Thursday, April 29, 2010

Craftsy Concentration

It was a craftsy week, starting out Monday talking and stitching with friends over lunch and coffee until today when I dropped by the grandchildren's to pick up Beth's unfinished needlepoint (she and the grands were doing ribbon weaving projects), to have more than blind contour drawing to do at these sessions. I should get out the needlepoint bookmarks I made from scratch to give everyone a canvas so we can design our own. Susan was doing Matisse!
In the studio for two days, I filled two giant garbage cans with files of 40 years. Joe was so happy that I can walk through and almost paint there! Found some jewels to save. And at the other end of experience, the entrance to beading at Nita's today had these electric azalea bushes. Was it the rains as she claims or her devoted gardening.
After stopping at the grandchildren's, I went to Adrienne Robinson's to see her portrait quilts and her newly published book! It is beautiful. Her Creation Myth book is hot off the press and available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. I am so proud of her. Coming up soon is a self-portrait quilt workshop with Clara Wainwright (with whom Adrienne created faith quilts after 9/ll and self-portraits) at the Cape Anne Museum, both the museum and artist a special treat.

Monday, April 26, 2010

NYC missed again: A Journal Quilt

The grandchildren have a Pug and we have a Cocker. It is nice that we can keep the others' dogs when we go out of town. As it turns out, our vacations keep happening on the same weeks and we end up doing the dog sitting. That is what parents do.

However, we were going to tack on a few days at the end of the last vacation (this weekend) to hop down to Manhattan, but no sooner were the bags packed than the NYC weather was reported as rain rain rain for three of our days-to-be there. Marilyn Gay pointed out there are umbrellas on every corner, and I am thinking we are getting "soft."

Remember, journal quilts are a 2-hour exercise, a sketch of a significant event in one's week.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A time and place for all things

Our trip to NYC was rained out so we pretended. We did in Boston what we usually do in the Big Apple. In Harvard Square we went to Ruth Rosner's opening to see her totemic sculpture, and stopped at the Coop to get the English magazines The Artist and Modern Painters. The April issue of the latter, with Hockney on the front, I am reading backwards and getting ideas. The other transports me to England for conversations on another level.

We attended Open Studios and encountered new artists and got books: The Confident Creative by Cat Bennett and The Six Archetypes of Love by Allan Hunter. After eating out and shopping and reconnecting with the grandchildren on their return from Disneyworld, it was time to organize the study further (new computer adjustments, clearing, seem endless). In the meantime, we saw Hannah's soccer game and David got his first haircut. Hopefully back to production soon. Nothing like a sunny weekend; and Otto Dix will be at Neue Gallery until August. The fantasy succeeded!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Spring Break spent working

Tuesday I led the discussion on Mary Karr's memoir. Wednesday I worked on my new website and transferred to it, a six-year-old movie, my first DVD. Today, we had beading and I sewed another quilt trading card, a fibrillating heart (see the March 6 blog posting) while other beaders created new bracelets and necklaces. I should post a new painting, a watercolor capturing our beautiful sunshine along the Charles River, but it seems I am on spring break. I hate to move on from my lion journal quilt. He makes me smile so. But you can visit my new website to see First Burn, the movie. Turn up the sound. Also, I added an autobiography on the Welcome Page (a little leontine bravery).

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lionarted: a Journal quilt

Time for another journal quilt, a two hour sketch. At the same time, I have been busy coming up with thoughtful questions for our book group's discussion of Mary Karr's Lit: A Memoir tomorrow. A statement toward the end of the book struck me strongly. After Mary worked hard cleaning out the house of her mother, a painter, for a necessary move, the mother complained terribly. Mary, provoked, responded the mother never had the courage to paint all those canvases that she threw away.

That inspired me. I, also, have lots of canvases, unpainted. I must speak firmly to myself about gathering the courage to fill these. Here, the painter is depicted as an almost brave lion atop painterly book marbleizing to tie the the book club and painting together as the significant or provocative events of the week.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bloomin' Installation

Friday, twenty-five MFA volunteers met at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts for enrichment re installation art. The best way to learn about an art movement is to engage, to create, whether it is cubism, minimalism, watercolor, encaustic, printmaking or installation art.

Given the relationship of these volunteers to the MFA's annual Art in Bloom, materials were provided to make flowers and whatever that led to. David Kelley and his two able associates showed slides of installations, and then turned the women loose with colored papers, pipe cleaners, yarn, glue, pom poms and scissors. Fritz Buehner followed lunch with a talk and slide show of more installation art.

I think lovers of paintings and more traditional forms of art feel friendlier toward installation art now. To me, it is simply engaging all the space and senses, putting on a good show or full presentation for one's art, loosening the boundaries for more possibilities. All that was missing were paintings as inspiration and some performance! Just give us a little more time.
After I returned home, the grandchildren arrived to make their own tissue flowers. Wish I had a photo of that!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Beaders Branching Out

Every Thursday, six friends who like to work with our hands, meet to lunch, chat and bead. Each brings her own lunch and the hostess provides condiments, drinks and dessert. At Trader Joe's I picked up butter waffle cookies and mango tangerine sorbet to make "ice cream" sandwiches. The demo lady suggested keeping those sandwiches in the freezer all summer, ready for children who drop in.

