Monday, January 9, 2017

"Take Your Broken Heart; Make it Into Art..."

It seems like sometimes we lose more than we gain. Recently, we lost 'Princess Leia' and her mother, Debbie Reynolds. Several generations of young girls grew up wanting to be Princess Leia, and I think she was a better role model 'princess' than the Disney ones. The sketch I did above is from a Sktchy photo of one such girl.

Last night Meryl Streep quoted Carrie Fisher in her wonderful Golden Globes speech, as telling her to, "take your broken heart, make it into art." That is what I have been trying to do. I am still working on a design for a tapestry that is to be my reaction to the election results; a broken heart in fiber form. Not an easy thing to design. It is much easier to design 'pretty' or 'happy.'

In the meantime, I am doing little quick sketches, mostly from photos people have shared on the Sktchy app. The one above is of a migraine, and, with the winter storms hanging over our valley this week, I am quite familiar with the feeling.

This one, which I call 'Banjo Love,' was this morning's sketch. It was done with ink and watercolor pencils. The others are done with a combination of water soluble markers, crayons, and pencils.

This little sketch of my sitting room was done in ink, then with several diluted ink washes, then a bit of watercolor for a final color wash. I'm not very fond of either that method, or the result. But I will give it another chance. It takes much longer than my normal quick 'inked line work, then color' method.

So.... I need to get back to work. The time has come.....  Now has arrived. (Ready or not.)

(psssst... If you follow me on Instagram, you will see my daily sketches on the day they are created. Link in the sidebar. Also, some sketches are for sale on Sktchy, there's a link to that, too.)

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Looking Forward to A New Year....

Here are a couple more sketches I did through the holidays from #Sktchy photos. You can only see them on Sktchy if you have the  app, but I usually post them on Instagram, so don't post them all here.

I am not getting weaving time, as that really requires several uninterrupted hours to be satisfying (rather than frustrating) to me. But these little sketches (all about 5 x 6 inches) just take minutes here and there. So, by doing them, I feel like I am still keeping my creative brain fed, though on a bit of a diet!

This sketch (also from a Sktchy photo) was done this morning. It is on behalf of all the little girls who wanted to be Princess Leia, and as a tribute to the one who got to actually be her. May the Force be with you, Carrie Fisher.

Gus and I say Happy New Year to you all. May the Force be with all of us in the coming year.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Ho, ho, ho....

Like every other Ms. Claus, I have been doing holiday stuff: shopping, making, and performing holiday songs for various audiences. Busy, in other words. 

And a bit grumpy, I guess, too.

But one of the things that has kept me sane (or as sane as I get at this time of year) has been to sit down almost every evening for 20-30 minutes to do a little sketch in my sketchbook. They are not complex. They are not great ART. But they are pretty fun, and the practice helps dump my brain-busy-ness.
I have been sketching photos I get from the Sktchy app. People upload their photos there for artists to use. It has also become a lovely supportive community of artists who encourage each other. 

The sketches I've been doing the past week or so have mostly been holiday related.

Fun. I hope you have a practice that keeps you sane and enjoying the holidays, as well.
 Ho, ho, ho.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016


I finished the small "Graffiti" tapestry. It is a sampler for a larger tapestry I want to do. I haven't been feeling great the past few days, and haven't finished sewing slits, etc. on this piece, but it's small enough that I could just scan it into the computer without having to do a photo set-up (which usually requires that the piece be finished and mounted in some way.) It is about 8x10".

I don't know that I regard this as a great work of art, or Art, in any sense of the word. Visually, I don't think it is all that appealing, except that it truly expresses my emotions while creating it, as true graffiti should do. Because it is a tapestry, I did pre-plan some shapes, but the colors were chosen as I went along, based strictly on my mood, which has alternated between small moments of hope, and larger periods of frustration and rage. A few unplanned things showed up along the way, as well, like the pink wings on the peace symbol and the little 'escaping man' in the upper left corner.

The larger tapestry that this will lead to is still 'fermenting' in the mind of my muse, but it is definitely working it's way towards the loom!

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Still weaving graffiti...

We went to the mountains for a couple of days, but are back now and I am still working on the small graffiti tapestry. These are not 'my colors' and I am uncomfortable working with them, but I think maybe part of the point of graffiti is to make us uncomfortable. So... achieving success, I guess!

Thursday, November 17, 2016


I am never sure where my inspirations and ideas come from, but I have learned to recognize when one percolates to the top of my consciousness, and to see it as something that has been struggling for my attention for some time. 

This happened to me a few days ago. I suddenly found myself interested in, and wanting to create, graffiti. There are a number things  about graffiti that appeal to me. First, the artist has an 'urgent' message to share, and is willing to take risks to share it. Also, it is usually done in primary, in-your-face colors, to be seen. 

Well, I have some 'urgent' messages to share. But I am not a graffiti artist; I do not really know how to handle a can of spray paint. And I am really not the type to sneak out in the dark to make art on some blank wall. My night vision is not all that great, for one thing.

Besides, I am a tapestry weaver. That is my medium, I know how to 'handle' a bit of yarn. So I have begun a small graffiti 'sample' on my small loom. I have a partial cartoon, of sorts, but haven't chosen color ahead of time, except to gather a basket of primary colored wool to choose from. I am also 'winging it' on the background areas.

The differences between spray can graffiti and woven graffiti are, I am finding, pretty big. The biggest difference is that, if you paint something you don't like, you can just paint over it. So pre-planning is not really a big necessity in traditional graffiti.  Also, weaving as I am on this piece, on a small scale, the necessary outlining and shading to get that distinctive 'graffiti look' is a bit of a challenge on the woven grid.

But I am going to keep going. In my head is a large tapestry of woven graffiti. As I weave this small piece, I am learning the things I will need to know to create the larger work. Because I have some big things to say right now, and I want them to be very visible. 

Friday, November 11, 2016

November 11, 2016

My sketchbook seems to be filling with expressions of grief this week. Today, with all passion spent, I can't bring myself to add color to my sketch.

Leonard Cohen's music has a pretty big playlist in my heart. When I was in high school, my best friend and debate colleague and I would go to the local college to study. We would go, not to the library, but to the basement of the Student Union. There, beyond the pool and ping pong tables, was a small, almost always empty 'music room.' It had a console stereo and a stack of records. The record I always looked for was "Wildflowers" by Judy Collins. On it, she sings Leonard Cohen songs. 

I was heartbroken when we went one day and the album was gone, taken, no doubt, by a poor student thief with great musical taste. I worked to save, and after awhile I earned enough to buy my own album. Since then, I have listened to (over and over) Judy, and Joan, and Bob, and Jeff, and Jennifer, KD, and Roberta, and Leonard himself sing songs that express the times of my life. The songs of a Canadian singer-songwriter, who left us yesterday, at a time when we really need his take on this crazy world.

Thank you for leaving your music for us, Mr. Cohen. Thank you from a young girl trying to make sense of her world in the 60's, and thank you from this woman, who is still looking for sanity in this crazy world, but who will have to be happy to settle for 'dancing to the end,' loving your music.

Hey, I know 'that's no way to say goodbye,' but it's all I have today. Hallelujah.