Saturday, January 21, 2012

"Place" . . . Recent Paintings by Catherine Freshley

"Willapa Bay Mudflats"
(Washington Coast)
30" x 40"

"Ross Island and Mt. Hood"
(Willamette Valley, Oregon)
36" x 60"

"Butte -- Columbia River Gorge"
24" x 48"

Our daughter, Catherine, has been painting like crazy and seems to have a ready pipeline of folks who would like a painting of a place that is special to them.  Place -- i.e., those places that have shaped who we are and that continue to pull us back to them after we have left -- is a theme that Catherine has explored for several years in her writing and art.   When she moved to Eastern Washington state, someone suggested that she concentrate on painting local landscapes of the Columbia Basin steppe, since the folks in the vicinity would likely be more interested in them than in paintings of the coastal area that has been so important to our family.  Of course, this makes perfect sense from a statistical standpoint.  Yet in the year that she's been there, Catherine has encountered people who have instantly recognized the rather anonymous scenes of her assorted paintings of Willapa Bay, and  have recounted fond memories of having spent a great deal of time in their childhood actively engaged with the endlessly changing coastal estuary that is impacted by the ebb and flow of the tide.  

Isn't it wonderful that mere pigments, when suspended in binders and transferred to a surface via a process of acute observation and carefully considered brush strokes, can instantly bring forth a multitude of memories and an infinite range of emotions?

Have a wonderful week!

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Relief printing on found wool herringbone.

Lately, I've been taking steps toward creating some finished pieces from fabrics I have either hand printed, upcycled or both. With the printed fabric, above, it was simply a matter of ironing and laundering to make certain the ink was set so that I could move forward with stitching it into something. Other pieces have involved a fair amount of repetitive hand stitching, often in solitude, with no music except the crackling of a low fire. I have found this activity to be extremely enjoyable -- peaceful and meditative, while at the same time, allowing the mind the freedom to roam or to focus on any given topic. 

Screen print with cream-on-cream running stitch. 

Last night, I met up with the small group of women that have continued to get together since we first met in a wallpaper design class at OCAC two years ago. Our ages span four decades and our artistic focus varies, which always makes for interesting conversation.  Our original intent was to continue hand printing wallpaper and fabric, but we've settled into a routine of simply bringing whatever we each want to work on.  Often, I bring a hand stitching project.  Other activities seem to require too much attention on my part and sometimes more space than is available, whereas the stitching is confined to my lap and allows me to focus on the conversation.  I like the fact that we have maintained our commitment to one another, and that we are part of the age old tradition of women "stitching" their lives together as they gather in the evening to discuss family and world matters while they work.
Hoping you've had a wonderful weekend and are looking forward to a creative week ahead!


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bringing in 2012

The "Talisman"

Truth be told, the arrival of the new year was trumped, in my mind, by the anticipated arrival of our daughter, who has been working her way through Europe for three months via the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program.   We've been tending her orchid next to our kitchen sink, since she's been gone.  It was without flowers when she left, but a bud began to swell on the main stem a couple of months ago.  We urged the bud along as it grew and turned pinkish, but it dropped off the stem before blooming.  And then, the same thing happened a few weeks later.  At that point -- having had no experience with orchids -- I began to wonder if we were over-watering the orchid, or if these buds were in fact precursors to the real deal, and a bloom was yet to come.  Finally, another bud emerged that came on faster than the other two, and surpassed them both in size.  Then we began to speculate about the timing, intrigued by the coincidence of the impending bloom that would surely occur on New Year's Day, or perhaps in time for our daughter's arrival today.  As it turned out, the bloom began to open on New Year's and fully opened this morning -- just in time.  :)

To all who have landed here, I wish you all that is good in 2012.  To those of you who have been following along, I thank you for your friendship, and for your interest and support of my work.  Most importantly, I thank you for sharing your knowledge on your own blogs, and for the wonderful work and the goodwill that you are generating around the world.

Happy New Year!!