Choices…Going Deep

My last piece of rusty metal from the beach. I gave my collection to Katie, who wants to try rust dying. I am trying to simplify my life.

This has been a week of choices for me. The biggest may have been to finally get rid of my web site and the email address I’ve had for years through GoDaddy when I set up my first web site while living in Saugerties, NY, and wanting to get back out of occupational therapy. I suppose I should be happy that my parents thought a career was a good idea for a female, even though they obviously thought I should marry a doctor and make taking care of him my career. They supplied life insurance to my four brothers, but not to their only girl. I am the only one of the five of us who has ended up living alone.

Where to place the rusty metal? In the front with my collection of objects and stones

I kept trying to like OT, but wanting above all to work for myself as an artist. I went back and forth, never hugely successful in either. My youngest brother made his decision to go into graphic design, rather than medicine pretty young, and taught me a lot about business, but this time I managed the email change independently…well, with help from the nice woman in the Philippines who is going to pray for my health. Our father was a doctor, but mostly because the US Army decided that for him. He was a very good photographer.

The last dolls, Attitude, that I designed for the Holiday Show at Port Angeles fine Arts Center. I think this will be my last time.

I would like to Save the world. Instead, I will provide a pattern and encouragement for you to make a doll gift that will be much more meaningful than yet another chunk of bought stuff.

The pattern for these dolls, so you can make some for gifts. This pattern should fit on an 8.5″ x 11″ piece of paper

If I had waited longer, I would not have been rained on as I walked. If I hadn’t had a Moderna Booster yesterday, my eyeballs would not be hurting. If I had remembered on my way home yesterday, that I had been craving a Bacon Cheddar biscuit from Blackbird, I might have one to eat now. The coffee shop isn’t open on Sunday.

Colored pencil drawing of the porch plant, along with fragments of a postcard from Connie as part of her Pandemic Postcard Project
Photo of the porch plant

Sequins or not? Border or not? What sizes will the pages be for these small fabric pages to become books. what shall I make with spinach?..or shall I eat soup. Now I am spending Sunday waiting for it to be over so I can sleep again…and hope to feel better tomorrow. As I get older, I am trying to get used to not feeling good all the time the way I used to. Good reason to walk every day and eat healthy food. And keep my mind and hands busy.

I had a vision of black and white stripes with green shapes. This is without sequins
This is with black sequins and white beads…making art involves choices all the way through.
This is the heart I made last winter with added borders and running stitch. Perhaps it will become a page in a book.

I hope that you all will choose vaccination, art making, and learning to be kind to yourself and others. My new email address is: PamelaHastings@wavecable.com I had the old one for over 20 years.

Art Is Work…So Is Democracy

I highly value my freedom to roam all the knowledge of the world and adopt pieces that resonate. The It’s Nice That lectures yesterday were interviews with graphic designers

I know, I’ve tried and tried to stay away from politics here…but alas, as I join DOH in studying local candidates in order to prepare my ballot on this rainy Sunday, I see what a Challenge informed voting can be. The generic statements are all blandly lovely: inclusion, transparenct, and service are frequently thrown into the mix.

Fragments…do they mean something because of how we arrange them? A piece of a check my father wrote for my education. A message to myself about missing the start of a free art lecture. I don’t know from where inspiration will come…the Important think is to keep working.

I’m grateful that because of Covid isolation, Zoom as a medium for political debates has become popular…I can actually see the candidates in action, thanks to League of Women Voters and Port Angeles Business Association. This all takes time, and talking with friends, too, in order to discover the person’s actual history. I see candidates spouting information I know is false, that Seattle used the Olympic Peninsula as a dumping ground for homeless. This is false, and a way to drive wedges between people and manipulate their votes through fear.

Past and present mingle, two of my Burlington Boys. We still talk.

Please! Please! Please! Research and then vote. The shining multi-cultural faces that you see may represent the “Independent Advisory Association” a local front for conspiracy theorists, now operating in Port Angeles as well as through the infamous mayor of Sequim. The current fashion of giving equal weight to ANY opposing ideas, Vaccination and masking versus none, writing indigenous people and women out of Texas history, scientific studies of the progression of climate change versus (myth?), the ultimate superiority of white European-descended males over everyone else…One hopes we are experiencing the last gasp of that.

Balancing a life…all the many aspects, how does one prioritize or even keep track? My life is slower now, sometimes I must work to appreciate that.

I’m just re-reading How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci by Michael J. Gelb…before clocks were invented, people could not understand Time. Also several books by Heinrich Boll, What’s To Become of the Boy and The Clown, Both just post-Nazi satires of how easily most people convince themselves of what they want to believe.

