Thursday, January 19, 2017

Memory like a Fading Photograph

Tonight while watching PBS news about a new movie called "Patterson", I had a great idea for a quilt.  It was inspired by a phrase used during this segment about a movie, poetry, and William Carlos Williams (a favorite poet of mine who wrote a famous poem called "Patterson").  I was so enthralled by the possibility beginning in my brain and also fascinated by the new movie that I didn't write anything down.  Not the phrase, not the image on the TV screen, not the glimmerings in my mind, not one single thing.

What am I left with?  Not what the TV was beginning to inspire but a new idea for a quilt based on the loss of the other.  The work may bear the title of this entry and may be another Improvisation in White.

I didn't write down what was going through my mind when watching that TV show so that idea is gone.  It was too new and too fragile to leave even an echo of itself so I have to accept it's gone for good.  

But something else has come in its place as I searched for the first idea, and I used this platform to write it down.  It's the writing things down that is important for me to do.  However, it is also important for me to realize that even though one "gem of an idea" has left the station, another one is coming in.  My memory, being easily distracted, doesn't hold onto things as well as it used to, but like an aging, dim photograph, it may leave an almost-there image from which a new interpretation of the picture can emerge.

Of course, I could learn the lesson and write immediately!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Quiet Day

A bit of this and a bit of that is what my day was made of, and I delighted in the modest accomplishments that I am able to mark off my list.

First for breakfast we had Gingerbread Pancakes.  I had seen the recipe in a December issue of the Times Union and thought it sounded possible.  Last night I mixed up the recipe and put the batter in the refrigerator overnight (something I've learned really helps make fluffy pancakes). Today the batter looked nice and bubbly, cooked up easily, and looked appealing.  Taste is of course the final and most important thing in evaluating any recipe.  I was on the fence about that - not because of the so-called gingerbread spices and ingredients (pumpkin pie spice, ginger, molasses are all favorites) but the whole wheat flour.  The recipe calls for white whole wheat flour but I couldn't find any in the one store I was in when preparing for these pancakes so I purchased the regular whole wheat.  I really thought it would produce a heavy, dense pancake.  WRoNG!  Breakfast consisted of healthy, tasty, light and fluffy pancakes which both of really liked and would have again.

Score one for today.

Next I decided to take care of some left-over laundry that I missed on Monday.  Not exciting, but it's done.

Wrote a "social" note that took a bit of time and a rough draft to make sure that what I wrote would convey our thoughts and feelings accurately.

The only disappointing thing was deciding that I had to start a new project in order to meet a deadline rather than work on a project started in class Sunday. 

An exciting time?  No, not at all.  But that was the point.  I had allowed my life to get too hectic, and I need to slow that down as I no longer deal well with frenzy (not sure I ever did).  Today was just what I needed.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

"Louring Sky"

Today the painting was finished!  I did need to tweak a few things - some of which I was aware and some at Sharon's suggestion (with which I agreed - she never pushes us to take her advice if we aren't in full agreement).  The final painting makes me happy even though it isn't perfect.

Before it was time to leave, I took out my pen and wrote the title, date, and signed my name.  Its called "Louring Sky" (lour is pronounced to rhyme with hour and means "threatening") because I felt the archaic/old-fashioned/rarely used word suited the entire subject best.  The building is from another era and not in tip top shape. The landscape (scruffy trees springing up willy-nilly and weedy, overgrown surroundings) hasn't had any attention in a long time.  The site is threatened by time, and now, in the moment of this painting, by weather.

But . . . oops . . . I forgot to take a photo of the final work.  Being excited that after so many failed studies, there was actually a completed painting, I went directly from class to the art store where I get things framed. It should be ready in two - three weeks at which time I will try to get a decent photo to show.

If not, when you come to visit, you'll be sure to see it in some room or other.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Back Again and Painting Progress

That was the longest vacation from my blog that I have taken yet!  Today I was musing about why I seemed to have lost interest in recording my artistic and/or daily doings.  The only reasons that appear to have some basis in fact and therefore are possibly valid are:

  1. Holidays - but we have them every year and they have until this year not blocked my writing
  2. Family members with critical or possibly critical medical issues - that was probably the most valid reason
  3. Over-extension (again!) - and that is also very real.  For the first time I was aware of bone-deep weariness and the sense of being over-whelmed.  Those symptoms I ascribe to a combination of all three which became a cycle.  
The good news is that the holidays are over and everything except the Santa wall hanging (has to remain until I figure out what I want in its place) and the holly (that will stay until its no longer attractive - it's a symbol of winter to me).  One family member is getting stronger and will be returning home, one turned out not to be critically ill or even ill at all, and while a third has fallen prey to critical illness, he is younger and I hope will weather his trials also.  The third how-many-times-have-I-mentioned-this? issue is still a matter yet to be resolved.  It is clearly something I do to myself, but at least for the next three weeks, I have severely limited my commitments.

