Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Finishing Up September

I wrapped up my Sept. 2016 stitching project and am ready to move into the depths of autumn, my favorite time of year.  Here are all the components joined together.

I hope to be stitching with rich, fall colors all month, but I won't be posting.  I'm heading out on a cruise with my mom that goes through New England up to Nova Scotia and Quebec.  I've always had New England in fall on my bucket list, so I'm hoping we will catch it in all its glory.  See you in Nov!

Friday, September 29, 2017

Summer Celebration

Looks like this will be the last of three paintings in the little fresh air painting series, painted when Portland was covered in smoke and I was craving fresh, clear air and colors.  I started a fourth, but it seems to have a mind of its own and is already starting to attract some fall colors that go in a new direction.

"Summer Celebration", acrylic on paper, 16x20"
 I have really been enjoying these books I found in the library.  They have introduced me to new abstract painters I didn't know about.  This first one is my favorite full of abstract work and gorgeous mark making.

This one contains more realism, but is also full of interesting work.

Asian Traditions/Modern Expressions edited by Jeffrey Wheeler
Asian/American/Modern Art, Shifting Currents, 1900-1970 eds. Cornell and Johnson

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Stitching in Sept.

Stitching away on my 2017 daily stitching project.

Friday, September 22, 2017

A High Tolerance for Failure

One of my favorite games is Bananagrams, a variation of Scrabble where each player works on their own puzzle and can rearrange tiles as they go.  You have to be fast though and use all the tiles before your opponent.  I play with my son, and I lose at least 19 out of 20 times, but I always look forward to playing again.

I was recently telling him about my hip hop class in which I am, without any doubt, terrible.  I can barely learn one dance step before we move to the next one.  And I am so far from having anything that resembles swag, it's just sad.  But I love to go!  After he heard about it, he said, "Mom, you have such a high tolerance for failure.  Most people don't keep wanting to do things they are so bad at."

His comment got me thinking of how important accepting failure is to painting.  I usually work on paintings for days, weeks, sometimes months, so that means there are plenty of days that they feel like failures until I get to that final point where I'm satisfied.  One of the most enlightening books I read about painting was Willem DeKoonig's biography.  I always admired his raw, energetic brush strokes and the spontaneous way he puts paint on the canvas.  I was shocked to learn that Woman I took him 3 years to paint!  He labored endlessly over all of his paintings.  So that means day after day of feeling like they failed.

I'm sure not everyone paints this way.  Someone like Carol Marine, who puts out a very accomplished  painting each day, must end her days with a feeling of satisfaction and success, even if she doesn't love every single painting.  But mine is more a slow process of discovery, changes, trial and error.  Many errors. It's an ongoing reminder to stay focused on the process and not worry about the final product, or I would end each day in frustration.  As long as I keep enjoying the steps along the way, I can use my high tolerance for failure to keep me going.

Here's another I finished in the Breath of Fresh air series, thinking of fresh, clear air on our smoke-filled days.

Untitled, acrylic on paper, 16x20"

I'm liking my palette at the moment, starting to lean a little more towards fall tones.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Sept. Stitching

Sept. stitching has some colors softly fading away as new bright ones start to appear.  I always love that time of transition between seasons. Here are some of my bits from my 2016 project before they all get joined together.

Friday, September 15, 2017

A Breath of Fresh Air

Because of the fires in the Columbia Gorge, Portland was covered in smoke all last week.  The sky was continually beige, and ash covered our cars in the morning. One of my favorite things to do in summer is to sit out on our balcony, look out into the hills and trees, and stitch.  Instead we stayed inside all week with all the windows closed.

I was craving a breath of fresh air and decided to abandon my black and white paintings for something fresh and clear. 

"Fresh Air", acrylic on paper, 16x20"

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Art Retreat Results

The family all returned Sunday evening and my art retreat came to an end.  It was fabulous!  I really only had 4 days fully alone, but I made good use of them.  Having a little time alone makes me realize how badly I need that now and then.  It was especially nice to get to stay in my own home for a change, but the most important thing is getting time to focus without any distractions.  No stopping to make dinner or talk to anyone.  No leaving the house for errands.  Doing exactly what I want when I want to do it.  Perfect.  I never get as much accomplished as I think I will, but I'm pleased with what I did.

I spent my mornings painting and ended up with two paintings I'm pleased with.  That's pretty much a record for me!  In the afternoons, I caught up with podcasts while I worked on ongoing stitching projects.  In the evenings, I caught up with my favorite TV shows--Project Runway and So You Think You Can Dance, and watched some great art documentaries on Netflix.  I really loved "Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang", a Chinese artist who uses fireworks.  Gorgeous, complicated things.  I also enjoyed "Jeremy Scott," the very wacky, avant-garde fashion designer, and "The 100 Years Show," about Carmen Herrera.  I'm not in love with her minimalist art, but very inspired to see her still working at 96.  The problem with everything I like to watch is it's very visual so hard to get much stitching done while I'm watching.  

I did finish my fall trip journal.  I'm happy with the way this one turned out.  I used variegated threads that I dyed, and I like the spark of color change they add.

Here's my journal collection so far.  They are a really good excuse for some obsessive hand stitching and button collecting.