Thursday, July 28, 2016

Long Time Friends Gather

We gather to celebrate....

These friends are long time friends... here are most of us in 1957....

We go back to Junior High School... we've lost track of a few and a couple have died but 11 of us still get together regularly.  One was missing yesterday but she was there in spirit,  Nine of the 11 are in the 1957 photo although you can only see the top of Char's head (she's still the tallest.)

Twelve years ago we had a retreat at one of our friends' mountain home in West Virginia.  At the time Karen was going through Chemo, she had been diagnosed and given very little time.  Yesterday we jokingly called it her blue hair period (a blue knit cap covered her head.)

Before we left to come back to our respective homes she announced that she was going to be in remission and planned to have a Remission Picnic in July so we must put it on our calendars.  We have no doubt her doctors would not have agreed with her that Spring; however, she was determined to stay positive.

I am so happy to say she was right... yesterday was her 12th Annual Remission Picnic.  She;s second from left in the top photo and top left in the 1957 photo.  I feel truly blessed to be able to call these awesome women friends.  Love each and every one of them.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

More On Less Is More....

I did this back in 2011, another experiment and a landscape format.  The stones are real, chocolate rocks from a beach near Fennville.  We used to go there to see if we could find some.  They were always there but not plentiful.

The image is certainly simplified.  I can see a layer of collage under the blue.  I like it but I like the new pieces too.

I am simplifying my studio though.  I still have a lot of clutter that needs to go away but progress is being made.  I sorted one of the drawers in my flat file and found room for stacks of paper that were sitting on my work surface.  Hooray!  And I emptied another drawer so more can be moved off that same work surface. 

For several weeks I’ve avoided going in there because there was so much clutter and I didn’t have time or more accurately didn’t want to make time to clear it. 

But the painting muse came back to visit and we had to do something so the work is getting done.  So is more stitching and painting but no new photos yet.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Still Sorting

I've been sorting some of the drawers in my flat file and found this drawing.  I had forgotten about it but I'm so pleased I found it, I wonder if prints of this would sell,

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Throwing Some Paint Around

Landscape #1 6" x 6"
Paint was calling so I decided it was time to do something.  I have a show coming up at the Jansma Gallery  in Freemont, Michigan and I thought I ought to have some new paintings so I've started a composition series.  The titles are working titles, I'll name then when the series is done.  Non-representational is something I haven't done much of.  It's so much easier for me to compose when I have an object that I'm focusing on.  Working on composition without an object seemed like it would be a good exercise and I'm finding I like playing with paint and collage this way.

First landscapes....
Landscape #2 6" x 6"

Landscape #3 8" x 8"

There is one more, a 10' x 10" no photograph yet.   There are also a couple using the grid as a composition, also not photographed yet.  

Now I'm working on the cruciform and I'm liking that best... so far.  I'll be doing more of these.

Cruciform #1 8"x 8"

Cruciform #2 6" x 6"
And I'm still spending a little time with needle and thread every day.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

My Sketch Makes It To A Soap Package

I was thrilled when Original Fizz wanted one of my sketches for it's gardener's soap. Lorna Gallop is the one who saw my sketch posted on wetcanvas and asked to use it.

Lorna  makes soap.  Her company is Original Fizz and all of its products are handmade  She says “All our Soap Cakes and Bars are made by hand from start to finish using the traditional Cold Process method of soap making. All packaging is designed and hand cut by us to give you a unique gift for any occasion.

My little wheelbarrow now adorns her Gardener’s Soap Package.  It looks quite nice I think.  She makes Handmade Soap Cakes, Beeswax Hand & Foot Balms.  She also does Wedding Favours, Children's Party Favours. And Bath Bomb Workshops for children & Adults. I haven't seen it in real life yet, the company is in England.  Some of my friends may be getting soap for Christmas.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Angels, Cherubs and Dolls

A gift prompted me to think about a theme that seems to run through my studio….Angels, Cherubs and Dolls.  I played with paper dolls as a child but those were the only ones. I was too busy playing in and on the water.  There are a lot of little boats in there too but that's another story.  

I did own one doll that my Uncle gave me when he came home from the war – WWII.  She’s Martha Washington and one of her eyes was missing but she was beautiful anyway.  She lived in my bedroom at our lake home until my brother and sister-in-law moved in there.  I believe someone was going to try to repair her eye but that never happened and Martha disappeared.  

She was a sit-on-the-shelf-and-look-at-me kind of doll which was fine with me, as I mentioned, I didn’t play with dolls… that is until a few years back when a couple of artist friends asked me if I’d like to be part of an art doll collaborative.  Elzabeth was the beginning….

I’ve always collected angels but they were Christmas Angels; gifts from my mother, my spouse and later our son.  Since the doll thing started that collection has gone beyond Christmas and I've made a few myself.

A chorus of angels that hang in the doorway

A few that sit on a bookcase along with a couple of owls (and photos of my son)
Even in my herb garden

After Elzabeth another collaborative, this time a mermaid…. I am a Pisces after all.  Next thing I knew I was making and collecting. The following photos are some examples… some I made, some I bought and some are gifts.  There are more scattered around but that would mean taking way too many photos.  I think you get the idea….

Guess I do like to play with dolls after all...

Friday, July 15, 2016

Sorting & Thinking

No, I didn't make the banner.  In fact, there isn't much art work getting done here this week.  My spouse had back surgery on Monday, came home on Tuesday and I am his nurse.  He is making good progress in spite of my lack of nursing skills, we manage. The photo is a banner that was in the chapel at the hospital.  I liked the various neutrals the artist used.

This is another work that was in the chapel.  Thinking of irregular squares, a grid as a possible banner.  I like the neutral and the irregularity of the shapes.

