Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And still more from Hambidge

I spent some of the day with another resident, taking her to the MARTA station in Doraville, near Atlanta, so she could ride into the airport for her flight back to CT... which was delayed because of Hurricane Irene. I was glad to help out. Before I left this morning about 9 I took a few minutes to add some darker green to the large dogwood leaves... I'm still not happy with them but just had to see them differently when I got back!

I also added a bit of the mixed dark green to this one:

I stopped by a Hobby Lobby (a big craft/art supply chain) on my way back to look for frames for the small four-selvedge pieces... didn't find any but did find a couple of brushes that I just had to have. My brush stock, as I've mentioned earlier, mostly consists of hardware store paint brushes, foam brushes, and a few that have been with me since undergraduate days... that are like sticks now. I've got several quite expensive and wonderful watercolor brushes that are a joy to use but I certainly don't want to subject them to what I'm doing with the acrylic paint! Anyway, a couple of brushes, a bottle of gesso, and a product that says it will take out hardened acrylic paint later (guess those old brushes are going to have a deep cleaning bath, huh?) I'm back here at Hambidge.

I spent the afternoon with revisions on submissions for the next version of the Stonepile Writers Anthology. I was fortunate to have a couple of poems published in the last one but this time around I'm submitting three short essays. I have my "technology table" here, can't get online until I take either my MacBook or my iPad to the Rock House--but here's the way it all looks. Just bought the printer at the local "it shall not be named store"... an HP that will work wirelessly with my iPad... how happy was I with the first thing it printed from its wireless small network between the iPad and the printer...?... pretty darn happy! Yes, the printer is too large to travel with easily but then I've got a way to get images and text from my iPad into hard copy. So there!

This afternoon after getting the submissions done, driving into town to the P.O. to mail something to my husband, I decided that I'd finally again weave a bit... so here's the continuing saga of the landscape tapestry on the frame loom:

I have no cartoon for it but am looking around at the several landscape paintings as the design basis. It's 8" wide at 10 epi; I'm using 5-fold of 20/2 wool (Fine Fiber Press ELF yarn). I'll probably weave at least 8" high and maybe more... have enough warp on the loom to do about 14"... so I'll see how tall the clouds and sky will want to be as I get to them!

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Monday, August 29, 2011

Today's progress at Hambidge

both in very much beginning stages...

and these two--also still have much more work to be done:

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Friday, August 26, 2011

Different direction today

Two of the sky/land roughs have changed quite a bit--Here's where I stopped on this one today:

Yesterday, it looked like this:

Early this morning I quickly laid in color on a new large canvas that I put up late yesterday. I don't have a photo of how it originally looked... but was mostly light blue sky area with a lower area of light green.

Now it's this:

The scale of the dogwood leaves is several times greater than life size... the canvas is 60" across x 50" high; I have a lot of work on both of these before I'll stop with them.

I'm finished with this one, though--at least that's what I think right now... tomorrow I may reconsider.

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Thursday, August 25, 2011

I painted my artist block today!

Yes, I think I did... quite inadvertently this image appeared in my work:

and it possibly represents what's stopping my work with trees, woods, the natural world. Don't you think there's a definite barring of the way into the woods here?? This tree stretches from top to bottom, side to side in a way that seems to say, "Don't go into the woods!"

Lately I've thought of several trite expressions, like "Can't see the forest for the trees..." that might be part of my creative angst that's been going on for over two years now.

I continue to weave and continue to work on images but just don't know if what I'm doing is what I should be doing. Do I think about this too much? Do I obsess over it? Well, yes!

But, this "do not pass" from somewhere in my hand and eye today really has caused me to think.

OK... even though I'm thinking, I'm still working on the paintings. Here's some of the progress:

Three of these are in first day or second day stages...

Still lots more work on the one above, but I'm almost ready to take down the one below:

I've filled just about everywhere I can reach with what I've done over the past week... like I said before, I guess I'll just have to start pinning them on top of the others!

We've got a studio tour tomorrow night to the visual artists' studios (2 of us and a film maker). We had readings from two writers last night and will have two from the poets tonight.

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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

And yet more from Hambidge

I had to go to Asheville, NC for a couple of meetings with committees of Southern Highland Craft Guild on Monday and stayed overnight to be at another meeting on Tuesday.  So I missed a couple of days work at Hambidge... but jumped back into it today.

