Sunday, November 30, 2008

. . . felt the pressure

of creating more and more art to display on this blog. Of course, that was one of the original purposes for creating a blog. . . an impetus to get into the studio and produce. But sometimes daily living, special events, or simply ennui interfere with making art. This week it has been a combination of all three. So forgive me if you've already seen this piece. I did exactly one thing to the painting currently on my table yesterday. I dry-brushed a bit of transparent burnt sienna to a few of the high points of the texture. I liked it well enough, but I had something else I needed to do and didn't want to hurry the process so I left the rest of it for later. And later did not come.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

. . . watched it snow

which is always fun, especially if you don't have to go out in it. It's not sticking to the ground yet, and it is supposed to turn into rain sometime today. In KC, the big deal is the KU-MU football game at Arrowhead Stadium. Used to be called the "Border War", with alleged references to incidents that occurred during the Civil War. . . the name has been changed for official purposes to something that is supposed to be more politically correct. Anyway, MU will probably win, because it usually does. The other big thing is my sister's birthday is today. And it is also her anniversary. Happy birthday, Hildimouse.

Started a painting yesterday, but I am stuck at the moment. I really like what's happening to it so far, but it needs some kind of focus. In my efforts to find less expensive materials to use in my art, but materials that still meet some standards of durability, I have found a cheaper equivalent to the Venetian plaster at Home Depot. It's Behr's texture paint, which is pretty thick. I will mix it with some marble dust I have on hand, and continue to experiment with other additives like joint compound, gesso, white glue, gel medium, etc. I also have some sand that I picked up somewhere and I may add some of that to the mix. Call me crazy, but I also want to experiment with adding some clear gelatin to the mix, just to see what happens. It might just turn out to be an ugly mess, but at least I'll know. I know that if you let gelatin dry long enough, it becomes very hard. . . kind of like horses' hooves.

I don't remember anything about the picture above. . . it just seemed pretty colorful for such a bleak morning.

Friday, November 28, 2008

. . . gave a party

and everyone came. But it's over now, the dishes are all washed, pots and pans put away in the cupboards, and the leftovers are in the refrigerator waiting for me to eat. . . often I don't eat on Thanksgiving, (a) because I'm sick of cooking the food and (b) I'm too busy running around keeping everything going. The leftovers are always my favorite. The Brussel sprouts were delicious and the leeks were awesome, at least to me. Dressing with oysters disappeared. Had plenty of gravy (thanks, Vickie). We had about 26 people, including Marcos, my nephew Sean's friend from Brazil; and Matt, my niece Kelsey's friend.

I cannot image the circumstances under which I would spend a cold November night in the parking lot of a big box store waiting for it to open at 5:00 a.m. I don't want or need anything at any price that much. But the news this morning showed the Target parking lot full at 5:30; people camped out all night at Best Buy, where there were food sellers, a bonfire (which the fire department had to put out) and football games. Apparently one store handed out a limited number of flyers to the first so many people in line that allowed those people to purchase something or other at a deep discount. The folks at the head of the line sold those flyers for $30 or $40 to the people at the end of the line. You just have to admire the entrepreneurial spirit of bored, cold bargain hunters.

Back to art making today. . . isn't this tangle of pipes and hoses a cool picture? Took it last summer at a recycling place. . . in a covert operation unauthorized by the very suspicious manager.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

. . . counted my blessings

and had to stop at 37,068. Starting with my family, the one I was born into and the one I have created. I certainly love my mother, and would lay down my life for my children and grandchildren, but perhaps strangely I am most grateful to have my brothers and sisters. . . especially my sisters. They are the best.

I am deeply grateful for friends, home, warmth, food, good books, great music, crawling into a freshly-made bed with clean crisp sheets, warm afghans for cuddling up in on cold winter nights, a comfortable chair, a glass of wine, chocolate, Jonathan apples, blueberry muffins, clean underwear, the ability to read and write, random bits of inspiration, the miracle of nature. And, at least for a little while longer, the freedom to pretty much do as I please.

