Monday, April 25, 2011

More Work in Progress

First, the watercolor of the camelia and the vase is coming along slowly, but surely.  There's some work on the highlights and shadows to be done and then the stamens in the center of the camelia need finishing.  I'm learning about patience and, after putting some heavy paint on the petals, was reminded that transparent glazes can be much more effective.  I guess it's also a style thing...sometimes softer is better and sometimes you might as well be outspoken and blunt.

We are doing some work at a cabin that we inherited from my husband's parents.  We are making slow but sure progress on that, as well.  After a few hours of doing battle with scotch broom which is threatening to take over our creek bank, I took a walk up to a derelict footbridge and did a little sketch.

Footbridge at Bear Pen Creek

The Creative Every Day prompt for April is small, and I'm feeling really small.  I'm struggling with the balance between spending time on art, trying to get some basic skills down, and really wanting to draw or paint almost all the time, AND feeling an increasing awareness of wanting to do more to make the world a more peaceful place.  I am so lucky to have the life that I have and so aware that so many others don't have anywhere near the same resources.

So, the taxes got in on time.  Fortunately for me, my role in the tax preparation is a supporting one...all I have to do is supply my husband with my statements and some additional facts about charitable contributions and mileage and so on.  This year we took an additional step and sent our legislators a letter saying that we, as citizens, are paying our taxes, but are doing it under protest.  Writing most of the letter wasn't so hard because we got a template from a Quaker friend who is coordinating the effort to get 200 Quakers and others to pay under protest.  What was hard was offering a specific alternative to the more than 50% of our federal taxes that support the United States military.  In an era when social services and education are being cut, why is it that the pentagon got an increase? This is wrong and totally backwards in terms of priorities.  I can't say what the right thing is to do about Libya, but I do know that the United States has a history of picking and choosing which dictators to support and which ones to tumble.  I say, let's invest in education, health care, and services that allow people to live with dignity and efficacy.  Let's fund a Department of Peace.  There are so many grass roots organizations building peace in many corners of the world and we can learn from them and add to them. I'm in progress on this...I want to say more, but I don't know yet how to say it.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Journal Pages and Something in Progress

We've had some much cooler weather this past week, and some days have been pretty windy but the sun is still shining!  We've made some progress on getting our double-paned windows ready to install, and nearly all the frames are now stained and ready.  At the cabin, the wildflowers are rioting, the creek is rushing by, and we've gotten the first bank of upper cabinets installed and the convection/microwave wrestled into place.  In the midst of all that, I've done a few small projects to post here.

The travertine tiles are destined to become coasters, and I'll need to give them a finish and a backing.  This particular travertine was full of little holes, which was something of a challenge, yet offered something to work the designs around.  I think I'll redefine a couple of these before finishing them, to brighten them up.

 The turnips were one thing that survived the winter in the garden.  They were pretty mild, but VERY crunchy after being sliced, put in a little water, and cooked in the oven for an hour.  Maybe the cooking method wasn't the best?

I also want to post this watercolor that I'm in the middle of, to motivate myself to work on it some more.  I'm fearful that I'll mess up the next part, plus I have to get everything out and create a new mess in the kitchen where I paint, so I've been reluctant to get started.  By putting it up on the blog, I'm hoping to hold myself accountable : ) 

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Ridiculous and the Sublime

The Junk Drawer
The Every Day Matters prompt for last week was to draw your junk drawer. My thought was, I don't have an easy way to position myself in front of the junk drawer in order to be comfortable for the excessively long amount of time it would take me to draw it. Of course, I was kind of setting myself up for a life-long task, both because of the amount of junk in the drawer and because I had recently been looking at
Andrea Joseph's Sketchblog , and she does such beautifully detailed renderings. My gosh, I was intimidated before I even began!

However, when I was getting my hair cut last week, I realized I could draw Suzanna's junk drawer, or at least her drawer of used brushes. So here we are.
Junk Drawer:  Watercolor, ink, moleskine watercolor journal

Living from the Center
In our Muse Group on Saturday, we were using gesso as a medium to provide relief for our journals. I began with gesso and also fiber paste, and went on to adding hot colors and collage.

One of my wishes and goals for 2011 is to live life passionately, to grow into my own wisdom, and to be able to articulate my beliefs. I want to create passionately and to dance with my full and complete being. In order to do that, I have to prioritize opportunities for meditation and reflection. Coming from the center creates the space for an explosion of life.

Live from the Center: acrylic, collage, fiber paste, gesso on Arches watercolor paper