Thursday, June 16, 2011

in the studio - again

A few weeks ago I came across some very old family photos, as well as a scrapbook from the 1870's.  One of the texts in the scrapbook was a newspaper article written in 1871 which talked about how women are hard to teach obedience, however they are rather good listeners,  The article was beautifully written and felt like an open invitation to play with it, so I chose several pictures of university educated women of the time and I wanted to include a number of direct quotes from the article.  I just played with my papers and paints and I learned several things.  First, there is such a thing as too much color.  Second, it's better to paste a cutout of the person rather than the whole picture.  Third, I really need to find a better script or buy some waterproof calligraphy pens.  Fourth, it's time I started working with Photoshop.

I do like the composition and the accents of the piece.  I also learned that I love mixing paint with gel medium for texture and added decorative touches.  I'd love to hear your thoughts, particularly if you've worked with mixed media before and have some helpful tips to share!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

in the studio

A couple of months ago I went to a wonderful mixed media workshop.  During that morning, a door opened for me, allowing me access to a creative flow I have not been able to stop tapping into since.  At first, continuing the work from the class I took, I worked with collages and mandalas applied to them.

All the pieces are collages applied to plywood, then painted with an acrylic wash.  Over the wash I have applied stencils and transfers, cutouts, stickers and anything else I found suitable in the moment.  The mandalas are transferred and painted on last of all.  The process of creating these pieces is like an expansion and contraction exercise.  The first step consists of applying layers of papers of different colors and textures in a spontaneous, quick manner without too much consideration to detail.  Then you apply your base colors, going from lighter transparent washes to covering areas completely.  This is still a bit expansive initially, but the work becomes more focused and controlled as it nears completion.  Finally, the adding of details and the mandala require a lot of focus and slow, careful work and intention, like a contraction in a Eurythmy exercise.

With many of these pieces I began the collage work at night after the children are in bed.  The first layers of colors are added the next morning, and usually the most contracted piece of detail work is done in the early afternoon.  It's been a fun rhythm to work with.  I've now completed this series of work (though I may pick it up again in the fall) and am moving on to collages, the first of which I will tell you about in my next post.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

it's been a week...

...and what a busy week it's been!  Between power outages, loss of internet, children's sleepovers, getting ready for a move and a very special someone's birthday, we've been very, very busy.  My "miracle baby" turned nine (NINE!) on Saturday.  We celebrated with cake and presents 

I guess when you add all the gifts sent from grandparents, aunts and uncles, it really does add up!

On Sunday we had the birthday party.  Our original plan was to go swimming at a dam lake, but it was cold and rainy so instead everyone came to our house and we played the Scaventure Kids game, which had been a hit at a previous party for a different age group.  There was also a significant amount of running around the backyard playing ball, and a water balloon fight as well as plenty of snacks.

Making these last minute impromptu changes was fun because it allowed us no time to stress or really think about it, so it all came out just spontaneously and everyone had a great time.

It never stops surprising me how seven children fit into the tiniest corner of our living room to open presents, and only moments later they fully take up 1/2 acre of backyard with their activities.  The wonders of 8 year olds!  Maybe that is why I spent most of Monday having a quiet day in bed!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

**today I'm enjoying**

* a restful morning in bed;

* this print, which helps me breathe;

* and this one, which makes me want to don a straw hat and pick seeds out of a sunflower, right there on that fencerail;

* working on this project, in this yummy yarn in the Cedar colorway (Ravelry notes to come);

* enjoying a daily dose of this series on DVD;

* loving this bright swirl;

* thinking someone in my family may need this print as a housewarming gift.

What are you enjoying today?

Monday, June 6, 2011

heart is where the home is

... or will be very soon.We are counting the days until we get to move into the new home, which we have all deeply fallen in love with.

this is the first view of the house as you enter the driveway.  I have started to call the tree on the left the "reading tree."  It is the perfect spot to steal away for a little quiet time with a good book.

As you continue up the drive, it curves around the other side of the house, which on closer inspection turns out to actually be the front.  This is the least attractive side of the house, in my opinion, and it makes me dream of painting it sky blue one day...

Here is the full view from the back of the house, with the garage on the left (the hot tub will be gone by the time we move in), the three season porch off the kitchen, the french doors opening from the living room. and the sunroom (aka my studio) which comes off the downstairs bedroom.

The garden contains a beautifully landscaped small pond that appears to have some resident turtles.  Behind the trees that surround it, there is a lovely garden with (as far as I can tell) blueberries, raspberries, asparagus, onions and a couple of apple trees.  We plan to expand it to grow many more vegetables next year, though that will probably require a deer fence.

On the other side of the house stands a small shed, which on closer inspection turned out to be a chicken coop:

Since these pictures were taken a month ago, the trees have fully leafed out so the house is hidden from the road.  I have big dreams of a wonderful vegetable garden and a separate kitchen and medicinal herb garden, bees, chickens and a small angora rabbitry for the children.  The grassy slope near the driveway wants many wildflowers, I think, and just like the current owner, we may well offer the lower portion of the hill as grazing land for the neighbor's four horses.  So many plans and dreams, our hearts are there already.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

a saturday in town

After finishing our cleaning this morning, we walked to a neighborhood yardsale.  We found a number of wonderful books for the children, a breadbox and some vintage embroidered linens, and a microscope with slides.

Then we made our way to the farmer's market in town:

We made our purchases and were about to leave, when several teams of Morris dancers from the region turned up and gave a free performance.

We left the dancers behind to stop at the local yarn shop (to get some help on a pattern), and then went home for a lunch of quiche and salad, followed by apple pie with ice cream.  Now why does everything from the farmer's market taste so wonderful?

All in all, a wonderful day of sunny skies and lovely surprises.

I hope you are having a wonderful weekend, wherever you are!