Thursday, July 27, 2006

I'm creatively frustrated. I want to be creative, but this heat wave has made me so ill and lethargic it's tough to do anything (have I already said this same phrase six dozen times?), much less something that requires making creative new synaptic connections in my heat soaked brain.

Still, there have been small moments.

I finished cleaning up my studio. It's not completely organized, but it's got empty flat surfaces on which to work, and all the fabric is accessible. That's saying a lot.

I spent an evening trying to decide on some new projects. Yes, I have old projects that are desperately in need of my attention, but let's not talk about those. No, really. Let's pretend I can't hear their pitiful cries. Let's ignore the guilt piling up in the to-do section of my head. So, anyway, as I was saying, la la la la I can't HEAR you, I was trying to decide on a theme/design for a new baby quilt for my newest grandbaby, due to arrive in late autumn or early winter. I was also trying to come up with some fun blocks to make using my Halloween blocks. I WANT TO PLAY WITH MY HALLOWEEN FABRICS!!!

I came up with a couple of ideas. Nothing I was sure enough about to actually start cutting fabric, but I'm getting close. What I really ended up confidently deciding after all that tiring pondering, is that in the last few years my focus has changed so dramatically that a lot of the fabrics I own are no longer the ones I want to work with - conversation prints and themed fabrics, no matter how perfectly wonderful they are, limit me to primarily traditional, or at very outside, wonky takes on traditional quilting designs.

I went to Reno on Tuesday to run some long put off errands and to hit the quilt shops in search of the new Halloween fabrics. Yes, I know, I just said I don't need anymore traditional fabrics. Do NOT ask me to be sensible and logical. It's too damn hot and I don't care if I'm contradicting myself and I just wanted to - OKAY!?!?

I did discover that I didn't really want or, as us fabric junkies are more apt to say, need all the new designs I found. I bought a few things. What's a half dozen more FQ's, eh? But instead of buying that print with cute pumpkins on it, what I really think I need is that great orange batik that I could use to make a pumpkin. As for all the cutesy stuff I've already got, I'm starting to think of uses other then quilts for it - bags, clothing, placemats..... anyone got any fast, fun ideas?

I came home all ready to start in on something, anything, but then felt sick again, partly from the heat, partly from a touch of food poisoning I think. Then a migraine laid me out yesterday. Nothing creative happening even in my imagination for the last couple of days.

Today is a teensy bit cooler. I think the high was only in the low 90's, quite a drop from our nonstop 100's. And after the weekend we're even supposed to drop down into the mid 80's! I can't tell you how exciting this news is to me!

Now, since I'm feeling well enough to actually get up and do something, I'm gonna. Get up and do something. It might be creative. It might be as basic as sweeping up the dead and dying piles of dust bunnies all over my house. Yes, even the dust bunnies have suffered from the heat - too hot for them to move quickly, many of them have been trampled where they've fallen in the middle of rooms. They may never recover their numbers after this weather catastrophe.

Oh, but before I leave you, my mom sent me a box of goodies, including a wonderful stack of scented, decorative soaps. I've got an orange grapefruit scented one beside the bathroom sink already, and a blue one with a wave design and silver sparkles in it in the shower. Only thing is, the sparkles are sort of scratchy. Not in a nice, grainy way, but in a slivery way. But it's pretty and smells good.

Speaking of sparkles, I went to Walmart today to buy some household items, including a new deodorant for myself, my old one is almost out. I couldn't find the one I normally buy, so I started sniffing new ones, testing for a scent I liked. I ended up getting a nonscented one, in case you have to know. Also matching citrus smoothie scented suave shampoo and conditioner. Anyway, I noticed they now have sparkle deodorant. You've got to be kidding me! I mean, I can totally understand sparkle make-up and sparkle hair gel and sparkle lotion. Fun. Cute. Silly. But does anyone really need sparkly underarms!?

And why am I talking about soap and deodorants in my art blog you ask? Well, because I wanted to show you the soaps. Aren't they pretty!?

Now I'm off to ........ uhm...... to...... DO SOMETHING!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

This is a very lame post. I mean, really. I'm posting to tell you I did one very small thing. I finally got the armoir out of the hallway and all the way into the studio. I also got the armoir drawers out of the pile in the livingroom and slid into place in the armoir, which is now in the studio. I know, so very lame.

But I've been planning on doing this every day for a week. And every day for a week the heat just drags me down like zombies tugging at my arms and legs. I've had it in my head that if I could just get this armoir in there.....

I had a dresser in there, the drawers used as storage, the top of the dresser was where the television sat. Then I gave the dresser to Sam several months back. To use as a dresser - you know, to put his clothes in it. This was fine. I was thrilled to give it to him. He needed it, and I had this armoir that would work perfectly fine, sitting unused and dusty in the garage.

