Friday, September 24, 2010

Vermont and New Hampshire

Before Squam Art Workshops I flew into Vermont to visit with Squam friends I made the previous year. I had never been to Vermont before and Lake Champlain was a name I could only wonder about. That was to change.

Many of you know EB from her blog which is how I first became aware of her. She has a distinct and personal journaling style that I've always admired and she has been an art teacher for many years.

Under her tutelage the girlfriends and I made keepsake books of our visit.

We make nature prints in a way that was new to me.

We played EB's crystal singing bowls, did energy dancing, listened to inspiring music, ate wonderfully  and spent many hours creating and dock sitting and wine drinking. It was like a dream of everything good in life. It always comes down to friends. Laughing, talking, listening to each others' stories.

Ho ho. You didn't think I'd exhausted my photographs of Squam yet did you?

These are the pieces I created in Sarah Ahearn's class. My intention for Squam was healing and health; that's what the pieces were about. Regaining my balance and counting my blessings.

And some journal pages for you. I can't keep up with myself. I've been a twirling dervish this week and I can't seem to settle.

Write, paint and begin again. Forget the unpacking, the laundry.

The beautiful journal above was created by Hillary. It's her photograph too (good one!) and is one of the journals I told you about that I failed to photograph in class. 

Sarah taught us a new way to make transfers so I've been going crazy with that.

I made more dill pickles when I got home.

And then truthfully, yesterday with the skies gray and Portland rain coming down I hit the wall and felt depressed. Only while watching "Project Runway" did I feel somewhat uplifted when Mondo won with all those crazy stripes. 

Now it's time to get ready for Art & Soul in only two weeks. I'm excited. This is the life. xo  

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Rest of Squam 2010

There was plenty of time for daydreaming in my journal while looking out on Squam Lake. 

Time for photography and bonfires and singing and storytelling.

Time for taking classes and walking in single file through the woods.

I took a class with this wonderful teacher, Sarah Ahearn. You will love her work. She was so nice and brought with her her little 4 month old baby. This year she had a baby and wrote a book. Last year she taught a class at Squam too and one of her students was a book publishing person which led to the book (due out May 2011). I love that story.

The next day I taught my class on making a personal journal. This was a class the students asked me to teach last year. Everyone made beautiful journals and sad to say I did not get photographs of all of them.

But here are a few that I did capture.

They all turned out beautifully.

The next day I started class by sending the people out to gather leaves and ferns.

Using natural materials as printmaking objects, stamps, stencils and elbow grease, we made yards and yards of beautiful paper.

My cabin mate was Mary Beth Shaw and she was generous enough to donate a package of her line of stencils for us to use. These stencils are incredible and can be used for textural effects as well as for paint and spray. Check out the link; I think you'll have a lot of fun using them.

This is an example of two of the stencil designs in the package. 

More beautiful paper.

Busy hands.

I guess you know by now I think these papers are gorgeous.

Bee Shay taught me how to make the nature prints. These students picked it right up.

More paper.

We used all our paints and inks.

Wouldn't these make splendid book covers?

This student travelled to Squam from London so she worked on her roll of sumi paper without tearing it. Now she can roll it back up to travel home. Clever!

This was one of her creations. I swooned.

Gold and iridescent paints put the finishing touches on the paper.

Well done, people. Now we have lots of paper for collage and gift wrap and greeting cards and lots of other uses.

After a long day of joyful making we sit on the porch with an adult beverage and enjoy each other. Ahhhh ...

Monday, September 20, 2010

Squam Art Workshops 2010

Home safely from the most wonderful and astonishing week for a long time. Squam was incredible; this was my 3rd year and each year it has gotten better for me. I love the way the people at Squam gather in the newcomers and make everyone feel at home. I can truthfully say Squam has changed my life both in general and especially this year when I was not sure I could effectively teach again after losing so much of my voice and energy. But these people. This magical place. Renewed my spirit and confidence. Gave me permission to go on.

This is the hearth that blazed into the nights as we conversed, shared wine and snacks, told our stories and shared our dreams.

Our screened in porch looked directly out onto the lake with a breath taking view. We heard the loons, the loons, the melancholy loons announcing fall and the coming beauty of the changing leaves.

We met in classrooms to talk and make and learn and laugh together. I taught twice with my little voice amplifier and everything worked perfectly. We shared new beginnings. We are going on new journeys in our lives and we are manifesting our dreams. We are supporting each other as friends do, giving permission and providing help when we can.

Once again the food was incredible. I'm afraid I popped the button off my skirt and all I did was laugh.

I have fallen madly in love with this place. I silently thank the giants who put the land aside so many decades ago; the strangers who worked to make this place a sanctuary and also those who work together to keep it as it has been for so long. I feel their spirits in this place. They cared about the people who would follow them (us).

I have so much more to tell you and so many people to thank but I've come home to a hornet's nest of activity so I will write more later. I'll tell you about the friends I made at 2009 Squam that I visited in Vermont before I got to SAW. That's how it is. You make friends that you want in your life forever and you are changed. Thank you Elizabeth for providing such a place for us. You are leaving the world better than you found it. You are inspiring the rest of us to do the same.

