Monday, October 31, 2011

Carrots....


I came home from New England with a nasty fall cold. It has been a chore to motivate myself to do anything, so I have been 'dangling carrots' in front of myself, with the promise that, if I keep moving, I will reward myself.


The thing I needed to keep moving towards was the completion of the lower borders of the Nativity tapestries. I finished these up yesterday! So next I will need to enlarge the cartoons for the upper tapestries. But I promised myself that, when the weaving on the borders was completed, I would take a bit of weaving time off and I would paint something. I haven't painted anything except small travel watercolor sketches since mid-May! I wasn't certain I'd even know how to hold the brush!


So yesterday, I determined I'd paint a small 'unimportant' painting. I decided not to do anything large, so I prepped an 8"x10" canvas. And I didn't want to paint an image that was meaningful or special to me, as I didn't want to 'ruin' it, having not painted for so long. So I chose a pretty trite and simple subject; a barn on a grey New England fall day. I painted simply for the joy of smushing the paint out of the tubes onto the canvas with my brushes. I delighted in the smell and feel of the process, without having any expectation for the product. So much fun! Even though I did not create a great work of art, I remembered why I love to paint. So now I want to do more of it! I have prepped two more canvases.

Why do we wait so long to do the things we love doing? Yes, I have been pretty busy lately, but I have done other things; I have practiced my guitar, I have kept up with my Words with Friends games, I have exercised, I have read a few books. So I will do an occasional painting, as well. I'm going to try to do at least one small painting each week, even while I am working on the commission tapestry.

Another 'carrot' that has been dangling in front of me is not as 'tasty.' I need to get out into my garden and do some fall clean-up. Looking at the weather forecast, today and tomorrow are the days to do it. So I'll clean my brushes for now, and will stick my wet paint palette in the freezer for another day.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Point of View....


My view of the world, my 'weather-station' and my look-out on the neighborhood and my small world, is from my sitting room window. This is the view today. The view changes with the seasons, but it almost always can undo me with it's simple loveliness.


I played a bit with the photo, and may find the need to paint it someday.


This is the same view that I photographed and posted here long ago. You may recognize it as the source for my "January" tapestry. Perhaps it would be fun to weave the same view in other seasons.... A thought to perk around in my head a bit today.


I hope your day gives you many lovely points of view as this awe-inspiring month of October comes to an end. I will paint with my Alzheimer's artists this morning, then I plan to spend the afternoon at the loom.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

in Search of Autumn...


We went to the east coast, to Massachusetts and to Maine, looking for Autumn. We walked among tall beautiful old trees on foggy roads, treading carpets of colorful leaves.


We saw the cool moist ocean with it's crashing waves.


We carved pumpkins, visited fall festivals, and hiked the woods with our jacket-clad grandchildren.


We saw forest floor ferns that had taken on their autumn cast.


It was all beautiful.

But I knew that I had truly found autumn when we drove down our own street and found that autumn had arrived at our very doorstep while we were away. Welcome HOME to autumn!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

My Acadia









I love that the US has set aside some of the most beautiful spots in our country to belong to each and all of us, as our National Parks.







So when we visit these places, though we may be surrounded by other people, we can be confident that our experience of the place belongs to us alone. Acadia is my experience of it.







This is my second visit to my Acadia. In my experience, Acadia is cool and moist air, crashing waves, trees growing out of rocky places, and lovely autumn light.




Reflections; beauty worth repeating.





One of the small sketches I did yesterday. (4x5" watercolor)

- Posted from my iPad

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Maine....





We are in Maine.... the land of moisture, where 'desert' refers to an island, not an arid place of cactus and dry skin.




It is autumn here, which means color and a different slant of light.




The ocean is a huge expanse to a small boy. And to his grandmother.




Fall festivals abound...



...and even the past is beautiful.

It is good to look at the world in a different place, with new eyes, for a short while.

Posted from my iPad

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Flyte.........





Yes, I know I mis-spelled it, but when you spend most of a day above the clouds, it seems that the word for such an experience should be more lofty than the same word that is used in such phrases as, 'fight or flight,' or 'she is flighty,' or even 'flight of fancy.'




As we left the wild west and flew out to the culture-vated east, we flew over most every kind of cloud! We flew over roiling stormy clouds, over clouds that looked like waves of water,




over clouds that looked so much like fields of snow you felt certain that you could ski across them,




over a seemingly endless cloud horizon,




and over clouds that Georgia O'Keefe could have painted onto a beautiful mural sized canvas.




Then, when the clouds separated for moments, we saw the white seam where the Great Lakes meet the land...




and tiny houses that I could play Monopoly with,





and finally, the skyline of Boston.

To paraphrase Dr. Seuss, "from there to here, from here to there, marvelous things are everywhere!"

