Sunday, December 30, 2012

Another turning of the Year: NEW LIGHT!

I love this image from a recycled book
As you know, I think the convention of New Year's Eve is rather silly and potentially dangerous, although I do remember a good one, drinking designer champagne and eating grilled oysters under the stars.

My part of the planet started its tilt back toward the sun on 12/18/12, and THAT is the beginning of MY New Year. I wish that I had taken another picture for you at Ediz Hook yesterday, the tide was high, the water FIERCE, grabbing at my feet, twisted snake-like rubbery sea plants ready to trip me as I lunged for the white rocks, the flat rocks, the pretty ones that will become part of my art/yard.  The clattering, clacking, booming rocks made a din that traveled northeast along the shore, with whole trees tossing and theatening to catapult right through me.

I do miss the sun on snow and X-country skiing out the front door in VT, but if one can survive the gloom and                                                              many shades of brown/purple/gray, this is a good place
for creativity and contemplation...Especially after 2 days in Seattle. I swear population density breeds contempt.

You ARE Special!!!--found art


Check out  I'm doing another round of Hot Flash Women starting January 1st...Celebrate YourSelf! 
Barb Kobe is Graduating from her school job to be FULL TIME CREATIVE!!!

I have applied for a job with the WA Artist Trust, am working on the politics of health care, and contemplating doing a graphic novel...about hot older women, of course. Yoga and weight lifting to keep up with my voracious appetite.

What is everyone up to??? and dreaming about??? a time for reflection and planning on the cusp of a New Year! What are your traditions, too? Favorite New Year Foods?

Follow my 2 blogs and 3 Facebook pages for
Creative Play and What Ever strikes my fancy in 2013.

I started a new painting today--stay tuned!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Surviving Gray Days

Port Angles in December from Ediz Hook, snow-capped Olympics

I love my adopted home, the Pacific Northwest, but an inherited chemical
imbalance, tending me toward depression, makes surviving the 
limited December Daylight in the Northern Hemisphere a challenge.

There are mitigating factors to my home, like being able to drive out
to Ediz Hook, in the salt water of the
Strait of Juan de Fuca on a December
day and look back at the snow-topped
Olympics, framing my home by the sea.

Taste, the restaurant at Seattle Art Museum
 Throughout my many moves (at least 23) I have mostly chosen town below 30,000 population, where I have a strong sense of comfort, and yes, the ability to be a big fish in a small pond...or at least swim with the Big Fishes, in exhibiting at our local Fine Arts Center and being on the League of Women Voters' committee on Health Care Reform and to talk directly to the politicians involved in formatting WA state health policy...more about that as 2013 and the Affordable Care Act Progress.

Hanging out at Westlake Center...Lots of visual Stimulation!

I am lucky in being able to also enjoy some of the best of Big City Life, with 
Seattle only 75 miles and a ferry ride 
away. With three of my beloved brothers
living there, and Hugh, an actor sharing
wonderful theatrical perks. I spent a 
Deep Immersion City Day this month, parking for "only" $9 a day in Bainbridge
and taking the ferry for free across to the Emerald City. I started with the Seattle
Art Museum, using my membership to
see ELLES, a show of female artists 
from the Pompidou Center in Paris, plus
a show from Seattle's collection of 
female artists...too bad that as 51% of
the population we still have to have a special show...but that's another story. 

I really enjoyed seeing one of Niki de Saint Phalle's pieces in person and buying yet one more Art Book about her monumental work--look her up online. Maybe some day I'll coat the BiG Doll in marine varnish and put her outside in my yard. I have a love/hate relationship with working large and the patience (and space)  necessary to complete a piece. Maybe when I retire, I can investigate Eric Swangstu's suggestion that I design hot air balloons.

BIG, now living in my garage
I treated myself to brunch at Taste at SAM...I LOVE that restaurant, and the visual/architectural image of the bar, with a lonely bar tender and the crowd seen in the mirror. Tiny gnocchi with roasted veggies and a poached egg...EXQUISITE!!! I Highly Recommend the tomato soup with grilled cheese, but every time I go the menu is different, so I try something new.

It has taken me a number of years (7.5) to start learning to walk around downtown Seattle. I asked a waiter at Taste to point me toward Westlake Center, and recognized it as soon as I saw it. I used to buy cool socks there each time I came to visit Seattle from the East, in the days when socks were the only clothes I could afford. I attended a Seattle Men's Chorus concert there on the first anniversary of 911. We were on the car, on the way to the Seattle Airport on 09/11/01 and had some bonus days in the West.

Monorail, woman with pink hair on right

Hugh suggested I take the monorail from
downtown to Seattle Center. It was easy!
One benefit of being OLD is decreased 
fare...only $1. There is Definitely something to be said for all the visual and
mental stimulation offered by Metropolitan life. 

