A Number of Things…and Networking

6.17ChevronCloudsFromDesk

A chevron of clouds outside the window where I work

We are in June-uary here now…an unpredictable month of heat and cold…and summer will be gone before I know it. This is the season for visitors…and making like tourists and enjoying our beautiful surroundings.

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Sea Stack and beach near Joyce, wonderful patterns on the sand

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Murdoch Beach at very low tide…the hills of Vancouver Island, Canada in the distance

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Green rocks, Murdoch Beach, low tide…otherwise known as Round Rock Beach

One of the challenging pieces of retirement for me is inventing my own projects: Painted child-sized chairs for the library benefit in August, sharing a vest pattern with Katie and using up some of my incredible stash…I’m going to make the vest reversible. I get frustrated with creating clothes, both because they seem to take longer than my other projects and because I can’t seem to make them fit correctly…I usually too big. On Katie’s advice, I sewed the pattern out of muslin to try on before cutting up my pieced pieces.

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Back of the vest–the other side will have lighter, brighter colors. I found the tan and black fabrics on a trip to Ashland, OR, with Hugh and Connie. Shakespeare Festival.

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Top page prepped with Pastel Ground, bottom with gesso, very freeing to play and experiment without worrying about results. I like Twombly’s scratchy lines.

Back to drawing (today, in honor of the blog)…I knew I would come around again. Annie and I shared that it’s getting tough to find spaces to store the drawings and paintings that accumulate unsold. I have portrait paintings stacked around my living room, a flat file in the garage, and experimental drawings in sketchbooks, so they are held together. These are inspired by a book of Sally Mann’s photographs of Cy Twombly’s studio. After I took the photographs I added a coat of gel medium, to keep the chalk from smearing too much, but that process smeared the chalk and left me with a different, but also interesting feeling.

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Rain sharpens the colors in my yard, an ongoing project of native plants and stones

The networking part of the week was attending a meeting of Washington Coast Works in Forks yesterday. The group, funded by the Nature Conservancy, is helping local people start sustainable businesses based on local resources. This group of entrepreneurs is So Uplifting to spend time with…everyone is so positive, interested, and supportive of each other…an antidote to the present day gloom and anger…may there be more of the good stuff in my life! We will help and encourage each other…I SO MUCH need projects to tackle, and the process is much more fun with like-minded others…Find the positive projects and people in Your neighborhood and join them!

I Miss the Fireflies

6.11.17Strawberries

First local strawberries–I swear I’ll never buy the crunchy imported ones again!       Great pattern inspiration for some future piece.

….But there are compensations. Yesterday at Farmers’ Market I met a young woman from Vermont (my home). We both miss our home state, and this is the magical season of Fireflies, winking in the dark…So transfixing and hard to imagine if you’ve never experienced them. Unfortunately the mosquitoes would be out, too.

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Port Williams Beach on a foggy day, with a spit of rain, I met only a fisherman

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Ediz Hook on a beautiful Saturday, with a little more company…great sky!

I’m now a confirmed citizen of the Northwest. There’s nowhere else I could experience so many beaches, so uncluttered by other people, and all kinds of plants, and rocks polished by water and time. Poppies, remnant of a defunct high school agriculture project right in front of my house. I collect them in photos instead of cutting them…brilliant complementary against the green grasses.

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A joyful Red Spot against the green of the field

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I finished one fiber piece this week, based on a library book of photographs by Countess Sophia Tolstoy…men found it so much easier…still do…to marry a handmaid to support their art. I drew her face from one of her photographic self-portraits. She set up the shot and had someone else click the shutter.

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Countess Sophia Tolstoy, with angry quotes from her on the back

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I visited Jan Dove’s Art Book Studio on Saturday…I love the multi-media nature of her books…drawing, poetry, space…www.jandove.com for more and better photos.

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Artist Book by Jan Dove…visit her website for Wonderful Images!

I’m starting to feel the urge to put brush and pen on paper again, though I’m happy working with the color and texture of fabric…why does it feel as if drawing and painting have more credibility than working with fabric?

6.11.17VestPret

Fabric and an actual pattern set out to make a pieced vest. Katie says I should try it in muslin first…woops! In doing my spring bedding washing, I found my dark blue blanket is starting to disintegrate in one spot…An Opportunity for Japanese Piecing instead of just buying another!

I keep collecting moments of joy and trusting my instincts to lead me where I need to go. Amazing red streak across the sky sunset tonight!

A Sense of Place

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Serene made frozen chocolate cake with pistachio gelato, and a donut in honor of Donut Day, always the first Friday in June…Serene is our Mistress of Cakes…as well as being a successful product engineer…can you tell I’m a proud Auntee?

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Doug and Amal, who met at Montgomery Ward in Iowa, lived in Palestine, now in Seattle

I attended my second youngest brother’s birthday celebration on Friday. Gradually 4 of us siblings have moved to the Northwest. I spent most of my life before I turned 58 in the Northeast and was the last to arrive on the west coast.

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Serene, Brian, David…I had to promise never to post another image of David making a face. Large platters of fried chicken and sides before cake…and appetizers!

I’ve almost finished reading Refuge by Terry Tempest Williams…about her mother’s process of dying played out against the death of bird nesting areas in the Great Salt Lake Basin. A top-knotted waiter at the coffee place where I stopped in Port Townsend Wednesday said he’d just moved here from the “red desert”…it’s different here. I call it the Cool Blue North to myself, but I spent most of my life before the Olympic Peninsula, in New England, which is also green and blue, mountainous and moist. My adopted brother, David, calls this area Vermont on Steroids.

