Monday, January 31, 2011

Put a bird on it...

Deadlines are looming. I am writing another magazine article and I have a little more than a month to make a large quilt and, darn it, life keeps getting in the way! Both of my grandchildren are sick. When they are sick they can't go to daycare so they come to me. And that is the way I want it to be, by the way. It's just that the timing is bad. Poor little babes—I think this is illness #3 for each since Christmas. They have bad colds right now and lots of chest congestion. The baby is pathetic. I spend a lot of time just holding him. Thankfully, they are getting better and I am getting a little more work done.

Here is a little section of a small piece I have been working on. I'll show the whole thing eventually, but not yet. This is part of scene based on a photo I took in Mexico several years ago. I loved the architecture and the colors, especially in Oaxaca. I had nearly finished it today and it seemed somehow not quite finished. I decided it needed something alive in it and added the pigeons. They are not in the photo I took, but I remembered seeing so many pigeons sitting on balcony railings and rooftops.  Suddenly, with the addition of the pigeons I became very nostalgic about that last trip to Mexico. I could imagine sitting in a courtyard filled with exotic plants and flowers and tossing crumbs to the pigeons. I could picture the clear blue sky and hear the music and feel the sun on my shoulders. That is just exactly where I want to be right now.

Then I had to laugh at myself. I had improved my piece by putting a bird on it. (Well, three)  Have you seen the new TV show called Portlandia? It is about life in our own fair city and it is very funny—at least to those of us who live here and recognize the locations as well as the cultural references. Anyway, there was a segment called "Put a Bird on it" that made me laugh out loud as well as feel a little self-conscious about all the birds that keep showing up in my artwork. I have actually been in that shop on N. Mississippi Street. I think I bought a beautiful card there once with a, ahem.... bird on it.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The problem at hand

I have a serious subject to discuss with you, my friends. Fingernails. Not fingernails as fashion accessory. Fingernails as tools and aggravation.

For years I have had problem fingernails. They split in a variety of ways. Layers would peel off, sort of like laminate separating. Then little horizontal splits would start at the corners so that as the fingernail grew out, there would be a little snaggy place that would catch and further split the nail. I tried a lot of things. I tried super glue (really) with limited success. I tried mixing unflavored gelatin in juice and drinking it—a touted treatment for creating harder nails. That doesn't work. I tried all kinds of products made to apply to one's nails to harden and strengthen them and nothing helped. This was not a vanity issue. It was painful and aggravating.

Then about 10 years ago something happened that took my nail problems to a new level. We were in a car accident. I was driving and we were hit by another car. The air bags deployed and slammed into my hands and arms. I was bruised and sore and both of my thumbnails were split vertically down the center. Ouch. The really distressing part was that as the nails grew out they just continued to split vertically. I bought products that covered the split nails with fibrous paper and glue. I covered that with nail polish. I had been using nail polish for years believing that it made my nails stronger. Finally I started really researching split nail problems online.There are a gazillion theories and remedies, but most of the medical sites I found attributed the problems to a combination of two things—dryness and fingernail polish remover. I quit using polish and therefore the remover, cut my nails very short and started using hand creams and lotions more regularly. They were better, but still dry and brittle. I decided I needed a more aggressive moisturizer and tried a lot of things, including olive oil and special nail creams. I finally remembered a little tin of Bag Balm that I had purchased in a quilt shop, oddly enough, advertised for dry skin even though the product is intended for moisturizing cows' udders. It was the only thing that really seemed to help. I could tell that they were less dry and brittle immediately and over several months the vertical splits finally stopped and when the nails finally grew beyond the splits, they were gone and have never come back.

I apply it liberally to each nail before I go to bed at night. It is very greasy and gooey and it doesn't smell very nice either. You might suppose that it would be messy and get on my clothes and bedding, but it seems to absorb very quickly. If I keep to this ritual my nails stay strong and free from splitting and peeling. This week I have noticed that my nails are brittle and breaking and a little shreddy as I file them, but not split. I need to be more diligent in this cold, dry weather.

