Saturday, May 27, 2017

conversation

Monotype. 12 x 12
Sometimes my art conversation are with fellow artists, but sometimes they are with myself.

Before we left on our last trip, I prepared my sketchbook by gluing random pieces of painted papers. Not every sketchbook page had a bit of collage on it, but many did. My personal conversation was all about what would happen if I threw a random variable into my sketchbook.

One of the results you saw in my previous post.

Now that I am back home, I posed the same question but related it to printmaking. What would happen if I started with some random fields of color and then added some figures by printing over the top of the color? I really enjoyed the exploration.

While I would not call if a rousing success, my goal was not at all to create masterpieces. My goal was to follow my curiosity and to not be too attached to the final results.

The best conversations go like that, don't they? No expectations, no pressure, but a free flowing exploration seasoned by curiosity and playfulness.

"Don't Know Why" Norah Jones.

Friday, May 19, 2017

birthday reflection

Self portrait, collage, ink
Another year older. AARP birthday greetings mix in with other cards from family and friends. Thanks. I know. I am older.

But, I am not upset by getting older. No, in fact I am stunned by how much more beautiful life gets as I age. Probably, because my father passed away last year, I have a different sense of how fragile and short life is. Plus, I get to spend time with my three grandsons (5, 3, and 3) and I am invigorated by how exciting and mysterious and joyous life is.

A little sorrow with the sweet. That is life.

Middle age, and with that some understanding. There are no second times around, so I must make the very most of every day I am alive.

Happy birthday to me!



Happy Birthday a capella fun. Enjoy.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

jump in to joy

Jump In. 22 x 22. Acrylic.

Some days I have an inner dialogue that sounds like a game of "Twenty Questions."

Is it real?

Does it matter?

Is it enough to jump into the joy and not ask for more?


This Marble Machine music brings up the same questions.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

what would happen if ...

Moving On. 20 x 20. Acrylic and mixed media on paper.
I can not force creativity to come. I can only quiet my mind and enter my studio with the spirit of play and the words "what would happen if..." on my lips.

Loreena McKennett "To Drive the Cold Winter Away."

Saturday, February 18, 2017

color lift


Throughout the day, I dodge news like it is the flu and I am a germ-a-phobe. When I do tune in, I am distressed. Distress upon distress. It weighs me down like a lead jumpsuit.

Today I went out to the studio and played with color. Color and pattern. I had no agenda except to lift my mood.



Success!


Thursday, January 26, 2017

Fairbanks in January

Fairbanks sunrise at 10:30 am.

After spending the summer of 2015 exploring the interior of Alaska, my husband and I speculated on what it might be like in the winter. And did we want to experience it first hand? In the end, curiosity won out and we flew in to Fairbanks for a short winter visit.

Our arrival coincided with a bit of record cold weather in Fairbanks. When we landed, the pilot announced cheerfully that Fairbanks was MINUS 39 degrees. No wind chill. Just cold.

Minus 39 degrees is the coldest weather I have ever experienced in my lifetime. It was so cold that it hurt to take a breath. So cold that the liquid in my eyes started to freeze, making blinking a chore. So cold that a sniffle became a solid icicle before it could drip off the tip of a nose. 

At these temperatures, if you leave a car in a parking lot for longer than two hours, you had better make sure you have plugged it in or it will not start when you go back out. Parking lots have stands of outlets and every car has a plug sticking out of the front grate.

The University of Alaska at Fairbanks has on its campus the amazing Museum of the North. The museum is a celebration of Alaska history and culture plus an art museum. 

The Museum of the North (MON) has a large collection of Native Alaskan art (contemporary and old) plus many other pieces of note. Here are a few of my favorites from this visit.

Sara Tabbert, wood carving

This wood carving is by Fairbanks artist, Sara Tabbert. Her work is vibrant and hopeful and some day I hope to own one. You can read and see more about her here. This video plays in the museum and gives a good sense of the artist and her work.


Claire Feyes, oil painting





Claire Feyes is another Alaska artist whose work is captivating. While not a Native Alaskan herself, she fell in love with the land and the people in the land. Here is a documentary about her life and work. I enjoy the simple shapes and sense of community she depicts.


John Hoover, wood carving and sculpture


John Hoover's work stands out as Native Alaskan (his mother was Aleut, his father Dutch) and yet completely contemporary. I remember seeing some of his work in Seattle, as well as in Anchorage.

It is refreshing to take time to step away from the normal routines of daily life and explore something different. For me, this trip to Fairbanks allows me to change the channel of negative and anxious thinking to things that are hopeful and beautiful and lovely.




