Sunday Snow and Valentines

Enjoy Romance, just don’t take it too seriously!

In the Northwest it’s as likely to wake up to sun and flowers or an almost white-out, as it was this morning.

I like the slightly out-of-control aspect of watercolor and ink with a pen. the purple is part of a card, my brother, Doug, made

I’ve been working on my Fears series…and soon it will be time to come up with another project to keep myself out of trouble…sometimes an artist who lives alone spends too much time pondering. Maybe work on something in warm and bright colors…a riot of pattern.

Fear of Natural Disaster: weather, shifting plates. There have been a number of Disaster Preparedness meetings lately…the knowledge that a tsunami could roar up the Strait of Juan de Fuca at any moment adds a certain zest to our lives…Can we deal with feeling helpless by enjoying each moment that presents itself?

The Artist Book Show that prompted my last two projects will be opening at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center next weekend, including the muslin book about my early years and using photos Dad printed.

“All You Need is Love”

Valentine’s Day was this week, and though I don’t have a special Love, my sister-in-law, Connie always sends me a card, and the whole heart shape and concept of Romance is always fun for play. Rag Bag Gals on Facebook had a heart challenge with some beautiful results, including drawings of people on the hearts.

Snowy Sunday morning. The dark blue is the Strait of Juan de Fuca

I keep reminding myself not to get Tooooo serious and to continue to enjoy whatever life dishes up as much as I can.

Love Myself: Cornbread with hot peppers, sun dried tomatoes and cheese for breakfast…smells and tastes SO GOOD!

If you’re in town, come to the opening. I’ll see you there!



Hot Flash Renaissance
Part of the Fears series…Being alone, without family or friends, feeling helpless.
Hunger…Fear of lack of food….climate change or too many people for the available food. We are making decisions now that will affect everyone’s future.
Fear of War…nuclear holocaust, no shelter

Be careful what you wish for…I needed more projects, and voila! They appear. Barb Kobe will be offering the Hot Flash class as a self-study experience soon. I had just gone back to starting to put all my hot flash information together into a new book for Amazon, but Barb’s project will come first.

I’m still making art, chalk on a painted black page, an abstract figure with a stamp for a head.

This seems like a good time to revive the concept of the Hot Flash Woman…how at any age, we can show courage and inspire others to live the truth we find in our own lives. Sign up for the class at I will be watching and offering suggestions from the sidelines. It’s always fun to watch students  flower and lend a hand here and there.

A new life for the stories and projects in this book.

Gray skies return, but it is a good time to be inside and working on projects, especially those with bright colors. Here winter has green grass, but gray skies. I am seeing signs of new growth and spring allergies.

Another Project, of Course!

Now that the fabric Ancestor Book is ready for the show at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, opening 2/24, my and my mother’s tax information is organized and ready for the appointment with Joe in March, and the two tablecloths are finished and in use, I absolutely, for my own mental health, must have one or more new projects.

I’ve started working on the next fabric book, which was going to be a wall hanging, a classic 9-patch, but on the theme of Fears, since there is so much inspiration these days. I decided to make it into a fabric book instead, and it will be easier to store, using tabs and painted chopsticks to make a different accordion with a limited white/red/black color palette. Each panel is 5″x5″ a white-on-white Japanese fabric. I’ve been doing a lot of sketches, trying to express complex ideas with simple shapes…good design practice!

New compositions in the blue leather sketchbook that Katie gave me.

The thumbnail sketches (approximately 1″ square) have been fun, inspired by the topics, Pinterest, or other images I see in magazines. Each step brings subtle changes to the image, and now I’m binge-watching Friends while I stitch, as well as a movie about Michael Jackson last night..

I’ve been working on mixed media drawings again, too. I must have a project in order to survive in the world–wouldn’t have it any other way. Nice to take an afternoon break today with Harriet, too. My world is coming back to life from the dark (but warm this year) days of winter. I’m hoping for the best for everyone.

The second table cloth, more of the Aboriginal fabric David gave me
A treat to myself, a cinnamon roll at Haven after my fasting blood test…finished the rest for breakfast today…BE GOOD TO YOUR SELF!



