Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Pearl Rises Above the Monsters of the Deep, Rose House Art Show, and Free Blogging Widgets

Retreats are a wonderful gift to yourself, even if it's 10 minutes of quiet time doing something you love, or nothing at all... Maybe doing nothing at all is doing something for your soul, a letting go of all the "commitments", "shoulds", "have to's", "to do's", the endless stream of everyday life... or perhaps letting go of our personal demons and monsters that nip at our heels, and, so, is a replenishing of the spirit.

Art Pieces for Artfest GalleryAs I posted before, I am blessed enough to be going to the Artfest retreat this year. This painting "Pearl rose above the monsters of the Deep #2" (12x16 mixed media acrylic) is one of my two items for the Artfest Gallery April 1-5 in Port Townsend. The theme of the overall retreat is "sea monsters", so this is one of my interpretations. The second is a fun altered recycled seashell box, which could be set on a mantle or table or hung as wall art, "Pearl rose above the monsters of the Deep #1".
Rose House Exhibit
I have been invited to show at the Rose House in the April Edmonds Art Walk located at 555 Main Street at the corner of 6th Avenue. It is a lovely historic Victorian house built in 1907 and I am excited at the prospect of having my watercolors and mixed media shown there for a month beginning April 16. My friend, Sharon Baker will also show more hand-hooked rugs and mixed media art as well, and probably one or two additional artists. The opening reception is on that evening of April 16, and usually has all the artists showing at the reception. It is a fun opportunity for stopping in, meeting artists, seeing the art, and sipping a little wine. Do plan to stop in.

Free Blogging Widgets
Look at the very bottom of my page and you will see something called a "Neocounter" (no, I own no stock). Oh my, how fun, now I can see where people who read are coming from! Easy to add widget, just click on it and go to their site and follow instructions.

And I have added a "tag free zone" jpg which I got free courtesy of Helen of Heb-Art Journal in my blog list who has wonderful photos and art.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Saturday Meditation - Earth Hour and Global Warming

We are all interconnected in the giant web called life, we are not just observers of nature, we are part of nature... so in effect, by trying to save planet Earth, our home, and other species who live on it, we are really saving ourselves too.I saw this Saturday morning and had to send it out... This will be my "Sunday" Meditation for the week.... the challenge is to turn off, dim down to only the necessary lights between 8:30 - 9:30 Saturday night, March 28.... go green and enjoy one hour of quiet time with candles and your art journal or whatever doesn't really require high powered energy on the grid. And if you read this too late, then pick another time and try it! What could be better than a soft candlelight, a glass of wine or cup of tea and your art journal?

From the Earth Hour website (click on it to read more):
"With the goal of 1 billion people switching off their lights as part of a global vote, Vote Earth is a global call to action for every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up and take control over the future of our planet. For the first time in history, people of all ages, nationalities, race and background have the opportunity to use their light switch as their vote – Switching off your lights is a vote for Earth, or leaving them on is a vote for global warming. WWF [World Wildlife Fund] are urging the world to VOTE EARTH and reach the target of 1 billion votes, which will be presented to world leaders at the Global Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009. This meeting will determine official government policies to take action against global warming, which will replace the Kyoto Protocol. It is the chance for the people of the world to make their voice heard."

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Clearing the Decks, Felted Bag, Photoshop Tip, and an Art Show

Pay attention to underlying supports so your foundations are strong and structures don't collapse... it is important to "clear the decks" once in a while so you get a new perspective, whether it's your house or yourself, and always try something new.

Experimenting with Felted Bag/Photoshop Tip This is a wonderful felted bag I bought last year at a museum shop, it has been sitting unused because I realized it had far too much drab olive green for me - all of the circles/ovals were encircled with raised green felt cord. So I pulled out my fibers, and began needlefelting - in the first pix you can see I have added red and turquoise around some of them, still not quite there... I do like purple, so in the second pix I have added purple which I like much better, it has more punch, and perhaps will do a little more color tuning to be satisfied and use this bag. Now, here's the tip - the second photo I actually painted the purple onto the pix with Photoshop to see if I'd like it. I'm realizing this would be a great tool to test out a color on something like this or even a painting or collage, without doing it to the real thing until I'm sure it's what I want. Any paint software would probably let you do this sort of thing.

Rose House Art Show
Last week I went to the art opening at the Rose House, part of the 3rd Thursdays Edmond's Art Walk. I visited with several friends including one of the featured artists Sharon Baker, who creates fabulous hand-hooked rugs, portraits, purses and whimsical boxes... The show is on til April 9, I do recommend stopping in. PS, the wildly creative green bag is no longer for sale, as I had to have it for a journal bag... I enjoyed seeing her stitching it a while back.
Clearing the Decks
Aside from arty things, finally work has begun and the contractor has demolished the decks along the back of our house so that new ones will replace them. A vast improvement as the old decks had a huge sagging beam and dry rot underneath, and the new one will be made of partly recycled materials (Trek) that will not require any painting and be very low maintenance... and the new ones will be reconfigured a bit differently giving us more room to enjoy overlooking the fruit trees and garden below. Here is a before picture and demolition almost done, ironically you can see our neighbors started the same project on the same day (2nd pix bottom).

