Saturday, January 18, 2014

And it just keeps coming

I have spent hours in the studio the past couple of days.  I am feeling so much more contented. But then, I also made a magical decision.  I can let go of past hurts and quit mourning for a childhood that I didn't have.  Gee whiz, it sure takes me a while, sometimes!

So, yesterday it was more 4 x 4's and then more today along with a 12x12" piece that I need to photograph.

I really like the simplicity and strength of these little pieces. I am doing them for myself so I am the only one I need to please. Some I like better than others and some you won't see.

Each of these has been mounted on a 4 x 4" cradled board and are 5/8 inch deep.  I have decided not to paint the sides so the remain natural.

Then today the following got done:

I find that I tend to work in a given color palette each day (probably because I put a limited amount of paint out on the palette and then use it until it is all gone) and then the elements I include tend to be similar.  I am working through a group of designs and then the next day I am free of them and can go on to some other designs.  By working on 4x4's I can do lots in a day if I stick to it all day.  Some get finished in one day while others wait until another day when I finally decide just what I want to do with them.  Absolutely no pressure and tons of fun!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Found my soul today

I spent a glorious day in the studio. It was so wonderful as I have been struggling with my depression and lethargy.  But, today was very productive!

I printed a big bunch of deli paper for collaging using my gelli plate and stencils as resist. Using Golden Open acrylics, I was able to pull three positive prints plus three negative prints off of each plate that I did.  What fun!  It just feels so creative in a non threatening way.

But then, on I went to 4 x 4's

This piece below includes some of the new printing from the gelli plate that I did today.  Both a positive and a negative.  The positive partial circles I cut out and added, the strips of circles is just that, a strip that I printed from another stencil.

This piece incorporated a printed deli paper that was stamped with my foam stamps. I love using the sticky foam and cutting it out, mounting it on corrugated plastic and then printing away.  This is just part of a one of the strips of lines I printed.

 And last, a study in red with a circle.

Well, and then I went on to 6 x 6's and did three of those today also!

I seem to be in a redish zone lately.  I have just been having a great time playing with red to yellows and getting in to the interaction of the oranges and reds and the various reds that I use.

This piece includes a printed circle on deli paper and then I used airbrush paint for the inking.

I have been using up several color studies from my color class this fall that I was doing for our exquisite corpse which we did as a group.  Since they are color studies only, they don't amount to much but they are on bristol paper and 6 x 6 so they are great candidates to repaint or use part of in new work.  This collage incorporates painted tissue paper, painted and printed deli paper and airbursh paint for my black lines.  I have a large of collection of circle is a large, cardboard center from packing tape, several empty spools from thread and I can use both ends to get different prints, pieces of pipe, carved rubber stamped, cut out mat board, etc.  I just collect anything that will stamp a circle and use them a lot with paint.

 And, then, still on a roll, I did a 12 x 12.

This piece has layers and layers of paint applied to it, primarily by putting the paint on another piece of paper and then placing the painted side of the paper down on the painting and rubbing it to transper the paint. It gives a lot of texture and unevenness that I can not get just with a dry brush.

I have started mounting the 4 x 4's on cradled hardwood which makes for a nice presentation. Here are four of them together.

This is one of a series of six, so far, that are 6 x 6 and I have mounted this on a hardwood panel.

And, last but not least, two pictures of my painting and printing table.  Love this place!


found my soul today and it is singing!

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Caught up and more!

I got to spend time in my studio today!  Wheeeee!

It was a very productive time as I completed the remainder of my 4 x 4's and also did two 6 x 6 pieces. I am experimenting with what I do and having fun at it!  It is about time to pull out some larger paper and start doing some bigger pieces, or, maybe, pull out the fabric and do something with fiber for a change!  What a concept!

Things at my dad's house are moving along.  I have spent the last five days there going through stuff and have removed most of the furniture. A few pieces remain that will go to my brother plus one that I want to keep.  Otherwise, my garage is looking like a warehouse!  Brought in two nice buffets from my dad's is now in my dining area, along with one we already own, and the other is sitting just inside the entry way into our house and actually looks very good there. My husband is doing some repair work on the pieces and it is taking a lot of time to do the clean up since they were in a house with smokers for over 40 years.

But, let me show you my new 4 x 4's:

My 4 x 4 birch wood panels have arrived so I can attach these to them for a really nice presentation. I figure I should end up with 365 when I am all done!

But, I went a head and did a couple of 6 x 6 pieces....I really do love working in that size! 

These were originally color studies in reds for my color class at school but that did little for me so I reworked them into small art pieces and am much happier. It is so freeing to work on already painted paper...which is why I prep a bunch of 4 x 4s with layers of color so they are all ready for me. When I do a batch of these at one time, there is usually one color theme since I work off what ever color is on my palette at the time, but then, I am known for adding more colors anytime I want to!

