Thursday, September 30, 2010

At long last fruits of my labors...

I had begun to doubt I would have a harvest of any kind this year. Those of you in the Pacific Northwest who have suffered through our unusually cool, rainy summer can understand my frustration when day after day I gazed at green tomatoes and plants that had hardly grown beyond the starts I planted three months ago. But, at long last and almost like magic, when I came home from my weekend of art, these finally appeared....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Art in the Pearl and The Unbound Book

Every Labor Day, I brave the traffic, and parking (or lack of) in Portland and set aside a day to tour Art in the Pearl. A premier art and craft sale, it never fails to disappoint and this year was no exception. I noticed a few things this year that I don't remember from earlier shows, (although maybe I wasn't looking as hard to find a way to purchase art that would not leave holes in my pocket book) one had any cards for sale. I was sad on this account. As photographs are not allowed in most booths (although many people ignored the signs and took them anyway), the one thing I could do is buy a card or two to remember art that touched my heart or a technique I wanted to know more about. But with art everywhere, and several public displays, I was able to snap a few shots:
This last piece of art is made from hundreds of pieces of wood about a 1/2" square. From a distance it looks like a painting. So much inspiration to be found that it was hard to keep it inside my head. Hopefully it will come back to me one day in a serendipitous moment when I am sorely in need of inspiration.

This weekend, I had the pleasure of participating in a class at Oregon College of Arts and Crafts
called The Unbound Book: Painting Techniques for Book Artists taught by Lisa Onstad. I am so excited by what I accomplished in this class that I can't wait to do more....and learned techniques that will change the way I work with acrylics, both in painting and in the foundation for my encaustic work. The photo above shows the start of cards we made for our project. Paint a little, draw with colored pencil. Sand a little.
Paint again. Sand a lot. Learn to cut stencils. Stencil a little. Sand a little and stencil some more.
Snack on a bit of seaweed, and sand some more...
And come up with amazing results. I love this technique and hope to experiment on larger boards to see how I can incorporate this in my own way into my painting and encaustic. The cards receive a final coating of wax, so once the wax is on, it's fair game for some of my encaustic techniques. So expect to see some experimentation with transfers and foils.
Once we had a feel for what we were doing, we made an edition of work to share with other students. We were divided into two groups; a plant theme and an animal theme. Each of us selected a work that spoke to us from a written narrative and made a card for everyone in our group. Not one of us duplicated a word! And while we used the same technique, each card was very different from the others.

A weekend well spent. Can't wait to take her next class in the spring, working with the same techniques on larger canvases!

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Art for the Garden

I met my friend Jan a few years ago in a basketmaking class where all three students were named Jan. What were the chances you could find three students named Jan in one class? Pretty easy on the instructor, though. Gee, Jan, that's great work and all three of us would beam back a smile.

Anyway, Jan is building a new garden and is a wiz at "upcycling". So I thought I would make her a birdbath that would fit in with her upcycled couture. This was put together entirely with glassware garnered from the local thrift store (opportunity shop for those of you in Australia!). I used silicon caulking to glue the pieces together so the seams are waterproof. What treasures you can make with other people's castoffs!!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Rural Sightings

During my workday, I traverse a county that is largely rural, complete with the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, a large lake (Merwin) and two rivers, the Lewis and the Columbia. And wedged in between are a variety of family size agricultural operations. From berries to fruit, vegetables to lavender, cows, goats and sheep, we have a little bit of everything.

During my travels, I have talked to at least one landowner whose deed was signed by Ulysses S. Grant in the late 1800's. Farms on quarter sections that are bursting open at the seams with the history woven into the very fabric of the property. We know the history of the occupied farms, but what of the ruins that dot the countryside? Depressions in the ground that once cradled the foundation of a home full of memories of families that have since vanished. Only the trees and flowers they lovingly planted to celebrate home are left to define those that are gone. The whispers of laughter and tears and conversations are lost to the winds of time.

I found this tree today, standing by the side of the road. An apple tree planted long ago by unknown and forgotten hands. And wrapped around and over the tree was an equally old grape vine whose tendrils appear to hold and caress the the branches and leaves. Together they wait to be reclaimed...they rock in the wind together and reminisce about their lives. And they bow their heads in mutual disdain for the traffic racing by on the road. For they know the true value of time...they know each moment must be savored and loved...those moments that will never come again.