Tuesday, May 27, 2014

What's Been Happening!








Yes what has been happening around here:  a lot of bookish things, that's what!
First my friend Sandra Moreano asked me to help illustrating a chapter book "It's not Just a Dog!" by the author Pam Torres. It has been quite an experience to be part of the team. First reading the book then discussing among us what the characters should look like, designing the look for the jacket, finding creative ways to introduce each chapter, selecting the proper passages of the book to illustrate, what medium to use to do the illustrations and so forth. It has been a great experience and now that the book is ready and already on the shelves, we are already planning the reedition of the first book in this series with a new cover, etc. What an adventure it has been and I have learned a lot about how to work as a team and the intricacy of making a book. It really helped to have a seasoned author leading the team who knows what she wants for her story and a computer artist wiz like Sandra to keep it all in order. It has been challenging and interesting all around.
Then with the good weather coming back I have been spending some time digging in the dirt. Taking pictures of the beautiful blooms coming up as part of the reward. I so enjoy taking images and memorializing those ephemeral blossoms, just that moment in time that could not to be rekindled as well otherwise. It makes the present important and lasting.
I have been busy in the studio, also, working on finishing important projects that are long overdue. Some are coming along as they should, others are harder and puzzle me even more. Things that linger too long tend to loose the feel of what "they once were", and if not completed how can they have continuity. I should toss them out, start from scratch again. I might just do that, maybe, just keeping few important elements, but..... I am so stubborn sometimes and don't want to be self defeated. So more whining and very little progress... That statement alone should tell me something!!,
I have had the pleasure to go to many readings ( Jumpah Lahiri, Neil Gaiman, Billy Collins, Ruth Ozeki, Hannah, Kent, Lorrie Moore, Nick Bantock, Joseph Boyden). My collection of signed books is growing thanks to Elliott Bay Book Co, Powell's Bookstore, University Bookstore and the Seattle Main Library to offer such events.
I have also been part of a critique group for book illustrators, a member of a new book club ( just four friends getting together once a month to discuss a book over a glass of wine and some goodies related to the book we have read), and also a member of an Fiber/Quilt Art group (the "TARTS"). So even though life seems very serene, slow and stress free it is filled with pleasurable events.
Visitors have also come in and out of the house and that has been such fun to keep in touch with dear friends that way. Nothing like talking until late in the night or breaking bread at your table with your favorite people.
I have had a bit of frustration building over my Ipad and how it is limiting the way to publish my photos onto my blog. Too many steps and time that it takes to take to enter images to the text. So I take the easy way out "Facebook", which is not fast either when you have an Ipad. Anyway, more whining! Age is not going to improve that I am afraid...
So on and all all is well under the rain and occasional sunshine. I am planning on being more present on BITS and master the art of publishing photos more efficiently with my Ipad. Time will tell... It is all about time anyway.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

To Skip a Year!

Well I didn't want to skip a year but it all happened naturally one day at a time and here we are a year + later and how ironic that my last post was already dealing with lost time. I guess I had to make a bigger point. So instead of starting where I left off should I plan out my goal for this coming year? Well that has never been very successful for me. Planning is a sort of spelling out all the things I want to do and will not materialized, as if just saying them aloud would released them into an abyss, never to be seen again. Going back to the missing year for just few lines will show a continuous state of busyness,  where this mode of marathon living leaves you with a permanent breathlessness. One thing or more melds into each other and you wonder a year later why??? Was it all worth the trauma? Well yes of course! The highlights as always were the family and friends visits, my furry companion, the daily photographs, the lovely consumed food, the touches and the scents, the reunion and the travels, the love and the life, the continued protection of the house, the creative challenges, the joy of the blooming garden, the intense feeling of the present, the glorious sun and the gifts of the rain. All this, made this year once again memorable.
I am grateful.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Where did it all go?

