Thursday, November 20, 2008

Red Blocks

Tuesday night I went to bed but could not sleep. I had seen someone's art work which really got me thinking about possibilities and why we do things the way we do and stay in a rut. For instance, why do I feel I need to work in three layers? Why do I feel paper collage needs to be separate from art? What I am doing with fabric is really collage...what else can I incorporate?

So I was up until 2 am thinking and sketching and taking notes. This was about painting on raw canvas and using the canvas as the fabric and forgetting backing and batting. Part of this I had worked through with my piece, White Washing the War, which used a collage process with all sorts of things and never had a back or a batting and had raw canvas edges that were stitched to keep them from ravelling any more.

Up Tuesday morning bright and early with just five hours of sleep and off to the studio I went. Red has been on my mind. Not due to political reasons but because it is a color I really like. So I cut up some canvas scraps and started sketching lines and squares and then painting them...first the squares and lines in red and then the background in off-white and white combinations. Then home I went to add some sewing to them. These are my first ideas. More to come.

So what do you think? Red Blocks 1-4 are for a 4x6 mat opening and 5-8 are for a 5x7 opening. They are not finished for showing as they stand bu should be matted and framed, with or without glass. The 4x6 pieces are $40 and the 5 x 7 are $50. I will include shipping. Let me know if you are interested.

Red Blocks 1 4 x6

Red Blocks 2 4x6

Red Blocks 3 4x6

Red Blocks 4 4x6

Red Blocks 5 5x7 SOLD

Red Blocks 6 5x7

Red Blocks 7 5x7

Red Blocks 8 5x7

Monday, November 17, 2008

A New Hope

I haven't written about the elections, the campaigning, my hopes and worries. It was very interesting for me to realize that this election year has been filled with more things that mean so much to me.

I read McCain's positions on his official website, I read Obama's positions on his official website. I liked the positions of Obama and was pretty concerned about McCain's.

Then McCain picked Palin for his running mate. At first I thought it was brilliant on his attractive woman who spoke plainly could get things going for McCain. And then she spoke some more and more, wink, wink. I went through the roof. I could see her in a meeting with a Saudi Sheik winking and talking about Joe Six-pack. I had never really considered McCain as a possibility but now a real element of fear entered into the election for me. What if McCain were elected and died...she would represent our country. Real fear. Fear for women's reproductive rights, fear of Christian's who have given Christianity a bad name being in the White House, fear of scientific teaching going out the door, abstinence policies that have been proven not to work being touted, fear that more teenagers who are pregnant will be heralded as doing the right thing by keeping their babies or getting married before high school is finished, fear the the freedoms I hold very dear would disappear. And in California we had to deal with Prob 8 which would remove the right for non-heterosexuals to marry.

So much intolerance. So much fear mongering. So scary.

I was in New York at the time of the election. I had sent in my ballot before hand. I tuned out the election news by immersing myself into my class. I did not watch the news or TV, I did not read a paper for four days before the election. Prior to that I had been a news junkie. Went cold turkey.

Election night came and I refused to watch the early guesses coming in...I've seen too many polls and news people trying to guess without enough information to go on. So I didn't watch.

I went to bed but at 10 pm got up to take a peek in the class room where there was a TV and saw that Obama had the lead but still had a way to go. So back to bed I went.

The next morning I was informed that Obama had indeed won the election. I have never felt such a heavy burden lift as it did at that moment.

And then, later, to see that he had won by such a large margin! There is hope for our country.

I lived in Virginia in 1960 when the public schools had been closed as a response to the order to integrate the schools. I had seen the signs over water fountains that said "whites only". My grandmother was southern all the way and called people of color Niggras. And today we have a president elect who is part African and part and white. What a world we live in.

