Monday, March 29, 2010

on backs & socks

These three cards represent the start of a process. These are the Commitee cards that survived the gesso-latex paint debacle, an act of crime so artistically heinous I won't go into it again. However, the latex paint alone seems to be sticky with no signs becoming unsticky. I brushed a matte medium acrylic on the latex surfaces, creating interesting brush strokes and small blobs. Once the medium was dried, I brushed watercolors over that surface and then dabbed some of the paint away with either a paper towel or cotton ball. I may work away a little more of the color this morning ~ the idea is to keep the yellow as the dominant color to represent this suit in my SoulCollage. I rather wish I had some glitter. I think I have some dried, pressed flowers languishing somewhere. I have access to stickers. I'm sure I'll find means of making the backs almost as interesting as the fronts. The important thing is not too rush. Painting the backs of my cards needs to be a focused Zen experience ~ when I brush on the matte medium, brush on the matte medium. Another version of that has something to do with washing rice. Does not apply to activities in the studio unless the kitchen sink is out.

In the Simple Mindless Knitting portion of my life, one sock is fininshed, the other begun. Let's see if I have enough #147 Purple in Vanna's Jiffy pile. The uncertainty has Simple Mindless Knitting on the edge of one's seat, does it not?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

workin' it!

Last night, I got a burst of energy ~ fueled by a finished fleece and a desire to work something big. Once Kevin was spun and plied, I got busy going through the other gray-to-brown wools with an idea in mind. I dug up Alissa, Sweet Pea (a dark gray Romney) and a chocolate brown wool I'd spun and plied 2 years ago, origins unknown at present. They all got a good washing to remove the last of the sticky lanolin (some weren't all that well washed ~ must have been the soap used at the time) and are hanging as shown. The first is Alissa, the second hanging is Sweet Pea. Chillin' in the laundry room is Kevin. It all looks a little weird in my bathroom, but after a spin in the washing machine, they're nearly dry and ready for . . . the Idea. To be posted at a latter date, cliff-hanger style.

I started spinning Bennie's Cashmere down during The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Smarter Brother. Tom seems to be in a Sherlock Holmes phase, watching Jeremy Brett (those were goodies, eh?), no Basil, and reading a few of the books. I told him Smarter Brother was a must-see. I love Madeline Kahn and Gene Wilder ~ Dom DeLuise was, as always, a stitch. I don't know how much he enjoyed it. He was playing an on-line game the whole time. Maybe if the new girlfriend were here to watch along with him instead of his mother, guffawing and spinning.

And in case you've forgotten: It's a dog's life.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

rediscovering fiber-y treasures

It is the last of #239 Shetland. Let's call him Kevin, shall we? It offers some hope that the fellow who gave of his fleece is still walking the earth with grim, if not hairless, satisfaction. I am very close to plying this puppy. Then, perhaps a boxy cardigan sort of sweater? A couch? Who knows? In this, the world is my oyster.

Making my way to the studio, I found these other bags. I assumed they were both more Shetland from the Wild Apple Hill Farm. Imagine my surprise when I opened the second bag to find a substantial amount of fine brown alpaca. The Shetland is 1.89 lbs of the ewe, Ava, purchased for $28 at last year's Sheep & Wool. Now I have fleece cleaning to do. The sweater of my imagination is increasing in length as I write.

In the same bag with the alpaca, I found these . . .

A small bag of last year's Sheep & Wool featured fleece, Leicester Longwool, and roving merely marked "Tartan Green." Couldn't tell you what sheep it came from ~ I'm going to guess Corriedale, but don't hold me to it.

But wait! There's more . . .
How about this bunny wool and two tiny bags of Cashmere down? The plan is to mix the bunny wool with the short bits of the #239 (aka Kevin) wool just to see what happens. One little baggie of Cashmere down is for Bennie, the other for me. She wanted to spin up the Cashmere down herself. I forbade it. She can try her hand at some cheap and tawdry Romney or even leftover bits of Shetland, but not Cashmere down. These spun up into singles can become wristlets with some beads.

And here is happy quick sock #1 nearing the toe.

Brighid is with me until sundown today as well. Really, I am wealthy beyond measure.

