Sunday, October 31, 2010

Here comes November!

Tomorrow begins another month. And November is a month that I haven't designed or woven a Calendar series tapestry for yet! So I have been going through photos taken in the past two November's, looking for inspiration. The tapestry will be 18x18 inches square, so I have cropped everything to be square, but haven't otherwise yet altered any photos to create a maquette yet. So far, I'm just in search of inspiration. The above three images, of grass and leaves are nice, but maybe too much like what I will be doing for October...

I am intrigued by these 'harvest moon' photos. Maybe?

This window, with the fall light coming through is also something I love in late fall.

And this would be something completely different. Too different?

Well, the search for inspiration has made me want to get back to the loom and finish the August tapestry. I am feeling better today, so will head into the studio to round up all the small pieces to go to the Blue Pig gallery tomorrow. I believe my small painting inventory is large enough to allow me to spend November and December weaving and designing the next tapestries. Woo-hoo!

(And, in the meantime, I will still have my camera with me at all times, in search of more November inspiration.)

Friday, October 29, 2010

Illustration Friday topic: Spent

Even though I posted this tapestry before when it was 'hot off the loom,' when I saw the IF topic today is Spent, I just had to re-post it. It actually pretty much defines how I'm feeling today, too. I just got home from a quick, worried trip over the mountains and back; I'm still concerned about my grand-daughter, who is having some follow up surgical procedures done this morning; and I got about 3 hours sleep, if that, last night because I have a ridiculous ear ache. I am Totally Spent! Passion, energy, and all. It is quite hard to be creative when you feel all used up. But November is but hours away, and I need to get into the studio and get all my small pieces ready to go to the Blue Pig Gallery in Palisade for the small works show/sale, which is through November and December there.

Colorado gold...

I have had several opportunities to see quite a bit of this year's beautiful autumn here in Colorado during the past few weeks. Weekend before last, I drove south to Montrose to share my work with the fiber guild there, which is always a treat for me.

Last weekend, we went to our cabin, then came home to the frightening news that our oldest grandchild (still, only 6 years old) was having emergency appendectomy surgery. So I packed a scant bag and headed over the mountains to see what I could do to help.

The aspens have lost most of their leaves by now, but the cottonwoods along the valley floors and river banks are as pretty as I think I've ever seen them! The two aspen photos (above) were from the cabin. I did try to take more pictures as I drove to Denver and Montrose, but I ended up with a lot of photos of the car dashboard.

The picture below is also from the cabin. It is a scrub oak leaf, just as the rain ended and the sun came out for a few minutes.

I am home now, with a head cold and what I am sure must be an ear infection from the pressure of driving over the mountains with a stuffed up head. My grand-daughter is still in the hospital, but is on the mend, and her other grandparents are there to help out. I am posting this in the middle of the night, as my ear just will not respond to the pain meds I took. If it doesn't get better soon, I will have to do a Van Gogh on it. Perhaps this is really why he cut his ear off? If so, I can truly sympathize!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Quince Jam-ly!

This is a quince. They grow on bushes; mostly in the yards of old houses, as they just aren't planted much anymore here in the US. We have a quince bush, and several neighbors have them, but they have no interest in the fruit. So they let me have it.

There are a lot of reasons quince have gone 'out-of-style.' They are very tart: they taste like a citrus fruit. Also, they are very hard, and mine are not very big. So it takes a lot of determination to get a bag full of small fruits chopped up to cook down to juice.

I found the recipe I used on Past years, I have made a quince jam. This year I decided to do a jelly, but I did let a bit of the cooked down pulp go through the 2-sieve system I used into the juice. I like there to be a bit of fruit in my spread, which is why I generally prefer jam to jelly. The quince juice turns pink as you cook it down.

Four hours later, I ended up with 7 small jars of what I will be calling 'Jam-ly,' as it is not quite a jam, but is most like a jelly. I tried a bit on toast. This is not only the best Quince-anything I have ever made or had, but I think it's the best spread of any kind I have made or had! Oh my goodness! I may hide and hoard this for myself!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Starry, Starry Nights...

One of the highlights of my time in San Francisco was a visit to the de Young Museum to see the Impressionist exhibit that is there now. I had seen Van Gogh's "Starry Night" (above) on exhibit before (it was not in this exhibit), but I had never seen the "Starry Night Over the Rhone" (below) before.

I love both paintings, but I truly L-O-V-E the Rhone one best! I really wasn't even aware that there were two Starry Night paintings, though I have a number of Van Gogh books and I knew he often repeated themes. This painting is so beautiful in person! There were a number of stunning pieces in the exhibit, but this one called people back to it. The colors are still so intense and beautiful. It reminded me, too, of the night about a year ago in Maine when my friends and I stood in awe, looking at the big dipper over a lake. Van Gogh captured that much better than I did! Thank goodness he didn't have PhotoShop!

I could have stood looking at the Starry Night painting for hours. But it was his Self Portrait in Autumn that, as is always the case with his self-portraits, brought me to tears. As did one of his bedroom paintings, which I had seen before, but which always seems so intimate and personal.

Oh, to create like Van Gogh! But what would I have to sacrifice to do that? An ear? My perceived emotional control? Would it be worth that? I truly do want to keep both of my ears.....

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


"Just before the death of flowers,
And before they are buried in snow,
There comes a festival season
When nature is all aglow."
- Author Unknown

"There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on
the feelings, as now in October."
- Nathaniel Hawthorne

Monday, October 11, 2010

San Francisco

I thought I should post a few photos (from the almost 1,000 that I took) from my recent trip to San Francisco. I picked some that say "San Francisco" the most loudly to me. The above one reminds me of the city; the lovely young woman in her fur vest and Bloomingdales bag, mounting a bicycle to ride off into the 5:00 city streets.

This one says "Chinatown" loud and clear!

This is my favorite photo of the Fisherman's Wharf area.

This photo speaks for itself...

This was from the beach where we ate lunch with my sister and my parents. After that, we went to my parents' house in Fairfield. I may post some photos from that part of our trip later. But for now, I must get busy! I have a lot to do, now that I'm home, beginning with creating a Power Point talk that I will be giving to the San Juan Fiber Guild on Saturday.

Friday, October 8, 2010

IF: Transportation

I'm still away from home, but am taking advantage of a few rare moments of Wi-Fi in a Barnes and Noble. I see that the Illustration Friday topic is 'transportation' so will post this portion of a tapestry, where I wove an old car that may have been a 1938 Ford, belonging to my grandparents. It was one of the funnest (is that a word?) parts of the tapestry to weave!

We will go home tomorrow, and I actually have quite a few things I am anxious to paint when I get home. So rest up, easel and studio... You'll be smokin' when I get home!