Life changing. Imagine. 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Last Things First

With less than a day to pack for Squam I am posting to my blog. I couldn't neglect you any longer, gentle reader. I have been a busy painting machine but I can only show you a little of it because my friends and I have embarked on a frenzy of copying faces from paintings of the Old Masters and we want to unveil them as a group. We chose to copy Vermeer, Manet, Soutine, Van Eyck, Picasso, Modigliani, Botticelli and Van Gogh. Try it yourself and weep. The results are usually accidently hilarious.

Stumbled across some old photographs and added those in to my journal. Who is that long haired hippie?

I'm only taking simple art supplies to Squam; a little watercolor set and some pens. On the way to New Hampshire I'll be stopping off in Vermont for several days with a journaling queen and some friends that I will report on later (heh heh). All of it a reward at the end of a season to remember.

In a burst of nervous energy yesterday I got out into the kitchen and put up some garlic dill pickles. I haven't canned pickles in years and I love this recipe. So before you ask:

4 lbs. 4” cucumbers
6 Tbl salt….I will use less next time like 4 maybe
3 cups vinegar
3 cups water
6 heads of dill (I use lots of dill)
1 tsp peppercorns
Garlic…..I use lots

Wash and cut cucs in half lengthwise ( I usually leave small ones whole)
Combine salt, vinegar, water and bring to a boil
Pack cucs into hot jars.  Distribute dill and peppercorns and garlic among jars.  Pour in boiling pickle solution, adjust lids.  Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes…..again, I don’t leave that long as they seem to get soft  maybe 5 minutes…..
Store in cool, dark storeroom.  Makes 3 quarts or about 7 pints.

The notes with the recipe are from my friend who gave me this recipe in 1972. It is a good one.

Then I still had some energy to I made a galette (inspired by my friend Kay). The only problem was that I cut and pasted a recipe from the net and in the transfer one and three-fourths cup of flour became 3/4 cup of flour so it was a buttery buttery butterfest crust which looked like sin but was surprisingly delicious. And buttery. It is an awesome recipe. I used lime zest instead of lemon. Try this and bliss yourself out.

Apple Galette
Bon AppĂ©tit  | September 2006
yield: Makes 8 to 10 servings                           
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour                                      
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) chilled unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons (or more) ice water
1 1/2 pounds Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, cut into 1/8-inch-thick slices (4)
4 tablespoons sugar, divided
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon peel
1/4 cup apricot preserves
Whole milk
Blend flour and salt in processor. Add butter and blend, using on/off turns, until mixture resembles coarse meal. Add 2 tablespoons ice water and blend just until dough begins to clump together, adding more ice water by teaspoonfuls if dough is dry. Gather dough into ball; flatten into disk. Wrap in plastic and chill 1 hour. DO AHEAD: Can be made 2 days ahead. Keep dough chilled. Soften slightly at room temperature before rolling out.
Roll out dough between sheets of parchment paper to 1/8-inch-thick round, 14 inches in diameter. Remove top sheet of parchment. Using bottom sheet as aid, transfer dough on parchment to large unrimmed baking sheet. Chill 15 minutes.
Preheat oven to 450°F. Combine apple slices, 2 tablespoons sugar, and lemon peel in medium bowl; toss to blend. Spread preserves over crust, leaving 1 1/2-inch plain border. Arrange apple slices in concentric circles atop preserves, overlapping slightly. Using parchment as aid, fold plain crust border up over apples, pinching any cracks in crust. Brush crust with milk. Sprinkle crust edges and apples with remaining 2 tablespoons sugar.
Bake galette 20 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375°F and continue baking until crust is golden, about 30 minutes longer. Remove from oven. Slide long thin knife between parchment and galette. Let stand at least 10 minutes. Cut into wedges.

So here is a glimpse of one of my face copies. At first I thought it looked like George Raft but then I realized those puppy eyes and tender expression could only be that red headed heart-throb David Caruso. The last person on earth it resembles is Van Gogh. Sheesh!

I'm off for a week of teaching and playing so I'll see you when I return.  

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Following My Bliss

Have had several play dates with friends since my last post. These keep me going. The irreverent laughter. I am a person who needs to spend time with good people who love to create.

It's my religion.

I like play dates with little kids too. They are fearless and I learn from them not to be so uptight.

They know all about pop-ups. I was impressed. 

They knew what to do with my collage stash.

With the paints.

And all about houses.

I'm painting faces again.

That's what's growing in my garden.

Holding on. Squeezing every bit of joy out of summer.

This shot is for the reader who asked if we grew squash. Yeah, baby. Buttercup. Fall delight.

John is holding up the guias de chayote. Little tendrils that are good to eat.

Their world is secretive and grasping.

They like to climb the trellis and run amok.

Touch of Class rose. She had a sweet fragrance this morning.

Always the journal. Especially during the hard times. Keeps my secrets, my sorrows, my happiness.

My search.

All the parts of me.

Telling the same stories I invented as a child. Drawing the pictures and telling the stories.

Making sense of the bewildering vast universe.

Putting my angst and experience on the page.

Sharing it here.

Naked Lady. Somehow that sums it up. xo