Friday, December 31, 2010

What's up for 2011 - EXPERIMENTS!


Once again, I've decided to select a word that will represent the spirit of my goals for the new year.  Last year's word was Create; unfortunately, life intervened with a lot of my artistic time.   When I did find time in my studio, I often felt pressured to create something meaningful and fabulous, so that the time spent was "worthwhile".  Well, let me just say this now -- that kind of self-imposed pressure takes away some of the pleasure of creating.

With that in mind, I've decided to change my focus.  One of my laments over the last few years is that I'm not yet sure what my voice is and how it is best expressed.  I think the only way to figure that out is to allow myself the opportunity to explore new things and see where they take me, to experiment.    I don't think I've done a good enough job letting myself loose on my art.   I'm hoping the spirit of "what if?" will enable me to do that.

What are the repercussion of experimenting?

-- I'm guessing I'll make some mistakes and create some lousy art.  Hopefully, though, I'll remember everything in the spirit I intended: as a lesson learned, not as a failure or a waste of time.  And maybe, just maybe, some of these experiments will result in art I'm proud of.  I'll also have to keep in mind that this is an important step to being a more serious artist.  While I'm fairly certain I won't be as disciplined as Jeanne Williamson has been with her journaling, she has stated she's used her weekly journal investigations as jumping off points other works.

-- I'm planning to explore new venues for expression.  To that end, I've signed up for the Sketchbook Challenge.  This challenge will enable me to continue to explore drawing .... but in a format I'm not at all comfortable with.  I'm hoping to discover whether journaling in a sketchbook will be a boon for me and, in an ideal world, help me generate an idea or two I want to explore in fiber.   Natalya Aikens has certainly inspired me in this regard.

-- I'm hoping to experiment more with my photography and integrate it better with my textile art.  I need to play with PhotoShop more in order to do that (oops, that's been on my "to do" list for a while) and, perhaps, take a photography class.  If I can't take a class, I'll try to find time to really read the camera manual.  I should also read, and become comfortable with, all the good information in Gloria Hansen's, Digital Essentials.

-- I'm going to pull out the cool things I've purchased over the last year and give them a test run.  This includes playing with a screen for screen printing and working through some of the exercises in Jane Dunnewold's book, Finding Your Own Visual Language.

I think it's hard to just to flip a switch and have a new mindset at the start of the new year.  With that in mind,  I gave myself a little head start.  The sketchbook for the "Sketchbook Project" has been sitting unattended on my desk for months.  Quite frankly, I've been intimidated by it.  For the last few days, I've been trying to fill some pages.  It's been hard.  Last night, I tore out the pages I'd made; they were awful and forced.  I decided to start over and just relax .. and, though not brilliant, I think the few pages I made turned out a lot better.    I played with a brush pen and watercolors.  What a fun combination!  I think I'm going to continue with this.

And, on that happy note, I wish you all a Happy New Year.  And, by the way, does anyone know how many pages of the Sketchbook we need to fill?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Besotted

As I look through my photos from the year, I linger most frequently on shots of the California coast.  It's official:  I am besotted with it.








Tuesday, December 28, 2010

An Early (Almost) Wordless Wednesday

A recent sight on the sidewalk .... intentional or accidental footprints?  What do you think?  I haven't a clue.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

An Experiment

I just finished a new piece in my handprint series.  I began the piece weeks ago by quilting grid lines on white fabric, occasionally making the lines shorter than the width of the fabric.  Then the piece sat unattended because I didn't have any plan or idea in mind.  Finally, I decided to paint it tan.  This was followed by letter stenciling and paint splatters.  Then, for some unknown reason, I thought it would be cool to add a TAP photo transfer of my father's hand.  He lost his ring finger in an industrial accident and I think his hand looks interesting.  Unfortunately, because of the angle of the photo (he was reaching towards me as I took the picture), it looks like he has two fingers, two stubs, and a gap.  Not the case.  I think the error (on my part) was not coloring on the TAP so the contrast was greater.    I do like the feel of the piece, with the gritty transfer and the splatters, but I didn't intend it to be gruesome, which I fear it might be.

What do you think?

Handprint #3: 8" x 14"

Sunday, December 19, 2010

A Few Things I've Recently Discovered

1) Needlepoint stores sometimes carry the most luscious threads.  I picked up these beautiful hand-dyed silks at a shop in Connecticut.   Now I just have to sort out in my mind what I want to do first.