I am happy to have worked this out, but I still wonder if there is something else that would work as well. I have friends with similar nail woes who have given up and have acrylic nails. Ugh. Yuck. That is not for me, but if you know of other effective ways of maintaining strong, healthy fingernails I'd love to hear it.

Now I have shared with you my number one beauty secret—stinky, greasy cow unguent. Pretty glamorous, eh?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The bird class...

has come and gone.

I headed out through the fog this morning and stopped along the way to buy a latte for the drive. I love driving through the Oregon countryside. Even in the fog, maybe especially in the fog, it is misty, damp, green, beautiful. It took me a little more than an hour to get to the Oregon Garden Resort where my Bird class was scheduled.

The room was set up with tables, extension cords, ice water and an ironing board and iron. Perfect. I had two enthusiastic students, Carol and Susan.

I really enjoyed both of them and we had a good class, I think. It was nice to work with just two people. I was able to keep a close eye on their progress and add my two cents worth when I saw it was needed. It was a good way to see if other people could follow my directions and understand what I was describing.  I was really pleased to see how well their birds turned out. Maybe they were extra talented students.

Here is Susan's bird.

It looked like a robin with paisley wings.

Here is Carol's bird.

Her purple fabrics were pretty gorgeous. She decided not to attach the wings just yet. We both thought some decorative stitching around the edges would help to set them off from the body fabric. Loved the quirky legs! Getting those little guys to balance on their scrawny legs is always a feat.

The facility was so good! The lodge at the Garden is only a couple of years old. Susan and her husband had rented a room and she reported that it was both economical (off-season rate) and charming and comfortable with a fireplace in the room. They served us a really nice lunch and a mid-afternoon coffee break with freshly-baked cookies. The lodge sits at the top of a hill overlooking the Oregon Garden and the views from the windows in our classroom was beautiful.

The other class, a Marsha McCloskey feathered star quilt class had more students than I did, but the third class was apparently canceled for lack of registration. This is the first year they have offered classes and I think there were two problems. I'm not sure the classes were well publicized and I think people were leary of bad weather in January. The Oregon Garden is a drive from anywhere. Well, the weather was nearly perfect today as it turned out, but you never know what January will hold. It could just as easily been snow or ice.

All in all, a good experience. Want to learn to make a bird? I'm available to teach!  Also, if you are in the vicinity, come see the quilt show this weekend. I am demonstrating my fusing technique Saturday morning at 11.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My little artist

Sofia loves to draw and do art projects. She is also very interested in my work and the books and magazines I have about fiber art. The other day I found her sitting on her potty paging through one of my FiberArts magazines. "I just love these pictures," she said. Grandma's girl.

Today I was looking at my new Quilting Arts magazine and she crawled up next to me to peer over my shoulder. "Look, Grandma! Butterflies!" It was a photo of  an installation of textile butterflies made by children.

"Do you want to make a butterfly, Sofia?" 


While I drew an outline of a butterfly shape on a piece of muslin, Sofia went through my little box of small scraps to find fabrics for her butterfly. I pressed the fabrics and applied fusible webbing to the backs of the fabrics. She started laying the pieces out on the butterfly shape.

Once she had pretty well covered the muslin outline I carefully transferred the fabric to the ironing board and fused all the scraps in place. She added a few more, as well as the body. Then we fused it all to a purple background fabric, and cut out the butterfly shape.

All finished. I told her  she could hang it on the wall in her bedroom if she wanted to. "no" she said. She just wanted to put it in her purse and have it. And she did.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A productive Sunday

I woke up this morning with a list in my head. Things that needed to be done. Time has gotten away from me, as it seems to do. My bird class is this coming week. Today I gathered up my supplies and got all my materials and samples ready.

I printed patterns and instructions sheets.

I printed the patterns on a variety of colors of card stock. I like to cut my patterns from card stock and trace around them. Colored pieces are easier to see and harder to lose. If each student has a different color they will know exactly which pieces are theirs.

In addition to teaching the class on Thursday, I am doing a demonstration of my fusing technique on Saturday. I needed a little project to use for the demo. Since I need to make a piece for my valentines this year, it seemed like I could kill two birds with one stone and use my valentine to demonstrate the technique. I came up with a design and pulled my materials together. Ready to go with my demo now.