Then when I went off on my grand adventures this spring, I dumped a bunch of boxes, baskets, and miscellaneous stuff I didn't have time to deal with before I left, into the studio. It was already a mess from from all the stuff that had come off and out of the dresser piled on the floor. When I finally opened the door back up a few weeks ago, I discovered that the room was completely impassable.

I've had it in my mind that if i could just clean up the studio, at least make it so I could walk across the floor and have access to my cutting table (which is also piled high with stuff - blankets, bags, fabric, frames....) I could find the energy somewhere to at least while away the sweltering afternoons in that room, cutting fabric. The room should be one of the cooler ones in the house, being situated with cross ventilation from windows on two sides and being underneath the side of the yard with huge shade trees. This means that room should come down from 90 to a crisp 80 degrees or so. (that "crisp" is sarcasm, in case it's hot where you are and you, like me, don't have two brain cells still working. Apparently they're all taking an extended siesta, like any reasonable person should do in a hot climate).

Am I still making any sense? I doubt it. But moving on, I have this theory that I could do this, cutting fabric, because it is fairly mindless work yet fun enough to keep me interested. And I was thinking of playing with my Halloween fabrics, which will remind me of autumn and chilly winds and frost in the air and brrrrrr - almost as good as air conditioning, yes? Well, no. But I'm pretending.

Hmmmmm, something just occurred to me. Cutting out fabric involves ironing it. With a HOT iron. Oh, damn. I didn't think of that.

Well, nevermind then. I'll just continue to lay in the shade and read Harry Potter books.

But, for the record, the armoir is all slid into place. Next step is to put the crafting supplies back into the drawers. Easy. If it wasn't sooooo hot.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Here's a picture of me showing you all why I don't have anything else to show you lately. Yes, that's me. I look just like that. And I'm out there in my.... er, watermelon patch. Okay, okay, so I'm maybe out in the backyard playing in the dirt where watermelon could, if planted, be growing. If it wasn't too hot to actually be out there. But I WILL be out there. Tonight. When the sun starts to go down and the temperatures aren't in the 100's. I even went and got all sorts of compost and plants today and they're out there right now, sitting in the shade of the apple tree, waiting for me.

And hey, I made this doll. That's creative!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

My friend Deirdre took a bunch of fireworks photos on the 4th. She enthusiastically encouraged me to to do the same. So I did. My camera didn't cooperate, alas I still haven't managed to find time to read the instruction manual in order to figure out out why my low light images are all determined to come out blurry. I know they don't have to be, that it's probably the setting I have it on or something, because my old camera took great low light images. I did enjoy a few of my failed attempts though!

Make sure you click this next one larger - the tiny swirls are really cool.

Here's a summer image I find somewhat haunting. This little guy was on my screen door late one night and the front porch light, shining down from the top left, made him glow like something unworldly. Do you think there are moths on alien planets? I wonder what they would look like? A moth's life is short, incomprehendable to me. I wonder what this small creature was thinking/feeling this night?

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I've been back from England for over a month and I'm just finally finishing up sharing the last of the photos from our first three day location. And that's by showing only a small percentage of the photos I actually snapped!

I took this first photo to share with an art friend, Pamela. She has a real thing for eyes. Go check out her website and you'll see what I mean. But when I finally got a chance to see the photo, I liked it too. I like the way the sky disappears (well, it doesn't on the green background of this blog, but it does on a plain white background, making the image look irregularly shaped. And how it's only two colors - gray with small spots of blue. And black. Three colors. Four. Dark green. - Like, okay....NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! And if you don't get the reference - "I fart in your general direction!" Did you get that one? Before I dissolve into complete silliness, let's move on.

This photo was actually taken in the gardens of the first B&B we stayed at in Conwy, Wales. The owner of the B&B was sitting out by a small pond taking photos himself, so we went to investigate what was so interesting. This little guy doesn't look to thrilled about getting his picture taken, does he?

The last photo isn't all that remarkable, except I like the V-shape the lower walls make and the contrast of lighted areas with the black shadows and sky. There's actually 3 tiers of increasing light - the dark righthand wall, the lighter lefthand wall, and the lightest tower. Maybe that could be an analogy for something - striving higher? The three levels of awareness? Climbing out of ignorance into enlightenment? Or maybe, phbbt, it's just an interesting composition. Might be a fun one to play with in Photo Shop.

