Monday, November 16, 2015

Hawaii and Journal Pages

Wow. This is my 767th post. I've been blogging since 2006. Admittedly I dont post as often as I used to but I'm still at it. Kind of amazing when so many blogs seem to be dropping by the wayside.

So our core family just returned from a short vacation and it was good. We were the pasty white Oregonians on the beach; limping over the sharp lava and laughing at ourselves.

We took a submarine ride.

Posed for selfies.

Got mosquito bitten.

Spent part of every day journaling, painting and reading.

Enjoying the big house up on a coffee farm that we rented through Air B & B. (Thank you, Shelly Shinjo for that recommendation.) It's called the Black Manta Farm if any of you are interested in staying away from the tourists on the beach.

We were spoiled by the bidets and heated toilet seats.

John tried to tell us we were on "Das Boot" but we didn't let him get away with that.

We all snorkled and a couple of us took turns on the paddle boat. Man, that was fun!

Our ancient equipment worked as good as ever.

Vacations are always over too soon, aren't they?

So a few journal pages.

While I was in Hawaii I read all of Elizabeth Gilbert's book Big Magic and I loved it. She says all the things that I teach; we can all do it if we want to, this is our legacy as smart monkeys, to be able to make things and use our imaginations. To create art and to create the lives we dreamed of as children. So thank you Elizabeth for your encouraging and generous book. 

Another book I've just read is Lynda Barry's latest book, Syllabus. I love Lynda and have all her books. She is sooo advanced without being dry; explains how the brain and imagination works as only an artist could explain it. I wish I was a student in her class although I fear my brain was too warped by the kind of art education I had to ever really get over it. I don't blame any of my schools; it is really just the messages of this culture. The messages that I try to undo in my classes. 

I love to see how people are breaking free from old ways of thinking and bravely working it out for themselves. Slowly and surely each one of us moves the best we can toward truth and beauty. That is my prayer. I too see the frustration and hopelessness that moves some to acts of violence but am grateful that in such an enormous population only a few are so misguided. 

And that's about it. I cry for injustice but I believe most of us live out our days in kindness and love. 

Friday, October 30, 2015

San Miguel de Allende

John and I left on the 9th to join our friends in San Miguel; from our damp and darkened home in the Pacific Northwest to sunny Mexico.

Katie Kendrick was waiting there, we were both ready to teach and play for a week with a group of women who would quickly become fast friends and confidantes. It is magic what happens at these retreats. Making art projects is only part of it. There is a camaraderie, food, celebrations, connection. Community. It's phenomenal.

 Lost in our private worlds. In flow. Blissful. That's how the days pass. And then we eat!

Kathie Vezzani and Ane Elena take such good care of us. They know the in's and out's. Where to eat. What's happening in town.

One unexpected surprise for me was how much I loved and was inspired by the mojigangas. Paper mache. That we got to paint and decorate. I learned a new recipe for paper mache that will make it much stronger than what I used in the past. Bug resistent. Now I can't wait to try it.

We got to work in the sun. Wear our summer clothes. 

We got to have two cooking lessons. Michael Coon had us in his home where he teaches cooking classes. Gosh he fed us course after course of food; I finally had to throw in the towel before the dessert came. It was so delicious we couldn't stop eating.

We had a bumpy ride out to Pozos and learned about the history of silver mining in the region; got to see the desert and meet an old miner there, the last of his kind.

On our last night we visited the home of Paco Cardenas who prepared us a 4 course meal with paired wines and showed us how to make the dessert; chocolate on chocolate - swoon!

Here he is showing us the dessert.

A delightful chef who owns a bakery and coffee shop in town.

He had a special treat for two of our attendees who had Birthdays; a beautiful cake that we shared on top of the meal!! What a night that was.

This shot was taken at the rooftop of the Rosewood Hotel; stunning views of the sunset and the entire city.

Friendships forged. Kathy lives in my town and I didn't even know her. We have a play date planned.

Of course the city is full of amazing art. We visited numerous galleries and got lots of inspiration.

These are some of our finished projects. Floorcloths in one of my classes. 

Soft spirit dolls in one of Katie's classes.

All while San Miguel smiled on us.

Katie's second class was cardboard books (I'll try to show you mine in the next post) and my second class was gum arabic printmaking.

After my art people left John and I stayed on an extra week with friends who live in the city.

They made us welcome with nightly meals, toasty fires when the weather turned cool (hurricane Patricia, remember?) and introduced me to this painter.

His name is Joaquin Pineiro and I fell in love with his work. 

He invited me to work with him on a large painting. I was thrilled. We painted all day.

His media included enamel paint, cement, milk paint, wax, gasoline, paint thinner, oil paint, pigment, blanco de espana, fire to melt the wax and set the combustibles on fire and more. It was revolutionary.

I came home and started a canvas with some of his less combustible media. This is what it looks like now and I intend to do a 2nd panel to add to it. I'll show you as soon as I can; our family is preparing to head out for another get-away so I made not get to it for awhile.

Thank you for visiting. Life is sweet when it is not terrifying or sad. I try to make the most of the good times, knowing nothing gold can stay. Art keeps me alive. It is my lifeline and my connection to spirit. I know how lucky I am. I want everyone to be well, content, at peace. Namaste.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Catching Up to September

The Indigo class was a great success. Lots of wonderful patterns created by the willing crew.

We spent 2 1/2 days tying, wrapping, clamping, stitching and dyeing our creations.

On the last day we made books and sewing bags.

Gosh it was fun.

There's little more beautiful than fresh dyed indigo flapping in the breeze.

And we had marvelous weather for the weekend.

Kathie even let us do some rusting from her great stash of metal.

She prepared us lunches and suppers! It was incredible to eat her fabulous food and to watch her prepare it with seeming ease. Thank you Kathie and you terrific attendees for a wonderful weekend.

It seemed like the garden exploded overnight into riotous flower and fruit.

The persimmons are like sculpture; I love to watch them mature.

And the winter squash, strewn among the fallen plums. The vines are dying. Summer winding down.

I stretched the Big Big canvas. I love to stretch canvas. I know; I must be crazy. But I do love the mundane studio tasks as well as the moments of joy when something in a painting satisfies me.

I've been at it.

Flinging myself at the paint; flinging the paint at the substrate.

I talked Shellie (my daughter) into trying non-representation. 

She was exhausted by the end of the day. 

She said that painting a subject is so much easier because you know what it's supposed to look like.

Or at the least you have a starting place.

Whereas in non-representational painting, you have to invent everything.

I agreed.

I think it's the most challenging painting I've ever tried.

I'm only at the beginning of my search.

But I'm loving it. 

Thank you for stopping by.