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. :)
- A foggy morning at the bay, obliterating the view to the distant hills: I was desperate to get outside with my
camera twenty minutes earlier, when the fog seemed to be all the way to
the picket fence. But a neighbor had "dropped in" to catch up and I couldn't very well say, "Excuse me while I grab my camera and run to capture the beauty."
- Salvaged fabric, waiting to be patched together with some rhyme or reason: A larger concept is unfolding, but first, a trip to a sewing machine repair shop is in order.
- Patchworks in the "back forty": My husband cleared five new patches of ground, planted five young apples trees, and sank large alder posts at the corners of the patches. We pulled heavy wire mesh around the posts to keep the deer from dining on the young trees.
- Nearby blueberry bushes in the glorious state of pink leaf buds with lichen and collected raindrops: Winter, spring and fall are my favorite seasons to view the bushes.
Hope your week is going well. And thanks for visiting!
I've been working on a new painting, "Twisted Strands." It's in the "hanging-on-the-wall-so-I-can-ponder-my-next-step" phase. Yesterday, I hung it next to "Bands"and I taped some waxed paper to it to get a sense of what a semi-transparent foggy rectangle would look like as a compositional element. Today, I plan to paint the rectangle, and to truly commit to laying some color down on the twisted strands.
I like simple, graphic compositions and industrial imagery. So I
jumped at the chance to take some pics of a passing train recently, when
my car was first in line at the tracks in Portland's waterfront
warehouse district. And yes, that's a woman on top of the building in
the first photo. . . but it's only a mannequin. :)
Portland is wrapped in ice-covered snow today. I'm heading to my studio. Good thing it's in the house!
Found this video via Earth eMag (via Sophie Munns). Guess I've watched it at least five times. And actually, I could listen to it on repeat all day long. You really must watch the whole thing once (and then dance to it the second, third, fourth and fifth times!) Jazz pianist, composer, and arranger Herbie Hancock brought together brilliant vocalists and musicians from around the world for The Imagine Project, which includes this fabulous cross-cultural arrangement of John Lennon's classic song. I love watching the faces of the collaborators. Of course, as one might guess, the artists' performances (and faces) are filled with passion, but there's also this sense of deep mutual respect, delight, and perhaps a bit of awe at what they are creating and experiencing together. If ever there were an arrangement and performance of this song that left me feeling hopeful for the world, this studio session is it. So wonderful to know that Herbie was selected as a Kennedy Center Honoree this past September for his significant contribution to American culture.
Enjoy, and for goodness sake, share this wonderfulness!
(P.S.-- If the above video doesn't stream correctly for you, here's the link to watch the video on YouTube. (Or you should be able to click on the YouTube button above.) And apologies, this is the first time I've tried to add a video to my blog.)
Hello everyone! I've been rather absent from here lately, but I've been making the rounds of the blogosphere on a daily basis. The creative energy on display from around the globe is so stimulating and inspiring. It keeps me in a perpetual state that reminds me of horses behind the starting gates, or runners on their marks, or . . . the beagle we once had, as he waited (not so patiently) just inside the door while we frantically scrambled to put his leash on. It all boils down to pent up creative energy waiting to be released. If you're like me, trying to squeeze your artistic pursuits in between a full time job and the rest of life's demands, you can probably relate. :) Anyway, aside from not having created much art, I've been very busy around here, and am getting close to a point where I will be able to devote more time to painting. A little more on that later; for now, here is the fifth speed painting from my sketchbook. Speed paintings, after all, don't take much time. :)