And then last night I listen to 60 minutes interview Barack and Michelle Obama. Everything I had seen in his campaign came true. His answers were well thought out. He was clear. He was concise. He acknowledged that the entire country has to work together. He was presidential. He can laugh at himself. He can be a normal man and talk about doing the dishes. His wife can tease him and he isn't threatened. They clearly love and support each other. She has a grace about her and a calmness that I am glad will be with him.

I have hope.

On other thoughts...I sit at my computer and look at a maple tree across the tree from me. I watch the seasons through that tree. We are in our typical Bay Area fall which means it is summer one day, winter for a week, fall for a week, summer for several days, fall again and so it goes. It is like this until spring finally comes around. Then the rains stop and the sunny days are here with fog in the evenings to cool us down.

What I notice most about this tree is not so much the color of the leaves changing, but the color of the light as the sun's position in the sky drops down. I walk out my front door and have a glare in my eyes from the low level sun. But the glows with the late afternoon sun coming in from the low west. The light at this time of the year has a golden glow to it. It seems to warm up things. The reds look redder, the blues look bluer.

I have finished my quiltlets for the article, now have to finish writing the article for Quilting Arts and then on to one for Cloth, Paper, Scissors. But I can feel the pace slowing down. It feels good.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Time to Leave

This has been a tremendous week of hard work and great fun and lots of growth. I have had such a delightful time with this group of women. It has been so exciting to see people recognize that they are artists and have some ability and will keep on working to create even more art. Each person has wandered through the exercises and have made their own work in their own way. For some, working with fused fabric allowed more spontaneity, for some working in the abstract was a little difficult. But all created some wonderful designs.

The first three days were spent working through the exercises and elements and principles of design. On Wednesday they each started making for 8 x 10's which have been posted. They continued working on those on Thursday, some doing some stitching and some waiting to stitch until they return home. And then they got started making even more art!

Unfortunately I did not get pictures of all the work that each person was producing. I don't know quite how that happened but it did.

So enjoy the ideas coming from my students!

Suzanne was working really hard and created some great pieces:

Susan H. finished off this little piece and went on to do several more which I did not all get but here is one more of them:

Our other Susan went charging ahead and did this piece and one other that I just didn't get a picture of but was just great and so very different!

And then Sheila, from Canada, went to town! She finished two of her 8 x 10 pieces and put together these two small pieces, working from her design thumbnails:

Not to be outdone, Moira from Tasmania, Austria, produced a number of interesting pieces but unfortunately I failed to get pictures of them buthere is one:

Melinda worked on a eye study for three pieces, did several other interesting things and finished up with the dancers below:

Mary was also very busy and created this piece which is ready for quilting:

Alison came in with three huge notebooks of photographs from her travels all over the world and said she needed to learn how to focus as she just had too many ideas. She created several great pieces, which, again I didn't get photographed but these two studies were done from her thumbnails, same image but different color ways.

And, last, but not least, Alice did the stitching on the piece she had started earlier and also did other work which I didn't get.

As a teacher, I can't tell you how happy I am to watch students absorb so much, internalize it and play with it.

I leave for home this afternoon and return to my own commitments for a magazine article due in a couple of days. I am also still waiting to hear exactly what the county is looking for in their commission as in December I will need to submit some samples to the board for their final input. And then to get another article done! Well, at least I don't have to pack up and ship anything for Form Not Function at the Carnegie! Didn't get in there this time so will try again.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Better Art by Design Class in Person

My poor students. They have been working so hard for the past three days and finally things slow down a little bit so they can begin doing some bigger pieces of work more or less on their own with guidance as they desire. It has been a busy three days with lots of little exercises to do, ideas to learn and colors to try out. We are absolutely enjoying our stay at the Greenville Arms Inn in Greenville, New York. During the summer they have painting workshops and during the cooler spring, fall and winter they have fiber workshops since we are in doors. A great place to study.

Above are Susan and Suzanne working hard on one of their exercises. In the next picture you see Susan, Suzanne and Susan all working together, hard on their color exercises on Tuesday. They were still smiling then.