I also started thinking about the next 12 x 12 colorplay challenge. The colors for this round are blue, green and brown. You can see them here. I think this is a popular decorator sort of color scheme right now. Not my cup of tea at all. Just not colors that appeal to me in any of their shades and tints, but that is why they call it a challenge, I keep reminding myself. Awhile back I bought a fat quarter of a print fabric that I thought might work well for one of my teacups or bowls that I was making. Remember those? I ran across the fabric today and realized it almost had the challenge colors. Here is the fabric.

Brown and blue for sure. The green is really more of a teal color. And the addition of that coral-y red and some gold added the warmth that I feel the color scheme needs. I used my Inktense permanent watercolor pencils to make the teal leaves more green.

Closer, I think.
The fabric may or may not end up in my 12 x 12 piece, but it has given me a little more positive feeling about the colors.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another rainy day

My friend, Beth, and I just started our seventh year of walking together. We usually meet at 8:30 and walk for about an hour on the Fanno Creek Trail. Then we head to Starbucks for coffee. It is a great way to start the day. For the past 6 months or so, my friend Paula has been joining us off and on. We often walk in the rain. What I learned about living in western Oregon many years ago is that if you let the rain deter you from the things you want to do, you quickly become depressed and frustrated. Sometimes when it is really wet we cut our walk short, as we did this morning. But I always feel better for the rest of the day if I have spent at least some time walking.

Our creek is pretty high, but last month it was higher and actually flowing over the top of the little bridge. The creek is so much lower than the house and rest of the yard that there is no real danger of flooding that will damage anything. When it was so high last month, however, it lifted one end of the bridge and then set it down off it's supports.
The creek drops down even lower on the other side of the bridge and rushes over the rocks when it is this high. In the summer the creek is about a foot lower and sometimes a mere trickle. I must admit that when we bought this house and property the creek was one of the things that really attracted me. It originates just up from us on Cooper Mountain and meanders through the neighborhoods below us. We cross it several times driving toward town and I am always interested to see how much bigger it is just a few blocks from us.

This mossy tree is across the road from our driveway. I always love how the rain brightens the colors of the moss.

I am sewing a corduroy shirt for myself. What possessed me? Every so often I just get this idea that I want to make an item of clothing for myself. I'm not too happy with the way the stitching along the edge of that placket looks. I think I will be doing some un-stitching. Corduroy sure gets thick and awkward when the layers start to build up.

It is kind of the color of rain. What I really know is that it is soft and warm and cozy. I think that is what motivates me to sew clothes when it rains for days and weeks on end. I am always drawn to flannel and fleece and corduroy when it is damp and rainy.

My bird class is next week. I don't know how many people are signed up yet, but I think it will be a fairly small class. I am getting my materials and handouts ready and gathering up my supplies. I'm looking forward to it.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deep midwinter

It is about this time every year that little pots of narcissus start showing up at the grocery store. I can never resist. These delicate little spring flowers seem, always to be something I just really need right about now. Now I know it won't be too long before the daffodils out in the yard will start pushing their way upward. We're not that far into winter, but it sure seems like it has been going on for awhile. So much rain and darkness here. Highways flooding, streams overflowing. My little flowers seem "highly prized" as a harbinger of spring, so I made a little drawing for the Sketchbook challenge.

Then I did the latest "silly" assignment, which was to copy this bird 6 to 8 times, but each drawing was to be a continuous line, not lifting pen from paper from start to finish.

This was a really good exercise. Try it! It really loosens up the line and gets you looking at how to get from one place to the next.

It was such a nifty exercise that I went back and copied my narcissus drawing as a continuous line drawing. Much more character than the original, in my opinion!

First drawing on the left, continuous line drawing on the right, in case you didn't figure it out. It's a lot like drawing with a sewing machine.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


Yesterday's newspaper brought very sad news. Bill Patton, the longtime Executive Director of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival died last week. He was one of the finest people I have ever had the privilege of knowing.

