Monday, April 21, 2014

Wild Color

A recent painting, 18 x 24 inches on canvas.

I spent all my creative time over the weekend stitching "shabby" pages for my upcoming hybrid journal.  That's the one where I'll be combining my regular writing journal with the looser "bits and pieces, anything  goes" journals that I've been making since taking Mary Ann Moss's Remains of the Day.  I'm way ahead of the curve on this one, I likely won't need to begin using it for another couple months.  Nevertheless, the hardest part is done.  I'll post photos when it's ready to launch.

I read The Photograph, by Penelope Lively, a few days ago.  Excellent read.  I'm now finishing up her Family Album, also enjoyable.  

My public library carries a terrific selection of periodicals.  Although I rarely check them out because I've already got enough to read with all the books I regularly borrow, sometimes I'm lucky and find several-month-old issues in the library's free box.  I'll read them of course, if they're edifying, or use them for collage if not.  And when I'm done with them, if I haven't disemboweled them for creative purposes, I'll donate them to Miranda's Rescue in Fortuna, to be resold in their thrift shop.  

The point of this tale, though, is that I recently found issues of Yes Magazine, Buddhadharma, Shambhala Sun, The Sun, and Oxford American.  All good stuff to read.  So I haven't been at any loss of things to fill up my time now that I'm spending a lot less of it online.  I'm also a lot mellower.  And that's always a good thing.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Two to Tango

Here's an abstract duo I painted within the last week, both 8 x 10 inches on canvas.  I've got lots to talk about this morning, so read on.

Twice in the last four days I've observed what I'm calling computer sabbaths.  As in, I never even turned on my fact, I had it put away, on the shelf under my worktable where it lives when I'm not actively using it.  Those days (last Saturday and yesterday) were two of the most wonderful I've spent in a very long time.

I intend to keep doing this several times a week.  I'm especially loving experiencing the natural rhythm of my days without technological intervention of any kind.  Since I also don't have a cellphone, this non-techno freedom is easy to bring about.  And a total pleasure.

Long-time readers will already know that I have a love-hate relationship with Facebook.  I've taken Facebook holidays and threatened to leave before, but I'm really going to do it this time.  This time I mean it.  Many of my blog readers are also on Facebook, but many are not.  I'm going with the latter group now.  The only thing I still like about Facebook is the worldwide community of friends I've met, all of them artists in their own right.  Oh well ~ if it's meant to be, we'll stay in touch via email...and if that doesn't happen, well, there you go.

I realize I don't need to elaborate further, but I will anyway...because I rather like voicing to the world exactly who I am ~
  • I want to better use my time, my life energy, even if I'm "doing nothing"
  • I already don't fit in with the culture at large, and I no longer care to try to
  • I really like being alone, solo, silent, with my own thoughts or reading or creating, in my own kind of vacuum
  • I like my own art a lot more when I'm not looking at it in comparison to other artists' work...and when I'm online (Facebook primarily) I'm always judging my work consciously or unconsciously
  • It doesn't help me to read about bad things going on in the world, it only keeps my innate pessimism and cynicism at uncomfortably high levels
  • The older I get, the more I'm loving S-L-O-W living

However ~ I have no intention or desire to give up my blog.  I love blogging.  I read well over 100 other blogs (really only about 20 posts a day in total), love meeting other artists via our blogs, and I honestly feel more connected with people through blogging than I ever have via Facebook.  I'll still be right here, so don't you go anywhere.

Yesterday I discovered that I have three brand new sets of Quilting Arts magazines, both of which contain articles about my work.  They are Issue 44 (April/May 2010) and Issue 47 (Oct/Nov 2010).

I don't know how much QA costs these days, but these two issues were $7.99 each.  I'm selling the set for $10 plus $6 priority shipping (U.S. sales ONLY).  There are 3 sets.

I've been reading a lot, as always.  Here are three excellent book recommendations ~
  1. Still Life With Breadcrumbs, Anna Quindlen
  2. Flight Behavior, Barbara Kingsolver
  3. Cooked, Michael Pollan
Have a great day.  Hope spring (or autumn) is well under way wherever you are.  See you on Friday.  xo

Monday, April 14, 2014


I've been hesitant to post this painting (8 x 8 inches on canvas panel)...because it's rather pretty.  And pretty is something I've consciously tried to veer away from, for years.  Nevertheless, a couple weeks ago I felt the urge to paint something with green, pink and gold.  And this is what I got.

