Saturday, October 3, 2015

INKtober, day 3

(Just had to add color, so used Inktense watercolor pencils. Still ink, right?)

Friday, October 2, 2015

Happiness Flows.....

I have finally begun to feel 'at home' at the loom again, and the 'July' tapestry is actually progressing, in spite of all the unweaving I felt compelled to do as I began work again. If I keep at it, I'll be done with this one soon, and ready to work on the next, and final Calendar Series piece. That makes me happy.

I have also determined to sketch more, as my annual sketchbook just didn't have much in it, and certainly nothing that looks like I sketched it 'for fun.' So, with the beginning of the month, I decided to participate in #INKtober.  I'm not sure that I'll be able to do a daily sketch, but I'll do as many as I can. So far, two days into the month, I have sketched twice! That makes me happy.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

There... and back again...

I have been away from home for a bit. I have been missing my children and my grandchildren, and felt the need for a change of scenery, so I went to see my son's family in Massachusetts for a week. On the way, I got to stay with my other son's family in Denver and see my grandchildren and grand-chickens there. I love this photo of my oldest granddaughter with the hens!

I knew I was going too soon to see fall color in New England, but, though the leaves hadn't changed, the air was crisp and there was plenty of beautiful color to be seen. We walked the grand-dog on beautiful estates, which are dog and people and bee friendly. One also had this tree (below) which I have never seen before. It looked like a Dr. Seuss tree to me! Nothing seemed to be eating the berries, so I assume they are not edible.

On the weekend we got to meet some church friends at a huge pick-your-own apple orchard. We loaded our bag, and our tummies, with all kinds of apples, and fresh apple cider donuts.

In addition to the orchards, there were animal pens and mazes and a hayride. (I hadn't been on a hayride since I was a teenager, when hayrides were very 'romantic,' as you might get to hold someone's hand. Since I had traveled alone, and my hand-holder was back home, it wasn't quite as romantic this time.)  The goats had ramps leading up to platforms, with pulleys that had empty cans attached to them. People could buy goat food and put it in the cans, so the goats watched the cans as they came up the belts, to see if there was food in them.

At the pumpkin patch (more fall color!) I took another favorite shot of my youngest granddaughter and one of their friend's babies. So sweet... don't you agree?

A good bit of the week was spent watching soccer. My grandson is obsessed with it, loving both playing and watching the sport. So I got to watch practices, and a couple of his games, and go along on the highlight of his week: when his team got to go to a professional game (the Revolution, who play in Gillette Stadium) and then  got to walk onto the field at halftime to "We Are the Champions" because they won their division championship tournament. That was some big excitement for a 9-year old soccer player! (And for his grandma.)

The week went by too quickly, and I flew back to Denver, then drove home over the mountains, to discover that fall color had come to Colorado in my absence. The aspen, which just had small patches of yellow when I had driven through a week before, had turned brilliant gold while I was away. The color seemed to be at it's peak on the passes.

Home now, I am ready to get busy. There are deadlines approaching, and my loom has a tapestry on it that has been on it for almost a year. Much too long. Today I went in and worked on it; weaving, then unweaving, as I've lost track of where I was going. But, by the end of the day, I began feeling at home at the loom again. Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and a series of tomorrows, and it will be done.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Summer's end....

We did get up to the cabin for a day, to find that we had won the war with the packrat. It made me feel a little sad, really, and not a little guilty. Poor thing had just chosen to move into the wrong space. The photo above is a new sunset one from the lake there. I've taken so many sunset shots from this very spot over the 30+ years we've been going there! I love this one, even though I know the brilliant red clouds were caused by the fires to the west of us. I also like the colors reflected in the lake, and the Dr. Seuss look of the thistles in the foreground.

This field of flowers is between my house and my Dad's place. There is always something beautiful to be seen on the drive there! This view just feels like the end of summer to me; the season is not yet gone, but it soon will be.

As I determined to do, I have sketched a bit more. I did do my five sketches last week. The one above is of a huge moth that took up residence on my porch for several days. It's wingspan was about 8 inches across. It was a hummingbird hawk moth, I think. I did the sketch on a piece of paper I found while cleaning my studio (a job that took me two days!) It was an old dictionary page that I had used to clean brushes on. I glued it in my sketchbook and just did the sketch in ink and white paint pen on top of it.

This sketch I did while resting with Gus. He rested much longer than I did. He is a resting pro. As you can see, Gus has gotten so big, he took up more than one page in the sketchbook!

... and this little sketch I did today from a photo of my granddaughter that my daughter-in-law had posted on Facebook. I kept it very simple, because I knew I could not do her cuteness justice, no matter how hard I tried! 

See what I mean about the end of summer? This was taken this morning, going out to my Dad's. The sky and the very light says 'fall is nearly here!' I'm OK with that. Fall is my favorite time of year.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Trying to get my Groove back...

I have not been working in the studio. I have not been working at all. I have not had a creative thought or action for quite some time. I did not have the 'Grandma Art Camp' with my two grandchildren. I have been busy with Life, and with death. My precious Mother left this life for the next one just a month ago. She had a long and wonderful life; she was 93. I miss her very much.

I know I now need to 'get on with' my life and my work. But I find that I have very little desire. One of the things I realized as I sat with Mom over the past months, not working, is that there is nobody demanding my work. There is not a great hole in the art world, because I've not been at work. That realization, along with the depression of grief, has made my work seem quite unnecessary. But... I know that even if the world as a whole doesn't need my offering of work, I need to do it. Working will help to make my world as it should be once again.

I'm just not sure how to restart. I left the tapestry at a complex place: the face. I don't right now have the confidence to tackle it. Also, I have just been setting all the things I haven't had time to deal with right inside my studio door, as it is the one place all my frequent guests of the last months didn't have access to. So even going into the studio right now represents a challenge to me.