I called three more pieces "done" and began work on three new smaller ones.  I also continued process on five more that have been underway. Here are photos of what's happening:

As I stop working on pieces I move them to another part of the room... pinning or nailing them up whereever I can. I've had to start coming down the stairs on the railing... and I've only been here a week!  I guess I'll have to put them up on top of one another if I keep up at this pace... 16 pieces are either done or underway now and so far 24" x 36" is the smallest dimension.

These are in beginning stages or almost to the point of being taken down:

I did a couple of underpaintings on two of the 18" x 24" canvases today:

I'm really struggling with this one:

This one, too:

And, believe it or not... am pretty happy with this one.

This is a 36" wide x 60+" long one that's had the beginning steps... more work on this one tomorrow.

I also sat outside with watercolors and a clay board I got at True Blue Art Supply in Asheville yesterday... It's the only piece I've done so far that was from observation.

Tomorrow I'm going to do some things that will involve my drawing from observation... at least that's what I'm thinking right now!  That should slow me down since it takes so much concentration to see what I'm seeing--and then to find a way to represent it.  But whatever tomorrow holds will be with tomorrow.

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Sunday, August 21, 2011

More from Hambidge

I've now gotten thirteen things underway in paint--six of those I'm calling done. I have quite a bit more work to do on the other seven, though. When I woke up this morning two of them were absolutely awful--in the bad way of thinking of awe, not as in awesome. But as I've worked on them more throughout the day they're not offending me quite as much as this morning.

I'm not going to show them yet... let them go through several more stages before posting.

But... a few photos of other things. Here are my painting tools that I described earlier:

Some "heavenly light" as my friend Diane calls this effect:

A bit of the tapestry that's underway is at the left side, foreground of this photo. I used the timer to do the photo--10 seconds is just enough time to turn it on and run to the other side of the room to stage a photo of working on one of the big pieces. It's really how I do this initial roughly painted layer, though. I mix up a large amount of paint and then use either the 2" house paint brush or the paint roller or both to quickly fill the white space.

I have drawing tools with me, also. But I haven't begun drawing yet.

And here's Fisher Studio where my residency is taking place:

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Saturday, August 20, 2011

A new day at Hambidge

Sorry -- images can't load!!!--Ok, so now they seem to have loaded and both posts are in one... Still some quirks to BlogPress that I need to work out, it seems!

Work went fine today here at Fisher Studio... the porch is where I'm writing from right now, listening to rain on the tin roof. Dinner is shortly so I guess I'll pull out the umbrella to walk down to the Rock House. I certainly don't begrudge the rain, though... this part of north Georgia, like so many other areas of the country, needs the rain badly.

Pets aren't allowed here but one can get one's pet fix in with the resident cats... here's Mr. Big:

So... today I worked more on the paintings I'd started yesterday... here's some of the progress:

And then I thought I'd go into Clayton to Reeves Hardware where there are art supplies... and found stretched canvasses at 1/2 price! I bought six 24" x 36" ones and four 18" x 24". So... in addition to the unstretched pieces that I'll be putting up on the wall with staples I'll also have several stretched canvasses, as well.

This is the beginning of the next two... these on stretched canvas. I like to roughtly paint color and then begin to build upon it.

Third day here

I've worked on all of the paintings I'd begun on Wednesday and took several down to be replaced with fresh, blank canvas. I've also worked on three of the stretched canvasses, as well. All of these are landscape but all are imagined, not observed.

I begin by making big paint marks on the canvas and then move on to develop whatever seems to be suggested by the marks. Horizon, clouds, land forms, masses of vegetation... all of those things are suggested in these paintings.

My tools are simple... I've got a few 2" paint brushes from the hardware, and also three brushes I've had for many years. They're pretty hard and crusty by now so using them is sort of like painting with wide sticks. I also use a cheap paint roller sometimes to quickly lay down color. I don't like to have white staring at me so I almost always put down an undercoat of something over the whole canvas. Sometimes almost none of that original color remains after I stop working on the piece. And I have to say "stop working" rather than finish because I keep seeing more that could be done. And after all I'm not painting for the sake of painting but to find potential tapestry ideas. When I get home these paintings will be rolled up and put on the shelf along with the others I've done in this way. The stretched canvasses will be reused over and over again, probably... painting out what's there now with whatever will happen later. I guess I could just use the same roll canvas, as well... and have done that a few times in the past. The ultimate recycling--just paint over and over and over on the same canvas!

