Saturday, March 30, 2013

showing up

Playing with blue, purple and white.
Like anyone else, I have my bouts of artistic ambivalence. Doubts linger, I procrastinate. I'll find some form of mind candy to dull the fear of approaching the easel and painting. Really, it shouldn't be a big deal. Not wanting to waste paint or wreck a canvas is not a good reason to show up in the studio. So, while this attempt thus far seems half-hearted and hesitant, it was enough to be at the easel to paint this piece of clear gesso-ed plywood. I played with the acrylic paints using brush, brayer and then spraying the surface with green and blue Tattered Angel glimmer mist. We'll see what the next few days bring.
Added some black and then started rolling white.

As it stands now . . . awaiting a vision.

Friday, March 29, 2013

dressing it up

A cleaned and turned garden waiting for plants.
It was a great day for getting out to the groggy garden. Living on a mountainous terrain, we tend to grow rocks ~ literally. They appear after a deluge, popping up here and there in the drive way and throughout the yard. So raised beds is the way to plant much of anything. The other thing is the growing season is a little short here. Snowdrops nod their little pale heads about two weeks later than down in the flat lands. Tulips and daffodils are just pushing up their stems now . The most we can manage is to play with and in the dirt ~ turn the beds, clean up around them, plant pea seeds. Bennie and I enlisted Dirk to help us sink the terra cotta pieces into the pathway for easier barefoot walking. Last year, I laid them on top of the ground to get an idea of how they might look and because I like to use what's laying around instead of buying more rocks. I've already got 'em. Why buy 'em?

Fresh air, sun, old rooster taking a dirt bath ~ what more could one ask for? It is the kind of work I like really. Like painting or spinning or knitting or weaving, my hands and body are in concert, doing real work. Paperwork, phone calls and faxes drive completely around the bend. Business e-mails too, for that matter. I've little patience for them. Moving rocks from one part of the yard to the other gives me immediate gratification. Tactile, physical ~ I am moving the rocks. Sounds a little insane, but then there are crazier things on this earth. Maybe it's a control issue too. I don't have to worry about the internet working or the phone call going through or re-faxing the same document three times because some yobo forgot to turn on their fax. All I need is my able body ~ one of which I am grateful to still have.

And so the garden is waiting for warmer days of tomatoes and basil, peppers and squash. In the meantime, Brownie gets to enjoy his old age in relative safety and comfort. We also tested out the walkway with our bare feet and it was a delicious experience despite the chill.
Brownie checking out the fresh-laid walk.

Sans rooster.

Speaking of spinning, here is the Starry Night spun
whilst watching The Hobbit. I am envisioning the next
knitted art piece ~ clay faces, sticks, feathers . . .

The Studio Travelocity Gnome approves.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

watching The Hobbit

Bennie's knitted hanging . . .
They're starting The Hobbit without me, so here's a quick run-down . . .
A couple of pages in progress . . .

Fun ink squiggles on a page . . .

A finished page with stenciling and writing . . .

Mohair with sparkly stuff I'm spinning while watching
the movie ~ the fiber is called Starry Night using colors
found in Van Gogh's painting.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Dear Genius, O Muse!

A little of my work (on the left) with some
copyrighted work from Tangie Baxter and
Effy Wild (on the right) ~ a journal page.

Hello. It's me. Everyday I seek communion with you. It is said all I need do is show up, literally and figuratively, and you do the voodoo you do. I suspect there are other places you opt to make yourself known ~ waiting for the train, traffic jams, certain boring conventions that shall remain nameless. I like when, Dear Genius, you come on padded feet as I walk in the woods, silent and alone. There's a romance to that. More so than if you joined me unawares in the shower handing me my errant soap. And Muse, O Muse, I adore when you sneak an inspiration into my mind as dishes are being done, my hands deep in soapy water, prisoners in a sudsy pool.

The problem with either of these visitations, Dear Genius, O Muse, is I rarely have the tools with which to capture those golden filaments of inspiration in the instant they arrive. The human mind, with its foibles, its limitations, must be relied upon to re-member the flash, the insight, before it's lost in the day-to-day. Washed down the kitchen drain, mired in the muck of a chicken coop, folded neatly with the clean clothes. Yes, these things are done, but the work of my Soul sits upon a shelf, undone, incomplete, half remembered.