Chrissy arrived first, and I started taking everyone's photo with Photo Booth for a Warhol effect. We ate and started beading. Easily distracted, I suggested a lesson on the 18" x 24" rotary cutting mat, with the 6" x 24" and 6" x 12" see-through quilter's rulers and 60 mm rotary cutter.
I had some fleece for Nancy to make her first grandson Liam a small no-sew fleece blanket. With the tools, she doubled the fabric (two pieces, wrong sides together), cut 4" out of each corner, and zippety cut 4" strips 1/2" wide all around the edges, knotting the front and back strips with square knots all around. Feeling good she returned to her spring necklace and beading.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Filling in Portrait Placemats: a journal quilt

You have seen the educational place mats: all the U.S. Presidents, orchestral instruments, famous artists, the human body, the alphabets in different languages, the world and the United States. I recently dropped some off for the grandchildren.

At my house, we are usually into playing or painting full time; and the walls are covered with my paintings. Beth told me that when she was going over the names and faces of the famous artists, Hannah wanted to know, "Where is LinLin's face!" So of course I made a quickie (2 hour) journal quilt of this heartwarming query, adding myself to the group.
I can't get over the surprises of art. I had just found this self-portrait button I painted years ago when I was intrigued by miniature portraits and how people wore an eye or a face of the beloved inside their coat. I walked by to find it on Joe's dressing table and retrieved it for my quilt when I didn't know how to represent myself. The silhouettes are white canvas ready for filling in (with our imaginations) our favorite artists .

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Lost Weekend: Perpetual Motion

Kathy, dear friend of 40 years, wrote to ask why she cannot find my recent blog postings. Only while madly sewing some blocks for Katie's Project Hope quilt did my brain catch up to this query to realize that a few days have elapsed since I have posted. Apologies. I don't want to lose my followers. :*)

Granted, there was the birthday party uno for Hannah at our house on Friday, the grandchildren sleepover, the Cambridge Art Association book group discussion on Francis Bacon at 10 the next morning, Hannah's class birthday party dos on Sunday at a gym with 25 lovely children, getting my new website loaded (not yet posted), locating a fast-to-make block pattern for the quilt, then real life. What is missing is a trip to RISD to see the Pat Steir show!

To post something quickly before I head to the wonderful Quilters' Connection tonight, I am uploading my five nautical blocks. Katie's Project Hope theme is the ocean this year. Several of us will contribute blocks made from fabrics provided and Katie will do the difficult work of turning it into a quilt. The fast and easy pattern is called Perpetual Motion. Like the ocean it is and fitting for me.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Hannah's 6th: a quilted birthday card

Each year I hope to make a birthday quilt card for the grandchildren. I love the softness that one can hold in hand, and the beads to say it is special.

Erika's 4th you can find in the March 3, 2010 archive and here. Today at beading, I finished Hannah's except for the binding, which may be a bit gaudy.

Hannah picked out the Alice in Wonderland fabric from my stash and the letters/numbers novelty fabric (thinking Kindergarten) that I used on the reverse side. I toned down the loud graphics with the gold see-through stripes. These huggable cards are about 9 inches, similar to my journal quilts.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Sun Also Rises: a journal quilt

After lots of snow, abundant rain and cold weather, a hot sun came out shockingly fast! Corduroys and sweaters were not the perfect outfit. Had to think and move quickly to find and organize for fit some cooler clothes. Not easy, even yet.

However, there were two other memorable events for the journal quilt not captured: earthquakes for friends in California and daughter-in-law Beth's special surprise of the grandchildren's first Easter items she had saved.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Scanning a face

This is so exciting. My new scanner is up and running. I phoned Epson to make sure I was doing everything correctly. I was told to put a document on the scanner and click. This funny face is the result. My first new scan.

Yupo paper and Hobein Duo Aqua water soluble oils are probably the media. I found Yupo paper at Blicks art store, and water soluble oil paint are obviously fun for not needing turpentine. Hope the face doesn't scare you.

Monday, April 5, 2010

2010 Easter Day

After the thrilling Easter service (a brass quintet and two choirs) the grandchildren arrived excited for the hunt. Joe cavorted with them in the sun like an intoxicated Easter Bunny, as dozens of eggs were hidden, over and over again, one more time! Bike and toddler car weather, chalk inviting, we could not have asked for a better day and three more excited children.

That was good, since because of the menu, cooking was miserable :*) fennel soup with ouzo, roast leg of lamb butterflied, rubbed and tied, baked tomatoes w Greek flavors, spanakopita, and braised potatoes and olives. The picture in the Boston Globe was enticing; the labor-intensive results, thankfully, worth the pain.

At the last minute, I baked a white cake in two round pans; and we put together a bunny: a) one pan for the head and b) carved out of the second, a bow-tie between two ears. I spread icing on the cake, while Erika and Hannah mixed drops of red and green food colors w shredded coconut in zipped baggies, squeezing the bags around to tint coconut for the grass and ears. The girls continued to color any cookie in sight w leftover icing (pigment by Hannah, flair by Erika).

Friday, April 2, 2010

PomPom sugarless eggs

Sometimes the first grandchild's protectors say, "No sugar," for the Easter baskets; and five years and three grandchildren later relax to, "The children are excited about the candy for Easter."

But to perform my duty and behave that first year, I came up with Elmo and his buddies for the eggs, using a white glue and four sizes of pom-poms. The faces fit perfectly inside the plastic eggs.

A thoughtful mother had saved these and showed them to me tonight over Matzo ball soup, after a hard day's raking on my part to get the grounds ready for the hunt.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Time Out

The sun is out and I want to play. Setting up the computer, with quilts and reading assignments hanging over my head, makes me want to escape:

Let me show you the first picture I took on my new machine using a surprise App I found in my toolbar, Photo Booth. You can Google instructions on-line as how to get this Warhol effect without Photo Booth.

The other photo with colors of the season is of nephew Alan’s car, wall-papered with Stickies, an aesthetic alternative to rolls of paper in the trees. Alan is the featured artist in my blog Double Drawings, now an older, handsome high school student.