Monday, April 20, 2015

Little by Little

Acrylics and vintage papers on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
This is the second piece I did for Lesson 10.  This week I'll work on Lesson 11, and that'll be it for this class.  I'll be starting another one of Julie Pritchard's classes (8 Great Paintings) right after this one.

I've read a lot of books recently ~ another in the Lynley series, another of John Harvey's, another of Joseph Finders.  The standout book was The Years by Nicholas Delbanco.  I read that one over the weekend and was really moved by it.

Even though I have no idea when I will be making that "final" move, and even though it might be a couple years or more, I have begun to tidy up things around the house.  Little by little I've been taking down decorative stuff, cleaning it up really well (because everything in my home is horribly dusty), and packing it away.  I'm liking having less stuff around me, although I've hardly made a dent.  It's refreshing to see white spaces on the walls.

And little by little I am loosening my hold on artworks I made years ago, especially art quilts.  I've had my quilts somewhat organized by category ~ a) okay to sell/donate; b) sell/donate later; c) definite keepers.  I've very slowly been selling off pieces from the first category over the last couple years, as well as donating work annually to my favorite local animal welfare organizations.    Recently I've moved into the second category. 

I was invited to participate in the 7th annual Artists of the Emerald Coast this coming Saturday in southern Humboldt (an afternoon-evening art, wine, hors d'oeuvres and music affair), and mostly I'll be taking art quilts from my "sell/donate later" category.  Later is now.

Have a good week.  xx

Saturday, April 18, 2015

One of Two

Acrylics and vintage papers on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
This is my first of two paintings for Lesson 10, which was to create a painting over papers collaged onto the substrate.

Otherwise, I'm quiet this morning, without anything to say.  Hope you have a great weekend.  xx

Monday, April 13, 2015

A Real Stretch

Acrylics and cheesecloth on canvas panel, 11x14 inches
This is my second piece for Lesson 9, another exercise in embedding onto canvas.  What I embedded here was cheesecloth.  I was anxious to try something with a lot of texture, something like fabric.  Turns out I didn't care for painting over the cheesecloth after all.  It did add a lot of nice texture, but it presented its own set of limitations on the canvas.  The thing for me is that I tried it.

Now we're on to two lessons working with flat collage materials on the substrate.  I'm looking forward to getting into these.

Hope you have a great week.  xx

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Comfort Zones

Acrylics and rusted washers on panel, 6x6 inches
This small (6 x 6") piece was my second for Lesson 8.  Other than being another exercise in embedding objects on a painting, I wanted to experiment with a faux wax finish.

I didn't have any beeswax to use for a wax finish, and soy wax, which I did have, isn't hard enough to use for this purpose.  So I made a wax-like finish with a combination of matte and gloss gel mediums and a drop each of a couple iridescent fluid acrylics.  Worked like a charm to give a waxy-looking finish.  Although next time I do this, I'd definitely add a smidge of open medium so the finish stays wet long enough to carve into it.

Anyway, about comfort zones in art making...the painting I showed the other day (the abalone piece) and especially the one I'm working on now, are outside my comfort zone.  Guess that's what's so cool about Layer Love 2.0, the opportunity to try a bunch of different techniques to find out which ones speak to me and which ones to leave behind after the class.

And about comfort zones in other senses ~ I've been thinking about travel in general, and the fact that I have no desire to do any traveling at all anymore.  This absence of wanderlust has been driven home for me over the last few years since I began reading mysteries that take place in international locales, primarily Scandinavia, Italy and Great Britain.  All places I've been to, interestingly.  Any romantic notions I once entertained about how cool it would be to hang out in these places at sometime in the future have been trounced by my awakening to the fact that life in these "exotic" places has become just as crime-ridden as it is here in the States.  Add to that the realities of far too many people existing on this small planet, especially in lovely, art-filled cities and inspiring out-of-the-way spots, the vicissitudes of traveling which become more trying every year, the ever-increasing costs of everything, and the fact that you don't have anything to show for travel once you're back home, except for stuff and memories...and my mind is clear about the whole "not traveling" thing.

Home is where my zone of comfort is.  All that vagabonding I did back in the day, all that moving from one location and situation and relationship to the next, playing with different personae in an effort to find the real me, made me realize that the only way I am able to be comfortable in life is to be in one place.  And to live my life from there (or here).  A staging area or landing zone...both, actually. 

I simply don't want to go anywhere.  I'm not comfortable sleeping anywhere but my own bed.  I want to be with BeeGee every day.  I like my routines.  I'm happy with the food I make for myself.  I don't want to go through the anxieties of planning trips, the hassles of getting there, the costs of being there, the "stranger in a strange land" I inevitably feel when I leave home.  If there's anything I feel I absolutely need to see, I'll find it online, or rent the DVD.

No bucket list, no wanderlust, no "have-to's-before-I-die."  Just peace, contentment, quietude, and inner satisfaction.

Have a great weekend. xx

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Abalone Aficionado

Acrylics and abalone on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
This painting is my first for Lesson 9, another embed exercise.  This lesson was hosted by Chris Cozen whereas Lesson 8 was Julie Pritchard's take on embedding.  I love that in this class we learn from both artists, who have different approaches to painting.

