Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Successes and failures.....

....are all in the perception.

Day 4 seems not so special, but I do like the journaling and the torn pages which are shaded with chalk.

Day 5 feels better - more effort went into the creation of these two pages and they are purple (what's not to love about purple??)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Altered Book Day 3

Following an entirely serendipitous art adventure At Keeton's Office/Art Supply here in Bradenton yesterday (a FREE mixed media techniques demo by artist, Joanna Coke, www.joannacoke.com), I came home with the idea for a third AB page.  I really know very little about Frida Kahlo, but at Keeton's, in a room full mostly of women who aspire in some way or other to art, I am convinced that there is an element of WomanPower in artistic creation.  Though it can't always be trusted, the Wikipedia entry for Frida seems well-documented and I learned that she drew and painted in, around and through her physical pain.  Wherever we find ourselves, making art (or music, or poetry) and living a life can't really be separated.  I grew up learning about the lives of the "great" artists (mostly men who were not busy coping with periods and pregnancies, meal preparation, housekeeping, second class social and educational status, and so much more!) As interesting as these men's lives are to read about, I have come to the conclusion that WomanPower has been subjugated in ways more subtle even than Women's Lib led us to believe.  Like ripples in a pond which spread endlessly so long as they do not meet obstacles, or icebergs, whose bulk is 90% hidden, each of us has the treasure of the self to share.  Whether we do this or not is entirely up to us....no harm, no foul either way, but who wants to collapse against an obstacle or to be an ice berg?

Day 3 Text

Day 3 Art

Saturday, November 27, 2010

too much food!!!

..... but lots of fun this Thanksgiving - spent a good part of the day with old friends.  Cooking, joking around,  remembering good times past, washing a veritable mountain of dishes.......  Plenty of home made goodies, warm, 'connected' feelings, a heartfelt prayer of real gratitude for our blessings, and more joking around!  From one who lives on green vegetables, whole grains, fish and fruit, the overload of rich, sweet, and cholesterol-laden foods was a shock to my system but well worth it on this occasion.   Went for a bouncy workout at the gym yesterday and felt virtuous!

No playing with paper art these past few days, as I am working on a quilt for the annual Hoffman challenge www.hoffmanchallenge.com.  This will be a first for me - have made small art quilts for a couple of local guild challenges, but nothing for this level of competition.  Not being a very competitive person to begin with, the real challenge for me won't be winning in any of the categories or even to have my quilt accepted for the trunk shows.  My goal is to follow through and complete the quilt and actually send it off in the mail for strangers to look at and judge.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Altered Book Experiment

So much seems new in my world - art techniques and greatly expanded ways of looking at paper, glue, scissors and paint!  Lenna http://creativelenna.blogspot.com has kindly and generously shared a few of her altered books with me, and in the spirit of adventure have decided to try this out.  As good fortune would have it, I found two wonderful books to alter at my local library book sale.  Have created scrapbook pages for several years,  (mostly photos of grandkids, so lots of bright, primary colors, and handy, pre-printed 12x12 theme papers) and you know I am a quilter, but mixed-media collage feels totally different.  The best discovery I've made is the use of gel medium to smooth, to adhere, to add translucency..... Here are a few photos of this first work-in-progress.

Original cover

Inside pages

Altered cover in progress

Finished cover


Verso title page

Day 1 text

Day 1 art

Day 2 text

Day 2 art

Monday, November 22, 2010

more art, fewer words!!

Too much about ideas, and not enough about the art I do - I'm more shy with that kind of sharing - words are much easier.....and as one of my best friends says, "Susan, you always have an opinion about everything!"

little toss pillows for my summer bed
machine pieced, hand appliqued and quilted

This was a color challenge (split complementary)
machine pieced and quilted

And a few Zentangles©,  three ATC's and the backs of two mail swap envelopes that I am doing with Lenna Young Andrews  You can see more of the mail art at www.creativeswaps.blogspot.com

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Art all around

Having spent a delightful lunch time with artist, Lenna Young Andrews www.creativelenna.blogspot.com yesterday I am fired up about learning even more about integrating life and art.  I have always surrounded myself with art and decoration, but now, a glorious retirement has gifted me with quality time to devote to going deeper.  The world seems to have burst open with new colors, sounds, and opportunities!

The internet helps, of course, with artists' blogs, online shopping for supplies, free tutorials (you artists are soooooo generous!!) and inspiration at every click of the mouse!

One of my dear friends thinks I am in denial about the state of the world - famine, war, pestilence and a baaaad economy, but haven't these human situations always been with us in some iteration or other?  So I'm ignoring her, and will continue to read the wonderful word art of poets and novelists, play with new art techniques, design & make my quilts, and just BE in the world as it is.

Just watching the tropical bird life where I live, the various species of lake turtles basking, the near-full moon rising last night, and knowing that these are a delicious reality apart from chaos and human mayhem, gives hope.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Ego, introversion and Pepto-Bismol

The Friendship Knot Quilt Guild (in Sarasota, FL) is a group of extremely talented people.  From large traditional quilts to small art quilts (and vice versa) I am always uplifted by the show-and-tell portion of our meetings.  In addition, we usually have a guest speaker.  Last evening our guest was Sharon Schamber,  www.sharonschamber.com who is the 2010 best of show winner at the Houston Quilt Fest.   Her quilts are intricate in the extreme.  Certainly NOT quilts to cozy under with greasy popcorn and a shedding pet while watching TV!  All the processes of quilt construction, including the hand dying of fabric, are done by Sharon herself.  She can applique the tiniest circles imaginable, and her designs are both dynamic and precise.  For us normal quilters, no matter our level of talent, seeing her quilts is an exercise in humility.  For me, it was also an opportunity to examine a bit about what it is I want from my art.  Anyone who creates gives of him or herself to the chosen medium.  But the medium also gives back.  Dollars for items sold, prizes and awards, or simply being in the midst of the process.  For each of us, the reward needs are different.