Above are Shirley on the left and Alison on the right. In the next picture is Moira from Australia on the left and Sheila on the right.

Above is Melinda, working away with her glue stick. The next picture shows Melinda and Mary hard at work with their color exercises.

Alice is trying to find the just right color.

these images are of 8 x 10 exercises done on Wednesday afternoon and evening. They have not been quilted yet, although the one on the right has been started.

More images of 8 x 10 exercises.. some appear larger because I had to take them by themselves so the images are larger but the work isn't.

And some more...

and some more....

And some more....

And the last two of these 8 x 10s.

Each student did two 8 x 10's yesterday afternoon. It was really a lot of fun to see what everyone did. There are some big growth spurts for some of the students. One student has only been quilting for a year and is off and ready to fly. What fun for a teacher!

They have all be filling up their sketchbooks with notes and their many exercises along with the class lessons. I will get some pictures of those to show you.

I am so proud of these ten women who have committed to working very hard and being open to change. What a delightful group of women to work with! They all have a great sense of humor and put up with me very well!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

A Day Exploring

What a fun day this has been. I got a great night's sleep and caught up and woke up rested and ready to go. The weather is the low 60's, with a nice brisk snap to the air. One of my students, Sheila from Ottawa, arrived yesterday and we met at breakfast and decided to go exploring for the day. First we headed to Hudson to stop by the quilt store to pick up a couple of things and then wandered some around town which is delightful and interesting. Then, since we are not far from we went to Woodstock.

Aging hippies live there along with lots of normal people. Lots of tourists there. Of course, the concert did not happen in town but out at a farmer's field out of town. I gained some credit when I was speaking to someone who had been here "when" when I explained that during that time I was at Cal Berkeley during the free speech movement. Can't be at both places at once!

We had lunch in town and then decided to head back to the Greenville Arms. Well, the road we thought we were on disappeared and all we had was a map without a lot of detail. The countryside has a lot of detail, including many little roads that were not on our map. We ended up going up and down the Catskills and in circles. Finally, we saw a man out working in his yard and pulled over to ask for help.

TGhe nice man, around 60+ years came over to the care to help up. He was right at the passenger window so I had a really good look at the longest, straightest chest hair that I have ever seen. It was much longer that the hear on my head! And white! I had a hard time listening to his directiolns between my unreal interest in his chest hair and the one inch long hair standing out on the top of his nose. Fortunately, Sheila listened carefully and we found out way back in time to change before our evening wine time and dinner.

There were still a lot of leaves on teh trees...many yellow ones and the red maples were everywhere. It was so much fun looking around and seeing a different kind of countryside. I took pictures but then my battery became worn down. I will download those tomorrow and then post some. What a fun day!

My students are all here except for the one day student so we did an orientation tonight and tomorrow we get started on our class! I am really looking forward to this and I think the students are also! (at least that is what they have said!)

On the Road

I am now at the Greenville Arms in Greenville, New York.

I have come to teach my Better Art by Design class in person for five days. What a treat for me! After an all day trip by plane, I arrived at this beautiful inn and got settled in, went for a short walk and went to sleep for 10 hours. I just have not been sleeping very well for the past week and this was the perfect place to get caught up. I am going out today with one of my students who is from Canada and we will look around before our big welcoming dinner tonight.

A week ago, in a moment of weakness, I allowed myself to agree to a short deadline for an article for Quilting Arts magazine. It has to do with a new line of paints and how they work for textile artists. Well, when Pokey said yes, she asked for the finished work to be to her by Nov 10...of course I could do that! Well, the past week has just been spent creating the fabric in order to create the work! I have found that I really work best if I have a challenge and least most of the time. But at the same time I have been getting ready for this class and will be gone a week.

Not to worry, I do intend to do a lot of the work in the studio in the evenings, which should be lots of fun. The studio here is very nice and will work well.

So, I am off to take pictures which I will post later! Stay tuned!