Monday, July 28, 2014


A fine word for simply paying attention, watching, observing the change that goes on every moment of every day. In Gaian Soul Grove's Seasonal Practices for Lammas, Joanna Powell Colbert talked about keeping a journal handy at a favorite window for this daily practice of phenology. She's not keen on the word itself, but I rather like it. Phenology. Rolls off the tongue and on to the page in sunbeams, raindrops, greening trees, the blooming of flowers. Bennie jumped at the opportunity to bind another journal so she created our very own Phenology tome from watercolor paper, fabric and linen thread. Now anyone, family or friend, is welcome to note their observations here. Sunrise and set, the moon's phase, weather, temperature, visiting birds or other animals all waiting to be included in our journal.

And then there's my interior phenology. What changes do I notice in my inner environment? My role as a mother changing ~ watching grown humans have a go at Life ~ with bated breath. Pulling at threads of new identities, the Croning Lover, the Quiet Artist. Testing out those waters of self-sovereignty through art and writing and action. (Ah, yes! Effy's class is up for BOD 2014.) The study of those observations are kept in another journal, of course. One packed with words, images and ephemera. Where have I been and what was the emotional weather? What parts of Self are blooming? What is passing away? More than just navel gazing ~ Self as art form. I'm constantly erased and redrawn.

Colored pens and a Phrenology journal at the ready.
Bennie already noted a sun shower in the West for this afternoon.

What do you see?

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

sienna umber

There was once a time I rather liked the color black. When I was younger and life seemed less murky. Its depth and velvet darkness an abyss of color and no-color. The Void from which all emerges and to which all returns. Well, truth be told, I still rather like black, but earth tones have been getting my attention lately. The problem is these colors are a challenge to use in intuitive painting without the results looking like fecal matter smeared on canvas. My Inner Critic already has a field day with the colors I'm brushing, splattering or spraying on in layers ~ some actions definite, others tentative as I painfully question my creative sanity, paint up to the elbows and dripping on my toes. Adding burnt sienna and umber only serve to fuel that roiling cauldron of criticisms brewing in the back of my mind as I create. However, it is a challenge I may have discovered a means of getting past.

Taking either burnt sienna or umber directly from the tube, while deep earthy pigments in their own rights, are not usually featured colors unless one is painting a tree (y'know, the happy ones) or working skin tones or capturing the bits of soil in a landscape. Rarely does an artist think, Yeah, I want brown. With abstraction, what brown is in a painting becomes highly subjective. And questionable. That simple. So I played with adding magenta to the burnt sienna creating a little intensity to that reddish earth tone. Metallic copper was mixed into the burnt umber giving each of those colors a certain richness. In some instances, the results look like rust and terra cotta clay ~ earth, change, degradation, patina, depth without the velvet Void. Not so much like crap. But that's me looking at what I did. Others may see those results differently.

That was the paint-flinging activity for the day outside.

Inside, there was the working of the journal page from over the past two days. I got to thinking about the spiral writing I love to do. It makes the words more like art. If I want to obliterate them the image can become anything circular ~ a flower, a mandala. Writing in spirals used to be a challenge, turning the book (and the book, she is huge) carefully at each bend in the writing, until I remembered having a table-top Lazy Susan. It's a double decker to boot so I can keep other notebooks and slips of paper underneath the spinning top and in one place. Now spiral writing is a simple matter of starting off with a circle and writing around that, letting the thoughts wind themselves out further and further from the center.

And in news of the Feathered and Fowl, the ten ducklings are doing well, learning the ropes of living and near dying. Last night, a black rat snake came for dinner. Dirk, bless his Wellies, grabbed the snake behind the head and held it until it gave up the duckling. The unwelcome dinner guest was then driven far down the road and released safely where he's less likely to find duckling on the menu. The duckling only suffered a small puncture and the indignity of being slathered with snake spit. S/he was in fine fettle today waddling with hir brothers and sisters and swimming in the tub.

Bennie and I taking over the lawn furniture for drying multiple paintings.

Burnt sienna and magenta added in this swirl of orange, yellow and blue.

Magenta with the added depth of burnt sienna.

A rusty looking result from the burnt umber and metallic copper mixture.

And again here in this pomegranate shape.

Bennie's paint-flinging and hand print experiment.

Another one of Bennie's work in progress.

This week's spiral writing in the mega-journal.

Ducklings in a tub. Rather reminded us of a ring toss game at the carnival.

Monday, July 21, 2014

salve and quiche

It is a chilly morning with the inkling of days getting shorter already ~ all too soon. The weekend was busy with the moving of the feathered. The six chicks and one Guinea Fowl chick were moved in with Snowflake outside. They need to start acclimating to weather up here if they're going to get through winter. (I don't know what I'm going to do about Brownie who is getting on in years. *sigh* I'll probably set up a dog crate for him in the sun room. Who am I kidding?) Once the initial kerfuffle settled, everyone seemed fine with each other's company. Not so much at night though. Snowflake likes having his own space in the coop. Another fowl issue to work out.