2)  Thoughts on art can appear in the most surprising places.   I just finished a wonderful young adult book called The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie.  I'd like to share the feelings expressed by the 14 year old protagonist:

     I draw because words are too unpredictable.
     I draw because words are too limited.
     If you speak and write in English, or Spanish, or Chinese, or any other language, then only a certain percentage of human beings will get your meaning.
     But when you draw a picture, everybody can understand it....
     So I draw because I want to talk to the world.  And I want the world to pay attention to me.

3)  I am not a natural watercolorist.  In an effort to fill up some of the pages of my Sketchbook Project journal (which lie blank, save for the first page which reads, "It's Here, Now What?"), I bought a watercolor pad and tried to create some color washes.  Man, I can't even do that.  My first effort was very stripe-y and lame.  My second effort, a forest of trees, was so bad my youngest thought a [four year old] neighbor had painted it for me.  Finally, I spent an hour just trying to paint circles, my favorite shape.  I ended up with some circles I'm not too embarrassed with, but this is exhausting!  I clearly need practice.


4)  I'm now certain the word I've chosen for next year is just right for where I am now.  More on that later...

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Fiber Celebration in the News (with a mention of my name!)

The local suburban paper published an article about the exhibit, Fiber Celebration, today.   First of all, it's exciting that fiber art in our area is getting some press but I'm also mentioned in the article.  How cool is that?  Here's a link to the article:



Woo Hoo!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

In this cold weather, I fear my skin may look like this soon....

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Fiber Celebration

Today I will be attending the artist reception for Fiber Celebration, a SAQA exhibit curated by Susan Schrott at the Chappaqua library.  I'm looking forward to seeing some friends and meeting artists whose work I admire.  My piece, Thanksgiving, is hanging in the show.



Click here to see a nice bit of press about the reception... and a very nice picture of Susan.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Avoiding the Dishes

I'm sitting at the computer, reading blogs, avoiding doing the dishes and I've found myself in that happy mental state, reflecting on wonderful memories.  The ocean colors were amazing and everyone was well (though not all seen in this picture).  It was a good day.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Time to Celebrate

I love this time of year -- it's a season of celebration, in my opinion.  We take time to be with family, we make plans and party with friends and, in our case this year, we're hoping to welcome a new addition to our midst tomorrow: a female black Lab.  I'll be posting cute dog pictures next week if it works out....  meaning, if our current dog likes the new girl on our visit.  If you can think of Halloween-themed names for the girl, I'd love your suggestions; her name right now is Quella (yech!)  Our female (who has since passed away) was Boo and our current male is named Goblin.  We love Halloween and think it's a perfect fit for black dogs.

Until then, I leave you with a picture of me, expressing my feelings at a dinner party this last weekend.  Busted!  I'm a party girl.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

Light through the maroon leaves of a Japanese maple.  Is anyone tired of the colors of fall?  I'm not yet.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Contemporary Realist Painters

"American Artist" Magazine, December, 2010
I've just missed going to church because I was engrossed in the article, "What is Genuine?" in the December 2010 issue of American Artist.  I was fascinated by it, in part because the art shown on the pages is amazing.  But it was especially compelling because it spoke about a recent exhibit called "Hard Times: An Artist's View" at the Salamagundi Club in New York City in which the featured artists were all contemporary realist painters.  Believe it or not, these artists are themselves just now beginning to gain more popular recognition for their brilliant artwork.  As you can imagine, their pieces are in direct contrast to the Modernist movement that is so in vogue.

In my previous post, I wrote about what appears to be a trend in high caliber quilt art exhibits: more non-representation work seems to be getting wall space.  Apparently, this trend has been evident in the painting world for decades and the pendulum may just now beginning to swing the other way.  Max Ginsburg, one of the painters whose work was shown in the exhibit, states, "When I was teaching in the 1970s, students would come in early and paint from life with me and a few others.  It was difficult to do.  Administrators were opposed to it; they thought we were giving students old-fashioned ideas."   Garin Baker, who also had work in the exhibit, had a similar experience.  "I remember at the beginning of my career, working in a traditional realist style was tantamount to being a 'hack' or 'lowly genre painter'.  I was thrilled to be a part of an exhibition that gave me the opportunity to show work alongside these great mentors who have demonstrated the importance of staying true to your own vision".  Mario Robinson, whose pastels and watercolors were also in the exhibit, explained that his choice of subject matter was personal choice, not a matter of social commentary.  "I'm not trying to be the big bad wolf or anything.  I'm trying to show that there's beauty in everything."