I hope you all enjoy a wonderful Thanksgiving Day.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

. . . woke at 3:00

and could not go back to sleep. I lay there thinking about all the stuff I still had to do to get ready for Thanksgiving.

Yesterday I did my shopping. . . I made my list and of course left it at home. I managed to remember to buy almost everything I needed and what I didn't get, I'll probably manage to do without. . . but even with all the stuff I needed to do, I still couldn't help but finish up a couple of paintings I was working on, the two shown above. Once again, I tried working with a limited color pallette and using black and white. I pretty much liked them. This morning I photographed them. . . I need to tell you that they all actually look much better in person.

Then, just for shits and giggles, I collaged the two in Picasa and look what happened, above. This turned out so much better than the individual paintings, I think. . . but now what do I do with it? I'm intrigued. . . and will examine the collage to see how to make my paintings more interesting.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

. . . prepared to cook

Yeah, it's a big deal to me. . . I only do it rarely. So today, after I make my list, I will head to the grocery store and pick up the ingredients for the dressing and the vegetables for Thanksgiving dinner. I make two or three kinds of dressing. . . one must have oysters in it and one must not. I also plan this year to make creamed leeks (yummy) and brussel sprouts (not so much), but my mom will bring ordinary vegetables like beans and corn. And someone usually brings asparagus, too.

The above is a "collage" from Picasa of four of my quick paintings. Each is approximately ten inches square. I used up a pretty big piece of canvas to make these. I'm trying various limited color pallettes and using squeegees to apply the paint. The very textured backgrounds make the paints go on in interesting ways. On these, I used a couple of different texturizing methods on top of the paint. . . plastic needlepoint grid and some tiny cookie cutters.

Monday, November 24, 2008

. . . thought about depression

(A pair of paintings)

not the emotion, but rather The Depression. . . the event that people used to say could never happen again. Am I just listening to the news too much, or is there a possibility. . . even a probability. . . that things are headed that way again? I am amused in some ways by how television shows and advertisers are taking advantage of difficult economic times. . . telling you how to get along on less, or how to save money by buying their products. Flipping through a shelter magazine at the bookstore the other day, I saw a feature article about how to get the high end decorating look on the cheap. The high end room featured items costing in the tens of thousands of dollars. The "cheap" room was still pretty expensive, with an end table costing in excess of $1,000. I wonder what my decorating would be considered. . . ?

Inspired by being tagged the other day, I have made my list of items I don't want to have to give up, assuming that all other requirements for staying alive have been met. . . my list of things that will probably make the cost-saving cuts. Here they are, in no particular order:

1. Caffeine: coffee in the a.m., Diet Coke in the p.m. Not Starbucks, either. Just plain old Folgers made by my ancient coffeemaker. I think I have been to Starbucks twice in my life, and both times ordered black coffee.

2. Books, magazines and the newspaper: Half-Price Books or the library, instead of Barnes and Noble. Magazines I think will take care of themselves. . . more and more are going out of business.

3. High-speed internet connection: It's what keeps this hermit connected to the world.

4. Dr. Perricone skin care products: Three of them, a cleanser, an anti-wrinkle cream and a moisturizer. This stuff is sheer magic and I will do without food for them. These products are a bit pricey but I have saved a ton of money by not having to buy products that only make your skin look like it's healthy. I know, this is nothing but vanity. . . and maybe I'm too old for vanity, but too bad. . .

5. My hormone pills. And I will keep takings those a favor to anyone that has to be around me for any length of time. I know, there are risks, but my doctor and I have decided that the benefits outweigh those risks for me. After all, why would I want to live for another 40 years but be miserable and nasty?

6. Art supplies. But the definition of "art supplies" may change . . . creatively using things that are more economical.

There is my list, just off the top of my head this morning. What are your "can't live without" luxuries?

