Thursday, May 28, 2009

Too Beautiful to Work on ART!

I'll admit that the Northwest/Olympic Peninsula can be dark and dank and rather in-hospitable much of the time. HOWEVER, when it's Nice, it's REALLY NICE!!! A gorgeous sunny (not too hot, not too humid, no bad bugs) weekend last for the Memorial holiday AND another one coming up! I Can Not stay inside and work on ART, even though that is really my favorite all-time activity, besides eating, reading great books, and hanging out with friends and family...I'm learning an annual flow of making Art when it's dark or raining, and NOT being able to come inside til dark when it's a beautiful as it has been lately.

Above is this year's seven yards of looks bigger when one has two buckets for spreading and the guy dumped it in my parking and turning place, so I have to get it moved SOON. I had so much fun and good exercise (really!) carrying gravel last summer, I decided to do it again this year, and spent my extra paycheck (May's a three-paycheck month) on black gravel and tumbled mica slabs (pile to the left).

The slabs are to make designs/stepping stones in the gravel, and an attempt to hold down some of the weeds. You can see the green fuzz gracing the edges of my front yard. Those suckers shoot seeds at least a foot in every direction and have at least two entire growth cycles a season.

I could see Mt. Baker from the yard today. I'm working all over the yard each year, as I do the paintings all over each time. Using rock, I get a somewhat permanent design. Next summer some tallish outdoor sculptures would be fun...maybe Plaveroll and driftwood...or??? Gray said he'd help. I could brush up my beginning welding skills.

It was a BIG Treat to have my nephew, Thayer, visiting for Thursday-Saturday, even though it took him 5 hours to get here, with the Hood Canal Bridge under re-construction. I understand the bridge will be re-opened a week early, so I hope to have more visitors during the summer. We went out to Freshwater Bay to select a few more choice rocks and enjoy reading in the sun. He read a book by Bukowski and one about him, and I'm still reading THE BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO by Junot Diaz for book group.

Being from the Hastings family, we both love to eat and talk late (10:00 for me) into the night...had pizza, enchilladas, fried clams, black bottom pie.

Drumming at the Juan de Fuca Festival, including four members of the meditation group that meets at my house on Sundays: Ruth, Lucille, Beatriz, David. It was a perfect weekend for the Festival.

Sunday evening I watched/listened to my NY friend, Loel Annie Barr's cousin, Geoffry Castle--fantastic electric violin!

And just so it would not be TOTALLY fun and games without ART, I did another session on the portrait of Flora, and think I'm ready for her to see it in person this weekend.

Then maybe I'll finish the Big Doll, who still has a "nice Butt" note pinned on the appropriate place when I was away.

HOT FLASH is going to have to be a dark weather project, but I'm still looking for appropriate art work and inspiring stories by and about women over 40.

The Art Doll show at the Wayne Art Center in Wayne, PA, is open through June 26th...a good opportunity for my NE fans to see and buy my current work in
person. I wish I could be there.

I'm going to get going on some art projects this weekend, including figuring out a trio of interesting and varied classes for ART-IS-YOU in 2010 in CT. I have an urge to do some tea and coffee dying, embroidery, and sew lace and tiny beads...stay tuned!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Another phase of the portrait

Multi-tasking as usual. The weekends are way too short, especially when the yard calls, too. I planted all my new sedums and two lavenders...and vowed NO MORE PLANTS this year.

I did enough weeding to make everything hurt...there are Always More Weeds! and poor Theresa's back is hurting, so no yoga tomorrow night. I stretch SO MUCH better in the group than alone.

Worked on the portrait another couple of hours, while listening to THE LOVELY BONES...the most fun of all! Although I can already see things I want to change. I'm glad I'm taking a photo at the end of each session, because I thought the last phase looked more like her, but not sure. I'm trying to learn not to be TOO judgmental about my work, especially before it's completed.

I'm thinking that I'd like to do a series of portraits of people...anyone who would be willing to pose, or let me take pictures, along with their stories. There's a book I got from the library, for which a photographer did a portrait of each person in a small Kansas (I think) town, with their stories, then again years later. People's stories are fascinating to well as their images. I have for years done portraits of couples or families, trying to tell a story by how they are arranged and presented.

Here's a painting of a family group I made in the Nineties, just because I liked the family dynamics. I gave the painting to the family, through the friends who had their picture, but never heard anything from them.

I wonder if it's important for art work to be shown and sold for one to feel validated in making it?

I think I'm happier making my living doing something else and creating the art I want to, instead of something that I think someone will buy...but I do admit that I'm happy when I have an appreciative audience....still, I would not stop making art without sales..Paintings take up less room to store than sculptures do.


Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Doll Class in Corvallis, OR

I met Lee and Sabrina in their home in Corvallis, OR, last Friday...although Lee and I may have met previously at a craft workshop with Tracy Stilwell in Brookfield, CT.

Lucky me, the Hood Canal Bridge closed for construction at midnight the night before I left, scenic Route 101 along the west side of the Hood Canal was the most direct way to get to Oregon, and not as jammed with traffic as I'd feared.

Gradually the pointy snow-topped peaks, softened into blue hills in the distance with the land flattening into emerald green fields and my first real heat since last July in Northern Vermont!

Back to normal Northwest weather the next day, with sun/rain, and lots of flowering everything. Good weather for indoor creativity.

Lee shared some of her wonderful Transformative dolls with me,
including this one,
made in great frustration with the Medicare
"doughnut hole."
For those of you lucky enough not to know, the drug benefit pays for
a while, then stops, "the doughnut hole" then starts again. For
people with life-threatening medical conditions, the hole often
means they have to choose between paying and risking serious
illness. In these tight economic times, the paying of several
thousand dollars hurts.

She has a hole in her purple plush body, with money pouring out.
The bodice is covered with pills...and this is NOT a happy citizen!

Nancy and her husband
not only loaned us her
house and studio for the
two days, but they also knocked out a wall, to create a huge room, restaurant tables
for fourteen down the center...AND if anyone needed ANYTHING, Nancy had it and was quick to share!

Reel Dolls--what a Super Group of women and so generous and welcoming to the extra people added to their crew.

Each woman brought a life time of skills to the projects, compassion for any personal woes, and was happy to share with the others.

The class was officially Three-Dimensional Doll Design, but here's Terri, working on her wrapped armature, with Victoria in the distance making a piece to celebrate the kids she teaches.

Leetra's hands, using Apoxie Sculpt to attach casters to a tin box. She is another teacher, who makes dolls from drawings by the children she teaches. She made her first adult doll in class.

Terry, with a couple of her Plushies for Peace. I was able to bring the red one home with me.

Here I am with Kay (thanks Patti for sharing the picture), Nancy seen in the distance through her new archway. I was on my toes every second, trying to keep feeding these ladies ALL I Know about Doll Making, Life, and Everything in the World. There were moments of concentrated quiet and moments of deep revelation and sharing. Sitting together and sewing seems to bring women closer.

I wonder if men have the skills we do to form extended families on the spot?

You can see more pictures of the event on Patti's picture trail:

Check out her blog, too. I hope to post pictures of some of the finished pieces. We painted on cloth, used found objects, did photo transfers, discussed anatomy, wrapped armature wire, and made lots of gussets, tucks, and tiny heads for practice.

The Instructive Images are from the new edition of my DESIGNING THE DOLL AND MAKING FACES INSPIRATION BOOK, available at in the Gallery Section.


Read 'em and Eat Retreat

I am blessed to be one of 8 in a Very Special book group, founded by Carla, on the left, the week after she moved to Port Angeles. It is SO! SO! Important to have the continuity of a group of friends over time. We've been through a lot together, including great food and ribald jokes.

Here we are at Katie's (second from left) loading up for our first ever Read 'em and Eat retreat at Hobuck Beach. It was, I think, the first nice weekend of spring, too. There's Kim, Justine, Heather with a pile of wood, and Nancy.

Our cute cottage overlooking the beach. Sleeping eight there was tight...good thing we're all friends.
Thank goodness for Bridget's second cleaning, Katie's great curry, Bridget's chocolate fondue, Carla's gourmet breakfast...and ALL those bottles of wine!

The first activity after unloading was a hike to Cape Flattery, which must be the north western most point on the continental United States.

Katie, Bridget, and Justine read??? What book was that?

As you can see, it's colder on the Pacific Coast than inland.

Nancy, Justine, and Heather check out the lighthouse and look for whales...we didn't spot any, even though it is the season for them to be hugging the coast and giving birth (I think).

Kim is Education Director at the Olympic Park Institute, so she explains Nature to us. Obviously I wasn't paying full attention during the whale lecture.

Kim, Nancy, and Karla examine sea life...I haven't seen sand dollars since I was a kid. My grandfather used to bring them to us from his early morning walks on the beach at Old Orchard, ME. I must have been 5, but I remember the cream cheese on brown bread (that came in a can) and salmon (also canned) sandwiches.

I did a short stick doll introduction in the afternoon and everyone was Extremely Creative in turning a few sticks and scraps into distinctive critters, with very little instruction required, then a photo session on the beach.

Kim, Carla, Heather...and me, happy to be by the sea! and with friends.

Extra bonus on the way home: Lake Crescent reflecting on itself.

And a rainbow from my front porch--actually that was the week before, as I came home from Seattle on Easter Sunday.

Sun and rain together...a Northwest specialty!

Today that poplar tree is all leafed out.