Tuesday, November 30, 2010

AED Month, Days 29 and 30

Where has the month gone! In the joy and rush to create art every day, I find have neglected to do some of the slow processing and meditative practice that I want to include in my approach to art. However, I've stepped forward with more courage and tried some different media. I'm looking forward to working at a slower, steadier pace and to completing some things that have been set aside for awhile.

Hunter or Hunted?

This piece is one that has been unfolding: First, I drew circles on the back of the paper and pressed some leaves into the paper, trying to create some texture. Then I turned the paper over, got it wet, and poured primary colors (watercolor) onto the paper. I added another wash of blue, then enhanced the yellow and red places. As I reflected on the evolving background, I kept getting an image of a raptor caught in the cross hairs of some kind of scope. Red-tail hawks came several times into my real world, so I found a reference photo and here we are. The picture itself is 10x10, but the mat is 16x20 in order to fit into a standard frame.

It has been so much fun meeting a few of you this month. Keep up the creative work and live life to the fullest! I hope we meet again.

Monday, November 29, 2010

AED Month, Day 28

Whew! In the middle of the busy Thanksgiving weekend we went up to our cabin to drain the water pipes. We're having several freezing nights in a row and want to avoid the frustration of showing up some cold and rainy evening only to find that the pipes have burst.

While there, I was able to get in a quick drawing of the squirrel stove and do some imagining of how the remodel might look when finished. What's actually in place now are the door, stove, and window. These are all part of our efforts to upgrade this little cabin that has been in my husband's family since the 1950's. He's enjoying doing all the work himself. I'm learning to be patient, the path is more important than the destination!

We want to put in cabinets, some kind of treatment behind the stove pipe, countertops, and flooring. We're close to making decisions, but haven't quite nailed everything. So this little water color is about playing with the color scheme to see if we like soft golds and greens. (Arches travel journal, Windsor Newton paint set, water brush, sharpie).

Coming to the end of AED Month is mixed for me. I've tried more media this month than I would have, gone more public than I would have, gotten a blog up and running again, and discovered many more artists than I knew about. It's been a hard pace for me to keep up, though. I am very grateful to those who have stopped by, and deeply appreciative to all who have been an inspiration to me! I hope to continue with Creativity Every Day.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

AED Month, Day 27

Today's post is a quick sketch, a little mess, really, done just to get something in as we reach the last few days of Art Every Day Month. One of our Thanksgiving weekend traditions is to go to the Kolo Festival in San Francisco and then to the Japan Center on Saturday morning. Last night we were invited to play a few Bulgarian bitov numbers with Da Mozhem and then danced the night away.

This morning we went to the taiyaki stand for our favorite Thanksgiving Saturday breakfast, good coffee and taiyaki (fish shaped, filled waffles). You walk up to the window and order, and the waffles are given to you in a little flat paper bag. They have three fillings: chocolate ($1.75), red bean paste ($1.50), and chocolate-banana ($2.00). If you buy a dozen, you get one extra. I always get the red bean paste (just one or two).

After breakfast, we went to the book store, the paper and stationery store, and the hardware store. I got some great textured, metallic, and print papers for future collages.

Friday, November 26, 2010

AED Month, Days 25 and 26

Day 25.

Happy Belated Thanksgiving! We had a wonderful crazy day yesterday with friends and so much fabulous food. Here are the apple pies I brought. The apples are from our trees, harvested, cored, peeled, sliced, and frozen in late September. We have two apple trees, one golden delicious and one gravenstein with three other grafts: roxbury russet, blush rosette, and a red apple that was just ripening and I was going to bring in to identify. A couple of weeks ago the few red apples were stolen! Last night, as we came home from Thanksgiving dinner, we found the thieves in our side yard: a doe and fawn. We're in a pretty urban setting for deer, but close to a creek, so that must be how they get into the neighborhood.

Days 25 and 26.