The hatching of ten ducklings also complicated things here. Of course, it wasn't a job in and of itself for the ducklings to hatch, but it means making sure they're safe and fed. Certain adjustments, like a ramp from the coop door to the ground becomes a necessity or ducklings plummet horrifically to their doom. To our astonishment, Wasabi marched them all over to the pond yesterday afternoon for a swim, only two days old. She hopped the fence while each of ducklings popped through the wire (they won't be able to do that next week). They had a lovely outing by the pond. At dusk, Bennie and I rounded them up through the gate this time and watched them all march back to the coop. The little things still have to get the hang of dealing with the ramp though.

And knowing the lawn was indeed going to be mowed spurred Bennie and me into action gathering plantain and comfrey to make salves. I'd told Bennie about the benefits of plantain ~ skin soothing for stings and small cuts. I'd told her about dealing with irritated or scratched skin while out doors by picking a leaf of plantain, chewing it (works better macerated) and then applying this crude poultice to the scratch for relief on the spot. She had more of an interest in making the salve (ever the Virgo), so I found this quick recipe and gathered what we needed. I decided to make the comfrey while we were at it. All in all, a satisfying endeavor.

Having too many eggs to count means making quiche. Making salves in the kitchen had us on a roll so we made a couple of turkey egg, onion, broccoli and Swiss cheese quiches. I like quiche. It's breakfast in a crust. Sticks to the ribs before going out to tend the flock or weed the garden.

Comfrey and plantain gathered.

I chopped my comfrey and packed it into the jar, then olive oil was added.

Bennie chopped the plantain in the same manner.

And here they sit in a crock pot bath over night.

The weekend ended with me making a mess in the studio.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

the random task list & a sovereign selfie

What I did this weekend in no particular order . . .

meditated ten minutes (each day)
Morning Pages (each day)
tended the flock and furred (each day)
finished out some Sketchbook Skool assignments
removed portions of skull from a pair of antlers using a hugely inadequate tool to do so
made a wand
cleaned a ferret (Trust me, it was necessary.)
dishes (4 times)
took out the garbage
tended the garden
cleared a coop of rotten eggs and overly broody hen and duck
listened to various class recordings
created my image for Moonshine's July Mead Moon
napped (2 times)
tucked fowl into their coops for the night
knit socks
watched Sherlock on Netflix

So I took this random selfie and fashioned it into . . .

Saule, Lithuanian Sun Goddess.

Friday, July 11, 2014

wabi sabi and self love

Things in life get used. When they do get used it shows. If that thing is used continuously despite a tear here or a crack there, but is still well-tended and loved, that is wabi sabi. A natural beauty resides in things lovingly used and not discarded. Which is why I had an idea the clay face by Lyn Belisle adhered to the cover of my burgeoning hand-bound visual journal might at some point break.

She was fixed with some quick-mending glue and then sepia paint was rubbed into the cracks giving the appearance of gentle age. Once dried and carefully covered with padding to avoid any more damage, I was ready to create the spread for Week 11 of BOD 2014 v2. (Effy is at the end of this session, but another is coming up very soon.) The theme: Self Love. A touchy subject for most. It is rare to be taught self love let alone know of it. There are very few healthy examples. And so we all flounder.

What is self love without coming off as self-centered, selfish or narcissistic? It was an interesting thing I went through deciding whether this spread would be posted in my blog or only in the class site. The class site would already accept anything I've stamped as what I love about myself because that's the point of the week's lesson. But here? A different kettle of fish. It's a little less intimate here.

So. Shift focus. I enjoyed working the blue roses in Gelatos and Inktense. The Primrose Yellow background was influenced by this photo because I love the painted background in the scene. (I also love Sherlock, but I digress.) Rather than write out my love notes, I used stamps which I might outline with gel pens while watching TV later. It is here I can focus on the simple joy of creativity.

Besides, I've got some of my own wabi sabi to lovingly tend.

Sunday, July 06, 2014

chamomile tea

It has been a busy two weeks since end of school and graduation. We shall have some chamomile tea and the comforts of an easy movie. In the meantime, fun around the studio . . .

A mixed media piece from Jeanette House's Outside/Inside offering in 21 Secrets.

The inside of said offering.

A big painting (soon to become something else) started for Spectrum's Activate.

One of my favorite spots . . .

and another.

Sketching and journaling out and about.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Orly's stencils

Orly Avineri's stencils came in the mail today. I've long admired her journal art. It has teeth and sometimes soft fur. There are images that dance over bones of emotions. Gardens bloom in the dark, stems dripping, petals smashed into place. Too often, I'm found at the computer screen, nose nearly pressed to the pixels, to see how Orly creates her art.

And so the stencils arrived. I played with bones and blooms for today's pages.

A little night time magic.