Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy Birthday, Nazare

Last Sunday was the birthday of a good friend who is very artistic but never takes time for art. For my present, I asked Katydiddy to come up and show us some techniques. As you can imagine, it was a wonderful day. How lucky am I that Laura is at my beck and call? By the way, if you don't already, you will want to keep up with her. Good stuff happening over there.

Here is the journal I made for the birthday girl. She is a proud Spainard who hails from Madrid. And I have seen her flamenco!

This is a transparency of my Grandmother. We put flame to them over my kitchen sink and hoped the husband (and father) didn't catch us.
See the chubby little girl with the dark hair? Me. The tall slender blond is Nancy, my best friend in the whole world at that time. I recently had a great dream where Nancy and I played and played so, when Laura asked us to choose an old photo to distress and paint, I reached for her. My mother gave me the book "What I Know Now: Letters to My Younger Self" and I may write that letter in the space around the photo.
Ok, you may want to get a cup of tea, or a snack. Maybe use the restroom. Stretch your legs. I have more!

Side Trip
We tend to get all caught up in the stuff of daily routine, things you can't even remember the next day and never get out for fun. The husband and I have committed to more outings and for some reason he calls these "side trips",as in being at a vacation destination and deciding to deviate from the itinerary. I guess since he's retired every day feels like vacation!

Last week we went to Descanso Gardens in La Canada, Ca. What a beautiful place. Something like 180 acres with acres and acres of that being camellia forests. Yes, forests. Outstanding. Here are the results of a lot of camera fun. There are no photos of the cammellia forests because they are too big and too dense for my little camera.

Fish are always a favorite of mine. Lots of huge koi in here. Got some photos of the beauties, but they didn't come out good enough to bore you with.

Aren't photo editing programs wonderful? Here I used iPhoto special effects. I'm going to put this on cards.
This one, I promise, was not retouched. The day was perfect for photos. Overcast with moments of the most brilliant sun. The word here would be "dazzling".
I want a pergola. The husband just sighs when he hears things like that.
I've had a thing for weeping willow since I used to play under one as a child.
This should be the illustration for "pink" in the dictionary.
And here is "white". Imagine the sun shinning full on these. It was actually hard to look at.
There is a grand old house on the property with a carriage house that is used by local artists. The curtain patterned light on the rug made me think of Mary Ann and all of her stencils.

The Tea House is in what they call the Japanese Garden. Other than the plum tree and the house, it didn't look very Japanese to me. A bit overgrown for that. Still, however, very lovely.

There are several very tall stands of bamboo, which were also waaaaay too big for my camera, but I found the carving on the stalks interesting.

I have been getting interested in the mechanics of pin hole cameras and took the last two through knot holes and narrow slats in the fence. The change in light really gives them a different depth.Thanks for hanging out with me. I've overdone it a bit today and being here with you has been just the rest I needed. I'm off to celebrate the mysteries. Hope you can do the same.

Friday, March 7, 2008

A Good Day

A few posts ago, I shared my doodlings in computer art. Well, the art gods have smiled on me today. I got an offer to sign up for Google Notifier for Mac. Since I get blog comments on my gmail (I can't help it, that sounds so naughty), which is not my regular email, I often don't check and don't realize I've got some good stuff to read. Lo and Behold, included in Google Notifier is a program called Sketch. It is primarily for architectural and woodworking designers, but it sure is fun for just fooling around. Here is today's experiment. I can see this being worked into a collage scheme.
So many toys, so little time.

And, I just got some great news. The whirlpool bathtub, that I insisted on when we did a bathroom remodel a few years ago, is not working right and we had to call repair. I love it but, because I have this delusion that I am always short on time, I tend to jump into the shower in the morning and can find 100 reasons to deny myself a good soak in the evening. But now, it seems I am being "forced" to languishing in the tub. It has become a chore, another darned responsibility, if you will. The "bathtub technician" said these things go on the blink when they are not used regularly. So, you see, I have no choice. I simply must soak frequently. Don't you just feel so bad for me? More work! Somehow, I will survive.