A spontaneous images of mysterious figures on a ghostly plain. Can you tell that two of the images this week were completed in a larger format?

“Art serves its public by reflecting and explaining the world at a particular moment in history.” Milton Glaser

Another of the wire frame dolls
Back yard, rainy Sunday, Some color starting. I took another photo of a plant on my back deck that could be inspiration for an abstracted painting or fabric piece.

Art is an exercise for which one must stay in constant training, to look, to see, to understand, to translate…Perhaps one can never succeed completely, because that might bring an end to the effort…I see process over product.

Old Friend from Far Away

Me and David last week on Hurricane Ridge. WA mountains are MUCH taller than those in VT. The forest ranger (from Maine) pointed out several melting glaciers.

That’s the title of one of the Natalie Goldberg books I collected when I first came West. Good Friends are true gifts, especially with all this isolation from Covid. The opportunity to fall right back into the familiar comraderie is precious. With old friends, we have shared experiences/history.

Here we are in 1985 at our friend, Tim’s mother’s condo in Boston. David and I met while working for an architectural designer in Burlington, then he and Tim became housemates.

When I finally worked up the courage to leave my husband of 13 years, I moved across the state to Burlington, VT, where I was the perfect age to develop a gang of friends…perhaps like Jerry, Elaine, George, and Cramer. In our twenties and thirties, we’d had Relationships, but mostly enjoyed knowing that there would always be one or more people to play with/eat with/complain to.

On the path in the Olympia National Forest where Colleen and I walk weekly…NW forest looks very different from NE forest.

DC is at the point where his children are leaving home, and we were both a bit nostalgic for the way things used to be. We hadn’t spent any time together for 5 years, so in 24 hours we visited Port Townsend, which he had never seen, took the short walk at the Visitor Center in the National Forest, went to the top of Hurricane Ridge…and talked a LOT. The weather cooperated, and he got a big rainbow.

Back to my real life, never-ending dance with nature…so much fun to sit in the sun in the back yard and weed the hundreds of Donkey Tail Euphorbia babies that are coming back since rain returned. Dennis at the Razor’s Edge in Sequim sharpened my Felco pruners…time to get back to work. There is always something to do in my small yard.

I don’t think he’ll move West any time soon, but the Financial Planning to support Good Causes business for which he works has an office in Seattle where he’s become familiar with the guys there through Zoom meetings…he likes the idea of our mild winters, compared to VT, and one of his 3 children already lives in Portland, OR,…so who knows!

Colored pencil version of of the chestnut tree I found while walking last week.

I miss NE people for whom conversation is an edgy art form…

Bits and pieces become a collage, tell a story. Time to start bringing my Covid Journal along, since it doesn’t seem that we will be free of viruses again.

In perusing the internet this morning, I enjoyed a blog from Cecile Dorrieu, describing her creative block, and concluding, “Bad Art is better than No Art.” That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I continue to be fond of coral and black, running-stitch patterns. A 1986 drawing of Tim.
A storm coming…A very nice rainbow for David and Everyone on Wednesday or Thursday. We enjoy frequent rainbows here.
A deconstructed advertisement. Simple can be its own challenge.
My Uncle Ed’s wedding in 1947…I’m doing more embellishment on the fabric pages…to use up more time.

Sometimes I think I don’t have much to show, but I see that I do. Everything in the world is a candidate for these blog pages…”It is better to make bad art than No art!” Each thing you make gives you a wider door to the next thing.

Wandering

My second recent figure in a box…I almost threw this previously-collaged cigar box away
The figure from the back
The serendipitous pairing of the small Matisse woman with a box from a class sample

I’ve been wandering through old sketchbooks and drawings, so happy I saved them. I see that for me the smaller format, more quickly completed has been the most gratifying. Of course that all may be different for you. I always saw a great difference between Ingres’ carefully-executed few paintings and Picasso’s many of everything, different ways of exploring their art.

I have a bunch of ancestor faces from previous projects. I was inspired by the style of a graphic novel using face images of the characters against stock backgrounds, telling the story with word balloons.

I vacillate between patient and Not, but making more works allows me to try more things and go off in different directions. I’ve settled on a combination of words and images, sometimes sculptures, as my medium. I’ve been looking at graphic novels from the library for inspiration (adding some to my book collection, even though I’m trying to downsize). Earlier this week I updated my version of InDesign and Photoshop and Adobe Animate…my six-month plan…and started studying. Art is Work!

A mashup of old photos, my drawing, an old design cut into a word balloon

The morning is the best time for me for the hard work of creating something new. Today it’s this blog, then a walk, then I can stitch and watch movies and old TV shows. I missed the “show about nothing” when it was first on TV, but now it’s on Netflix–Jerry Seinfeld.