Monday, March 22, 2010

the art of making mistakes

Sometimes, as an artist, I get a little cocky, just a little too arrogant. I figure I know what the hell I'm doing and just go right on ahead and do it. Then I am humbled by results such as this:

This is one of the SoulCollage images done on card stock. It curled immediately upon applying gesso and then the subsequent coat of latex paint. Some of the other images were destroyed beyond saving and have hit the Round File. That's fine. This hard lesson only means I have to handle the images set on card stock differently. I will still continue to paint the backs in some corresponding colors. I'll have to paint the backs for the card stock images on another piece of card stock or paper and then glue them in place.

The backs of these images on illustration board survived the experiment with the latex paint finish, but I won't be using that paint again. Instead, I'll switch to the safer, more flexible acrylic. Yellows can still represent my Commitee Suit.

The next set gesso'd and awaiting ideas. The backs of these cards can become their own art forms.

Sometimes, art requires a little more attentiveness.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

going vernal

You know, it isn't the first day of spring. Since it's equal day/night, we're actually at mid-Spring. The first day was somewhere 'round the beginning of February, when the ewes were lambing. It was the first warm day we got to enjoy though and that counts for something.

The bamboo survived the heavy snow.

The chickens enjoyed sun and dirt baths.

Crystal enjoyed guarding the South 40.

Bodhi basked in the sun.

Darth got dirty.

And I did absolutely Nothing.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

some skinny

Bennie, inspired by Violette, has been taking up residence in the studio space doing a few of her own paintings and collages. For the past two days, she's been dropping the backpack, getting a snack and then heading for the painting table to play. And, yes, the homework is done, Mom. Nothing should get in the way of creativity.

Which is why, I got myself a little busy today. Too much has been getting in the way of my creativity. Won't bother listing the beef.

I moodled over an idea of painting the backs of the SoulCollage cards instead of lining them with wrapping paper or creating some other kind of printed back design. They won't all match exactly except in color ~ which is easy to do for the time being because I have paint used for the walls in the house. (The problem is we'll need the paint for the second/third coats on some of the walls.) What I envision is the matching colors corresponding to the four suits as created by Seena Frost, but with some variations ~ sponge painting, spatters, brush strokes. The first hazard: some of the cards curled upon applying the gesso. The card stock ones, in fact. Note to self: tape down the card stock based images. The tender beginnings of a completed Commitee Suit pictured here. (I'll have to move them before Bennie comes home to do her paintings!)

And I started a sock. Magic Loop again. Mindless knitting was necessary. I'm still in GS overnight recovery. I might remember my name by lunch. It's lunch now? Nevermind.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010


That's 'Visual Journaling,' in case the title wasn't clear.

Bennie found this book in AC Moore's on a crafty shopping spree (she'd received a gift card at xmas). She brought it over to show me and I pooh-pooh'd it saying, "You know how to do this stuff without the book. Besides, with the money available on this card, it's either the items you've chosen or this book." She returned it to the shelf stating she'd get it another time. Better to have paints and canvas than another book right now.

Then I wandered on over to the site.

Well, maybe the book would be handy after all. I write in my journal frequently, not everyday, but enough to fill pages before the year is out. Why would I ignore the opportunity to be creative in something I do nearly everyday? I don't always get huge blocks of time to paint. In fact, part of that creative process is carving out the time to paint. I fit knitting in wherever I'm waiting. Spinning I tend to do while the TV is on with the family at night. The journal is my Daily Grind, why let it languish with odes to Pissing & Moaning?

These are some illustrations I've done to date . . .

The Om Frog agrees.

Monday, March 08, 2010

the SoulCollage binder . . . by golly!

Over the weekend, I did this super collage for my SoulCollage binder (as highly recommended by Seena Frost in her book) to keep my I Am . . . statements. I was extra pleased with myself to find and use, from Dirk's out-of-date collection of flooring samples, a binder made from recycled materials and soy ink. All images were glued on with rubber cement and burnished. In the next couple of days, I hope to make it down to the basement to cover the surfaces with clear acrylic. I try to do these spray painting activities in large batches ~ say 10 to 15 cards at a time. Limits the hazardous, noxious fumes somewhat. The clear acrylic gives me the finish I like on the cards.

This is the outside front.

Outside back.


Singing over the bones . . .

Friday, March 05, 2010

there are few words

The following are random shots from this past weekend and the crazy snow storm that hovered over our part of the world. We didn't have power from Thursday night until Tuesday afternoon. Despite the inconveniences (and there were many I won't bother listing here), we did have some fun. Enjoy the images!