Monday, June 26, 2017

Intimacy with a triceratops

TheArt Institute wing of the Sonoran Desert Museum hosted a drawing workshop taught by Rick Wheeler this past weekend.  The focus of the class was drawing from nature and using a multitude of mediums.  Graphite, charcoal pencil, water-soluble colored pencil, watercolor all got some play as I attempted to draw representationally.  Well, you can see the result...that is actually part of a horny toad, not a triceratops.

Have you seen his work?   I love his wildlife paintings and landscapes, and even more so since I was able to leaf through all his photographs this weekend and see what he worked from.  Please take some time to visit Rick at the address which follows. This will take you to his home at Fine Art

He and I had a wonderful conversation about how visual art is employed and enjoyed by people and discussed using artwork in textiles.  At an individual level, in our own studios, we employ surface design, but Rick and I were discussing using parts of his abstract work as textile design in a production run.

A model for this collaboration between artist, designer, and producer is Vida.  Here is an introduction to the company if you have not heard of it.

So, here is why I am talking to you about this.  Rick not only paints gorgeous scenes from nature, and wildlife, but also does abstract works.  He shared a portfolio of some abstracts with me (I was so honored) and explained that the 11x14 prints I was looking at were photos of parts of large original paintings.  They were so striking, and absolutely ready for a textile appplication.

I would love to connect Rick with someone in my readership who has worked with Vida or a similar company.   If you have an interest in pointing Rick in a certain direction to further a collaboration of artist and clothing designer, please let me know by email or in the comments below.  I will be happy to arrange an introduction for you.

It is good to be back, dear Readers.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Nevertheless, she persisted

This is not about politics, but about art.    

I have this itch inside to create and have been scratching at it lately. I used to draw.  When I was a child I would spend hours drawing nature scenes, and also make long, involved murals on rolls of butcher paper.  In high school I copied the masters, always adding a detail like a joint or a peace sign :-).  I drew in college...slide after slide of microscopic specimens, the guts of some dissected creature, a still life from a field trip.  I even drew a series of charcoal drawings during therapy-powerful and angry, dark, struggling and broken creatures which were some of my best work and which I created and then destroyed as I redefined myself.   The act of creation was liberating in a truth-telling sense and the act of destruction the same.

I even took a few formal classes, including a life class.  It may be time to revisit that again.

For now, I am exploring mixed media and learning how to work with acrylics.  I have started an art journal, hoping to practice some techniques and to leave a space for quick analysis of where I am and need to go next.  It's a giant leap of faith for me as I LOVE detail and tiny markings.  My goal is to create some backgrounds and eventually some works which are a bit bolder than my soul thinks is "me". 

Below find some examples of practice backgrounds, use of marbling and two acrylic skins I made.   

On the sewing side, I am waiting for my mojo to return.  It is bubbling but has not yet reached my hands and heart.  For now, paint.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Lock him up.

From today's New York Times (2/15/2017):

"WASHINGTON — Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials." emphasis added story link

Add this information to the growing list of evidence that Trump has been supported by Russia all along↦fake news, trolling on social media, targeted hacks of the DNC server, possible voting irregularities, refusal to release tax returns, and so on.  It is a mind-boggling list and one which we only know about because we have a free press.    

The gullibility of voters during the campaign amazed me.  Beyond Trump's bald-faced lies at rallies, he held up Putin as a figure of RESPECT.  This, a leader who is a murderer and tyrant. If there is anyone out there in my readership who still supports Trump, please take a few days and READ THE NEWS.  By news, I mean papers with a moderate slant...not Breitbart or Fox.

At this time, 3 weeks into this debacle, my sadness and anger for America continue to grow.  If Trump colluded with Russia for this powerful position, he should go down.  If Trump was compromised by Russia, he could have reached out at any time for help from our government.  He did not, and should go down.  If he was ignorant of all of this, and only his campaign staff did the dirty deeds, he was woefully unprepared for this world stage, and he should go down. 

He should go down.


Sunday, February 5, 2017

How to cope with chaos

I have not felt such rage in a long time, and I say this aloud here in order to hold my hand out to those of you who are feeling the same.  Last night Ross and I talked after many little fusses throughout the day.  We both apologized for our behavior and then agreed that the political chaos was affecting our relationship, though in a small way.

We are both great readers, and I spend part of every morning reading about politics, especially DC.  I check back in once or twice throughout the day and also watch the TV news.  When Trump was first elected, I was recovering from surgery and highly medicated, thank god.  I just saw it all through a haze.  After spending an immense amount of time online, I have winnowed the sites down to those which are straightforward and not highly biased.

 So, this is hint #1 Read from sources which are respected and follow journalistic ethics.

Examples include The Washington Post, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Reuters,
Typical magazines in this house, both print and online, include The Atlantic and The New Yorker.
Here is an interesting infographic comparing political slant and news source:

hint #2 Balance your time using social media for political time and personal time.

I now scan my FB feed for updates on what has happened while I slept or otherwise did regular life. If I see something new (like the refusal of CNN to have kellianne on the show) I'll read it.  Otherwise, no.  My time is too valuable right now to feed the rage.  

