Saturday, December 28, 2013

Out with the old, in with the New....

Last year, I filled two sketchbooks. The first was a red Moleskin, with it's lovely cream pages that resist watercolor. The second was a lovely little square spiral-bound book, with beautiful white heavy watercolor paper inside. I enjoyed working in both books. I filled the second one on Christmas day, so I got to begin a new one the day after Christmas! I am again using a Moleskin, and was amazed again at the resist of the paper to watercolor, and at how much I like the effect that gives.

I keep a sketchbook just for me, and you know that, though I might sketch almost daily, I rarely share my sketches here (or anywhere.) If I think I will show my sketches, they feel like I must make them 'pretty,' or at least 'viewable.' I don't want that pressure in my sketchbook.

I usually start out the year with a self portrait - the original 'selfie,' I guess! The one I did in last years Moleskin sketchbook is below. It was of my child self. I looked so sad in the school photo that I sketched from, I guess I felt the need to comfort my young self with the surrounding words. The sketch above is one I did in my new sketchbook. I am reticent to post it, because the last time I posted a self-sketch, several people told me it didn't look at all like me, though I had felt it did. I guess I didn't put in any wrinkles. (Notice that I left out the wrinkles in my new sketch, as well! Hey! It's MY sketch, and I can see myself as I'd like to be if I want to!)

This morning I did the sketch below. I have always wanted one of those artist-model-hands for my studio, so I gave myself one for Christmas this year! Right now, it holds a ball of yarn, but what it holds for me will change as time passes. It may hold paintbrushes, small paintings, or large secrets. Who knows?

I am always so excited to begin a new sketchbook. It is like a new year: seemingly empty now, but chock full of possibilities. I am intensely psyched to see what the year will have me putting in my lovely black Moleskin.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

have a merry, merry....

I took this photo in an antique shop in Kansas

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Wonderland...

Earlier this week, I took the train over the mountains for a very quick and short visit with my son's family, and to see two of my grandchildren perform in their school holiday 'Gala." (Needless to say, they were the hits of the evening for me!)

The train ride over the Rockies is a spectacular ride, at any time of year, but I especially love the scenery in the winter. I had my new camera with me, and I was not very familiar with the differences between it and my 'old' beloved camera. So I spent a bit of train time trying to become somewhat acquainted with it. I barely caught the eagle lunching on his giant fish as we went past, so that photo is a bit blurry, as we were in motion. I saw the same eagle sitting on the same spot of the river on the return trip (I knew it was the same spot, because the snow was still blood red there, even though he was not eating the second time.)

I like this photo because it shows how colorful the mountains can be, even in winter. To me, the photo already looks like a painting.

I took this shot on the way home, as the sun began to go down. I love the naples yellow effect the sun has on the clouds. I shot a series of photos about this time, and I am itching to paint one of them!

This was a spectacular thing! As we rounded the mountains and saw the city lights of Denver below us, the full Orange moon came up over the horizon. The young girl across the aisle and I saw it at the same time, and we both gasped out loud. She came over to my side of the train to see it better, and was soon on her cell phone, excitedly trying to describe how gorgeous the moon was to someone. I was just trying to capture it in my camera. I finally got this shot, by tracking the moon, and just ignoring the fact that the city lights are blurred. There is also a smaller reflection of the moon on the train window to the right, but I guess I can live with the imperfections, as the shot brings back the memory of that spectacular orange moon, hanging in the sky above Denver. (The moon was actually much more orange than this photo shows; it was a pumpkin orange, probably due to moisture and pollution in the city air. As it rose, it got smaller and less orange.) It also brought to mind another time I caught a glimpse of an over-sized orange moon; that time was as friends and I were driving into Maine for the first time. Of course, I know the moon is talking to me; telling me to go back to the moon that is on my loom. I am listening! The holiday events will be over soon, and I will be back in my studio, where I belong, and long to be. Until then, I am delighted that these long dark winter days are giving me inspiration and wonder along my way.

I still have a December tapestry to design and weave after the "November' one on the loom is completed. I am beginning to have a vision of it as a landscape....  but time will tell me more.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Lunar Update....

I have stolen a few minutes to weave in the past few days! So I have the moon woven. AND, I have a new camera body (didn't need new lenses) so I can even take photos! However, I apologize for this photo: it's poor angle and lighting has nothing to do with my new camera (thank you, Santa, by the way.) It is just really hard to take photos of my loom in the newly configured studio arrangement. In fact, that is just one of the problems with the new arrangement, and it may be 'newly configured' again after the holidays.

