Sunday, May 21, 2017

Eureka!

I think I've found my painting medium ~ watercolor.  I'm just totally loving it.  I love that you can go big and splashy and loose with it...and that you can be tight and detailed and precise, too.

This piece here was inspired by a photo of stoneware pots.  I've been saving a lot of images on Instagram, that I can refer back to as inspiration for painting.  Some flowers, but mostly photos of other things, images with interesting composition, images that have texture, pattern, design.

Also photos of others' artwork in other media, that inspire me to want to try something similar in watercolor.

The only caveat now is that my neck has begun bothering me from looking down as much as I have been.  So I'm going to have to watch that I don't overdo it with the painting.  Take it slowly.  Make it last.  I have the rest of my life, I don't have to do it all this month or this year.

It might actually be spring now on the north coast.  Only time will tell whether this warm/dry spell will continue, or whether we'll be hit with more rain.

Have a blessed week.  xx







Monday, May 15, 2017

A Busy Week

Last week was busier than usual for me...but still I'm painting every day and collaging most days.

I've been exploring different styles of abstraction with watercolor.  It's so interesting to me that just as with previous media that I've been into, the concept of developing a style in watercolor has been on my mind.  Although it's more an exploration of various techniques and methods of application, while learning how to work with (read: control) this medium with a mind of its own.  And testing out things other artists have done to see if they fit for me.

There likely won't be a distinct "answer" to my experimentation, and that's okay.  This quote from Tricycle's daily newsletter is apt, for painting and for life:

I suspect there will never be answers. Instead there will be only the awkwardness of the struggle—and perhaps the struggle is a sublime kind of grace in itself, which merely disguises itself as awkwardness.

—Rick Bass, “Bonfire



Have a great week. xx




Sunday, May 7, 2017

Last Week's Best

I'm enjoying my watercolor exploration, trying different things, changing up my subject matter, and painting something every day.

And enjoying creating collages nearly every day.

And meeting new snailmates via Instagram and getting to know them through the mail.

And exchanging ephemera, vintage book pages, botanical cutouts, postage stamps, old postcards, and other goodies from around the world.

Life's just a kick right now...and I'm loving it.

Here's a tip:  No matter what's going on in the world, you can make your own happiness, right here and now.  When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.

Have a great week.







Sunday, April 30, 2017

New Challenges

Early last week I upped my creative game, challenging myself to paint and/or brush letter every day for at least 100 days.  I'm following a couple of loose challenges on Instagram and decided to play along.  Because I know that I'm more productive if I put my mind to it than if I just let myself be haphazard about it.

I'm not counting collages in the challenges, so I'm continuing to do those most days, as well.

One of the challenges is the 100DayChallenge.  You start whenever you start and go for 100 days.  Today is my day 7 and I haven't painted yet today...but I definitely will.  I'm painting everyday now.

Another challenge is a weekly color challenge posted by ColorCrushCreative on IG.  My painting of flowers in a vase is for the first week of the CCC challenge.  Both challenges are open to any medium, and I refer to them as "loose" because all you do is post your work to your own feed and tag it with either or both of the challenge hashtags. 

I've been testing out brands of watercolor paper and brushes to see what works best for me.  And making samples from those tests and posting them to IG, along with my finished pieces.

I'm liking this, being more creative again.  It's been a while.  It feels good.

We're having a dry, warming trend right now on the north coast, with temps building into the low 70s mid week.  But alas, there's a slight chance of rain late in the week.  In prior years, "slight chance" rarely, if ever, produced rain.  This year, though, every slight chance has become a real rainfall.  So, whatever. 

Have a great week. xx




Sunday, April 23, 2017

What I Was Thinking

Quite possibly some of you might've been wondering why I would ever think of moving into a senior housing situation, after reading last week's blog post...being that I'm as independent-minded and self-reliant as I am.

The reason was, five years ago when I put myself on the wait list for that place, I was living in and operating out of a place of fear ~ fear of what would become of me, fear of the future, fear of not having enough money to live on, fear of going forward into my later years on my own.

I've changed a lot in the past five years.  I no longer have any of those fears, even the fear of not having enough money although I'm still very low income.  True, the overriding reason I've been seeking another place to live has been financial.  But I learned quickly, last weekend, that giving up my independence to save a hundred bucks a month isn't worth it -- at least it wasn't worth it in the case of that first place.

So I'll see about the second place when it becomes available.  But it's going to have to be pretty perfect to get me to leave Rose Cottage at this point.

In other news, I've been doing a bit of watercolor.  May be I'll post a couple images next time.  I really do love it, but I haven't had a lot of time to devote to it.  Seems like there's never enough time to do everything I want to do, even at this point in life, where all my time is my own.

Hope you all have a great week! 


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Privacy and Priorities

I got a call this week about an apartment available in the low-income senior place in Fortuna where I'd been on the wait list for five years.  Some of you might remember that two years ago I turned down a place there because I simply wasn't ready to move into "the last place I'll likely live."

Well, I made it to the top of the list again, so they called.  Before actually seeing the place, I kind of figured it should definitely go for it...but after seeing it on Friday and thinking about it for 24 hours, I decided not to take it.

