Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rites of Spring

Green haze of leaves around the tree tops last weekend, this weekend forming actual baby leaves, after a Very Long and cold tapering off of winter. Is it any wonder that Pagan, Jewish, Muslim, and Christian peoples across the northern hemisphere have made the return of new vegetation a reason for celebration. Family, friends, and feasting--we made it through yet another dark season and Look, we're still here together to look forward to another year of possibilities.
Doug carves the ham.

I wrote this as I waited for the ferry to fill with friendly, happy people, carrying food. Even though it was spitting rain, we're used to it. Seagulls cawing, hoping for a dropped or thrown French fry. The Edmonds pier shifts as the boat bumps in, kids running, excited families. David and Brian are picking me up. I hope they have room for my rolling suitcase of wine and food. Strangers still talk to each other here, last weekend a woman from Lake Tahoe who hopes to find a job and a place for her mother in the town where she grew up. Another stone-loving woman on the beach last Tuesday from Canada. a couple doing the Beach Survey and hoping to fit their walk in between showers.

I was the oldest, at 64, at this dinner for 18: three brothers, their families, friends and several sets of orphan college students. Serene got home from an Ultimate Frisbee competition at 3 am and got up and made this amazing birthday cake for one of Thayer's British exchange student house mates. We had 8 college students with lots ahead.

Choices have been a big topic of discussion lately. I see 8 patients a day and many of them are coming up against their body's fragility and fallibility for the first time. No matter when it happens, 23 or 62, it always seems to come as a shock--makes me realized every day how important decisions on diet, exercise, and type of work are. With these recent years of economic uncertainty, many are starting second or third careers. I hear, "why didn't I listen to my parents and go to college?" as often as "I went to college and owe all this money and I still can't find a job."

When I was in high school in the Sixties, I tested well in a wide range of aptitudes, so there was no special direction. I love(d) art, but that was no career, as my father heard from his parents when he started school in the Depression. Females of my era basically had the choices of teacher, nurse, or secretary. My father, the doctor, offered me occupational therapy or social work. I dreamed actress or scientist.

Six years ago I tested high for civil engineer or editor, and I think I would have made a very good psychiatrist. At other times in my life there were choices about where to live, who to be with, how to spend my energy.

As it turned out, I have been well-served to be trained in a profession that will support me and my own home as a single woman into my older age. I've found a job and place to live that are comfortable, interesting, and safe--at least until the big earthquake.

I've made opportunities to work in theater, costuming, painting and sculpture, write and publish books, perform in front of students (online) and patients (in person).
Now I'm thinking that all my many possible paths--as long as I've followed my heart--would have led me to pretty much the same place I am now--How about you?

I am still in the painting frenzy, lining them up against the walls through the center of my home...I keep doing them purely to see what will come out next...Process, rather than Product...although if someone wants to buy...I'll be able to afford more canvases.

On my way home Sunday evening, the ferry sailed under a big, beautiful bright rainbow.


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Food and Fun in Seattle and the Peninsula

This has seemed like a longer and damper winter than usual, and others tell me it's not my imagination. I do love the temperate climate here in the Northwest, but I feel a little out of kilter to be wearing my winter coat and gloves at the end of April.

One time-proven remedy for winter's darkness is FOOD! And I've been eating well--too well, but then food is life's most dependable sensual pleasure, and my body seems to want some extra padding in these damp and gloomy days.

When brother, Doug, came all the way over to pick up the Big Doll for her show at Fraker Scott Gallery in Seattle, the least I could do was treat him to a great dinner at Sabai Thai.

When friend, Suzanne, and I shared our passions for books and art supplies in Port Townsend, we had to treat ourselves to dinner (25% off entrees before 5:30) at Fin's.

It was a wonderful day off for both of us. Next
time we'll add a stop at the beach for pure
perfection. My puritanical upbringing sometimes makes me feel a wee bit guilty when I treat myself to pleasures like these...but I'm working really hard to get over that. Seize the day--and squeeze out all the joy!

Last Saturday, In spite of gray skies and intermittent rain, David picked me up at the Edmonds Ferry and we took off for the Seattle Art Museum's sculpture park for Arrangement in gray, green, and red...I want to make some sculpture for my yard this summer.

We saw a dance performance in some of Nick Cave's amazing Sound Suits. Notice that the wall is painted with rain drops.

A trip to SAM would not be complete without a visit to Taste. Fancy desserts for Hugh and me, a burger for David, who did share his fries--no wonder there's more of me!