Sunday, November 23, 2008

. . .posted the second

of two quick and spontaneous small paintings I did the other day. The companion piece was in yesterday's post. Love the black and white, with touches of colors that were just there on my table. . . I think it's a good start in my effort to loosen up a bit in painting.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

. . . were blog-tagged

Yeah, first time ever, I'm tagged by my blogfriend Martha ( I'm supposed to tell you all five unusual things about myself.

1. I am boring, and there really aren't that many unusual things about me at all.

2. When I was a little kid, I had rheumatic fever. My earliest memories were of my arms and legs hurting while I was trying to play. Luckily my heart was not affected. Every month from the time I was four years old until I was 18, I had to have a penicillin shot in my butt. Maybe that's why I'm ridiculously healthy now.

3. Some bean-counter guy told me that every Spider Solitaire game on the computer was winnable. I have spent an inordinate amount of time trying to prove or disprove that assertion. So far, the results are inconclusive, and research will continue.

4. I drank my coffee this morning from a mug that I've had since 1986. I still use a washcloth from a set my mother bought for me when I went to college in 1968. It's now a rag, but I still use it.

5. Although I don't enjoy cooking or really anything connected with cooking, I innumerable sets of dishes, actually several generations of dishes. I have my husband's grandmother's Johnson Brothers set of English Castles that she got as grocery store incentives; I have my mother-in-law's set of Johnson Brothers red and white transferware; I have a set of Denby stoneware that I registered for when I got married; I have tons of white ironstone that I used for everyday dishes when the kids were little; and I have multiple miscellaneous sets of plates in all different colors and patterns that I have purchased along the way. Seriously, I don't have room for all of them. I need Martha Stewart's kitchen. Along with the plates, I have chargers and placemats and napkins and tableclothes, etc. And I keep getting more. But mostly my husband and I eat take-out from styrofoam containers.

See, I told you I am boring. Now I'm supposed to tag five other unsuspecting bloggers and tell you about them:

1. Gina


3. Elis

4. Catherine

5. Paula

Tag, you're it, pass it on.

Friday, November 21, 2008

. . . prepped for Thanksgiving

Well, maybe not prepped yet, but I'm definitely thinking about what I need to get to put on the traditional dinner. Today is turkey-buying day. Usually I just fix one large turkey, on Thanksgiving day itself. But this year I am buying two 15-pounders and fixing them on Wednesday, so I can carve them up ahead of time and save some mess on the day itself. Susan, my sister-in-law, has traditionally been the turkey carver, so I guess she's out of a job this year, but I don't think she'll mind. Vickie, my other sister-in-law, is the traditional gravy maker and it's my fault that we usually run out, because she makes good gravy. My daughter and her family are off to Ohio for the coming week, but that means they will be here for Christmas. I will surely miss her, Andy and the kids. I asked her if she misses her family when they are in Ohio; she said, sure, but when they are at Andy's parents' house, she doesn't have to lift a finger. . . someone else cooks, everyone else looks after the kids. . . she can relax and enjoy. But I know she gets in some work, too. The other missing family will be my sister's in Detroit. They will stay home this year. . . their girls will be home from their freshman years at two different colleges.

We had a wonderful time with Betsy last night, celebrating her birthday. Betsy was wired up, and Joe was not to be outdone. We went to an arcade-type eating place. . . their dad and their Uncle Matt had a good time, too, with the basketball shoot and the rifle range. Betsy and I rode one of those old-fashioned tilt-a-whirls that used to scare me at the Osage County Fair when I was her age. She wasn't a bit scared. Joe and I spent some time fake-driving the race car arcade games. He just enjoyed pretending to be driving.

New art posted above. . . working on some more.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

. . . kept Betsy little

Could time just stop now? Today Betsy is four years old. She really doesn't need to get any older, as far as I'm concerned. Four is perfect . . . Happy birthday, sweetheart. (Look at those eyes. . .)