For one, it's just too small.  Despite the fact that it has a bit more square footage than Rose Cottage, the layout is such that I couldn't get everything I have in there...and I'm not downsizing again to fit into a tiny living space that ultimately wouldn't support who I am.

The process, though, enabled me to get a handle on my priorities at this point in my life.  In my price range (read: very low income), space is always going to be limited in any future rental.  So there'll be trade-offs ~ and what I clearly realized is that I'd rather have room to have two studio tables and lots of shelving, than a dedicated bedroom that I'd hardly spend any time in, and/or space for a kitchen table and chairs. 

In the schema of my life, those things aren't really important.  What IS important, is that I have adequate space to create.  So I'm willing to do without those "luxuries," in order to continue to be who I am.

Most if not all of those senior community places are designed for a different kind of senior, a senior person, perhaps, of a slightly different era.  Someone who spends most of their time sitting and reading, or watching TV, someone who eats primarily prepared meals or takes many meals at the senior dining hall at the complex, someone who participates in the kinds of group activities inevitably profferred by these places.  I'm not that kind of senior.

Everyone I know who's my age or older has an active life of one sort or another.  Even though I no longer travel, and even though I spend a significant amount of time alone and don't partake of most of the cultural offerings in Humboldt County, I am active in my own way.  I'm always doing or making something.  I'm up and about a lot, inside and outside a lot in clement weather. 

And then there's the privacy thing.  I'll always be an introvert, I'll always choose to spend most of my time on my own, I'll always prefer not to do things everybody else is doing, I'll always be as self-reliant as possible.  It's not necessary for me to live in a community of age-related folks merely for the company or so I don't feel isolated.

So, all that said, I have an application into another low-income senior place, one that's newer, where the units have many more amenities.  The wait there could be another two years, since I just applied last week.  When I get the call on that place, I'll check it out and do my due diligence.  If it isn't going to work for me, then I'll simply stay here in Rose Cottage for the duration. 

It's costing me more here than either of the two senior communities would, but I've got to be comfortable.  And despite it's small square footage, lack of space for a bed and kitchen table, Rose Cottage perfectly serves my creative self.  I've got good neighbors and we're our own little neighborhood within the mobile home park, a killer view of the Eel River Valley mere steps from my front door, a great view of the sky from my west-facing windows, it's quiet, I'm completely independent and alone when I want to be, and BeeGee is happy here.

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Go Fish!

I've finally got around to cutting out fish photos from a tropical fish book I got a while back.  To save space in my tiny digs, what I often do is tear or cut out the pages of a book that I know I'll use, and jettison the rest of the book.  That's what I did with these fish and a bunch more.

I've done a lot of paper cutting recently.  It's very relaxing, a kind of meditation in its own right.  And then my bins are full of ready-to-use collage fodder.

The second image is my last collage in my fourth travelers notebook insert.  I'm readying the fifth to begin using.

The rain doesn't want to stop in northern California...although April is often a rainy month anyway.  We have days of still-wintery cold temps with a bit of sunshine, then it'll rain again for a couple days.  Big sigh...

But overall, life is grand.  Have a great week. xx





Sunday, April 2, 2017

Natural History

I've always been a lover of natural history, but I never really indulged that love until I started doing these collages back in December. 

Natural history books with illustrations are what I am constantly on the lookout for now.  I will use books with photographs, as opposed to illustrations, but I much prefer the latter.  I never conceived of a good use for these images, until recently.

Some images I'm finding online, when I haven't found a book source for them.  If you're not familiar with it, check out the Biodiversity Heritage Library on Flickr.  All images there are copyright-free and can be downloaded and printed on an as-needed basis.  Save them to your computer in the "original resolution," and images will print perfectly.

Another place I've found images is in those Dover books of illustration and design, many of which come with a CD.  I've borrowed a few from the library, copied the contents of the CD onto my computer, and printed images when I've needed them.  These images are also at very high resolution so they print well.

I've also been indulging my love of washi tape recently.  I found a seller at Etsy that I particularly like buying from, because he has such a wonderful selection of tapes available.  His shop name is ZakkaLover.

I'm gravitating toward watercolors now.  I've started following a number of watercolorists on Instagram as well as a couple artists on YouTube.  I've tried a number of different brands of paints in the last few months, and finally settled on a small set of half-pans by Prima, and a larger set of tubes by Mijello Mission Gold. This week I'll get some GOOD paper, Arches.

I've almost always skimped before on my supplies (well, except for Golden Acrylics), but I'm done doing that.  Life's short; use the good stuff.

Anyway, I'm not sure yet what I want to paint, but I likely won't do a lot of representational stuff...much like with acrylics.  I want to experiment with the medium, more than anything.  And experiment with interpreting what I see, physically or in my mind's eye.

I did try watercolors once, way back in the late 1970s.  I was on Maui then, and I used to see a gal paint at the beach I frequented.  So I took a class at the art center on Maui (Kalua Nui).  I used cheap watercolor paper at the time, that much I remember, also that I was trying to be too literal.  I think watercolor is a medium where you have to be able to see things ~ or at least be able to translate them to paper ~ more figuratively, more loosely.

So I'm going to give watercolor another go.

The images below are some of my recent outgoing mail.  I'm collaging on the backs of the envelopes as well, most of the time.

Have a wonderful week.