Monday, December 9, 2013

it's been all about handmade gifts the past few weeks and random acts of kindness
this doll was made especially for my friend mary stanley who lives in nearby santa barbara

and this one will go to a little girl named Ida who i met through a friend on instagram

and this lass is on her way to holland also to an instagram friend
i have truly enjoyed the art of doll making, something new for me.
i even made a house on wheels.  i just love this "let's play" phase i'm going through.

and christmas approaches faster than i would like
this year we decided on a small vignette in the living room as we await our move.
the new house is getting spiffed up with hardwood floors, new windows and new ceilings so it remains empty a little longer. 
i also signed up for gritty jane's 40 portraits challenge and, although far behind, have managed to contribute with a few of my portraits on brown shipping tags at least. it always surprises me how each face wants to come alive in it's own special way.  all are so so different from each other.

i titled this one "thoroughly british"

my favorite, ofcourse, is my portrait of nina bagley's dog 
the incomparable "walter"
i have matted and framed him and he will be on his way to nina as a gift to be hung at heartrock hill,
her cabin in north carolina. sweet thing, it will be hard to part with you but we know where you truly belong.

may this season find you all focused on the things that matter

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

after accomplishing "some" order, sorting through art supplies, paints, fabrics, laces, trims, buttons and embellishments, the creative itch kicked in stronger than ever.  
but the tidying continues.  as a matter of fact top dog has kicked into full gear putting order into closets (getting rid of lots), garage, filing cabinets, hard drives, photo albums, email messages and the piles and piles of paperwork that tends to accumulate on the dining room table. i am also trying to start lists again to make sense of where everything is going and sketching ideas rather than being all over the map creatively.
 so much seems to be going on of late.  invitations, travel plans, a soon to be move to a new home, the opportunity to garden again, an interview in the works and all the upcoming holiday preparations for which we finally bought and old time chu chu train.

mary stanley of art spirit had invited me to visit one of her shows up in santa barbara
which lead me to sign up for a weeklong workshop taking place in oaxaca come february.  10 women will travel to one of my favorite cities to share at casa colonial our idiosyncratic selves. i couldn't be more excited since i pick my workshops very carefully, having attended only three in my artistic life, one with susan tuttle , one with nina bagley and now one mary.  one remains....a lynne hoppe if and when she has one.  

these workshops are more about meeting kindred spirits, making new friends and creating human bonds as in the case of my deep deep regard for nina bagley whom i have come to love on so many levels.
above, is a portrait of her springer spaniel, the now famous walter that i recently painted as a christmas gift for her.
paint brushes used to paint walter

another recent friend encountered thanks to a common thread is 
lynn holland who has introduced me a whole new playfullness with fabrics and stitching

 as is the case with these long strips of mixed fabrics which roll up on a large wooden spool.
  or this bunny doll i made for a customer from australia living in saudi arabia.

my love of fabric is endless and i have recently delved into a little altered couture
over the top, i know, but so romantic yet boho, like me.
my latest sacred hearts, beaded and appliqued onto purple velvet

 i have also begun to play with beads and embellishments, especially in my religious fabric work which always seems to pick up at hslloween and for the day of the dead celebrations all through christmas.  the sacred heart, as you know, is one of my favorite subjects to work with.
 but my faces keep popping up and i scribble and doodle them and make them into brooches

i had intended this to be a longer post, with all the ins and outs of the goings on around here, but i am becoming more and more frustrated with the limitations of a new windows operating system, an ipad that is not good with blogger.  today, as i uploaded some photographs from my camera chip, a german photo program took it upon itself to do the job.just too weird.  i used to be able to blog in ten to fifteen minutes when i had a simple tower computer. 

one program i do love though on my ipad is snapseed.  for those of you who have one, i highly recommend it as a photo editing tool.  

as thursday approaches and the house prepares itself i leave you with a little clip from a great lettering book by jenny doh which sums it all up

