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!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Studio Tuesday, Oct 21


I was back in the studio today, for my Studio Tuesday workday. The 'April' tapestry has been 'resting' quite awhile, so I spent the morning sewing slits (thankfully, not too many this time.)


After a break for a haircut (my own hair, having already trimmed all the 'hair' from the back of the tapestry while I sewed slits,) I pinned the tapestry out, and blocked it.


Quite awhile ago, I posted a tutorial about my blocking method here. I still block all my tapestries this way, and they have all stayed flat and even, whether they have been hung, mounted, or rolled up and stored.

I have my next tapestry in mind, so will begin to work on the maquette for it - hopefully, even before next Studio Tuesday!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

"Time Out" is over!


I sometimes 'put myself in time-out' for a bit of time. I stick my head in the sand, or in the corner, and do not allow myself to see the work of other artists. I do this on purpose, because I often feel either over-influenced by, or overwhelmed by, the work of other artists, and even by any visual images. So I just keep to myself for a time, and try to work my way through it. 

But then I start to feel depleted and something from the outside world will come into my little corner, and it jump-starts my creative mind! That happened to me this morning. I opened my mail to find the catalog from the 'The Art is the Cloth' exhibit, and each image I looked at excited me more and more! Then I reluctantly put the catalog down and picked up an Elle Decor magazine my friend had recently dropped by for me, and each advertisement spoke to me of color or of pattern or some design element. I haven't even gotten past the advertisements yet!

I did not realize how creatively dehydrated I had become; a truly thirsty desert rat. I think my 'creative time out' must have been over-long this go-round, so I am glad it has come to an end! I have a stack of magazines I have just been putting aside for 'later,' and now 'later' seems to have come! My parched eyes and mind are ready to look, and to be inspired.

By the way, the catalog shown above will be available for everyone to purchase next week. I will post the information when I get it. The tapestry I have in the exhibit is the one below: "Dama con Mangoes." I am thrilled to have a piece in such a terrific exhibit, and I hope to see it in one of it's venues before it is over.

Sold

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Selfie...


I actually did have a 'Studio Tuesday' this week, though I doubt anyone would be interested in seeing what I did. I impressed myself, however, by cleaning the studio, which is a necessary job at the end of each tapestry. I put away all the yarns I'd been working from into their appropriate color-sorted bins; I cleared all piled spaces; and, in effect, I got the studio ready for starting the next tapestry.

I have done a few sketches in my sketchbook lately, but nothing spectacular. In helping move my parents here, I ran across a number of tiny black and white photos of myself as a child. They always amuse me, because it looks like I was a bit of a grump as a child! The one I sketched the above sketch from was from a birthday party, and I look like I am not really into the proceedings. In my defense, I was about 3-years old, and it wasn't my birthday party, so why should I have been excited? It seems that life confused me as much at that age as it does now!..... and that, dear visitor, is saying something, right there!

Friday, October 3, 2014

Autumn is my favorite kind of light....


Gus enjoys the new slant of autumn light, the changing trees, and the passing birds as much as I do! He also enjoys the warmth of the newly-turned-on radiator.

Today I have many things to do, as usual. I'm going to bake some cookies and take them out to my folks, do some of the TON of laundry I need to catch up on, and, if I get the chance, I will pick the ripe quinces from my bushes to make some jam with in the morning. In addition, I am determined to add a sketch to my sketchbook today, and get in some guitar practice.  A busy day ahead, but it was nice to spend a few minutes enjoying the morning light with Gus, as I sipped a cup of coffee my now-retired husband brought me.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Studio Tuesday... not quite, but almost....


In truth, I have not been in my studio since I cut the 'April' tapestry from the loom. I have been away from home, moving my parents here from California. But this Tuesday evening, even though I was extremely tired, I really felt the need to do some little thing that would keep my 'Studio Tuesday' practice alive.


So, having completed the tenth calendar tapestry, I set my mind thinking about the two that are remaining to design and weave; the July and December tapestries. I pulled up my photos on the computer and started looking through images I had taken in July, just to give myself a starting place.

 

The top photo is of a painting I did from the National Monument, which is a local Park, filled in the summer with ring-necked lizards. The second photo, of the mule deer, was taken at our cabin.


The two sea gull photos were taken in Massachusetts last July. I confess that I truly love this last photo, of the bird flying away. But I also am pretty sure that it will not make the 'final cut' in my choices of images to pursue for a tapestry. I also have a few other ideas, one of which I will do some sketching and painting of before I decide whether or not to pursue it further. At any rate, it was fun to get at least my mind, if not my body, back into the studio. Before the next Studio Tuesday, I need to really clean the studio! It is a job I do after taking each tapestry off the loom, and it truly needs it this time!
Plus, I have two tapestries now to mount; the 'November' and the 'April' ones. Need to get to work!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

'April, Come She Will...'


Today was Studio Tuesday. It was a somewhat poignant day for me. It is the last work day for me when my husband will also be at work. I do not know what that means yet, but we will work it out, I am sure. I do plan to continue my newly established 'Studio Tuesdays,' so my husband will just need to find something to do on that day that does not include my input or participation.

I am not quite sure when my next studio work day will be, be it Tuesday or any other day. We have some other things going on that will take precedence for a bit. So it was a great day to complete a tapestry! Above is the 'April' calendar tapestry, still on the loom, before I wove the hem. And below is the tapestry, just off the loom, resting on the floor. Neither photo shows the true colors; it is not this 'bright.' But it is late in the day, so this is the best I can do. I will get a better photo soon, but this gives you the idea, at least.


This tapestry is a bit of a self-portrait - though it doesn't necessarily look at all like me. (I believe an artist has the option to use rose tinted lenses in self-portraits!) The things that are most 'me' are the things other than the figure: the blackbird, representing both the music I love and the birds we feed and love; the guitar, representing my decision to take a risk and learn something new and difficult, even at a late date; the flowering crab blossoms, which represent the month of April, when they bloom in my backyard. This whole tapestry is fairly personal. April is my birth month, and I believe this 'April' tapestry is one that I will keep.

I still have a good bit of work to do on this tapestry, though there are very few slits to sew. I will trim the back and block it, and then it and the 'October' tapestry have yet to be mounted. This tapestry, like all the calendar tapestries, is 18x18 inches. I have yet to design and weave the July and December tapestries. Soon, and very soon, hopefully........