What is it about the word "pretty" that feels so creepy?  It's kind of like "nice," another word that sounds like a catchall, just something to say because you don't know what else to say, or you don't have the vocabulary to be more specific...or because you really don't like something at all but feel you would be offensive if you said anything besides "pretty" or "nice."  So I've actually come to think of both these words themselves as a pretty nice way, of course.

But here's the other thing ~ I enjoyed painting this pretty little piece.  As I'm enjoying all the painting I'm doing.  Although it always seems to be difficult for me to actually begin painting, I enjoy it probably more than anything else I've done over the years.  Which is very interesting to me when I fully consider what I just wrote:  It is difficult for me to do things that I enjoy.  Hmmm...

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Slathering Paint

Acrylic painting on canvas, 16 x 20 inches
British blog pal Margaret Cooter wrote an interesting post yesterday about how and where to begin something new...issues with which I completely resonate.

My paraphrased comment on Margaret's post ~ "Beginning is difficult for me, too, and I feel flummoxed usually before I even start.

My experience has been that once I get good enough at something, art quilting for instance, then it's time to move on to something else. I do think it's about the urge to branch out, try new things, challenge oneself.

Frequently I've disliked that I'm virtually always a beginner with a specific medium, and wish I had a lifetime body of work in one arena like so many artists in every medium. Alas, that's never been my way. It's always been about moving on, new challenges, learning new skills, etc., even though that's been very difficult at times.

In every facet of life, though, I've started over so many times that I now think of this as my karmic path in everything. To begin anew."

Developing a personal style is a related aspect of often changing one's medium of creative expression.  In looking back at my body of art quilts, I can see certain stylistic elements that run throughout.  For instance, that I almost always quilted on the pattern lines of my shiboried-painted-printed-batiked fabrics.  A number of other quilt artists told me that they came to recognize my work when they saw it. 

With beaded jewelry I definitely had a style that was mine.  Definitely my handspun yarns looked like mine alone.   With weaving, I'm not so sure.

At this point in my nascent painting career, I'm trying a lot of different things, learning from input (books, DVDs, online classes) from other artists whose work I admire.  Slowly, hopefully, building some level of skill experimenting with a wide variety of techniques.  My unstated (until now) goal is to become proficient enough over time with a select range of options that I will eventually develop my own style...(if I stick with it long enough, I say to myself).

For years I've been building digital folders with images of others' work in all the media that interest me (my own personal Pinterest), and adding to those folders regularly, for inspiration only.  I love looking at what other artists do, but primarily I think my doing this is to get ideas for my own work, certainly not to try to replicate anyone else's.  Inventive ideas is where I feel that I'm lacking.  This harks back to Margaret's dilemma about not knowing where to begin when facing a blank canvas of any sort. 

And I think perhaps this is why I've rarely made art with abandon ~ because I'm just not sure what to do next, not sure where the piece I've just finished is leading me to next.  I didn't have this problem with quilting, because I set out numerous challenges for myself during my active years in that medium ~ like 2009's 10x10 inch weekly quilt challenge, and others.  With beaded jewelry, I was actively selling my work, so it was easy for me to build an inventory of designs, although each piece was individually unique, and to keep myself stocked, as it were. 

Even with weaving, although there, too, I tried a lot of different things, much of the work was mechanical, design decisions made at the outset regarding yarns and loom setup.  The actual weaving was about following that plan.  Few decisions needed to be made along the way to producing the result.

With painting however, very few decisions are made at the outset, except perhaps type and size of substrate.  I think the creativity of the art of painting (at least for me) is in THE DOING itself.  There's very little that's mechanical about it, if anything at all.  There are no rules to follow, no formulas, virtually no guidance at all.  Which is a huge freedom...but also an enormous responsibility.  That I often wonder whether I'm up to. 

I can see why it took me this long to get to this medium, why I worked in so many more craft-like media ~ because I didn't have to pull ideas out of my head on demand.  And this precise spot is, I think, where the rubber meets the road.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Flea Market Finds

I went to the monthly Flea Market in Eureka yesterday.  This is what I bought ~ three issues of Little Folks magazine from 1924 and 1925.  And a nearly full bottle of Shaffer's ink, in a color that I needed anyhow.  How cool is that.  Total outflow ~ three dollars.