Saturday, July 31, 2010

Reverence for Art and Craft

Digitally altered screen print
3" x 4"

It's Saturday and I promised myself the gift of easing into the weekend via a partial viewing of the exceptional documentary Craft in America.  Originally broadcast in 2007 by PBS, the series comprised three, hour-long segments captured on one DVD, and was followed by "Season Two" in 2009.   Viewing the original broadcast in 2007 was a moving experience and suprisingly, viewing it again was equally moving, if not more so.  In fact, many times while viewing it this morning, I found myself struggling to hold back tears. 

Sure, the documentary showcases American artists and features footage of diverse natural regions of the country, but the tenets, so eloquently conveyed by the artists who participated in the project, are universal:  humans as individuals need to create; art is essential for the survival of the human species; nature is the ultimate inspiration; beauty is an expression of the divine; a beautifully crafted, functional object is imbued with the spirit of both the creator and the natural material it is created from; and, there is virtue and value in the act of creation and in the preservation and continuation of art and craft traditions. 

 If you are a fine artist or a craftsperson, Craft in America will affirm your beliefs about the importance of the path you have chosen to follow.  And I feel compelled to add that when I turned the video off and returned to my blog, the first thing I did was scroll down to view your blogger icons (or whatever they're called.)  Seeing them all, and knowing that you are scattered around the globe, brought an enormous upwelling of emotion... and connectedness... and goodness... and hopefulness -- akin to the feeling I always get when I watch the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.  :)

So kudos to all of you-- visitors and followers alike-- from both near and afar, for pursuing your artistic endeavors!!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Aquas and Oranges / Relief Print and Rose Hips


A lovely weekend so far, shared with extended family, and then briefly with our neighbors as we toured each other's yards and they harvested a little excess from our garden.  I took photos of our compost pile so that I could show you the growing number of earthworms that are busily turning our kitchen produce waste into rich material.  But alas, I really cannot tolerate things in multiplicity, and I could find nothing aesthetically appealing about the closeup photos of earthworms.  So you'll just have to take my word for it.  But the point is, we've only recently begun to add the kitchen waste and we are truly amazed at the "factory" our compost pile has become.  This is a win-win situation all the way around!

I discovered the beautiful light coming through the window of the garden shed and couldn't resist capturing it through the old canning jars. These early rose hips are such show-offs -- I love them now, and again, later in the fall when the birds sit on the rugosa branches and leisurely dine on the seeds within the hips.

I used some sort of machined-steel pattern for the above relief print on herringbone wool.   The pattern piece is about 4x4x3/4" and is quite heavy.  Can't remember where I found it, but certainly, nobody else was interested in it!

Mixed Media
by Catherine Freshley
6" x 6"

And here is a recent gift from our daughter, which seemed to fit with today's palette.  You can find her portraits and landscapes here.   

The list of blogs that I am following is ever-growing.  Please know that I continue to follow your posts, even if I don't comment on each and every one of them!     Have a great week!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

More "Homage to the Seed"

So it's already July 19 in Australia, and Sophie Munns' "Homage to the Seed" activities drew to a close yesterday.  But since it's still July 18 in Portlandia and since these wonders of nature are, really, so very wonderous, I thought I'd share them as a parting gesture.  Above, a glorious cluster of onion flower buds that will eventually become seeds.  And below, gorgeous, edible (but purportedly VERY tart) Oregon Grape berries, just beginning to turn luscious deep blue and each holding two small seeds within.

For more of this beautiful palette, you owe it to yourself to check out Garden Fool's STUNNING photos of a Tiger Swallowtail in her garden.  Kudos to Sophie and kudos to Em!!! 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Acrylics on Paper

Acrylic on paper

I've had absolutely zero time for creating anything (or blogging for that matter) in the past couple of weeks, so I've "dredged" up some earlier works on paper.   In so doing, I remembered that the above painting was the inspiration for one of my first monoprints that later found its way, in one form or another, into a couple other pieces.  One of them, also completed a few years back, incorporated cut-out portions of a Xerox copy of the original.  The other,  #5 in my "Remnants" show, incorporated parts of the actual original print.  I still have a usuable strip from that print that's lying on my drafting table, beckoning me daily! 

Acrylic on paper
5"x 6"

Woke up to grey skies and cool air on this lovely weekend morning.  Heading out to the garden now for a savory few moments with a cup of coffee.  (Have you noticed -- even for those of us who don't Twitter, language is becoming evermore truncated and "Twitteresque."

Thanks for your visit!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Circus Elephants and Bastille Day

"Alice" by Jill Mayberg

Above, my new teeny print from Jill Mayberg.  I loved catching up with her yesterday at Bastille Day in Portland's Pearl District. And though I'm guessing she'd probably prefer to see elephants in their native habitat rather than under the Big Top, who could resist this cheerful image?   In fact, Jill's images are generally irresistable and it was pretty difficult to carry on a conversation given the steady stream of customers to her booth. Unfortunately, my camera had no batteries, so I was unable to capture the essence of the event, but trust me it was wonderful and the weather was glorious.

Lavender in our garden (in lieu of a photo of the vendors' lavender at Bastille Day)
Could someone please tell me what intelligence allows the bean plant to climb the support?


And how about the swirling pattern of these Phlox petals preparing to unfurl? Very yummy -- like miniature ice cream sherbets.

And isn't this St. John's Wort just a little bit circus-like?

Blueberries, ripe for the picking.  Ah, the bounty of a backyard garden in the Pacific Northwest....

(And by the way, Julie Whitmore has also recently produced a charming porcelain circus elephant.  If you take a peek, be sure to look for the little dog in the vignette!)

Thanks for your visit and have a wonderful week!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

New Work...Postcards for Sophie Munns' "Homage to the Seed"

Mixed media on vintage postcard
3 1/2" x 5 1/2"

One or more of these little mixed media collages are about to be shipped off to Australia to join those of other bloggers from around the world who have responded to Sophie Munns' invitation to pay homage to seeds. Sophie's in the middle of a year-long residency at the Brisbane Botanical Garden where she is using art to bring awareness to the general public of the critical need to preserve plant biodiversity.  (If you're interested in participating, head over to her blog immediately because the "show" is about to go up.)

 Mixed media on vintage postcard

With the exception of the white and dark brown portions of the flower, above, virtually all of the glued elements on these cards are the end result of assorted rubbings that I did of a discarded piece of linoleum  my sister gave me last week. I found it more than a little challenging to work at this scale, but I seemed to have better  luck when I simplified the designs. 
Linoleum rubbing - Prismacolor on paper

Mixed media on vintage postcard

No doubt there will be some fabulous submissions and I am looking forward to seeing those that Sophie posts on her blog.  By the way, when you visit Sophie's blog, be sure to link to her Studio Archives,  since that's where all her own wonderful art is featured.  :)