I shopped for Betsy's birthday present yesterday: fuzzy pink robe and PJs is what she requested. Got that. But brief rant here: What's with little girls' clothing? Why would anyone want a four year old to look anything like one of the current teen or preteen sex symbols currently in vogue? What's with all the trashy-looking stuff out there? And this is at Nordstrom. Don't they have enough time to look dumb when they get older? Why would you put a skull & crossbones T-shirt on a little one? What happened to the pretty little velvet dresses with white lace collars, black patent T-strap shoes? Princess-style coats with velvet collars and cuffs? Satin hairbows? Not every day, but for special occasions, like Christmas? Not those slinky nasty-looking copies of the crap older kids are wearing. And don't get me started on little boys' clothes. . . I'm still in the navy blue suit with short pants and knee socks stage there. (Ooooh, I really sound like a grandma, don't I?) Oh, well, fashion is fleeting herd-mentality; style is enduring individuality. And Betsy has a while to learn that.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

. . . edited July photographs

Although I did some painting yesterday, I'm far behind and I have nothing new to post today. So instead, I returned to my photo outing of July 5 of this year and re-examined some of my pictures. It's a lot of fun to edit these again, increasing the saturation, turning them around, recropping them, until something looks good. So many of my pictures have multiple points of interest and reviewing them gives me a whole new set of inspiration shots. The photo above is of the side of a dumpster.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

. . . completed second edition

of this painting yesterday. I had started it last week, and by yesterday I felt good enough to finish it. It is another stab at a painting I had done earlier, but this is a smaller version. The first painting had technical issues involving paint flaking off the edges of the substrate. I experimented further and I think I have solved that particular problem. The inspiration for this is one of my photos of industrial-area building walls.

Monday, November 17, 2008

. . . live another day

Yeah, okay, this is really getting boring. . . anyway, quick trip to Minute Clinic, quick diagnosis of sinus infection, a couple of antibiotic pills later, and I feel almost 100%. . . and ready to paint.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Saturday, November 15, 2008

. . . felt halfway human

but not 100%. Need to rest, but much to do. . . This IS NOT a cold. . . it must be some kind of flu. Don't catch it.

Friday, November 14, 2008

. . . were still sick

. . . so talk amongst yourselves. . .

Thursday, November 13, 2008

. . . dreamed of art

I didn't move very far from the couch yesterday. . . my cold is in full swing. I produced no art, except when I was in a stupor from the Tylenol Multi-Symptom medication I was taking. I didn't notice until early afternoon that it was for nighttime use, but that's okay, because I slept on and off all day, between coughing and sneezing fits.

Time after time, in my stupor, half awake and half asleep, I saw paintings. . . paintings that I should paint. . . they just kept appearing in my mind, like a You-Tube video, one after another. On a wall in a gallery, beautifully framed. I remember being terribly impressed with them, and thinking dimly that I should get up and scratch some of these on paper, but that wasn't happening. So of course, all I remember is the impression that I saw amazing art; I can't remember a single piece.

I must have tapped into a subconscious stream of creativity lurking in my brain. I'm sure there's a way to tap into that stream on demand, but I don't know what it is. . . some Zen or hypnotic state . . . or perhaps that is why so many artists took advantage of hallucinogenic drugs.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

. . . felt brand new

That's how I always feels when I get done at the hairdresser. Shaggy hair has been trimmed to sleek new shorter style. . . it swings from side to side when I turn my head. Makes me feel like a kid again. Except that I've caught a cold, and I had a coughing sneezing fit at the salon yesterday and I'm sure everyone was just thrilled that I had kept my appointment so that I could infect everything in sight. But I didn't care how awful I felt, I was keeping that hard-to-get appointment even on my death bed. I'm self-medicating, in moderation, with OTC drugs, the effects of which are sometimes worse on me that the actual symptoms.