Just taking today off from working at my dad's (they are pouring concrete so I can't get into the house) and will take tomorrow off also, has given me a chance to actually be in the studio when I am not completely done it.  Making art is so important to my soul!  I can feel physical burdens lifting off my shoulders when I am in there working!

Monday, January 06, 2014


It is now January 6 and I am three days behind in my creation of  4 x 4's.  I have one for Jan 3 but I haven't had a chance to scan it and post it.

I have been spending every day at my father's house boxing stuff up.  Finally, today, it looks like we might be making progress as my brother was able to move out quite a bit of the furniture.  I have several pieces of furniture to move out but still more stuff to be boxed up...just a little bit more china and then books and other odds and ends, many of which can be dumped into boxes and brought home to go through at my leisure...unless it all just waits for my daughter to deal with after my death! I am joking....but there is an end in sight.

Work is coming along on the outside of the house and we should have everything out of the house by Wednesday.  And, then, I plan to spend lots of time in the studio and get myself started again....

Bear with me!

Thursday, January 02, 2014

4 x 4's are still going!

Today I did another 4 x4 but didn't get it done until after 8 pm. Lately I haven't been sleeping very well and have been waking up at 3 am and tossing and turning until 5 am and then going back to sleep. But during all of this I have very vivid dreams that are more like movies. If I really took the time to write them down I would remember them better but I don't.  I just find myself wanting to get back to some form of sleep as soon as I can so I can continue my dreams.

Out to the Hearing Center to get my new hearing aids adjusted...turned them down 4 clicks to start out with...if you are having hearing problems, I can't encourage you enough to get your hearing tested and if you have a mild hearing loss, go ahead and get those hearing aids. It is so much easier to get used to than if you have been running around not hearing much and then all of sudden you get the assist!  It's loud out there if you are used to it being a little quieter. What is nice about these new ones (my second pair in 4 years) is that I can turn them up or down so if it gets too loud, down it grandsons seem to see me doing this regularly...but at 6 and 9 their volume is always way up!

Anyway, off to my dad's house to see how the workmen are doing with repairs to the outside. We are doing cosmetic stuff to the house and will have a stagger and everything...they are busy patching the stucco, leveling the shifting concrete, fixing the garage, changing out two windows and more.  Next week or so they start on the interior and redo two bathrooms, do the ceilings in two rooms, remove some old cabinets in the kitchen, refloor the kitchen and redo all the hardwood floors throughout the house.  It will really shine and then it won't look like the house my parents lived in and will be easier to say goodbye to.  At least, that is what I hope will happen.

4 x 4 for January 2, 2014:

Looking at the work I have been doing the past year, circles are a very important design element for me.  They seem to always show up.  I have learned a trick from Joe Cunningham about using commercial bias tape to create circles. Before I have used fused fabric and cut the circles out, fused them and then stitched them.  It is hard when working with wonky circles to get them down straight so I just might try this.  I met Joe at a "Meet the Teachers" meeting of the Northern California Quilt Council where 30 teachers each have three minutes of show and tell and get guilds interested in hiring us during the next several years. This really works out well.

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Day 1 of the rest of my life

Each day I wake up and remember that today is the first day of the rest of my life.  Puts things into perspective.

I appreciate the nice comments people have shared and want everyone to know that I am being very kind to myself, even as I gained a bunch of the weight that I had lost the previous year.  Oh well, we start again.

Last night I spent several hours in the studio and pulled out a bunch of 6x6 pieces that I had not finished before my dad started going downhill last year. I got started on them and also prepped a bunch of 4 x 4 bristol papers for daily art.  I got some color put on them and this morning created my first piece of art for the year!
Gee, it is almost as big as it really is in real life!  Just a little collage but that is just fine.

And then I went to work on the pieces I had pulled out last night and finished those up.

 And then there were two that I tweeked a little bit. These are  all worked on large bristol that I painted in big swaths with black acrylic and then just used some washes.  The color in the bottom two pieces are cut out found paper.  There is also some ink drawing and doodling on them as well as stamping.

And then, finally, I thought I would share five  6 x 6 pieces that were done as a series. I am very happy with them. I had shared them on facebook but I don't think the images were very good.
These are done with ink on 300 pound watercolor paper, with painted tissue paper collage, stamped deli paper collage, ink doodling and graphite pencil. They are also been stamped with cardboard stamps that I use.