This exhibition was important to many of the artists because there are few opportunities "...to show this kind of work, because galleries don't think it will sell."  (Max Ginsburg)   For Burton Silverman, "...participating in the exhibition provided him with an opportunity to start a dialogue on the power of realism and traditional techniques."

This was such a timely article for me, given all the recent dialogue about representational vs. non-representational art in the quilt art arena.  If there's something to be learned from this article, it's certainly to be true to your voice, whether it's in vogue or not.  While representational art may not be the preferred method of expression, it certainly remains valid and important for any artist.  You have no control over the current trend in collecting or representation, but you do have control over your creations.

I am so sorry to have missed this exhibition, but I will try to get to the retrospective exhibition of Max Ginsburg's work that's scheduled for next summer at the Salmagundi Club.  I'm certain I will enjoy it and learn a great deal.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Representational "vs." Non-Representational Art



There's been quite a bit of chatter lately on some textile art internet groups about what appears to be a growing trend: juror preference for non-representational over representational work.    The conversation started when an attendee at the Quilt=Art=Quilt show (which she thought was very striking) commented on her perception that there were very few representational pieces in the show.


To start, let's be clear on some definitions.  Because I can't possibly say it better, I'm going to borrow from Elizabeth Barton:

A quilt which strove to totally recreate a specific scene or photograph would be representational, one which took some elements from a scene and modified them would be abstract and one which had no reference whatsoever to anything in real life would be non-representational.

So, is it true?  Is there a preference for non-representational and abstract work over representational?

Without knowing the pool of entries, it's difficult to fault the jurors with having a bias.  Perhaps there simply weren't as many good representational works submitted as non-representational.  And, let's face it, even a Renoir would look out of place in a room full of Pollocks and Kandinskys, so can't you blame a juror for thinking the same in selecting a cohesive textile exhibit.

However, I have done a little bit of research over the past few days and I do think there's some merit to the statement that abstract and non-representational art is being shown more often in some recent exhibitions. To start, I reviewed the Art Quilt Elements catalog.  I know that there were over 600 pieces entered into that show.  Of the 50 which were selected, only three would qualify as representational.  The rest were predominantly non-representational, with about seven that could be considered abstract -- and they're pushing the definition to its limit.  

Then I looked up the artists who were accepted recently into Form, Not Function at the Carnegie.  The jurors received almost 400 entries and 31 were selected.  While I wasn't able to access pictures of all the selected works, I extrapolated from other artworks on artist websites as to what type of work the artist does.   There are certainly artists whose work uses identifiable human form (such as Shawn Quinlan), but they are highly stylized and abstracted, so only four artists that I could identify -- extrapolating from other works they've done -- might have a representational piece in the show.

Finally, I looked at Rayna Gillman's blog post about the recent Festival of Quilts in England. She notes that European textile artists are predominantly creating abstract and non-representational works and this was reflected in the show.  You can see that borne out in her pictures.  Hmmmm.......  

So what does this all mean for those artists whose voice speaks to them in representational terms?  Well, I don't think it means give up.  I think perhaps it means create more and better work and get it out there.... if that's what motivates you.  Some of the representational works I came across as I did my research had a social or political bent to it, but I don't think that's necessary to do good work.  This trend does suggest that we have to create art that does more than make a viewer say "oh how pretty".  It has to be thoughtful and evocative on several levels.  It has to give pause and pull a viewer in to consider and contemplate.   But then, isn't all good work supposed to? 

That's what I think right now, but I'd love to hear your comments and thoughts as well.  If I've missed something or misrepresented something, my apologies in advance and please be sure to let me know.   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Almost Wordless Wednesday

First good frost of the season ....




Sunday, October 31, 2010

End of October

Many of the trees are bare and all the candy's gone from the dish .... and no, I didn't eat it (all)!  I can't believe it's just about November.  I have lots of ideas in my head that I hope will make their way out through my fingers.  We'll see.  A new month and week start tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hummingbird in Houston

My photo, Hummingbird, has been juried into the International Quilt Festival's Eye of the Quilter exhibit in Houston.  Woo Hoo!

