Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Current Installment of my own Heroine's Journey

Only snow so far 11/29/14  Happy I put the studded tires on

Snowy scenery on my walk...doesn't happen often here

12/13/14 I am sitting at my big computer, looking out at a dramatic play of light (sunlight after several dark days) on bright green grass and bare gray poplar limbs, but with hints of reddish buds already dotting their surfaces. The Northwest is a wonderful place for learning to stay in the moment/take advantage of sunny days and have indoor projects for rainy days…or go outside and get wet, then come in to get warm, dry, and fed on lovely-smelling soups and bread.

New Collage, step 1

Step 2...I like a wide variety of projects

Finished my most recent portrait of Scott Johns...he's a very eager and adept student of self portraits

  Yesterday the deluge had abated sufficiently so I went to visit old friends whom I met in Port Angeles, but they moved to Arizona for five years, and are now back in Port Townsend for at least a year…maybe next time at the other side of the globe. As I get older, I learn/we learn to savor each precious moment, not knowing how many we will have.

Mike and Katie's cute cottage and studio...why didn't I take a picture of them?

Me reflected in the window of closed store at the end of Water St....maybe a painting?

I’ve been working on a more thorough version of last summer’s Heroine’s Journey 2, organizing All my pictures and writing, expounding. I hope it isn’t too boring for others…I seem to get a consistent 10 viewers, but the process is mostly for me…and doing this, and spending time with Mike, who is writing every day, encourages me to keep writing. 

Inspirational materials I picked up in PT at the store where Kathy works

12/14/14 As I process photos from the last few days, I see how much my life and my Road Trip are alike…full of interesting people, ideas, visuals. Port Townsend was precious on Friday for Katie and Mike…the kind of friends where we pick up the conversation from 5 years, 2 days, or 3 months ago as if we’ve never been apart…so if they go to Singapore next December, we’ll be the same. Having this kind of friendships is So Important! Kim left yesterday to go back to DC, and we’ll do yoga together again some day. I also had great conversations with artists in Port Townsend, added George Mane to my group…some day I’d like to paint her…Art/Healthcare…we seem to agree on a lot, Kathy—kind and sparkly, Helga—so talented, Glo—so full of ideas.

A work in progress

Memory, just finished, pottery shard from the beach, antique photo and beads

Driving around the Peninsula is So, So beautiful at every turn. I didn’t take many photos with my camera, but did with my eyes…out on the Dungeness flats yesterday…trying to find my way around…the leisurely way to Nash’s Farm store…A whole different feeling of close-to-salt-water out there…it would be a great place to bike—so flat, but no shoulders. A talk on Climate Change and Agriculture from the Jefferson County extension service. The people on the flat won’t do well if the Strait rises 6 feet or so, but they may be able to grow more warm weather row crops and grains before that happens. Nash says that September weather, which used to be consistently warm and dry is now unpredictable…and fruit flies are increasing. On the way over, Radio Lab on Darwinian evolution and evolution in response to stress. I’m reading Diane Ackerman’s THE HUMAN AGE. A retirement perk is being able to study interesting topics.

To the right a griffin statue in back of a home near Nash's...I wonder about the story

Works in progress

A piece about retirement, inspired by the book in Maine with the parallel lines on the cover

I go to more events, seeking out the people who will excite my learning…and finding them. I’m still not sure what my art will look like, what my mind will be busy churning, but as several people have said, that’s always evolving.

A 3-D figure on a rusty metal base with wheels

I used Apoxie Sculpt to keep the base stable

This was going to be the body, but I don't want to cover up the rusty metal, so it can become a separate piece

  I’m not sure how I’ll use my two blogs, so Stay Tuned--maybe I'll post more patterns.

Another wall piece--small, because I'm running out of storage

Drawing on an old dictionary page...Ideas Abound!

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Being Thankful Together

Connie, David, Amal...knitting talk

Brian enjoys pistacheos

Everything Serene cooks is beautiful and intricate

Mediterranean appetizers

Mom always sends flowers

When I moved to Port Angeles in 2005, the Seattle contingent of my family come over to my new home on the Peninsula for Thanksgiving dinner...We decided that day, that I would have the hosting of the Thanksgiving dinner in perpetuity. There have been menu and personelle changes over the last 9 years, but it is always a time of sharing food and stories. I feel very, very lucky to have such a wonderful family and friends...a very talented bunch of cooks, too.

David and Brian just celebrated their 8th anniversary. We first learned of Brian via his hand turkey, then he started us on themed Thanksgivings, with a photo of Hugh holding and Serene batting at the turkey Pinata David made for our Mexican Thanksgiving in 2012 featured on a PBS NextStep article on unusual family celebrations of the holiday.