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

small town girl

i have never been more convinced that i am a small-town-girl.  as much as i enjoy the universe and sometimes beyond, travelling long distances, and especially into the city, wears me out.  i much prefer the quiet  and slower pace of a rural hearth. after several trips back to back, i am finally home.

i have ventured out of that inner circle, although rarely.  recently, into pasadena to take a class with nina bagley who had travelled from north carolina to teach us her mixed media jewelry pieces at french general. what i mean to say is, i pick my interests very very carefully. and boy was i right.  i had followed nina for years on her blog and read some articles in books about her work, but the speed and intensity of my admiration for her picked up after i discovered she was on instagram too.  i fell in love with her dog walter and the new home she has moved to at heartrock and my curiosity kept growing and growing. she is as real as real gets..,,spontaneous, stream of consciousness talker ( her own words) and funny too.  and she creates the most fabulous jewelry with found objects, mainly from nature. 
a new friendship has blossomed as well as two other more subtle as yet, but just as rewarding. i will always remember the three days we were able to spend together, going out to dinner, laughing about my gps, talking about our lifes and walter ofcourse.
this is nina's handmade book that drew me to sign up for her class.
notice all the natural elements she uses such as wood and stones and mother of,pearl and linen fabrics, string and leather.  her work is so so so reflective of her soul.

this is a necklace i bought from nina breathtakingly beautiful. 
photo of walter borrowed from nina's instagram photostream. isn't he adorable?

(speaking of instagram, my next post will be dedicated exclusively to all the talent i have discovered there.  i highly highly recommend it.)

i have felt a little run down after all the emotions; as i said, i am a small town girl and too many sensations all at once tend to overwhelm me, which is why i have been so quiet, taking it all in, processing what I learned, especially about the creative processes we each embrace.

but i have been busy.  very busy, creating from all the ideas i brought home with me:
like this oversized mixed media heart after one pam garrison gifted kaari meng and her husband at french general
and this junko oki inspired mini pouch created as a gift for kathy dorfer together with a mini painting since claimed to have followed me on instagram too.
i have painted, i have stitched and been recognized again on Flickr's EXPLORE two days in a row and been contacted for an interview about my approach to art.
but now i must focus on tidying up all the messes i have left, sort through snippets of fabric and lace before i move on to any new projects .

i have so many art supplies, especially for my fabric work and most of them are small little itty bitsey pieces, charms, appliques, beads and buttons that need to be sorted and organized better.
and the problem is that i always keep adding, such is this bundle of joy i brought home from french general.  as if i didn't have enough already, but i cannot resist vintage haberdashery. 

the store was filled to the rim with fabrics and beads and charms and decorated with vintage finds kaari has brought home from her scavenger trips to france such as these two schoolgirl dresses.  i wish i could copy the blue one in my size, i have always adored pinafores and they are so comfortable.

i loved this small painted sign next to the front door with a little brass bell that made a belly dance sound as you entered.
and all the tiny treasures.  i could have spent a fortune, but there was a class going on so that kind of stopped me from spending more time browsing.
cupboards with hidden things at french general which i never dared ask to be shown lest i fall into more temptation were everywhere.

and whilst in the midst of all these comings and goings, the season has changed, shifting its colors and moods which leads me, unconsciously i suppose, to paint in muted dabbled colors such as this portrait.  she sold in less than 24 hours after i listed her against richard's will who had claimed her.  but, in the spirit of cleaning out the art room, i have slowly begun to part with some of my work.
halloween and the day of the dead always bring back my urge to create altars and sacred hearts
and bring out my crucifixes to display around the house
and embroider some more at dusk switched on bach or some old black and white film.
this miniature crucifix was embroidered with denim thread and has the tiniest sacred heart wrapped around it, also embroidered.

and finally, a work in progress: running stitch and more crosses.

i am so grateful for these new friendships and how they have introduced me to new artists such as pam garrison who i am getting a lot of fabric inspiration of late. 

the season is truly beckoning thanksgivings.
this is the magnificent piece kathy dorfer was finishing up when i met her and look what she has done with it for her altar.  incredible, no?

may this quieter season be filled with thanksgivings for all of you too.