Monday, January 26, 2015

Off to See the Wizard...

Actually, we are not off to see a wizard, sadly. We are, however, off to Kansas to see family, and perhaps we will encounter a wizard there. One can never tell, and I like to remain hopeful, on that score.

I have not posted here for a bit, but I have made some small progress on the 'July' tapestry. I have also been making several inquiries/contacts about exhibiting the series, and I will keep you updated on that!

In other 'breaking studio news:' my husband has made me a stunning, and to-be-envied gift!

He is a wonderful woodworker, and he made me this beautiful box easel! It is of hardwoods, and has an adjustable slanting top, and a drawer that opens in both front and back.

The drawer has a sliding, removable brush or pencil tray in it, made from wood from an apricot tree that we had to have removed from our yard.

So now, I am itching to fill it with tubes of paint and brushes (Oh, but I do hate to mess up the beautiful wood - and I am such a messy creator!) and to do some painting. I have not painted in such a long while! I am not even sure that I remember how. Maybe I will take my beautiful box and some canvas to Kansas and see if I can do some wizardry of my own. So then, I am off to BE the wizard! I like that....

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Re-thinking Studio Tuesday....

Today was a Studio Tuesday. I have begun to see some problems with this one-day-a-week intensive work-day schedule. I came up with the idea of having a dedicated studio work day, because I was beginning to feel the need to make sure that I would get ANY work done, at all. My life and schedule has changed a lot lately. I used to have full days, even full weeks, of work time. I could get up every day and work as long as I wanted or needed to, with the exception of my husband's off days. And I usually worked at least some every week day; often working a great deal. Because my husband worked long days and weeks, I made a point of only working when he was home if I had a deadline creeping up on me.

But now my husband is retired and home all the time, and my parents have moved here, which is also new, so I need to change my way of scheduling work and family time. Thus 'Studio Tuesday' was born, and everyone has been very supportive of that being my work day. 

But here is the problem. One day a week just is not enough. Tapestries grow very slowly. And stopping for a full week between work sessions is problematic. I posted about the struggle with 'beginnings' in the past (here.) If I haven't worked for a full week, it takes me a good 45 minutes to figure out where I had left off, and where I am going next, each work session. That is not the case when I leave the studio at the end of one day, then re-enter the work the next morning, as I did in the past.

Also, I am only weaving about an inch each workday, so this tapestry will take me about 3 more months to complete! That is too long. I will have lost my passion for it by then. In fact, working so sporadically, I have just barely found my passion for the piece! In fact, it was just today that I could see that this will be an image worth weaving; a tapestry I can love.

So... my new work plan is to get up early and go to the studio and work a few hours each morning that I am able. I have to confess that this 'new plan' does not excite me. I am not a morning person. I like to sit in my sitting room with a cup of coffee (or two) and my journal for a bit in the mornings. I am actually a morning grump. But I need to weave: not weaving also makes me a grump. So it is definitely worth the attempt. I need to get used to seeing the sunrise through my studio window.

 I'll let you know how it goes......

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Studio Tuesday, and 2015!

I spent most of yesterday becoming re-aquainted with my loom and the tapestry on it! I did get a bit of weaving progress made, but mostly, I spent time pulling yarns from the bins, and choosing colors for the work ahead.

Although the tapestry on the loom is not a large one (only 18x18 sq. inches,) this photo I took on the Harvard School of Design building this fall came to mind as I worked in the studio. It came to mind because 2015 is THE YEAR I have been planning for a long time to have the series I've been working on, the Calendar tapestries, completed, and hopefully, the year I will find a venue to exhibit them all together for the first time, along with the Four Seasons series pieces. And that, my friends, has been No Small Project. I began the Four Seasons tapestries in the summer of 2003. Those four large tapestries were completed in 2008. I began the Calendar series pieces then in 2008, and have been working on them since that time. The tapestry on the loom now is "July," the eleventh tapestry in the series. I still have the December tapestry to weave, and it is forming in my mind as I weave this piece. I have contacted a few galleries about showing these works together, and I now am in a position - weaving-wise - to 'guarantee' that the work will be done in time for an exhibit either late this year or next year. 

It has been 'No Small Project.' It has been Life Work, a labor of love.

If you know of a gallery that you think might like to show these pieces, let me know. Several of them have been seen separately. One is now in the ATB10 exhibit. But when it comes home, and they are all together and completed, they will represent in work time, and in images, 12+ years of my life.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Shelving another year...

I have been keeping a sketchbook for the past several years, and I did the last page in this year's book today. I have used Moleskine's 5x8 sketchbook for the past 3 years, and I have loved it, but have discovered that it has changed. It is now being manufactured in China instead of in Italy, and, though the price has not been lowered any and has in fact been raised, the paper is not the thick creamy paper of the past Moleskines. I went ahead and purchased one for 2015, but if I do not like it, I will get something else. I hate it when things I love change for the worse!

