Friday, May 28, 2010

Illustration Friday: Slither

I have not finished the little rose painting, but I will post it when it's done. I've been busy playing with my grandchildren!

I decided to post this tapestry for the IF topic of 'Slither' today, though, because this is a handwoven tapestry that almost nobody has ever seen! It is one of the first tapestries I did, in 1985. Back then, in my beginning days of weaving tapestries, I was learning the techniques on my own from Peter Collingwood's rug book. So each tapestry was aimed at learning a new technique, rather than at weaving a complex or artistic design. This tapestry was for me to learn to use hatching to create shadows, and I think I did a pretty good job of it for my first try, tho' I didn't shadow much of anything but the large shadow shape behind the figure.

The subject of the tapestry is my son and one of the many snakes he would bring home when that age. In 1985, he would have been 8 years old. He is here now, with his twins, who will turn 4 while here. That's how long ago this tapestry was done! So far, his son has not brought home any snakes. Maybe they'll catch one while here, though I think they're not yet inclined to pick one up and take it home. (We have no poisonous snakes here.)

Anyway, I thought this early tapestry would be a fun thing to share with you! Have a good Memorial Day weekend, fellow Americans, and a good weekend of whatever sort to all other visitors! We will be watching a lot of baseball at the Junior College World Series, making and eating home-made ice cream with strawberries from the garden, and playing a good bit of hide and seek.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Work in progress...

I have LOTS to do today, but am having a hard time getting to it. I am having my first cup of coffee, and am hoping that, although decaf, it will help me get moving. I have mentioned before that I have been dealing with a chronic headache for the past 2 1/2 years (almost to the day) which began when I banged my head on the car door while getting out. The headache is worst at night, and I often get very little quality (or quantity) sleep. Such was the case last night.

So, anyway, I was just having my coffee and doing my daily Sudoku. Then I was going to put the computer to sleep and get busy with my day, as I will have family trickling in all week, beginning tomorrow, and I have lots to do to get ready. But I thought, as I went to the pull-down menu on my computer to select 'sleep,' how lovely it would be if we had such a thing! Just imagine - select 'sleep,' and my screen could go blank and I would sleep until I am needed again! I might have to make that into a visualization... not that those things work very often to put me to sleep with a headache, but it's worth a try!

The photos here are the first two stages of a little painting that I am working on. It is of the first rose from my garden in my favorite Fiesta tea cup. The first stage, blocking in color areas, took about five minutes, if that. I don't do any pre-drawing on a little painting like this, but just jump into this first stage, finding shapes with the paint and brush. Stage two took about 20 minutes, as I began to develop some details. There is about another 20-40 minutes of work to do to complete the painting. I need to correct some perspective and shape details on the cup and the rose. Then I will need to decide what to do with the background. In the set-up, the cup is on a crocheted doily, but I may decide that will be too 'fussy' and distracting. The painting is only 6x6 inches, after all.

I will show you the completed painting when it is finished. I may work on it during housekeeping breaks today, if I am getting my work done efficiently enough to take breaks. Otherwise, it may be awhile before I get to it, as I will be playing with my grandchildren for the next week or two!

OK. NOW it's time to hit sleep (on the computer, at least.)

Saturday, May 22, 2010

I really have been weaving... a bit...

I have been weaving on the "March" tapestry in bits and pieces of time. I haven't taken photos of it, and, now that I have, I can see why! It's a bit of a mess; with lots of butterflies, which I've pulled off to the sides to take the shot. And the dark/light contrast is so great, that it's really hard to get a good photo. Also, I can't seem to get the purple of the iris to read as purple in the photo. It is really much cooler (a bluer purple) than this shows.

But then, this high contrast is really what this tapestry is all about for me. The extreme dark vs. the bright lights. That is what the month of March is about, too. A bright spring-like day, followed by the dark return of winter.

I have about 6-7 inches left to weave, which doesn't sound like much, if weaving was all that was on my list. I have done with deadlines for this... it will be done when it is done. My grandchildren will all be here next weekend. I am going to see if each of them would like to put a few wefts into this tapestry, which will make it very special to me.

Monday, May 17, 2010

A hard night's day....

Gus, the Brat cat was out all night last night. Though he is basically an indoor cat, I let him out into Booker's yard at about 7:30 yesterday evening, thinking he would be a good 'distraction' for Booker, as we worked on his 'sits' and 'waits.' The 'distraction' immediately ran up a tree near the fence, hopped over to the top of the fence, and fell off, into the neighbor's yard! I ran around, hoping to nab him, but couldn't get into the neighbor's yard, so ran back home and phoned them. They went out to look for Gus, but couldn't find him. I don't know if he was already gone, or if he just hunkered down to hide from them.

So I walked around the neighborhood, looking for him until after dark. Then I STAYED UP ALL NIGHT LIKE AN IDIOT, waiting for him to, hopefully, come up on the porch and meow to be let in. At a bit past 4:30, I drifted off on the uncomfortable living room sofa, and dreamed about drowning in a swimming pool (which I was afraid maybe had happened to him in the neighbor's backyard) and then about running for my life while giant husky dogs leapt over my head.

At about 5:45, I awoke and saw that it was light outside, so I went from window to window until I spied the little delinquent, sitting by the street with the biggest, furry gangster cat of the neighborhood. It was clear that he was taking Gus on as his hoodlum apprentice, and that Gus was all for it! I ran out and the gangsta-cat fled across the street, but I headed Gus off from that direction, so he hunkered down under the thickest part of the forsythia bush. After I'd scratched myself as much as I possibly could on that bush, he ran under the nearby evergreen tree, which is also quite thick at ground level. So I added some scratches to my arms and face from that part of the yard. When I was within inches of him, he ran under the old lilac bush, which is up against the garage, so he was cornered! I finally nabbed the miscreant! He voiced his rebellious disappointment at being caught in loud tones. Oh, the language he had picked up in one night on the raw streets!

