Sunday, August 2, 2020

The Personal Journal: Daily Pages

During my Experimental Sketchbook Class
I kept a special journal with art notes
& anything related that came up. 
{By the way, I did not pose the shot: 
My new wooden mannequin, (who I think has arthritis)
happened to be there when I was snapping the page.}
Recently I read through my previous personal daily journal.
During the early days of stay-at-home, 
I spent a fair amount of time embellishing my personal book 
with color, borders, paste-ins, & stickers. 
I wondered if it was somehow a waste of my time. 
Looking back I see that it wasn't.

While releasing nervous energy about 
the new, unknown situation we were in,
I was allowing myself to play with color, layout, & content.
I'm now enjoying the record that I have of those days.

Here I recorded some notes from a book for young people
about artistic process: Neil Gaiman's Art Matters.
I usually record these types of art notes in a separate book,
but I liked incorporating them into the "master journal."

Currently my daily pages are fairly unadorned. 
My art energy is going to several projects 
that will be offered for public viewing. 
But they have their own journal pages where I am
working out my journey to finished products.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Experimental Sketchbook Class: Time & Space to Create

Some of my work during the weeklong class.
It was perhaps the best art class I've ever taken at University. 
We were encouraged to experiment.
Push out of our comfortable ways.

I started getting scribbly & messy (not shown here)
so it was a relief to do some minimalist drawings.
Zoom grids became an integral part of my experience.
I wandered out of my familiar box.
I cut up one of my watercolor "still life" grids
and pasted fragments into a booklet.
And then, relief, back to the familiar~ 
except with a bit of a grid.
A grid containing The Tiny Fears of Rita
Les miniscules craintes de Rita
We tried a wax resist/ink wash/charcoal layering technique
that Maine artist, David Lewis, uses.
(His drawings are very sophisticated & refined...) 

We collected shadows by tracing actual shadows.
Some of the students turned their results into imaginative
imagery, unrelated to the original subjects, and then 
turned them into handmade books.
I loved my Swedish Ivy design & didn't transform it,
except to put it into an accordion format.

Last class exercise: Do 20 versions of the same object, 
using various papers & drawing materials.
I got 3 done in our half hour allotment...

But THIS is the idea which I most want to continue
at the moment...20 objects? 50? 100? 
Maybe they would be painted and drawn, then,
hand sewn together into a paper quilt that folds 
into a book. We shall see...

The beautiful thing is that I have SO many wonderful
inspirations & directions with which to continue.

Thanks to my instructors & to the class, composed of
young undergraduates, graduate students,
& some oldsters like me. 
So much inspiration,
& this is only the tip of the iceberg...

Monday, July 20, 2020

Summer School!

"Experimental Drawing and Sketchbooks",
University Class...
So motivated, so happy!
The assignment here:
Create a drawing of your studio space.
The scene chose me, grabbed me instantly.
After all this compartmentalized Zooming,
it was interesting to focus on relationships 
between objects. How my eyes play tricks on me, thinking 
that things farther away are bigger than they are. 
I was so rusty, had forgotten how much
I love to draw!!

Thursday, July 9, 2020

Art Journaling Group: Using a Grid

Art Journaling Group. 
It was my turn to present. 
I showed Lyn Frye's Smallies 
from her blog, A View from the Oak. Do visit!
I've mentioned her Smallies in a previous post.  
 For Lin it is an ongoing daily practice. 
I did it for one month last winter.
 I loved choosing my image or event at the end of each day. 
It was like having a special lens with me,
a way to pay closer attention.

(To see my previous post, click Here.) 

 The idea I presented this time, to our Zoom group,
 was, using a grid, to virtually invite 
one another into our homes 
by writing/drawing things that are close to us: 
literally & figuratively. 
Things we would show if we were having 
guests in our homes.
I loved the personal images & stories that emerged.
My own grid ended up fading into the background, 
but created a nice framework for little drawings. 

It was fun to teach a little something again...

Thursday, July 2, 2020

Cool Summer Colors. Vibrant Fabric Colors

A little road trip off the beaten path. 
Not the coastal route with tourists & cars 
& clusters of restaurants and hotels.
This was roller coaster ribbon roads, 
forests, farms, scattered country homes.
Occasional views of distant fields 
& faraway mountains.
 A fabric store in the city, about 50 miles away.
I've been luxuriating in assembling 
vibrant colors of cloth.

And yesterday I basked in 
cool country colors 
on a wet summer day. 

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Still Sewing Not Sketching

Large square coasters and:
Fabric Buckets or Baskets!! 
 So easy to learn from video tutorials by
Jean Truelove 
(she offers quality instruction
plus entertainment, 
she is full of personality!)
And Treasurie
(she offers a quick & clear tutorial,
excellent to refer back to as often as one needs.
...which is often, in my case...)

Use them as pretty containers, make as gifts...
They remind me of Origami, going from a flat
material to a 3D object. 
Isn't it magical, what humans come up with! 

Still sewing not sketching.
It's all good.
(Except the part about having the moth rash 
& fly bites.)

Remedy: Stay in & sew!

Thursday, June 11, 2020

Still Quilting (#3 in a series)

Still working on the little quilt rather than sketching...
The current stage: 9 blocks ready to join...
I need the sticky notes to remember the layout.
Border to be added and a backing...
Maybe some embroidery....probably not sashing...

Preceding stages: I love the evolution!

My sewing room work space has been evolving.
An "office" corner with my card table from high school!

The day bed for laying out work, a drying rack for fabric.
The little, foldable plastic white table cost $10.
I'll be able to carry it with me 
when Sketchbook Wandering!

