Sunday, March 29, 2009

With all the organizing and cleaning, I found two large boxes of Spring/Ostara/Easter decorations in the garage the other day. I haven't decorated for spring in years. I don't think we even decorated eggs last year. It's hard without an infusion of small kids (or even big kids) to inspire me. I did think about it this year, for Ostara. But then I thought, I'm not eating whole eggs at the moment, and Hubby shouldn't really be eating them either. I suppose we could have blown them out and used the egg whites and done something with the fragile empty eggs. But, maybe too much to expect with all the busyness of late.

I sorted through the boxes. I'm keeping a few tiny things. A handful of tiny spring animals - some of them were the boys' tiny toys when they were small. A gaudy blue and white plastic rabbit that we've had forever - don't know why, don't know how or when, but he's a family "heirloom" so I can't get rid of him. A flower garland, a few paper decorations for collage. A bunch of miniature irridescent eggs. A few other things. Not even enough to fill a shoe box.

I had a lot of stuffed rabbits. I have barrels and barrels of teddy bears that I used to put out for Yule and I started in on rabbits for Ostara. But I only collected a box full before I decided not to go crazy two seasons in a row.

I'm only gonna keep these three, who pulled on my heart strings for assorted reasons. The white bunny because I suspect he's actually evil (in a Dr. Horrible sort of way), the little brown one with the steroid enhanced ears because he looked like White Bunny's obvious sidekick. And the moth eaten wool knit bunny was mine as a child. I'd forgotten completely about him!

I haven't been in the studio at all. Family and home responsibilities have been thick and deep. But I did bring my art journal out to lunch with me yesterday and wrote/drew in it. I had big intentions to draw in it every day but that hasn't happened. It's been very intimidating to me. I think one of the problems is that I only use it when I'm out and about and I'm feeling so stiff and out of practice with drawing that I don't want to "ruin" a page. Hence the "Don't make this pretty" comment below.

I'm tearing my hair out because my teen had left his brain on the shelf the night before and forced me into being EVIL MOTHER again. Sigh. I hate being EVIL MOTHER.

What I need to do is bring the collage work I want to do into the journal. My expectations of a journal collage page and a separate "art piece" collage page are completely different. Maybe that will free me up to feel I can be messy and unconcerned about the outcome.

Remember my guerilla heart? I walked the bike path the other day and I saw a bit of red fluttering from a distance. My heart fluttered in response - it's still there! But no, it was only the scrap fabric that I'd used to tie it to the tree. The heart was gone.

I'm not sure if that made me sad or happy. I assumed it would disappear. It makes me wonder where it's journey went from there. Did a deer eat it? Did a punk kid pull it down and throw it in the river? Did some stranger feel it was speaking directly to him/her and bring it home to help heal a hurt? I like to think that latter happened.

My plans to hang the second heart have gone astray as I've LOST the heart! It was in the pocket of my jeans so I'd have it ready when the time was right. But now it's missing. I've checked all the pants I've worn recently, the laundry, my shopping bags. Don't have a clue. I'm assuming it either jumped out of my pocket where and when IT felt the timing was right, or it's around the house somewhere and will turn up again when it wants to be found.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Playing with my macro and supermacro....

This old red wagon has been being used as a planter on my front step for years. It sort of "emptied" itself over the winter, I think the bottom finally rusted out so badly that it all ran out with the rains and snow. Perhaps it's time to retire it. I love the old chippy reds though.

I had my lens within an inch of this spider but he didn't pay me a spec of attention. He was too busy trying to fight this little.... I don't know what this other bug is. I don't think it's a beetle. There are a ton of them in our yard and they seem pretty innocuous. Anyway, these two were really going at it and eventually the not-beetle guy decided it was in his best interest to find another spot to relax.

Spring is popping out all over my yard. This daffy was in just the right spot for the setting sun to set aglow.

We're busy moving things in the backyard, including our compost pile. Best way to eat organic is to grow organic. (Although the sticker came from a storebought veggie.)

I noticed an odd thing about my Lady de Guadalupe statue yesterday. Over the winter, her skin has turned GREEN. It's a lot more obvious in person.

On the other hand, perhaps it makes sense that MY statue would turn green. "I think I'll try defying gravity...." Lalalaaaaaa.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Isn't the purpose of a sign to SAY something????
What do you think this sign should say?

Still busy cleaning, working, decluttering the big outside and garage spots. UGH. But, progress is being made. A sad moment - I discovered some bins I thought were covered and safe.... okay, I was pretty sure they weren't, but they'd been sitting there for so long I'd forgotten what was really in there, I thought some old clothes - turned out to be filled with old and antique quilts and lace. They had gotten wet. And were mostly, almost all, completely mildewed and unsalvageable.

