Blogiversary: Year In Review
Apropos sentiment for my year
I stopped 5 day a week blogging last March for health reasons. When I paused I did not know that it would be such an extended hiatus. I happened to be in the middle of #40daysofprintmaking when I made the decision, but preserved with that project on Instagram. By December of 2015 I was feeling much better & inspired by the beauty of the LowCountry winter flowers I embarked on a #12daysofflowermas project on Instagram. I am now on day 63; well over 5x's the goal I set. Yay! Georgia O'Keeffe say's it best regarding flowers, & recuperative time: "When you take a flower in your hand and really look at it, it's your world for the moment. I want to give that world to someone else. Most people in the city rush around so, they have no time to look at a flower. I want them to see it whether they want to or not."
While this break was much longer than I anticipated it did provide ample time for reflection. I came to some conclusions about my blog & the direction I want to take:
1. I had become a slave to the deadline. It didn't matter if my work was not up to my standards. If It was Thursday a new painting had to be posted, even if it was a slapdash effort. Sometimes I rationalized this by claiming it as part of the process, but I knew that was just not true at least half of the time.
2. I am a private person. Most bloggers share the intricacies of their lives. I am not the kind of person that does this. Yes I will share process, materials, & scenes from nature, but I will not be telling you about anything else (relationships, what I had for dinner, a current moral quandary). And this stifles the blogging relationship. Blogs have that very personal element that I would share if we are in a face to face relationship, but I am not going to share across the internet in that way.
3. I love the #PaletteProject. Collecting & curating other painters palettes has been one of my joys in this past year. I love seeing the process & diversity of responses. I am thinking about ways to expand this project & welcome input. Many more #PaletteProject posts to come.
4. The blog will continue. There will be blog posts, however they will not hold to the previous 5 day a week schedule. In fact, there will be no set schedule. I will share when I have work of value & not when I feel I must.
5. Thank you! To those of you that have liked & commented, encouraged & critiqued.
On Doing the Work
Yesterday I worked on a pattern & it did not resolve. This morning I worked on it more in the hopes that after sleeping my brain would have come up with the solution. No such luck. Sometimes this happens. My good friend Lydia Makepeace wrote an excellent post last month about how you have to make a lot of ugly art (it doesn't mean you have to share it). But you do have to make it. So I chalk the past 24 hours of pattern struggle up to the learning process and present you with arrow trees, a common motif, but one I have not yet attempted (also not the atrocious pattern I have been working on for the past 24h).
Today's palette comes from the extremely talented Jacquelyn Gleisner. Her work is expansive (30ft.), but approachable. The detail & raucous color make it enjoyable to travel the entire surface of the painting. Included below the sketchbook images, which were made with the palette shown above, is a brief Q&A regarding materials.
H: What color do you wish wasn't in your palette?
G: Hot pink. I have a problem with neon.
H: What is your favorite brush?
G: Kolinsky Sable brushes are my absolute fave, especially small liner brushes (size 0 or 2).
H: What is your favorite paper/surface to paint on?
G: Paper is my favorite surface, but I do enjoy working on canvas treated with Golden absorbent ground or a well-primed panel on occasion.
H: What is your favorite color to work with?
G: Blue, always blue!
I certainly agree with Jacquelyn that blue is the best color to work with! And would encourage you to check out her website for more wonderful art, along with her twitter & instagram. And if you happen to live in the Lancaster, PA area stop by Sunshine Gallery by October 29th, for a real life viewing.
Land of No Wi-fi
There are still places where you can escape the digital ethers, yes those places really still exist & I am headed to one of them for the next week. Rest assured there will be lots of photos to show next week. Peace Y'all!
Largest Painting Yet
After a month of not painting why not tackle the biggest white expanse you can find? That is certainly my M.O. This painting is 22"x30". Also why not change the paper while you are at it? I used Rives BFK, my all time favorite paper, which is a cotton rag mould made cold press, as opposed to the HOT press Arches watercolor paper I had been using for this series. I figured why not tackle the large paper? There is no time like the present. It is very exciting to be painting again & I am on the lookout for even larger paper. Happy Thursday Y'all!
Strife & Beauty
Anytime I return from camp I go thru culture shock. When you have spent close to a month living in a lean-to, yes there are showers & lights, but no air-con or internet, your perspective shifts. Daily seeing the mountains & lake, spending a lot of the day outside, is distinctly different then my life at home which includes a lot of time with a computer screen. In the past week I have seen planes shot from the sky, children deported to third world countries full of strife, wars continuing on & friends going thru lots of hard things. The world outside of #lakelife is hard. So why talk about all of the hard and then show us photos of beautiful sunsets. Because the world is both: sadness & beauty, strife & glory. And it is important to remember that. Happy Monday Y'all!
Strawberry Jam & Expertise
This summer I learned how to make strawberry jam. I have made it a few times before, but this summer I feel like I really understood the process & could make it by myself, if I was inclined. There are many steps, but first among them is acquiring strawberries in bulk. The most delicious way to do that is pick them yourself. I do not remember the last time I ate something as tasty as the first strawberry. You have to test the strawberries, in the field; it is important to choose a strawberry you think will be good & then find out if it is, so as you go along picking you will have an idea of what to look for. Truly the warm sweetness that cascaded in my mouth was a version of Beulah. If I had not had an expert jam maker leading the process I would have been lost. I would not have know to test a strawberry, just how clean to make the jar tops, or a half a teaspoon of butter in the berries before the pectin makes all the difference (because butter makes everything better). All of these things are critical to a successful finished product. Expertise, know-how, knowledge, whatever you want to call it, is as crucial to this process as it is to art-making. You need to approach with a beginners wonder & openness and take in the knowledge & process of a pro. Sometimes you can be your own teacher thru trial & error, but other times you can learn from a master & then take what you learn & make it your own. Thank you Mary for teaching me about jammin'. Happy Friday Y'all!
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