If you are wondering about the Pepto-Bismol.........,  in her talk last evening, Ms Schamber made a comment about there being a fine line between Pepto-Bismol and pink (her award winning quilt is pink, btw.  There are many such 'fine lines' in our lives.  Lines between self-expression and ego, shyness and introversion,  cost vs. reward, insecurity and confidence, etc.  It is all about balance - an over-used concept in today's parlance - but nonetheless necessary.  I will continue to examine what I give to my art and what my art gives back and see what happens.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Stress-free day ahead?

Can hardly believe a whole day stretches out in front of me and my ICal is blank!!  No appointments, meetings, babysitting grandkids..... this is so rare, even in my world of retirement status.  It is also a beautiful late-Fall day on the southwest coast of Florida, so the beach beckons.  Ahead lies an entire uninterrupted day to begin a new quilt project, tweak the elements of this blog, or just to do something unexpected!  Maybe I'll just make another cup of tea and sit on the porch, watching the world and doing not much of anything.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Thankful Thursday

What I'm thankful for today...

This whole world of ART we live in, and the opportunity to travel far and wide to see it just by clicking on this or that icon on our computers!!!

The Sarasota [Florida] Surface Design Guild - such an enthusiastic group of people!!  Artsy + practical-when-necessary + warm and welcoming = a place where I feel encouraged to make the most of whatever talent I am blessed with, and to appreciate the many and talents of others.

My mom, who was never a financially wealthy person, always told me that there is no excuse for living in a drab world.  White paper napkins? or PINK!!  A beige blouse? or a flowered one with RUFFLES!!
You get the idea.....  
 And seldom being able to afford florist's flowers, she used to make what she called 'green bouquets.'  Going around our yard with a pair of scissors, she would clip bits and pieces of foliage from various shrubs, the ferns, a neighbor's hedge (they didn't mind!) even an occasional weedy stem.  Then into the kitchen to select a vase or bowl in which to arrange her treasures.  The result was always fresh, bringing the vibrancy and vigor of green growth into our home.   Whatever our personal style, we can train ourselves to look for beauty, and to choose it, to make it a part of our entire attitude.

Today, in Jenny Hoople's blog www.jennyhoople.blogspot.com, there is a gorgeous photo of dried okra seed pods -  the pods themselves are interesting with their curvy shapes and hints of a secret interior.  The wood surface against which they are placed is intricate with it's grain and the subtle play of weathered colors.  Jenny's words have an intellectual beauty which pleased me greatly.  Beauty.......

Monday, November 8, 2010

A few quilt photos

After spending energy making other people's designs/patterns (not that they aren't wonderful), I have discovered my own inner designer!

This is a butterfly I designed, using a technique perfected by fabric artist, Susan Carlson.

And here's a work-in-progress using the same thechnique...

Here's a silly 'portrait' of my canine friend, Riley!

My first attempt at English paper piecing hexagons plus a few vintage buttons and a bit of hand quilting...
Some fancy free-motion quilting.....

Marvelous Monday

A while back, after the film "The Bucket List" (Jack Nicholson/Morgan Freeman) was released, I realized that we are being steadily (and stealthily) encouraged to think of the lack in our lives; things we haven't bought, places we haven been, events we must attend, and on and on.....

So, I took a whole page out of my daily journal and began to write down all the places I have been, interesting foods I've eaten, artists whose work I've seen in museums, famous people in whose company I have been, etc.  The lists were impressive, and I'm just a fairly untraveled and ordinary woman in late mid-life.

And where are you right now??  Have I been there?  One day many years ago, I was standing in a forest glade next to a burbling stream with the springtime sun beaming down through fresh green leaves (almost heaven!!).  This enchanted place was just a few minutes by car from where I lived.....  Suddenly I realized that it was a major destination spot for tourists and here I was, a local, free to visit whenever the spirit moved me with the tourists considering me so fortunate to live close by.  Like the old story goes - how many Manhattan-ites have never been to the top of the Empire State Building?

So get out a piece of paper and start writing - people, events, and places will come to mind that you had forgotten.  Then, when you've enriched your life by noting the many pluses (and ignored the lacks) go out and look at the sky, smell the breeze, pick up a fall leaf, and know that it is a wondrous and unique experience - full of promise.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Walking with grandsons

Took my two wonderful grandsons out for some Nana time this afternoon.  We have several favorite haunts around town - DeSoto National Memorial and G.T. Bray among others.  Lots of sunshine and very breezy - leaves and bugs and bright blue sky to admire!  The guys are my favorite nature hike buddies - each everyday element of the out-of-doors is new and exciting to them, and my old world becomes new again also!

Art Play

Having been a librarian (LOTS of "rules" to follow about cataloging, procedures for check-out/check-in, etc.) and a traditional quilter for many years, I am suddenly finding that there is an element of play in me that has been missing for a very long time.  Just getting this blog to look the way I imagine it could to represent me is an exercise in creativity, even though at the moment, I am thoroughly frustrated!

Don't look for consistency!  What you see today may not be what you get tomorrow..... But isn't this true of so many things?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

First post!!

A new friend, Lenna, has several blogs, and I've been following a variety of quilting blogs for many months now.  Florida is having its first cold snap, so it is a good day to be inside with hot tea and my computer instead of outside with iced tea and the beach.  Whether anyone will look at these words, ideas and art, is beside the point.  This is a creative venture for me, and that's what counts!!!