Simmers and Sputters

I love the winter light. This afternoon I was sitting by the window in our front room catching up on some email correspondence enjoying the grey light and white winter sky criss-crossed by all those bare Pecan branches. The sun was setting and I loved watching the light turn dark grey and then grey blue and then deep smokey charcoal; it was enough to make me go right out into the studio and start on a new drawing. But I didn't. Instead I went right into the kitchen and made some Butternut Squash Soup.

Homemade Granola in our Giant Jar

This kind of experience has been recurring the last two weeks. Most of my desire to be creative in the studio has been re-routed into the kitchen and so my hours are full of quiet domesticity instead. This is not really a bad thing. I just need to figure out how to fit the art making between the keeping of a house and garden.

David getting domestic with the Nieces

Speaking of gardens, David and I enjoyed a truly giant head of cabbage from my parent's garden. Cooked up with bacon, onion and garlic I was surprised to find it was rather spicy tasting, far more interesting than your grocery store variety cabbage. The head was so big we only used half of it, so yesterday I cooked another large pan full with some Apple Cider Vinegar and Mustard Greens from the garden. Now that's some healthy food.

Giant Cabbage Head

We have also had Kale in our smoothies this week, Chard with our eggs, Hummus made with Flax Seeds, Rutabega with a Roasted Chicken, and Apple, Pecan, Rasin Whole Wheat Muffins to which, after tasting, David said: "These are healthy muffins!"

Healthy Muffins, Gluten-Free Bread and Tomato Basil Soup

Healthy eggs and marginally healthy sausage

I think our bodies are enjoying some top rate nutrition.

Pomegranate with Yogurt and Honey

Besides cooking we have been tweaking our ever morphing house with some new shelves for our piles of books, Spackle and wall touch-ups, new red paint on some outdoor metal chairs and a small shelf transformed with robins egg blue paint and light green and cream paper lining. Add in some general garden tidying and pruning and really we have been quite busy.

Next week is our 1 Year anniversary of being married and so I doubt much creative work will be taking place as we are going out of town to celebrate. But things are rumbling... I have dreams of imaginary rabbits and magic birds to deal with soon. There are also girls in red dresses and Cranes on spindly legs to make worlds for. And then I still have all the Octopus and Squid adventures to chronicle! Soon, soon.


Finished and Framed and Forwarded On

At last the commission is finished and I am happy to be able to post some pictures. The piece is made up of four 18"x24" drawing/collages on a soft blue gray paper. All of the drawing is done with either prismacolor or my favorite drawing utensil: gold paint pen! I actually used up an entire green pencil coloring all the leaves. Now that is a lot of green.

The collage paper came from some abstract monoprints I made and some purchased hand made papers that I could not resist buying-- with metallic copper and silver patterns who could.

Pencil Stub of Green

This has been by far the most difficult commissioned piece I have worked on; for some reason it took far longer that I had planned to complete (perhaps this is due to the fact that its about 4 times the size I thought it would be). I spent lots of hours standing in front of it with furrowed brow "thinking."

It just seemed to come together so slowly. Good thing I had lots of scarves to knit for Christmas so that my brain could wander and figure out what it wanted to do.

In the end I am thrilled with the results and I learned a tremendous amount in the process. But most importantly it got me into a nice tidy schedule of working which I hope to continue.

The piece has no title but a few main themes:

*A Boat carrying seeds with a mast that is an alive and growing tree reflects ideas on resting and provision in the journey despite storms or calm waters.

*An anchor that is a seed symbolizing the promise of life from death holding us firm with hope to keep going. Nets for catching and holding promises, dreams and gifts.

*Large plants growing from the bottom of the seabed illustrating ideas of faith, and a kingdom which is like a seed that is planted and grows into a tree so large that all the birds of heaven can come and nest in it. Faith that can cause a tree to be uprooted and planted in the sea.

*A nest and eggs of a bird of the air found surviving in a foreign place, life happening in a place that is not home.

The text woven through all 4 pieces is taken from a poem by Luci Shaw. Her poetry always seems to fit perfectly with ideas I am working on. I hope she does not mind if I glean.

(click the image to read)

"Without Words" from her book What the Light was Like

Now that the commission is happily framed and hanging in its new home I can move on to the next project which is printing a linocut for my friend Carol who lives in North Carolina and is a pretty spiffy artist herself. She just finished a huge project where she made life size (or really larger than life size) Mary paper dolls. The ones I saw in person were just beautiful; anything which has that much gold leaf on it always attracts the magpie in me.

Carol likes the following two prints and has asked me to choose between the two and surprise her. But I can't decide! So take a look, leave a comment, and help me pick.

Ambrose, Thornburn and Addie Share Secrets

Gabby, Magnus and Farley Played With The Stranger From Sunday Until Almost Tuesday