Thursday, May 29, 2014

noticing

As I write my Morning Pages, sometimes in the morning, sometimes later, I ask myself, What am I noticing? What's recorded isn't always what the eye can see. A feeling may steal itself in for attention ~ fleeting sadness, a touch of anger, unmitigated joy, occasional boredom. Physical sensations may speak up in that moment. My feet are cold, the seat isn't soft, the pen in hand glides smoothly across the page, oh, and the tea with honey and half and half is delicious! A simple state of Embodiment. Sure, I notice what I see and that is recorded too. The leaves are green and grown in full on the trees. The lake, shimmering, can be glimpsed through those leafy branches. She winks and sparkles, inviting me to stand at her shore, notice more ~ the mountain, the sky, the fish swimming by. In those moments, what I notice more than anything is Connection to Source.

What have you noticed today?

At the gazebo by the lake.

Dappled leafy shadows on the road I walk.

Today's medicine wheel.

This young buck visiting the chickens for dinner.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Friday, May 23, 2014

toe nails

A colorful day despite the rain.

It was pedicure day. Which is an odd way to begin a blog or the day or anything for that matter, but there it is. Pedicures for Bennie and me. All in preparation for a large family function occurring Sunday. Though I doubt our toes will feature in any party conversation, they are at the ready should words trip onto nail polish color ~ of which five were chosen. Life is too short for only one nail polish color. Besides, it gives the salon techs an interesting challenge. I let them have free creative reign knowing they deal with, literally, monotonous people more often than not.

The rest of the day saw an unprecedented amount of lost time in the studio for both of us. I was delighted to find two (2) excellent, full-length shows on YouTube, Sherlock, Season 3 and Slings and Arrows. As episodes one and two of Sherlock rolled on, I played with Tangie Baxter's As If By Magic online workshop and Bennie joined in, binding her own booklet. The morning's run-around frenzy melted away with every snipped image, application of ModPodge and adhered ephemera. A mere three hours of bliss. So much better than the foot massage had earlier. So. The toes look nifty and I got art done. Life is good.

Friday, May 16, 2014

some art mojo

Emerald green outside the studio window on this rainy day.
Been quiet around here lately. In the studio, I mean. Life outside this space has been careening at insane speeds with little hope of slowing down until . . . midsummer? Ah, but let's not speculate or dwell on some future vacation spot. We are here in this moment and it's not too shabby.

Thanks to some things learned from Flora Bowley, I begin paintings in a fun, noncommittal manner. Which is what I've done on yet another dreary day. Down on the floor. Water. Fluid acrylics. Fingers and gravity. My paintings may begin with a chaotic caterwaul, but they evolve, refine themselves like pink ladies at the ball ~ sort of. That evolution takes time. Time is often the reason I spend more of it creating journal pages or ripped collages. There are days, more often than not, I seem to only have time for the quick-fire creation. Better that than nothing.

There are, however, sometimes when an artist's soul needs more than the ripped paper or pencil sketch. Then the canvases are hauled out along with paints and brushes. Sometimes there are photos to grid out for sketching onto the canvas or there is a still life waiting or it's all about the feeling, man and those are hauled out too. I aim for minimal preparations. Bennie has, as of late, planned and completed her mighty works from photo to canvas over days to weeks with wonderful results. Either way sets the artist on their way, that tiny journey of creation.

Today's Trash Journal spread on the table.

Starting with some blues and greens here . . .

and on this smaller canvas, magenta, yellow and orange.

Friday, May 09, 2014

sublime

Creating on a dreary day. It's getting green out there, though.
Ah, the dreary day! The flock fed and organized quickly between down pours and then . . . stuff to do. Obligations were plowed through and gotten out of the way (including laundry) so I could sit down to Sketchbook Skool and 21 Secrets. I've also set aside my uber-huge visual journal to play with the Trash Journal made from Effy's offering at 21 Secrets. Well, that was until today when I created some personal symbols as offered by Julie Gibbons in the same program.

Symbology and tattoos.
It's been a dancing around sort of activity in my creative life. Picking up one thing for awhile, then switching it out for another because the paint needs to dry or I'm interrupted and lost the thread of that creative endeavor or I'm just bored. Keeping some kind of momentum today, on this dreary day (and that's why they're the best), fueled all manner of painting and sketching with a smattering of organization.

Later, after dinner (but before Grimm), there will be some collage explorations for Finding Gypsy. Cat Caracelo is now selling these nifty card sets to create mixed media images on for exploration and process. It's nice to have a card ready to go for quick-fire creating. Cat offers two shapes, the round Spiral Path cards and the rectangular Spectrum Cards. At first, I didn't want to ruin the cards ~ which is kind of silly since that's what they're for. Well, not ruining, but painting, drawing, gluing on. I had to get past that preciousness of a thing in order to create on it as intended. Once done, the card became more precious because it became mine.

A completed Spiral Path card.

Sunday, May 04, 2014

new medium

Gel transfers in progress.
It was a deep garden slogging recovery day. All the better to play with gel transfers. It's one of those processes that have baffled me for the longest time. Watching plenty of tutorials on YouTube didn't seem to click the process for me ~ until today. I'd been using the wrong acrylic medium, fluid matte medium. It seems to spread on too thin and doesn't really hold the image very well. Why I hadn't used the soft gel medium, as recommended, is beyond me, however, it is the stuff that works. And that is the secret to gel transfers. The word gel should have tipped me off. These are my rare moments of density.

Once I got going, the page became a thick layer of several gel transfer images. There is a vague softness to the finished product. Translucent, incomplete, ephemeral. Like layers of a story which this spread was meant to evoke as demonstrated in 21 Secrets.