This journal page took longer than I expected, partly because of drying time, and partly because we thought we had to leave earlier than anticipated for Thanksgiving dinner. So, I finished today (26th). I wanted to do a Mehndi Thanksgiving Turkey and to write things that I am grateful for on the fingers. But I found myself thinking a lot about my mom, whose birthday was 11/24. My mom was courageous in many ways, and surely did the best that she could. But I've had conflicted feelings all my life, and, even though she died 25+ years ago, I've had difficulty with forgiveness. I decided to focus on the things that I am grateful for, and dedicate this page to her. The step-stool in the middle is from a catalog, but it's exactly like the one that we had in our kitchen when I was growing up.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

AED Month, Day 24

Today we have a small mandala (permanent ink and watercolor pencil)

and a horizon placement study (watercolor on Arches paper).

Later in the day a music rehearsal and a nap : )

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

AED Month, Day 23

Yesterday and today I worked on this Zen Doodle, which I hoped would be a way to do a centering meditation. I have a lovely recording of Indian flute music which is very soothing, and I sit down with my journal and light some candles and try to just be.

It's funny how a form of doodling which I did all the time in my high school and college notebooks is now a widely recognized form of art creativity : ) I'm not sure how it will work out as a meditation practice, but it's fun to keep a notebook out and fill things in while, say, waiting for water to boil.

We also went to a rehearsal last night for some Balkan music that we will be playing for a dance class in a couple of weeks. The music sounds pretty good, more practice would be helpful, but we are in good shape. All but my arm, that is. Still giving me trouble after about 30 minutes. I'm going to practice slowly and carefully this evening to see if I can find out what is going on.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Art Not Quite Every Day Month, Day 21

Many things conspire against the person who desires to do some art every day, and many of those things are wonderful. So rather than kick myself for not "creating art" every day, I'm going to celebrate all the wonderful creativity in my life. I will be getting to some art today, but the main thing for Day 21 is getting the blog posted. YAY!

On Days 19 and 20, we had a lovely overnight visit with our 8-month old grandson and then his parents. Creative moments included cooking a simple, delicious meal last night--roast chicken, a baked squash/onion/apple dish, fresh green salad, and peach pie. I had made the peach pie last summer with peaches from our tree and kept it in the freezer. It was scrumptious. The most creative part of the meal was what to do when the oven overheated and refused to carry on, about halfway through the cooking. My talented husband took everything out to the barbecue and finished it all up!

A big priority over the past week has been getting holiday cards printed up as a benefit for the Alternatives to Violence Project. A local printing shop has made them from a watercolor that I did, plus my lettering design. They are selling well, and this is giving me an idea for a bigger event in the spring. To be revealed when the timing is right : ) The color here isn't as good as either the original or the cards, but you get the idea.

Peace on Earth

Card design by Barbara Babin

All proceeds to benefit:
Alternatives to Violence Project
AVP California
P.O. Box 3294 Santa Barbara, CA 93130

We did some interesting work during this past week's watercolor class, but nothing I want to post. The lesson was on what happens to the composition when you vary where you put the horizon line, and it's something I want to explore some more. I did finish up an exercise in glazing, incorporating the leaves I gathered at the cabin. I'm pleased with the colors, but find the composition unbalanced.

Between classes, I've done some driving to take photos for my reference file, played quite a bit more music than usual (but finding that my shoulder and arm hurt), and did an Alternatives to Violence Workshop. Not wasting a lot of time, and finding it all very fulfilling!

The "Sketching People In Public Places" class has been to two venues:

A coffee shop where we drew a bluegrass jam,

And a Chinese restaurant that holds a weekly blues jam.

So, all in all, there have been many creative moments. Hurray!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Art Every Day Month, Days 6-9

It's definitely not easy completing something every day! On Saturday, the Drawing People in Public Places class attended the Santa Rosa Symphony and practiced sketching musicians in their native habitat. I'm not very happy with the work, but am reminding myself that it's all a process.

Day 6--Piano Soloist

On Sunday, I was marveling at the fall color and decided to try out my watercolor pastels. Here's the sketch and reference photo.

