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......

Friday, November 14, 2014

My heart yearns for Paris...

Paris Salon, oil on canvas, 11"x14"

Can you be 'homesick' for a place that is not - and will most likely never be - 'home?' I occasionally feel a very strong pull towards Paris. The last time I felt such a yearning for a place was when I lived in the heartland, and I spent a number of years yearning for the Colorado mountains; listening to John Denver's sappy music and feeling 'homesick' for the place I was born, but had not, in my memory, ever really lived.

Paris Gothique, oil on canvas, 11"x14"

But, with the weather here in Colorado leaning towards winter, getting grey and cold, I find myself thinking that if I'm going to be in grey, cold weather, I may as well be in Paris, where all weather is beautiful. And, if it's not, I could just spend the day in the Louvre or in front of the Unicorn tapestries.

Pont du Neuf, 5"x7" print on canvas

Reasonable desires, I believe. Am I not right?

But I am not in Paris today, nor will I be there tomorrow. So, I'm adding a few Paris paintings to my Etsy shop, in case there is someone else out there who yearns for Paris. And I am pulling up my Paris photos, and thinking of painting another view of my time there, because the act of painting a scene is a 'take me away' activity. It will sweep me over the miles and the hours and will take me back to where I am today longing to be.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Studio Tuesday, Nov. 11th

I had a productive half-day in the studio, 'tho I didn't end up doing what I had planned to do, which is often the case. 'Best laid schemes' quite 'aft gang agleyfor me! 

My plan was to mount the 'April' tapestry, as I had done with the 'November' one last Tuesday. And I  did begin that process. But I discovered that I did not have all the materials I needed, and I decided I'd prefer to stay in the studio working, rather than to run after what I needed.

So I went from the worktable to the computer, and I firmed up the design maquette, and created the to-size cartoon to work from for the next tapestry, the 'July' one.

Then I went from the computer to the loom, and got busy rewarping the loom. The warp is already on the loom, as I'd warped enough for several tapestries, but the threads all needed to be re-threaded through the string heddles, and through the lovely reed holder my husband made me. I have that done now, and just need to tie all on to the lower beam. 

 But this work day is over, so that will wait for another one!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Studio Tuesday...Nov. 4th

Today was a fairly productive studio workday. I have plenty to do there, so I decided to concentrate on getting a couple of the woven pieces mounted. I have a small one I needed to prep to go off to exhibition, and both the "November' and 'April' calendar tapestries to mount. So the tools of my trade today were scissors, a staple gun, screwdrivers, pins, and an iron, plus the odd stereo remote, stretcher frames, fabric and batting, and the very necessary cup of coffee (usually set a bit further from the action.)

Once again, I was joined by the studio supervisor, who decided to pull half a dozen skeins and balls of yarn from several baskets, in order to settle himself in the most comfortable supervising spot. (Do you see him trying to look 'not guilty,' as he knows he was in forbidden territory, and would not  be allowed to stay there long.)

At the end of the work day, I have the 'November' tapestry mounted as well as the one that will soon be shipped off to an exhibit.

I still have another mounting job to do, and the warp yet to be tied onto the loom for the next piece. I am glad there is at least one Studio Tuesday each week! I intend to be weaving again by the end of the month.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Studio Tuesday (on Thursday)...

I missed my 'Studio Tuesday' this week, as my husband wanted me to go to the mountains with him. I have to confess that all day I felt like I was truly missing something important. I've committed to this one day a week to work, and it did not feel right to me even to postpone it for a couple of days. And today, being a Thursday, with my Thursday chores and commitments, does not feel 'right' for a Studio Tuesday. So I guess I am going to have to be more firm about my commitment, or I will be having 'Grumpy Tuesdays' and maybe even 'Grumpy Thursdays!'

This morning then, after I did some Thursday work, I went to the studio and finished hemming the 'April' tapestry, though I have not yet prepped the stretcher to mount it on. I have the stretchers my husband has made for both it and the as-yet-unmounted 'November' tapestry. But my mind was not in the right place today for doing finishing work. I wanted to do beginning-work!

So, I began to design the 'July' tapestry. I have been given permission from my 10-year-old grand-daughter to use an image of her from last summer. I am putting together several photos to use as source images, so, though I may primarily work from the photos for detail work, I need to compose the layout: how and where everything will fit into the 18 inch square that will be the tapestry. I'm going back and forth between photos, the painting in progress, and the computer; adding and subtracting elements, making some things smaller and some larger. I have to confess that this is my favorite part of the design process! And I wouldn't want to do it without using ALL the tools: the paint and canvas, the camera and the photos, and the computer. It seems to take them all for me to find the image I will be happy enough with to weave. And of course, I really want this tapestry to be special, because the subject, my beautiful grand-daughter on a hot July beach, is a wonderful and special subject. I want the tapestry to feel warm and sunny and young! How to do that?

It is difficult for me to have a studio work day with my husband now retired. He is quite used to dropping in to check out what I am doing, but I am not used to having visitors in my studio during a serious work time. It is hard to switch my brain off, then back on again, while in creative mode. I pointed out the "No Trespassing" sign at my door to him, but he was just amused. Only Booker takes my 'no visitor' policy seriously, only ignoring it if it is thundering. Of course, Gus thinks I cannot work without his supervision, but he doesn't disturb me, other than moving into my chair as quickly as I vacate it.

In spite of the postponement of 'Studio Tuesday' and the no trespassing issue (which I may have to resolve with an electric fence,) I did get a bit of design work done today. As soon as I post this, I will do a bit more at the computer; cropping and subtracting and adding, and then I hope to get a maquette into a usable form before next Tuesday, which will be a Studio day. It will hopefully be a loom warping and cartoon enlarging day for the 'July' tapestry!