Saturday, September 27, 2008

Making Time

The week has been a blur of preparations for teaching. I have been putting in the hours to make sure all is in readiness for Art and Soul. But tonight there was a small break to visit friends; two interesting people who also have many irons in the fire. The etching above was done by Gene Flores as part of his series of Loteria cards. Gene is a teacher and master printmaker. I have introduced you to his work before but this visit brought a new surprise.

Joan is a wonderful gardener and a "sometimes" artist. But look what she has been up to lately. She took us up to her sewing studio and showed us the work she has been doing based on some of Gene's designs. These photos only give you a rough idea of the tiny pieces of fabric and the intricate craftsmanship that has gone into these quilts. They are stunning.

The next few photos were taken in Gene's studio and show his etch press and some of his printmaking tools.

Long ago and far away I had a 12 year affair with oily tarletons, gel rollers and paint thinner. It was an enchanted period.

Now I admire from afar and applaud the work of younger talents like Gene. He spins legends and wonders out of his imagination and brings them to life for us to enjoy.

His work disturbs me in the most wonderful way. It's the oogly-boogly part of the imagination that shows us a world beyond our comprehension and that is part of life too.

Meanwhile, Gene is a earthy man who loves to garden and cook. Tonight he cooked these things for us.

Chili Colorado, Chili Verde, Mole, beans, rice, homemade flour tortillas, homemade ice cream and fall raspberries from his lovely garden.

No matter how wound up I get in my own plans and work, a visit with friends makes time stand still and soothes my spirit. We had calm weather and sunshine today; a golden fall sunset and a little time in the studio to play in my journal. This was a good day.

Monday, September 22, 2008

This and That

Autumn has officially arrived and with it has come deadlines for class samples. I've had a lot of work this month; preparing for Art and Soul, arranging next year's schedule. I love it but I've kind of been flying around.

Here are a couple of little teasers for classes I'll be teaching next year. I'm excited about both the new and the old venues; I'll not be jurying for any art fairs at all next year so that I can have all my time for teaching. Because I love it. Really love it.

Remember the big Eiffel Tower I painted for a wedding a few weeks ago? Well, dear Justine and Kurt were married last weekend and their wedding photographs are wonderful. The painting was a backdrop for a photo booth at the reception. Those pictures will follow but the wonderful fairy-tale wedding photographs are here.

These photos are courtesy of La Vie Photography, who did an excellent job of capturing the beautiful wedding and the lovely couple. Weddings. Who doesn't love beautiful weddings?

Here is Justine with her Marie Antoinette wig posing in front of the backdrop I painted for her. You can see more shots of the photo booth on the La Vie site. Congratulations, Justine and Kurt. Your wedding was fabulous and the whole world wishes you a long and happy life together.

This is the painting I did for Justine and Kurt. It measures 18 x 24" and is acrylic, resin, collage & mica.

Meanwhile the harvest is in full swing here. Tomatoes today, grapes into raisins tomorrow. The variety above is a yellow paste that we call Orenco Gold. John grew it out from a yellow sport of a paste tomato; we love it for colorful salsa.

I'm not quite ready to leave Squam yet. Above is a painting done by Theresa Patton in her journal. She bought her first art supplies for this class and I think she painted beautifully, don't you? What a thrill it is to find that you can do something that you hadn't tried before. It's like discovering treasure.

Here is a clever idea for all you crafters out there. Take the signatures out of a sturdy book, paint the cover in a gorgeous manner . . .

and sew in holders for your brushes. Fabulous idea! (thank you to the student who shared this)

And now for some random journal pages.

While I was at Squam I finished out one journal and started the next.

Some people fill a journal a month while mine take about 9 months to fill. Because I write so tiny and cannot bear to turn them loose before I absolutely have to.

I liken it to the way I try to cram too much into every single day, month and year. I want all the cookies. I am so grateful for my many years. The experience of being alive, of watching the changes, of laughing and crying and coping and sharing is so amazing.

Over and out.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Beach Weekend

Ah, a little break from the routine; it's the talk-like-a-pirate 5th annual end of summer beach reatreat for our family. Sun, water, a cozy rented beach house, 2 dogs, salt water taffy, lots of naps and beach walks.

The sea was calm and the sun was out. The mister and I took long, sweet walks together with our faces to the sand as we beachcombed for smooth glass, polished stones, agates and other earthly treasures. It was bliss.

Here I am with my angelitos and one sea dog. His name is Cooper but at the beach we call him C-Dawg.

Angels surrounded us and left their evidence.

Our rented house sat high on a cliff with windows out to the ocean.

There was a lot of napping.

Pirate sightings. Treasure collecting. Time spent staring at the rollers, listening to the sounds of mother soothing our spirits and reassuring us that life is sweet when we care for each other.

We found liquid gold in the sunsets.

We counted our blessings and then we slept soundly.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Squam Art Workshops Part 2

Thank you, Jen, for the prayer flags in our cabin. I stood and read several and they were beautiful. I'm going to get prayer flags for my studio now. I can think of nothing more fitting.

Several of the participants and I talked about how you could almost feel the presence of previous souls who had trod these lovely paths before us. I felt so safe here.

Every evening was serene, calm and inspiring.

Every evening was filled with laughter, friendship and warmth.

I heard that this is one of the last places where ice is harvested from the lake in the winter and stored on sawdust in an ice house for use by the guests in oak ice boxes in the cabins.

This is the ice house where the hunky boys gathered fresh ice for our cabins each morning. They were kind enough to smile for my camera.

The huge breakfasts put big smiles on our faces. So did the sunshine that peeked in and out at just the right times.

Now I'll show you some of the student work from my classes. I was a poor reporter for you this time as I was wrapped up in the magic myself and for the first two days took very few photos.

So most of the photos I did take were from my expressive faces class. Wow, did I ever have some painters in there!

I hope you'll forgive me for not crediting or linking these images but I want to show a sampling of the kinds of explorations we did in the class.

The fact that these explorations led to some marvelous work was a side benefit. The actual purpose of the exercises was to show how we proceed in experimenting and going out on a limb.

The assignment was to make the faces interesting, to explore without judgment.

There are a few photos from the journaling class I see. Sometimes we mistake fortunate accidents for unfortunate ones. Is there a difference?

Isn't the human imagination wondrous? The inventiveness, the playfulness, the fun of creating?

Beauty in the faces. Beauty in the faces of the makers. I am the witness to beauty.

Several exercises called for faces on funny backgrounds.

Faces on painted backgrounds.

These are the finished paintings; some on canvas, some on paper.

Oh, I love the lady in the bathing cap. I resonate with swimmers, with water, with diving down.

Can you read her words? It says, "holy shit, she said to draw a face!"

The journaling class again. What a wonderful page. Can you see Andy Warhol?

Back to the faces class.

Isn't it interesting how often our own faces resemble the faces we create?

Love the iPod man. It looks like Tracey!

Yes! There were men at Squam too.

This is the end of the so-called student work today. Brilliant work. Every one of the paintings were worthy of their own museum; I was overjoyed at the willingness of everyone to play and to let go.

At the end of the day we retired to our cabins, tired and yet strangely renewed for our lives back home. We are golden stardust as Joni Mitchell once wrote and these are our days of wonder and delight. We will not let anyone keep us from passion, from love, from helping each other thrive. Our hearts are open.