Category Archives: self nurture

Fiercely Guarded

My art-making time is precious. It must be fiercely guarded against usurpation by perceived worthy endeavors like obligations to family, kindness to friends, and responsibilities to organizations with missions that I believe are important. “Not now” is a useful phrase. Everyday necessities like cooking, cleaning and laundry are insidious. They can be time-urgent, yet unimportant, in terms of reaching larger life goals.

Procrastination and fear are lurking threats to creativity.
I use two strategies against procrastination:  making appointments on the calendar and actually writing down my goals with step-by-step plans to accomplish them. The solution to fear is to do something; just get going and begin work. I tell myself “Making art is not like brain surgery; no one dies if I mess up.” I have been forcing myself to do things which frighten me for over 50 years and recently I have realized that I am less afraid than many others I meet. Fear never goes away, and I don’t expect it ever will. If I take action, fear seems to hold less power.

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Vintage Blocks

I just got home from a delightful 3 day, 2 night retreat of quilter/bloggers. I was grateful to be included in this gathering and I met wonderful people with whom I hope to develop friendships based on mutual encouragement. I am tired but inspired. On Sunday I recharged my batteries and tried to digest all the new ideas roving about in my head. I need to “capture” the thoughts while they are fresh, before they get pushed aside by the mundane but necessary routines like cleaning and cooking.

I rinsed and shaped five vintage quilt blocks that I had purchased. The outside edges are on the fabric bias on these hand-pieced blocks, so measuring for intended dimensions was a challenge. A product from the local craft store helped. I pinned blocks to foam board that has an “invisible” 1/2 inch grid. The grid exists as a difference in sheen on the surface of one side. I marked the block size with painters’ tape, then pinned the damp blocks to the board to dry. Meanwhile, I drafted the pattern on graph paper, calculated how much fabric will be needed to combine the vintage blocks with new blocks to make a nine patch, and pulled potential fabrics from my stash. Here are the pictures.
I suspect someone reading this can tell me the name of this traditional block.

foam board

foam board

vintage blocks

vintage blocks

 

Satisfied

If you are not satisfied with something in your artwork, you never will be later. I know this from experience. Once you perceive a flaw, you will be unable to avoid your eye being drawn to it every time you look at the work. So, you must decide whether it is worth the effort of fussing and fiddling with your work to correct it or whether it is better to call it done and move on to the next thing.

I decided to fuss and fiddle with the upper edge of my fiber Elephant. I removed most of the border, ripped out 6 rows of parallel stitching at the top left corner and wiped away the marked lines. I re-sewed the upper border and the 6 lines to be more perfectly parallel. Now, I’m satisfied.

I added a sleeve for hanging with the work’s title, my name, location, date and size of the work. That’s like signing a painting for me. Done…long exhale.

before

before

unsewing

un-sewing & erasing

After

After

label

label

Hope

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Ah, hope! Here is my ironic photo of my seed catalogue order with the garden in the background. I was so deeply engrossed in looking at pretty plant pictures and descriptions that, for a moment, I thought I could walk out in the garden to begin planning plant placement. A look out the window returned me to reality.

I DO know spring is coming because

1. A raccoon has begun visiting the bird feeder each night,

2. it’s March, and

3. we have done the “spring forward” thing with the clocks.

R & R

I put some big checks on my bucket list in the past week, having just returned from a wonderful international trip. I did typical touristy things, but spent most of my time in huge, wonderful art museums. First on my list was Nymphéas at Musée de l”Orangerie — two oval rooms with eight enormous canvases of waterlilies painted late in Monet’s career. Musée d’Orsay took most of another day. On Friday, one of the days it is open late, I arrived when the doors opened and spent all day at the Louvre. Rembrandts, Da Vincis and lovely Vermeers; there is so much more to enjoy than the Mona Lisa. That should be enough images in my head to hold me for a while!

a lovely Vermeer

a lovely Vermeer

What Now ?

The 2014 All Sewn Up Challenge is working for me. I had publicly announced
I would meet a deadline to complete the project “What Now”.  I will be out of town and won’t make the meeting to personally present the work as finished to my local quilting group.  So here is proof I did it, before I go on my trip.

The truth is really that we have choices to make all day, every day. So, despite a dozen other high-priority tasks I could choose, I did this project. It is a tribute to my Dad. It may not be significant or spectacular art to anyone else; it was important to my own mental health to finish it. It is the lesson of my father’s passing, as I feel it. The text deals with the swift passage of time and the urgency to make the best use of what time we are given…a universal theme.

What Now ?

What Now ?

What Now ?, back

What Now ?, back

 

Native Sunflower

I finished a small acrylic painting last week of a native sunflower. I wanted to use a 12″ x 12″ piece of hardboard that I had primed, so looked through photos I had taken for an image that fit the square format. This cheery little beauty had the bright color I need to push away midwinter depression. Sunshine helps too, and getting outside, even if outdoor exercise the last few days involves shoveling snow.

native sunflower

native sunflower