Back to a varied work day, now that the Ancestor Book is finished and ready for the show. My first tablecloth for the new table and chairs, in time for my tea party Wednesday. Japanese and Aboriginal fabrics, using up my stash!

I impulse-bought a book called How To Be Everything!, mostly because of its title and its cool black/yellow/white cover.  Why do I need to read such a book, since I no longer have to hold a job in order to make a living?

Brain Pickings this morning referred to the late, great Ursula K. Le Guinn as reacting strongly against the concept of “spare time,”  especially in regard to artists and scientists in any medium. All our time is filled, even by looking and thinking and experiencing, and also when we are slowed by age.  There are always new ideas to try on, and never too much age to learn new things. This week I sent my first graphic novel in to the Sketchbook Project.

So I don’t mind that I am making Artist Books and studying animation at 70 (I wish I could find a tutor to work with me in person on Animation). The lessons online work for me, but with effort. I have a restless mind…perhaps my greatest asset, even now, when everything does seem to take more time.

Never resist exploring new ideas, new skills, new bodies of knowledge! Be a multipotentialite. I see that with the next accordion book with flaps, I’ll have to be more careful about where I put the cover and which side of a page is likely to be up.

A multi-media book I may have made before I moved to WA (BW) I attached the pages to an accordion of paper sewn to an antique honey server…I can’t find the name of this binding at the moment, but when I look through my reference library, I find endless possibilities for yet more experimentation!

Artist Book Progress

Sun between showers, a rainbow over the Strait, little birds scattering, flies sunning on the south side of the house. Flowering Kale and purple violas downtown, buds swelling on heather and trees. 50 degrees at 7am…I love Northwest January. Plenty of rainy days to work on my projects inside. I LOVE having a project to work on…I’ve discovered I Need plenty of projects all the time…a way Artists are different.

Golden beet risotto with poached egg

I’m spending most of my time on Artist Book production for the show at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center February 24 into April. Jan and I went to a book talk at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum yesterday. Stylish Art Museum Lunch…too bad SAM’s food is no longer fun or beautiful.

Accordion book/graphic novel about a detainment center and a poster on the same subject…Perhaps individual stories help us feel more compassion

Jane Carlin presented on University of Puget Sound’s Artist Book program for which students examine and make books as a way of integrating different aspects of a political topic, especially immigration and migration…are they the same? Is there room for everyone…will they contribute as much as they use? I have read that there are several times too many humans now for our natural world to support.

Book with parchment pages, translucent over stories and finally over the men who wear the hoods. Poster about an extinct species…person or animal? in the background.

Artist books bring us into physical contact with the work of art and ideas, telling stories with form/content/words/ingredients/turning pages/different aspects of the same issue. I am using materials and techniques familiar to me: fabric, heavy black thread, lace and buttons from ancestors, photos my father took and printed many years ago.

I’m starting to sew pages together today

My book is not as Precisely beautiful as many of those I saw in Bainbridge, but my hand shows in the execution of the uneven stitches, the sometimes crammed and clumsy writing, the ideas added to and expanded upon in the course of creating the book.

Photos front and back, rebar wire in sleeves helps with rigidity

I’m using the accordion form with some extra flaps that can be viewed in different combinations with each other. The topic expanded from family history to psychological process…working out boundary issues with my mother.

Actual photos my Dad printed. Binge watching Last Tango in Halifax

Jan said that as soon as a new art form (artist books) is invented, practitioners try to redefine it with tighter parameters. I like Artist Books because they can include many aspects of one or several ideas.

The longer sections will fold in back of the accordion pages. I may need to invent something to hod them in place when the book is standing on edge.

Time for Another Project! The Fears book, perhaps…Stay Tuned!!! First make pizza dough for supper.

What is an Artist Book?

My fabric Artist Book for the upcoming show at Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. Dad on his college graduation day holding me. Embroidered title. Muslin with thin batting and commercial stiffener.

Is it Artist Book or Artist’s Book or Artists’ Book? I’ve been invited to participate in a display of them at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center in February into May, and part of the exhibition will be a statement from each participant about what we think those terms define. Because I’m using actual photographs that my father took and printed, I can call this a collaborative project.