It is October! Yep, October! Where did it all go? This life of mine has been busy. It has seen and traveled and experienced new and old things, tasted and dined, drank and sipped, argued and loved, cared too much and hurt, conversed and created, walked and trekked and marched and climbed, turned and danced, remembered, missed and didn't, laughed and cried, collected and browsed, embarrassed and reacquainted, flew and soared and came back to starting point. Here I am once more with luggage of few months worth of living. A never ending adventure in progress. May it continue as it is for a while longer. Now the work begins, the long process of making order into this chaotic whirlwind of ideas and senses, this overloaded sensory feast of a busy summer. Rest, in order to work, Mmmm, that is a different concept but one that makes sense to me. Routine, blissful routine in my house of peace, let the calm of the days of Fall create an organised folder of memories to be regarded with clarity for years to come. So I breathe, repeat and begin to see.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Connecting Dots, Revealing a Spiral Dance of Chance

I have been busy these days, busy beyond my comfort zone doing things for the house and others when I am yearning to create. I have been stealing few hours here and there to escape. One of those time when I was successful I was at a lecture introducing "When Women Were Birds". Terry Tempest Williams finally in the flesh, reading her words in person. Her beauty, her presence radiated in this Seattle Library. I was at ease, absorbing her words, transported in a deep part of myself that resonated with truth and essence. When the time came for me to speak to her, the words didn't come, as predicted my fear silenced me, I can be frozen by emotion and this was one moment that I missed my chance to express in words what I was feeling. She was very kind to me and said the right things, did the right things and hugged me, such a comforting gesture, she had understood my needs and struggle.
 I have just finished reading her book. I am digesting slowly but fully what was experienced during that time. It has taken me two weeks to finish this small book. Small but so powerful to me. How can I explain the impact and the symbolics, the strange cross events that have transpired from this experience.For example, just last night, I was browsing "Pilgrimage" the book of Annie Leibovitz and gazing at the spiral image that she took of  Robert Smithson's Spiral Jetty. Done in 1970 on the shore of the Great Salt Lake, not to be seen for 30 years has recently resurfaced due to receding water level. This morning taking an hour to finish TTW's book I was astonished to find out that she is talking about going to see this specific earthwork. Coincidence? of course but why doesn't it feel like one?
TTW also refers to an artist that she stumble upon who depicted a spiral tower of flying birds. Mostly sparrows and swallows. Julia Barello's sculpture. I too have been drawn to those species and have had dreams of birds flying in spirals. Conference of the Birds by Peter Sis has been on my mind. They have been circling my psyche since 2004 when I saw so many spiraling above the roof tops in Cannes. The sculptures of Grainger McKoy came to mind also. Seen them in Atlanta in December and was mesmerized by the columns of birds in flight.
The allusion of the Crow eating the young bird was an event witnessed by my friends and I over an after lunch. First we were noticing the very active couple of swallows around a single crow in flight. Then all was calm when a sound of a young baby bird carried across the water in a crow's beak broke the peace and stabbed us. The baby's parents trying frantically to attack the Crow. Then we all were stunned into silence and reverence for this event. One crow probably feeding it's own family. Nature is cruel and we are part of the cruelty. In order to survive this earth has to take and give. And so we move on and give thanks and compassion.
My other escapes deal with painting. My fabrics are calling me though but I need longer time period to devote to them that I don't have right now. I can't even know why I don't have it anymore, but it is just impossible to achieve.
So on with the brushes and pens and the beautiful paints and inks flowing on the paper few minutes at a time. All the outside world Washes away and in those moments I am present.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Travel and Gather

I have been on a Travel Spree. Short little jaunts here and there, no longer than a week, mostly 4 days. In those few days of very different interests, my senses have been on high alert. The "gather" alert. My 'sponge" personality is at its maximum capacity. Saturated by all the new visual and sensory materiel that I am absorbing non stop has not given me much chance to process and squeeze out my overloaded mind I must in the next few days wring out, distill and bottle up the essence of those trips for future recollection. In short I have gone to Sonoma County, Washington DC, Portland on the way to Bend in the last month. Not life exhaustion but a bit much for this mostly recluse person that I have become. I have enjoyed living in my new environment so much that any extraction from it needs to be of great value.