6.17RhubarbFlowers

My first Rhubarb going to seed.  I’m collecting plant images to layer in Photoshop

My two youngest brothers spent their youth in Iowa, and the soft rolling plains is their personal home image. My friend, Diane, might have to move to Utah desert, if her husband decides to take a job tat Zion…I’m finding (partially by design–lack of money) that I no longer feel a strong desire to travel and experience new places. I knew that I always wanted to live by salt water…and now I do. The mountains are taller here than in Vermont, there is both salt and fresh water, no obnoxious bugs, and a wonderful variety of succulents that bloom almost all year round.

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Rhubarb leaves as Inspiration

I remember the last vacation I came to the NW in 2004, and finally decided that the sentinel trees and deep woods felt friendly to me…I moved here soon after. I don’t miss the too hot and endless cold of my native land (the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont).

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Doug’s birthday present, Kate Owen Leonard, our Great grandmother, on Mom’s side.

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I used Kate’s image again for a fabric ancestor journal, and gave several of the brothers pages.

Family can be like the geographical Place. I only knew one person when I moved to the Olympic Peninsula in 2005, but a lot of my family was close, and after 12  years there are friends who have shared enough experiences to be family, too. Katie and I celebrated our birthdays together at Long Beach this year…we each have a sister for the first time in our lives, and I revisited my 60th birthday trip to Long Beach.

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Christmas 1948 at Grandma and Grandpa Hastings’ Old House, me–front and center.

There are times in my retirement years when I wonder what to do with myself…what kind of art shall I make today, when no one wants to buy, and I don’t want to fill up my whole garage. I have a wealth of family photos from Mom’s side, and so now I print them on silk or cotton and make them into embellished wall pieces…the piercing activity of beading helps with the stress of the current political situation, and by giving them to the other family members, our story, our sense of our place in the generations, is carried on.

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A fiber piece made from items I collected when David and I visited Steve in South Carolina last summer…fabulous flea market stores there…and now another branch of our family.

 

 

 

A Few Moments of Joy Each Day

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When my feet hurt, my elbows hurt, my back hurts, and I don’t see very well…or look all that great, I remember what wise Barbara tells me, to find a few moments of Joy each day. An adolescent deer, comfortably seated, legs tucked under, on my carpet of wooly thyme, sun shining on molting coat, content against southern fence. Out the northeast window a bush has suddenly burst into white bloom…looks like what we used to call bridal wreath.

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Yesterday with friends in beautifully manicured Bloedel Reserve…a lumber Baron who kept one piece of woods intact and polished for posterity (speak out to protect your own local National Park or Preserve.

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Making Art gives me joy…I want to find people to whom to give it…the painted children’s chairs for the library benefit, the lovely designer who called me to see if I could use her obsolete samples and said, “Thank you for sharing your art with the world!”

Love to all Sentient Beings and our Natural World. Thanks to Genie Geer for looking.

14.TryingtoMakeContactAcrossTheDivide11.19.16 Trying to Make Contact Across the Divide

The four images for today were from my art a day series for last fall. We must keep taking ourselves back to whatever passes for studio in our lives…and tonight I’ll attend a school board meeting and speak up for separation of church and state and the rule of law…if we each do a little…

 

At Home On WordPress

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5/23/17 Here I am, finally fulfilling my promise to move into this WordPress site and let you see more of what I’ve been working on. I’ve added two thick books on WordPress to my library, so let’s see how good I am at translating tech-talk to finished product.

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Last year, dismayed by the results of the US Election, I worked hard to keep from falling into deep depression. I keep at least 4 sketchbooks going all the time…to encourage myself to keep writing down ideas for new work, to play with drawing and collage and putting them together, and to write down things I hear and think. One of the collages above, always a figure inside. Some of the scraps of paper my brother, David, stitched on. There’s a show of his new work at a winery in Seattle right now…I was there last Friday.

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We’re currently having a “wind emergency” with thrashing trees, leaves turning the whiter back sides up (always a sign of coming storm in the NE), and the temperature has dropped ten degrees…I may need to unplug. There’s another of my 2016 collages above. The figure is sitting with outstretched legs.

3.11.12.16MotherChildDrawing

Sometimes I like to draw from a photograph, to practice realism and have a subject that isn’t moving around: Pen, colored pencil, some stitching…perhaps from the image on the preceding page. My brother, Steve, just called from Chicago where he and his wife are babysitting their youngest granddaughter, whose parents are working on opposite coasts for a few days. If I had children and grandchildren, I wouldn’t be at a loss for what to do on a windy afternoon. I remind myself to keep Returning to the studio.

4.11.11.16collageLeonardCohen

In honor of Leonard Cohen’s life, and death last November, the piece above. There are times when friends and I feel so horribly depressed, it’s difficult to continue, but then we think of small joys, of how lucky we are so far to be able to make art and read and eat and be together…and not hurt all the time…pretty good for me at 70. There are more and more homeless people in my town.

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A Frida image is always good for a collage, her background was a card made by my brother, Doug–the gold line shapes. I am lucky in family and friends. This format of posting could keep me going for a long time…and be motivation for making more images, so please Stay Tuned.

 

A Change in Direction

Along with getting close to 70 and being retired for 3 years, I’ve been thinking a LOT about how I want to spend the rest of my life. Fortunately,  I don’t Have to make more money to support myself in my current Spartan conditions, but I DO want to keep making all kinds of ART and I thought I’d share the process with you.

 

I’m moving my blogging from blogger.com to WordPress, because I think I’ll be able to group my images in ways that make more sense…after I learn the skills.

Working with Masks and More

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I put Marina’s Face (one she designed) into a bottle she designed, did some warping and color changing with some help from her. I hope to be able to do this on my own with my own images some day. I’m going to continue  studying and practicing during the break, then take the online publishing class, and simple Media review in the fall….making up for a lot of lost time!