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Sunday Meditations - Spring Equinox

...the dainty delicate leaves and lavender petals of our crocus are shyly opening up in our yard, slowly, keeping watch for another blast from winter...We've had an incredible winter here in the Northwest, "the big snowstorm" which was actually five rolling in one after the other covering us in frozen white in January. Then at least three more blasts of hail and snow more recently. But Spring Equinox, the "Vernal" Equinox, finally came this past week - "when the tilt of the Earth's axis is inclined neither away from, nor towards, the Sun" Wikipedia explains... a day of equal length of day and night. In fact, "equinox" means "equal night", a celestial event when the sun crosses directly over the earth's equator.

This time has been recognized and celebrated by a multitude of rituals to nature, god or gods for thousands of years by humans as a signal that the seasons were turning, the energy rising in those gestating green plants that would feed us and keep hunger at bay, a time of rebirth and creation coming, and a shifting towards the light again. It puts me in mind of spring cleaning which I am doing today (and will be doing for a while to get things fresh and in order)... in between short bursts of art and writing which I love and keep me going. I am literally "clearing the decks" since ours are crumbling and will be demolished and rebuilt this coming week, a huge project, as is the inside spring cleaning. But what a blessing to have a better one overlooking the garden below to enjoy the coming blossoming and light of spring and summer and watch our local crows flocking every evening to their rookery.... And I contemplate the seasonal wonders that I am part of, the metaphor of moving from darkness to light, the spring cleaning of the interiors and exteriors of my landscape, and painting my life on a fresh canvas. Every day is a blank page to be filled.

For today's meditation time, I enjoyed the video "Flowers in Growth", with great time lapse photography of flowers, which was produced by SpiritonSound with music from Luka Van Den Driesschen. Relax a few minutes and contemplate spring and renewals and what it means for you.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Sea Monsters, ArtFest, Trip to Pt Townsend and 3rd Place

"Fantasy, abandoned by reason, produces impossible monsters; united with it, she is the mother of the arts and the origin of marvels." Goya, famous painter
I have been happily playing with Photoshop again and created the above ATC (Artist Trading Card) for trading for Artfest 2009. The theme is undersea monsters which I was not overly enchanted with, however, this particular image which I colorized captured my attention... so yes, I did finally do a monster. Maybe my inspiration had to do with the recent postings about the ghostly underground history of the old Fort at Port Townsend where the Artfest event takes place. It was surprising to find out that the Schoolhouse building where we artfully play was once a hospital with a morgue in the basement... so creepy...
As with every year, I am going over the supply lists for my 3 workshops, beginning to gather and prepare, making trades, hopefully making 2 items for the gallery, and generally getting excited about another retreat with about 500 artsy crazy beautiful women who will show up Wed thru Sun gleefully retreating in the stunningly beautiful and sparsely appointed camp-like lodgings open to trying out all kinds of clever art techniques, reconnecting with old faraway friends, and making new ones. Truly, maybe this is the "real" world!

Here are some of my photo's from previous Artfests I have attended: 1) my spartan dorm 202 room arted up a bit with color (I always take a colorful scarf or 2 to brighten it up), 2) the dining hall/commons on the left looking west towards the tower, and 3) a peek of the water view/dorm 225.
Local Art Dates
I initiated a circle of women about 2 years ago because I wanted to carry over throughout the year the happy artmaking with nearby like-minded souls. After a few months of collecting all the locals I ran into that attended Artfest and similar artful events (Artfiberfest, Art & Soul, Art Unraveled, etc., you can google these), I now schedule regular Art Dates at nearby 3rd Place Bookstore in Lake Forest Park which has a food circus and a "commons" area with large tables. Though I have a long list, a nice group of about 4 to 10 will show up to play on whatever project they want, no rules.... It has been a wonderful time of getting to know these creative women and sharing artwork with each other. And it is in line with my view that it is important to give yourself "down time" away from obligations and "to do's" to engage in non-directed play, that is, working on your own ideas and projects and experiments, and enjoying the company of other artists. If you live in the area and are interested in joining, please email me.

In addition I continue playing in several other local circles, mostly needlework and painters.... experimenting with machine embroidery techniques in one group... making a crown in another group... hand stitching.... self learning more Photoshop and digital art.... painting and mixed media experimenting... Not to mention on-line groups... And organizing my workshop offerings soon to come...
All this creative play and things to come, I will save for posting another day.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Spiritus to Lark, Digital Camera Tips

"My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals him[her]self in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind." Albert Einstein

"Spiritus" Art Submittal
I have not been up on submitting things to publishers but I could not resist trying for the new publication planned by Lark Books: 500 Found Object Works. As I mentioned in a previous post I had taken a workshop last year that focused on using found objects, basically recycling into art and was quite pleased with the result. I wasn't overthinking when I made this art object, it just seemed the pieces wanted to be where I put them. I tried to fight off putting the nails on it, but then it does fit.... trying to reach heaven, we all are, but being bound to the earth, rooted, nailed. And I was thinking about the various forms religion or spirituality takes, mandalas, ancient lettering texts, halos and energy and breathing... Spiritus.

