slightly wonky

New strategy…
November 27, 2010, 6:03 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , ,

So, this post has nothing to do with my art endeavour.  It is about me making changes about how I do things in life.  For ages, and for some mysterious reason, I felt that our next door neighbors were annoyed with us.  Seriously.  I am so ridiculous.  Anyway, this has bothered me for ages.  FINALLY, I got up the gumption to go over and knock on their door to ask them about it.  The lady had NO idea what I was talking about.  We had a lovely conversation for 20 minutes, and ended with a friendly wave and a “goodbye”.  This first part, of me jumping to inane conclusions, is so typical for me.  The second part, where I actually try to confront these theories, is atypical.  I would normally wonder about this, without actually testing my hypothesis.  Trust me, I know how dumb this is.  Can you see how challenging I make things in life, when this is my typical strategy for dealing with such matters?  Anyway, I wanted to write a post about it, as I felt that it was a slight shift for me in a better direction.  No, this had nothing to do with art, but it was a small success for me!  I know…so ridiculous!


Whatever I am…
November 23, 2010, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , ,

Today, someone at my old office sent me photos of a project that I worked on.  It was an addition/renovation to a dining hall.  It looks really good!  The building was pretty much designed before they brought me on, but I had the task of coordinating and detailing the exterior.  Needless to say, it was stressful, but I was working with a great team of people.  If I remember correctly, there were just three of us doing the drawings!  Anyway…why do I bring this up?  Well, I can’t help but feel an odd pang when I see the building.  I am thinking, “I used to do that”…”I was good at that”…”What am I doing now?”…”Why am I throwing away all that I know, to start again?”

Whatever it is that I’m doing now, I’m a beginner.  This is tough to be a beginner, so late in life.  I used to know what I was doing.  Yes, I had way too much to do, but I knew what had to be done and I was good at doing it.  Now…I’m a beginner…muddling my way along…trying to figure out what the heck I’m doing.

Every time I meet up with a friend, they ask me how “things” are going.  Good question.  No good answer available.  I’m trying lots of things: printmaking, painting, screen printing, sewing, felting, etc. etc. etc.  But what exactly do I have to show for myself?  A very odd arrangement of things in progress… Some things I am happy with, many things I am chalking up to experience.

I have been advised to think of myself as an “artist”.  This feels a little premature, and quite a bit of a stretch.  So, I don’t know what I am.  I know that people spend a lifetime trying to figure out who/what they are.  I’m finally stopping to ask myself that question.  It took me long enough!  I feel grateful that I am able to ask.  I wish that I had a profound answer.  I don’t so far.  I just have a collection of odd things.  In any event, I am happy to have this collection of odd things.  It may not make sense to anyone else, but these odd things are dear to me…more so than the lovely, praiseworthy building.  While the building represents my former life as a “take no prisoners/stress-case” architect, the odd things represent my current self…wondering, struggling, searching and hoping.

Surprise revealed & right brain vs. left brain…
November 20, 2010, 8:47 pm
Filed under: painting | Tags: , , , ,

Okay!  Now, that I have given this as a gift, I can show the finished product.   This is a silk scarf that I painted for a dear friend.  I really enjoyed doing this, as the colors are so bright and fun.  I LOVE doing these bright, messy projects!  Such a change from my previous job.  I’ve found that I am rebelling against the orthagonal and orderly, and am interested in the multicolored and messy.  SO MUCH FUN!  I just want to take a deep breath and say, “AHHH, WHEW!”

