Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cook turkey or create new journal?

Oh, carumba my friends, does this happen to you? You have a house full of people coming for Thanksgiving, a huge menu to prepare, a house to clean and a list of chores to be done and then like a thunderbolt the muse is upon you like a seductive lover demanding to be wooed. Why does my best inspiration occur when I should be doing other things?

This is the new journal I put together last night when I should have been cleaning my studio for tomorrow's and Sunday's guests. First I had to put away the acrylic journal covers that were left over from the workshop. Aye, aye aye, just handling those journal covers made me want to make a journal. Really, really bad. I could not resist. You know the rest. Wet glue, hurry, hurry, feeling guilty, can't stop. My best projects go like this.

This is the back of the journal. I made a collage in PhotoElements and then printed it on a full sheet of transfer paper. Ironed that onto an old sheet (wrinkles because it was my first time and I didn't iron the sheet first because of my haste) and gelled it onto the acrylic cover.

This is what the front and back covers looked like attached to the canvas spine. The signatures will go in next. I love how rigid the acrylic makes the journal. Everything glues to it fantastically.
This view shows how the tissue I used inside and outside makes a translucent layer that shows both sides at once. Like looking through jello or encaustic. I woke up at 2 a.m. thinking the technique with the layers of tissue on acrylic was so novel that I should write it up for Cloth, Paper, Scissors but I know I have too much on my plate to do that. There is just so much you can do with acrylic panels!!
This is the inside of the covers showing the inside of the spine. Next I will sew in the signatures.
This is the spine of the finished book. I sewed a chinese coin in the upper spine (it doesn't show very well). That coin was an Artfest trade so thank you, anonymous giver, it was the perfect thing for this journal.

Oh *%$#@!!! I hear DH out in the kitchen running water while I madly type away in here. He must think I've lost my marbles to be on the computer with time running out. Wheeee, I love being an artist. Catch you later.

Monday, November 20, 2006

With a Full Heart

If you are an artist or just love to play with paint I advise you to get on the mailing list for the all day art retreats held at Diane Havnen-Smith's studio. Diane is a new best friend (no kidding) that I met only 2 months ago and with whom I have formed a close bond. When she asked me to teach at her studio I had certain reservations; first being that I dont teach (period) and second that I didn't know if I could commit to something so far out of my comfort zone. I love the way life dangles these opportunities in front of us as though testing our trust and faith in our fellow sister. I am so grateful that I took the chance. Diane has given me one of the happiest weekends I can remember and she is an amazing human facilitator of joy. We in Portland are so lucky to have this resource. One of these workshops may just be the thing that will spark a fire within you that will change your life. It happened to me.

One of Diane's many many skills is culinary; this is the delicious lunch she served. You are looking at Green Chili Sour Cream Enchiladas with cruditie vegetable salad and chipotle sauce. It tasted even better than it looks if that is possible. Really wonderful after several hours of all out art creation.

And here are the Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese icing that she served for dessert. Oh, and yes, we had chocolate too.

I wish I had more pictures of the participants and of the art they created. Diane took such terrific photographs of everyone that I sort of fell down on the job and I want to post this right now. So these photographs that follow are the few I came away with. If I get emails of additional art I will post them later. Many of my photos were too blurry to use; I was so excited that I made them out of focus.

This first one is of a reverse painting that has as its basis an image stamped from a rubber stamp. The painting was done by Katie Kendrick and I love the colors she has chosen. The painting will be viewed from the other side of the transparent substrate but I think you can already tell it is going to be beautiful.

"Olivia" was painted by Darci Roloff Keefer. She painted it on clear acrylic sheet (mylar) and then backed it with black matboard. This was originally going to be a class about painting faces but in the end each person painted what they wanted to. I think it's always more important to follow your own heart than to follow the rules.

The persimmons were painted by Laura Roloff and you are looking at the back side of the mylar. I just look at her creamy, yummy brush strokes and want to get in the studio myself. I really like the way she followed the form of the fruit with her brush.

This painting was done by Jayne Stamm. She experimented with layers of paint and pulled off this wonderful abstract. Love the color palette and all the inventive shapes.

Cynthia Mooney painted a self-portrait that I think looks just like her. She is an experienced artist and knew exactly what to do with the assignment. I think the likeness is wonderful.

