Tuesday, July 31, 2012

an x-files sort of day

The gray sort of day out my big window.
The weather is in a wishy-washy, ambivalent gray sort of mood. Great for getting new plants in the ground ~ not so great for basking or lounging by the lake. So we're staying indoors with windows open (the breeze is nice) and making use of the Netflix account. Having all nine seasons of X-Files at my disposal is something I adore. I think I've mentioned this in an earlier post.

While Mulder and Scully do their investigative work on the paranormal and extraterrestrial, I spin yet more of the fine brown alpaca. Somewhere along the way, I spun in a small bit of brightly colored silk Kimberly had given me. So buried in the spool of tawny brown are bright flashes of magenta and teal for about, I don't know, three yards. Makes knitting a hat fun wondering where the color is going to appear in the stitching. A little something to look forward to this autumn.

Speaking of which, the beginning of autumn is tomorrow ~ Lammas, Lughnassadh. Makes the rest of summer bittersweet.
Mulder and Scully sleuthing mysterious murders in
this particular episode.

The Millie waiting for a little X-Files time.

Filling up the last bobbin with alpaca.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

rainy Sunday walk

The new Echinacea and a bee.

Coreopsis with colors that make me smile.

Black-eyed Susan.

Hannah waiting for her human to finish conversing
with Dirk and me.

The wall at the bottom of my hill.

Queen Anne's Lace on the way back up.

Carrot LeStrange.

Mutant sunflower.

Mutant sunflower butt.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

a day at the farmers' market

Another day was spent at the local Farmers' Market spinning more alpaca while Kimberly sold fibers and also spun. I like having nothing else to concern myself with other than spinning fiber otherwise lying dormant in one part of the house or another. So I brought Millie and the fine brown alpaca (got 2 spools full of single ply with the third working on the wheel) and some happy Churro to spin with a top-whorl spindle. I had an extra spindle for trying out; which was a fine idea, as I showed two children today how they too can spin string from fluffy stuff. Gotta get 'em hooked when they're young. (Not that taking marketing strategies from tobacco companies is always a welcome approach, but spinning yarn? C'mon! It's good clean, harmless fun.) (And while I'm idly speaking parenthetically: I must speak with Kimberly about getting her Dad to start whipping off some drop spindles in his spare time. If there's anything that could have sold twice over today, it would have been starter spinning kits.) But I digress . . .

The day proceeded. Dirk, Bennie, Ian and I shopped for a few items. I was absolutely elated to purchase three flowering plants from Shawangunk Horticulture. It's one thing I really miss about my mother's house is her cutting garden. Everyone needs flowers. Going out to pick a bouquet for the table or altar is a sure pick-me-up from the doldrums. The new additions are Echinacea, Coreopsis, and Black-eyed Susan. I was told by the proprietor that these flowers are grown tough ~ they'll grow in rocks. Which is what I've got plenty of. (Another lovely feature of Farmers' markets is talking with the folks who actually grow the stuff. Buying a potato takes on a whole new perspective when hearing the story of growing that potato.) Foods and other items were purchased as well, but the real payoff was at the end of the day when vendors either swapped goods or even offered some up for free. All of which happened very quickly today as the rain that held out let loose just at the end of the market. I came home with kale, three bags of potatoes, radishes, red onions, and 5 extra sunflowers along with the original three I bought from the person selling flowers next to us.

Now, with creativity of another sort, blue fish is cooking in the oven as is Gratin Dauphinois (cheesy potatoes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking) and steamed clams. Tomorrow, I'll be whipping up a kale-leek soup ~ 'cause I got some!

We are indeed bountiful. And I got some yarn spun.

Friday, July 27, 2012

new trick

Acrylic wash drying with plastic wrap.
I am trying something I saw on another site some time ago. I'm not doing the angel thing, but the process, perhaps layered, looks mighty intriguing. So, soapy water and plastic wrap it is ~ over a thick wash of acrylic paint. It's drying as I write.

We're feeling the downward spiral of summer's end. A little chillier at night (which I don't mind), days already getting perceptively shorter, plants looking spent and tired. This past week hasn't seen many visits to the lake. Weeding and straightening out the garden have been the main tasks. We've had only two tomatoes on the vine this summer and one bastard squirrel took the largest one and left it in the corner of the bed half eaten. It was just starting to turn too. I live for the summer tomato sandwich with mayo and fresh basil . . . doesn't seem to be in the cards for me this summer.
Smooshed a little closer.

My page from yesterday on a
recycled Nat Geo cover.