Fairbanks in the winter is beautiful, but I admit that I am happy to be home to PLUS 39 degrees!


"Homeward Bound" Paul Simon and George Harrison.

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

keeping positive

Live Large. 36 x 36. Acrylic on cradled panel.  

It's easy to get overwhelmed by all of the negativity in the news these days. Frequently, I find myself ready to give up or to scream and I know that I need to change the channel or/and unplug and relax my brain. After all, getting upset does not accomplish anything positive.

Even with my painting, I am changing channels and figuring out ways to relax and unplug from all of the stuff in my head. Music helps.

See if you feel better after you listen to Norah Jones singing "Sunrise."

Sunday, January 8, 2017

looking ahead

Tulips. Monotype. 12 x 12.

If you are anything like me, you settle in to the new year with some cleaning up kinds of projects. Put away holiday lights and decorations. Sort through cards and save some and discard others. Write thank you notes. Take down 2016 calendars and hang new 2017 calendars in their place.

It is difficult to enter a creative mindset with all of the upheaval in our country. At times, it is next to impossible. I go out to the studio, but only manage to clean and putter around making little color swatches or reading something in a book.


But, on some days, I charge into the studio with my juices flowing and I experience again the rush of life breath from creating something new. The monotype, "Tulips", happened on one of those days. They are a reminder to me of what is beautiful, and hope-filled.


Friends. Monotype. 12 x 12.

This piece, "Friends," came from my reflection on the joy I feel when I am with people who know and care about me. Friends lift and inspire and keep me connected to what's important.

Looking ahead to a new year, I will be more involved politically and more active in my personal exercises of freedoms. I will continue to put myself in the studio and express what concerns me, both on paper and here in the world. And I will continue to share music that means much to me with the hope that it will find resonance in you.

As this little sign in my studio says, "Don't look back, you're not going that way."



This YouTube video touched me deeply. My father died in the Spring of 2016, and I think of him often. I know that he would have loved this kind of thing. Who wouldn't? The Piano Guys Charlie Brown Medly.


Thursday, November 10, 2016

shell shock


Sketchbook page. 9 x 9. Ink and watercolor.


It is just days after November 8, 2016, and the outcome from the presidential race still has me numb with shock. More than feeling sad that my choice (Hillary Clinton) did not win, I am overwhelmed with sadness and despair for our country. President-Elect Donald Trump campaigned on fear and hatred. His character of disrespect and violence shone through in the ways he spoke and acted in this last 18 months of our attention and his national stage. And millions of Americans voted for him.

I am sick.

As the title of this post suggests, it feels like shell shock.

    Shell shock is term coined to describe the reaction of some soldiers in World War I to the trauma of battle. It is reaction to the intensity of the bombardment and fighting that produced a helplessness appearing variously as panic and being scared, or flight, an inability to reason, sleep, walk or talk. -- Wikipedia

Oyster. Monotype. 12 x 12.
 While the election cycle was not at all like the horrors the soldiers saw during World War I, it brought its own share of horrors. "Shell shock" seems fitting for this election experience. All it takes is to listen to my friends who are immigrants, minorities, LGBT, female, disabled, dependent of medical insurance they finally got by virtue of the Affordable Care Act.

Abalone. Monotype. 12 x 12
Once the overwhelming sadness and numbness passes, I will sort out for myself how I will live in positive and courageous ways for the four years of President Trump's term. I genuinely HOPE that his will be a good presidency and that the people in our country will live well under his leadership. All of the people of this country.

In the meantime, I grieve. And I look for beauty and nature and kindness and love and life. For now, it's the best I can do.

Great Blue Heron at the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge

 I know that I am not the only dreamer, but peace seems very far away.

"Imagine."


Monday, October 17, 2016

easy living in the summer

Watery Way, 9 x 12, alcohol ink on Yupo  
For me, summer months usually mean time on the waters of Puget Sound on a boat. It was a thoughtful time, a time for thinking and writing, for looking at light and color and shapes, and for relaxing into a meditation that is all about water.

The painting above is an abstract reflection on our meandering path on the Salish Sea.

Monotype, 12 x 12, Gamblin Intense Cool Black on Rives BFK paper
The monotype above is more specific, but still abstract in a sense. The way light pulls across the water fascinates me and I never tire of looking for the patterns and rhythms of interlocking shapes.

Me, playing the public piano at Cap Sante Marina, Anacortes
When we pulled into the Cap Sante Marina to provision, I was delighted to discover a public piano at the top of the dock. It wasn't until after we'd gotten our groceries and loaded them back on the boat that I had a chance to come back and play. What else? "Summertime."

Here's Norah Jones playing and singing. The livin' is easy in the summertime.