Friday, October 22, 2010

My Website is Coming!!!

Hurray for Jane Davila; she's been hard at work on my website and I LOVE the way it looks!  The home page is finished and the link to my blog here is set.  I still owe her my bio and, unfortunately, she has to resize all the pictures for my galleries since I sent the wrong size (oops and yikes!).  But nonetheless, it's on its way and I am so excited.

Please feel free to take a look now at www.VivienZepf.com and check back often over the next few weeks to see it develop.  Hurray!


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Burning the Midnight Oil

It's very late and I definitely need to get some sleep, but I thought I'd quickly post my finished "Joy" piece for Textile Abstractions. I quilted it today, thanks to my hubby who ran errands (and even picked up pizza during the games today!) and to my in-laws, who didn't mind that I disappeared for a good portion of the day during their visit.

I like the way this turned out and I hope you do, too.  Though I feel it's complete, it's given me more ideas to consider.   It's not typical of me to find new things to explore in a finished piece; I'm usually such a scaredy-cat and non-experimenter. (Yes, these are words of questionable origin but hey, it's late and the grammar police have long since gone to bed.)   I'm excited by the possibilities in my mind.  Do you think this is happening because I actually finished up two pieces in as many weeks?  Though I don't know if this is the whole reason, it may be that I'm experiencing the benefits described in the adage that working at your art makes your creation process easier.

And now, here's "Joy".  Look, look, I even managed to make an ear.  Yes, I'm very proud to have managed it;  it wasn't easy, let me tell you!

                           
                         Joy, 16" x  20"
                         Mickey Lawler Skydyes background fabric

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Blue Repose

A while back, I experimented with charcoal on cloth.  I used one of my first drawings from my life drawing class as the basis for the piece.  I sketched with charcoal, sealed it with a matte fixative, then painted the girl's body blue ....  I did that from the back of the fabric so the charcoal lines would still be visible.  I finished it all up by coloring around the figure with watercolor crayons and misting them a bit so the colors ran.

Today I quilted the piece, which I've named "Blue Repose".  I know that some may have stitched more, but I wanted to see if I could keep some of the charcoal shading visible.   I used a variegated thread and  sketchy lines on her body, along with rayon and silk threads on the background, depending on which thread matched the color best.

In an ideal world, I wish the final shape had more white space along the sides.  When I started, this was an experiment and I didn't give much thought to the size of the fabric I was working on.  I just wanted to play.  But I'm intrigued by this so I thought it was worth finishing it up.  It was the perfect project for me to work on -- I didn't feel any pressure and it took my mind off my failures to date trying to make the ear for "Joy" (see previous posts).

Please share your comments and thoughts.  I'd love your input since I think I'd like to pursue this more.  Do you like the minimal stitching on the figure or would you have preferred more?  Do the white areas without stitching bother you?  Is the variegated thread good or not?  Does it matter to you that the drawing isn't perfect?  Does this style require a more practiced artistic hand to be successful?  You get the idea.....  Thanks!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Spots of Sunlight

The ear of my "Joy" piece is tying me in knots, so I'm taking a break.  Here's my favorite picture from my walk yesterday; it was a lot harder than I thought to capture the filtered sun on the ferns.  I like this picture a lot, but I think I should take a class so that I can have better command of my camera in these more unusual light situations.




Thursday, October 7, 2010

My Day Thus Far

After getting the girls to school and dropping clothes off at the dry cleaners, I took a quick walk in the woods with the dog.  Isn't this pretty?  I took the picture when it was cloudy and rainy; I can't wait to go back tomorrow when the sun's supposed to be shining.


Then I took my youngest to the orthopedist.  Despite all our best efforts, she went back to school with this:


#@*?*!  gym class.

I'm hoping three's the charm.  This can't happen again, can it?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Monday, October 4, 2010

Working on Joy

I've been working on a piece to represent the word "joy" for Textile Abstractions, the challenge group I'm a part of, and I'm trying something new.  I decided to create a piece based on a side view photograph of my youngest daughter with her head thrown back in laughter.  Now, not only have I never tried to create a face like this before, but I'm also constructing her out of colors I typically don't use.