I tried not to think about it too much. I tried to think about how it was that much stuff I could toss instead of try to use or decide to pass on. Much easier if it goes right into the dumpster. But, oh, there's no way to let this pass without wishing it had been old clothes instead of such lovelies that were ruined.

I saved the sturdiest of the ruined laces and old linens and I've run them through the washer a few times. There's no way to stop the staining and holes but, if they don't completely disintegrate, I have a vague idea of perhaps using them. I guess I never give up on things 100%.

I have started on another pair of wristwarmers. Did I mention that? I had my heart set on a wine colored pair. But I didn't want to buy any new yarn, I wanted to use what I already had. I dug through my stash a second and then third time and my determination was rewarded. I found, if not the exact color I imagined, then very very close, several skeins of a deep burgundy wool in my stash. I got so much use out of my grey wrist warmers. I think this color will be the perfect alternate pair.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

I've got a deadline for clearing out the back yard for our sewer work to be done, and that means I also have a deadline for cleaning out the breezeway, so I have a place to stash all the stuff I have to get out of the backyard. This is all good - it's long overdue. I got a good start today, except for being distracted by the arrival of my new espresso maker, and by the time I got back to work I was losing light. I'm going to have to make better use of daylight hours, it got difficult to keep at it after it got cold and dark.

All this is to say I'll probably spend minimal time in the studio for the next several weeks. I was able to work on my ATC project again last night (the one I keep hinting I'm gonna explain and then I don't). I was gonna take a photo of it each step along the way, but I forgot to do that too.

So I took a photo of the mess that is the card table where I'm working on them instead. I piled up the actual ATC's and stored them in that little red and green box to keep them safe from fuzzy cats and coffee spilling Hubby. Exciting, isn't it. (<---Sarcasm---)

Monday, March 16, 2009

I stopped by my friend Shirley's bead shop the other day. I haven't managed to get by too often recently and this was just a quick ten minute visit on my way to another appointment. Still, I had my camera with me and so I had the opportunity to snap a few photos of Shirley's wonderful artistic love of the whimsical and absurd.

Three black and white plastic huskies protect a wall of black and white family photos.

Three chickens roost on her old Singer. Makes sense, of course, because.... uhm... well, just because. Why not three roosters on an old Singer!?

The light coming through the back of the shop made her plant glow in stained glass colors.

And who needs an alarm system when you've got guard rats in the front window!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

I've made a significant shift in my productivity in this new year. I can feel it. I can explain it from a number of different perspectives, and point to a number of different factors in it's evolution. But I just thought of another one. 2009 - Nine has always been a powerful number for me. Maybe part of the extra energy comes from that deep connection.

It's a great relief, after many frustrating years of feeling in limbo. I'm not saying I've discovered the answers to all my questions, it's just a shift, not an epiphany, but I'm still grateful for it. I'm trying to take advantage of it, ride it's crest for as long as I can, and spend as much time as possible working creatively.

Of course along with the new energy, comes new frustrations. I'm having to rethink a lot of how I structure my day. I've come to the realization that I need to spend a lot less time online, and yet I draw a lot of my inspiration and networking and friendships from this small, white, plastic box that opens up and gives me such a wider view of the world. For now, I've settled for making posting my blog posts a priority but it's much harder to find time to visit all the blogs I want to visit regularly. I'm still visiting people, just more sporadically, catching up on a few weeks (or, gulp, months) of posts at a time.

I think this photo sums up a lot of what my life is like.

There's nothing in the photo to give you a clue to the size of things, although it doesn't really matter. I'm looking down over the bridge and that's a really, really big rock, only a small portion of it sticking out of the water. What's important is the idea that for all the part that you can see above the water, there's a much larger part that's hidden.

The rock below the water level is the bulk of daily life that gets swallowed up by day to day living - all those things that need to get done to keep self and kin fed, clothed, bills paid, etc. The part of the rock above water is the part of each day one has left to do ...whatever else one wants to do.

To take the analogy even further, depending on how fast and high the river is flowing (how fast and busy life comes at me), the degree of dry stone that stays above the rush of things changes. Some times there's more time and energy left to play with, sometimes there's nothing left of the day, the rock completely submerged.

So, that's all to say that I'm trying out different combinations of what activities get a place there on the smaller dry spot, and what activities I have to let float away for now. It's hard because I want it ALL above water. But that's not gonna happen. And if I stay with the analogy I started, that would translate into being "high and dry" - uhm, that sounds like it might be a stuck and uncreative place. With no river flowing by, there's no place to dip into for new ideas. So, it's back to juggling and making decisions.