Instead of making art I’ve been doing some sorting and wondering thinking, putting some scraps together as I sort.  I have more blue scraps than any other simply because I love blue.  Here’s a basket of scraps, I See The Moon in process and some little pieces pinned together that may become something… or not...

Trying to keep my mind occupied with something other than what happened in France.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016


Something I've been thinking about... Simplify, I’m entertaining that idea.  I wonder if I can apply it...

            … to colors in a piece of work
            … to objects in my composition
            … to stuff in my studio  (oh yes, I do need to apply it here.
            … to time to complete a project (maybe avoid overworking an idea)

What do you think?  Have you tried to apply this to your life or maybe it’s an automatic for you.

Yesterday I spent the day in Holland Hospital, my spouse had back surgery and all is well except I didn’t get much art work done.  A bit of stitching but I haven’t taken the time to scan so a short post. Tonight he came home so I'm going to be his nurse for next few days, not much art work to get done but he is worth taking good care of.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Some Stitching

This wasn't my idea, I stole it from my mother who made a small bag using pillow ticking and embroidery.  She was officially, a Master Embroiderer, certified.  I’m not and don’t expect I ever will be; however, I have recently learned that I do like doing it so I practice.  This piece became a small bag to carry embroidery needles, scissors, some pins and a small ruler.

The one below is a piece I was using for practicing the Kantha Stitch, which is basically a quilting stitch but done closer together in rows.

I like it just like it is, I may put a backing on it and frame it for a show I have coming up in August.  More on that when I have more details.

And tomorrow I will be spending the day at Holland Hospital where my spouse will have back surgery.  I’m preparing for a long day so packing up a sketchbook and some stitching.  Hopefully this will give him some relief from the pain that has stopped almost all of the activities he enjoys.

Saturday, July 9, 2016

Something I Forgot

I forgot to post on the 4th…. My ORT for the TUSAL, that’s totally useless stitch along, here's a link. What is an ORT? ORT or ort ~ Capitalized, it stands for Old Ratty Threads. Most stitches throw them away but some of us keep them for a variety of reason. 

When I saw the TUSAL (totally useless stitch along) blog about keeping them in a glass container as a decorative object I loved the idea.  I already used a big glass container for the bits and pieces of fabrics that are too small for any machine work but still good for handwork.  

The bits and pieces of thread in this new jar will go into the blue bag you can see a bit of in the photo.  Here’s a better picture of it.  

The bag will get the thread from the glass jar when I empty it monthly.  I've emptied the June batch into the bag and have begun filling the glass jar for July.  Other bits and pieces of fabric (I also save those) that are just too small to use even for handwork or that I just don’t like also go in the bag.  When it’s full I stitch it closed and have a pillow to either keep or give away.  This one has a design on the other side and it may become a gift which is why I’m not showing it.

That beautiful ribbon you see in the first photo is ribbon from my grandmother's Knit Shoppe. Her shop was really more like a general store, she sold everything you would normally find in a knit shop but she also had a lending library and she sold nylon stockings, Hallmark Cards, ribbon, gift wrap and school supplies.  I loved spending time with her in that shop. The ribbon is wide but not as wide as it looks on the tall cylinder, that's two strips wrapped around a paper towels insides.  The other is a more accurate width, toilet paper insides. 

I use the ribbons to decorate wreaths or our mantel or whatever... I may add some to some of the pieces I've begun stitching.  Seems appropriate since she was one of the stitchers in my gene pool.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Tuesday Painters & I Am Not Fond Of Green

This week my Tuesday Painters group went to a friend’s who lives on the river.  Landscapes are not my thing but every now and then I try… this is one that tempted me because there was water.

Green is hard for me because it isn’t a color I’m in love with and it’s kind of necessary if one is going to paint a landscape that actually looks like what one is seeing.  I did think about changing the colors all together; however, I wanted the water so I went for the green.

Here is another one that gave me a challenge… which I know is a good thing but we resist at times don’t we.

And two that are more like what I like to sketch….

What do you think, is there a color you aren’t real fond of?

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

A Wine Fairy House and a couple artists I admire

This little Wine Fairy House was once a blank birdhouse.  The chimney was once a church steeple but I wanted a wine fairy house so I cut the steeple part off and covered the hole that had been the birds entry with a piece of balsa wood which became the door, complete with stained glass window.  I still need to add flowers in the purple pot and its copper roof needs to weather but I'm liking how it came out.  

Not much painting done over the long weekends but it was a fun one.  The bird house was done while my guys were off playing in the sand dunes.  On the 4th family was here for picnic, fireworks and, of course, sparklers.

And since not much painting or stitching got done seems a good time to introduce a couple artists whose work I admire, Kay Smith and Sandy Meyer.

I first met Kay Smith on the wetcanvas website where she regularly participates in the weekend drawing events, she does beautiful watercolors. I've never met her in person but she and I have become friends via wetcanvas. Kay is a nationally known artist located in Texas. She has received numerous awards over the years and has been published in several national publications. Check her website, click on her name above and it will take you there.

If you wish to purchase a painting, inquire about workshops or ask about commissions - you'll see how on her site. . She will be glad to answer any questions and can take your order right over the phone.

And by the way, she specializes in pet portraits.

Another watercolor artist I admire is Sandy Meyer, both her work and the artist herself. She's become a good friend. I met Sandy's work long before I met Sandy though I didn't realize it until several years after getting to know Sandy in person.  I keep a file of images I like and while doing some sorting and getting rid of I came across an image of a quilt painting that had appeared long ago in one of the art magazines I get.  Since I'd gotten to know Sandy and had seen some of her quilt paintings I recognized immediately that it was her work.  Check out her site, like Kay, her name is a link, click on it and it will take you there