I am also making an effort to post both political news, personal news, and just plain goofy stuff.  It is helping me contain my anger and use that anger for important work, such as letters, phone calls, and hopefully marching (without my cane!).  It is essential for us to compartmentalize our response to trump.  Maintaining a high level of arousal (not sex, silly, arousal is an emotional term :-) )  is dangerous to our health.

hint #3 Be aware of the daily work being done in the White House.

Use the web page but read between the lines.  White House Newsroom

hint #4 Learn a little bit about each of the main players in the White House and in Congress.

For example, did you know that Bannon was once the director of the Biosphere in Oracle, AZ?  Or that he had been charged with misdemeanor domestic violence, battery and dissuading a witness?  Or that he has been married and divorced three times?  I could go on.  Google him, it's terrifying.

hint #5 Do not let the frantic activity from the Oval Office scare you.

They are doing this to keep activists off balance and to keep our attention away from what is developing behind the curtain.  Choose what you can respond to and craft your response, based on what you are learning.  Do not let fear drive you.

hint #6 Align yourself to 1-2 issues and work to counter trump on these.

For example, I did 3 actions concerning Betsy DeVos (may her plagiarizing ass go away) and I am currently reading about foreign relations.  From The New Yorker Feb. 3, 2017 by Terrence Szuplat:

"International affairs are not a popularity contest. But when the United States is held in high esteem an American President is in a stronger position to advance U.S. interests. Showing respect for other countries and being willing to acknowledge America’s imperfections also give a President added credibility to speak hard truths abroad. In Cairo, Obama said in his speech to the Muslim world that denying the Holocaust “is baseless, it is ignorant, and it is hateful,” and that threatening Israel or engaging in anti-Semitism only succeeds in “preventing the peace that the people of this region deserve.” Speaking to the Cuban people at Havana’s Grand Theatre, he insisted that “citizens should be free to speak their mind without fear, to organize, and to criticize their government.” With the Cuban President Raúl Castro looking on from a box seat, Obama added, “Voters should be able to choose their governments in free and democratic elections.” Engaging other countries in a spirit of mutual respect was pivotal to many of Obama’s most significant foreign-policy achievements. The deal to halt Iran’s nuclear-weapons program was only possible because of intensive diplomacy with allies like the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and the European Union, but also with Iran, Russia, and China.

In contrast, it’s already clear that much of the world is loudly rejecting Trump and his “America first” vision. Even before his election, only fourteen per cent of Canadians, nine per cent of Europeans, and nine per cent of Japanese said that they had confidence in Trump on matters of world affairs, according to a Pew survey last summer. Never before has a U.S. President triggered so much animosity among so many nations in so short a time as Trump did in his first week in office. Having previously blamed the Mexican government for intentionally sending “killers and rapists” to the United States, his move to start construction of a border wall and talk of new tariffs on Mexican imports to pay for it have plunged U.S.-Mexico relations to their lowest point in decades. His executive orders to suspend the admission of refugees to the United States, and to halt all immigration from seven Muslim countries—all in the name of fighting “radical Islamic terrorism”—send a message to the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims that Trump sees them as inherently suspect."
I wish you all peace and courage.  Please share any strategies as you work together to protect our democracy.  I will be back later this week to share a really sweet little dress I made for my grand niece.

Sunday, January 29, 2017


Hi readers,  

I am back, in many ways.  Today marks the first time I rode my horse (at a walk, with a lunge line and spotter) since my accident.  I was able to influence him with my legs and seat though I will need to work on improving muscle tone.  It was a lovely time and Nick definitely was happy to have me there as a partner again.  Soon we'll be on the trail again.  

My down time has been spent with trying some art techniques for mixed media and journal pages.  Here are my experiments:
This is an acrylic skin made with metallic paint.  It will be cut up and used in a piece later on.

Here is another which is destined for background foliage. 

I also played with some marbling techniques and some stencils.  The stenciled background is sure to show up later-I love the regularity of the hex dots.
Below are some marbled papers which I love.  At this point I am just learning which papers, paint and technique produce the look I like.  I have far more experiments needed on this.  

 As time goes on, I will be able to do more as my leg gets stronger and I can stand longer.  I am one of those who draw and paint standing and it seems that playing with mixed media has me standing also.

I sewed a series of tees, tanks and tops this month-

 New Look 6150
turquoise jersey
 These tanks are all from Kwik Sew 3740.  Above in turquoise jersey, left in heathered purple cotton knit, below in red jersey.  This tank pattern has been used so often that it feels automatic to make.  I change up the neckline depending on the fabric and will sometimes bind it or sometimes make a neckband.

This tank is one of my fave patterns, and I think you can find it on Etsy etc.  It is McCalls 5890 OOP and includes 5 wardrobe pieces.  I love the cap sleeves and the princess seams.
To the right is a basic for me-slightly loose tunic with scoop neck, raglan sleeves cut at 3/4.    I used Vogue 1261 with some modifications to get a smooth drape in front with minimal "wings" at the hips.  The pattern is cut longer on the sides and these show only when walking