Don’t get me wrong.  I love architecture.  I loved being an architect, for the most part.  I have discovered, though, since taking a “break” from the profession, how different it is from what I do now.  I mean, I believe that I’m someone who has a fairly capable right-brain, and a fairly capable left-brain, but they do NOT work together well at all.  For example, when I was working…if I needed to sketch something to show someone an idea about how to detail something like a window jamb, my drawing would always be terrible!  Truly…terrible.  However, I have been in drawing classes where my work is very strong…portraits that actually look like the person, etc.  I have always wondered WHY I somehow lose all artistic abilities at work, and now I think I understand why.  I believe that I can either be functioning in left-brain mode, or right-brain mode.  But, I cannot use both at once.  When I’m in a drawing class, or making something right-brained…I get into a “zone”.  I think that this is fairly common, and not remarkable in the least.  But things just flow in that zone…artistic things.  However, as soon as I try to “think” more, i.e. bring in my left-brain, my work starts to get really terrible.  The flow is gone.  Similarly, when I was at work and designing/problem-solving/multi-tasking…I was in a similar “zone”, but it was all left-brain analytical.  So, when I’d have to stop and sketch something, my drawing would be horrible.  Isn’t that bizarre?  Maybe this sounds like some long-winded excuse.  I don’t think so, though.  I think that this is just a quirk of mine that I’m only now starting to figure out.

The friend who received my scarf as a gift suggested that I try to show more “process” photos.  Okay…I’ll see what I can do!  The days where I can do my new “work” fly by, and I barely stop to eat.  So, I’ll have to try to remember to stop to photograph as I go along, just to bring you along the way…

rabbit and surprise…
November 19, 2010, 9:30 am
Filed under: printmaking

This rabbit print was SUCH a struggle.  For some reason (I think that the press needed to be tighter), the lines weren’t printing.  I must have printed this six times.  This is the only decent one.  It’s a bit dark.  I have a new camera, and I have to learn where the adjusment is for that.  My old camera was so simple!  I’m also including a picture of my sun print again…but this time in blue!  You can see it printed in oranges in my flickr account.  Neat, right?  The last picture is a surprise for someone…so I’ll write more about it later…

felting…MUCH improved
November 18, 2010, 8:16 pm
Filed under: Felting | Tags: , , , ,

Thanks to my mother’s cousin (I believe), Ruth, in Australia, my felting today went MUCH better than yesterday.  I mean  MUUUUCH better.  It’s smooth…the colors are nice…so, I haven’t lost faith in felting as a result.  It might be the only way that I get some exercise, so maybe I should keep it up!  Ruth provided me with some very helpful tips.  I have seen her felting, which is lovely, so it was great to get her help.

Now that I’m doing printmaking…working with dyes…(more on that later), my hands are looking kind of gross.  I mean, the edges of some of my fingernails are an odd bluish color.  How gross is that?  It’s so hard to get off.  I always wonder if people think that I don’t bathe, or something, because my hands look so…colorful.  Also, I always manage to cut myself in some way.  Who knows.  I know…that’s impossible to do from felting, so I must have done it when making dinner.

felt like felting…
November 16, 2010, 3:03 pm
Filed under: Felting | Tags: , , , ,

My first experiement with wet felting!  The two small “squares” are the result.  It was fun, but tiring.  It requires some serious elbow grease to work the fibers into submission.  I kept thinking, “felt! damn it!”.  The results are…okay.  Why are they so lumpy?  Can anyone tell me?  Maybe I needed to felt more.  I’m going to have arms like Rambo by the time I figure this all out.  It’s a very messy process, but can have lovely results.  Because it shrinks down so much, I can see that I need to get an enormous blob of it to start with, in order to have a useful size in the end!  The colors of these samples are a bit blech.  I just got roving at Joann fabrics…so what do you expect, right?  There are all sorts of AMAZING stores out there selling decadent roving (the stuff that this is made from) in stunning colors.  Sigh…kind of pricey.  I’ll start small, and see how it goes before I invest in tons of it. 

The pink purse was needle felted.  Sort of cute, right?  Maybe if you’re twelve.  Hey, I like it anyway.  I even put snaps on it!  Should I bother trimming the yarn sticking of the ends?  Nah…it’s like purse dreadlocks.