More on street art, this time publically sanctioned art. Our town has a few unique treasures, one of them is the many (and over the years there are more and more of them) city murals. I don't take them for granted, per se, I enjoy them every time I walk or drive by one. But until now it hasn't occurred to me to take a photo of them to share with you. So, here's a couple I walked by yesterday.

If you could read the words along the bottom, this is a photo of Lassen County's founder (apologies to the Native Americans who had already found this area and had been living here for a long time before then) Isaac Roop and his daughter Susan, who Susanville is named after. You can click to enlarge these photos.

This one is on the side of the local Iron Horse gym. It's a tribute to the logging history of the community. The local mill only recently closed, after something like 70 years of being in business. I like how it was made to look like an old photograph, right down to the corner photo tabs.

Here's another photo to show you how large it is.

I'll try to remember to take photos of more murals as I wander about town in the coming year.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Walking along the river trail the other day I glanced over and saw...

...why, it looks like a wee doorway. Let's get a little closer.

Wow, am I really seeing this? Is that a little set of stairs? Quietly now...

... a little arch of leaves. Is that... is that a doorknob!? I can't believe..... woooshhhhh...

.... I'm really seeing a.... oh. Well. I swear, for a moment there I thought I was seeing a wee faery door. But wow, it sure looks like it could be one, doesn't it?

Now that we're off the trail, we might as well finish climbing down to the edge of the river. I'm sure we'll find something to photogra...... wha!!!!!

I can't be seeing this! Wait. I need to rub my eyes for a moment. Let me take another look...

Oh. I see. Well, it does look a little fae made, doesn't it. But for a minute there, I thought I was seeing.... that was weird.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Remember the link to Girrl+Dog I posted a while back about the Guerilla Knit Art Challenge? Or whatever it was called. I found out about it too late to officially participate, but it inspired me to do some guerilla art of my own.

I ended up quilting instead of knitting something. But it was the ideas of doing some piece of art and a) putting it up someplace public and b) releasing it to it's own fate that appealed to me. It was a very small thing to do but in this community where most people don't do odd things, it felt very brave and slightly scary. I was tickled with myself for ACTUALLY DOING IT.

So, let's pretend you're walking along the local biking/hiking trail along the river.

Your eye is caught by a flash of color in the faded winter palette...

You get closer... something is caught in the tree?

No, it looks like it's wrapped, tied into the tree. There's writing....

I hope this is the point at which people smile. Do a little tap dance or salsa, maybe a couple high kicks before moving on.

Maybe one more, a pirouette. A twirl to say "bye bye little heart!"

I wonder how many people have seen it? I wonder if it's still there? It's been there for several days now, maybe tomorrow I'll go for another walk, nonchalantly pass by the spot and have a look. It might look like a lonely spot in the photos, but a lot of people do walk by there, just not nonstop.

I have another heart stuck in my pocket, waiting for another spot. I've got a couple of location ideas but they have more constant public exposure so putting it up without being seen, I haven't figured out how I'm gonna work that yet.

Here's the link again, this time to the general Grrl+Dog blog instead of the single post. If you scroll down through the last two months posts, you will see lots of photos of guerilla knit artists.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Mark's story didn't make tonight's Colbert. Maybe tomorrow night? No big deal for me as I watch almost every night. And you can catch every episode online after it's aired.

What's more annoying, I couldn't find the magazine. Our local Walmart usually carries it but this issue was gone - either they didn't carry it at all or it's sold out. I'm thinking it's probably the former. Although apparently the issue has sold out from the publisher. I'm sure I'll find a copy eventually.

I got that table full of paint and stamps and other art supplies set up in the living room. And....

that's as far as I got. I still don't have the images I want to use picked out. It's a LOT HARDER than I thought it would be! Maybe tomorrow I'll make more microscopic progress? Although, hey, I'm actually pretty happy with daily progress no matter how small.

And now I'm gonna make some Scottish oats and take it to bed with me. Perhaps a strange bedtime snack, but it's what I'm craving.
Today I was gonna show you some more environmental art I made. (Not sure if Environmental Art works as a description. Hmmmm. Outside Art? Found Art?) But I've bumped the idea in order to give you a heads up on Mark Lipinski's championing of controversial quilt artists and Joann's playing censor.

You can read Mark's blog here or News Google him and/or his magazine and find out more about the controversy. I wrote a brief but appropriately snarky e-mail to Joann's telling them how I feel about censorship.

Fortunately this sort of thing tends to backfire on the stupid people. Apparently Mark is going to be getting a "Colbert Bump"! Be sure to watch tonight's show. And if you've never heard of The Colbert Show then, sigh, you really need to have someone help you push that big rock off of you.