And so I ask you, Dear Genius, O Muse, please meet me in the studio where all my stuff is so we can play there together. I'll bring tea, I'll bring scones. This is my Invitation to you, Dear Genius, O Muse. And if you can't make it to the studio, then the shower is fine. 

Sunday, March 24, 2013

we pause for flower identification

This rather large bloom appeared on one of my plants
this morning. I've no idea what kind of plant it is. It might
ask me to feed it. I'm glad my name isn't Seymour.

A profile shot.

Hanging out in the studio today.

Unlike the last one, it did not come with a ready-made title.

So I await a Name.
And more instructions as I don't feel this
piece is complete yet. Let it percolate.

Friday, March 22, 2013

the artful dodger

Coming to life . . .
Alright, so I was being a little cute with the title. However, I have been dodging from one art form to another today. All betwixt and between dealing with various bits of the Everyday (which, no matter how hard I try, can not be ignored). Another knitted hanging is coming to life with yet another clay face made by Lyn Belisle and this curious feather-wing butterfly I found stuck in an indoor tree while visiting a relative in hospital. I'll have a better idea what to add once I find a hospitable stick in the woods that would like to become a part of art. The fiber is either alpaca or bunny ~ alas, its composition eludes me. It has a nice hand though which makes this art somewhat touchable.

Also, I created a journal page based on a conversation with the Dalai Lama found here. While I haven't suffered atrocities of this magnitude, there are days when the Little Me sure does feel like it. The background is a type written rant encrypted in Vulcan Script. I then sprayed the text and wrote the following over it all ~ Meditation: for those days when it feels like Life is being held for ransom. Ruminations @ 11:00.
Kidnapped by reality.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

doin' it my way

Obliterated writing.
Much has been learned about visual journal page creation from various sources ~ Effy Wild, Donna Downey, Tamara Laporte, to name a few. I've played with gesso and layers and an altered-book and fonts and tags. When I returned to creating pages with the 3-ring binder in mind, I found myself wandering back to some of the things I'd done before. One page, one day. Writing and leaving it intact or obliterating it with images, paint or collage. It's taken on a different flavor thanks to what I've learned (mainly from Effy's BOD) giving me results I enjoy. It is a happy marriage of self expression and beauty.
Stencils and inks and type printed on tracing paper, oh my!

Writing and home made stencil on paint sample.
Another reason to love Home Depot.

Another fave ~ Left Hand drawing with spray inks, masking
tape as, well, masking.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

beet eggs

Red onion skins and spinach made an interesting rust color.
Bennie found the easy recipe in Circle Round for egg coloring. Feeling intrepid, I went for the idea and purchased frozen blueberries, blackberries and spinach, canned beets and gathered onion skins from the onions in the produce section. Then I invited a couple of neighbors to join us for egg coloring using these natural food dyes. And so it was a gathering.

The recipe is supremely easy: 1 cup of material (onion skins, berries, etc), 1 cup (or a little more if needed) of water boiled for 20 minutes. Strain, add 2 tablespoons of white vinegar and have fun.

We now have eggs to decorate the Equinox altar for tomorrow. I do like getting things done in a timely manner. And the chicken soup I made for feeding the folk wasn't too shabby either.
Blackberries came out a deep purple.

Eggs waiting for color.

Bennie dipping into the beet juice.

An interesting assortment of colors ~ muted, rich, deep, quirky.

Sunday, March 17, 2013


Trees sketched and Frisket laid over the image.
Frisket. In some ways, I may be dating myself. The last time I ever used Frisket film airbrush art was all the rage. Now there's Photoshop. This morning there was this vague recollection of having some still laying around in my studio. Happy was I to actually find a barely-used packet of the stuff bought I-don't-know how many years ago.

Using the back of my paint sample page, taped with masking tape for texture and then covered in gesso, I sketched a scene I see every morning when I wake; the trees twining into themselves and each other out the window.

Plenty of mistakes and a mess made using the Frisket, but that's fine. It's just art for the journal and it's the perfect space for making mistakes.
One tree cut away and the first color sprayed
using the Tattered Angel.