I have shared pages from this year's sketchbook several times throughout the year, but here are a few more. The more personal ones, I'm not sharing. I do not have a 'personal style' I guess. I just sketch what I am wanting to sketch at the time; usually something to do with my life and what is going on.

I have begun and ended each of the past few sketchbooks with a self-sketch, so here is the one I did today. I am somewhat tired, and am not 'fixed up' in any way, but, as this is how I often look, I guess it is appropriate. Sadly, I do think I look at least a year older than I did in the sketch in the front of the book. That's the way it goes!

Tonight, I will shelve this sketchbook with the ones from the past few years. Tomorrow, I will start the new sketchbook, as I start a new year. 2015! I hope it is a good year for us all. As Tiny Tim would say, 'May God bless us, every one!'

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Every little bit helps!

I did get a bit of weaving in yesterday, for Studio Tuesday. The holiday season and it's demands has slowed me down a bit, but I now have 3 inches done on the "July" tapestry. I know, that doesn't sound like much at all, but it is 1/6 th of the tapestry! (That sounds like more to me.)

Sand and rocks and a hand and most of a foot. That's what I've done so far. And I will keep going until it is a tapestry!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Whatever happened to Studio Tuesday?

I did actually spend several hours in the studio yesterday afternoon, though not enough was added to the tapestry on the loom to share with you. But I missed the two Tuesdays before, as we were away from home. The closest I got to 'studio time' was the few minutes I spent sketching each of the four lighthouses we saw on our trip!

We went to our son's home in the Boston area for Thanksgiving, and spent almost two weeks enjoying our son, his wife and a couple of exceptional grandkids. We went with them to the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem to see a spectacular Calder exhibit. Then we took a couple of days and went to southern Maine, while they were all working or back in school.

We got up to the Kennebunkport area just in time to watch the sun going down on the ocean. It was beautiful and we had the area pretty much to ourselves. (If you look closely in the photo below, the building structures in the distance belong to the HW Bush compound.) We had hoped to see all the coastal homes lit up for the holiday, but we were a week too early. It didn't matter; the ocean is always beautiful!

We decided to go on a lighthouse hunt the next morning, to see more of the ocean. We don't have much ocean in Colorado! We saw four lights before we quit for the day. In the photo below, look for my white arrow on the left, pointing to an artist painting on the windy beach. I must say I was somewhat overcome with envy!

Near the Portland Head Light, we came across this ruin, which we decided was definitely a 'haunted house,' especially after I turned from taking the picture above to see the view I took in the one below!

As we were leaving Maine, we drove down to Prout's Neck. I knew the new Winslow Homer Studio/Home Museum was not open (it is seasonal,) but I want to take a peek at where Homer painted from anyway. We got to the drive that leads to his home/studio, but it is a private residential area, and was closed off. I did see the top of his studio through the trees, and took this shot of the cove he overlooked and so often painted. I will go back 'in season' to tour the studio. Something to look forward to.... 

Back in Boston, we went to the finally reopened Fogg Museum, at Harvard. I was a bit reluctant to go, as I have always loved the Fogg, and sometimes am very disappointed at what 'rennovations' do. But I can honestly say I still love it, and maybe even more, as it is larger, so more of their amazing collection is on display. I was happy to see one of my favorite Van Gogh shoe paintings, and, for the first time that I've seen, several tapestries were prominently displayed! If you are ever in the Boston area, don't miss the Fogg Museum, on Harvard's campus. They have some of my favorite pieces of art, from Renoir to O'Keefe to the stunning pre-Raphaelite Arts and Crafts artists I so love. In addition, they have on display a special exhibit of the Rothko Murals that had been created for Harvard, but that had faded so badly they have been in storage for years. They have not been restored, but have been 'recreated' to their original brightness with projection. It is really a creative solution, and there is more about it here.

Now that I am back home, I plan to get back to work - especially on my Studio Tuesdays!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Studio Tuesday, Nov.18th

Lots to get done in the studio again today! I had to get the little tapestry, "Grace," ready to ship off to The Art is the Cloth exhibit, which will be in Newton, PA (see info on side) soon. "Grace" will replace my tapestry which sold in the exhibit in New Hampshire! May "Grace" be so lucky as to find a new home, as well!

I also was determined to begin the "July" tapestry before I leave town this weekend. So I finished warping the loom, tied on the warp, wove a header and a hem, and got a bit more than an inch woven on the tapestry! A good beginning!

Finally, I completed mounting the "April" tapestry, which the full title for is "April, Come She Will," a musical title for a piece that is largely about my love for and involvement in music.

All in all, I spent pretty much the whole day in the studio, and feel I got a lot done. Can you even imagine what I'd get done if I had two days a week in the studio? It boggles the mind......