Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween from our resident blonde!

(Note: no puppy was hurt or in any way humiliated to create this photo.)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Where things stand....

This is something of a 'blogiversary' for me - I noticed that this is my 400th post! Who knew I had that much to say!

I've been weaving a bit this week, and can now see that 'the end is in sight.' I also have 20 small paintings painted, framed, and ready for the miniatures exhibit, all smaller than 8x10 inches. I'm pulling out tapestries for the gallery later today and tomorrow. Everything will be hung on Monday. I'll take some photos to share, if I remember.

Things are going better with Booker, too. I have discovered a few things that 'work' in modifying some of his less attractive behaviors. (The most effective is for me to go into another room from him. He is such a social creature that he hates being left alone, even for 1-2 minutes.) Our biggest problem with him right now is how he 'greets' people. He gets a bit too enthusiastic. The other day, the UPS truck came, and I waited until the package was left and the driver was returning to the truck before opening the door. When I opened the door to get the package, Booker burst through the screen door, and ran out and jumped into the UPS truck to greet the driver. It took both the driver and me to leash him and get him out of the truck. By then, I was ready to let her keep him, tag him, and deliver him to another sucker! Halloween might be really scary here, if he attacks all the trick-or-treaters with his usual gusto. He is a bit over-the-top-friendly for little ones still, so he will probably be in the basement with one of us while the other gives out treats. I'm afraid he won't like that one little bit! He is certain that when the doorbell rings, it's always for him.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Planning ahead...

When I weave, I am either thinking of what 'comes next' technically in the piece I'm working on or, as I near the top, I begin to think of what will come next, design-wise. As in, what will be my next tapestry? I have a commission I will need to consider, but in my own work, I am still thinking in terms of this calendar series I've been doing. I'm weaving January now, and have done February and September. With the month of October coming to an end, I looked back through the Maine photos with an October tapestry in mind. The tapestries are square in format; 18 x 18". January and February were both challenging to weave. September also had it's challenges, but was simpler. I wove it between the two more complex ones. I will definitely be ready for something simpler by the time I finish the January piece and a large commission piece! So I passed over the reflection photos, for now anyway, as I think even considering them might just send me over the edge!

These are two photos I'm considering as possibilities. The one above I like because of the complimentary contrast. It would be the simplest to do. The one below is a photo of a canopy of leaves, which I took for my husband who, being a woodworker, loves oak trees. I've woven a lot of leaves, but not for a long time. I do like the composition of the leaf image.

I like both images, but am not sure that either one is 'IT' yet. Do you see either of these as tapestries?

Or I could merge the two images, sort of like the "September" tapestry. But this is really my least favorite option. What do you think?

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Last leaf of autumn...

... meets the first flake of snow.

This is a picture from the sitting room window last night, as the first snow of the season was falling. It's actually a fairly impressive snow for us. We're NOT Denver, who gets impressive snows as a matter of course, and their snow doesn't melt by 10 a.m., as ours generally does. And 'impressive' to us is a dusting on the ground, while it sounds like they really are getting hit today, with 8-10 inches expected to accumulate.

This is Booker's first snow. When I put him out into his yard this morning, he hunkered down and barked at it for a bit. How dare such a thing invade his yard? Then he tentatively went up to a bit and tasted it. Mmmmm, tasty and wet! So it has his permission to stay for a bit, though I'm betting we'll go through the barking at it bit a few more times before it melts.

I love it when the fall color and the first snow overlap! Here is the tree from our sitting room window this morning.

I'm hoping for a few more minutes at the loom today. Every tiny bit helps! I am determined that the "January" tapestry will be off the loom by mid-November, even if I have to start staying up nights to weave. (Of course, the problem with that is that whatever I weave at night, I generally have to un-weave and re-weave by day, so not the best of all solutions! )

In the meantime, I will be on the lookout for a "November" tapestry image soon! I think I'll find an "October" one among those I took in Maine.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Moving on...

I am finishing up all the work for the miniatures exhibit at the Blue Pig gallery, which will take place through the months of November and December. I'm framing, etc., today, but will not paint anything more, though I have zillions of paintings floating through my head, especially when I'm trying to sleep at night. Too much! ¡¡Demasiado!!

I am going to move on to other things - the tapestry on the loom beckons. I have a tapestry commission I need to design. And I have committed to do a portrait of a community leader for a special exhibit for the gallery in January. I have 5 children sweaters and a Linus Project blanket to knit in the next 2 months. And Booker still takes up a good bit of my time and energy. I got up from the table to answer the phone this morning, and when I came back he was on my chair eating my cereal. I am hoping Gussie is whispering to him to 'Be Good' in the photo below, but I think he's just licking Booker's ears.

The painting above is 5x5" and is called, "Three Little Blue Pigs." It is oil on board.

Saturday, October 24, 2009



8x8" oil on panel. This will be in the Blue Pig Gallery miniatures exhibit, November- December, 2009.

Coming home to Autumn...