Day 7--Trees on Fire

We spent the weekend at our cabin and I collected a number of leaves and needles and am working on a couple of mandala designs using natural themes and continuing with the practice of transparent glazes. In a day or two those should be ready to be posted.

Meanwhile, today, on Day 10, I took a piece to the copy shop to be printed up into holiday cards. If people like them they will be a minor fundraiser for Alternatives to Violence Project. Then this evening the art class goes out again to a jazz club to sketch people in public places. I've done a little research into gesture sketching and feel a little more prepared this time.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Art Every Day Month, Day 5

Today was a fix-it, mat-it, finish-it kind of day, then I had time to play. One thing I want to look into in the near future is how to photograph work so that it shows its best.

I started the day with breakfast with friends, then a GORGEOUS walk around Spring Lake, during which the sun came up and we saw egrets, Canada geese, ducks, and even river otters!

When I came home, I did a mandala meditation from my new book, Healing Mandalas, by Lisa Tenzin Dolma. I got inspired to try and make a mandala, so I drew one with my husband's grandmother's copper stencils and then mounted the watercolor paper to a board. As I was doing this, I remembered that when I was a kid I loved the spirograph, that toy that made endless loops and designs with little gear-templates that traveled around a circle. Maybe this explains my fascination with fractals, too.

While the paper was drying, I cut mat and mounted the Madonna of the Portal (watercolor and tissue paper collage) and then matted and tidied up work from earlier in the week.

Art Every Day Month, Day 1: Our watercolor class worked on monochrome as a study in values. Our homework assignment was to render the same image in color.

Art Every Day Month, Day 2: The photo for this monochrome study is one of the options we were given in the watercolor class. Don't you like the red?

Art Every Day Month, Day 3: I branched out and did this one on my own from a photo in the newspaper.
Art Every Day Month, Day 4: This week's class studied glazing. Using just just the primaries (aurolian yellow, rose madder, and cobalt blue), this is from a calendar photo.

Finally, I got to play with the mandala, and play with glazing. This time aurolian yellow, rose madder, and French ultramarine. It reminds me of an old-fashioned ice-cream parlor.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Art Every Day Month, Day 4

I have looked forward to the point when I would have more time for all my interests, so since retiring in June I find myself busier than ever. I have been pursuing watercolor for just under two years now, mainly working on my own, but with a few lessons sprinkled in. Since mid-September, I've been taking a weekly class at the senior center and the work is developing...amazing what happens when you show up at the page on a regular basis. The class gives me a chance to play with the medium, to explore and take risks.

A teacher I admire sends out a monthly newsletter, and this month's includes a pointer to a couple of wonderful art related sites, one is http://creativeeveryday.com/art-every-day-month This is Leah Piken Kolidis' November is Art Every Day Month site. She says she was inspired by Nanowrimo and she encourages folks to do some art every day during the month of November. All creativity is allowed (knitting, cooking, baking, drawing, painting, etc.) and all increments, little to big.

So today is Day 4. I have actually been working on art every day this month and will post photos soon. I'm new to the technology of online portfolios, so this may be clunky at first. Bear with.

The other art site is www.artheals.org. Their introduction says "Arts & Healing Network is an online resource celebrating the connection between art and healing. We believe that art is an essential catalyst for creating positive change in the world. Our hope is that this web site will inspire everyone to use creativity as a tool for healing and transformation." I've only touched the tip of this site...it looks very juicy...and am excited by the monthly podcasts. Leah Piken Kolidis is interviewed, and there are also interviews with Julia Cameron AND Judith Selby Lang and Richard Lang. Judith teaches the watercolor class at the senior center, what synchronicity!

Tonight I went to hear a friend give an author's talk at our local bookstore. I already have her book, so I browsed around and picked up a book on meditating with mandalas. It's a visually beautiful book and the meditations look inviting. I'm hoping to spend more time at the intersections of art and spirit, creativity and transformation.

By the way, my friend's name is Elspeth Benton, and her book is "Crucial Time." It's a mystery, is well-written and engaging, and she makes a strong case for the importance of good early-childhood education.