Digital Camera Tips
Here is a better picture than previously posted, as I tasked myself this past week to learn how to use the macro on my digital (a simple setting change), plus also learned how to set the camera for sharper deeper resolution, as I want to submit more art and publishers require sharp good resolution. Go to your camera menu, look for something called quality and change it to fine or best. Then I also changed the settings to the largest size picture it could take - I got great images. However, making these changes also means I could only take about 5-6 pictures at a time without downloading them, so I wouldn't want to leave those settings all the time.... or I'd miss a lot of good photo opportunities on the road. With the standard settings I get about 100 pictures....... A lot of you probably already knew these tips...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Sunday Meditations - Sky Breaks Over the Waters and Phillip Glass with a Trip to Edinburgh

Sky Breaks Over the Waters... a quick simple watercolor painting where I sought to capture the skys churning with rain to come over the Columbia River and the Pacific......

the elusive cloud-filled skys are one of my favorite subjects... so therefore, it's perfect that I live in the Northwest....

Below is a terrific You Tube video produced by two brothers Al Meldrum and Ewen Meldrum as a tribute to Ron Fricke who filmed Koyaanisqatsi, as I remember a powerful film. They have very effectively used time lapse to capture the changing cloud-filled skies and scenes over Edinburgh beautifully. And, it is accompanied by music from one of my favorite composers, Phillip Glass (Philip GlassViolin Concerto, 1st movement,Adele Anthony, violin,Ulster Orchestra,Naxos CD 8.554568).

This is one to pull up a chair, get cozy comfortable, take a few deep breathes, let your mind drift along with the clouds and the music and give yourself a few moments of relaxation.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Herons, Watercolor Barn, Needlefelting, Orchids and a Trip to India

This week we've had gray days in the Northwest (no surprise), hail and snow, too, but Friday was a gloriously sunny day when I had the pleasure of spying on the local herony, watching them preening, fixing their nests, sitting on eggs, and coming and going, all so enchanting, since we do afterall, live in suburbia.
The day before I enjoyed the Seattle Asian Art Museum with a friend and loved the Garden and Cosmos: The Royal Paintings of Jodhpur exhibit - a fabulous collection of Indian paintings from the royal courts of Rajasthan from the 17th-19th century. These were exquisitely detailed watercolors with the cosmic and god elements, birds, foliage and courtly events depicted, and the museum has provided magnifying glasses to really see the depth and detail and rich rich colors. Add to this a photo exhibit from India and we got a real taste of the culture. For locals this show is on til the end of April.

Afterwards I couldn't resist the nearby Conservatory where the tropicals grow - above are only two of the many beautiful orchids. Their exotic nature is is the lush growth of ferns, palms, birds of paradise, cacti, bromeliads and much more, in the humid warm air of the glass enclosure...

This lush growth and peeks of the sun makes me think of spring, just hints of it lately with bulbs and crocus rising through the soil. And spring makes me think of the Skagit Valley north of us where the flower fields will reign in April with the month long tulip festival we always visit. Here is a watercolor from a few years back inspired by one of our trips there, enjoying the old farms on a sultry day. I listed this a few days ago in my shop.

The previous week I also had the fun of going to Sew Expo billed as the country's largest from dawn til dusk one day... walked and walked the fairgrounds where it was held, ran into quite a few women I knew. SO many fibery goodies, techniques, colors, and vendors, and workshops, it was overwhelming but fun. Here is a small needlefelted (NF) picture I finished at home. I drew my own design (ongoing theme of "Happy Houses") and barely started NF when the one hour workshop was over! I am pleased with more detailing and blending I was able to accomplish in this experimental piece.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Crow Message and Graffiti Art

"In the dime stores and bus stations, people talk of situations, read books, read quotations, draw conclusions on the wall...." Bob Dylan
This is my latest experiment in the digital and graphics software world. I love playing with Photoshop and discovering the amazing things that can be done with ordinary or even not so good photos. I have combined several techniques after stripping the color out of the original. The upper right corner is a piece of another photo from a terrific tunnel wall of graffiti. I call it "Crow Message: Love Never Fails." Available in my Etsy shop as a print. Crows are such interesting birds. Every evening at dusk, hundreds of them fly together noisily towards their evening rookery nearby and I enjoy watching and trying to photograph them.

And here is the original photo I started this project with.....taken at Ft Worden State Park in Pt Townsend, WA. OK, but rather ordinary and not so good color. I have recycled it into something I like much better. And I will probably do more experimenting with this same photo.
Graffiti provides another fascinating opportunity for my camera. It was the subject of the latest photo art journal swap. This photo was taken last fall on a road trip we did through parts of British Columbia. On a stretch of remote highway on a former roadway was an abandoned concrete and rock tunnel gloriously filled with colorful graffiti. The picture below is the portion I submitted for our photoartjournal a couple of days ago. Part of the fun of participating in that group is receiving a bound book with a photo on the same theme from everyone else. The variety of art and writing or quotes to go with them are inspiring.