The photos here are of a couple of companion pieces in a smaller size. I am especially liking the grayish-whitish portion of the second picture. Even in this photo, the texture is evident. Now it's back to the couch for me. . . I may not even change out of my pajamas today, we'll see.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

. . . performed final experiments

This is the last of the woven experimental canvases I have done lately. The purpose of this experiment was to try to integrate the woven canvas strips into a larger piece, as opposed to weaving the strips into a separate whole canvas. This is not really evident on the picture above. I used a small narrow piece of scrap canvas and cut a more-or-less rectangular shape out of the center of it. Then I cut small individual slits in the canvas on opposite sides of the long side of the rectangle and wove strips from one side to the other into those individual slits. On the short sides of the rectangle, I did not cut individual slits, but rather longer slits equal to the cut edge of the rectangle.

This is the back side of the canvas, which is kind of cool in its own right. The painting was not the point of this experiment. . . it was just a quick, down and dirty stab at seeing how it would work if I included woven canvas in future pieces. I didn't measure anything, just cut and slit and basically played with what I had on hand, grabbing whatever paint was around.

I have yet to solve the problem of how to hold these things together securely. If I put enough plaster mixture on the front, usually the middle of the woven pieces will hold together pretty well. The edges often come unstuck, as evidenced in the first picture above (see the crooked black lines at the top?) I have tried a glue mix, as well as gel medium, but those mostly make the canvas curl. I have a roll of some very sticky adhesive plastic/paper that I nabbed from my daughter's house when they moved. . . I don't know how the movers used it, but it's been sitting there waiting for me to use it for something. . . perhaps that's the answer.

Monday, November 10, 2008

. . . continued the experiments

Here is another experimental woven canvas. In the top third, I have included a couple of strips of upholstery webbing that I found in my stash of stuff I knew would come in handy one day. I also wove about six rows of course twine through the canvas pieces, about halfway through the piece. Toward the bottom is a course of wooden skewers interwoven horizontally. I covered much of the piece with my plaster/gesso/glue formula and then it sat there for a while. Saturday morning, with what for me is wild abandon, I just took a brush and blue paint and painted the swirls. That looked a little too clean, so yesterday I dry brushed a brownish-black over parts of the texture and then added a bit of "rust" in places. I also put more of the plaster concoction over the high points of the blue swirl. I liked it, but it was a bit dull, so out came the tomato-red spray paint. Let's call it ready for prime time.

Sunday I went to the birthday party of a lovely 90-year-old friend. The party was huge, which is a testament to her wide circle of friends and family. My connections with Frances are more through my hometown than through family, although she is related to my husband in some dim, way in the past manner. Frances and her husband were friends of my mom and dad. Her youngest daughter was a friend of my brother John who died at age 16, and, as I was reminded yesterday, played the organ at his funeral mass. Janie, her middle daughter, was my high school heroine, older and way cooler than I could ever be. And Jeannette, her oldest daughter, was a role model later for me as a wildly successful business woman. The party included family members and friends from high school whom I had not seen in many years. There was a lot of "who is that?" and "I have no idea" and "oh, my goodness, of course that's who it is" and, to me, a ton of "Oh, you look just like your mother." And there were a couple of new generations to catch up with, children and grandchildren of people I still think of as kids. I suspect Frances was the oldest person in attendance, and Betsy was the youngest. It was a reminder to me of how important old friends and family are.

And at the party I was told that another fine lady, at age 71, died Saturday. Another role model for me, another person connected to me through my family, my husband's teaching career, and my hometown and my current home. Her husband was my husband's most respected mentor, and hired him to teach and coach at a new high school, the one that my children attended. She and I would sneak out and smoke cigarettes together at school functions where, as spouses of the principal and the coach, we were expected to be above reproach. For a time her son was the parish priest in my hometown and my sister-in-law was his secretary. My brother's family became quite good friends with Father Mick and by extension, his family. She was funny, irreverent and always interesting. I hadn't seen her in a few years, and I'm sorry about that. She will be greatly missed.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

. . . were wildly experimental

This is a medium-sized piece of canvas that I ripped, cut, slashed and fooled around with, sort of a prototype for some ideas that were floating around in my mind. In the above picture, the top is composed of three or four woven strips. After painting the canvas, I applied a piece of sturdy netting to the canvas with my plaster-glue-gesso concoction, let it dry, painted it and then ripped off the netting.