While I found Maine to be very beautiful, nothing I saw there was quite as lovely as my town, my street and my HOME when I arrived back here, after an extra unplanned day of travel (which happens to me often.) Fall had not arrived before I left. It came while I was gone, and it is glorious here on this old street with lovely old trees. My husband took the photo of our house (above) a few days before I got home. I took the one below of our across-the-street neighbor's house, with it's scarlet ivy.

Even Booker is fascinated by the beautiful leaves. He likes to nudge the lower ones, so they fall on him.

When I was a young girl, back in the dinosaur days before email and cell phones, my Grandmother would write us letters, and whenever she wrote about where she lived, she used all capital letters; HOME. It made it clear how she felt about her modest home; she loved it. It was the one place on earth where those whom she loved could always find her. That made it worthy of the distinction she gave it by always capitalizing the word. Grandma and Dorothy, both Kansas gals, were quite right: "There's no place like HOME."

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day six, Maine...

On our last day in Maine, we had several things we had wanted to do all week, but hadn't yet done, so we set out to see if we could find them. We'd tried to find the Pemaquid Point Light earlier in the week, but the Maine lack-of-signage got us lost (that's our excuse, and we'll stick to it!) So we headed out to find it again. On our way, we saw a sign that said "Farmer's Market Today" so we had to go there first. Of course, there was one too few signs, so it took us awhile. When there, we bought some terrific local products, and got some lovely photos. The 'blue pumpkin' above was one of them.

We did also finally find the Light, and a nearby gift shop was having an end of season sale, so we had to go there as well!

As we headed back into Rockport, where we wanted to find a juried Craft Exhibit we'd been seeing signs for all week, we stopped so one of my friends could photograph a lovely house and barn. This sheep watched us the whole time we were stopped. He quite cracked me up! In fact, I still smile to look at him.

The Craft Exhibit was in the Center for Maine Contemporary Art which is a lovely facility! The volunteers who staff the facility are equally lovely, and the exhibit was filled with beautiful work. The only tapestries there were by an artist who does rag rugs in tapestry. They inspired me to want to do some rugs again. The center's motto was painted on the wall: "Fear No Art." We discussed what it might mean, but decided it would mean different things to each of us, which was provoking.

Back behind the Art center is Rockport Harbor. I took a series of photos around the harbor and attached them so you can see what the lovely little Maine harbors look like. Just off the point of this harbor (at the far right end of the pictures) is Clark Island, with a Light on it.

Lincolnville Beach was our next stop. We didn't feel that we had collected enough shells and rocks to make our bags as smelly as those we usually bring home, so we needed to collect more. And one of my friends makes beautiful jewelry from beach stones and glass, so she was on a quest.

The beach was lovely, more stones and shells than sand, and it yielded soggy pockets full of treasures for each of us. When we got there the tide was still in, so we collected a bit, then went to the Lobster Pound beside the beach. The lobster in Maine is huge and succulent - my mouth is watering just remembering it!

After lunch, the tide was low, so we scrounged a bit more, then headed back to the cabin to see if everything would fit in our bags for the trip home early the next day. BARELY, in all cases!

We said goodbye to Maine the next day. A lovely trip. Thank you, beautiful Maine! I will be back... I still want to go to Monhegan Island; I want to spend more time in Acadia; we didn't get down south at all, and the Winslow Homer home and studio will open someday soon in Prout's
Neck. And I will need a lobster fix that Colorado restaurants just can't fulfill!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Day five, Maine...

It is hard to find words for Acadia National Park. "Acadia" means 'heaven on earth,' and this place is aptly named. Everywhere I looked in Acadia, I saw tapestries. On the rest of the trip I saw paintings, but I wanted to weave Acadia. The shot above is one of many that I took of reflections. (By the way, some of these photos need to be enlarged to appreciate them at their best. Just click on them to see them bigger.)

I also took a lot of seagull and cormorant shots in Acadia. (Thanks for the inspiration, Jamie Wyeth!)

And, speaking of Jamie Wyeth, I am just positive that this is the same view of the Bass Harbor lighthouse that he painted several times. His paintings have iris in the foreground.

As we left Mt. Desert Island, we saw this place, and had to take photos of all the colorful bouys. It seemed to bring me back to the 'real world,' as I don't see this as a tapestry. Or do I?

When we got back to Camden we went around trying to get some night photos. None of us were very successful, so I intend to study up on how to do that well. My seafood for the day was shrimp fajitas.

Back at the cabin, I told the others how I had gotten up in the night the night before and had seen the Big Dipper resting on the 'mountain' on the other side of the lake. So we went out in the cold night air to see if it was there yet. Not only was it there, but it was perfectly reflected in the still lake! Absolutely stunning! We tried to get photos of it, but to no avail. There were no other visible stars in that part of the sky or in the lake. Just the Dipper. Below is a "simulated" image of what we saw - totally PhotoShopped from a lake photo I took at another time. It doesn't capture the magic of the real thing, but will serve as a reminder to me of how lovely it was. And what a visual gift to us!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Day four, Maine...