This is taking me forever.  I confess that I'm dreading making her ear... all those in and outs that still end up looking rather odd, even if it looks like an ear.  Still, I'm going to persevere because I like the direction this is going.   I've placed the face on this blue fabric so you can see her better; I'm actually going to be using this color for the next layer of dark hair.  The "official" background fabric -- well, the jury's still out on that one.  




Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Catching up

I don't know how to solve the problem of the disappearing Blogger photo upload icon, so I've decided to circumvent it -- I've gone back to the old editor format.    Because I know how to work this way, here's a peek at what's been going on ... it has to be quick since I need to get to the fabric store this afternoon.

Earlier this week I had an "art date" with Susan Schrott.  We made a mess of her studio as we did some gelatin plate prints.  Oh, it was so much fun!  This really is one of my favorite things to do.  We made lots of unique fabric.  Here's a picture of some of the pretty fabrics drying outdoors.


I've been taking my oldest daughter to physical therapy for her ankle and have had some extra time to read as I wait in the pick up line after school.  This week I read an interesting article in the September issue of Smithsonian called "Earthquake Art", describing  how Haitian artists are using the tragedy of the recent earthquake to create new and inspiring artwork.  The cover art (shown below) was created by Frantz Zephirin on commission by Smithsonian.  I think that's pretty cool.  If you get a chance, try to pick up a copy and read the article.  It's amazing what these artists are doing in the aftermath of a tragedy which has touched them all.


Finally, I've signed on to be part of a doodle swap, along with a number of artists I met while at the Art Quilt Elements show this past April.  Paula Kovarik is leading the fun and is the one who convinced me to participate.  (She is, by the way, a fabulous doodler who includes doodle stitching to great effect in her quilts.  Two of her quilt beauties were recently juried into Quilts=Art=Quilts 2010).   The swap works like this: one artist starts a doodle, sends it on to two other artists to add to / delete from, who then return it to the originator.  It's rather like round-robin quilting, only it's doodling.  Here's the end result of the doodle I started; clearly the BP oil spill was on our minds.  This doodle was created by Paula Kovarik, Katherine Knauer, and myself.


And now, without further delay, off to the fabric store!

Friday, September 24, 2010

A Bit of Panic

Well, I have lots of things to share, but I can't figure out how to post pictures to my blog anymore. I switched to the "New and Improved Editor" as suggested (since the old one is being phased out) and there's no longer an icon on my tool bar that enables me to upload a photo. All I've got now are icons to make things bold, italics, or scored, and to imbed a link or quotes.

Has this happened to anyone else?

What's a blog without pictures?

HELP!!!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Heading to Arizona

I'm thrilled to report that my piece, Handprint II, has been juried into Art Quilts XV: Needleplay. This annual exhibit is presented by the Chandler Cultural Foundation of Chandler, Arizona and has become a much anticipated show. The list of accepted artists is very impressive and I'm honored to be in their company. To see the complete list of artists in the show, please visit juror, Diane Howell's, blog.


Now I'm off to root about my freezer to find a celebratory ice cream or two. Woo Hoo!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

On the Road

I'm touring the mid-Atlantic States with my daughter as we do some preliminary college visits and tours. Oh how I wish I wasn't driving so that I could take pictures of some of the wonderful tidbits of America I've been seeing! But since I am, I can only keep memories of the barn painted with a giant window with cows peeking through; of the truck advertising professional balloon painting ; of the fun town names like Mechanicsville, Short Pump, and Goochland; and, tons more.

Maybe some day I'll be able to take this drive again and stop whenever I see something fun. Road trip, anyone?

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Easing Back In

I belong to the group FiberArt Northeast under the intrepid leadership of Jane Davila. The group often hosts challenges to spur our creative juices and back in June we set the wheels in motion for our newest challenge. Each participant pulled a partner name out of a hat, then the pair pulled a word out of a second hat. My partner, Joyce Sullivan, and I pulled the word "solitary"; our task was to create a piece that represented our chosen word. We could mutually agree on a size, but other than that, we had to work completely independent of one another.

Joyce and I agreed to make our pieces 14" x 14" and set off on our merry way. Alas, it wasn't until last Thursday afternoon that I started working on my piece, though the meeting was that evening. Despite my oldest daughter's insistence that solitary would be best represented by baking brownies and cupcakes, then taking a photo of a brownie standing alone amidst the cupcakes, I decided on a different direction .... mostly because there wasn't time to bake.