Serene's meticulously-fabricated cherry tomato halves with precisely-cut fresh mozarella and herbs

I am lucky to have 4 handy brothers who help me with the work I'm not so good at

Hugh and Doug install my new locking mailbox while the sun was out

Brian and Ally take a break

Brian's choice of theme was school lunch Thanksgiving. The rest of us, the Foodies, outvoted him, and since Kim, a regular Hastings' Thanksgiving attendee, left the makings for  Baklava in my freezer when she moved to DC for work, the rest of us picked Mediterranean Thanksgiving...lots of room for interpretation. The only constants this year were the two turkeys, one smoked from Sunrise Meats and one Fresh Free Range from Country Aire, and my ginger cranberry sauce, although Serene found a good-sounding chipoltle/cilantro one, that I'd like to try.

The long  counter between kitchen and living room is perfect for laying out food

Connie brought a divided tray, so Brian could have his school lunch Thanksgiving

David, Brian

Amal, Doug

Hugh, Kim

Hugh and Connie are performing in Mary Poppins at Village Theater in Issequah, Amal had to get back to her Social Work job at Children's Hospital. For once Doug wasn't busy with aptitude testing, but Brian and David had to get home to turn on their holiday lights.

Knefe, cornmeal cake with rosemary syrup, baklava

I'm eating turkey salad for supper, and having fun posting pictures of my lovely family. Since we got our first snow down near sea level on Friday night, I'm happy that I got my studded snow tires put on before Thanksgiving. When I drove to Sequim yesterday to pick up my pieces from the fiber arts show, I was dismayed to see at least 10 cars seriously off the road on 101...insufficient respect for the dangers of speed on ice...I'm Thankful that none of the idiots ran into me.

Serene, Brian, Kim, Amal

Everyone taking pictures of the deserts

Thank you family and friends, Mom in Iowa who talked to each of us, the Chicago contingent, the South Carolina kids...see you again next year.

Thanksgiving weekend...Saturday morning...our one snowfall for the year, I hope


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Thanksgiving With a Twist

Check out today's PBS Next Avenue's lead story about unique Thanksgiving customs to see a picture of Hugh holding the PInata David made for our Mexican-themed Thanksgiving in perhaps 2012.

Serene with a full plate in 2010

Doug and Pinata, TG 2012

 Looking forward to the whole West Coast family (except Thayer) being here day after out for wet roads...lots of drumming rain this morning when I wanted to be asleep...I'm picking up the second turkey today.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

On My Ever-evolving Relationship With My Art

Today I'm sending information on our themed Thanksgivings to NextAvenue This photo is 2009

I get up and write…it has been a habit for over 15 years. Back when I wrote by hand in hard-cover journals, from the time I was in college and swore to myself that I’d never let him censor me again, through the Seventies when I lied to myself because of him, to the Eighties, when I hid my journals so I could write freely--and liberated them, mailing the collection to my friend, Fran…they were free before I was. I switched to computer journals in 2004…my hands started to hurt, the presage of arthritis, and I could hide my writing on the computer.

Small plates Thanksgiving  2013

Lately I have been translating my scattered Heroine’s Journey 2 information into concentrated day-by-day essays, and am translating all the photos I took, much of the paper ephemera, into concrete and digital form. As I write more for public consumption, I must exercise more discipline, to organize, make observations that resonate with others, create a finished work out of raw material.

Written/drawn/pasted version of my trip...a work in progress

Leaving Iowa, July 28,2014

Do I draw every day? Do I care that only 10 people out of the billions on the planet look at my blog? How important is it to an artist—to me--to have her work seen, purchased, desired? Why does it seem easier for me to write than to draw? putting pieces of fabric and thread together less important, because easier than drawing or painting? Latest portrait below, not finished. Scott Johns.

I read more about writers writing than about painters painting, perhaps because much writing on visual art is dry and removed. Practice the craft daily is common advice. Anyone who is interested can be taught to manage the tools, but there is a leap of magic in recognizing what’s Good work, when to stop, how to organize.

Fiber/words/images piece I'm working on today. I don't like the framing, am tempted to leave the black stuff at top and bottom off and cut down the overall size...leave it as is and make the next one better?

Impermanence of cleanliness or perfection…change…writing, drawing, and thinking about these topics seems to be what I do.

See the new travel journal essays at my other blog:

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Retirement Rumination

I'll be using the laptop on the drafting table in my bedroom to do a reprise with additions of my Road Trip

We Boomers are a huge demographic, all retiring at once. There are lots of books and blogs giving advice about accomplishing this feat gracefully. I find I must endure the growing (into a different life phase) pains with my own personal ups and downs.

I've decided to use my other blog...Hot Flash Women to review my recent road trip and print up all the pictures, consolidate my writing--on computer and on a yellow notepad as I was driving--before I forget it all. 