This is the last of my presentable photographs of the paintings that were produced. I think Diane will post more at the innerstandings website. This face was also painted by the talented Laura Roloff. She handled the values of flesh tones better than I can; she could have taught the class!

For 2 nights I slept in the Queen's bedroom at Diane's house and along with the fabulous Katie Kendrick we had a 3 day girlie slumber party and talk-fest that was out-of-this-world fun. When we woke up on Sunday morning there was fluffy pumpkin pancakes to enjoy; Diane whips the eggs whites separately to get the light texture. Oh, I hate to brag but I have seldom been pampered like this. Maybe if you are a teacher reading this you will want to teach at Diane's venue.

The last picture is one of Katie and I clowning around with our cameras. For some reason we decided to take self portraits by holding our cameras out at arms length and shooting our own faces. Katie is teaching at Diane's 0n January 27th; a class in mixed media titled, "Feminine Icon" that you can read about here. Katie is going to have a table at Artfest in March and I am too; we are both excited to think about teaching at various venues around the country in the coming year. The travel is fun, the women are wonderful and full of life and it is just the most precious way to spend the valuable time we have on this planet.

I am still absorbing all the lessons I have learned this weekend from the women I met. My only regret was that we didn't have more time to share portfolios, dreams, wishes and backgrounds. I believe every single woman who creates can support and further the progress of the rest of us; all we have to do is figure out a way to connect and share our enthusiasm. If only we could spread our virus of love and inclusion to the politicians; what a wonderful world we could create. Well, until that happens, hold those dreams closely and reach out to your support group. Thank you sincerely to the group (10 of us!) who came together at Diane's and who dared to share the adventure. It was a dream of heaven and I hope to meet each of you again down the road.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Fall Deepens

We've had our first frosts and enough rain to drown a rat. All the leaves are coming down and the colors are still achingly beautiful across the meadow. I shot a few photos around the place; John is planting garlic and fava beans for a winter crop and everything looks quite bedraggled but there is beauty in that too so I thought I'd share.

This pepper bush outside the front door has been the most luscious color for weeks now. The peppers are too hot to eat but the color is welcome in the fall and reminds me of my beloved Mexico.

All the leaves are off of the grape vines that are growing wild up through the rhody bushes revealing dozens of clusters of plump, sweet grapes. Despite the frost they still taste good and no doubt could be made into that sweet ice wine that Germany is famous for. I had it once at a tasting and found it to be my favorite.

The blueberry bushes are a flaming red surrounded by gladiolas foliage, iris and cannas. I love the colors and textures of these perennials that have supplied us with flowers all summer. And berries. So much to appreciate. I wish I could share with you the fragrance of the wood chips as they smell in the cool, damp weather. It is a sweet, clean smell that is full of life.

This is what remains of the lemon cucumber crop after the vines and leaves have all rotted away and left the fruit lying on a carpet of purple plum leaves. They will seed this area for years to come.
My favorite squash set out to dry; the wonderful buttercup. It grows in a flattened shape and the flesh is sweet and brilliant orange. We bake it cut into pieces in a glass dish with a bit of water in the bottom. I never butter it or add any condiments. I like to eat it with soup so that I can spoon up a bit of soft squash and then dip my spoon into the soup. It melts across the tongue and supplies your body with life enhancing vitamins. It tastes like pumpkin pie.

Please dont hate us; we still have tomatoes. This is how we make our salsa cruda; with serrano chilis, red onions, Orenco Gold tomatoes and lime juice. Lotsa salt. Corn chips. Negro Modelo.

The scarlet tree behind the meadow across the road. A few weeks ago this meadow was dead and gone, it's so good to see the nice grass returning for the goats that live there.

I stretched 6 canvases yesterday and feel motivated to paint now. The workshop I'll be teaching is only a little more than a week away so that is on my mind.

It will be a good Thanksgiving this year, with much to celebrate. We will have checks and balances again in our government and hopefully a more dignified level of discourse. I also want to send out a word of thanks to each of you who comes here. I believe we are all pieces of the same thing, even when we disagree on how to get things accomplished, and that when we gather together, whether on the net or in a room, that something passes among us that is more than the sum of our parts. We support and encourage each other and sometimes even love each other. I believe in that love.