That's all. Just wanted to get something up here to look at. I'm currently busy being productive if not particularly creative. Unless you want to describe what I'm doing as a creative redefining of my living space. I'm actually working on decluttering my house. Paperwork. Being tossed by the bucketload. (Yes, actual bucketload. I've got an old bucket sitting by the woodstove to toss burnable paper in.) Children's books and old school books William has either outgrown or never used. Computer files. So, later folks. I gotta get my nose back to the ol' grindstone.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

I don't have a button for it up on the website yet, but I want to let everyone know about an art/blog challenge sponsored by my friend Deirdre called Simple Still Life. There was another project by the same name, now defunct, and this new one has risen phoenix life from the ashes of the original. There are only a few of us playing presently, all the current participants have been pretty busy with summers and family, but hopefully things will pick up.

Basically it's a challenge for those of us who can't seem to go through life without photographing it. Participants contribute one or more photos each month that evoke a chosen theme. From the basic photo, folks can then play with the image artistically if they chose, anything from tweaking it around in Photo Shop to recreating it in another medium such as watercolor, fabric, discarded restaurant coasters - hey, whatever! Or if you like the photo just the way it came out of the camera, that's fine too.

I invite you all to would check it out and join in the fun. Or at the very least, take a peek at several photos I just put up on the blog that I might use for this month's theme - Summer.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Back to the previous holiday, more photos. I think I'm only on Day 3 of the trip, I have lots of lots of photos left to show you. Aren't you thrilled! (Okay, if you're not, don't tell me, I'm having fun.)

These photos are all from The Chalice Well International Peace Gardens. It was hard to select which photos to share here with you. I picked out three, then added a fourth, and then another... I finally stopped at six. This was, for me, one of the highlights of our entire trip. The garden and well evoked feelings of deep reverence and awe, not to mention physical beauty. If you'd like, after looking at my photos, you can click here to find out more about the symbolism and history of the well as well as take a virtual tour of the gardens.

In this first photo I liked the pastel airy quality of the forget-me-nots contrasting with the deep color and substance of the tulips. It was more noticable in person then in the photo, but you can get a small sense of it.

Everywhere in the gardens sacred symbols from different spiritual or religious paths intermingled and co-habitated in peace and harmony. It was inspiring and... perhaps humbling is the word. The spiral was probably the most visible symbol. Simple and yet with so many layers of meaning.

This next image shows what you could call the "official" symbol of the well. It's called the
Vesica Piscis.
This isn't an artsy photo so much, it's just to show you the design of the symbol.

Moss, dappled shade, stairs leading to...... what's not to enjoy.

Another spiral image - the spiral in the first photo was very small, less then two inches across. This spiral was quite large, two or three feet in diameter.

The serpentine wave of the streambed added to the restful, meditative quality of the gardens and of this photo. You are getting veeee-ry sleepy. You're eyelids feel heavy. You feel restful and......

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Lots and lots of photos for your viewing pleasure! These are all from my trip. No, not that trip. Geeze, you're behind the curve. Our most recent trip, two weeks driving around the American Southwest. I decided to post a few of my favorite artsy photos here. For photos (the kind with faces in them) and a "what we did on our summer vacation" synopsis from the trip you have to go to Beach Treasure.

I liked the simplicity of this photo.

Does this say summer to you? Maybe I'll play with this one for my Simple Still Life - the July theme is "Summer". I have some other summer ones too that I didn't share today that I might use as well.

Again, simple. I liked the way the colors were simple but strong, like an O'Keefe - pale blue, dark blue, red, white, green.

I finally found something to take photos of (these were in a museum in Balboa Park) for last month's Simple Still Life Challenge - something about objects with shadows being the focus. Might be fun to do something fabricy or Photo Shop-y with it.

This is in the outdoor amphitheatre in Balboa Park. Is that redundant? Are all amphitheatres outside? Anyhoo, I just loved the subtle textures and the diagonal lines made by the seats, the shadows, and the tiles.

In Balboa Park. The water turns the sky and land upside down.

At the Grand Canyon. Doesn't this gnarled old thing look sentient to you? Perhaps a little deranged as well. Standing there for all those years, looking into the abyss, talking to the wind, mumbling to himself.

In the aspen grove on my sister's property.

And I didn't even have to Photo Shop them to get this bizarre look. They were truly painted this fuschia color. Looking out from The Four Corners.

At a rest stop in Colorado. Columbine -the state flower. The light was so pretty shining through them. It was a bizarre rest stop. They had hanging baskets of flowers and funky wooden painted signs on the lawn and wallpaper border in the bathroom with photos of pressed flowers hanging behind the toilets.

A wall downtown Ft. Collins, CO. I liked the colors and how I can't quite make out what it originally said. It looks like "LOST" but the first letter isn't a "L" but a backwards "S". William was very embarrassed his mother was taking a photo of a wall.