Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Acts of Faith

I spent yesterday afternoon enlarging Bailey picture in order to put her on my easel. I will look at her for a week or so then take her down and do a painting on either canvas or wood. I will trace the outline--it will be big 45 inches!!- and don't know yet about what else paint wise, some oil some encaustic(if i do encaustic, I have to prepare the ground with hide glue and whiting, six or seven coats of real gesso, sanded between each application, an act of devotion) some pallette knife. I will paint her while she is away for the month of July. I used to think it was somehow cheating to trace but if I continue to listen to those voices I will not get anything done.
The faith part comes in because it is hard for me to believe that I remember how to paint. This comes at the beginning of every painting that I do-a panicky feeling that I won't know how to proceed. I am reading the book that Ted Orland sent me called "Art and Fear', By Ted Orland and David Bayles. I am absorbing some of it. Am I dense or is there just so much in this book.Both! In the book, they talk about perfectionism, "To require perfection is to invite paralysis."and "To demand perfection is to deny your humanity, as though you would be better off without it. Yet this ordinary (and universal) humanity is the very source of your work..." I do battle with the disease of perfectionism.... and also the fear that if I am a painter then I am like my mother, who is lost and crazy, and a painter. These are not fears that scream at me, but they are like a small trickle in the backround. Just enough for me to consider doing other things instead. Things that make more noise than the trickle, I cook or eat or shop or read blog after blog after blog.
If I just show up in the right space, ready to do the work, the faith part will work. I play loud music, too, in my studio , to obliterate the trickle of doubt. Dar Williams, Joni Mitchell, Indigo Girls, James Taylor-I refuse to call them oldies. And I invite angels to sing along.

The Clematis is blooming in my yard. I planted it and it was three years before it had even one flower. They do not like to be moved I hear. It was defiantly barren. I nurtured, I built a wall around it, I weeded and gave it a trellis. Finally one year, one flower appeared. And every year since there have been more and more and now it is a beautiful thing to behold. And so -faith indeed.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


The nest is in the lilac bush behind the fence. We have only seen one baby cardinal. The papa on the clothesline is guarding his offspring, making loud clicking noises to warn the cat. The cat on the ground is impervious.The bird does not know that the cat is too fat and lazy to hunt. Since this photo was shot, the baby has learned to fly and has been spotted in a bush on the other side of the yard so we don't worry about him so much.
I have been so sick with this damned bronchitis/sinus infection that I have been able to accomplish nothing at all. I have drifted from sewing room to studio to visit my works in progress but have no energy to do much more than think about them.
I hate being sick.
Today is my Katy's 16th birthday. Katy is my bi polar baby.Hers has been a tortuous path, fraught with peril. I don't write about her much, to protect her privacy, but sometimes I feel that I should share my experience more. I have asked her if I could write about her in my blog and she has replied,
"Let them read the book."
Funny girl.

Happy Birthday Katy

Sunday, June 11, 2006

How to burn your house down

I have not painted in a couple or four months. My studio is packed with stuff for painting, wax painting, stained glass supplies, paint thinner, and my husbands tools which also have some flamable items, different spray varnishes, glues--- ach du liebe!!
Any way I am in there, music is blasting, the sun is out and all is good and in order! Did I mention saudering irons, turpentine, varnish and a grill for melting wax--
I am on my third painting and I smell something burning: faint at first, my daughter couldn't smell it at all, but then it got stronger and i started feeling the saudering irons and the paint griddle to see if they were hot. Nope. Did I misplace a saudering iron or an encaustic pen-leave something plugged in?? Of course the worktable is in front of the electric outlet and the cabinet which holds sheets of glass in in front of that and all the leftover tiles from the bathroom are in front of that so I begin to move stuff--calling for help from my dd and dh to come and move the flammable liquids and help me move the boxes of tiles and the books and the table. And be quick about it! Panic!!!
But the smell was coming from the other side of the room.
Now if you will direct your attention to the model peonies which are precariously perched on my husbands workbench, you will notice a mirror to the right of the mason jar. This mirror was reflecting enough sun through the window to ignite the wood (which is a piece of a cabinet whose shape I liked, and kept) in the window. This piece was actually on fire.
Now if the house had burned down and they did an investigation, they would undoubtedly blame the flammable materials and/or the heated tools that I use. I doubt any one would blame the mirror.
Well the verdict is that I am going to rearrange my studio and get a fire extingusher in there and secure the chemicals. And the mirrors.
So now I will clean the studio, which I have been wanting to do for quite a while. And I will paint more to make sure nothing burns down.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Chaos and Order

I have moved most of my sewing stuff from my son's old room to the table in order to allow him to clear out all of his pre college crap, take what he wants and get rid of the rest. We have a tiny house. I am ruthless. It ocurrs to me that I did not have this to deal with when I got out of school because I had already been on my own since going to boarding school and did not have any place to go back to. So when it comes to my kids I expect them to take their stuff with them when they go. I haven't got the frame of reference which allows for them leaving their unwanted stuff in my space.
I moved a dresser full of stuff out onto the front porch for him to have and now he says he does not want it. Well it isn't going back into that room now ---no it is not---I am going to put all of my sewing stuff back into the room and it will be mine forevermmmmwwwhahahaha. There is also a bed in there and I want to move that out as well but I may leave it there for the occasional overnight traveller. Or maybe not.

My yard is peaceful and pleasant in June. The recent rain has made it so lush and green! I love bulbs and annuals because I don't have to replant every year. The only seeds I will plant are for sunflowers which will bloom in August and September before it all turns brown and gray again.This view is more than half of the back yard. Small and plenty.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

rain and more rain

been a week of problems and I wanted to post a nice picture but blogger will not let me! anyway it was a nice picture of my yard which has been soaking up the rain and loving it even if the people who live here feel sun deprived. maybe later I will post some pictures. Any way I have been too beleaguered to do art. to sew, but i did cut out the pieces for a diaper bag that I am making for a gift. and i hope i can get it done this weekend.