The above picture shows why I was researching whether or not canvases must lay flat, because this one does not. I cut a slash in the canvas before I painted it and then "sewed up" the slash with very thin copper wire. The bottom of the canvas in this picture is cut, but no canvas strips were woven through it.

This picture shows a bit more of the copper wire sutures, although the wire isn't really all that visible because I filled the slash with more of my concoction. There is a small piece of canvas attached beneath the slash. . . originally I wanted the wire stitches to be loose and the backing piece to show through. . . but that didn't work out. You know, when you're wildly experimental, I guess you have to be ready to improvise.

And finally, here is a view of more or less the entire piece, upside-down from the others. Except for the area in the square netting, all white areas are actually glare from overhead lights. I guess it highlights the pleats and wrinkles in the canvas. When I had done as much as I could think of to do to this, I dumped a bunch of polyurethane on top of it and spread it all over with a scrunched up plastic bag, hoping for more texture or something interesting to happen, but it really just gave the piece a shiny smooth surface.

Okay, so it kind of looks like a horrible wound that has been repaired rather poorly. . . if I hadn't been working on this for a couple of weeks, I would have perhaps thought that subconsciously I was worried about my husband's surgery. However, since he's not having surgery because they found out that his illness was not connected to gall bladder problems, and since even if he had needed surgery, it would have been laparoscropy (I can't say it, let alone spell it right) I guess this piece really is nothing more than just screwing around and learning the effects of different kinds of torture that I can inflict upon a canvas.

I have two others, one that I have been working on for a while and another that I started yesterday. I am not done with either, although these again are not actually anything that I will ever be "done with" because I can mess with them at any time. Suffice it to say that I bought some grommets yesterday that I plan to incorporate into at least one piece.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

. . . made no art

But these are pictures of the Citra-Solv papers I made from National Geographic magazine pages.

I babysat the babies yesterday morning. . . we went to the mall and walked around. Betsy wanted to ride on the "miracle-round" and jump on the trampoline thing, but Nana had no cash. The Disney store, however, was a big hit and they both kind of ran amok. Joey found a tea cart that he pushed all over the store, and pretty soon he had a couple of other toddlers following him around like a parade.

While I was doing that, my husband was at the doctor's office. He came home shortly after I did and announced that he may have to have his gall bladder removed. . . a sonogram is scheduled for this morning. He is one stubborn dude. . . he should have gone to the doctor weeks ago. But we both kind of thought his symptoms were the result of stress. . .

I'm trying to have a positive attitude. Even if surgery is required it will probably be an outpatient procedure. However, if you have read this blog before, you know that when it comes to medical procedures and my husband, if something can go wrong, it probably will. I know, that doesn't sound too positive. . . okay, banish that thought.

Thinking pretty thoughts and looking at pretty Citra-Solv pictures. . .

Friday, November 7, 2008

. . . posted companion piece

Above is the other 18" by 36" piece that goes with the painting I posted yesterday. Lousy pictures, I know. . . I'm in a hurry because I get to babysit both kids today and yesterday morning, too. We were on the go yesterday: pet store, book store, my house to bake cookies, then the kids went home and it was nap time for me. Playing bucking bronco was thrilling for them and exhausting for me, since I was the bronco. Just finished this one and then quit while I was ahead. I don't think these paintings are particularly inspiring but I do kind of like them. I also think my creativity has taken a nosedive lately and I need for it to come back soon.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

. . . started a series

of smaller paintings, all of which will coordinate with each other. The first two that I've done are both 18 x 36. I will post the other tomorrow because it's not quite done. I would like to paint the series in various sizes, multiples of 6", so that a buyer could pick from these paintings and pretty much customize an ensemble. But I may rethink that concept, since it might be it bit too much "attention K-Mart shoppers." Do you know what I mean?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

. . . showed auction swag

Yesterday I had a chance to unload the stuff I bought at the auction Sunday. I had a few surprises. . .

