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A Most Excellent Adventure

July 26, 2017

Wow — so that happened. I went to Alaska and attended my grandson’s beach wedding. For an old girl with a bum knee, this was quite physically challenging. No, not hiking in the wilderness. Just staying in a 2nd floor walkup motel and walking daily with family to downtown shops, attractions, and restaurants, and then the slog back up those steps at the end of every day. Or twice some days.

But in spite of the challenges, the experience was just unspeakably beautiful and awe-inspiring. The wedding party and a larger group of family and friends stayed at a church camp and lodge outside of town, and those of us who stayed in town spent a lot of time out there, where all the celebrations were happening. This was about a 30-mile wilderness drive, along which you could see literal flocks of bald eagles waiting for salmon to come in with the rising tide, and the occasional bear along the road. I had some trepidation about visiting the bathrooms along the wooded path, imagining bears behind every tree. I sang and talked loudly to myself, which I am sure was enough to scare any bears away.

The little town of Juneau is glorious, even right in the middle of town, as it is surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains. We spent a day whale watching, and my best photos were from the boat.

Here is the most important part — the wedding.

It was cloudy and chilly, but the rain had stopped. The beach where they are standing is always muddy, because of the receding tide. I love that some of the bridesmaids wore rain boots. My son officiated — partially hidden in this picture.

Here is flower girl Laurel, in her red raincoat and boots. To the left is my great-granddaughter Alexa, another flower girl. There were three. Here’s Lexi:

My 8-year-old granddaughter Piper was in charge of getting the flower girls to walk in the general direction of the wedding party, with varying degrees of success.

 

So many pictures, so little time to share them all! Here is my favorite one from the whale watching trip. These are two of my grandchildren on the boat.

I loved meeting so many new friends and members of the bride’s family. Just a wonderful group of people.

The rest of my Juneau pictures are in my flickr album here.

If you look closely at the water in some of them, you might see a humpback whale just breaking the surface. I wasn’t lucky enough to get more than that.

So all in all, it was an excellent adventure.

Art next time, I promise.

 

Off On An Adventure

June 20, 2017

Just a quick post to say goodbye for a week. I’m headed for Alaska early tomorrow morning for my grandson’s wedding. I’ve never been there, but he and his fiance met in Juneau six years ago while working on a project together, and they’ve never left (except for some pretty exciting trips here and there.) So if I had an actual bucket list, this trip would be on it. I’m excited, needless to say.

I’ve stolen one of their pictures just so you can see what it looks like in their everyday surroundings. This one is at Mendenhall Glacier.

I promise to take some pictures to share as well.

My wedding present to them was this painting, which I shipped a couple of months ago. Title: Not Just White Noise, Acrylic on Canvas, 24 x 48 inches.

See you in a week!

The Gift of Time

June 17, 2017

For years on end I commuted to work five days a week, and had to find time to fit my art somewhere into the rest of an exhausting schedule. Even so, I was determined, because art was my saving grace. I kept everything out and ready to go at a moment’s notice, after dinner and for longer stretches on the weekends. I recognized art making as my go-to anti-depressant. It still is.

My studio was my air-conditioned garage, just off the kitchen and the heart of the house. I was never far away if someone needed me. I learned to work with interruptions. Multiple small-scale textural paintings were perfect for that way of working, because they each required their own time to dry, sometimes a couple of days.

After retiring from my day job, and having successfully launched the last of the grown kids out into the world, I developed a strong aversion to any kind of time commitments that might take me away from the studio. At the same time, I worked hard on making art my life’s work and my business. On most days, showing up for work no longer had a dress code, or certain hours. Occasional appointments, short-term teaching gigs, show openings, and sporadic meetings (preferably with artists) were OK, but having to be somewhere the same days every week? Been there, done that.

In recent years I’ve managed to have a little vegetable garden, just because it was a long-cherished dream and a strong family tradition. It brought us great joy and some fine meals.

But since my husband died almost a year ago, I have decided that I want to concentrate on my art now. I’ve ripped out my raised beds, and raked the soil into the grass. I thought it was going to be a difficult decision, but it really wasn’t. It’s a relief, and feels like a gift of time.

I’ve achieved the isolation I always dreamed about, but without any kind of structure to nudge me into action. It’s an adjustment. But the flexibility to start a project and keep at it until exciting things start to happen is an opportunity to stretch and grow as an artist. I hope I am up to the challenge.

Never Forget – Collage, 4×4 inches

 

Simple Surprises

June 7, 2017

It’s been a beautiful few days in and around the studio. The summer temps haven’t closed us in yet, and the house is open to the outside air, gently stirred by a silent ceiling fan. I’ve surrounded myself with music most days, with minimal intrusion of world events. This is my therapy, a lifeline, a time to be open to new ways of seeing.

Simple surprises are everywhere, like the little patch of wildflowers that I planted early last spring. They were mowed down with the grass late in the season, and I had forgotten all about them. But this spring they started re-seeding, and I’m now being gifted with new flowers that didn’t bloom the first time. There are many, many Black-eyed Susans, Lance Leaf Coreopsis, and a bunch of other tickseed varieties as well. And in the little bed closer to the house are my daylilies.

Fun and magical things are happening inside the studio too. I thought it would be a good time to play with the gelli plate for a little while, and then to find some surprises for collage in my paper stash.

This is a collection of circles and squares, punched out of magazine pages. I love spreading them out, in the same way we all used to do with our grandmothers’ jars of buttons . . .

 

. . . and here are some of the gelli prints:

Don’t you love surprises?

 

 

A Time to Work and a Time to Play

May 26, 2017

Yesterday was the most glorious spring day imaginable. Breezy, sunny, and cool. I wanted so much to be in the studio, but instead I forced myself to get outside and do some much-neglected yard work. I knew that if I promised myself the “reward” of being able to do art after my chores were done, that they would get done and I’d feel all the more self-righteous about it. So here we are, a second beautiful spring day in a row, the work is done mostly done, and I can’t wait to do some art.

Here are three collages that I finished last week. A “dance” theme for titles this time. I think I titled the “Cha-Cha” one first. I think I like it best because it feels dance-y to me. OK – music will be playing in a little bit. Have a wonderful, creative day.

Bunny Hop – Collage, 4×4 inches

Tap Dance – Collage, 5 x 5 inches

Cha-Cha – Collage, 5 x 5 inches