If you're anywhere near Seattle, the Nick Cave show is spectacular. I've been reading about his costumes in Fiberarts magazine for years, but what a treat to see so many of them up close.
He uses lots of re-purposed afghan squares, doilies and other of grandmother's treasured handiwork to build his suits.

And what inspiration for
my talk about my Art and the Big Doll, Women's Work, at Fraker/Scott Saturday night...usually no one notices the millions of tiny stitches that a woman might make, in and out, over years...unless they go together to form a 9.5 foot tall sculpture. Doug, me, David, with three of my new paintings to the right of her. She looks great out in public, under an extra-high ceiling. The smaller sculptures look good around the edges of the gallery, too.

Connie, Hugh, Doug, me...great to have family around!

We are very supportive of each other's art efforts.
Hugh and Connie
are performers. Doug and I paint. David does monoprints, as well as singing in the Seattle Men's Chorus. He's going to be a dancer in the next show--Good for you, David--outside the Comfort Zone!

I lived with her for so many years, I do hope someone falls in love and takes her home. I am still
totally fascinated by the process of making art, then mostly I don't need to keep it around...must make physical and emotional space for whatever comes out next. I'm working on more paintings and a Venus of Willendorf series in cloth, as well as teaching Doll Making as a Transformative Process online...and of course the job that pays for all this pleasure.

And this coming Sunday, being the celebration of Easter or Spring...or egg-laying bunnies, I'll be back to Seattle with my family for more food and festivities. Serene and Thayer will be home from college with a crew of their friends for the traditional egg hunt and feast...I Love It! Life is GOOD!


Saturday, April 09, 2011

A Good Day!

I'm Always happy when I make new ART! and today has been a Happy one so far! I started this painting of Steve and Megan at Shannon's wedding on Tuesday, and finished it today...I'm learning not to Over Work!

Still, it looked a little too much to ma as if it were painted from a photo, so I did a second painting, from one of my life drawings.

She was fun, paint is flowing...too bad Angie wasn't open today so I could get more canvas...but I'm going to Akamai Tuesday with Suzanne.

Not to neglect the fiber arts: I finished this last night while watching Goldfish Memory. Is it too Kitsch...or not enough? I was drawn to the doilies, and think I'll do another one all white, to keep with my recent all white theme.

With all this Creativity, I still had time to get the first fish and chips of the season from Kokopelli at the Farmers' market, a lovely soft blue from Renaissance, Panne d'Amore's incredible cheesy bread sticks, a yummy pastry for Sunday morning from the health food place on Lauridson, And some fresh spinach from the nice Korean lady...she makes wonderful and cheap sushi rolls. I also almost ran Diana Somerville down while she was crossing the street, went out to the Hook and got rocks (very low tide), and weeded in a soothing low gray sky... Lots of emails back and forth with my buddies in the Northeast. Annie refuses to move out here...just because her grandson, Charlie, is SO gorgeous. David C says yes to a bi-coastal house share...Are people from the NE really different...or it is just because they're my long-term friends? I miss that pushy, bouncy, intellectual curiosity...Any transplants in the NW who want to talk? I promised DC I'd go out dancing here, the band playing at Gray's yet? Hi Ashley.

I think about trying to market Hot Flash more aggressively because I know there are people all over the world who would Love the book, but I'm too busy doing what I Love!!!


Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Another Step Closer to Fame and Fortune...

Well, I'm not expecting that, although a bit would be nice. Thanks to brother, David, we have a picture of Tracy and Lynn at Fraker/Scott installing Woman's work and a couple of my new nudes for the opening of Art des Femmes, for viewing during Seattle's Art Walk, 4/7/11 and through the month of April.

I and Pam Mummy will both be giving artist talks on Saturday, April 16th between 6pm and 8pm...come and help celebrate years of stitching involved in my 9.5 foot tall sculpture and other wonderful art work by and about women in a gallery owned by women. maybe I'll wear my Hot Flash Skirt!

So much of being known as an artist is about having the ability, time, and boldness to do effective self-promotion. Most of the time I'd prefer to sit home and just Make Art...a true
Outsider Artist in part of my being....and yet, and yet, it is
awfully exciting and satisfying to see others seeing what I've done...and to get the work out of the house and into the world.

Thank you, Kim Tinsley, for loving my know I love your work, too. I worked on another painting yesterday on my day off, and hope to finish Saturday. I know I get better the more I do, and I really do love defining my self/time/life with art! Thanks for watching!