A Catch Up Post

Dilly is keeping an eye on me. I am going to try too get a walk to the river in this afternoon. Yesterday and today I have been going through photos of artwork to add to a gallery section of my website. It seems a good idea since the only way I post images of new work is through my blog.

The website was never for marketing but more about what I do as an artist and writer. Now it will have more images to look through and I hope it is as much fun as I have had these past few days sorting through them.

A few days ago I did get to the river here. Spring is not coming as soon as I wanted, but there are signs.

And I did a couple more pages in the Meadow Book.

These wild onions are all over the meadow walk.

So now I need to go for that walk and when I come back, check the minor adjustments made to my website.

One more thing…I almost talked myself out of going to the student art show last evening at Young Harris College. But so glad I went. I met up with one of my favorites from the old art group and he and his wife are coming for dinner Saturday. They will try to get another old member of the group to come along. Then I saw the head of the gallery who had the pigments exhibition that was so wonderful a few weeks ago. She and I are getting together as soon as term ends in mid May. She wants to come over to see how I have used pigments in my work. And I got to chat with the head of the art department about his graduate work being done for the same program where I got my MFA. It was such a pleasure being around students and faculty enthusiastic about their work!

The next senior show is in a couple of weeks and I don’t want to miss it.

Til later….


Working on Books

It is cold outside again today. The bright sun is deceiving. If the wind lets up I can walk to the river today. The paths through the meadow are filling up with violets. But I so miss walking through the trees. The trail at my old place was so inviting with the branches overhead and varying barks and leaves. Here it is the continual screams of killdeer as they fly over grasses in wide open spaces. I think they are a nervous bird by nature. By the time I make it to the trees along the river, we both have calmed down.

I went back out to dinner last night and took a soon-to-be ninety year old neighbor with me. It was quite pleasant having company this time, but in two weeks I will return alone just to get away from my own cooking. Baking spinach, onion, ham and cheese scones and those delicious brown sugar oatmeal cookies.

I shove as much spinach as I can get to stick to the dough before shaping and cutting.

I take the suggestion of adding one half cup of chopped pecans for more crunch and flavor….and cooking longer to get them crispier with dark edges. Then I put them all in the freezer. Scones for a lunch and a cookie for whenever.

The Australian basket makers have been on my mind. So I went back to the Gathering Book and did some stitching. They do as much patching and sewing as they do baskets. I think some of these scraps of work would make very interesting abstract paintings. Something about the colors and design.

Here I used a torn up wood block print on the left and on the right some botanical print piece I made in Australia using an overdose of iron in the pot. The deep rust colored scraps I bought in Alice Springs a very long time ago.  The gauzier cloth was chemically colored using Adele Outteridge’s method of coloring cloth and paper using caustic soda, ferrous sulfate and very black tea.

And I tried to stay away from the Sticks and Stones book. But the cold wind yesterday had me back in my own imaginary woods.

Those fold down pockets kept bothering me, so I dropped down the first one and thought “how about sheltering those rocks that are so easily thrown.

The letters that will appear on the reverse side of this concertina book will also be done in graphite.

It is getting on toward lunch time…spinach scone. Then my yard man, Eddie, comes by this afternoon to see how his plantings fared over the winter. Some look quite brown to me, but he will tell me how brown.

Violets need to be painted in the Meadow Book. Wildflowers want to fill more pages in that six way book that is going to take forever to fill. Why did I make so many thin kozo folios and brush each with gesso to prevent bleeding of watercolor? I had such high aspirations for myself and that book. Now I feel duty bound to at least try to fill that book. I owe it to myself, Gian, who taught me how to make it, and my kids who will end up with all these sketchbooks. My god, there are so MANY!!!

I am glad that several years ago so many of the artist books done for exhibition have been given to my under graduate school.  I do wonder what older artists have done with their work saved over the years. I am not talking about the artists who market their work but those who produce for exhibition and have an inability to stop doing it. There is not likely to be another burial as I have managed to keep the work smaller as I get older.

But who knows? When it is warm enough to use the garage I have some large canvases there waiting to be noticed and unpacked.

Til later….lunch time.

Signs of Spring and Stories

Blooming trees across the river.

Cherry blooms on the way back home from coffee in town.

A new sign at the turn down into my subdivision.

Getting greener at the river.

My furniture for the porch came the other day. Gravity was not working for me in putting it all together. Hardest part was keeping two washers together while lining them up with holes to get the bolts through. If you scotch tape the two washers together and then tape them to the hole, gravity will stay out of it!

They are very comfortable and fit perfectly.

I have black shades that can be lowered to block sun and neighbors’ houses. Here is the opposite wall.

It is a perfect size porch for one and a bit of company.

And then the new sleep sofa came yesterday. Perfect size because no pictures had to be moved over to be centered.