At any rate, I thought of how lonely and alone the homeless must be. I quickly made a pencil sketch, enlarged it on my copy machine, taped the sections together, then traced it. I placed the tracing paper over some white muslin and quilted over it in black rayon thread. I brought the thread sketch to the meeting, only to discover that Joyce had made a lovely piece with a lone hibiscus on a white background. Who would have guessed that we would both use white? What are the odds of that?

Today I quickly faced the piece and rubbed some charcoal on for effect. Though the piece didn't turn out to be 14 x 14, I'm pleased enough with the results to continue to pursue combining sketching, thread and charcoal. I think there might be some interesting things to discover. In the meantime, look at the group's blog to see all the pairs together; the pictures should be posted by the week's end.


On the Streets
13" x 15"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

The Farmers' Market

My youngest daughter and I love our local farmers' market: all the smells, the fresh produce, the time together picking and choosing what we'd like to eat. Unfortunately, the last time we went, my daughter had just injured her knee the night before. At the time, we didn't know how serious an injury it was and the bit of walking we did caused her a great deal of pain.

Yesterday' trip, however, was a completely different story. First off, it was a beautiful day. The crowds were out in full force and that always makes me happy. So long as the crowds are there, so will the market. But even better ... my daughter walked about without her knee brace. Woo hoo! The only downside to the trip was that one of our favorite vendors wasn't there. Alas, that means no goat cheese for the first week of school (one of my daughter's favorite after school snacks).

Because we didn't get to the market until almost noon, the sun was bright and overhead. Picture-taking was fairly difficult. But I did manage to snap off this shot of multi-colored peppers. Did you know they came in all these pretty colors? I didn't.


The rest of the day was happily spent eating some of our purchases: fresh corn and tomatoes for lunch and pesto for dinner. I hope you're getting some time to do what you love this weekend.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Americana

Deep fried Twinkies and a cartoon character at an amusement park ... what more can I say?


Have a great weekend.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Thoughts on Blogging

Alas, we returned from our trip and within a day, my eldest daughter had an accident that left her in pain, on crutches and with a big boot on her right ankle. Needless to say, her injury has put the brakes on some of our plans. (I sound rather like a broken record, don't I?)

Posting here will likely be sporadic as I help her through her recovery. Until then, I'd like to leave you with an excerpt from a conversation she and I had as the family sipped hot chocolate round a restaurant's fire pit on a brisk day in California.

Daughter: "I don't understand the point of blogging. "

Mom: "I like blogging. I enjoy the interaction. It's like having a conversation."

Daughter: "Ha! Blogging isn't talking to someone. It's talking to yourself and hoping somebody cares."

Yep, nothing like a teen's sharp sense of humor...

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Monday, August 9, 2010

Lying Fallow

I just walked past the rented sewing machine I hoped to use while here in California. Alas, it's sitting alone and forlorn, under its dust cover. Maybe I'll get to it tomorrow. If not, I'm going to be heartened by a statement by Lyric Kinard at the start of her book, Art + Quilt, about a period in her life: "My progress was slow because my priorities needed to lie elsewhere." Yep, that's me right now.

But, like Lyric, I'm using this downtime to store up thoughts, ideas, and to learn. I've just started to read through Lyric's book. Her first chapter is interspersed with quotes and short excerpts from lots of creative folk, from writers, to fiber artists, to painters. It's inspiring to read about creativity and the personal path to reach it.

I've also been reading, Finding your Own Visual Language, by Jane Dunnewold, Claire Benn and Leslie Morgan. What a great idea to make all the illustrations related to the exercises in black and white to make it easier to focus on composition and not "... the seduction of color". The intent of the book is to facilitate each artist's journey to discover the compositional style that best suits his/her artistic voice. This book is rife with exercises I've never seen before. Like Dunnewold's book, Complex Cloth, I find myself getting antsy as I read -- how can anyone read these books cover to cover without leaping up, absolutely overflowing with ideas? While I haven't been able to snip a thread or put paintbrush to fabric, my head and heart are bursting with excitement nonetheless. I can't wait to try out some of these exercises.

