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


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