My frustration with current politics, using body parts from magazines and my collection. I don’t understand how elected officials can vote against benefits to the People…they only seem to care about Big business.

I’m keeping my Covid journal by my place at the table. This morning on the news: 22 new extinctions, demonstrations against Texas’ inhumane laws against women’s right to choose, Taliband going against their pledge to “allow” women to be educated…and why did the Afghans allow their leaders to run away with all the money, 30% increase in both murders and drug deaths in the US in the last year…How can I made that into pictures???

Bush in a cage…I must do something with this!

Also the amazing lights and darks of a chestnut tree on my walk and the bush behind a cage…Be curious, See what you can see, draw it…your skills will improve with time and you will find your style(s), and time will pass, although from what I read, pandemics are with us to stay.

I will try to make something inspired by this chestnut tree…I thought they were extinct. I used to walk to grade school (4-6) under chestnut trees and old slate sidewalks.

A 6-Month Plan

Next-to-last canvas, acrylic paint and chalk, 20″ square

Even if I don’t follow it, I like having the structure of a plan. Having left the pressure of the World of Work behind, I still feel the self-imposed pressure of a New England Protestant upbringing. The rain has returned since the beginning of fall…and the early and late darkness. I need lots more structure in the dark days, when I can’t run outside and do something each time I feel restless.

Finished fabric page 7″ x 9″ applique, beading, embroidery

After many years of self-study, I’ve noticed that I feel better with a sense of structure and control, so here’s my plan…feel free to emulate, using your own goals and comfort zones. The reason I do a weekly blog is to make myself responsible for following through each week.

Self-assignment, portrait in many modes. This one is colored pencil. On the side a drawing from high school or early college
I laid down gouache first, then drew with a brush
Pilot G-2 05
Collage and marker portrait, I’ve been using cool designs from inside envelopes for things like the trees here
Black and white pen drawing with collage and more use of inside envelopes. I made the tiny red dots with a marker.
The original magazine photo. She is some kind of feminist activist. I should have written down her name.

Goals(divide the week into days, 2 per goal and one for play) : (1) Use my two years of art work and notes to complete and publish my second graphic novel, Drawing Lessons for a Pandemic (2) Teach myself enough animation, specifically stop-motion, to decide if I want to pursue it further (3) Keep drawing and making art of a size that’s not prohibitive to store (4) Paint my last canvas and stop. There are plenty of free tutorials online and with my Creative Cloud…and I can afford to take Zoom classes if something great turns up. January (as I experience last year) is an especially good time to learn new things with others.

More recycling of old writing and drawings…bringing the past to the present…life review

Also: Keep doing Classical Stretch 22 minutes each morning, keep my weight down to the new 134.5#, be outside at least 30 min daily–walk 5 days a week, Be with other people in person or virtually at least 3 times a week, Keep reading for fun and knowledge, Don’t beat myself up when I fail…do what I can to further the cause of the planet and homo sapiens…don’t yell at people who appear stupid…local ER cases are decreasing and vaccinations are increasing. Stay mentally and physically healthy.

Old images become new art work. Every picture tells a story

Act cheerful for the benefit of myself and others. Be grateful for the good things and people. Try to be patient with those who appear deluded.

Cheerful socks
Foxglove (I think) growing out of a cement block wall… that’s hopeful
Drying, dying Queen Anne’s lace…wonderful texture
Evergreens silhouetted against storm clouds, fortunately we did not get the threatened high winds
Ghiardelli brownie treat…not harmful in small doses.

Be Good to Yourself! Makes it easier to be good to others.

In-Between Blogging

My good friend, A, commented that Sunday’s blog was pretty depressed…so was I. I am going to try harder to stay cheerful…in spite of Everything. I am going to trust all of you out there…or at least some…to see lying local politicians for what they are.

Mixed media piece…could be yours, instead of languishing in my garage.

Stay safe and healthy out there. Get vaccinated. Wear your mask. Demonstrate kindness. Thank you!

And On and On…

The painting today…needs more work, I think to be more defined. I only have one more canvas to use after this one is done…I’m slowly closing doors to aspects of my life.

My question was, how do we/I motivate our fellow citizens to do the “right” thing: Get vaccinated (I need to find a hair cutter who believes in science), also to respect our environment and do whatever can be accomplished on an individual basis to reverse the excesses of the past. My learned friend, DC, sent me an article, and I’ve started reading More From Less by Andrew McAfee, who seems to be suggesting that humans are now capable of solving all our problems through better engineering. The book is written very clearly and entertainingly and is available from the library…I’ll let you know how it turns out. I do not yet see any solution for rainforest deforestation, since there seem to be no limits to human greed and short-sightedness…but I’m trying to hold onto my hope.