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Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Hambidge Center residency--August through early September

I'm once more back at the Hambidge Center for a residency. My last time here was in 2009. This is an amazing place for many reasons but I won't try to describe most of those now. But I will talk a bit about my desire to be here.

First, there's space to work. I have a wonderful studio in Dahlonega and I go there every day. Yet sometimes there are things I'd like to do that I just don't have the place for--like make BIG paintings (big is a relative condition, I know... but big for me). So Hambidge can accommodate that desire.

Secondly, there's time to work. Yes, I have time at home but I often find tasks to do that keep me from focusing on the matters at hand--the "creative" matters, that is. The only obligation of one at Hambidge is to show up to have dinner with the other residents. That begins with appetizers at 6 and usually lasts until 8ish. Then the rest of the evening is at one's studio. Socializing is discouraged--unless mutually agreed upon. However, there's usually a "studio crawl" during a residency where everyone visits everyone else's studio to see what's up, or to hear a reading or see a brief performance. There's also limited internet access--wifi is available at the Rock House where we have meals but not in our studios. Cell phone service is non-existent. Phones in the studios are only for local calls for emergency purposes.

And, finally... the interaction with other artists is stimulating. For instance, during this residency there are four writers, one sculptor/installation artist, a videographer, and me... who's here to paint but who weaves tapestry as her primary medium. We're from Dahlonega, GA (me); Atlanta (two people); Bloomington, ID; Middletown, CT; and Lexington, KY. We interact at dinner with discussions that range from what one's reading to what one saw on the morning walk.

So... almost dinner time and time for the interaction and a chance to connect to the wifi to post this blog entry! Today I wove my day's bit on the tapestry calendar, warped a small frame loom and began weaving, got videotaped at one point doing the weaving, put up three canvas pieces and also three 24" x 36" paper sheets, drove to the hardware in Dillard for a few supplies, had a 30 minute walk, had lunch, read and wrote in my journal... and here's what I painted today:

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Quilt tapestry came off the loom today--about two months in process

I was down to the last few inches of one of the wefts being used in the upper background area as I completed the last few passes today!  Two empty cones that once held the natural color I was using, blended with a tan and bright white,  sit on my weaving bench along with some of the remaining weft on a bobbin:

Cutting off was done this afternoon with a little help from a friend who happened by:

I offered Alice the scissors and she made the first cuts.  Then I took over, snipped while Alice snapped away!

There's lots to still be done, of course... weft ends to trim, ends to finish (I'll be using half-Damascus edge at both top and bottom), washing and/or pressing, soft side of velcro to be stitched to the back and hook side attached to a  wooden bar... days more of work before the piece is ready to show.  This will be one of the tapestries for an upcoming exhibit in the fall; I still hope to complete another new piece before the due date for hanging the exhibit.  

Here's the piece laid out on a sheet on the floor of the studio:  

I kind of like it so far--but will have to wait until all the finishing process is completed before I can begin to really decide about it.  At least it accomplishes something I've wanted to do for a long time, to use the earlier batik design as basis for a tapestry.   While I've been weaving on the piece and having the quilt hanging nearby for color inspiration I've begun to think more about using the quilt as a source for other tapestry designs.  Some of what I was thinking about as I began this piece (and wrote about in the blog then) has begun to happen, as well.  Maybe much more will come from this.

Friday, August 5, 2011

I said I would...and I did!

In my last post I mentioned that I thought I could get to the last of the quilt by the end of the day on Friday. I have done that!  Now... lots more weaving to go but it will be all one color although broken into lazy line areas.  I'm still deciding on the height of the upper area; could be that I'll make it a bit longer than originally designed--have enough warp on the loom to do that.  I'll look at the cartoon tomorrow to make that decision.  I took the cartoon off the loom since I don't need it any longer as reference for weaving.  So I'll be able to hang it up, look at it awhile and see how to proceed.

Can't see too much because of the tool shelf across the width of the loom but here's where I am at the end of today:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Weaving, weaving, weaving!

Between 6 and 14 inches to the top of this piece!  Will I finish by the end of the week??  Hmmm... it's Wednesday afternoon now and I'm pooped for the day so won't weave too much more before going home.  I should be able to complete the quilt area of the piece by the end of the day on Friday, then spend the weekend with the upper area background.  Maybe cut off on Sunday?