It's misting here in Portlandia. Perfect weather for easing into a three-day weekend after three rather intense weeks at work, but not so great for those who have been looking forward to their last camping adventure prior to the beginning of school. The weather is a welcome reprieve from the heat and it buys me a break from exterior maintenance work that demands to be done before the relentless rains arrive. I'm hoping to finish "Carnival" (which already has another oval appearing inside of the large white oval and a yellow band beneath the white rectangle), and perhaps one other painting. Maybe I'll break out a new canvas, too, and I'm also hoping to get some hand stitching and machine work done.
I've been spending more time in the vegetable garden this year. Turning the compost continues to be my favorite activity, but I've also been enjoying hand watering in the evening and visiting the garden in the early morning to watch the bees at work in the dahlias that, amazingly, are now towering over the vegetables and bringing merriment to the garden.
Thank you to those of you who continue to blog and/or post to Instagram, Flickr, Tumblr or Facebook. Your work inspires me on a daily basis. And as always, thank you for your interest in my slow but steady artistic journey.
Perhaps you've had the amazing experience of coming upon these beautiful "By-the-Wind-Sailors" quite unexpectedly at the beach, but I never had until this weekend while at the Washington coast. Their scientific name is Valella valella and they spend their days skimming the surface of the ocean by means of a small blue float (deflated in the photos here) made of concentric circles of gas-filled tubes. Their short tentacles hang just below the surface, feeding on plankton, and with no active means of propelling themselves, they sail along at the whim of the winds. Occasionally, (or more aptly "seasonally") they are beached by the hundreds of thousands. This phenomenon is occurring right now, up and down the west coast of North America, as evidenced by photos from two people I follow on Instagram; one who lives in Northern California, and the other in Southern California. I must say, this sight was spectacular, and even more so because the day was clear and the water was a gorgeous blue.
Hope you've had a wonderful weekend!
(I'm back in the studio, mustering up the courage to slap some paint on a blank canvas.)
Oh -- and if you're interested, come join me on Instagram.
I think it's a great platform and it's lots of fun
Handstitching on hand-painted recycled fabric from chef's jacket.
Last week seemed to be all about pinkish-purple (purplish-pink?). It began with me adding pink stitches to a piece I had painted years ago, and it culminated yesterday when this dahlia began to open. Well, of course there's a story: The bloom is the first from six or seven tubers that I had pretty much written off. I found them in a plastic FedEx envelope sitting on my west-facing porch on a sunny afternoon in April. Our oldest daughter had shipped them to me as one of her last tasks before moving from Spokane. I was impressed. But when I opened the package, it was like a little greenhouse inside, and the tubers were all damp, shriveled, soft and powdery. I thought to myself, "There's no way these are going to be viable." Not that I have any experience with dahlias. I don't. But as expected, when I researched "dahlia care" online, my suspicions were confirmed: these tubers didn't look like any of the photos of healthy tubers I saw.
But these were tubers from special dahlias, having been purchased by our youngest daughter to replace the dahlias she had ordered and grown for her sister's August wedding two years ago. Unfortunately, the responsibility of digging up the original tubers that autumn and fallen on me, since our youngest had moved to Hawaii for nine months, and our eldest lived in Spokane. Well, since the tubers were not exactly right here in our backyard, and since I had forgotten about them, they remained in the ground and had not survived the wet, soggy winter.
So . . . not wanting to be carrying around a double dose of guilt, I jumped into preparing a new place for these new tubers right here IN our backyard, and stuck them in the ground right away with lots of compost. I marked the spot of each tuber with a cedar stake, let both daughters know they were in the ground but that they shouldn't hold their breath, and then I waited. And waited. And watered. And waited. And . . . much to our mutual delight, the tubers performed their magic! And really, for someone who hasn't grown dahlias before, they're quite amazing -- almost Jack-in-the-Beanstalkish with thick stems and a multitude of buds ready to burst open. And now, of course, I must remember to dig them up in the fall, and figure out how to store them, and then remember to replant them, as I believe I will be their designated caretaker for the next few years. :)
Hello there. Spent Saturday afternoon tearing strips of fabric and printing on them. (I'm building my stash for that patchwork project I have in mind. ) Also spent some time figuring out how to use Instagram and in the process, discovered some interesting patterns in some rusty items as well as in the vegetation. And the frog? Well, the juxtaposition of this tiny creature on this luxurious skunk cabbage leaf was just too much to resist. :)
A recently completed painting -- minimalist for sure, with its orange on orange ovoids and rectangles. Today, I began two smaller paintings and continued to take small steps toward completing "Twisted Strands". Working on more than one painting concurrently is something new for me. Not sure why it's taken me so long to adopt this approach, as it makes so much sense: Stuck on one? Move to another. Waiting for paint to dry? Work on another. And so it goes.
A rather dark, soft-focus view of Twisted Strands (24 x 30 --in progress)
Soft-focus view out our front door. A foggy Portland morning illuminated by the rising sun.
Funny how a painting develops. Or should I say, "Funny how my paintings develop." Twisted Strands began as a colored pencil thumbnail sketch of the very simple composition depicted above, sans the succession of rectangles on the top. The sketch was done in a saturated color palette of orange, cerise, teal and yellow, ala the Chinese export bowls that I love; and my first session on the painting took it in that direction. But as the days passed, I gradually lightened the painting up, save for the large rectangles on the bottom that remained in saturated hues of orange.
Meanwhile, I alternately hung the painting in portrait and landscape views, struggling with the composition as I continued to struggle with the palette. (If you missed it, you can see an earlier state of the painting here.) Late the other night, I decided the orange rectangles had to go, and the strands, which had recently gone very dark, needed to be lightened up. So, here we are. And today, I am contemplating how I will wrap this painting up, and whether I'm brave enough to "pierce" one or both of the large, now white rectangles. And therein lies the intrigue and joy of painting!
Oh, and the lovely bowls with the Oriental feel? Well, you can read about them here. When the painting's palette shifted, the bowls immediately came out of the cupboard. :)