Another page from a couple of days ago with the new
stamps Bennie and I chose.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

a day at the dining table

A quick, blurry snapshot of the Creative Space.
I was inspired to do some SoulCollage® after listening to a recording of Anne Marie Bennett's latest Summer Camp class, Exploring Shadow in the Light of SoulCollage®. Figured I'd drag Bennie along for the ride. She's been avoiding the school's summer reading of The Old Man and the Sea, but there are only so many hours one can play Mario Kart (or lounge by the lake). Since there was the on-and-off threat of rain, what better way to spend the afternoon? So we took over the dining table again. I wanted to explore a couple of my Shadow beings and Bennie dove into a triptych. Some fun music was put on and we got to play.

Dinner was served in the Family Room . . .
Two of my Shadows.

1/2 the Person (I Used to Be) ~ I am the one who isn't
complete. I am the one who can't seem to get with the
program. What would I do with my Wholeness?

The Obsessive One ~ I am the one
who churns and burns over issues in
my mind. I want answers and I can't
to get them!

Bennie's triptych in progress . . .

Sunday, July 22, 2012

a busier Sunday than usual

The Ancestor Gate closed.
It is a lovely, balmy day. I've been stuck inside during the more sultry days until evening. It's when we would wander down to the lake for that evening swim. So Things are getting done thanks to the cooler weather today. The garden has been weeded ~ it was muchly needed. Some watering occurred there as well. I finished my Ancestor Gate diorama. Later tonight, I'll be creating a Smilebox to share with the 8 Gates Yahoo Groups. It's too nice to be stuck at the keyboard today.

So. I will share what I did in visuals and get back on outside . . . burn some meat on the grill or something. With a beer. And a smile.
The Ancestor Gate inside.

A mosaic journal page from a few days ago.

Yesterday's journal page.

Today's journal page with a tasty mandala.

Some happy wisteria.

A beauteous butterfly on the Echinacea.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

the Gate of the Ancestors

Webs and light.
I had a rare occurrence of something called Free Time today. This allowed me time to . . . fiddle about with nonsense before actually executing any work on a piece of art. The desk was cleared of extraneous stuff (mainly bowls of crystals that need a new home so I have room to work on said desk). A few items were framed and hung on the walls ~ all of which had Absolutely Nothing to do with any of my creations. Something got glued, I think. The pens were sorted ~ Micron, Sharpies, Gel, white. I traded up the dull blade on my X-acto for a fresh one. I pulled a SoulCollage® carte du jour (got Picasso ~ go figure). Read up on my Wildwood Tarot pick, the Seven of Stones . . .

Web with spider.
Then I added stuff to the 8 Gates diorama. Bananarama. (Had to write it.) The print out from knitting instructions on making a spider web was added. I changed my mind on doing that when I found the instructions to be lacking on a great many instructions. But the photo was neat. I added stamped artwork around the photo, layered it with Mod Podge (stuff of the Universe, I don't care what Carl Sagan says) and then, with a brayer, rolled out some bronze Liquitex ink over the whole she-bang. The spider web dream catcher was hung when I remembered having an actual silver spider to add. Originally, I thought I'd wire this puppy with xmas lights, but reconsidered due the potential for fire hazard what with using cardboard and all. Instead, I installed a battery operated LED votive flame. I am enjoying the direction we're all going on now. We might even stop at an ice cream stand on the way . . .

I love this little sleeping face stamp.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

the night was humid . . .

The interior is coming along nicely.
It is perhaps one of my favorite lines from Throw Momma From the Train ~ while Larry Donner is struggling to find that first, elusive line for his unwritten novel. Another favorite is: Look! Cows! But since I can't find that quote on YouTube, this one works just as well for the sweltering evening. Hmmm. Makes me wonder if I can find this movie on Netflix for tonight while Bennie and I play a wicked hand of 500 Rummy. A game at which I am merciless.

Yet I digress. We had an errand-filled sort of day. Gnarly, onerous tasks which seemed to have no end until it was time to prepare a light dinner. (Too damned hot for anything more.) These sorts of days, once again, keep me from doing what I'd prefer to do, but I did manage some time in the studio to work on the 8 Gates diorama. A photo of the recently installed Ancestor Altar was glued into the background while some interesting print-off I'd created was glued to the flaps. It's a vague plan to add other things before hanging the spiderweb dream catcher inside.
A slightly closer view of that progress.

Monday, July 16, 2012

on vigil

ObiWan getting in on the creativity.
 The weekend consisted mainly of whirlwind activities . . . We are in recovery.

Today, I wanted to immerse myself in studio time. First, I had to remove ObiWan from my 8 Gates work in progress. I guess he thought he could be included in the diorama. Once said cat was relocated somewhere more convenient (the paint table ~ I didn't say the relocation was convenient for me), I painted the insides black. While that dried, I created a spider web using a 5" hoop and fish line a la dream catcher style. More on that at a later date. For tonight, I'm leaving the diorama to percolate ~ there may be Ancestors involved in this piece which requires a bit of "listening." (Or a sharp rap across the knuckles with a ruler. We'll see.) I'm sensing something with collage and doors.