I've been doing a couple of paintings for each lesson, really using this class as an opportunity to experiment and try different things ~ rather than feeling as though I need to power through the lessons to get to the end.  Saturday I'll post the second piece for Lesson 8; today I'll be working on the second piece for Lesson 9.

I awoke this morning to a renewed burst of creative energy.  Yes I've been painting recently, but it seemed that I'd lost the drive to do much else creatively.  I'm feeling a bit more oomph today, though, and I'm glad for it.

I've always loved abalone shells ~ who doesn't?  The pieces embedded here have been in my collection for at least 15 years, since I made beaded jewelry.  One of my favorite things to do back then was to create abalone brooches by beading around the chunks.  Occasionally I made abalone earrings as well.  And then there were the several times I created a palette of abalone colors to dye silk fiber with, and subsequently spin into yarn.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Honestly Speaking...

This is my first painting for the next lesson (Lesson 8), which was to embed objects into the piece.  This is a 10 x 10 inch cradled wood panel with foreign (non-U.S.) coins embedded.

I've been thinking about honesty lately, actually about how honestly explaining myself has gotten me into more messes in my life than had I been able to tell little white lies that didn't hurt anyone.  I never got that gene.  I've always operated under the "honesty is the best policy" advice.

The world, however, doesn't turn on honesty.  Most people are far more interested in themselves than they are in you (or me) telling the truth about ourselves.  It's taken me this long to realize that it's usually just better to make something up than to tell the whole truth.  The truth, most times, is probably too much information, and everybody is on information overload these days.

I think it was Winston Churchill who said, "Tact is the ability to tell someone to go to hell in such a way that they look forward to the trip."  Diplomacy has never been one of my strong suits.

There is another side to this, though, and that's the aspect of living one's values.  Some of my values, especially when I worked, are and were to have integrity, to be just, to try to make a difference, and to aspire to being part of the solution rather than part of the problem.  In numerous instances I found myself, because of nature of my role in an organization, to be caught between a rock and a hard place.  Opting to uphold those values always got me in trouble, i.e. hated, ostracized, fired.

I couldn't not speak my truth.  And not much has changed since then.  At the end of day, it always seems that choosing personal integrity over lying is the way for me to go.

Have a good week.  xo 

Thursday, April 2, 2015


Acrylics on canvas panel, 12x12 inches
Lesson 7 was to create a grunged up painting that looks old and weather-beaten.  That diagonal shadow near the bottom is a lighting glitch, not part of the painting. 

I've been reading novels by Lisa Unger, an author I haven't read for close to ten years.  Recently I finished Fragile and Darkness, My Old Friend.  Enjoyed them both.

Started John Harvey's Charlie Resnick series, with Lonely Hearts.  I like the character as well as the author's writing style, so I'll continue with the series.

I'm now reading What Came Before He Shot Her, the next for me in the Inspector Lynley series, although Lynley isn't in the book.  I just found out that Elizabeth George has a brand new book in the series, A Banquet of Consequences, due to be published in October of this year.

Via Netflix, I've recently seen Get On Up, a biopic of James Brown that I enjoyed a lot.  Also, The Theory of Everything (excellent; Eddie Redmayne deserved every bit of his Oscar and Golden Globe awards for his role), and Kings of Pastry, a documentary about French pastry chefs ~ also enjoyable. 

When the post office is doing what they should be doing, I can get two DVDs a week from Netflix, one at a time.  That hasn't been the case lately, though.  It can take 3 or 4 days for them to get my movies back in the mail, even though I send them back the day after I receive them.  Wonder what's going on with the postal service in these parts...  I'd still rather not pay more money to get two movies at a time, because most nights I'd rather read than watch something.  At this rate, though, it'll take me three years to get through my queue at Netflix...and that's if I don't add anything else.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Be Ready for Change

Acrylics on canvas board, 12x12 inches
This is the last piece I did for Layer Love 2.0 Lesson 6.  It's 12 x 12 inches on canvas panel.

I looked at an apartment yesterday in the low-income senior complex I've been on the waiting list for ~ but I passed up this opportunity.  At the present moment I am just not mentally/emotionally ready to move house.  But now that I've seen the place (the units are all the same or perhaps a reversed layout, 600 square feet, one bedroom), I've begun the process of loosening my psychic hold on Rose Cottage.  The next time I move, the next place I move into, will most likely be the last.  The concept of some kind of permanence (obviously, nothing is truly permanent), some place to be for the duration, feels like an enormous relief.  It's just that right now, today, I'm not ready to get my head around moving to the ostensibly last place I will ever live.

I'm still at the top of the wait list at the new place, and the next time they call, whenever that is (I've been on the list for three years), I'll be ready.  Just the fact of there being a viable and doable alternative to where I'm currently living has opened up a space of possibility for me, internally.

Last night I started mentally making a list of yet more stuff I still have but don't need.  And will begin divesting myself of it right away.  Just because my new place, whenever I move, will be twice the size I have now, doesn't mean I want to fill it with stuff that's no longer usable to me.  As it is, I'll need to buy again a few pieces of furniture that I sold or gave away five years ago, when I downsized to fit into Rose Cottage.  So be it.  My life has never been such that I could keep schlepping things forward with me, from one change to the next.  At some point I had to get rid of most of it to create room ~ a vacuum, if you will ~ for the next phase to show up in.  I'm not attached, at this point.

Have a great week.  Happy Spring!  xo