Wednesday, June 26, 2013

On Exhibit....

I will, once again, not be able to be at the opening of the Coastal Fiberarts exhibit, as I will be at my parent's home for a bit, then at our son's home in Boston. But if you are in the area of Astoria, Oregon, be sure to go see the show, and say hello to two of my tapestries there: "Croquet Coquette" and "Dama con Mangoes."

A tiny strip of the Mango tapestry is on the invitation. the second stripe from the left.

"Daffodils" oil on canvas, 16"x20" (unframed)
I have prepared these two paintings to go to an exhibit at the local Arts Center for the month of July. It is soooo hard to photograph oil paintings! There is reflection I just can't get rid of easily in Photoshop. But, anyway... the members of the open studio group I painted portraits with this past spring all agreed to put something in this exhibit from our studio time there, so I will send the painting below. It is the last painting I did in the open studio term. I've also framed the Daffodils to go there, as well.

"Le Penseur" oil on canvas, 9"x12" (unframed)
I mentioned in a previous post the piece I have on exhibit in the Laguna Beach gallery. So some of my work is out there to be seen for a bit, at least.

I have not been at the loom this week, as I had hoped to be. We have had a dog-to-the-vet emergency that has eaten up the past few days, going to and from taking Booker to the vet for several visits and tests. We are still not sure what is going on with him, but are feeling fairly positive because the horrible suspicions the vet had at first have not been confirmed. Who can work when their sweet friend and companion is miserable? I have paced a lot, and spent my time packing for my trip and running errands while he was having the tests done (under sedation). And when he's home, I don't like to leave him for long, because he is quite stressed, too. Poor baby. Hopefully, the meds he is taking now will help and he'll be his perky, ornery self again soon.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Summertime, and the livin' is Breezy!

 Much to the horror of all who live in Colorado, and especially those who fight the fires or live in fire-prone areas (which seems to be just about anywhere anymore), our summer has been very windy, so far. In fact, we have been getting smoke and dust here from fires in Utah!

Because of the wind, we opted to not go out fishing while up at our lake cabin over the weekend. When the lake has whitecap waves, the fish don't bite and we just get wet and cold.

So we just pretty much sat and relaxed. Booker swam a bit in the lake, but he mostly just joined us on the sofa, watching the hummingbirds and chipmunks pass the window.

I did some sketching. The sketch above is one I did for the art group I have been meeting with. We had a challenge for this month of 'buttons' - so I sketched buttons.

We found that our bear is still around. She had totally destroyed our bird feeder, so must have come round shortly after we left the last time, as the birds empty it pretty quickly. She is also doing some damage to our aspen trees! When we bought the cabin over 30 years ago, these aspens were not as tall as I am, but now they are majestic and reach quite aways into the sky. The bear has been tearing the bark off, either to eat the bark or the insects in it (or both). These fresh scratches are over my head, so Ms. Bear must have grown since we saw her last.

 And the deer tongue is in bloom! I just love these plants! They are also quite tall. You can tell I was looking up to take the photo, so this one is about 7-8 feet tall.

When we got home, there was a package on my porch. My yarn had come! So I can weave a bit this week, as I get ready for a trip to see my folks. Aren't these colors absolutely delicious?!!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

What Eleanor Makes Me Do....

I have this little sign in a frame in my studio. It moves around a bit, but right now it is living atop my yarn shelves. When Eleanor said this, I don't think she ever meant it to apply to our going to the grocery store or the theatre or sending our kids to school or participating in a race. Our world itself is scarier that Eleanor's was, though it was a world at war, too.

Anyway, occasionally, I actually see it, and try to make myself step out of my comfort zone in my work.  Recently, I made myself enter a couple of exhibits that I am not real sure about. With my tapestries, at least the large ones, I have become a bit cautious since having one stolen from a gallery wall. And that gallery was one I knew and was comfortable with! That tapestry was insured, fortunately, through the gallery. I now do not send my tapestries to exhibits or galleries that do not insure them while they are in their possession. And I only exhibit my large tapestries in places, or through organizations, that I know and trust. There is just too much of my time, my work, and my life in each of those pieces for me to be comfortable sending them to places who don't care enough to insure them while they have them. And I feel that, if they know they are not liable for them, they will not be as careful with them as they would be if they knew they were responsible for their safety.

However, I recently did enter two exhibits in places I know nothing about. I entered a painting and some small tapestries, so, though I took a risk, it is not a huge one for me. Hopefully.