For now, I am content with my camera. There aren't lots of photo opportunities on the drive to and from the physical therapist's office, but we have gone on a few driving explorations when my daughter's knee can tolerate it. The other day we decided to discover what lay in "that" direction. When we'd had enough, we turned around in a parking lot, only to discover a rusty old pick up truck. It was gorgeous in its decay. My pictures don't do it justice, but here's one photo I do still like.


I hope all's well with you.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Heading West

Piles of clothes are strewn about my room and my daughter's as we get ready for our journey West tomorrow. It's going to be fun spending time in a completely different environment, though I'm not sure how much artwork I'll be able to get done. Hopefully, though, I'll be able to get out a bit on my own and take some walks. I'll be sure to post pictures if I do.


View from Point Lobos State Park, April 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sometimes Good Things Happen While You Wait

I'm still doing a lot of waiting around, as my daughter hobbles here and there; waiting out severe weather that spoils plans to go to the pool, the one place she can go and remove her splint; waiting to get through automated prompts as I try to talk through insurance issues.

But all that would make it sound like I'm having a bad time. In fact, I've had an EXCELLENT last two days. Here's why:

- A review I submitted in January of an exhibit called Standing Ovation has been published in the Summer 2010 SAQA Journal;

- My piece, Departure, was selected for publication in the Members' Gallery of the Summer 2010 SAQA Journal;

- This same piece, Departure, was awarded an Honorable Mention at The Main Street Gallery's 2010 National Small Art Quilt Works Exhibition; and,

- Most importantly, the doctor has said that my daughter's patience with treatment has paid off; she's healing beautifully. Still lots to do over the next few months, but we can see a light at the end of the tunnel. Yippee!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Planning and Waiting

I've been doing a lot of planning and waiting these last few weeks. I've been planning to get back to my artwork, but that hasn't happened as we've been doing a lot of waiting at doctors' offices, at hospitals for tests, and at home waiting for results. Thank heavens my youngest doesn't need a very gruesome surgery for a knee fracture they suspected she had because she wasn't healing as they anticipated. Her MRI did show more damage to her patellar tendon than originally thought, so there's going to be lots more waiting in physical therapy offices in the coming months.

But some of my planning is finally getting into the action phase. For months we've been planning our summer around my eldest daughter's internship. She's scheduled to start on Tuesday, out in the hills inland of Carmel, California. Among other things, she's going to be working with a biologist to set digital camera traps in wildlife corridors to see what animals are traveling where. Here's a view of just some of the area in which she'll be working; the low country is often covered by fog which rolls in from the ocean.


This program isn't large enough to include housing, so we've had to make arrangements to live out there with her -- yeah, I know; really tough! My husband will be flying out with her tomorrow and staying a week. Then a girlfriend of mine from San Francisco will be on parent duty until my youngest and I arrive on Tuesday afternoon of next week. That will mark the start of our Four and a Half Week Stay. This is going to be so cool. Hopefully there will still be time for a bit of artwork because my parents will be visiting with us after two weeks and then another girlfriend of mine will be coming -- and bringing along one of my oldest daughter's best friends. I'm so excited, despite all that must still be done. Anyone know a good physical therapist in Carmel?

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

It's HOT!

As it is elsewhere, it's hot here. We're flirting with the heat record and I'll bet we're going to beat it. Since it's so hot outside and the temps are creeping up inside our house (the AC is out), we're doing all we can to imitate dogs down South: lying around, moving only when necessary, and panting a lot. There NO WAY I'm cooking tonight, so thank heavens for the romaine lettuce in the garden; it's salad for dinner tonight. I confess that I'm marveling my benign neglect grew such beautiful lettuce!


My youngest cut her hair to donate to Pantene Beautiful Lengths (similar to Locks of Love, except that they'll accept 8" of hair, whereas L of L asks for 10" -- my daughter straightened her wavy/curly hair and cut off 9") and now she has the added benefit of staying cool. Her hair is so thick it looks like it came from a bunch of girls.


I'm not heading up to my studio yet -- that's in the attic, hot air rises and all that jazz -- but I did get out earlier this morning to walk the dog, do some yard work and take my picture for today. I'm pretty sure this is a pink-edged sulphur. I wasn't quick enough this morning to catch the Painted Lady with my camera; I guess I was already in my slug mode.


Now, here's hoping the HVAC man comes in the morning.