Anyway, a tiny bit of progress has been made. I am not quite at the half-way point on this tapestry, but am creeping up on it. It has reached the place that I always reach, in every single tapestry I weave, I believe: it is at that place where I don't know if I like it or not, or if what I imagined it to be will be realized, or if I should just chuck the whole project and move on to something else.  It is at this point when I think many new weavers give up, but we 'old thread-movers' just talk some sense into our own heads, and trust the process and the design, and keep on going.

So keep going, I will do.

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Song about the Moon...

"Moon Madness"  by Andrew Wyeth
I truly do become obsessed with things... I especially become obsessed with what I am weaving, and NOT being able to work on it creates  an obsession that is like an ache. My tapestry is LOUDLY calling to me to come to work. I think of it every night when I look out at the winter-rimmed moon. I post moon art on Pinterest, like the magical Wyeth painting above. I hear the tapestry singing in my head, and it is singing Paul Simon's "Song about the Moon:"

...If you want to write a song about the heart
Think about the moon before you start
Because the heart will howl
Like a dog in the moonlight...
...If you want to write a song about
The human race
Write a song about the moon
If you want to write a song about the moon
You want to write a spiritual tune
Then do it
Write a song about the moon.

I have been gone for a bit over a week, then busy with the weekend, which involves some time-consuming events for me every week. Now I realize it is  December 9th and two of my precious grandchildren have birthdays, and we all have Christmas before the end of the month! And I have done quite close to NOTHING to get ready for those things, and all the activities they include.

I am always a holiday foot-dragger and procrastinator, but this year, with it's seemingly shortened calendar, has really accentuated my reluctance to delve into shopping and decorating. I am very involved in my church's music, and am enjoying that, but it has been eating a lot of my time, as well.

So the dialogue in my head is much like this:

Me: I MUST shop today, or at least get a reasonable list made!
Tapestry:  Come weave me.
Me: No, I have unpacking and trip laundry to do.
Tapestry:  Come weave me. At least finish my moon.
Me: No. I need to throw something in the crock pot for dinner and plan next Sunday's church music before this afternoon's practice.
Tapestry:  Come weave me. At least finish my moon. It will not take long.
Me: No. I have a couple of things I need to finish making for the kid's birthdays.
Tapestry:  Come weave me. At least finish my moon. It will not take long. And you will be happier and more productive if you weave first.
Me: No. I have to clean the house so we can put up the tree.
Tapestry:  Come weave me. At least finish my moon. It will not take long. And you will be happier and more productive if you weave first. Would you really rather do those things?
Me: No. I would not rather do those things.
Tapestry: Then come weave me.

If I want to weave a spiritual tune, I will go weave my 'song' about the moon. I'll let you know who wins the argument.....

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Where is the Wizard when you need him?

We are visiting my husband's family in Kansas. The Great Plains are beautiful at any time of year. I confess that I appreciate them more now than I did when I lived in the midst of them.

My oldest son, who did not grow up on the plains, met us in Kansas for a few days. He and I went to the local museum, where this big early McDonalds sign is on exhibit. I swear this was the sign on the place we would go for burgers, after my mom scrounged through purses and couch cushions for change. Burgers there and at the local Griff's (which I believe still exists here) were $.15 each, and $.10 on Thursdays.
Ah, tis great to delve into one's personal history!

We also went to this house, which was built in 1870 by my Grandfather's grandfather, or my son's great-great-great-Grandfather. I had been here before, but my son hadn't been, and he was fascinated with our family history. In fact, he and I also went to the local state archives and did a bit of very interesting research. Both sides of my husband's family, and my father's family are all originally from Germany. My mother has ancestors who came over on the Mayflower, originating in England. We are melting pot people, as are most Americans.

I have had one or two difficulties on the trip. The worst is a true tragedy, in my eyes: my beloved camera seems to have a serious ailment. I am hoping that it is not a fatal one, and a new motor will fix it. All the men-folk tried to revive her, to no avail. So I have not been able to take the hundreds of photos that I usually take on a trip, which is sad, because I was determined to get a Prairie Hawk close-up this time. These glorious birds are everywhere, and of course now they seem to be posing just for me. My iPhone just will not let me attach my long lens, though, so that photo will have to wait until next time, I guess. I long to follow the yellow brick road to have the Wizard fix my beloved camera, but I can't find the road, this is not tornado season, and I left my red shoes at home.