 So, seeing our long time friends from Germany was one, Visiting another dear friend in Washington DC even with potential thunder storms upon arrival was another, and visiting my daughter and her husband was a must.
 Next of being in good company, he walks were really the highlights of the trips. If it is in ancient forests, the beach, the big city, the museum browsing, the getting from point a to b, it is a thrill to me to use my feet and legs. As the body moves so does the mind and the speed at which I move is conducive to communion with what is around me (people, place and things). Spirituality  of the soul of some sort.  I will not advertise how many picture taking is involved into this as it might bore you or disgust you or even do nothing for you. For me I have those countless photos as point of reference, a lot more accurate than my memory and such fun to do. I can now leisurely relive the past in my present and future. I can even find the fine tune details that I have miss on first looks. I can now study at length and understand what I saw. I have a library of images that I can reference to when needed. I am also in this "Let's process all this" time do some background research, some serious magnifying thoughts and how could that be useful in any way or form. My creative energy is about to burst right now and need to come out in some way. The next few weeks should bring some colors in my little world and fill my life with intense passion for what I do, which is: to create.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Figure Drawing, Long Pose.

4 Sessions long with the same model holding the same pose has come to an end last night. It has been an interesting experience in learning someones' body. Observing so closely the model so you can point out her beauty marks or wrinkles or special features is a strange thing. You become pretty intimate with this stranger as this person is still a stranger to me even though I know more of her body lines as I know my own. I might want to draw myself to better be visual acquainted with "me" but then again I might not want to know myself in that level... Anyway here is the progression that has happened in these four weeks.
Week one. Charcoal study. She has a very specific mouth that has a lighter line around and finish at each corner into a little fold from the cheek. I was determined to learn how to draw that and capture a very elegant neck line. Obviously it didn't happen here just quite yet... lots to learn. It is not a class by the way so you have to learn on your own as you go. Lots of fun, lots of errors. I do like her chest and her right shoulder, arm and hip.


Week two: Charcoal study again. the face, lips, head, neck are improving. She is more recognizable. She had gotten a hair cut so her neck and brow were more open.  I did not get her torso very well as there is too much distance between the bottom of breast to the navel. Her legs are more to proportion as she has long legs and I am always running out of space to fit them in the page so I cheat and shorten them.

 I didn't spend as much time with the shading as I should have but I made other sketches to familiarize with the pose in at different angles and draw some of her features.

Week three: I started to draw the model from the head and added more details before moving on down to the rest of the body. A very different approach and didn't know if she was going to look proportionate when arriving to her feet. Well I never made it to the feet and decided it was OK.


Week four: I still worked on the same drawing. I had upgraded to drawing paper instead of newsprint by the way and used 6HB pencil very very soft instead of charcoal and then added that week some lines and shading with an HB. I also used kneeded eraser to work on the small areas cutting small pieces of it and twisting it around a pencil blender so it have a fine point of eraser to work with . It worked really well . Her right arm now doesn't seem to belong to the same body. it is a bit weak in my opinion. I also got tired of working on it. I wanted to draw from scratch again but didn't feel I had enough time. So I just decided to draw her head once more.


I had fun with that. It was a bit challenging because our model is quite a talker and I had to work fast when she was quiet to draw her mouth. She was a delight though and liked much better her talks than being about to draw her mouth.
I do like that bird like head of hers, especially seen through my eyes as she is more human in reality.

Anyway,I had brought some fabric to see if I could do something very fast and with no pre-plan... Very much my style, just wing it and see what comes out of it.
Well to show you that I don't embarrass easily anymore here it is . Who knows if that is going to go on to anything. Here it is...


Well that was a lot of fun, that I hope will continue.