One of the drawings for my next-to-last painting…as I said in April, she turns out differently each time…maybe I’ll copy more Matisse, since I like the outline thing.

In the meantime, how do I speak to the young woman at my former hairdresser’s business, who insists that she knows “lots of people” who have been harmed by the vaccine. That is the kind of stubbornness that does not respond to logic, but is putting a huge burden on our small local emergency rooms…to the point where there’s no space if I should develop a real medical emergency, like a heart attack.

Here’s my only other Art Work for the week…and it’s a collage that uses an old poem and images…I keep working on learning patience with myself.

Good thing I’m a hermit by nature, because it’s still not safe to go out. I wonder if I will be forced by circumstance…after I use up the last of my canvases…to start sewing my remaining fabric scraps and pieces (which are prodigious) together by hand to keep myself sane…could I cover my house, my lot, the neighborhood? I know I could send for more canvases, but the energy to stand and paint is getting beyond my capacity.

The Olympic Peninsula, where I live, is invaded by numerous mountains and bodies of water, so we missed the really bad weather that was predicted for this weekend. It Finally Rained, though…had been .13 inches for the summer to date. I’m hoping the ground becomes wet enough for me to pull the excess lavender roots. That takes a lot of strength and a pry bar if I am to keep the back yard from being totally covered by lavender.

In my increased time available to pursue avenues online—I quite like the endless rows of four square images…art works mixed with “establishing shots” surroundings and people…I discovered that it’s the Instagram format…which will require my learning another technology and perhaps acquiring an updated iPhone, though I wish I could do it on my computer screen, where I can see better. Too much time staring makes my neck hurt. Decreasing vision, less strength (in spite of daily exercise), disturbing instances of retinal migraines–some in which my sense of how to do anything disappears in addition to vision…accurate semblance of what I’ve seen as stroke in others. The Nurse Practitioner said, “don’t worry as long as it resolves.” I must repeat, growing old is not for sissies…especially along with accepting the limitations.

The potato/herb/porcini bread from the cookbook I gave away in disgust…no more scientific cooking for me! It does taste good.

Friday and Saturday I did the test drive of my new oven…it does many more things than I need, but I don’t have to use them all. I decided to use a cookbook from a Seattle bakery, but my failings as a baker were highlighted (I do not follow the science of recipes religiously). I used wheat germ instead of whole wheat flower, basil instead of parsley, let the dough rise over night because I got tired…It smells and tastes good, but is totally ugly.

Ghiardelli brownie mix today. Came out OK with a few extra minutes of baking that I may not have needed. The ultimate test may be my cornbread recipe, which has evolved over years.

I’ve come a long way since my high school subscription to Gourmet Magazine and Saturday meal for the family…I didn’t have that much else to do then. Now I’m going to be happy with bread from the local bakery and an occasional ugly, but delicious pie. I’m setting all my sites smaller: world change, travel, cooking, making…I’m learning to work within my means.

One of the Sunday morning deer visits.
Last year’s kale is producing enough to taste again
Small fabric project…perhaps a page to a book…keep stitching!

Covid Opportunity: Life Review and Action

A painting from a drawing I made in 1974…I’ve been going through journals and throwing away most of my repetitious whiny writing, but using images I like…two more blank canvases to go.

I’m sure I’ve said it before, the isolation of the last 18 months and continuing has been an opportunity on both a global and a personal level to step back and see what has been working/failing/could be improved for future felicitous living.

Original drawing, 1974

On a global level more people are seeing up close and presonal, the effects of ignoring Nature…melting ice, extreme hurricanes several times a year, food-threatening droughts and rapidly-mutating global pandemics. We MUST work together or homo sapiens will become extinct…I am hoping for a better version, maybe, for the future, although I won’t live long enough to see it.

I dreamed another fabric design and added it to that notebook, though serious pursuit of fabric design is one of the art directions I’ve given up. It was fun to learn the process and be able to reject it.

I am hitting my mid-seventies during these crucial years. I am experiencing systems failures: vision is a tough one for a visual artist, and even though I try to stay as healthy as I can, it’s impossible to do Everything All The Time the way I used to…or try to. Thank goodness I worked a regular job and saved, so I’m no longer struggling to find food, shelter, and health care as so many are today in what we thought was the richest nation in the world.

I’m teaching myself to do more rough drafts before the final piece (painting)

My youngest brother is transitioning from his graphic design career into being a world-famous quilting and design teacher, including Iceland, Britain, and Australia…the popularization of Zoom meetings has helped with this…good thing he’s tech savvy. When he first landed in Seattle, computer-aided design was just starting…so much has happened so fast!

