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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Love Coming in Digital Format

What is it about that feeling of extensive love that I have when I take photographs? I want to capture a certain angle or mood or color or shape or moment into that long lasting image. Is it because I love the present so much that I want to keep it forever alive? If it is, it is mostly working because when I am back looking at those shots I am instantly time traveling back listening to what was happening around me , what I was feeling, what it smelled like, what I was thinking. Does it mean that the present can be the past? Does it mean that to write, draw, sing, taste, create present time helps you to preserve it and keep it fresh like a frozen micro second in your psyche? I think so and I also think that it might be a reason why so many of us want to express those moments. It might also be a way to share our present with others and try to put them in our shoes not being so successful at this because each experience is unique but then if it is unique it is still worth the share, as the outsiders will transform, morph your experience into theirs. You will have change that person's present and brought some of yours in theirs and enlarged it's life. Wow.

Sharing your bliss with others could be double the bliss.
I like that! as a matter of fact, I love that!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Around the Studio and Beyond

Un petit tour d'atelier cela ne fait pas de mal. It can but one would have to look where to step and be careful of what to touch. Needles can make their way onto the floor and  travel so easily onto the surface of the tables. There are some obstacles like piles of fabric or work in progress that need to be stepped over. The occasional book piles and art supplies left on the floor. But please come in, now that you have been warned...

A lifetime of hording, that is sizable if  horded in one room, or one level, or one house. Add the same amount of years of patina over (dust some would say) and you have a pretty good idea of my space. A place to let one's imagination loose.

Where the visitor feels free to make a mess and not worry about it. Work on what one fancies. It has everything one would need, and more, much, too much more. It feels perfect to "this person".

You have the  children's projects hanging on the window's corner, the stacks of yarns, the inspiration board with multiple must do projects, the collections of whatever this person collects, the large amount of books on shelves and close at hand on the floor, the gifts from loved ones, and then of course the memories.

Sit, take a time out from the World, come and rest in meditation and listen to the soft music from the wind blowing through the trees,the birds nesting and the gentle rain landing on the roof.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Will Spring Ever Come?

I have had a bad case of the Winter's End. I feel stuck in a grey scale again. I know there are really some other colors in the yard and trees but this lead color sky and stagnating air is just bringing me dowwwwwnnnn.

Off for a walk today (last weekend), by the water, should have done the trick, but, nope. The air is so cold still and people wear too many clothes. Gloomy!. It was busy on the trail, dogs taking their owners on a walk. Those were happy beasts, all ears in the wind, nose pushing ahead, having a purpose. Well I was dragging. I did take some pictures. So inspiring to see all that grey scale around.

 Even the birds were in tone, black birds, cormorants, crows, ravens, eagles. Gloomy! I also felt cheated because the weather man had said we would have some sun showing up. Well, nope. There was also a strange sound coming from under the pier.

 Like a ghost sound done by the wind. At first I took it for a barking seal, but it was stranger than that and pretty daunting. Something that would send chills up your spine. My fertile imagination doesn't need much to activate the sensory buttons. I had already few scenario of how this sounds could have it's origin. Hello Tana French would you like some help for the next murder mystery case...

Oh I was on the edge of Chambers Bay. It is an old sand pit turned into a golf paradise. Very challenging course from what everyone is saying. It will host the 2015 US Open Championship. Are you impressed yet? Well you would not think so right now just coming out of Winter, it looks in need of Vitamin. There is a nice paved trail all around the golf course and it is hilly. I was feeling on the last 1/3 meandering through the up and down terrain. Someone designing it must have had a sense of humor and a golf cart!!!

The beach is a dream for the photographer. The birds, the weathered logs on shore, the rusty shacks, the railway, old gravel factory like ancient vestige. A pretty random mess ending up being interesting and sad, at least worthy of being captured on SD.

And here we go, I have managed to drag myself out of a mire depressed state and turned it into a memorable energized time. Who says that life is boring even if your World is grey?

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Walla Walla, On Arrive!

Close to the Oregon border, not far from the Columbia River, Walla Walla is now a choice area for wine makers and consequently wine drinkers.
The perfect town for Curt and I to celebrate our 30 year anniversary. How to celebrate a countable lifetime together? Well how about by tasting 30 different wines, cheering 30 times and gathering 30 souvenir bottles?

 Maybe, but not really when it comes to Curt and I. We are more of the lets try and see, lets taste and enjoy, lets talk about it, lets bet on it, lets argue about it, lets live it, lets not count... After a nice dinner at Brasserie 4 and a great lunch at Green Spoon, a pain au chocolat and Cappuccino on a historical downtown walk at the Colville Patisserie, a walk in the snow at Whitman College, a visit at the Walla Walla Foundry, a 5mn visit in a small quilt store who still has calico fabrics for $2 to $5 a yard (no! I didn't get any),  the rest of our stay was filled with touring those wineries: 

Dusted Valley was a given ( Pharmacists turned Winemakers =  good chemistry that can be tasted in those bottles), then L'Ecole #41 because it is one of the earlier "pioneers" along Leonetti Cellars to arrive in the Walla Walla area and still share some vines with each other. Then Basel which was disappointing, with a very snooty young woman pouring for us very boring wines ( beautiful location though and stately log cabin). Dunahm Cellars that had beautifully crafted wines and a very fun host. Insenhower Cellars where we were welcomed by the lady of the house and her three young daughters, very much a family owned business with interesting wines, their table wine is excellent as well as their Syrah and Rose which was pretty and tasty.

 Many wineries were unfortunately closed due to our Sunday and Monday stay but also the end of the winter season. So: Buty, Walla Walla Vintners, Syzygy,  A Maurice, Foundry Vineyards, Grantwood Winery, Va Piano Vineyards were closed and missed. I am due to come back in June with my friends and might have more luck at this time.

A fun time even if the cold wind and the snow made it a bit more difficult to enjoy the outdoors, it didn't stop us from seeing wild turkeys, pheasants, deers and many different migrating and nesting birds. The snow dust on the hills added an extra dimension to the decor.

A nice escapade peaceful and gentle, high points food and wines, low point the weather, slow and steady, a perfect celebration for this 30 years old marriage.