Observations on life & art and the inspirations I see around me

Monday, January 10, 2011

Practical & Process

The first picture doesn't look very exciting but it represents BIG progress.  On Sat. Ashley & Frank came up and helped us move most of the furniture from the upstairs "studio" down to the guest room which will now be the "sewing studio".  This room has been at various times over the 24 years of living here the master bedroom, guest room, office, Dad's room, and now studio.  I really owe them a big Thanks and on top of moving assistance they cooked up a yummy breakfast; I've invited them to come every weekend.

The art table, paints, and misc. tools will stay upstairs for now.  The move allows the new floor to be put in and puts us back on the countdown to selling.  The added bonus is I get a warmer place to work (and closer to the microwave where I've reheated tea multiple times the last few days).  All this happened just in the nick of time as it snowed yesterday and is due to be very cold tonight and the next few days.

I will have to keep the space looking neat & orderly while the house is on the market so "excess" fabric in plastic bins went to the garage.  The Ikea baskets are under the cutting table which got a new skirt and the closet is full but neatly organized with misc. sewing STUFF. 

Add a new ironing board cover, design wall (handy & cheap painter drop cloth - for design wall over insulation foam) and a thread catcher/pin cushion and I am ready to create.  I'll get more stuff down a bit at a time but today I spent a good number of hours quilting.  Lu Peters & I started collaboration #3 in the fall and I really dropped the ball.  We want it finished for the Dallas quilt show in March so I'll be working steady to do my part.

To step away from the big piece I also pulled out some bits and started #2 & 3 of the Detour series.  #2 is pictured in it's very early stage.

Now if anyone can tell me why pictures done on the iphone can't be turned in the right direction I'd really appreciate it.  Have a good week and stay warm.  

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Happy Anniversary

Karl & I celebrated our 43rd anniversary yesterday.  He brought home these lovely flowers and then we went out for Cajun dinner.  Hope there are many more years to come.

Tonight we watched Heartworn Highway which was a Christmas gift to Karl from Ashley & Frank.  It a documentary about the roots of outlaw country music with Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, & Randy Crowell. It reminded us of our youth in Houston and an old friend from college who played with Townes back then.  

Tomorrow night we 4 are going to see the new True Grit.  We couldn't find the old one around here so K ordered it from Amazon.  It will be interested to compare the 2 but we're more interested in seeing Ridgway, Co. where it was filmed and where we spent the holidays. We watched a trailer of John Wayne riding through Aspens in what is supposed to be Ft. Smith, Ark.  Wonder if the new one get's the setting better?

Monday, January 3, 2011

Sketches from the Journey

I mentioned yesterday that I've signed up for the Sketchbook Challenge.  This is a structured challenge with a theme each month.  The January theme is "Highly Valued". I haven't gotten to that one yet unless you count the hand below (my left hand).  Karl & I celebrate our 43rd anniversary on Wed. so my ring is certainly a symbol of something I Highly Value.

My trip sketches are not finished works of art. I wasn't after perfection.  They were done as we moved along the highway so there is some license in creating what I saw. I was interested in the changing landscape across Texas & New Mexico and the exercise of pen on paper.

I don't remember a time when I didn't draw. As a child my drawings were mostly from imagination or copying from publications (a big NO-NO to me now). When I taught school I always insisted that practice was the key to success in drawing as it is in any skill. I worked to provide the students with interesting objects and surroundings to record and stressed that observation skills would help them in any endeavor they pursued.

I remember at around age 10 doing that drawing in magazines that predicts that you can be an artist. I had an early interest in art but as a child of the race to space era I decided I was going to medical school and even started college with that idea.  I don't know if it was laziness or ADD but I moved first toward medical illustrattion and finally ended up in Art Education.  ART as in a BFA was not an option to my parents; "How are you going to make a living?" was heard more than once in my house.  Truthfully, teaching suited my personality rather well and I had a pretty good run at it. 

In college I had the best and worst of drawing instructions.  The worst was actually no instruction but lots of criticism and sarcasm.  The best was the Art Ed. teacher who used a method similar to Betty Edwards' "Drawing from the Right Side of the Brain".  She called it Contour drawing - learning to draw what you see and not what you know.  Every week we were required to turn in at least 7 drawings.  I can say that they got better & better as the semester went along. If you're interested in learning to draw the Edwards book is a good guide but the real key is PRACTICE. Get some paper & pen and give it a try.

PS.  I just found a free workshop on Journaling from Stratmore.  Week one has some good ideas for using your old art work in new ways so take a look. 

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Observe & Record

Happy New Year to One & All. Even for those who found 2010 to be a good year, I imagine there's  hope for 2011 to be better.  That is certainly my wish. As do many, I review the year past before moving forward.  I am blessed and there were happy moments in 2010 but for the world I know there can be more: peace, prosperity, kindness, happiness, goodwill.  I hope we can each help make the world a better place in  our own way.

Focusing on art, one of my goals for the new year is to be more observant and to regularly record the observations. Toward that end I've signed up for the  Sketchbook Challenge and encourage any one looking to develop drawing skills and record inspirations to do likewise.  I also hope to organize my pictures and transfer them to flickr on a regular basis. I uploaded some tonight but organizing is a bigger challenge and will take a while.   

Getting a head start on the observing idea, I took lots of pictures and did some sketches while traveling over the holidays.  Below are a few of the photos. I'll shoot the sketches and post them here soon. I've mostly rested today as I've been a bit under the weather. I think it's a combination of weather change & exhaustion. I hope it doesn't last as I've got lots on my "to do" list, starting with getting the studio cleaned up and finishing projects set aside for the holidays and, of course, the BIGGIE is to finish the projects needing completion for the house to be market ready.....and HOPE we get it sold before the year is very far along. 
We started the holidays in Austin.  This yucca bloom was fading but still beautiful and I expected it would serve as contrast to what we'd see in Colorado.
I never tire of mountain views; could be because there aren't any in North Texas. Of course you don't have to travel to be more observant but it seems I'm often myopic at home where work and routine get in the way.   I plan to work on that in 2011. 
 I love the combination of snow on red rock with green trees.  It was late in the day so the green is a bit dark.
   I think this faded bloom in the snow was sage.  Not sure but I think it's beautiful.

   I got this shot on an icy road that was a bit scary.  I love the snow on the bare branches.  It reminds me of lace.             
    We saw these Sun Dogs in the late afternoon.  Someone posted recently that they are good luck. We can always use that.
 Metal decoration on an 1880's building. I see stamp design inspiration.

Last bit of color in the snow. Always being on the lookout for a bright spot could be a good theme for the new year.