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.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Meanwhile, Back in the Studio....

Having returned home from the land of Oz, (aka Kansas, where I did indeed see 'flying monkeys,' though no helpful wizards) I got back into the studio for awhile today. I took a lot of photos along the way - mostly from the passenger seat of a moving vehicle. I am getting pretty good at doing that, but I did miss several excellent shots because I was not in control of the car's breaks.

Taking photos of the heartland landscape made me remember that, tho' I spent most of the first 21 years of my life there, I have never painted the beautiful prairie. I have done a number of 'Places I Remember' paintings; little 5x7" oil land- and city-scapes that I keep and treasure on my own walls. So I decided I want to do at least one Kansas landscape for that collection. This morning I used, for the first time, the beautiful box easel my husband made me, and put an under-painting on two masonite boards. I am hoping I will like at least one of them!

After a walk with Booker, where we spotted crocus already in bloom (!) I moved from the easel to the loom and tried to remember where I had left off the last time I worked. I progressed enough to wind the warp forward, and discovered that I do still really love weaving tapestries! All I need is more time.... but isn't that all tapestry weavers everywhere long for?

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.