Meanwhile, I'm enjoying being a plant 
indoors and out. 
Not a Gardener, not a Quilter, 
but being Homebound (mostly)
makes me an Enjoyer 
of these things!

The next project has already begun,
it happened on its own with leftover squares. 
I'm still using up what I've learned is called
my "stash." My fabric scraps from before.
Again, I'm grateful to You Tube sewing & quilt instructions.
And for tips & inspiration from my friend Beth at
Sew Sew Art. Click here for her blog.
Click right here for the YouTube video that 
inspired the "Crazy Log Cabin" style.

Friday, May 29, 2020

...But I am quilting... (2nd in a series)

I am not a quilter, but I am quilting!
Two days ago.
Blocks are increasing, loose fabric decreasing...
The design is being laid out, forming itself.
In between sewing, I am learning to quilt
with some great YouTube teachers.
Thank you, teachers.
I still don't know what it will look like in the end
but it does look somewhat how I imagined it!
Don't know many blocks I will make.
Or how big it will be.
Maybe a tablecloth...

I am making fewer mistakes now. 
Developing a rhythm. 
I am glad I didn't quit. 
At one point I thought
I'd just make a bunch of separate hot pads.
But I think I've gone too far to not make a quilt
of some sort.
A box holds scraps from quiltfor a next project...
Can't wait to see what it will be!
It was the masks that got the whole thing going.
If I have to wear them, they might as well be colorful
and match my outfit!

Monday, May 25, 2020

"I Am Not a Quilter"...

I took out my old fabric scraps & sewing machine!
They'd been in a closet for 8 years.

A well meaning friend, who saw my frustration with
stitching, taking out stitches,
stitching, taking out stitches,
stitching, taking out stitches,
swear, swear, swear,
suggested, "Maybe you are just not a quilter."

I am also not a dancer.
 I am slower at learning moves
than other people. 
Quilting & Zumba dance have cognitive steps
that are hard for my type of brain.
But they also offer me a flow of movement
and joyful expression. I love them!

(I am also not a writer, 
it takes me a long time...
And yet, I love it too.)

A saying on my bulletin board:
"The harder you work for something,
The greater you'll feel when you achieve it."

So why am I sewing?

• I love going from chaos to order.
• I love spending hours with the fabrics, 
touching them, 
arranging & re-arranging them.
• Soaking in 
the colors, the colors, the colors!
• By experiencing the process,
I see & understand 
others' quilts with more depth.

I love the tools. 
Recently I even bought a few new ones 
at our local sewing/art shop, 
Fiddleheads, curbside.

I love the way sewing connects me with my dear mother,
who helped me to learn to sew.
And who loved sewing clothes for me.
And with my peer group women friends.
And with the memories of my jr. high girl friends 
when we were first learning to sew. 
It was a happy time of camaraderie in Home Arts classes.

Do schools still teach Home Arts?

I love that I can sew gifts for friends. 
The above "hot pad", 
with my first time using interfacing,
was a gift to a friend using colors I know she loves.
I have even made some masks for friends,
in "their colors".

This staying home time has given me
the gift of Home Arts.
And the gift of time to be as slow 
as I need to be.

Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Sketching: A Pause From Stress

7AM crowded grocery shopping 
once again triggered anxiety. 
An unhealthy looking man, 
coughing & sneezing, no mask,
lingering in the aisles. 
Scared me. 
I talked to our pleasant manager, 
but once home, tension lingered.

So I gathered my art bag
and headed to a bench in City Park.
Highlights on lively small waves,
like 4th of July sparklers, 
sun & breeze. 
View of Penobscot Bay to Blue Hill  
and the distant mountains of Acadia.

It didn't completely take away my stress, 
but for some brief moments
I breathed in healthy air. 
And sketched.

Friday, May 15, 2020

What I Took For Granted...

Funny, I took spiritual gifts less for granted
than material objects, before the virus & shut down.

I don't shop online,
but art tools & materials 
were available at local shops 
within a 100 miles.
Now those shops are closed.

So a friend kindly helped me to order new #11 blades,
and a great, new ergonomic Excel knife. 
They are luxuries to me!!

I did a few test cuts, magnificent feeling
of cutting with a precision blade! 
My edges could be smoother,
but that's me needing to practice...

 I realized I could arrange these simple snippets
in an infinite number of ways,
with lovely negative shapes inbetween...

Like letters in a word, words in a sentence...
An infinite number of ways.
But then, a lot is boggling these days...

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Sticker and Dot Play

While listening to the news of the virus,
I was soothed by painting Dots. 
Dots, again? 
You're supposed to be sketching,
Sketchbook Wandering!

I went through a major Dot Phase 
not too long ago.
Recently a reader, "minimal shine", 
asked about the Dot Stickers
that were on my last daily journal cover . 
To see that post, click HERE.
The Dot Stickers are some of my favorite stickers.
(Yes, I'm also going through a Sticker Phase. 
And at my age!)
So pretty, and even the dots have little dots!
They are called Sticko Color Bubbles
found at Michael's.

The Postal Service is also going through a Dot Phase.
The latest Celebrate postage stamp!

All of a sudden, while doing this post, 
Dots were everywhere!

Even my measuring cups turned into Dots.
Even the soap suds were made up of tiny dots!

The recently organized fountain pen inks.
Yes! The lids were Dots!

Like a happy school girl,
 I'm still merrily pasting little stickers 
into my current daily journal.
In between the writing & the tracking,
I'm also inserting 
my own drawings & paintings & colors.
I may leave the Sticker Phase,
but I don't think I will EVER get over Dots,
 or Drawing & Painting.

(To minimal shine
 let me know that you got the info!)