Blog

Some Changes Here

Remember this six books in one binding that I made last fall? Well I have now decided to not write in it (at least for now) but do my wildflower paintings in it.

There are many, many pages gessoed on both sides in all of the six book configurations. The color glides over this gesso much easier than on the other concertina book I started. So now I have folded that one all up and put it away. Almost threw it away but there is something salvageable in almost anything….so it is tucked in with all my stacked up drawing a day books.

And right this minute there is lots of laughter coming from upstairs as Lee and his new friend, Lilly, get to know each other. She is a physical therapist as well as his part time caregiver. And is scheduled to come three times a week for four hours in the afternoon while I work down in the studio or office with uninterrupted time. Bliss.

So far I have had a good forty-five minutes on my Migun massage bed (a luxury I have not been able to have since Christmas). Now I am downloading photos onto this larger computer where it seems my life is kept in pictures. Next I move across the hall and start to clean up my studio to prepare for some printmaking that has been put off for a very long time.

Lily will help Lee with leg cramps and work with doing exercises with him. She seems to be a very upbeat person, loves cats, showed us pictures of her own, brings her own food, and is getting along great with him.

The best thing is that the long term care insurance that we took out in 1993 is going to cover the cost. Both Lee and I passed our annual physicals this past week….seems we are both going to continue on…..no issues other than his dementia.

I will finish this in the morning when I can add in the drawings a day.

Okay it is now a day later. Lee is outside working on his rocks again while there is no rain. He liked Lilly and asked when she comes back. Tomorrow I will reintroduce him again and soon he will remember who she is.

The last four days of drawings and haiku.

This will crush garlic.

But most of the clove will be

left behind inside.

 

Now this spatula

is used solely to scoop out

orange marmalade.

This can pit olives,

and does a nice job of it –

but pinched my finger!

 

Bean “stringer/slicer”

was found in the back bottom

of a crowded drawer.

The things in that drawer are getting boring. How excited can one get over too many useless things that have no interesting shapes and way too many close relatives crammed in there with them? Soon I may have to find another drawer…then after that just go outside where the really interesting things are just laying around.

I did get the studio put back into a working order. Tomorrow when Lilly returns I might just start designing a print block. But for now while I wait for the butter to get to room temperature so I can make those delicious malt cookies, I might do another wildflower in the book.

Tonight company comes for dinner….a rare occurrence anymore. Puttanesca over pasta and baby spinach. An Aussie red and a single malt to start or finish.

Til later.

Thinking About Options

I bought these three books from the shop at the Western Australian Museum in Perth many years ago. I had just arrived via the Indian Pacific Railway and was staying a couple of days at a B & B. It was the middle of my wanting to own one of each thing I found in the shops….anything Australian. My bags were full, I was wearing down (like those of us do when traveling alone). I was sitting in the outdoor cafe at the museum watching a woman being totally looked after by her husband. They were enjoying themselves. My feet hurt from walking around the Botanical Garden. My shoulders ached from carrying my camera, sketching supplies, purse and purchases. I coveted her traveling companion at the moment. I wanted to have someone to say, ‘Isn’t it beautiful here?’ to.

But I ordered lunch with a nice wine, took out my books, and found Ellis Rowan, one of Australia’s well known botanical artists. Her work was full of drama…. not content to just draw the plant in its natural setting, but put a snake in there…a butterfly….whatever she thought would tell more of a story about her subject. I think she was considered out of the bounds of good botanical illustration by her peers…mostly male scientists who made those assessments during those early days of needed documentation.

Some of her paintings look “clumsy” by comparison to the more light-handed delicate interpretations of plant drawings by others.

I was glad to pull her off the shelf because she made me feel better about how my wildflower drawings are going in this long concertina book. The paper is a cheap sponge. The color in the watercolors gets sucked into dullness. The contact prints of drab, dead leaves are just that, drab and dead. Then I looked at the sewing patches here and there and wondered why I felt compelled to do that…..so I added more. I added more stitch lines. The poor quality paper tears easily on the folds when handled. Some drawings are not very good. But….

It gives me something to do….like other older women who just keep doing terrible looking sewing projects. It keeps our hands busy. It keeps us looking and giving a good shot at making something. I remind myself of my mother doing large crewel pieces using leftover sale fabrics and cheap yarn. She would have liked this book. And maybe further down the line of twenty six panels, I might like it too.

The Bush Book is still at the printers. Each section has to get several tests before the print colors match the book painting. The toad page took seven tries to get it right. Once I get all fifteen double panels printed on the right paper I will paste them all together, make the folds and cover and then think about a small edition.

Four more Drawing a Day entries.

First out of the drawer

a wooden citrus juicer –

very hard to draw.

 

For peeling carrots,

potatoes, eggplants, squashes,

even cucumbers.

 

The smaller of two

whisks in the kitchen drawer

whips the hollandaise.

 

This tool is supposed

to cut pizza in slices.

A knife is better.

 

There is a chance that I might get back into the studio for time alone to work. We are looking into professional companionship for Lee three times a week. They seem very nice and Lee is fine with the idea of someone besides me doing all the talking.

More on that later.

Til then.