Posting this all seems to feel like accountability to me.  I have made a commitment to myself and by sharing the journey, if feels as if I will actually get some new stuff done!  Got to get a bunch of unfinished things finished before school starts in a month and I start working on my painting and my contemporary art history.  Having never taken any art history through out my college career when I majored in art, I have been really enjoying it.  I told the prof that it took me hours of extra time because I spent so much time on the internet looking up the work of the various artists we have discussed. 

I have also been spending time reading about Robert Motherwell, Richard Diebekorn, Mark Rothko and several others.  Just love their brush work and use of color (or not).

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A New Year just for me!

I am so happy that the second half of 2013 has come to an end.  It has been a rough half of a year for me and it started out so well. The first half of the year was immersed in my art, taking a class with Gerry Brommer in Idaho, starting a post-baccalaureate certificate program at UC Extension in San Francisco, taking an on line class on working in a series with Elizabeth Barton, and then taking several classes on line with Jane Davies.  Each teacher I have had has helped me to reach farther and farther into myself to seek new ideas and ways of doing things. 

In June my father began declining and fell in the house which resulted in a broken thigh bone at the hip.  He was sent home with a catheter which he continued to pull out each time it was reinserted. He lived in Berkeley with 37 steps from the street to the first floor of his house which means an enormous charge for any wheel chair service to take him to the doctor.  Most of the times he went back to the hospital to the ER via an ambulance since he was not mobile at all.  Finally, after two weeks of spending many evenings and days at the hospital, he was found to have a very low sodium level which resulted in his hospitalization.  However, they would only keep him until his sodium level went up.  However, the urologist didn't want him to leave until they had done some minor laser surgery so he could urinate.  But they couldn't do the surgery until his sodium level was up.

I have had a wonderful caregiver who has been living with my father for the past six years.  I couldn't have managed without her care and support of my father and myself.  We would split shifts at the hospital since my father was pretty deaf, fairly blind and had very short memory if much at all.  One time I went downstairs to get something to eat one evening, told the nurse I was going so she could watch out for my dad, cam back to find three staff trying to hold my father down to reinsert his Iv which he had also pulled out.  Needless to say, I didn't leave his beside again unless Roz was there with him.  I had the day shift and she took the night shift.

He was in the hospital for two weeks. Meanwhile my husband left on a pre-planned vacation in our motorhome with our daughter and family in their trailer up California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and into Glacier National part...finally arriving at Yellowstone.

My father had his surgery and was doing much better at home in his own surroundings. He was no longer continent but we could easily deal with that.  Roz encouraged me to go join my family on vacation since we were also going to go the Michigan for my granddaughter's first birthday.  Spent lots of time on the phone with home health care, hospice, etc trying to decide from a distance what the best next step would be.  Returned home and decided to get him on hospice right away as he was seriously declining as a result of severe wounds to his feet, ankles, and shins from traction when he had been in the hospital with first time.  Within a week of my return home, a died peacefully at home with Roz, my brother and I there with him.  I called the rest of the family and called my priest who came over to say some prayers and be with us and we had a good ole' wake there at the house until we were finally ready for the mortuary to take his body away.

Since that time I have been very busy dealing with the house and all the legalities and working with my brother on things. I am handling the estate and it looks like we might wrap everything up by March or April of the new year.  I am truly looking forward to that. Meanwhile, I have brought boxes and boxes of papers home and have burned up my shredder going through all of his tax returns and cancelled checks and other stuff from the past fifty years. I have vowed now to leave all that to my daughter when my time comes!

I have been going through many different feelings of grief, including feeling overwhelmed (which I have been) to just to sad to do anything.  My art has taken a back seat to the rest of my life.  Christmas was a little low key and much more relaxed as the house never did get completely cleaned up but my son, daughter-in-law and granddaughter didn't seem to  mind.  For a week had my entire family, four more adults and three grandchildren here in the house most of the time.  My son and family returned in Michigan on Saturday and now I am just watching my two grandsons for this week while school is out.

But, BUT, BUT I have returned to the studio.  I began doing some work on a piece I had started several years ago and am getting the top ready to paint over it and then do a lot of quilting on it and some more painting.  And I have pulled out a lot of the left over pieces from one of Jane Davies' classes and have started to work on those again.  And, I have set up a bunch of 4 x 4" bristol board all ready to started working on on a daily basis...let's see if I can keep that up for the year! Lots of plans for the new year, including two more classes this winter at UC (contemporary art history and intermediate painting) along with a masters program with Jane Davies for a while as we work on various things.

so, if you have stuck with me all this time, I will include a couple of pieces that I did during the late spring time....they are, however, indicative of the way I seem to be going right now...working in many layers.  Each of these is mixed media with collage and painting, stamping, etc.

Now, I have made a commitment to myself to keep up the blog (especially since I had to delete five hundred spam messages that had appeared!) and to keep up with my work. I finally feel like I am returning to myself again!