When we got up early to get ready to go to Monhegan, we found that it was raining hard, and was supposed to rain all day. In fact, weather forecasted snow 'in the high country.' Now, I'm sure Maine has some 'high country' but we didn't see any. (The man we rented the cabin from told us the name of the 'high mountain' across the lake but, look as hard as we could, we could only see a nice little hill.) Due to the weather, we decided it was not a day for a ferry ride to an island with most facilities shut down for the season.

In fact, it seemed to be a perfect day to go to Rockland to visit the Farnsworth Museum and the Wyeth Center. So that's what we did. I love all of the Wyeths' work; I love N.C. Wyeth's book illustrations, Andrew Wyeth's interiors and portraits, and Jamie Wyeth's seagulls, dogs and cows. In fact, the one print I have hanging in my house is of Andrew Wyeth's dog on the bed in the Olsen House. The dog looks just like Wooster, who used to sneak up onto our bed, which had a bedspread on it just like the one in the painting! We saw lovely work by each of the Wyeths! I found that, on the rest of our time in Maine, I was taking lots of shots of seagulls, which I have previously found to be uninspiring birds.
Of course, we were not allowed to photograph anything in the museums (and the docents there are very paranoid and grumpy, we thought - even to people like us, who had NO intention of doing anything 'wrong.' Lighten up, docents! You are surrounded by beautiful ART - smile and enjoy it!) Unfortunately, the Olsen House was closed for the season. We thought about going anyway and just staring at the scene of "Christina's World" through the gate, but the weather didn't encourage it.

There is an old house that was donated to the Farnsworth and is a part of it. We were allowed to take photos there, so got some nice still life and interior shots there. And the docent there was delightful! Both of the artists I was with are primarily still-life artists, and I think they got some lovely material there.

I have been wanting to paint some interiors, but don't know that I would want to do anything this 'fussy.'

It wasn't a day to 'collect' much in the way of photos, though I did get a few I really like, such as this man in slicker and wellies. We don't see that here where it rarely rains.

We looked around a bit in Rockland, and my seafood for the day was a big bowl of the largest mussels I've ever had. Quite tasty! We headed back to the cabin early, to build a fire and toast some marshmallows and get things ready for an early morning drive to Acadia National Park the next day.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

First Maine painting: "Collecting"


This is a small 8x8" oil on canvas painting of a little girl collecting leaves. It will be in the Miniatures exhibit at The Blue Pig Gallery in November.

Day three, Maine...

On our third day in Maine, we went a bit further to the lovely town of Wiscasset, on the Sheepscot river. Aren't those names wonderful? You just expect wondrous things when you go to a place with a name like that; and wondrous things were found!

We started out at an antique book store. The walls were filled with beautifully bound books, and when we told the lovely proprietor that we were artists in search of images, she told us to take as many photos as we liked, and even made sure we saw the wall of beautifully British bound childrens' books. We had a marvelous time there!

After working up an appetite, we went to the world famous (and rightly so) Red's Eats for their lobster rolls. They were piled high with succulent meat, 'over a lobster and a half in each roll'. The people in line were from all over the world, and all were charming. This lady was a local, there to get her last lobster roll of the season, as it was Red's last day until spring. She was a delight to visit with, and kindly allowed me to take her photo in her unique lobster hat.

After lunch, we had to work off all that lobster before we could get some 'house-made' ice cream, so we hit up some more shops, searching for still-lifes with light and shadows.

This house fascinated me. In fact, I love all of the New England style houses with their attached barns. But this one also had an old cemetery in the front yard. It was one of several we saw with 'attached' graveyard. I wonder if it had once been the parsonage?

By then, jet-lag and late nights had set in, so we went to a grocer for food to take to the cabin for a quiet dinner in. Again, I am sparing you several hundreds of the photos I took that day! Back at the cabin, we ate and deleted the less than perfect photos from our cameras, and did a bit of sketching. Then we went to bed early, planning to get up and catch the first ferry to Monhegan Island the next day.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Day two, Maine...

When we woke up on our first day in the cabin, we looked out the window to the still lake, where the colors on the trees were just beginning to change. We'd not seen where we were the night before, as we didn't get to the cabin until after midnight. There were birds on the lake that looked like loons, but they were awfully quiet for loons, so we still aren't sure what they were. We got ourselves ready and decided to spend our first day in and around the Camden/Rockport area, which was close by. We found the Rockport Breakwater Lighthouse, and could also see the one on Owl's Point from there. We are serious lighthouse fans, as we just don't have them in Colorado!

Also at the lighthouse were seals, and we started filling our pockets with shells and rocks on the beach.

We then went into town by the harbor, as we were craving seafood. My seafood for the day was a great clam roll.
After lunch, we took photos of people,

boats (and, in my case, more people in boats),

and anything with lovely shadows or fall colors.

My friends told me to get some great boat shots so I can weave another boat tapestry to get stolen. Not funny! We were on one of our art trips when I took the photo that inspired me to weave "Rockport Skiffs", but that was in Rockport, Massachusetts.

All in all, I took over 400 photos that day, but have since pared them down a bit. I will spare you the lot of them, and will just share these for now.