Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Spot of Sunshine for a Grey Day

Pattern from a screen print
There is a wondrous shrub in the neighborhood.
(Could someone please identify it?)

It's sporting these now. But for months, it has displayed only "pods" that from afar, appear to be hard... like a white Eucalyptus pod (if there were such a thing.)

Except that they're not pods. And up close...they are like silken fur... inviting your touch. And they are reflective... and lovely.
(Click on the pictures; then click your brower's back button to get back to here.)

And besides....they cascade from these beautiful red branches.

And they are like ballerinas' tutus.

Or bells...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Botanicals, Bicycles and Charles Francis Saunders

Monoprint 4" x 4"
The above was a quick study of the foliage of a plant I found growing in a meadow by the bay. Perhaps sometime I will post about the technique I used to make the print. (It's very low cost and easy.) Below, is a botanical illustration from a wonderful field guide compiled by Charles Francis Saunders and published in 1929. I found it at a garage sale and couldn't resist it. It measures merely 3" x 5", has gold ink on the cover, and is filled with 250 botanical illustrations that were "prepared" by eight artists. According to Mr. Saunders, Nuttall's Dogwood (Cornus Nuttallii, And.), pictured below, was apparently named for the "famous naturalist who visited the Pacific Coast some 80 years ago and made important collections." (If you're doing the math, that would have been in 1849.)
Image 1" x 2"

I like the contemporary feel of the Mesquit plant, below.

And somehow, the radial "habit" of the Mesquit plant ties into the radial spokes of the bicyles in one of my favorite vintage ephemera finds, below.

4" x 4" label
(From the inside of a "Can't Be Beat" cigar box.)
Isn't it great?! It always makes me smile and motivates me.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Nests, Eggs and Golly Bard

"Stick Nest"

Last weekend during a lull in the weather, my husband called me over to where he was working and showed me what had just materialized. It was an upside down nest of sticks that had formed when he had taken off the lid of the garbage can and turned the can over on top of the contents in our yard debris cart. The sticks had previously molded into the nest shape in the smaller can, where he had placed them the week prior after having pruned the Gravenstein apple tree. "Andy Goldsworthy," we said simultaneously to each other, in reference to the nature artist. Well, we both agreed the sticks were too lovely to give over to the recycling company just yet, so he cut them into still shorter lengths and we dropped them helter-skelter into a 14" high cylindrical vase. They looked beautiful in the vase and we enjoyed them there for a few days, and will, no doubt, enjoy them there again. But in the meantime, I had something else in mind. A couple of days prior to the "stick nest" occurrence, I had been visiting Golly Bard's Drawing Room, where Holly had posted her second series of nest and egg watercolors. I love the graphic quality of Holly's work, and as you can see, her nests and eggs are beautifully spare.

Well, last Christmas, I had received some decorative eggs from my oldest daughter that I have enjoyed immensely thoughout the year. And this Christmas, I was delighted when I opened a gift from my youngest daughter and found a beautiful ostrich egg that she had collected while working on a farm in Ecuador, and had blown herself. So with Holly's nest paintings fresh in my mind, and the bevy of sticks at hand, one thing led to another and the result of all this is that the little eggs have landed on top of the now down-sized nest of sticks, and the large ostrich egg sits, grandly, nearby.

In the meantime, Holly has posted the third installment of her nest series so be sure to check out her wonderful paintings on Golly Bard's Drawing Room and in her Etsy Shop.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Contemplation and Exuberance

Acrylic on canvas
16" x 20"
by Catherine Freshley
I admire my daughter's gumption. While I fuss with false starts and numerous palette reversals within each of my very simplistic paintings, Catherine jumps right in and paints realistic works based on photographs. She recently completed the above painting for a friend of a friend, and the painting, below, also done recently, is a tribute to my mother, who was a very positive influence in Catherine's life. Catherine is working on some very small mixed media pieces now. Perhaps photos of them will find their way to my blog soon!

Acrylic on canvas
14" x 42"

By Catherine Freshley

So it's Sunday, and so far, I have done absolutely nothing artistic. I have, however, managed to do some significant reorganizing of my "studio space" which I believe will prove to be a very good thing. And, there's still tonight and tomorrow for some art.....

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Indian Silks on Paper

Mixed media - Acrylic and gold guache on paper 18" x 24"
Relief printing and painting

Over the past couple of days, I've been transported to India via beautiful travelogues now in progress at maya*made and Lavender and Limes. Among photos of varied subject matter on both blogs, are gorgeous photos of Indian textiles, architecture, and crafts. A definite feast for the eyes! The decorative painting, above, was one of a several I did over a weekend -- all the while thinking of Indian silks. The cropped image below, is from a similarly painted and relief-printed decorative paper. (I posted a photo of an earlier state of this piece as well as a digitially altered scan of it a few months back.)

Mixed media - Acrylic and gold guache on paper
Relief printing and painting
Cropped from original 18" x 24"
The weekend is coming and I'm heading into it inspired to create. Also looking forward to seeing what others are creating. Please leave a comment so that I can discover the wonderful things you are making.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Greetings in 2010

Monoprint with gold guache - 7x10

Happy New Year to All! May 2010 bring you much love and happiness, good health, and success in all of your artistic endeavors and other pursuits. I started this blog in a very tentative way in early 2009 and through the process, have been introduced to so many wonderful artists and makers of fine craft. I look forward to following their development and to discovering many more artists and artisans in 2010. Please feel free to leave a comment! Cheers!

vintage postcard