Most recent portrait, #96 Hot Flash Woman, Sue Scott

A recent mixed media piece...was in recent Art/Word show in Port Townsend

I always have plenty of projects to work on, but then the question arises of where to store them. It costs plenty of money and time to enter shows, and then the sales are not brisk...out here, people still feel as if we are or might again be in a depression. I've always admired the Outsider Artists, who just keep making because that's what they do...I must emulate more space for new fabrics or books...use up the good stuff!

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Journey Never Ends

A brief tour through the last 2 months of my life since I returned home...I decided on my trip that I live in the best place in the country for me. It has been a long, lingering, sunny, wonderful Fall.

My back yard, where the NW ground covers are finally choking out most of the dandelions and spite of the fact that my yard is surrounded by fields. You can see a ceramic face (on the fence) and a turtle with black birds (ravens or crows, there is a difference) on its back. Ceramics by Bill Kobe, stonework by me.

Doug and Thayer at Ediz Hook, balancing rocks on a log. So good to spend a day with them and Hugh and Connie before Thayer went back to Israel to save the world. He and I email about politics.

My solution to not wanting to have to remember to water plants: painted drift wood, white rocks, and a clay face with moss from a woman in NY...I talked with her about her cancer, and she gave me this piece...connections.

After Doug and Thayer went back to Seattle, Hugh and Connie went out to Rialto Beach, 20 degrees cooler, and misty on a sunny day...seems so wild compared to the coast of Maine, but also in dampness.

This piece came to me, practically assembled itself, wheels and all from things I had in the studio and with a made-up alphabet for Art and The Word show at Northwind Gallery in Port Townsend...the gel medium on the base was still wet when I took the piece that creates itself. The hat is the tip of a firework that found its way into my yard.

Me on Rialto Beach, pouring the Atlantic water into the real Pacific Ocean, sea stacks in the background...I know both oceans are connected, by this was a capper to my cross-country journey

A small wall hanging, using a piece of driftwood looking like a woman, an altered Polaroid of me printed on silk, and fabric collected over time and travels, even though I didn't collect any fabric on my recent journey...I guess a part of me knew that I already have plenty...but that doesn't mean I won't get more. Some fabric computer printed from our trip to Stash Dash.

Sticky buns for my family...they were appreciated. The popover tin made good buns. We also made an Amazing cherry tomato cobbler.

Donkey Tail Euphorbia patterns...

more euphorbia...things like this don't grow in New England...they propagate themselves all over my yard...I've moved some babies to the front, and they also keep the weeds down

More Doug and Thayer and balancing at Ediz, my home beach...I've always needed to be this close to salt water, and for the last 9 years I am. It must be tough for Doug to let his son go to scary places, but I think he is a good Dad, and he and my youngest brother, David, are the closest I'll ever come to children of my own...both very, very good men.

A small wall piece based on my parents' wedding...made me think about how much married people influence the course of each other's lives...I built my foundation of making art, appreciating music, and gardening when I was married...taught my ex-husband to read.

New beach in Port Angeles

It has been almost two months since I returned from Heroine's Journey 2 and started Heroine's Journey 3, which will last for the rest of my life...I've been so busy making Art, getting ready for shows, seeing friends and family in the Northwest...AND enjoying the wonderful Northwest fall weather, that I've just gotten out of the habit of blogging, and am going to throw a bunch of pictures and HOME experiences at you all!

Port Townsend with a turning tree. I currently have work in two shows here. A sweet Victorian Touristy town, 50 miles from my house. The downtowns on the Peninsula have planted maples that do turn bright red, in spite of mostly evergreens in the natural forest in these parts.

Deer on a hillside at Hurricane Ridge. I enjoyed the Olympic National Park with Hugh and Connie in September and made that experience into a wall piece currently hanging at the Port Angeles Public Library in a show celebrating the 50th anniversary of Olympic National Park...this is 19 miles from my house. 

The daylight is shorter, I'm starting to get back into my pre-trip yoga shape, The kitchen counter is crowded with works in progress. I finished one more portrait and started another...I won't be a Famous or hugely successful painter or writer, but I can't stop making stuff, writing every day. It took me a good while to get over feeling guilty about not having to get up in the dark and go to work, and to believe that there will be enough money to support my modest life style. Thanks to my good friend, David Carris, for setting up my finances and talking me through lots of panic attacks, and to my mother for raising me as a frugal person...(went a bit overboard, but I'm finding a balance with help from my friends). 

There are highways and rivers and railroads running along side each other all over this wide country. Beautiful things to see, and maybe we always love elements of the landscapes we grew up with the best. There is something precious beyond words about old friends...and there are friends growing into old friends everywhere we choose to settle. I choose here.