Collages are always a fun way for me to play with colors, shapes, symbols

David and I are encouraging each other to jettison any un-needed equipment and interests…we’ve both been working on this for a while. Moving our mother multiple times with her Depression-era need to hold on to Everything has been part of our motivation. For me, really acknowledging that there will be an END to my time on this plane, means that I want to keep honing the way I spend my self. Because of the proliferation of disease and the finite nature of my financial resources, I am focusing smaller and smaller. Once I paint my last two canvases, I’ll stop that, although I love the feeling of my paint-filled brush at work. I’ll turn to sending the canvases I’ve completed to new homes and focus smaller.

My two youngest (of 4) brothers, David and Doug yesterday on Bainbridge Island

I’ve been choosing books to give away, too. That’s really hard for me, but yesterday I realized that I have stashes of artist books and Zines all over the house, and I want to make a spot for all of them to be together in my main room (Every room is studio space now). I think everything I make now must be small and compact…and interesting for me to make…most important.

The very last of the eighty or so dolls I made for the PAFAC winter show
Almost last dolls…they are really cute and appealing, if I do say so…and allow me to use my wide variety of fabrics and ideas…but good by.

I’ve always enjoyed combining words and images, so this winter I’ll work on my second graphic novel, which started out being a Covid Diary…well, that could last the rest of my life.

A variation on a nude I did in Lisa Snow Lady’s online class early this year…I may use this image for my last unclaimed blank canvas…we’ll see. I DO believe in recycling.

I invite you to focus on figuring out what are the most important things in your own life and study how to spend more and more of your resources there…don’t forget your children and family and getting to know your own town, Farmers’ Market and neighborhood and learning how you might help out during the coming changes.

Inspiration is everywhere…who knows the name of this plant? It loves my back deck and yard…the bees turn to this after they’ve sucked the lavender and wooley thyme dry
Golden cherry tomatoes from my local Farmers’ Market…Eat Local!

Going Deep: One Painting Over 40 Years and Going Deep with Family Time

Ladies, Balls acrylic on a 40″ x 30″ canvas
Original Sketch, 1974, brief glimpse from the car on the way to Maine, elderly women standing on a very green lawn, playing some kind of obscure game or ritual
8.24.21 Intermediate sketch

Labor Day Weekend, the unofficial end of Summer. Hugh and Connie came over from West Seattle and we did a whole week of events in a little more than 2 days. Hugh loves driving his all-electric car, and he drove us out along the north coast to East Seiku Beach (the one I found with Katie recently). Then we got to experience Fast Charging at the Walmart station…the almost 2 years of Covid seem to mark Before and After…who would have thought that the ways we travel and communicate would be so different in the 74 years of my life so far?

From the beach east of Sieku, across the Strait of Juan de fuca, Canada on the right
Hugh and Connie, also David and me, and a delicious lunch outdoors at Nourish, where they are being extremely careful about infection control

Too bad homo sapiens don’t seem to have improved…there was a group of misguided people out demonstrating against mask wearing out in front of the courthouse yesterday. Those of us who actually understand science will be forced to isolate, because the ignorant ones refuse to.

The framing at David and Brian’s new house earlier this week. Today the roof has been closed in. This phase seems to be going quickly, but each stage requires different suppliers and experts, so there is still time for slow-downs before they move in. My kitchen stove has been losing functions for years, I ordered a replacement last winter…and it will be installed Thursday of the coming week!

In my ongoing Swedish Death Cleaning, I’ve found drawings from the Seventies with which to use up my remaining canvases.

Another strange long-ago drawing of alien ships
Collage of drawings from 1975…laundromats and music venues
When we lived in the old schoolhouse, Friday nights were devoted to laundry and chess in the Wells River Library
Blueberry and peach pie that I made…I didn’t want Connie to feel that she has to make pie every time she comes
Hugh’s pear pizza with blue cheese, walnuts, and balsamic drizzle before baking
Saturday breakfast: Spinach omelette with hash browns (Hugh)
A Bodisatva from Katie, to live in the new space under my newly-cleared Victoria lilac

Blessings to All. May the unenlightened learn truth and compassion for themselves and the rest of us…otherwise those of us who are vaccinated won’t be able to go out safely until the ignorant ones have succumbed to the disease. I feel sorry for health care workers. Appreciate times with loved ones and nature. Make Art and delicious food. I took Hugh and Connie on the short walking loop in the Olympic National Forest where Colleen and I go. Be careful out there. Appreciate what you have.