Clockwise from top left: What I thought was a rustic Matelasse tablecloth turned out to be a bed cover, as evidenced by the deep cutouts on one end where the bedposts should be. It definitely needs to be for a small bed, but I will probably still use it as a tablecloth, for the kids table. It's cotton and washable so I won't be too concerned about stains. There was a tag in the bag that indicated the price for the "bedspread" was $100. If that's so, I got a bargain for sure. Because in the same bag, which I didn't realize until I unpacked it, was the cut lace tablecloth and 12 napkins, shown in the next picture. It is in excellent condition, although I don't think either of these items are particularly old. Maybe I'll use this set in the dining room for Thanksgiving, but it will need to be laundered and starched and ironed. . . yuck.

The mirror I found is pretty cute if you like that sort of fancy decoration. Actually, I could see it in a contemporary setting, hanging on a dark colored wall, in contrast to the modern furnishings. Although I was going to give it to my mom for her birthday, I just now had the idea of using it as the base for a centerpiece in the middle of the dining table, filled with candles and flowers. Oh, who am I kidding?. . . nobody in my family would notice. I could have Thanksgiving in a barn with the meal served on haybales and we would probably have more fun. But I don't have a barn.

And the last picture is of all the tinware I purchased. These are going to be fun to experiment with. . . and the extras I'll give to the little ones to play with. I guess I was emulating Eddie Ross ( this weekend, except I was a scrounger before scrounging was cool.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


. . .no surprise to anyone that knows me. It's historic no matter the outcome. I love that so many people are so interested in this election. I love that young people are so interested and inspired and feel like they can make a difference, because they can. I love that my son researches the candidates and can discuss their policies and histories, and I love that my daughter has inspired her almost-four-year-old daughter to the point that Betsy told me "if I'm good, I get to stay up and watch the elections." I hope she will remember it. Mostly I'm proud that they agree with my politics, which I can't say about my husband, so I won't say anything about that at all.

As I listened to my candidate speak a week or so ago, I was filled with a sense of hope, of possibility, of thinking that this country could do whatever it took to fix itself. Then, my cynical side sneaked in and said, "Oh, come on, you're too old to believe that any one guy can fix this." But you know what? That inspiration, that sense of unity, that feeling that anything is possible, that is what a real leader can provide. And my cynical side went back into hiding. I remember my parents feeling that way about JFK; I remember feeling that way about RFK. I remember feeling that way about Bill Clinton, hoping that a member of my generation would get it right. Now it's another generation's turn; I hope they get it right.

. . . collaged on canvas

This is the third woven canvas that is more or less done, but always subject to revision until it leaves the premises. This one has more collage elements than the others, with bits of paper, words, pin-back buttons, stencils, stamps, etc. I dug through my stash of stuff that I hadn't even looked at for months, looking for items of certain color and shape. I kept finding things that had a date on them, and oddly enough, for no apparent reason, the year 1927 came up again and again. So then I thought maybe this could be a collage of the detritus (oh, I love that word) of one women's life. . . bits and pieces of things that might describe her. . . oh, hell, I don't know what I was thinking.

Sometimes I cringe to actually put my art on this blog, let alone actually give it to someone to sell. I mean, who would actually care about a woman who lived in 1927? Who would want this on their wall? I keep thinking maybe in the bathroom, where someone can sit and read it, finding new stuff all the time as they do their thing.

I'm tired of doing these. . . I have one more that is in progress, and then I'll quit for a while. I just finished weaving the last one yesterday. It really hurts my back to stand for so long to weave these things. . . I guess I should find a better way, because I'm not one to have backaches. Along with the canvas, I have included rows of twine, rows of wooden skewers, and a couple of rows of upholstery webbing. Right now it's all white and brown and and weaving pattern is apparent. I don't have any idea where this one will end up. I have also started on a smaller vertical piece that has a few happy little accidents on it, which I hope to share soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

. . . previewed bright colors

Above is a picture of the brightly colored woven canvas piece that I have more or less completed. It is highly-textured, but the woven strips are still evident. I mostly used just paint on this piece, except for one piece of paper that I attached. I also used stencils, stamps and other mark-making tools.

