Saturday, January 29, 2011

On my desk now

This quote from Jane Dunnewold jumped out at me. I have posted it opposite my desk in my studio:

 Right now, the faces of the very old fascinate me. I suppose this comes from studying my Alzheimer's students as they work. I think about all they have seen and loved.

I am also caught by the photos of my family when they were very young.  A theme is emerging: loss, love, where we stand, how we fade.

I am groping, watching how the materials work and the images change.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Just by Doing

I had been wait-listed for the Golden Artist's workshop "Not Your Mother's Acrylics" at the Arlington Center for the Arts.  But last Thursday, one place opened up. So Saturday I spent from 9-4  with  Adria Arch and  Patti Mollica, learning about Golden gels, grounds, and paints.

I discovered I loved things I thought I'd hate (honestly: pumice ground? Why?). Techniques that  sounded clumsy turned out to have rich potential. (Thank you, Jeanne Williamson, for bringing in your samples.) And  processes I'd found awkward turned out to be much more straightforward when you use the right supplies. Eye-opening. 

I had such a hoot I kept painting in my sketchbook between class assignments. 

After dinner I went to my studio and painted more. I am trying to take risks while calming down. I need to listen to the paint, to watch the color leave the brush, to learn what happens when colors and textures combine.

When I paint I feel frustrated,  awkward. At the same time, I feel high as a kite. I feel like I'm coming home. 

Poet Audre Lorde said,  "You get there just by doing. Your job is to keep your hand moving." Maybe I can get to the art supply store before the next storm blows in.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A Stamping Fool

 Gallery-sitting last Saturday for the Loading Dock Gallery in Lowell, I brought my class notes to edit. But I also carried supplies for making stamps. After an hour of editorial work,out came the insulation tape, foam core, etc,( including  my trusty linoleum cutting set, given to me about 45 years ago).  My experiments included carving foam core like a linoleum block and manipulating self-stick insulation tape:

Then I discovered  - hallelujah!- an ink pad in the desk.  All thoughts of writing were abandoned. Much merriness ensued:
 Today is another SNOW DAY. So while my family sleeps, I've made waffles and walked the dog. Now I'm going to my little studio. I'll finish that Valentine's Day project, get out my paints and become a printing fiend. Until it's time to shovel.

Friday, January 14, 2011

cleaning house

It started with the kitchen.
The cabinets, 10 years old when we moved in, are collapsing. So, in February, my brother-in-law arrives to redo the kitchen. May I go here while the work happens, please?

I started to empty the kitchen this week. But we live in a tiny apartment, so first I had to clean out the living room.
You can still play "spot the vintage items" from the sofa, but all this is going to be donated:
Then I realized I needed to clean out my studio, because my daughter will sleep there while my brother-in-law uses  in her room.
For two days I have been digging, dusting, mopping, sorting. I have taken out 4 bags of recycling and two of trash. Tomorrow I carry fabric, trims, buttons, patterns up to the studio for friends at the studio to share. 

My hope is that clarity will rise up where the clutter has been. I can see the ideas I want to work on. Heck, I can see into the closet.
 Certain items refused to leave. I know what I want to do with this but I'm not quiet sure how:
I have an idea about all these slides (remember slides?) too, but it may be a dead end:  
Just got word that my class at the Arlington Center for the Arts is going to run, starting Thursday, so I need to martial those supplies as well. Maybe those go in the closet?

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Whimsy Detour

Sometimes the past just swings up to me, and I am five years old again. 

As the baby, I looked up to everyone. They seemed so big and confident in the world.
Somehow, this child view is linked with the many chapters in my mind's visual dictionary on domestic textiles.

Aprons, napkins, dishtowels, bridge cloths, potholders: they all resonate of aunties, kitchens,  grandmas and past times.

My home was a 50's development. We had air-raid drills at school. On weekends I went to the grocery store and the lumber yard with my dad. Afterwards we pasted Green Stamps into books. I still have some somewhere.

So last year I went on a vintage-apron kick, restoring some and printing on others. Several have sold out of the studio. This one's just been listed on Etsy:

Maybe I should offer to ship it with a genuine Church Key, perhaps? Or how about some  Green Stamps?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Evening Sketchbook Therapy

I bought beautiful fruit for the watercolor class I teach at in the assisted living at  Carleton Willard Village.They glow in the evening light on my kitchen table.
 So, while I run lines with my daughter or listen to the radio, I have been sketching on whatever paper is handy, such this, the back of a piece junk mail:  The notes include reminders about library pickups, and medical-procedure preps. But the drawings are the keepers:
 My holiday gift to myself was a new box of watercolors:   I cannot resist it, and have taken to coloring over old notes, celebrating and transforming to-do-lists gone by:
 Today I'm off to the Big Studio to deliver inventory to the Loading Dock Gallery and then cut out new bags. In the afternoon, I lead my Alzheimer's watercolor class. This recipe for veggie lasagna for dinner I think.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Fabulous Class

Here at last are samples from my students in "Fabulous Fabrications" this fall. The class ran for 8 weeks at the Arlington Center for the Arts.
We took a whirlwind tour of fabric techniques: gelatin plates, shibori, thermofax screens, paints, pastels, photo transfers, and found objects. I demonstrated a new technique each week and brought in tons of supplies.  A student could always  return to a technique she liked (or put aside one she didn't). 
 I admired my students just for showing up. It's hard to muster energy for art in the evening, especially after a full day at work. But they did so much more.
 They shared ideas, traded supplies, and took chances. It was a joy to teach them.
Perhaps the most wonderful thing about leading a class is how the students take the work new places, and they take you there too.
By the last classes, the the students were flying with their own wings. They layered, painted, printed, and glued. They worked large and in miniature. They produced work that knocked my socks off.
Fabulous Fabrications will be offered again at  Arlington Center for the Arts this winter. Eight weeks of paint, printing, and possibilities. If you'd like to come play with us, be sure to register by January 19.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Groton Artists' Valentines Project

Artist's Valentine's Project

Fundraising for Artists, by Artists

Each year artists make valentines of all sorts and donate them them to the Artist's Valentines Project.

Proceeds from the Valentines' sale fund juried, unrestricted grants awarded in the spring. Artists who  donated Valentines may apply.

Since 1996 over $47,000 has been awarded to visual artists of every discipline: painters, fiber artists, printmakers, installation artists. Every penny of these grants has come from the sale of artist-made valentines.

To share in this project, send your valentines to:

THE ARTIST’S VALENTINE P.O. Box 501 Groton, MA 01450-0501

Include an index card with your name, address, phone number(s), email address, and "Artist 2011" on it. You will receive a grant competition entry form by the first week of March. Competition results will be emailed by the end of May.

Go to your studio and make Valentines!