So.... I have decided to begin sketching again. My sketchbook has also been much ignored and neglected. Picking it up, I feel like I've never sketched before! Like I need to relearn everything! But I'm hoping that if I just 'do it anyway,' the skill will return, and the desire will come with it. And maybe, hopefully, my confidence will come back and lead me into the studio (which I hope to get organized, in the meantime.)

We went up to our cabin on Monday. It has also been a neglected part of our lives. When we walked in, it was evident that we'd had an uninvited visitor. Things were scattered in the kitchen: the toaster cover was off and a can of cinnamon was dumped onto the stovetop, and a few things were gathered near the door. Instead of relaxing, as we'd planned to do, I spent my time cleaning all surfaces with Lysol and bleach, and my husband discovered a huge nest in progress under the cabin in the boathouse. As we sat in the evening, watching a movie, a H.U.G.E. woodrat jumped upon the picture window sill and looked in at us! My first thought was of Scabbers (of the Harry Potter books) and I felt sure that the creature was really a 'death eater!' He was at least 9" long, not including his tail! I gathered my things and announced that I was sleeping in the truck, which I did. In the 30+ years that we have had the cabin, this is our first rat visit. But we usually go there more frequently, and I think the people and dog presence has discouraged such visits in the past. (Needless to say, the rest of our short stay there was spent in 'rat attack mode!')

Using a nature guidebook to find and identify him, I sketched him. Even though the sketch is very simple and basic, it got me back into the sketchbook. I cannot, sadly, say that sketching this gave me my 'creative groove' back. But maybe if I keep making myself sketch, that will happen over time.

With that hope, I have decided to sketch, if not everyday this month, at least 5 times a week through the month of September. Hopefully, this practice will improve my sketching, and my desire to work. Here is today's sketch; also a very simple one. Both of these were done with colored pencil and ink.

I decided to post this intent here on my blog, so that I will intensify my commitment to get back to work. I'll try to keep you posted.......

Monday, July 13, 2015

This is my brain on art.....

I have not been being an artist, of late. An artist is a person who makes art. But, although life circumstances can keep me from creating, they cannot keep me from seeing and dreaming art.

There are days when I see art everywhere. I see my pets curled up on my bed and I think, "The Master's Bed," (but, eat your heart out, Mr. Wyeth, mine has two pets on it!) I see the light making beautiful shadows on my mother's face as she sleeps, and I want to capture them. I step outside each evening at sunset to see how the fading day is affecting Mt. Garfield, which is visible from my parents' place. I have snapped so many phone pictures of it now, I could create a small series of it, which is a very appealing dream!

Two of my grandchildren are coming in a couple of weeks for a week of 'Grandma Art Camp.' This was a plan made way back in the winter, and we are hoping nothing interferes with it. The hope/plan is to 'make things,' to go places and camp and set up our easels and paint, and especially to spend the time together creating memories. The two that are coming are cousins, not siblings, and both are very artistic already, at 9 years of age.

So this morning I awoke (next to Gus, who claimed my husband's warm pillows as soon as he had risen) determined to start thinking and gathering Art Camp curriculum and materials. I have been gathering 'stuff' and ideas for awhile, but I need to find where I put it all and begin to get things ready. Today I will take a bag of stuff with me to my parents' place, and maybe my mom, who was a teacher for many years, will be able to enjoy sorting and planning with me.

That is as far as my brain, even on art, can plan right now. One day at a time.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, June 29, 2015


We have had a busy spring, and the busyness has not let up with summer now upon us. But I've had a few 'moments of zen,' and the most restorative have been times I've spent enjoying Nature.

Our spring was so wet and cool, after a dry warm winter. The woods (and yards) loved it! We don't often see fungi here in our desert climate, but they are easy to spot, and lovely this year!

The hummingbirds seem to come earlier every year, and we enjoy watching and feeding our few 'residents' here at home, and the many that flock to the cabin. We've not gotten to the cabin much, but got up there for a short time the other day. There was the usual 'charm of hummingbirds,' and we also saw a 'cauldron of vultures,'  a 'tidings of magpies' and a 'murder of crows' (which were actually trying to murder one another over fish innards that some idiot had cleaned from his catch and left on the boat dock.)

The two bird houses my husband built and took up last year are very popular! Both are inhabited now, and there seem to be several pairs hanging about on a 'vacancy waiting list.' A beautiful and musical pair of yellow warblers have nested nearby.

Due to the moist spring and early summer, the wildflowers are blooming in profusion this season. The columbines are lovely among the aspen trees, though most are white (old) ones. The younger purple ones are rarely seen in the wild, as the blooms fade with age. They are still beautiful, and protected in Colorado.

My favorite wildflower is still the DeerTongue. This one is about 6 feet tall, but there are some nearby that are 8-10 feet tall! They are just beginning to bloom.

And, when I can't get out to Nature, or when it's too hot now to go out, my cool quiet sitting room is still a place of peace for me. It's where I write in my journal, practice my guitar, or just sit and sip a cool drink while I listen to the clock tick for a few minutes.

I hope 'the living' is easy' for you this summertime! I do remember, and sometimes long for, the days of summer in my childhood, when we would go to the library and I'd bring home a stack of new-to-me books as big as I could carry, then I'd find a cool hiding place and devour them all, before returning them to exchange for a new stack the next week. That is still how I think of summer: a time to hide away and read to my heart's content. I am not getting nearly enough reading done this summer, and somehow, the books I find are not as satisfying as the ones I read as a child. If you've read a book lately that you just can't put down, and long for a sequel to, let me know, OK? There's a corner in my sitting room that is waiting for me and  that very book!