Every Day Off from Work-for-Money, my imagination takes flight with All the Possibilities...if only I could afford to retire, I would have the time to follow up on all--or at least some of my ideas. Trouble is, then
I would not have the money for necessary materials and travel....sigh

Seattle Center, Space Needle, Culture Day (gray)

Luckily, my brothers are kind about extending invitations for me to visit and share in cultural activities, so I had a ticket waiting for me at the Children's Theater box office to see Hugh in The WIZARD OF OZ, which I highly recommend, playing til January 6th.

After the show I met Hugh in the lobby and we drove over to the Opera House for Seattle Ballet's production of The Nutcracker with the magical Maurice Sendak sets. Thanks, Connie, for giving me your ticket! It was really Wonderful, and I spent more time studying the sets and figures than I did listening to the music and watching the dancing. I was surprised that the toe shoes make such loud tapping  noises on the floor, and nobody has ever figured out how to fix that. Hugh drove me to the ferry in time to ride across the water, pick up my car, and get home and to bed in time for work Monday morning.

Getting Outside Myself is a good cure for the winter blues. I discovered yesterday that we've already passed our shortest day, which was December 18th, when on Ediz Hook, the sun rose at 7:46am and set at 4:07pm

Rainbow...shows up better against gray clouds, from frt porch
I also Remind myself that winter allows
me more time in the studio, to give life to all the ideas I've been generating: more
portraits, back to sculptures, graphic novels, and on and on.

Yesterday there was actually an hour of
sun, no wind, 51 degrees, when I worked
in a sliver of sunlight along the east side of
my house to pick up leaves and place rocks in my yard, which is an even bigger work of art than the BiG doll.

My Art Yard on a sunnier day, much filled in now, more is better!

Make your Dark Days Bright by
Making ART!


Fight your own Dark Days by joining me for an online class/experience: Hot Flash Women, starting 1/1/13, 6 sessions, with lots of patterns, discussion, and cloth and paper projects to share.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

What Do You Live For?

Port Angeles, the snow-covered Olympics from Ediz Hook
I have been pondering the question, What do you live for? recently...It's something in the nature of what I want to ask the women I'm painting for my 100 Hot Flash Women project, and I ask myself as well. I think I'm coming out of a profound cyclical depression brought on by short day light, hereditary bad chemicals, and a dumb habit of doing Life Review at inopportune times.

Just read MARBLES, by Ellen Forney, and I also have the benefit of the other side of the pendulum swing to mania..milder than hers, but so lovely when it starts swinging back. I've spent my life learning to manage the highs and lows, typical of so many creative people. It does seem to get a bit easier to stay in charge as I get older, although there are certainly more things to be depressed about.

Kathy Charlton of Olympic Cellars
Today is a Day Off, and I hate my job
So much Less when I am not there!
Luckily I had a dentist appointment at
8am that got me out into the world 
while it was SUNNY AND BRIGHT!
It's back to gray and dreary now...I'm
counting the days to Solstice (16). We 
don't get much sun here in winter, 
between the northern latitude and 
overcast days...not Constant rain, but 
sometimes it feels like it.

Today, 12/5/12, was SUN, blue sky,
50's (above zero) until 2pm, and the hygienist and I were both happy to be 
here, and not in our previous homes (VT and MT). I went out to Ediz Hook--shown above last May. The snow cover is back on
the Cascades, but not down here at
sea level.

                                                                                 I took myself out to lunch at Fresh Wok
Gloria Skovronsky, Sequim artist in fabric
   to celebrate my odometer turning 10,000
   miles, hoping that I will still be seeing   
   well enough to drive by the time I have it
   paid off in 3.5 years. What will I be doing
   to get my money by then? Will the 100    
   Hot Flash Women paintings be
   completed..and shown somewhere  
   other than my living room? 

   Is seeing things, making things,  
   experiencing things, thinking about 
   things Enough of a Reason to Live?    
   Being Kind, as the Buddhists teach? 

   Some live for research, saving lives,
   enjoying the grandchildren. Many of 
   my patients are saddened by losing
   the abilities they used to have, by
   increases in pain...but none would give up the wide and varied opportunity this life affords for enjoying sights, sounds, tastes, sensations, ideas. I love watching/feeling new images/objects take shape in my hands.

2012 Tiny Solstice Angels
Every fall, I design a new small angel
to make for friends and family. This year
I'm using some of the wonderful fabrics
I brought back from our trip to Ashland,
OR. They (and lifting weights) give me
something to do as I catch up on 
watching movies and old TV on Netflix.
Endless variations on one basic form:
a very pleasant reason to wake up
in the morning, in addition to catching
the infrequent sun, working in my yard,
seeing my patients get better and happier.

Soon the nadir will pass, another winter
survived AND ENJOYED!

What are Your Reasons for Living?