Saturday, February 28, 2009

Illustration Friday: Breezy

Having other things to do this week (more about that later), I was going to skip the IF topic. But it seemed the perfect topic to do something playful for, so I decided to spend a few minutes on it this morning, as I haven't played for a long while, and it seems that it might be what is missing in this grey-winter's-end-time. So I did this little sketch in my sketchbook with watercolors and ink, then scanned it into the computer and played a bit more, adding the text and the spiral at the top. Even though it just took 'coffee time' to do it, I did enjoy the play, and the lack of expectations or demand for 'product' on my part!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Seasonal light...

I love how the light changes with the season. The winter light is slowly becoming spring light. I am walking three times a week with a friend, here in my old neighborhood and downtown. The lace dress in the photo is one I got on one of our walks. The local Hospice re-sale shop had just received a number of vintage pieces of clothing, and I got this one for the coffee money I had in my pocket. I just wanted to hang it on my closet door in the sitting room, but Gussie tried to climb it, so I moved it to a window out of his way. The next morning, the light coming through it was too lovely to ignore!

I am still not sure what I will put on the loom next. I am just 'collecting images' and waiting to see what floats to the top!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Killing, uh, I mean Filling Time...

I have been pulling out old paintings and playing a bit - or working a bit?- on them, to see if I can salvage the canvas, if not the work itself. Yesterday I worked on the Amaryllis painting, which had an incomplete background. I did as much as I could with it. It may be worth the Bargain Bin at an exhibit now. It is oil on canvas, size is 11x14" and the working title is "Grand Opening." (The photo has a wet painting sheen on the right side that isn't really there.)

I also worked on this painting, of my oldest son and his twins (my grandchildren) and Telly, their dog, making home-made ice cream. The problem with this painting is that it is on masonite, and I don't remember prepping (gessoing) the board. It has been very hard to paint on, and I'm not sure it can be salvaged. It is 16" square, and is my first attempt on masonite. Not sure I like masonite, but I wanted to try it. I have another one begun on it as well, and am having the same trouble with it - the paint doesn't sink into masonite, as it does on canvas, so it builds up quickly, and also dries very quickly. It's almost like working with acrylic again (which I hated, in this dry climate.)

I'm also still indexing my knit magazines, and have found a project I want to begin - several, in fact! Yea! I can't stand to sit in the evening with empty hands.

Monday, February 23, 2009

At loose ends...

I am literally and figuratively at loose ends. Having finished the "September" tapestry, my loom now has just a short dummy warp on it, to which I can add new warp. But I don't yet know what I'll be doing next, so I can't really even warp it up yet. There is a potential commission 'in the wings' and I'm still thinking of another Heritage tapestry - though I still haven't found the photo I want to base it on, so my weaving is 'on hold' for now.

I also have finished the baby blanket I was knitting in the evenings. It was a log cabin blanket, from Mason-Dixon's first book; a pretty fun project. But now my needles are also empty. I have been going through my huge wall of knitting magazines, indexing them, and hoping to find something that will excite me enough to become my next knitting project.

Ditto for the empty easel. I have been pulling out old paintings that were unfinished or not liked enough to finish and dabbling a bit with them, but they were mostly abandoned for a good reason! And I don't have a painting that is crying out 'paint me' yet either.

I hate these times of creative emptiness! I have come to accept them as inevitable, and probably even necessary to the creative process. But it feels like it is time to 'fill my cup' - to get out and see something new and fresh. I know that there are probably ideas germinating somewhere in my seemingly empty mind, but I am impatient for them to come to the surface. In the meantime, I am working on the Connections catalog, baking bread (a rather fattening creative outlet), indexing my knitting magazines, and looking through my old photos. Something is bound to inspire me soon!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Wooster at Vega...

