Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Happy Hour

Just a quick post to show a batik that I did a few years ago...not very large...maybe 8 x 10 on gallery wrapped canvas.  It is called 
"Happy Hour" and is based on a photo taken by my friend Mary Warren (see Flicker).  She took the reference photo in an upscale bar in Boston some years ago and I just loved the photo. I think I may offer it at the gallery in September.  

Just Passing Through

One of the marvels of the autumn season is the migration.  Birds and some butterflies.  The idea of the passing over our heads at night was renewed for me by David's poem below.

After I read through it aloud (as poems should be always read aloud) I paused and thought a bit.  And then I read it again slower.  "Passing through"...yes...aren't we all.  

Invisible Vistors
By David Budbill

All through August and September
   thousands, maybe
tens of thousands, of feathered
   creatures pass through
this place and I almost never see
   a single one.  The fall
wood warbler migration goes by here
   every year, all of them,
myriad species, all looking sort of like
   each other, yellow, brown, gray,
all muted versions of their summer selves,
   almost indistinguishable
from each other, at least to me, although
   definitely not to each other,
all flying by, mostly at night, calling to each
  other as they go to keep
the flock together, saying: chip, zeet,
  buzz, smack, zip, squeak--
sounds reassuring that we are
  all here together and
heading south, all of us just passing
  through, just passing
through, just passing through, just
  passing through.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Some art preparation for the Northern Coffee House Gallery Show!

Just a few more of my give-away book marks in preparation for the demo on Sept 16 (see sidebar). I included my "corner chomper" in the photo as I "chomped" all the corners on these and I can't believe what a difference that makes!  I left about half a dozen to do at the demo.  Also plan to draw and paint in my sketchbook!

So now I am sorting through paintings trying to decide which would make a nice display at the gallery.  I have a large 3 panel display board to use in the back gallery AND several spots on the front near the door to the restaurant which will take larger paintings. 

Several of the paintings are of local buildings...the one in front (diptych) is the famous Minocqua Brewery Restaurant and the little "house like" wc in the back right is the Minocqua Museum.  I also have one of the Thirsty Whale restaurant.  
The Zentangle® one toward the top is a series of "tree-like" tiles that is rather cool.  15 paintings in all ranging in price from $25 to $60.  

I want to get them all numbered and labeled ahead.  The daughters arrive for Girls' weekend tomorrow night and then friends come later next week for a few days.  Now is the time!  

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Preparing for the Art Demo

I've mentioned before (on the sidebar of the blog) that I am going to be doing a demo on Sat September 16 from 9:30 to 2.  I'll be at the Northern Coffee Cafe and Gallery in Minocqua, WI.  It's just a little over two weeks away!  

The cafe provides a rather nice window table and chair right near the entrance where the person doing the demo once a month sets up.  (They also provide lunch!!)

I am planning to do some sketchbook sketching for one thing and have some sketchbooks to show,  but then I am also going to do some Zentangle® as well.  Signage is important and so I thought I'd have some "tent" signs ready to put up. 

I thought I'd also have some "give-aways" ready.  Some small bookmarks each with a tangle on them.  I have done a little water color wash for the background using mostly bright mica-embedded watercolors called "Sparkling H2O".  They look nice in the light.  

Then I did some tangles on top of them.  I did a few with Brush-o water color powders on them which "explode" when you spritz them with water.  They are fun but a little dark for a background to tangle.  So on some of the others I'll sprinkle a little less rather than use so much.  I still have more to do so that will keep me busy the next few days.  

On the back of each is my blog address and also which may lead some people to explore that direction.  I may bring a few completed Zendalas or a few books about Zentangle just in case I find some one really interested.  

Next I have to choose and organize what paintings I plan to bring to the gallery to hang on the 13th of September.  I need to make sure everything is wired for hanging and then give the club (Lakeland Art League) a list of the pieces I am showing.  There are tags to be filled out as well.  They will stay for a month (until Oct 11). The gallery/cafe is open Tues-Sunday 6 am to 2:30 pm.  