We lived in Ashland, Oregon, the home of the Shakespeare Festival, from 1979 to 1993. Shortly after we moved to Ashland I went to work at the Festival as the manager of the Gift Shop, called The Tudor Guild Gift Shop. It was run, not by the Festival, itself, but by an auxiliary organization, the Tudor Guild, with the sole purpose of offering appropriate merchandise for sale, with the proceeds going to support the non-profit theater. The shop was small and struggling when I became its manager, but we had a great group of volunteers and several paid staff members in addition to myself and we had ambitious plans for expansion and new, more interesting merchandise. Bill Patton was not my boss, but he, naturally, took a keen interest in the shop, which was located on one side of the large courtyard, across from the three theaters. He welcomed me warmly and made a practice of dropping by the shop frequently, as his office was upstairs in the same building. He was a quiet and very gentle man and always had a smile and an encouraging word as he strolled through the shop, stopping to handle a book, chuckle over a silly T-shirt or ask about something new, often murmuring to himself, "nice, nice—oh this is very nice." His approval meant so much to me.

I soon learned that OSF, as it is referred to, was, thanks to Bill's excellent leadership, one of the most fiscally successful and responsible non-profit theaters in the country, along with being highly respected artistically. I also observed how much his staff admired him and genuinely liked him. Like me, they all worked hard to make him happy. I rarely saw him dressed as you see above. His everyday uniform was a Pendleton shirt and corduroy pants. Out the windows of the gift shop I often saw him greeting tourists in the courtyard, as he made his way to one meeting or another. The year the gift shop was able to present the festival with a check for a half million dollars I got a lovely note from him, thanking me for my hard work and vision for the shop. The first year a Tony Award was given to a regional theater it went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Bill was so proud. He accepted the award in New York City at the Awards Ceremony and attended the gala parties afterward, but was back in the courtyard in his corduroys the following Monday.

OSF employs hundreds of people—actors, stagehands, musicians, house managers, carpenters, costumers, etc. I think he knew the names of each one. Each one held him in the highest regard. I have never known a man more universally loved and respected. Bill had come to the Festival as a young man and worked in every capacity, including acting. He was part of its earliest years, along with founder, Angus Bowmer, and he led the company to its greatest successes. He seemed to love every minute. I haven't seen Bill for almost 20 years, but reading of his passing brought tears. I'm a better person for having known him.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors,
As I foretold you, were all spirits, and
Are melted into air, into thin air:
And like the baseless fabric of this vision,
The cloud-capp'd tow'rs, the gorgeous palaces,
The solemn temples, the great globe itself,
Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve,
And, like this insubstantial pageant faded,
Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff
As dreams are made on; and our little life
Is rounded with a sleep.
The Tempest Act 4, scene 1, 148–158

Can you stand more silliness?

I have gotten way, way behind on the silly drawings. This week has been difficult. Baby Marco has been sick this week and could not go to daycare until Friday, so I have been taking care of a sick baby. On Thursday I took him with me to my STASH meeting. He was feeling much better and charmed them all. Even sick he is such a sweet baby. Yesterday was spent doing the Columbia Fiberarts Guild newsletter. Finally, today, I indulged in a little silliness. I am still way behind, but at this point I think I will just do the lessons that look the most interesting. After all, this class will not go on my permanent record!

This lesson said to photograph something smaller than a car 20 times from different angles in five minutes. Choose your favorite five. What was I watching all week? Why Baby Marco of course.
This one was really fun. This is one of those split books, where you can mix and match the top and bottom halves of a variety of pictures. I loved these things when I was a kid. Now I got to make my own little book. The drawings didn't have to be faces. Some people made entire figures, some made animals, some used a variety of images. I especially liked faces in my childhood books, so that's what I went for. The original faces are the four across the top and below are the possible combinations.

You can click on both of these to see them at a larger size.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Twelve by Twelve reveal day

I was late getting my Twelve by Twelve quilt posted, but it now up, along with the other 11 "eggplant, burgundy and emerald" pieces. It is an interesting reveal this time. I think a lot of us had a hard time with the colors and several of us gave it more than one attempt. I made two. This was the first one:

These are chokecherries, which grow wild in southern Idaho where I grew up. My mom made wonderful chokecherry jelly, but what I most loved, was the chokecherry wine my Dad made. It was his best flavor.