The Sherry Grover Room at the Bainbridge Island Art Museum is a fantastic place to see lots of wonderful examples of artist books. We will have some of them in Port Angeles for the exhibit, thanks to Jan Dove, who will also be exhibiting a series of her artist books about a character she made up, Oola, at the Port Angeles Public Library starting at the end January.

Inside page of my accordion book. Christmas card of train (Dad’s obsession) sent to his favorite aunt 1940

Jan has a definition of artist books on her site, but I prefer, like Marcel Duchamp and his 1917 exhibit of a urinal as sculpture…it’s an Artist book if I say it is. They can be made of almost any material, in editions from one to many; can have pages, words, and images; can tell a story or convey an idea…or not.

I’m sewing the actual photographs to the pages…the imperfection of hand work and the hand of the artist showing. I’ll add more words with both embroidery and indellible marker, more beads and graphic lines of stitching.

Before desktop publishing became as common as it is today, there were Zines (cheaply-published, limited edition, book-like forms by artists)…I have a collection of those. The current craze for journals and sketchbooks is part of the artist book movement. Early 19th Century mail art was part of the personal expression movement, whose initial goal was sharing at affordable prices with more people than the “standard” art piece.

I have been gifted…or burdened…with a large number of family photographs, especially ones that my father printed. I gravitate to working in fiber, including paper. I am making a cloth Artist Book for the show, which will include actual photographs that my father took and printed, along with my own drawn and embroidered words. I will be using the accordion book form with extra flaps for more dimension. I love the freedom allowed by the artist book to express more than a two-dimensional aspect of my idea of family.

Winter fog…perfect for staying inside and making art! As above, I’m still working on pins and dolls, too…and paintings…

Come and See! Opening Reception will be Saturday, February 24th, 5 to 7pm at the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center….Come and see and discuss. There may well be classes for the public to try out the process of making a book. The show will run through the first week in May…come and see what you think!

Birth, Death, What We Inherit

I’ve been reading about outsiders. This watercolor and ink drawing is from a photo in a book about North American Indigenous people. I try to start the new year with a painting, a new sketchbook with better quality paper than the last one.

My brother, Hugh, is turning 65 today. I remember when he was born. We lived in a little white stucco house near Baltimore. Two other brothers and one spouse are taking him out for fried clams at the Lockspot today. I’ve been trying to guide him (gently) in signing up for Medicare…He’s still working, as an actor when he can and for the Port of Seattle the rest of the time. I waited til I was 68 to retire…maybe he will, too. Artists never retire totally, but it’s more challenging being a musical theater actor.

Collage/drawing. I invented the Queen of the May series of dolls in the Nineties to express my relationship to my Muse.

Two people I knew mostly by association with their families are having memorial services this week…Both made profound and lasting impressions on the people around them.

I enjoy treating myself to new food and experiences…I don’t require company. New restaurant, Tedesco, on Washington St. in Sequim. I also got a haircut and a new shirt at Mad Maggie with a gift certificate I inherited from a dead woman.

I’ve been working with myself…I’m always learning how to get my self to do the things I put off…on several longer-term projects. While I celebrate the turn in light that the Winter Solstice brings, I still struggle with early dark, aging body, and inherited chemicals triggered by lack of sun. St. John’s Wort seems to help, so I take it and try to be patient with my decreased winter production.

A project for myself: tablecloth and place mats for the new/used table Doug brought me at Thanksgiving and the Aboriginal fabric from David and my own saved Japanese prints…using up my stash before I die…there’s LotS more!

Two of my long-term projects, fabric artist books, continue to utilize the vast legacy of photos and stories I’ve inherited from my parents. I have been working through this pile for many years, and it may be time to draw the process to a close. We inherit generational burdens. Parents are not perfect and are carrying their own loads. My relationship with my mother has been complicated since I was ten and started having to take care of her.

Here’s a part of a poem by Sherman Alexi, Utensil, about his mother’s death:

“Thank you, desk,
For being a desk. Thank you,

Mother, for being my mother.
Thank you for your imperfect love.
It almost worked. It mostly worked.
Or partly worked. It was almost enough”

We learn things, we change what we can, we work on forgiveness and understanding. We can’t help carrying our pasts with us into the future.

Mom, Dad, Me, 1947