Be Delighted

"Oh my my my my, what an eager little mind!"

Auntie Mame

Friday, March 1, 2019

Rescue Me

Art is not magic. It is not always easy. And it is not always pretty. In the fiber arts world there is a term called a UFO, an Unfinished Object. You go so far on a piece and realize you are just going down a rabbit hole of regret, then throw it aside in frustration. We've all been there. We've also calculated the hours spent, the supplies wasted ($$$), the difficulty in admitting defeat.

But wait. Sometimes an artwork will languish in its corner of failure until one day you look at it with new eyes and think, hmmmmm, maybe there's hope.

Take this painting. It was a part of a series of abstracts I did in a fit of energy last month, but this one just looked like a chaotic mess, and not even a De Kooning chaotic mess.

But I loved the layers and textures, and exuberant colours, so in a hopeful moment I thought "let's put a fox on it!"  So I did.

Below are the steps I went through this morning. You may think I should have stopped at step 1,2, or 3. But no, I kept going all the way to step 5. Now I have to mull on it. Mulling is an important part of the process.

Step 2-add outline of fox

Step 3-add features and shading. Front paw is too fat.

Step 4- more fur. The eyes are looking scary. Paw is still fat.

Step 5- Get it together.

So, a bit more to refine and work on (I'm talking to you, paws. And maybe the snoot) but at least that canvas isn't languishing in the corner anymore. Now to tackle all those other UFOs.

P.S. I did more.  Tweeked paws. Called it Pause. Sort of an inside joke with myself. Mulling begins again.

Saturday, December 29, 2018

All the Pretty Houses

I can't remember what prompted me to make these tiny fiber art houses but what started out as cutting up failed projects and putting the old scraps together on 5 inch squares of fabrics somehow exploded into a "cottage" industry. I'm currently on house #47, which is a commission, with no sign of stopping. There's something about the image of a small house that evokes memories, nostalgia, a sense of place, and the importance of "home".
House #1, some African fabric, wool, a piece of selvage, and a bit of embroidery, on a sunny background.

The ingredients are pretty simple: geometric pieces of fabric assembled into basic houses, a background of land and sky, machine stitching, embroidered details, beads, and yarn, quilted onto a backing, and attached to a small painted canvas to hang on the wall. They're quirky, imperfect, and slightly wonky, a bit more labor intensive than my hearts but all in all, most satisfying.

More examples:

A grouping:

A commission of the Church of St. Francis in Taos:

Another church:
More houses:

A commissioned set:

 And an English cottage for my mother, for Christmas.

These are all sold now. There are more in the works, including three more commissions. Fortunately, I have a huge stash of fabric and yarns, and infinite variations on a theme.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Sense of Place, a Sense of Space

Since I did a painting last Spring of the fields near Levelland I have been exploring landscape painting, and especially textures, patterns, and colours of wild grasses. I have never particularly done a large series of paintings, except for my foxes and wild animals, so this has been a way for me to explore and develop my technique and my observation skills.

This was my first painting: Field Near Levelland, now owned by two friends. I documented its travails in an earlier post.

 This was followed by a series of small studies of grasses. I discovered it was very calming to hold a slender brush and make quick, energetic strokes to create layers and layers of grass.

A photo of an old tressel bridge north of Lubbock also inspired a painting:

Some watercolour paintings on paper as opposed to acrylic on board.

A painting called Watchful, done from a photo I took of an actual fox sitting on our front doorstep:

A trip to Dallas inspired this landscape from a photo I took while stalled in road repair in the town of Throckmorton:

An imaginary place yet still familiar, called Borderlands:

This one is called Roam. A friend bought it for her grown son's birthday.

Another painting called Riverbank needed a shot of colour so I put in a red canoe.

 I then created a pen and ink version on paper called River Grasses:

Each of these paintings have helped me evolve, but not only that, they have given me a sense of peace about where I am, in this moment, in this place. I am able to walk in beauty, to take it in, and reflect it back.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The City Different

I haven't kept track of how many times I've visited Santa Fe. Probably close to a dozen, beginning with our honeymoon in 1978, The beauty of the place is that apart from the inevitable sprawl it still retains a warm familiarity, a timelessness that defies the decades. At the same time there is always new art to see, new restaurants to try, and old haunts to revisit. I end up coming home with stacks of brochures, flyers, and postcards from galleries, to browse over and file away, mementos of a happy journey.

                                                                         Road trip!
                                                  Just west of Clovis, New Mexico.

                                               Classic Santa Fe house on Delgado Street.

                    Our AirB&B, Casita Corvo, just north of Canyon Road. Cozy and convenient.

                                                         The poppies were in bloom.

                                                         The Buddhas were blissful.

There were whimsical sculptures everywhere.

Glenn needed his coffee and Kindle time at The Travel Bug.

The wine was good

The gods were smiling.

                                       Our breakfast at Clafoutis Bakery was just perfect.

We had our traditional martini at the Pink Dragon.

And dined at La Piatta. Mmmm, heavenly trout.

We met with good friends, Toni and Gordon, at Rancho de Chimayo

And drove to Santa Cruz lake.

                                 We visited the Ortega Weavers and bought a lovely rug.

Here it is in our house.

Enjoyed a spa evening at Ten Thousand Waves, a hot soak, massages, then dining at the Izanami restaurant. My salmon was fresh and delectable.

                                                         Couldn't miss brunch at Pasqual's.

Or a visit to my favorite bookstore, Collected Works.

Or buying art supplies at Artisan. I probably spent more than Georgia.

Farewell, for now.