The colors were truly challenging. I know I should love all colors and combinations, but I don't love this combination. They are all fairly dark, which seemed to be the major challenge for everyone. I decided a light, but neutral, background would help. I created the background piece by collage-ing some maps of the area where we used to pick chokecherries, with bits of an article about chokecherries and some of my teabag papers. While there are elements of this piece that I like, I was not very happy with it once I finished it. It seemed too "typical" of my usual shtick. Also a little too tidy and prissy. Yesterday, when I got ready to photograph it I decided I just kind of hated it. It didn't make me think of picking chokecherries or their rich, earthy flavor at all. They looked like something in a greenhouse.

Late in the afternoon I started madly cutting leaf shapes from a pile of hastily chosen fabrics, some the same as I had used in the first piece, and by late last night I had finished "Chokecherry 2".

It felt more like what I was trying to do. A little wilder and earthier. A little more energy, I think. So this is the official Twelve by twelve response piece.

I was late in posting today because I ended up taking my baby grandson to the Dr. this morning with my son-in-law. Between their family and me, we have been sick for a month—one thing and then another. Poor Marco probably has a virus, but the Dr. sent us over to the hospital for a chest x-ray and lab tests to be sure he doesn't have a bacterial infection. It took hours and was all quite distressing to the poor, already miserable, baby. He came home with me for awhile so Cayo could get a little sleep. They've had some rough nights this week. I have a broken tooth and was supposed to go into the dentist this afternoon for a crown prep and missed my appointment. It was an hour earlier than I thought. Ugh. I hate days like this. Out of control. Now I think Ray is getting sick. Isn't January just a wasted month? I always feel like the crummy weather just makes everything more difficult. Am I whining? Yeah, I think I am.

On a brighter note, I found out yesterday that my bird-making class scheduled at the Oregon Garden later this month has enough students. I have a small class so far. Room for more! If you are in the area, I'd love to have you join me. Click on the birds at the top of the sidebar for all the information.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Dance of Joy

Somebody posted this little video on their blog today. They were happy about having a quilt accepted for a show. I was babysitting today and thought Sofia might be amused so I called her over to the computer to watch it. She thought it was hilarious and we watched it about five times. Then she grabbed my hand and said, "Grandma! We need to do the dance of joy!" And she proceeded to teach me the dance, singing "Hi, hi, hi, hi!" and leaping into my arms at the end. We laughed so hard we had tears running. I tell you there is nothing like a three-year-old. I have been teaching her to write her name and we have been drawing together and she teaches me things like the dance of joy.

Monday, January 10, 2011

What's in the works

Did another drawing of the salt and pepper shakers.

Eh. It is OK, but a little too tight and fussy. I need to loosen up. A lot. And that probably applies to more than just my drawings!

I finished my 12 by 12 quilt. Now I am thinking about some of the other work I want to get done this year. I have some deadlines to meet. The problem is that I am so sick of myself I can hardly stand it. My work, that is. I really wanted to make something a little more interesting and edgy for this 12 x 12 and it turned out so very "Terry" that I am pretty disappointed with it. I am in a rut.

The next piece I have planned will have a face in it—two faces, actually. I have made work with figures and faces before and I usually start with a peach colored fabric and shade it with paint and pencils. As much as I love prints and patterns I have shied away from using them in faces, but I have this idea that I want to be more bold in my use of the prints that I love, so I am experimenting with prints for faces. Here's an experiment. I haven't done any stitching, which I think will add another dimension to it. What do you think? Is this worth pursuing?

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Being silly again

More with the silly drawing class. You probably know this, but I am really not a silly person. Usually. I enjoy my own kind of silliness, especially with my grandchildren, but it isn't a part of my everyday persona. So I am struggling just a tiny little bit with this silly thing. The drawing part is fine. Even the silly drawing. The part I am not really into are some of the other activities and the posting online. Defining nonsense words. Doing silly exercises. But, hey, in for a penny, in for a pound. I am being a sport. The drawing part is fun.