The Illustration Friday topic this week is Instinct. I am posting this oil painting of Wooster at Vega Lake, where our cabin is. It is Wooster's favorite place in the whole world, and that is because his instinct is to check out every plant and tree there, to see what's been there before him. He smells deer and fox, elk and possibly even moose, bear and opossum, porcupine and grouse, mice and chipmunks and snakes, and who knows what all else. Pure heaven for a dog's nose! The old dog becomes a pup again up there... and pays for it later.

My instinct this week has been to drag out some unfinished paintings and either finish them or pitch them. This is one I guess I finished, though it may still be in the pitch-able category, too. What I don't like about it is that it looks like I painted every shrub and leaf. I didn't; I painted large areas, like the foreground was just one large mass of darks, then I put some lights here and there. Also, it's just too homogeneous. But that is what the lake looks like in the summer; green, green, and more green, with a few areas of other colors. It is 16x20 inches.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

'September' tapestry

Here is the completed "September" tapestry. It is 19x19 inches, so is not large. It is blocked, slits sewn, etc., but is not yet mounted, as nobody in town carries 19" stretchers, so my husband will have to make me some. For those who didn't see (or can't remember) the maquette, it came from 4 small oil paintings that I pieced together in the computer. Here it is again:

As you can see, it did not translate directly, but has some modifications. What I like about the comparison of the two is that the paintings feel very 'painter-ly' to me, while the tapestry does have a very 'weaver'ly' look to it. And by that, I mean that the paintings have marks that could only be made with paint, while the tapestry has marks that could only be made in the medium of tapestry. I like that kind of thing!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Been feeling quite beige...

Well, after looking in absolutely every spot I could think of and still not finding the photo I was searching for yesterday, I decided to quit looking and just let it 'come to me.' Sometimes that will happen; I'll quit looking and then will suddenly remember where I put it, when I'm thinking of something completely unrelated.

So, since I have been feeling quite beige lately, I decide to paint something colorful yesterday. I had bought the three most colorful pears at the market to take to use as a still-life when I painted with the Alzheimer's patients last week. So I decided I would paint them myself. I had set them on the top of my flat-top stove, which is black, and it made such lovely reflections, I just used that for my set-up. The painting is in oil on canvas, and is 9"x12". I don't know what it is about pears that makes me want to paint and weave them lately, except maybe just that they are not beige!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Thinking old, again...

When I finish a tapestry, I am already thinking ahead to the next one. That thinking begins when I see the top of the cartoon behind the tapestry. So, I've been thinking ahead for awhile about what I would like to weave next. What has kept cropping up in my mind is an old photo that I have somewhere of a woman in a cowgirl outfit. The photo is a little B&W contact print from the 1930's. It was in a box of old pictures I inherited from my grandparents. From that box, I began the Heritage Series of tapestries, and I have never really considered myself to be finished with that series. The cowgirl is one of several photos I still want to develop into tapestries.

What brought this photo to mind again was the walks I have been taking several times a week with a friend. She recently bought a house in my neighborhood, which is the downtown, historic district of our little city. So we have been walking through the neighborhood, discussing the architecture and what folks are doing with (or to) their old homes. In addition, my husband and I went to an estate sale at one of the houses over the weekend. The couple that lived there had the home in their family since it was built in the early 1920's, and absolutely everything the family had accumulated over that near-century was still in the house. We didn't buy anything, though I may go back next weekend when everything is half-price, as they had a huge collection of Navajo and Turkish rugs. But I did sneekily take this photo of toddler shoes, with my husband's i-Phone (I hadn't thought to take my camera, and it probably would have been discouraged anyway.) I thought they would be fun to paint.

Annny waaay, I can't find the photo of the cowgirl! I know I put it somewhere so I could easily get my hands on it when I wanted it... but where that place is, I have yet to discover, after tearing the house apart all morning long. Don't you absolutely hate when that happens??? I am determined to find it now, though, whether it becomes a tapestry or not. So finding the photo is what is next on my agenda!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Cutting off....