I have already heard that the painting has been accepted. It will hang in a gallery in Laguna Beach, CA. I know nothing about the gallery. I have been to Laguna Beach, though. After teaching at Convergence last summer, I visited my brother and his family nearby, and we went to the Pageant of the Masters  and the Festival of Arts in Laguna Beach. There is also a big  Sawdust Arts Festival there all summer. It is a HUGE arts town. People go there to look at, and maybe to buy, art. So I decided to jump feet-first into that pool. Hope I don't belly flop! The painting that was accepted is my "Youngest Groomsman" painting.

So, today I will pack it up and will take it, along with two tapestries headed to the Coastal Fiberarts exhibit in Oregon, to UPS to ship. That will probably take me all day, as I have to go buy a mirror box for the painting, pack the two boxes, and then drive out to the far west end of town to UPS. (I don't ship through a UPS 'store' because I learned that they triple the insurance rate over what UPS itself charges! Yep, I said triple!)

I have not yet heard from the exhibit I entered with the small tapestries. These entries may not seem like very 'scary' or 'risky' things to you. But both of these exhibits are outside my area of control. And they are both ones that I have already sunk entry money into (and entry fees are not cheap, anymore.) But art is created to be seen, so I occasionally force myself to get it out from under my beds and off my closet shelves and my own studio walls. A whole new audience will see my painting, as well as the tapestries that are going to Oregon. And that is a good thing. I think Eleanor would be happy with me.

Friday, June 14, 2013

A Work Day, or two....

Contrary to what many of my friends and family think, being an artist is sometimes nothing more than slogging W.O.R.K.

I have been spending this morning and yesterday doing a lot of that work. (Please note: while I could tell you that I am blogging on my coffee break right now, and it would be true, as I have an iced coffee here at my computer desk, in actuality, posting on this blog and doing various other computer tasks are also a part of my Work.)

I have been back and forth between the studio and my computer room both yesterday and today. I have enlarged a tapestry cartoon from a maquette. I have selected colors from the cartoon and have chosen yarns to correspond for the next tapestry (a huge and daunting task, no matter how often I do it!!!) I have gone through my yarn shelves and found what I have on hand for the next tapestry, and placed an order for what I don't have.

I have uploaded images to CaFE and entered two exhibits, one with fiber pieces, and the other with paintings.

I have pulled out acceptance letters and contracts from other exhibits and updated my calendar about when and where work is due.

It is not yet noon, and I am already tired, but I have miles to go before I sleep! I have several paintings to make corrections/finishes to because they are due at an exhibit by the end of this month, and the paint will have to dry before then. And I still have to tie the warp to the lower beam of the loom, and get a header woven, so I can begin the next tapestry.

It is also about time to pack and ship a couple of tapestries to the Coastal Fiberarts exhibit, but I believe that can wait until next week.

And also, as a side note, this is my day to clean the house, and it needs it pretty desperately! (But guess which task will get ignored if I run out of day before it is done?!)

The images I have posted here are related to the choosing of new yarns for my next tapestry. I designed the next tapestry both in the studio and at the computer, with the final image being in the computer. So I decided to try to do color swatches from the image to see if that would help me in making my yarn selections. I have been very inspired by the website, Design Seeds. I love getting their little bits of color palettes on FaceBook and Pinterest, like the one of the Eiffel Tower image above that they posted on FB yesterday. So that is what led me to make up the color swatch page at the top. I used the color selector in PhotoShop to pick the color from my image, then I 'painted' a swatch with that color. It really did help me isolate the colors from the image, and also, it helped me see that the colors were compatible. There are a couple of colors that look a bit out of place for the palette, but they are of very tiny areas, and will serve as contrast bits. It actually was a fairly successful way to choose my palette for this next piece, and I think it did help me be more efficient in the process. I will do it again. Plus, I have my swatch page, to help me pick the colors as I weave.

Of course, I still had to translate the colors from the page into yarn, but that is necessary, no matter what kind of maquette you are using, whether it is painted, sketched, a computer print-out, or just in your head.

Well, my coffee is gone, and I need to go back across the hall to the studio. Art IS work, after all.

Me, at age 2-3 (sign added in PhotoShop)

Thursday, June 13, 2013


A weaver must weave.... especially when she has committed a tapestry that is so far not yet woven to an exhibit for the fall. That is this fall. Like 3 weaving months from now. So, back to the web, uh, I mean loom, for me!

Yesterday I began the process of tying the warp on for the next Calendar Tapestry, which, appropriately enough, will be for the month of June.

For these tapestries, I have tried to come up with an image that just said the month for me: an image that just couldn't belong to any other month. So, for June the photo below will give you a  hint of the subject matter.