A little drying time (and, of course, I forget the
Tattered Angel project isn't waterproof after
application), then the second tree is cut and
another color applied.

The third tree, third color.

Frisket removed and one more, very light,
color applied.

Trees outlined in a thin Sharpie.
Ready for writin' and ruminatin'.

Friday, March 15, 2013

home made stencil

Gill Sans Ultra printed in outline (save the ink) and
then cut from the card stock.

Liberally spritzed with Tattered Angels ink.

Chunky letters, splattered and left to dry.

Use the same stencil to outline the letters again using
Sakura Gelly Roll pen.
Ruminations @ 11:00. The next fun experiment might
use a less chunky font.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

a-walkin' we went . . . barefoot

Comes a time in the year, early spring usually, when I've had about enough of socks and boots. My toes long to feel the earth! The caress of greening grass, the crunch of last autumn's leftover leaves, the freezing mud, the occasional pebble (Gaia's free random reflexology service ~ trust me, you get it where you need it). The sun was out and there was a breeze or two and despite having a hat and a heavy sweater, I went out barefootin'. Bennie joined me also unshod. Dirk had his usual two-to-three layers and boots. This time of year makes for a chilly-footed walk, but it's worth every step to feel the earth. To have that direct connection refreshes every cell in my body ~ an instant remedy for that Daylight Savings Time drag lag. And we got the mail.

Now I feel awake and inspired enough to get a few things done in the studio. Or I could cocoon and nap to X-Files . . . either way, it ain't all bad.

Monday, March 11, 2013

things the moon told me

Things the Moon Told Me

She told me I was wise
that I carry All History.
One needs Silence to hear it,
Hindsight to see it.
She told me I was All Mystery.
Wear gray, be invisible.
Wear red, be strident.
Wear black, be the Void.
The moon shared so much with me;
She told me enough to fill the sky.
It is secret and it is not,
For she tells everyone the same thing.
It becomes your secret when it is deciphered
in your own, unique language.

Dawn Zichko © 2013

These words are written on the ribbon woven into the knitting. I'm inspired to make others. I'm surprised I feel this good about making this piece. I'm delighted, in fact to feel so good about the knitting and construction. Kind of a change from feeling ambivalent or *meh!*.

One homework piece done. Now on to the triptych.

And Daylight Savings Time annoys me to no end. I honestly don't feel as though my day light has been saved in any way whatsoever. Nor was I aware of the need for saving it. Waking up was an exercise in futility this morning. It will be days before we can all adjust.

Working as a diptych with the previous knitted piece.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

the busy-ness of Saturday

Things the Moon Told Me in progress.
It is warm after the storm. Which is why Dirk is working outside today. I did a small bit out doors earlier ~ checking out the flock, filling the bird feeder ~ but, today, my realm is indoors. In order to kick off Spring Cleaning (we don't want to leave it for the May Queen), I've started cleaning altars around the house. Well, surfaces in general, as too many horizontal surfaces become an altar of some sort. Windex has been purchased for REAL window cleaning. The home made stuff doesn't cut it when window cleaning happens once a year. (Face it. I've better things to do than ensure sparkling panes year round.) I'm also trying to finish my diptych for StoryThreads. This second hanging seems to have a name already ~ Things the Moon Told Me. That string of words has been running through my mind since casting on the sparkly single-spun yarn (llama, I think ~ can't remember). I found a pattern on KnittingFool; fairly lacy with enough structure to hold its own. Today, I'd like to complete it adding another sweet face made by Lyn Belisle and other embellishments before I post for sharing. And there's creating journal pages in the new journal. Watching one of Donna Downey's videos, I got the nifty idea of using paint sample tags as inclusions for journal page creation. Beauty part is they're FREE and easy to stockpile ~ dangerously easy. A little gesso on the back side and there's more surface for writing or stamping or inking or whatever floats one's boat. This spread incorporates a few of these little gems for ruminations later. So. Back to busy-ness . . .

A spread for the week, replete with a sketch of the
Left Hand, torn words, inked and embellished and
the back sides of those paint tags.

The flip side of the paint tags glued perfectly
in place to fit the binder when I'm done with
these pages.