Saturday, February 26, 2011

Black Bart

A photo of this local raven was on the front page of our newspaper, with a link to this video, done by the paper's staff. This is like the two pairs of ravens that have taken up residence in our neighborhood, who, after the territorial battle on my rooftop, seem to have their own spaces, and live in harmony with each other and the rest of us (with the exception of an occasional cat, that I see them chasing down the block.) Amazing birds!!

Signs of Spring...

We went for a walk along the Colorado River front this morning. It is a maintained trail, and a wildlife preserve. Birdsong surrounded us, including the raucous song of this robin, sitting among the budding branches and declaring Spring to be on the way. This photo reminds me a lot of my February calendar tapestry, so I guess I got that image right! (Except I was smart enough to not try to weave so many branches, or I'd still be at it!)

We also saw this Great Horned Owl, sitting on her nest. She has used this nest for several years now, and local birders come back to see her and check on her family every year. She was quite unconcerned about us. I will go back in a few weeks and see if I can get photos of the owlets when they hatch! I have also been hearing 'our' owl in the yard recently. It is a western screech owl, and has been a part of our lives since we moved here.

Booker also enjoyed the walk. We had the trail to ourselves most of the time, though we met birders a couple of times, out checking on the owl (including our down-the-street neighbors!) I loved this old cottonwood, which has one of it's great trunks crossing the trail. If I had been a few years younger, I would have HAD to climb across it!

It was good to walk among trees again. That is one of the things I enjoy so in New England when we visit there, but we don't have many wooded areas here in our desert valley. I am so glad the state has chosen to protect this lovely area along the river for those of us, animal and human alike, who love and need Nature to exist!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Finished, blocked, and ready to mount...

Here is a detail shot of the "August" tapestry. I have trimmed the ends, sewn slits, and blocked it. It just has to now be mounted on the stretcher frame to be ready to hang. I am loving the finishing process on these smaller tapestries! The calendar tapestries are each about 18"x18". They finish up much quicker than my 'regular' sized 3'x4-5' pieces!

You can see the whole tapestry, plus the other completed calendar tapestries on my website, here.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Dog Days of Summer...

I finished weaving the upper hem of the August tapestry last night at about 10:00. It clearly wasn't a good time to take pictures, though I took the one above anyway. I unrolled the tapestry a bit from the lower beam this morning, and took a few photos that show almost all of the tapestry. I will cut it off the loom this morning, then will let it relax a few days before I start the finishing process. I need to get it finished fairly rapidly, as there are a couple of exhibits that I may enter, and I'll need this one to enter. With exhibits taking only work from the past two years, I am having trouble doing as many exhibits as I used to do, simply because I can't produce as much as I used to produce.

Anyway, here it is... "August" of the Calendar Series, or "The Dog Days of Summer." When I get the finishing process done, and some good photos taken, it will be posted either here or on my website.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Creepin' up on the end....

I have about 3 more inches of tapestry work, then a hem, to finish this tapestry. I am hoping to get it done this weekend, if I can get in some significant weaving time in the next couple of days. Then I need to get busy on the design for the next one!!!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Brushes finger painting...

This is a little 'digital finger painting' done on my iPad in the Brushes app this morning at Starbucks. The Starbucks I was at has a lovely view of our Grand Mesa, if you look over the tops of all the fast food places that have cropped up there lately. This is not a great piece of art, not even for a finger painting. But I wanted to share with you a fun feature of the Brushes app. When you are finished, you can have it play back your creation process, showing the steps you went through to make the image. So I have done a video of that on my iPhone. (Oh, what did I do before Apple came into my life?) The video isn't great, as I'm holding the iPad on my knees and the iPhone in my hand, so all is a bit wobbly, but you can at least get the idea. How fun is this stuff? The video goes through the process twice. The flashy stuff at the end of the process is me switching layers around to see the effects. (I have used three separate layers in this little painting, with the lower layer a solid blue, and the upper one a very transparent layer.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Help Save the Arts!

If you have ever participated in an art or music program in school, or have children or grandchildren who are in school, please take a short couple of minutes to go to this site and ask your congressmen to vote AGAINST the extreme cuts that will destroy these programs.

The arts provide a new way of thinking and coping with the world. It has been proven to be as valuable a tool in education as mathematics and reading are, as it provides access to different brain functions that are necessary to make a person complete. Those who are educated in the Arts are found to be more successful in all arenas of life.

To destroy that hope for the education of America's children is not the responsible thing for US leaders to do. I sincerely hope you will urge them to not go in that direction.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!

She knew in her heart that the new sweater would do the trick!

Posted a bit late for the Illustration Friday topic, 'Sweater.' This is a fun little drawing done in Brushes on my iPad, which I use just to 'play, play, play all day!'

Hope you have whatever it takes to make your Valentine's Day a special one!

(I have actually been thinking about how fun this would be to weave! The sweater texture would be a directional soumak.)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

"Midnight's all a glimmer..."

... and "peace comes dropping slow." Last night's snow made me think of those two lines from W B Yeats' poem, 'The Lake Isle of Innisfree.'

I took these first two photos from the sitting room window at about midnight last night. Can someone tell me what it is that makes a mid-night snow give off such a bright light, when there is no moon to speak of, and the closest street light is about a block away? It is like the snow itself is giving off the light. It makes for a lovely sepia-toned landscape (NOT altered by PhotoShop, by the way.)

This morning, the world was black and white again. Booker and I went for a snowy walk, ending up at a friend's house for hot tea in front of her fire. It was hard to come back and get to work.
The tree above is one of the trees I feel like I have a 'relationship' with. It is at the city park that is a block from our house. It is majestic and stately in all seasons, and was particularly beautiful with it's heavy winter blanket of snow today.

I am creeping up on the end of this tapestry. It is at a stage now where I am thinking it can not possibly be 'successful.' But every tapestry I do goes through this stage, so I am just continuing to work my way through it. I hope to complete it soon! A few more snow days should do it, I think...

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bits and pieces...

One of the things I am doing creatively this year is putting together a visual journal of the days. It is in a large format sketchbook; each page being 12" x 16". The paper is not suitable for painting on, so I am sketching on other paper, and putting it together somewhat like a scrapbook. Each week has about a double-page spread.

It includes quick little watercolor sketches, digital sketches, photos, and today's entry even includes a somewhat lengthy written story. It will document the things that I was thinking of each day throughout the year, in a visual way. I am having a lot of fun with it, but am trying not to let it take up large bits of time.

I am also trying to get back to weaving in a significant way. The part I am working on right now is very challenging, as it is all blues, and I do not see blues well (according to my opthomologist, who seems to be being proven correct with this experience, unfortunately.) So I really can only weave during bright bits of day, which don't seem to last long enough these days! I'll get it done, though! I am determined... and it is progressing. Slowly, but surely.