Yesterday—Silly Saturday. Three silly activities, then show that you did these things. Photograph them or draw them.

1. Ponder. Spend four minutes thinking about the following statement: "A person with a sense of humor is like a wagon."

2. Sing. Spend one minute finding someone to sing to and one minute singing to them "The Happy Birthday Song." Not their birthday? That's OK! Out of tune? Even better!

3. Straighten your shoes. Spend exactly four minutes neatening up the shoes in your closet or entryway.

Yes, that is a drawing of my butt, sticking out of my tiny closet where shoes will never be neat. Some people just took photos of their shoes, or drew shoes all over the worksheet.

Today this was on our worksheet:

My letter:

This one was interpreted in an incredible number of ways.

Silly enough for ya?


Whew. The last few posts have brought forth so many great comments and thoughts. It has been fun to really dig into some of the ideas  and, at the same time, confusing and dismaying to find out how easily misunderstood small comments can be. It is never my intent to hurt anyone by things I write here. Never. It seems like a good time to move on to something else—or at least back to silly drawings. Those are coming.

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 

A couple days ago my friend Susan posted this photo on Facebook.

That's me on the far left. Susan is the cutie pie in the center. Taken more than 40 years ago, the others, starting next to me are Kathleen, Joanie and Carla. We were sorority sisters. In this photo we are dressed and poised to sing for an audience of our mothers. Kathleen was my friend from about the age of 2 (our mothers were best friends.) The others I met at college. Kathleen and Carla have remained close, though not physically. But we have never lost touch over the years. I lost  contact with Susan and with Joanie. And then Facebook happened and there they were after all those years. And there are others—Anne and Judy and Carol and Carolyn ... It has brought me so much joy to reconnect with these women. Most of them live a long way away from me now, though I do see Kathleen from time to time and Ray and I went to visit Carla and her husband in Delaware last year. Kathleen lives in Eastern Washington and Joani is in South Carolina. Susan lives in Boise, but her daughter lives mere minutes from my house here in Oregon, so Susan is in Portland quite frequently. We have managed to get together a couple of times and it has been so special. We have each lived a huge part of our lives in those 40 years between. Hers has been difficult and wonderful and tragic and fulfilling. She published a book of poetry last year and she is incredible fun to talk to.

And it all gets me wondering why these connections are so powerful and so joyful when they happen. I think it is partly because you finally get the whole story—a life that you glimpsed years before, a person who you loved and fervently wished the best for. What did they do? Where have they been? Were they happy? Are they happy? Did their life happen like you imagined? (almost never)

The other, more selfish part of it is that these connections allow you to connect with yourself—a younger self, a different self, someone we may have nearly lost just as we nearly lost those friends. Those connections, in some way, confirm your past and where you've been. Sadly, I can count only three people still alive (all relatives), who have known me for my entire life. Then comes Kathleen and her mother, Priscilla (also a Facebook friend), who came into our lives before I remember. Then my sister and brother. Without these people my memories would be quite lonely, solitary things, shared with no one. My friends Paula and Lea (also a recent Facebook friend) make real my early school years. They were there. We are each others' witnesses. And those college friends—well, we shared some amazing history both global and personal in those 4 short years.

Friday, January 07, 2011

Now someone is upset!

This comment, from my old pal Anonymous, appeared today on the blog post about sketchbooks and drawing from a couple days ago:

"Am I the only one who is more than a little upset at the comment of "slapping a few pieces of fabric together, handstitiching and adding a few beads and calling it fabric art"

Exactly which kind of fabric art would Picasso or De Kooning be making? Mine or yours?"

Oh dear—"more than a little upset"! That would be a lot, I guess. She (I am assuming female. I could be wrong.) is referring to my friend, Diane's earlier comment. You can go back and read it if you don't remember it. She didn't say exactly what was upsetting about it, so I'm going to assume she must be someone who enjoys slapping a few pieces of fabric together, hand-stitching and adding a few beads and feels like calling it fabric art. Then she asks what is actually kind of an intriguing question. What kind of fabric art would Picasso or de Kooning be doing? Not sure how that follows the upset part exactly. I am having to read quite a lot between the lines, so bear with me.

