to-the-finish point on the 'April' tapestry!

I am trying to mostly reserve this work day for actual studio work, as I can squeeze in moments to update this blog and Etsy, and to deal with exhibit requirements on most other days. But I needed to take a 'think break,' knowing that when I go back to the loom, I will be winding the warp forward, losing view of the lower few inches, so I need to know ahead of time where I will be going next.

So... during this break, I posted here, and added the above little canvas print to my Etsy shop. My son owns the original painting. It is of the Pont du Neuf (the 'new bridge' - tho' it is actually the oldest in Paris) on the Seine. This little print is one of my 'Places I Remember' series of paintings. And I do remember quite fondly this spot in Paris! If I turned to the right, the other direction, I would be looking at Notre Dame. When we first crossed this bridge, we caught our first view of the Eiffel Tower, further to the left up the Seine. A lovely spot! When I go there again, I want to sit and sketch somewhere near this bridge.

Back to work... my iced tea break with you is at an end!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A UFO and a FO....*

I have made a small bit of progress on the "April" tapestry, but, since we were away over the weekend, not a great bit of progress. I hope to move it up the warp some this week.  Too bad that my big loom is not portable! I would definitely move it up to the lake for the summer!

But, since the loom is not portable, and I don't want to start another tapestry on a small loom, I will continue to paint while at the cabin, I guess. This past weekend, I took up this canvas. I started it last summer (true confession.) I wanted to try using palette, or paint knives (which is the proper term, I have learned) to paint with. This was about halfway done when I just got too busy with other things to finish it, almost a year ago. It is on a canvas panel, 12 inches square. There is a LOT of paint on it; big chunky blobs of paint! I like that, but it was hard to finish it that way. I was clearly in a more generous mood with the paint when I did the first half, so I had to make myself replicate that, rather than smooth it on in my more usual, frugal manner. It was fun to paint 'chunky' and loose. I did not do any pre-drawing except what I had originally done with the paint knife. I loved painting in bright red, too! The whole experience (or the two separate experiences) felt 'juicy.' Like ripe tomatoes, only in paint..... if you know what I mean.

(Note: I painted tomatoes in this bowl once before, in a smaller format. The painting sold, but prints are available at Etsy, as you can see in the sidebar.)

*For those of you not up on crafting terminology, a UFO is an 'unfinished object' and a FO is, obviously, the more rare 'finished object.'

Monday, June 23, 2014

Mountain Getaway....

We finally got up to our cabin for a couple of nights over the weekend. It has been awhile since we've been there. We pass the huge mudslide that was on the national news a few weeks ago to get there.   It is still being monitored for more movement. Three men lost their lives in the slide. It was quite impressive, in a very sad way.

I love being where the big news of the day is new neighbors! My husband had built two birdhouses to take up to the cabin. Every year, we have at least one pair of birds nest ON the cabin. We used to have wrens, but the flycatchers have seemed to steal their spot. We have also had robins, which is a huge mess! Anyway, we are hoping these little bird mansions will replace sharing our cabin.

Before the houses were up a full day, a little flycatcher started checking out the real estate, then she began carrying sticks and twigs in. We spent a lot of time cheering her on from behind our window, through binoculars, and, for my husband, his long-lensed camera. He even took a couple of cute movies of her struggling to get  some too-big sticks in. By the time we left, it looked like she had filled it with sticks clear up to the opening.

I did not take my camera this time. I just had my sketchbook (and my iPhone, just in case a moose showed up!) So I sketched my days there. I also had taken some oil paints and a canvas I had started that I wanted to finish. I set up a place to paint outside, as it was so beautiful out. 

But I hadn't factored in the mosquitos. OR the G.I.A.N.T! bug that flew out of nowhere and attacked my chest! I jumped around and yelled a bit, thinking of Ron Weasley and the spider, then knocked it off and took a picture of it with my iPhone so I could identify the evil thing. It was a wood borer of some sort, and I was near our woodpile. I should have killed it, because it was probably a pine borer, and I was also near our one pine tree, which we have babied and protected along for many years. But it was so big, I was afraid my foot couldn't stomp the whole thing at once, and ewwwwww!

That incident convinced me that I am an inside painter, basically.

So, yes, if you have closely looked at my sketch, you see we also had a skunk visitor (thankfully, while Booker was inside) and we had a great 'Poo mystery,' which I also sketched for identification purposes. The poo, 3 piles of it, was on our upper balcony; the balcony that is also over our boathouse, so it is basically 3 stories above the ground below. The cabin is an A-frame, so something very agile could get up there by climbing the roof. The scat was not from a bird, it looked like it was mammal. So we went to the ranger station down at the lake and asked what could have climbed that steep roof and left presents for us. Their guess was about the same as ours: probably a raccoon (though we have never seen them there, they have been seen by the rangers) or a bobcat (which we have seen there.) We are kind of hoping it was a bobcat, not just because that is more interesting, but because racoons tend to revisit their 'latrine sites.' Tho' this would have to be one dare-devil raccoon to re-climb our cabin roof just to leave us more poo! I imagine a raccoon would have been more able to make such a steep climb, with little to grab onto but roof shingles.

Anyway... it was a nice weekend. The lake is full and the wildflowers are beginning to bloom. And I did get my painting done, so will post it here when I can get some photos.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Talkin' Turkey, part 2

A rafter of wild turkeys on the Kansas prairie

My last post was about the discouraging business of art, of being an artist. And there is no sugar-coating it; Art has ever been and probably always will be a difficult way to make money. I don't know why that is. Because can you even think of a world without art?

I believe Art does for the physical health of the world as much as physicians do. I believe Art does for the mental well-being of the world as much, perhaps more, than psychologists and therapists do. I believe Art does as much for the spiritual growth of the world as religious leaders do. I believe that Art and artists educate as well as many schools do. I believe Art has and can bring people together better than governments can and do. Yet all the professionals in those fields are compensated for the work they do, and most artists are poorly compensated, if at all. But, there it is.

In spite of that, we will continue to make Art. Because, as I said before, what would the world be without art?

We make art because we have a message from our hearts and souls that cannot be spoken or shared in any other way. Can you imagine the world without the works of Vincent Van Gogh? How much poorer would we all be? Poorer even than he was, when he died in poverty, having sold only two of his glorious heart-exposing paintings.

Artists are ambassadors of hope and keepers of beauty. Art can find the lovely in what others see as unlovely. Art brings respite from pain, and makes the heart remember what it has forgotten. These are not just clever words, they are Truths that I have experienced in my life and have seen  in the lives of others.

If Art was just my business, I would retire today. I would have quit yesterday, or many, many days before that. I am not a complete idiot; I can add and subtract and see that Art as my business is complete foolishness. But Art is not just a business for me; it is how I interact with my world. So I will go to the studio this morning and I will weave, knowing that I am not making $xx.xx/hour, and that I am probably going further into the red with each pass of the lovely Swedish yarn I use. I will create another tapestry, and another painting, knowing they may end up stashed under my bed or in the cedar closet. Because I have a new story to tell, and it is a story that must be told as Art.