We had some company last Monday and Tuesday with my daughter Julie and her friend Kate here on their way up to Bayfield and the Apostle Islands for a camping trip.  It will so chilly at night as we have frost warnings now!  But they are hardy.   Then over Labor Day we will host my two daughters up for "Girls' Weekend" which usually involves a lot of laughter and quite a bit of wine! We'll finish up with friends Karla and Brent here from the 11th to the 14th.  After that it will the time of year to bring in the pier and store the boats again.  We'll be having fires in the fireplace by then.  Maybe even some snow!  

I dedicate my blog today to my old friend Bea Walker who passed away this morning in Ohio.  She was funny and smart and feisty and pretty and well read and always ready to learn something new.  Her presence in this world made it a better place and she left us a legacy of joy.  

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Warming Up again...

A little sketch as a warm up.
Weather and company has kept me out of the studio and away from my outdoor sketching group!  Grrrr.

I did the sketch at Tula's Cafe late one morning this month...while waiting for Mary Gayle to come for lunch.

AND at the same time I wanted to touch base with Laura's weekly Zentangle challenge...I've been away a long time.  Her guest challenge is to make a tile that can be set into 4's in order to make a round Zendala.  

 So this is 1/4th of a Mandala!  

Monday, August 21, 2017

The Season Changes

The Sumac In Autumn by Ginny Stiles

Hearing Acorns Fall

Fall begins to whisper in our ears.

The glint of sun on the water is different now
and the days shorter. The roadside verge turns slightly yellow.
The ferns go first. Black eyed Susans wave about still…
the latest of the blooming flowers.
The forest flowers are subtle and few with any color.

Only my window box and hanging baskets of impatiens offer respite
from total green. Lichens and fungus turn bright colors on the trees in fall,
and there will be mushrooms. 
Sometimes we visit the bogs and buy fresh picked cranberries.

The last visitors have bid farewell and autumn begins.
I remember the clear air, translucent yellow birches that turn the very air golden and then some bright maples that turn red…all against the pines.

 I have not heard the acorns yet.  They should start bouncing off the roof soon.

I wrote this "prose" to my friend Autumn and she "re-arranged" the words slightly to be more like poetry.  (She's very good at stuff like that!). 

And indeed, early fall has begun here at the cabin in the north woods of Wisconsin.  After a cool, wet, gray summer that never seemed to blossom.  

I have my fingers crossed now that the fall will have enormous beauty and that the woods will gift us with color, piney smokey smells, and still waters on the lake.  There will still be time for the loons and for writing and reading on the porch.  And for sketching and painting.  

Greg has found some acorns on the path to the lake since I wrote these words!  

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Mindfullness: Despair is Not an Option


Below is part of an article by Robin Chancer.
It has been my goal not to get into politics on my blog.  But the current situation brings me to re-consider.  Robin is a professional therapist and she is writing this article to address what she sees as a growing problem of depression among many people regarding the current state of affairs in our country.  My current pre-occupation with reading Dark Money has brought me into the realm of some serious thoughts about all this.  You can read the full article here.
The part about using "mindfulness" as a help in steadying one's course was useful to me.  As I so believe that "attention" and "mindfulness" play a large role in life.  Despair is not an option!

"Mindfulness —essentially, the art of shifting attention — is revolutionizing mental health care. Current research in mental health demonstrates enormous benefits to mindfulness practice. In order to promote well being, we can learn to practice mindful attention both to the present moment and to the good as we understand it. Faced with a frequently depressing, maddening world, this can mean focusing intently on the inspiring work going on around us in a multitude of spheres. Each time you feel hopelessness creep in, focus your attention on the kindness, generosity, and good will around you. We are witnessing an unprecedented blossoming of activism. If our eyes are tuned to the light, we will find the light — in the surge of donations to ACLU, in churches offering sanctuary to immigrants, in town hall meetings packed with civically engaged citizens — everywhere.
Each time the tapes of despair and anger play in your mind, doggedly shift your focus. The mind will wander, again and again. Each time it happens, we notice the anxious thoughts, and shift our focus back. The anxious mind will scream, “How could our President cut Meals on Wheels? What a monster! Those poor people!” Then, shift focus back to the good, “The program has seen a 500% increase in volunteers since the cuts were proposed. Maybe I could get involved!”
You may object, “But I can’t just forget all the terrible things going on!” You are right. Mindfulness is not about forgetting. It is about shifting focus to what is most immediate and most helpful. We help no one by staying in our anguish for long. Bernie Sanders said it best: “Despair is not an option.”