I am guessing that Anonymous is making a comparison between art that relies on a background in drawing (since that was what I was blogging about), art study, design principles, etc, and art that relies on none of those, but is instead simply a joyful, spontaneous outpouring of native creativity, ie slapping a few pieces of fabric together, etc. etc. etc. Then asking, which approach would Picasso and de Kooning go for? I'm betting Anonymous believes it would be the latter. I disagree.
As we know,  de Kooning was a Dutch-born Abstract Expressionist. He studied at the Rotterdam Academy of Fine Art and began his career as a commercial artist. Like Picasso, his classical training consisted of years of drawing classes and he was very grounded in the basics of design and composition. There are several books of his drawings available.

An early painting.

His later work builds on similar themes—mostly portraits of women, but he has developed his distinctive style further abstracting the colors and forms. Still, his grasp of composition and yes, drawing, is the basis of his work. He was so obviously in love with paint and gesture that I don't think he would have considered working with fabric, so it is hard to imagine what kind of fabric art he would have created.

Picasso was also a wonderful draftsman. I saw some of his drawings in the exhibit in Seattle last month and felt so inspired by the confidence and strength of his drawing. I have been thinking about his drawings a lot.

Some are very funny!

You see a lot of drawing in his paintings as well, from the classical pieces to the cubist to the abstracts. He was far too macho and far too impatient to have been a fabric artist, but much of his work has a kind of sensibility that it seems to me would translate to fabric fabulously!

 If I could make a quilt that looked anything like this, only out of my own head, I would be a happy woman! It reminds me a little of Pamela Allen's work.
So, here's what I'm trying to say. There are a lot of ways to become an artist. You can go to Art School, or you can go to Community College or you can just take a lot of classes or even hole up in your room and read a lot of books. Or you can just jump in and learn it all along the way, but it is SO much harder that way. But however you get your training, you take what you've learned and you make art and make more art. And every little thing you've learned helps you make better art. If you learn to draw, in my opinion, you've learned a lot more than how to make marks that look, on paper, like something in the real world. You've  trained your eyes to really see the world around you. You have sensitized yourself to details that are usually missed. You've studied shapes and volume and the way light affects what you see. You've had a little love affair with line and swooned over its thicknesses and thinness-es and swoopy curves and elegant endings. You've played with balance and movement and you've taught your hand and your eye and your brain to work together. You bring all those skills to your fabric. Then it doesn't matter whether you are recreating reality in painful detail or creating a unique abstract vision. You have mental and physical tools to use and ways to make decisions and you would never slap a few pieces of fabric together and call it art.

You know, of course, dear Anonymous, that I'm not your boss? I can't tell anyone how to feel or what to do. I'm out here in Oregon, in my p.j.s, typing my thoughts and opinions into my computer. Just like Diane, who left the comment you responded to. There's no need to be even a little upset. Maybe I've interpreted your upset all wrong. Let me know...

Thursday, January 06, 2011

The silly goes on

I am enjoying the silly drawing class, even though we are only on day 2 of 30 (I think...) And thank goodness for the class or I would have nothing to post about today. You would be forced to hear about my teeth cleaning, which was the high point of my day today. Actually, I do just have to take a moment to say (regarding the teeth cleaning) I was kind of surprised to learn how attached I have become to my regular hygienist, Brandi. I had someone new today—Kristen. Very nice, Kristen, but I was disturbed. Where was Brandi? She's my regular person! What if she moved away?! What if she just changed jobs and she is cleaning teeth somewhere else! I took a deep breath, swallowed my fears, and asked,  

"where's Brandi?"

Medical leave. "Oh god! Is she OK?"  She's fine and will be back next week.Kristen did a good job with my cleaning, but she's no Brandi..

Now for something silly.
Today's assignment was to add a topper to a goblet of saspy, which according to our teacher, Carla Sonheim, aka "the Squeen," is a beverage consisting of soda water and sauerkraut.

Here were today's instructions:
On the other side of the page was the basic drink to be worked on.
What can I say? Silly fun. By the way, if you want to take a look at any of the rest of the class work, there is a Flickr site where we post them here.