I hauled his sorry self in and unceremoniously dumped him in the kitchen, informing him he was grounded until.... well, until forever! He already knew that, hence his reluctance to come in. He knows it will be a looooong time before he sees the light of day, or the dark of night, without a safe window glass between him and the great outdoors.

He has been sleeping it off all day, no doubt dreaming of his adventures. Booker has also been sleeping it off. He was quite stressed by the whole thing. He didn't want to come inside last night. He kept going to the spot in the fence where Gus went over and sniffing through the fence for him. I think he was worried that Gus was hurt from the fall, and he knew Gus didn't belong outside in the dark. So everyone but me is sleeping here today, and I might as well be, for all the good that I am getting done as I walk around in Zombie-mode.

Dream on, Gus! You may not have had enough adventure yet, but I certainly have for the time being.

Friday, May 14, 2010

IF: Equipment

Finally, it was the equipment carrier's day off! This is posted for Illustration Friday's topic of the week, 'Equipment.'

It is a small oil on canvas sketch, 5x7 inches.

Added note: I am thinking of offering canvas prints of some of my paintings that have sold. If I do that, do you think there would be an interest? Should I just sell them locally in the gallery, or online as well? And, if online, does anyone have experience or suggestions as to where it would be best to do that (my own website,, or eBay)? Any input or suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Thanks so much!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Bringing the mountain home...

We went up to our rustic mountain cabin for an overnight. The last time we were there, we had to snowshoe in, but most of the snow is gone now, and spring is making it's first slow appearance. Booker treed his first porcupine, and almost made a much too close acquaintance with it.

The ground cover and scrub oaks have not yet filled in, so I was able to explore some places that are usually more difficult to get to, like this area that deer and elk bed down in when the hot summer sun and noisy people are both too much for them.

Inside the sheltered area were these plants that I have never seen before. I am not a wildflower gatherer; I generally like to find new specimen, identify them and note in my book where I saw them, and leave them in their own environment. But it's been a long while since I've seen anything new there, and these fascinated me! There were a dozen or more new plants coming up, and a number of the old ones in their dried 'last-year' state. The stalks of the dried flowers are about 7-8 feet tall!

It took me several trips back and forth from the plants to our well-worn green book to identify the plants as Deertongue. I decided that I really want to see one grow, but I don't want to disturb the deer and elk when they come back up the mountain, and I also don't want to have to scramble under all the brush that will soon be back to protect them.

So I talked my husband and his handy helper into digging a single one up, and bringing it home to my garden. I know deer and elk won't eat it there, as we don't have any in our neighborhood. However, Booker is in a 'taste the garden' phase, and he tasted the top half-inch off before we got it safely home in it's wash tub.

Yesterday when we got home, I watered it well, and today I planted it in a shady spot in the garden. I believe it has grown an inch at least since we dug it up! If I can keep Booker's mouth off it, I will enjoy having this little piece of the mountain forest in my back yard.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Grumpy, Dopey, Sleepy, Sneezy and Me!

Actually, all of the above ARE me! My allergies are in full swing, and I have somehow pulled my back out of whack, so am trying to get non-back-related things done. And, can you tell me, dear friends, what on earth is 'non-back-related?' No garden work, or housework.... (FINALLY! an excuse, but, oh dear, couldn't there be a better, less uncomfortable one?) I pulled my back out once before. It was the most painful thing I can ever remember, and it lasted an entire summer. I am determined that this won't get that bad or hang on that long, which is why I'm 'being good.'

So, since I am wanting to re-do my garden this year but can't be out digging, I am doing it on paper first. The easy-on-the-back part of the job! Here is my little diagram of what is in my garden right now. I want to add some brick paths, remove some annoying roses, and maybe move some things that are getting too much shade right now. So I have out my garden books and am pouring over them for ideas. I am thinking of getting rid of most of the grass area. And there's an area by the rhubarb that used to be for tomatoes, but they are going in a spot Booker has helpfully dug up for me elsewhere this summer.

I also have been weaving in little stretches of time. And I painted an undercoat on a canvas and drew up a painting to do of one of my grand-daughters. I used pink to undercoat the canvas! I would never have even thought of using pink before this. I almost always use red or yellow, though I have used blue before. But this subject is very warm, and pink just seemed 'right' to soften it from below. We'll see if it works! Well, my too-busy-to-blog days are over before they even began, so here I am. Best laid plans, don't you know!

By the way, if you know how to get in touch with those 7 hard-working fellows with the silly names pictured above, I could use their help! Heigh-ho, indeed!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Monday, Monday...

Saturday was a grey and slow day at the gallery, although out-of-towners are beginning to find us again. In the afternoon, I had a little bit of time to paint. The gallery likes having artists painting there, so I did two very small pieces. The one above is 5"x5". It is of the white dove that lives in our yard.

This second little landscape is from a photo I took of Puget Sound, while going over Deception Pass. It is 5"x7". Fun to remember that beautiful place! I guess that's what landscapes are for... to take us somewhere else for a bit. I feel very 'Bob Ross' doing landscapes... especially on the 'happy little tree!'

Today is Monday. Monday is a difficult day for me, though I am not sure why. I don't ever want to do anything on a Monday, yet Monday is the day I see all there is ahead for me to do during the week. Well, these tasks are not for Monday. Tuesday will do, or Wednesday, or Thursday...