By the end of the day, this spread was complete and I felt complete. Even the aches from hoisting garden soil had eased. Art heals.

A story in layers.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

dust bunnies and dirt

When it comes to house cleaning, I'm one of these people. Time spent cleaning in an Architectural Digest manner means time away from the studio or anything else more pleasurable, for that matter. However, even I have my limits. When the tiled floor starts looking like a shag rug, when the dust bunnies become woolly mammoths (tusks intact), when I can't differentiate cat from carpeting is when it's long past getting something done. These are not degrees of domestic disarray I aspire to. Honestly, I do appreciate a clean house long before reaching critical mass, but when the rest of the place is in disarray for a variety of reasons I won't discuss here . . . well, I'm not inclined to clean. It's a pointless endeavor when carpeting is being ripped up and furniture being moved. Thing is, this has been going on for quite awhile. Spring Cleaning was waved on as it passed by a month ago.

So. Standing on the brink of Beltane, I'd slingshot long past my limits, as mentioned, and initiated deep cleaning in one room and one room only: the bedroom. It is our sanctuary after a long day and feng shui would dictate how a clean and orderly bedroom is good, y'know, feng shui. Not that I pay all that much attention to those rules, but it's nice to have the place cleared of dust bunnies, cob webs and dog hair in the early stages of cloning more of the same dog. Top that with a little white sage smudging and we're good to go. To bed ~ for hopefully the Standard Eight and perhaps a little REM activity. Refreshing rest is very near in my future, of which I am glad because I'm in sore need of it.

And I do mean sore. After a cat nap on the lounge chairs outside (as Duke circled and gobbled just to make sure we weren't dead), Bennie and I started moving dirt. A couple of years ago, in an effort to have a decent garden, we built raised beds. Extra top soil was included in the order for the yard so that dirt could be put into said raised beds. Sad two-year fact is top soil is not garden soil. My intrepid friend, Kim, advised me to get bags of manure and some of my compost and then mix it into the top soil and then I'd have some fine garden soil. And that is the sort of thing Kim, bless her boots, would do and have great success with it. She's one of those people. I, however, am a lazy gardener. I don't start stuff from seed. If I do, it had better have the ambition to transplant itself into the garden in a timely manner and long before it gets spindly and ridiculous looking. I don't prep soil. If it comes in a bag and sez Miracle-Gro® on it, I'm set. I water the garden with a sprinkler and not a deep-root soaker hose. My growing time is short up here. (Really. It is. I've spent more than enough time trying to explain to landscaper-type people that I don't get enough sun and things start at least two weeks later than down in the Flatlands. I gave up explaining when one said something about daylight being daylight and there's no reason on this green earth why I shouldn't get a decent tomato. And then there are . . . the rocks.) Because it is short, I don't feel like fiddling around with soil. I'd like a tomato before October, thank you.

We managed only one bed, hauling out the top soil and piling it on the compost (it'll go somewhere else in the yard) and then hauling 10 bags into the bed in its place. This was all done while breaking up rooster fights and shooing hens out of the way. Duke put in a lot of miles following me to and fro thinking the bucket was full of grain only to experience some mild disappointment as I dumped top soil out instead. Every time. Every bucket. But then he had nothing better to do all day. The turkey hens, all three of them, have gone broody. They hardly see the light of day sitting on, well, anyone's eggs. Got a duck brooding too. Life is going to get mighty interesting this coming summer.

At least I can go to bed.

Thursday, May 01, 2014

mental meanderings #2

It was a rainy day walk that had me thinking of coming home to a hot cuppa. Today's rainy walk was warmer than yesterday's when I was wearing gloves along with the wellies and slicker. (And what is that myth? Twenty-one days to establish a habit? I'm on Day Four here with walking meditation. I might have preferred a nap.) Despite the warmth, the want of a decent cup of tea came to mind which lead to Tea Pots I've Known and Loved.

A Canadian teapot in England.
A treasured item put to good use.
(Photo by Hope Fitzgerald.)
My grandmother, a collector of a great many things (including husbands), had a fair collection of tea pots. One of my favorites remembered as a child was a Japanese set that had a simple line drawing of a horse on the pot and tea bowls. I wanted to be a horse when I grew up at that time, horse being my favorite animal, so that was my favorite tea pot then. Later on down the line, my mother's Brown Betty was the go-to tea pot in the house. Sunday mornings didn't always serve up coffee and bagels with cream cheese and lox. Sometimes we'd have a pot of tea as we all read through a Sunday pile of the New York Times. The tea pot we used most during the summer visiting my grandparents in Nova Scotia  is living happily abroad with my cousin. Us Yankee Girls hosted many a Friday night TV wrestling viewing ~ black tea and plenty of cinnamon toast to go around. With only three channels to watch via antenna, two in French, one in English, Friday Night Wrestling was the bomb. Naturally, the Canadians were always the Good Guys. When in Rome, you know.

Teapots then got me to thinking about elegance. It is elegant, isn't it? Afternoon tea. High tea. Which are distinctly different. To my mind, either one carries some kind of elegance despite the difference. And how about those heavily choreographed-yet-deeply-spiritual Japanese tea ceremonies? Not only elegance, but also attention. A contrast to the slam-dunk approach I generally have toward a cuppa in the morning and later in the day. The closest I come to tea ceremony is pinching different loose teas into a samovar and adding water at a full boil. One of our present favorites is Darjeeling, rose and lavender buds ~ with honey and half-n-half, of course. (As you may recall, I ruin tea.) The late day tea becomes somewhat elegant then. Especially if followed by a nap.

So. After a rainy day walk, a fine brew of matcha was concocted in my favorite tea bowl and then I set off to work and play in the studio.

My favorite tea bowl holding the full moon.