Yesterday I went to an auction of household goods. I had noticed the house for the years I had lived in this community. . . it was an old stately white-columned almost-mansion surrounded by crappy development: strip malls, car washes, gas stations, etc. I didn't realize that someone still actually lived there. The lady died at age 105; according to the auctioneer, the house had been built right after the Civil War and the lady had lived there from sometime after WWII. Her granddaughter said that she was the first female antique dealer in the county, as well as one of the first people to serve Meals on Wheels.

The first place I always go when I attend sales is the basement and the garage, barn, or other outbuildings. The most interesting things are gathered there, as far as I'm concerned. There were boxes and boxes of the most fascinating rusty old tools and other things that were not readily identifiable to me. A very nice older gentleman told me the uses of various things such as the "male neutering device" (for farm animals, not people) and old house jacks that I thought would make great lamps or sculptural pieces except they were very heavy.

I don't know why I went to the auction. . . I have no money to spend and I have no need to add to my stuff. . . curiosity would be the only reason. I didn't need pretty glass serving pieces with matching tea cups; I didn't need embroidered linens and gorgeous flowered and feathered hats from years ago. I didn't want the dozens of lamps that ranged from sickly sweet to mid-century modern. While the amazing four-poster canopy bed would have looked fabulous almost anywhere, I have more beds that I need. And the floor-to-ceiling casework, the secretaries and breakfronts and bookcases, were amazing, too. But most of all I didn't want to wait around for hours while the auctioneer sold canning jars and chicken feeders.

So here's what I bought, each for $5 or less: a box full of small tin molds (to use as stamps and for texture in my paintings, and to give to the babies to play with); a huge white textured heavy tablecloth (to use for Thanksgiving dinner on one of the tables); and a very old mirror in a heavily carved white frame (I thinks it's gesso and it's in perfect condition. . . to give to my mom for her birthday next month.) Did I need these things? Probably not, but I can always justify art stuff and gifts.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

. . . sent this out

the door this week, along with the other five or six paintings. This is another one that I have posted here before, but it was not hanging up, and I took this photo before I let it go. I keep a picture of every painting, along with the name (if there is one), the size, a brief description, and my price.

I have been working on finishing up a couple of the woven paintings that I had started last week. . . although as I said before, they won't really be finished until they are gone. If I find something applicable to any of them, I can always add it as long as it's here. Yesterday I was scrounging through some of my old junk trying to find something creative to weave into the canvas strips. I found a very old black and white paper sign that we discovered in the old house we purchased in my hometown: "USE THE CROSSWALK." Sort of long and narrow, it fit perfectly on the first woven black, blue and white canvas that I created. Perfect.

The art rep requested that if possible, I paint long narrow vertical canvases, perhaps diptychs and triptychs. I spent some time yesterday going through my edited photos and found plenty of inspiration for these. I think it just a matter of adjusting. . . he had me painting larger square canvases, but now I must change gears.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

. . . were haunted by

. . . a cute little fireman who was more interested in the corn chips than his candy. . . Stephanie was tempted to outfit him with sagging diaper and a plunger but instead he was "Joe the Firefighter. He didn't really grasp the whole concept of going out into the dark with other scary creatures to get candy, so he stayed with Nana . . .

. . .and a lovely Ariel the Littlest Mermaid. . . with her gray T-shirt under her costume and purple eye make-up, who took advantage of Joe's hesitancy about the whole affair to try to scare the shit out of him with her eerie squeeze doll that moaned and whose red eyes lit up. She totally got into the Halloween spirit and both of them were wired when it was over. . .