Tomorrow I take the watercolor I have been working on since October (so many studies and too many days of not getting to the paints) is almost finished.  I say almost because I know Sharon will have suggestions to make it better that I hope I can complete during class.  But here is what I think I posted on December 13, 2016:

And here is the same painting after several weeks worth of work (much of it thinking):

I had to invent the first floor, right hand side of the building because I had chosen such a large sheet of paper and because I felt the actual continuation of the structure (a red, add on convenience store complete with gas station) had no redeeming quality for this subject (the ominous sky behind vs the brilliant light in the foreground).  

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Little Things with Great Meaning

When I was a little girl (less than 10 years old) we lived in a small town near Madison, New Jersey.  The "we" was my mother and father, the brother closest in age to me, and for a while, my middle brother. 

My mother had a friend up the street from us whom she visited from time to time.  I accompanied her on the visits occasionally, and since Mother's friend was childless, she was kind to me.  When she discovered I enjoyed polishing silver, she always asked me to polish some of hers and made me feel I was doing very well at something extremely special and important for her.  Once she showed me three little carved wooden figures from the Black Forest region of Germany.  Oh, did I adore those figures and my mother's friend.

When my father died and we moved away, Mother's friend gave me those little figures both as a way to remember her and to help me through a difficult time.  I still have them, and when I told D about them and explained what they meant to me, he started looking for more of these folk art carvings.  Now in our living room there is a display of those figures . . . 

With one some additions including another very special, very meaningful addition.  Last year, my sister-in-law E sent a Christmas card that featured a copy of her painting of her parents village in Germany.  It's full of her love for her family and pride in her background.  That makes it special to me.  And to have those memories visible at this time of year makes them - well, almost glow with their own light.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Holiday Doings

Another day given over to holiday business.  D and I wrapped presents to take for mailing tomorrow.  I finished laundry that had been delayed due to earlier interruptions in the usual schedule.  And then there was the making of Christmas cards which, once printed, had to be signed and envelopes addressed.  

But this was fun because most of it had to do with enjoying the sights, sounds, and smells of the holiday season.  One of the most enjoyable tasks was completed last night when D brought a very large box up from the basement which contained Christmas decorations.  We had gone through those decorations and passed on to our daughter or given away, but as you can imagine, there were still a lot left (more than I thought).  I found I had held on to decorations that I had purchased for use in school; they wound up either in the waste basket or in the box to go to charity.  After that we happily sorted and put up some of my Santa collection (some was relegated to charity for other families to enjoy).  Opening up a box that held D's collection of Christmas-themed Gurley candles, and here they are:

On the kitchen side of the pass through, there are five snowmen and one recent beeswax pine tree.  The winter lamps are new this year (couldn't resist something that could be used throughout the winter and was pretty!), and the holly which is lush this year is in two antique cruets and one Larkin Soap bottle (antique from Buffalo).

From the family room side, there are two Santas and two green pine trees and two glass white and gold trees.  You can also see that the Chinese warrior general is standing guard!

Some times sorting through "old stuff" can yield an hour or two of clearing out things that no longer make us happy and also give weeks of pleasure.

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Another Day of Painting

Painting only one day a week is definitely not the best way to get better at it, but lately that's all I can manage (as many others coping with seasonal expectations or any other highly charged situation).  At least I did take the time to think about what I needed to do today.

First, here is the painting as it looked last week:

Now here is the same painting after today:

It's obvious that I have begun adding more dark clouds to the sky, but some of the other changes are possibly less noticeable  The trees on the left are more detailed.  There are now the beginnings of trees on the right (not a truck, I didn't want to hint at even one person being around), the building (not a church - an empty house) is more detailed though it may be hard to see.  The tower has been worked on.  

Oh, well, I guess you had to be there.