Another painting finished means an empty easel. Old canvases were hauled out from hiding. Canvases given me from a dumpster diving expedition on some college campus or another. So these are not my disasters, but the frames and canvas are in fair condition. Even if they're not perfect in one sense, they are perfect in many other ways. And gesso hides a multitude of sins. Perhaps more so than girdles or the correct amount of foundation make-up. Gesso. It's a girl's best friend. 
8 Gates diorama to date.

Except I've found my gesso to be a bit old so spreading it on was not a particularly delicious experience, but the work got done and now the canvas is waiting to dry overnight to receive a second coat tomorrow.

Then . . . I wait for a Vision.

In the meantime, I am on my Flamekeeping Vigil. This time spent in the studio with Brighid is always good.

Old canvas waiting for gesso.
Never thought to look carefully at this painting. It looks
like an x-ray of someone's neck and jaw.

Gesso drying with Brighid's Flame burning in the

Friday, July 13, 2012

Bennie's day out

I am very, very tired. Ian's circadian rhythm is synchronized with some galaxy far, far away so he didn't sleep all night and then he made us crepes for breakfast at the insane hour of 5:00am. He woke us all to eat at 7:00am (another insane hour from the two hours previous ~ especially during summer). As I hadn't slept very well, coffee wasn't touching the kind of tired I'm feeling. It just made me feel jittery and wired. The crepes were lovely, but a little later in the morning when my eyelids didn't feel like sandpaper would have been better met.

Instead of more coffee, I vacuumed. (And yet I'm still tired. Go figure.) There will be much fiber processing going on tonight in preparation for the farmers' market tomorrow. Didn't want to mix Dust Bunnies with fine alpaca.

However, just so you don't think I'm slacking on imagery due to crepe and vacuum exhaustion, I've got this here Smilebox of Bennie's photos. So smile!

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow
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This digital slideshow made with Smilebox

Thursday, July 12, 2012

a break from navel gazing

Sketching out the Bookman Old Style font.
Sometimes, you gotta stop, look up and look around. This would be my time. Kimberly is coming down to sell her fibers, spun and unspun, at our local farmer's market. I will be spending this Saturday spinning and minding the table as needed.

But first, we need a sign. Thankfully, it's not in the form of omens or prognostication. Simply a painted one. Which I had fun doing. For someone else. For once. I am an Aries after all.

By the way, the name of the place is: Lone Birch Farms. Thank Gods, I spelled it correctly on the sign!
Sometimes, it's better to work on letters upside down.
Then it's like working on art.

Now it just needs to birch leaf which should be coming
down from upstate with Kimberly.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

art & the Ancestor Altar

There's been a small flurry of creative activity in my studio the past few days. I finished the Dawn Light painting ~ I don't know if that'll be the name of it. It is coated with Mod Podge thus protected for hanging or selling. I enjoy the stained-glass effect that developed at the bottom.

I've created three journal pages (sans personal musings) with magazine pages, gesso, Mod Podge, collage and gouache (yummy stuff, that). However thanks to watching a few videos from Effy Wild, my supply list is changing and growing. Getting my hands on some Dr. Martin's Inks would be fab! And that's just for starters.

Finally, the newly-installed Ancestor Altar. Well. Where do I begin? There I was painting in my studio, finishing up the previously mentioned painting, when I felt my attention being tugged to another corner, one long neglected. For a few months I've had ancestral photos sitting in boxes waiting for a home in our home. They were gleaned from the walls of my mother's house. The rest of my day started by hanging a needlepoint my grandmother made. It was a piece I'd always seen as a child and something that held a healthy aspiration: Let me live in the house by the side of the road and be a friend to man. All I did was hang that. Suddenly, the flood gates opened and People wanted my attention. I spent the next three hours, cleaning and, in some cases, re-framing and hanging photos of my ancestors. Some were packed away again as I had no connection to them or I didn't know who they were (yet) or they weren't labeled (much to my chagrin). Those who I remember are now on the wall in my dining room. My China cabinet is now the Ancestors Altar ~ a permanent installation subject to change.
A page from Nat Geo set with gesso.

The day ended with a good meal and libations to Those Who Have Gone Before. A shot of whiskey, a beer and a glass of water. A portion of our meal was served later (but before we sat down to eat). It was exhausting, but exhilarating work.

The back side of the same page also set.

Drawing paper with gouache and a
printout of my mug coated with Mod Podge
and then colored with a wash of gouache.

The Ancestors Altar, complete for now.

Libations and Light.