Monday, March 09, 2009

I followed through on my "environmental art" challenge to myself. I wandered around outside and found a dearth of ideas springing up in my head. So I wandered some more. Until something did "spring" up.

I like how it came out, but I wandered a bit more, trying to stumble upon another idea. I have this elm weed in my flower bed. It'll have to come out. So I played with it a bit.

Ever wonder where lassos come from? Why, a lasso tree of course!

Also good for making bubble hoops. Hmmm.... maybe I'll try dipping them in bubble soap if it warms up more, and see how that looks.

This creating art out of nature turns out to be harder than I thought!

And then, I had an inspiration! Here's the series of thoughts that tumbled out of my brain - Lots of dried flower stalks still toppling about in the garden.... Waiting for spring and fresh flowers to appear.... No color.... Shades of Inspiration Flickr group theme this last week was "rainbow"....

And here's what happened when I connected the dots between them all-

Rainbow Flowers!

Did anyone else take me up on the challenge? Come on folks. Just something simple. I wanna see! Wanna see! Wanna see!!!

Sunday, March 08, 2009

I've been really struggling to fit everything in my days this last week. The Rosie was sick and required much holding and worrying over. Teen has been sick too, a lingering cold, and I've alternated between bringing him hot cups of tea and yelling at him to still manage a few minutes of chores. The weather has been cold, snowy, rainy, wet, slushy, cold, icy... most of this all at the same time. It makes me feel housebound, when I haven't been out in the mess shoveling or slushing around on errands. The day fills up and what gets tossed is, of course, art time.

The studio needs a freestanding heater to be warm enough to work in there and even when I remember to turn it on earlier so I can get in there later, the electrical breaker for that side of the house has suddenly decided that's one thing too many plugged in. ARgh. But even if I can get the studio warmed up, it is now so full of boxes and STUFF that it's almost impossible to set anything up to work. Very. Big. Sigh.

I think today I'll set up a card table in the living room and try to gather up the things I need for step two (or step three or five or .... I don't know, depends on what you count as a step - do I count going to the store for supplies as a step? cleaning off the table as a step?) of my ATC project - which I was gonna tell you about but then didn't - and see if I can work on them in front of the television tonight. Although, bad night to choose, Sunday is a television wasteland.

I'm telling you this because I think that if I do, it will inspire me to follow through. Hahaha! Maybe I will. Maybe I'll get in the studio digging for supplies and just end up cleaning instead. Or working on something else. Or maybe the Teen or Phone or Some Other Distraction will drag me sideways.

Someone sent me a link to this photo artist today. Isn't he (I think it's a he, I have no idea) fabulous!? I love these images. It reminds me of this lovely blogger who I've been remiss in visiting for a few months. She uses all natural supplies while the former's appeal is the juxtaposition of natural and unnatural, but the similarities are that both use the natural world as a backdrop and both create something unexpected in that setting.

I used to create images like this when I was a child. I didn't take photographs of them. I just did it for my own pleasure. They lasted only as long as I saw them, or perhaps they lingered until a foot kicked them or the wind toppled them. I'm not sure what compelled me to make them. I think I saw natural patterns and designs all around me and decided nature was as good a palette to work with as crayons or paint, and I tried my own hand at making them.

Nowadays I tend to think of creating art as something that happens in the studio and finding art is something that happens through the lens of my camera. I forget that the two concepts can be combined. A few times in the last few years I've spontaneously played with creating in the world around me and those unplanned moments stand out as blissful living-in-the-moment memories. Why don't I remember to do this more often? If this sort of play brings me so much joy, why don't I do it on a regular basis!?

Fortunately, as an adult, I've had the advantage of having a camera to capture a few of these creations. Nothing too grandiose, just simple ideas. But still, they change the everyday into a surprise.


The Rock Tree

This one was actually William's idea. I forced him to spend an entire afternoon playing in the mountains with me. He was most unhappy about being dragged out on a planned "bonding with nature" event, but he really got into the spirit of things once we got out there.


I went for a walk at a botanical gardens in Reno one autumn day and ended up playing for the better part of an hour with these crabapples that had fallen in the parking lot.

Peering Down at Me

Bottle Face

When they put in new sidewalks in front of our house a few summers ago, they disturbed a lot of fill dirt that had been brought in from other places to make the road. One of the workers found an unbroken dairy bottle and that inspired me to spend one late afternoon digging for my own treasures.

With the economy these days, and the cost of art supplies, this also appeals to me as a way of making low impact, environmentally friendly art.

I'm challenging myself to make some unexpected, ephemeral art today. How bout you - wanna play?


Create something, post a photo of it, and let me know.