But wait! I have more news to share. I have been involved with a local drug and alcohol rehab agency here in town for about 19 years. Way back then, I had a business consulting practice and I was asked to sit on the board. I have done that continually for 19 years, and I also went back to school so that I could become a counselor. I really love the work and the agency is near and dear to my heart. This is apparently my year because they have chosen me to be the honoree at the annual Tea Party. This event is totally put on by the women in our program to honor someone from the community that supports our work. Most of these gals have never even been close to a tea party, but they learn all about it, make the fancy food, dress up complete with hats and read poetry to the guests, most of whom are business people from the city. It is quite moving and a good experience for the women and the community to get a look at each other. I am so touched to be chosen.

As if that were not enough, they asked me to be the keynote speaker at our annual graduation. Clients who have completed any of our programs in the past year, who are still clean and sober, are invited to attend. They receive diplomas and recognition. As a board member, we (I got my husband involved a few years ago) go every year. Again, it is a very moving event. I haven't done any groups for quite awhile and I am looking forward to this opportunity to interact with these most courageous people again.

Ok, that's enough bragging for one day. For this and for all I am given, I am grateful.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Time Flies When You're Having Fun

Or, as Kermit the Frog says, "Time's fun when you're having flies." I'm still getting used to writing 2008 and it's March already! I have missed all of you so, today, I'm catching up with you and your blogs and offering some updates here.

Let me start with my Katydiddy. I am now the owner of this darling decoration
which, to me, is soooooo Easter. I'm old enough to remember when new things looked like this. Laura makes these from antique chocolate molds and does a very special job with the paints and embellishments. I might be a bit biased as I am her mother, but I don't think so.

Then, she told me about a great bargain at her local art and craft chain store. I had been to the one near me and did not find these and I told her so with a long face. It worked. She gave me these.
They are felt ornaments but she uses them as stamps or resists. I can't wait to use them.

Although I've not been posting, I've still been "arting". Here are two more pages in my newest journal. I see that her lipstick is a mess. I'll have to fix that.
I'm practicing painting every day. (I'm lying. I paint a couple of times a week, but everyday sounds so much better.) This woman was in an ad in our Sunday paper and something about the look of her calling really got me. I put her in here, gave her a coat of gesso, then practiced mixing colors and shading. I have a long way to go, but I see progress here. I think she is calling out a most special message and when I can quiet down enough to hear it, I have the next page to write it on.

Then, I water colored a sketch I'd done earlier and tucked her into a page. Here's something I find interesting. Several people have commented that she is someone in particular. None of them see her as the same person, but someone they know. One friend even thought it was her! I cannot see the resemblance. She came out of my pencil and I seem to be the only one who doesn't think they know her. Art is so magical!
And finally, here is a project that created itself last evening. I was cleaning my art space up a bit and came across some inked paper that Randi had given me before she moved to Corn Country. It was as if they were begging to be used, not put back into the drawer. And suddenly I saw other scraps and the antique doily on my work table in a whole new light. The next thing I knew, I came out of my trance to discover I'd made a really cool little journal. It's about 4"x6", nice and fat and raggedy. I am a most tactile person so I love that each page has texture. I also like things that I will call "messy" for lack of a better term.
The box on top holds a set of inspiration ATC's that Randi made as well.
Here's a peek inside.
This page is a snowflake that I made playing with my granddaughter. On the left is Randi's. Don't you love all that ink?
The left side is more of Randi's amazing paper and the right is a paper towel that I used while water coloring.

The leaf is brown paper wrap my daughter made for a gift she gave me.

More great papers from The CrazedWoman
and one of several antique doilies I have from my great Aunt. It lays flat but I flipped it up a bit for better viewing. I think I will weave in some hand dyed ribbons I got in a trade.

I have a stack of these along with a once beautiful crocheted tablecloth that is falling apart. I shopped around to see if it could be repaired and was told it is too far gone. Part of me thinks of all of the wonderful things I can make with these and part of me gasps in horror at the thought of cutting, pasting and painting them. I've decided that it is a crime to let them sit, unseen, in my buffet drawer. My Aunt was artsy and I can imagine her telling me to make them into something beautiful. Sewing this one into the journal has broken the ice. I'm just about ready to take the scissors to the rest.

Speaking of renewal, I wish all a most blooming and vibrant Spring.