I finished the "September" tapestry this afternoon and have cut it off! I didn't have a cutting off party, as I really just have too much else going on right now, so I 'partied' and cut it off by myself. Above is a photo of it still on the loom, but with hem woven, ready to cut off. After I weave the hem, I cut every other pair of warps across, tying them close to the fell line as I go. You can see the ones already cut hanging down in front of the tapestry in the photo below.
Then, with the weft secured by the cut and tied warps, I can cut the rest off the loom, unwind the tapestry, and untie the warps from the front beam. Below is the finished tapestry, lying face down on my dining room table to 'rest' before I tie off the rest of the warp ends, trim warp and the weft threads hanging out the back down to about an inch long, sew all slits longer than 1/4 inch, block and mount it. Then I'll take some good photos and will post one here!

Illustration Friday: Celebrate

The IF topic today is "Celebrate." Hmmmm... I guess I could celebrate a lot of things today; it is my father's 80-somethingth birthday today, tomorrow is Valentine's Day, I will be cutting a tapestry from the loom either later today or tomorrow, and today may be a BIG day to celebrate as a grandmother. But, in spite of all those things to celebrate, I have chosen to post a little watercolor sketch done from a photo my son sent me when he went through London a few years ago. It is of a group of the British League of Pessimists celebrating "National No Smile Day." We need more of these. Let's replace Valentine's Day with a No Smile Day... it would be cheaper, and it cracks me up! Many more laughs on a No Smile Day than on any other day, because what is the first thing we rebels do when told not to smile? Now don't you smile... I mean it!!
(I confess that I love the guy with all the buttons on holding a stick that doesn't have a sign on it.)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Nearly there...

As you can see, I'm coming to the top of this small tapestry. Depending on how the week goes, I may cut off this weekend. But I have a baby blanket to finish knitting an attached i-cord edging all round before that, as the shower is this weekend, and I'm not sure what else the week will bring. This is one of those 'up in the air' weeks, where there are events coming up to prepare for and deadlines to meet, and I am putting out whichever fire blazes the hottest at the time, and not looking ahead too much. You know, one of those weeks... when your husband calls at noon and asks 'what are you doing?' and you don't know the answer...

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Mom Song

This is for my two sons.... AND for all of you who are or have moms. Isn't it great?!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Illustration Friday: Time 2

Yes, I know I already posted an image for this topic, but this morning I wondered why I didn't post this tapestry, as it's perfect for the topic. It is one of the Four Seasons tapestries (Spring) and it is called "A Time to Wait." It is of my daughter-in-law, as she was expecting our first grand-daughter. It is large; 36"x56", and is a handwoven tapestry. (Click on it to see it larger.)

Friday, February 6, 2009

Illustration Friday: Time

When they began to dance, they no longer noticed that time and people were passing them by.

This is a detail of the painting I am working on. It's still in it's first stage, without any editing, so it will be 'fixed up' over time, before it's finished.

And speaking of Time... Yesterday I painted for the third time with a small group of people with Alzheimer's disease. Time has not been kind to them. There are moments when we laugh together, and memories of places and times come out in small comments. But I always leave feeling sad. And blessed. Very, very blessed. May Time be kinder to us all, and I hope each of you keep creatively active, as that can help ward off some forms of dementia. Remember how blessed you are, and give Thanks!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Meanwhile, back at the loom...

I'm weaving a bit each day again, so have made a bit of progress on the upper two pears. You can see how close I am to the top of the cartoon now. I should cut off next week... maybe.

I function on a 'do what's yelling the loudest to be done' basis. For instance, the house needs cleaning, but it's not yet going to be condemned, and there is no company coming in the near future, so it's not climbing to the top of the ToDo list today. There is always some studio work, some business in my office (which is yelling loudly enough to get my attention) and always some work to do on the ATA exhibit. I have come to view deadlines as my friends, or at least my motivators. Without them, I would probably get very little done. Looming deadlines this week (pun intended) include a couple of exhibit entries to send in, and a baby shower that I need to finish knitting a blanket for. Oh, and a talk I will be giving to my local guild tomorrow. Those will demand my attention for the rest of the day, but this morning, I sat at the loom and wove pears!