- Posted from my iPad

Sunday, October 9, 2011

I couldn't have done it without you......



You may not know this about me, but I am very fond of my Apple products. I use my Mac computer in all of my design processes. It has made the process so much easier for me, and I know that several of my tapestries would not have been created at all without the computer's help. That is not to say that I do all of my designing on the computer, just that it is involved a great deal in the design process for me.

I have created 2 ATA exhibit catalogs on my Mac computers. I hope to soon put together a catalog/book of my own work as well. My business cards, prints, and promotional brochures are from my own computer; saving me a ton of money.

In addition, one of my studio's best 'tools' to help me to get 'in the creative zone' is my iPod. I load audio books from the library into it, to listen to as I paint and weave.

I have come to rely on my iPhone to have a good and somewhat stealthy camera with me at all times. Some of my best resource material has come from my iPhone camera.

And some of you do know that my iPad has recently become as useful to me as the other Apple tools. In fact, I am constantly amazed by what can be done on this little thing, with so little effort. It has quickly become a tool my travel art bag will not do without.

I do not know what kind of artist I would be without the tools Steve Jobs has given me, but I am very sure, if I were still an artist, I would be working even harder at it then I am now, and producing much less.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

"Your time is limited, so don't waste it living someone else's life." Steve Jobs

Posted from my iPad

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Open Studio Tour, and other distractions....


Am I weaving? No, I am not. I agreed to do the fall Open Studios Tour, which will be this coming Saturday and Sunday. So I have been getting ready for that.


That means I have been hauling out all 'extraneous stuff' from the studio. Aww, come on! Don't tell me you weren't aware that artist's studios seem to FILL with extraneous stuff? Have you ever looked at those Studio magazines? I think they are hilarious! The studios are filled with so much stuff, no artist could actually live long enough to use it all!

Unfortunately, my studio is no exception. Except it is smaller than the studios in those magazines, so while I may not have accumulated quite as much stuff as those artists have, it can tend to look like more.

So, I've been clearing out the stuff, and have also been sticking paintings and tapestries in every cleared space.

I guess the studio is ready. My studio is upstairs, so for the rest of the week, I'll be cleaning the entry way, the living room, and the stairwell, and will be putting as much art in those areas as can fit. I may even borrow a few more easels and set some artwork out on the porch.

Then I will weave on the tour days, in between chatting up visitors.

All this is necessary because artists have to be our own promoters, as well as being our own business managers. The 'business-manager-me' told the 'promoter-me' to agree to this tour, and the 'artist-me' didn't get very far in her whining protests against it.

At the same time, I'm getting ready for a trip to New England next week, so the house is also being readied for house/pet sitters, and I'm trying to figure out what we'll need to pack to take there. I am hoping to paint while there. Or at least sketch a bit with my grandchildren, and take thousands of photos.

Then, I swear on my basket of bobbins that I will have uninterrupted weaving time through the rest of the fall and into the long dark weaving-time of winter.

If you are in this area, and are interested in going on the tour, you can download a map here. Come on over and say 'Hey!'

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Of a Mad Cow and a Yellow-bellied Dog....


We went up to the mountain to cut wood to heat our cabin for the winter the other day. We go up into the woods on the back side of the mountain across from the lake, where we can get a permit from the Forest Service to cut dead trees. The trees are mostly aspen, with some tall spruce. We cut a truck load of Aspen, then one of spruce. We have to cross a creek that feeds the lake, but it is easily fordable at this time of the year.


Booker is very sensitive to sounds (actually, you can read that as "Booker is scared to death of anything loud, that he isn't familiar with.") He hates the chainsaw. So, to keep him from hunkering down in the truck like a big chicken the whole time we were in the beautiful fall forest, I decided to take him for a walk down the road while my husband was cutting down the first trees. Booker and I walked a short ways, then heard a huge crashing and bellowing sound coming from the thick undergrowth at the side of the road. I thought for sure it was a rutting elk, but looked and saw a huge black cow crashing towards us, bellowing her lungs out. Mercifully, the thick undergrowth and close trees slowed her down a bit. My great protector and guard dog took off so fast toward the truck, I didn't even see him go - just saw a yellow blur flash past me. When I got back to the truck, he was trying to jump up and climb in the window. I got to the truck just before the cow raged into the clearing. I was with Booker on this one; sure she was going to ram the truck, Booker and I jumped into the cab, and I yelled at my husband to warn him, but the mad cow swerved away from the truck and around my husband back into the woods, just at the last minute. I've never seen a cow act that way! I don't know if she didn't like Booker, who totally ignored her until she started running and bellowing at us, or if the sound of the chainsaw upset her.


At any rate, Booker the Brave-hearted hunkered down in the truck the rest of the day.


Here is a small sketch I did of the fall colors from the day in my 4"x5" sketchbook.




- Posted from my iPad