Ups and downs…
November 13, 2010, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

So, this has been a week of ups and downs.  I managed to work on Tuesday, which was great.  It was one of those days where the stars felt like they were aligned.  Things looked great, I was excited and happy.  All good.  Friday was the only other day this week that I could work.  In contrast to Tuesday, Friday was slow and deflating.  I’ve been working on a woodcut.  It’s taking ages, and my arm/hands/brain ache from it.  I’m hoping to use 4 colors, but I only managed to carve out 1.25 of the four colors.  SIGH.  Also, I was looking at some of my books, at the work that others do…and I was deflated.  Everything was so beautiful!  I felt a million miles away from it all.  I’ve decided that the only solution to that is to take some more classes.  Spending time with an artist, having him/her provide suggestions and feedback…is invaluable.  I LOVE art classes.  I mean…I REALLY LOVE art classes.  I don’t love everything that I do, but there are always one or two things that make me happy.  I am still taking printmaking now.  It’s been great. We only have two classes left!  Where does the time go?  Now, I’m already scouring my class options for next semester.  If only I had Mondays free!  There is a fabulous class at the Decordova that I’d like to take.   If anyone has taken any great local (metro-Boston) art classes, let me know! 

Who does she think she is?
November 6, 2010, 9:18 pm
Filed under: Fleeting thoughts... | Tags: , , , ,

So, this week I went to Radcliffe to watch “Who does she think she is?“, a documentary on women in the arts.  I had been excited by the trailer, then my printmaking teacher had mixed opinions of it.  So, I went to see it, not expecting as much as I had orginally.

From the trailer, it seems to be very focused on the inequities between men and women in the art world.  Some of the facts presented were really surprising: how few women are featured in exhibitions in major institutions like MOMA and the Tate Modern.  I’m not up to speed on “who’s who” in the art world, so I would not have noticed that by myself.  It did make me wonder a bit.  As these institutions need to draw big crowds in for revenue, it is likely that they are less inclined to show lesser known artists.  But why are female artists lesser known to begin with?

There are many possible ways to think about this.  I did like that the film did not try to answer that question, as if it was a simple thing to answer!  The film focused on the lives of several female artists.  For me, the conclusions that I drew were not any sweeping generalities about female artists, but that we are each unique.  Each artist was unique, her situation was unique, and her journey through the art world was unique.

I suppose that the only overarching thought that I had, was that we need to really change the way that art is viewed by society.  I think that the vast majority of society feels that it is “non-essential”.  I can understand this, if you are just trying to put a roof over your head, or get food on the table.  But, I think that there are many people who are not in such a place, yet they still view art as unimportant.  I think that until we can hold onto art in our educational systems, and make it have significance for all students…not just the artistically inclined, we are going to have a hard time making progress in this realm.  This stands in the way of artists, both male and female. 

Any thoughts?

Mini-quilt madness
November 5, 2010, 1:44 pm
Filed under: Sewing | Tags: , , , ,

So, I have MOSTLY finished the mini-quilt.  What do you think?  I think that it needs something…messy, added to it.  I haven’t decided what, though.  So, in the meantime, I’m just going to leave it.  Let me just say that finishing this little thing was a serious effort, as my sewing machine was NOT cooperating.  Luckily, when I took it to Marie’s Sewing in Woburn, they were so helpful and got me back on track.  That machine is VERY temperamental/fussy/prone to pouting and refusing to work.  Much like me!  We’re a perfect fit!  Anyway, I’d like to keep going with the quilting.  Maybe if I make enough of these, I can join them into one big quilt.   Notice that I do not yet have the energy/gumption to make a big quilt in and of itself.  Someday…

Woodblock prints…it’s a start
November 5, 2010, 1:35 pm
Filed under: printmaking | Tags: ,

Hey!  These are my first woodblock prints.  I like them!  Yes, I have a long way to go…but I like the graphic quality of them.  Also, carving them is very satisfying, but messy.  Maybe I should say satisfying AND messy!  I’m pretty much wanting to grab onto any hunk of wood to start carving away at it.  Why not the coffee table?  It’s sort of in sad shape anyway, right?  (just kidding!)

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