Thinking About Books

I am back to drawing into the Responsibility Hands. This is the third left hand and the fifth one in the series. He uses the wrong side of the knife to cut and does not remember the food that needs cutting should be held in place with the fork. He can not remember how to use the toaster, puts his pill in the water instead of his mouth if I am not watching, is confused by where to use his electric razor (sometimes shaving his ears to the loss of some hair on the side of his head). And often gets his gloves confused, but since there are only two hands this is easily corrected. The velcro straps on his shoes are problematic a lot of the time. If I hear the buzz of his razor, I check to see what he is trimming. And we are still able to chuckle at some of these mix ups.

The last four days of Drawing a Day with Haiku. These are actually like a meditation time for me.

Someone went fishing

with their line all tightly wrapped.

Anticipation!

 

Short line with old hook

and sinker for four-fifty.

Cost of good stories.

 

Measuring circles

of any radius from

one to six inches.

 

An old jeweler’s notebook

is the last thing for drawing

in a filled basket.

And yesterday I finished up the four new sketchbooks to keep me doing these drawings and haiku through the rest of the year.

The other day I took in the rest of my framed prints with stitching into the Folk School Craft Shop. I will have to get back to printing to make any more. Not so easy when I can’t get to the studio for the length of time that printmaking requires.

While cleaning out my jewelry boxes and closet to pass things on to the girls in the craft shop, I found this shirt that I never could part with. Pure silk, dry clean only, size 12, that was always tucked neatly into my Gloria Vanderbilt jeans. That was at least forty-five years ago. I never thought I would wear it again, just liked the memory of it.

The back.

I hand washed it and am going to cut it into small sheets to stitch into, Those little woven-in hounds tooth checks can keep me in straight lines. I will bring up a small embroidery hoop to keep it from slipping around too much. It is something I can do while sitting with Lee.

And now I am going to return to the Wildflower Bush Book.

I actually like the dull old drabbiness of this book. I am thinking before I go much further I should draw stones and sticks along the bottom pockets.

Tuesday I will hopefully pick up all the sheets to cut and bind the animals Bush Book. If I like how well it works, I will likely have 20 more printed to bind and sell. Getting the color right is the biggest problem with trying to edition a book like this. And because the magic is in seeing the full length of all the pictures, piecing all the sections will be tedious. I will post how the first one looks….good or bad!

Til later.

 

February Reflections

There was a nice full moon the other night. Every full moon seems to have a name. Why isn’t “full moon” enough any more? When it happens and the night is clear the moon wakes me up and makes it impossible to sleep. I resist the urge to get out of bed and just stare at it and later try to keep my eyes on the road as I drive to the gym in the dark morning.

I make up for lost sleep later in the nights that follow. I think there is some old lore about women and moons but I really don’t care. There are nights that it just needs to leave me alone.

These are the condition of my boxing gloves.

This was the condition of the bag before they tossed it out and replaced it with a kick boxing bag.

And here is the bike I peddle for over 4,000 steps before going into the workout section of the gym.

I can’t punch the kickboxing bag because it is too soft and my hands shift with each hit and get rubbed raw. I miss beating the stuffing out of something. I miss the jarring action in my arm and chest. And I don’t have the time now to wrap my hands before putting on my gloves. But someday I am going in there and really hit that new bag hard, really hard over and over. If I wasn’t seventy-five and feeling I would topple over, I’d take up kickboxing. My gloves wait in the gym bag reminding me there is still going to be time to smack something.

The daily drawing continues.

This pulley system

needs a mate across the street

in order to work.

 

I picked this thing up

then bought it because it felt

so good in my hand.

 

I thought I might use

this piece shaped like a window

for a book or box.

 

We will be sending

Rudy Osolnick’s turned bowl

on to Arrowmont.

 

I was looking for something in my drawer of cards the other day and found old photos of things I used to do. A welded bear and a welded family of three.

And one of the postcards from my MFA graduate exhibition. It is a detail of one of the men that was the focus of my graduate work.

Five men gave me old shirts that I painted with the silver paint they use on tin roofed sheds. The shirts hung on conduit aluminum pipe shaped into a stand at their individual heights. Shelves of old harvested wood hung where their chests would be and those were filled with collections of bits of scrap pieces that seemed relevant to what I felt was their internal selves. Lots of old electric cords that showed their relinquished power hung from the box. They were arranged in a grouping much like they gathered in on the corner each morning. They stood on a rug I had them use to stand and work on at another gathering place to fix things…make those things work again.

A sound system was triggered with wires under the rug and into their chests. When you walked among them it would trigger them talking to each other. The voices were recorded months in advance. And deep in a waste bin near these “men” was the soft tones of one of their friends saying grace before their Saturday breakfast in the back room of a gas station and the sound of Mary Chapin Carpenter singing, “A Town in Caroline.”

When I shipped all the parts to graduate school in Vermont a viewer walked through the men and informed me that one of the guys did not talk to him. I told him that even if he visited my men in North Carolina, some would not speak to him.

A lot of those fellows are gone now. I smile whenever I think of them…how they had so much security and sureness about who they were and where they belonged. I envy that feeling that each and every day you can go some place to be with those who know you belong there.

Til later…probably Sunday.