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Studio Time in August

I thought I'd start out this morning with something really bright and cheerful.  Greg and I use inexpensive pocket folders to keep our life organized.  I mean we have a folder for just about everything.  They are lightweight and travel well too.  So when I find a stack of them on sale at a garage 5 for 50 cents above...I grab them.  Nowadays since I have a mono print system at hand I decorate them in happy, funky ways just to please myself and make a happy statement.  The acrylic paint helps to make them sturdier too.  It takes me like half an hour to do this and the cheery folders get stacked in a vertical file near my desk for use (or replacement of old folders).  

Now this is not as "colorful" but hopefully it will be some day soon. It is what I am working on right now.  This is a very FIRST draft of a house painting commission I am working on.  I used to do quite a few of these "in the olden days" just after I retired.  It was fun to do and I think it appeals because I enjoy interesting architecture and the challenge of making something that will bring folks pleasure.  But they take a long time and are quite challenging.

Often the house is one that folks want to remember.  And, in fact,  the owner has this house up for sale so wants to remember it.  This sketch is on tracing paper and will be when I get it right...the basis for transferring the house to watercolor paper.  I've penciled in the shadows thrown by the afternoon sun on the lawn and roof. 

It's a lovely home in Lake Geneva, WI and I took reference photos last spring in May when we were heading north.  Now I need to have it done so that I can deliver it in October heading south.  

Although it's not completely obvious in the sketch, the house is landscaped beautifully (the owner is a master gardener) and it is surrounded by lush woods.  Everything is so green in May in southern WI it almost takes your breath away.   So I am awaiting the owner's ideas about the floral colors and since I took the photos the garage doors have been replaced.  So I need photos of those.

I will then sit down with scrap watercolor paper and start to play with colors.  I want to give the sky a spring blue with some fluffy clouds. The house is a lovely mauve brown with slightly darker shingles and barn red shutters. It will be challenging.  And a lot of work.  But hopefully I can do it justice.  

ps. have you noticed that the Halloween decorations are out in the stores now?  Sigh.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Making reminders of Blessed Memories

Friend Florie took this photo of me last week during out outdoor painting session at Camp Jorn.  Once in a while we get really nice weather on a Thursday morning.  Rare.  But possible.  I posted this sketch already (scroll back one).  

I am reminded this morning of how important visual reminders become over time.  Sketches or photographs both.

Did I mention I just finished reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande recently.  I am sure I did. 

Garrison Keillor's blog posted a sweet/sad little poem that reminded me of this book again and of the visual reminders.

 The poem reminded me more of saying good bye to my own homes after I sold them...sometimes I take photos of the empty rooms.  They become reminders of "blessed memories" in those spots.  

On Closing the Apartment of my Grandparents 
of Blessed Memory 

And then I stood for the last time in that room.
The key was in my hand. I held my ground,
and listened to the quiet that was like a sound,
and saw how the long sun of winter afternoon
fell slantwise on the floorboards, making bloom
the grain in the blond wood. (All that they owned
was once contained here.) At the window moaned
a splinter of wind. I would be going soon.

I would be going soon; but first I stood,
hearing the years turn in that emptied place
whose fullness echoed. Whose familiar smell,
of a tranquil life, lived simply, clung like a mood
or a long-loved melody there. A lingering grace.
Then I locked up, and rang the janitor’s bell.