June is the best month for fishing here. The lake has not yet 'turned over' and there is still some run-off from the winter snow coming into the lake, so the fish are not too deep. June is when we catch the most fish. June is before it is too hot, and before there is algae on the lake. So, more than any other thing, June is a fishing month. 

So I'll be weaving water again. I am hoping the design won't be too fiddley and fussy, because I need it to weave pretty quickly. In the time between now and when this piece is expected for an exhibit, I also have at least two trips planned. So my weaving days need to be very efficient!

Today is an errand-running day. But I will also get the warp tying on completed, and I'll also try to weave a header in. I have already begun getting the cartoon drawn up, and I will finish that today, as well. Plus, I need to scrounge through the yarn shelves and see what yarn I have, and what yarn I will need. I am informing my husband that the next few months will be a good time for him to practice cooking and cleaning, or he can just ignore the pet hair and growing dust bunnies and learn to like fast food! Sacrifices must be made...

But I do hope to get at least one or two days of fishing in, as well. Mustn't sacrifice everything, after all.

I'll keep you posted as "June" progresses.......

Monday, June 10, 2013

From loom to easel....

Daffodils   16"x20" oil on canvas

Having cut the "October" tapestry from the loom, I need to get a couple (or more) of paintings done for several summer exhibits. So over the weekend I cleaned the studio (always a post-cutting off task) and moved from the loom to the easel to work.

I had started this painting of daffodils awhile back, but  haven't had time to work on it since then.  I now have it pretty much finished, except for corrections I may see as I live with it for a few days. It is 16" wide and 20" high, so the daffodils are much bigger than life! Today, I am liking the splash of color it adds, as I've propped it up where I can see it every now and then, when I walk into the sitting room. I like to do that with a painting; put it where I can see it as a 'surprise' (or with 'new eyes') as I walk into a room, other than the studio. Sometimes then I can see things I have missed while I've been so close to it at the easel. I do the same thing when I work on tapestry designs, and try to work everything out that I feel needs changing in the design stage - before the weaving begins, as a tapestry can't be 'edited' after completion, like a painting can be.

This photo just shows you a big part of my job description around here. At the basement door, one wants in and one wants out, and I get to be the doorman! Over and over again, all day long...... They do not tip well, either.

Working around in my head is the next tapestry design. I have one for the month of June that is pretty much a complete design already, so I may warp for that. I will be exhibiting at the local Fine Art Center in the fall, and they want 7-8 new pieces. That means the Calendar Series, as that's what I've been working on the past few years (with the exception of the Nativity church commission.) I now have seven of the calendar tapestries done, so will weave another before then. Fortunately, the design I have for June is a pretty simple, non-fiddley one, so it should weave up a bit more quickly than October did!

Friday, June 7, 2013

Done! Well, at least woven....

I cut the "October" tapestry from the loom today. Here is the part you can see before it was cut off. There are still a few threaded needles hanging, as I will continue to use them to sew slits in their vicinity when off the loom. There is another 7-8 inches wound around the bottom beam that you cannot see. 

I did not have a cutting off party. I have had company for a few weeks until early this morning, and I have some painting that I need to get to for some up-coming exhibits, so I just needed to get it woven and off the loom. Not the time for the further house cleaning, etc. that a cutting off demands! Plus, I wasn't sure when it would be done. So I cut it off all alone, with just Booker and Gus here to celebrate with me. It will rest now for a few days, then I'll trim all the threads down from the back, sew the remaining slits, block it, and mount it. There is no real hurry on all that, as it is not scheduled to be anywhere, at this time. When I get all that done, I'll probably post a photo of the completed tapestry, but for now, this will document it's completion!

Below is a shot of the tapestry from the back, with half of the hem woven. You can see that I have a lot of colorful threads to trim down to about an inch before I do anything else. In the meantime, I will have to protect it from Gus as it rests on the dining table. He would like nothing better than to nap on a freshly woven tapestry!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

A small preview...

I always am amazed, though after all these years I probably shouldn't be, that a spot in a tapestry that I am least certain about becomes one of my favorite spots, after the work is done.

I have learned to just trust myself, my design and my skills, and to keep on weaving when I come to a place that just 'doesn't feel right.' And when the work is done, I am glad I did! That is why I do not encourage students to un- and re-weave. Just keep going, and it usually turns out right!

This is a small area, about 4"x6", in the October tapestry, which will soon be done and cut from the loom. I am not sure that I'll share the entire completed tapestry on the blog right away. I like to keep a few surprises up my sleeve!