I went over to the llama shop here in town and bought a lovely llama blanket in a blue that matches the night skies in the stitched images and also is in the rug. The cats love it. We find it very comfortable.

Then the past two days I worked on the Sticks and Stones Book.

Right before dropping off to sleep the other night I thought, why not wax that book? So I did each page with a lump of Lee’s bee’s wax from his bee keeping days. It does odd things to the painted and graphited pages….makes it look older. And the feel is very nice to the hand. Here is a detail so you can see how the wax permeates the colors and paper.

There is an oldness to it now…not unlike old wallpaper in an abandoned house. I am not quite half way through and need to put it aside this weekend to do some stitching.  I am wondering what to do with those tempting fold down triangular pockets on each fore edge fold…and then there is the entire back side waiting for some hand written story about these stick and stones.

The idea of a story appeals to me because the other morning a new fellow came in while I was having coffee with the men. He sat with us and asked about where he could locate a long galvanized pipe to put up a yard light. He said he had no curtains on his windows there in the woods but sometimes had a creepy feeling after dark and thought a yard light would help.

Then in another conversation while we were pondering where a pipe could be found, he asked why one of the fellow’s dogs had such an odd looking collar on. We told him it had citronella in it and when the dog barked at customers coming in, he soon learned to stop because it gave out a whiff of the citronella. Now just putting that color on keeps him from barking.

He then tells me that a barking dog reminded him of a folk tale his mother read to him and his brothers about the Hobyahs. It is an early English tale written by Joseph Jacobs,  of an old man, his wife and a young girl living in the woods where evil Hobyahs dwell. The old man had a dog that barked every night and to get him to stop, the old man would, suffice it to say, do irreparable harm to the dog. Could be the Hobyahs took exception to this and ended up killing and devouring the old couple and stealing the young girl away in a gunny sack. Now what the benefit of telling this story at bedtime was, I can’t say. But the fellow looking for a pipe for his yard light was still bothered by it. I found the whole tale fascinating and had to look it up. There are newer versions, rewritten and illustrated but the old one read to him would be interesting to see.

Then it turns out in further conversation, that he went to school in the same town I did in Florida, and the places I could not remember too well, he could because he is fourteen years younger. It was quite a chatty morning. My social skills are definitely getting better and I asked if he could return to tell us when the light goes in and if he becomes less fearful of that lurking woods near his house.

So, I am thinking that my book with trees, leaves, sticks and stones invites an old tale to be written on the back. I like the idea of it written with a graphite pencil in cursive.  Maybe it could take the form of a series of letters back and forth….and maybe those pockets could hold hand made stamps. And maybe, just maybe, there could be drips of red sealing wax on the letters….

I need to put it away for a few days and give it some thought over some hand stitching.

More later…..

Too Many Pictures to Wait

We will start with the walk to the river near my house. It is filling up as the dam gets adjusted.

And wildflowers coming up by the river…

The violets inspired me to get back to the six way opening book that I was painting flowers in.

Next to this book on the shelf was this old attempt of mine to replicate Lorraine’s eucalyptus contact print books that she has sent me. The paper is not the best. I must have folded it against the grain because it is all ruffly on the fold. My leaves were not the best. But I just went ahead anyway and painted in some of the flowers that were blooming that Spring of a few years ago.

I am going to keep this book handy because its crudeness has a certain appeal. It already feels and looks worn out. Just the thing to paint in when I feel the same. Sort of a tattered collaboration.

The Meadow Book was opened again to capture the wintery feeling before Spring arrived.

I used different brushes and washes to get the tall dead cold grasses and a chilly mourning dove.

And another couple pages in the Sticks and Stones Book.

I promised myself to get out more by taking myself out to dinner every other Tuesday at a favorite restaurant of Lee’s and mine. By coincidence they sat me at our old booth. It was such a lonely feeling sitting there with no one across the table from me, and brought back other memories of the friends Lee and I always had dinner with there at that booth.

But I am going to return in two weeks with a friend from here in my new neighborhood. She used to live in our town before I moved here, and would stop by Lee’s and my workshop in town to say hi. Then life took her someplace else and then back to here where she would stop by Lee’s and my booth to still say hi. We shall have a good visit over dinner and remember things and people that used to be.

In the meantime I will keep busy here in my studio drawing, painting or stitching.

There was a nice view over our houses the other morning when I was walking back from town.

And an interesting, agitated sky that afternoon.

It was soon after the poetry reading at the library and my head was full of words in columns that spread through emotions.

Just now the delivery man left boxes that hold my new table and two chairs for the porch. I was hoping they would come all assembled and carried by two jolly fellows to wherever I wanted them. Instead I got one jolly fellow declining my request he stick around and put them together. So off I go with expectations that all pieces and parts are there. I will take my rubber mallet with me to give additional encouragement to misalignments.

Til later…..