Friday, March 28, 2008

The Jitters.

I'VE GOT the jitters about going on vacation. I must be truthful. I don't know what is going on. This was my idea and now I feel this monstrous anxiety inside about leaving home.
Fear of the unknown? Dread of the unfamiliar? What happened to the pull of warm breezes and the push of sand between my toes?
I know everything will be all right, but I've still got the jitters. I have gone over my packing list two or three times, and don't feel there's anything urgent missing. Still ... the jitters.
So I went to Scribbler and drew my picture - a self portrait - in a jerky, scribbling way. Then I let Scribbler fill in all the lines to try and bring me together.
If you have time, try typing Scribbler into Google. It will take you to ZEFrank's place where you, too, can draw a picture and then watch the lines fill in.
Maybe you think my picture looks more "serene" than "jittery." I'll calm down. I'll take deep breaths and think of palm trees and golden sand and sunshine. Cheers - femminismo

From Hail To Sand.

YESTERDAY I took this photo of my booted foot sunk into the hail that fell in our part of Oregon. Today it is snowing in the hills, but not where we are.
Tomorrow I am leaving for Cabo San Lucas and then Todos Santos. The next photo I show may have my foot sunk in nice warm sand - barefoot!
It will be a fun adventure. There are definitely things I would change about our travel plans, but I guess you first have to take a run at something to learn how to do it better next time. Sort of like parenthood or relationships - or art.
I am taking the book I made to fill with memories of our trip.
Next time I log into this blog I hope to have many, many photos of colorful houses, flowers and vistas to share. adios - femminismo

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Unknown Prize in the Basket.

WELL, perhaps the last time you were here you noticed my "alert" that I am offering a prize - a piece of artwork - to my 2,000th visitor.
Perhaps some of you were interested in being the 2,000th person.
Perhaps you wondered how close you were to being No. 2,000 or, indeed, if it had already happened.
Let me give you more information: So far there have been over 1,200 people stopping by, either by accident or on purpose. There are an average of 10 visitors a day. Some people stop by twice a day! (You are special people.) Anyway, you can do the math. Depending on the traffic, you have as good a chance as anyone at being No. 2,000.
My Sitemeter "counter" tells me how many people have stumbled upon my blog and visited its pages. It also tells me your Internet provider (usually, but not always) and what town and country you are in. It does not tell me your e-mail address, your name or your mother's maiden name.
So you can see why I will have to post your information and then you'll have to check back to claim your prize. Leave a comment for me and you'll be signed in more than once.
There is only tonight, and tomorrow ... and then the next day, Saturday, the Mister and I leave for our Mexican adventure in Todos Santos. We are destined to find warmer 83-degree weather - it snowed here this evening!!! - and we have whale watching to do and margaritas to drink.
I have decided not to pack around my computer on vacation so I'll be totally away for a while, wondering what people used to do without electronics. (I may succumb to an Internet Cafe, however. Quien sabe?) Adios for tonight. - femminismo

Monday, March 24, 2008

LOTS TO CATCH UP ON.

LOTS is right! My large, extended family got together on Saturday, March 22, at my brother and (wonderful) sister-in-law's house for the yearly Easter egg hunt. They have a gigantic open back yard and it was roped off into an "easy" section for the very young and the more difficult section for the older kids. Our mom would have been so glad to see us all together celebrating family.
It is hard sometimes - not seeing her (physically) in her little white sweater watching over all of her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It's been nearly two years since her death, but time still hasn't taken away all of the sting and sorrow. I'm sure, however, that she would be proud of us for making the effort to get together so we might stay close. All of the brothers and sisters get along very well, and so do the grandchildren. Here is Hailey, above, one of the youngest, advancing toward the camera - going nose-to-nose. She enjoyed the egg hunt, but was interested in everything - not just the eggs.
MY SON, Peter, had a surprise for me that I want to show you. (He is the one with the green shoelaces holding the present in his hand.)
And, voila! Here it is ... open. A dragonfly necklace from Canada - a trip his family took - that he forgot to give me earlier.
LATER that evening my sister, Judy, and I went to an art gathering, Creative Circle, at Bodacious Beads. We used purple Sculpey to make amphoras, small "containers" to hang on a cord around your neck. You could make them larger, too, and hang them on a wall. We had fun! Here are the two sister's concoctions. Judy's has the heart-shaped stopper. She is very artistic!
One of the other women attending, Denise, made this very, very pretty white amphora. It is magnificent, I think! Someone - I don't know who - made an amphora with a stopper that had a face imprint on both sides. Clever, clever, clever! I am eager, now, of course, to try a lot more baking Sculpey - avoiding the toxic build-up in the oven, of course. Time to search Goodwill for an old toaster oven.
It's been a busy Monday, but it's good to touch base with my blog.
ALERT: I will be offering a piece of artwork - don't know what yet - to my 2,000th visitor. I will try and make it something special though. I can only track you through your "signature" on my Sitemeter, so I will post who was the 2,000th person to check in. You'll have to check back from time to time and find out if it was YOU! - femminismo

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Not Quite What I'd Planned ... but OK.

WELL, I WANTED to do some carving and I did. Started it before "Lost" and finished it after. (Who is shooting at - or around - Ben's daughter?! Questions, questions! And did she ever think she'd seek protection by using her father's name?)
As usual I jumped right into the project. I did a few trial sketches and didn't come up with much that pleased me. I did decide to do leaves, so I drew a few on the "Mastercarve" medium. It cuts like butter. I was a little frustrated at the beginning and just made cuts along the top and sides randomly.
I had forgotten how to achieve the effect I wanted (so much for taking such long breaks from making art), so I went from a negative image to a positive one as my stamp carving went along. But somehow it always seems to look fairly pleasing. Above is the block and the first impression. It helps me to ink it up as I go along so I can see what I'm doing wrong. (It's also encouraging to see something actually happening too.)
The second photo down shows the block further along. You can see my sketch of the vines coming down from the leaves. Now I change over to just going around the leaves and taking a little carve for the vein. The carving tool (skinniest blade) does the best job. Just barely put the blade in the block. You can always make it deeper, but you can't put it back.
Well, I'm done with this and now that I remember how much fun it is, I want to turn this one over and do the other side.
I can also do the edges ... something the Mister suggested.
Nine more days and we are on our way to Cabo San Lucas and then to Todos Santos. The mangoes will not be ripe until June, but I hope the gray whales are still off the coast. Adios until manana. - femminismo (no tildes on these fonts)

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Something for Myself.

TODAY I DID something for myself. It involved stripping from the waist up and applying pressure to a couple of "friends" I've had for quite a few years. I do this to my friends yearly so we can have a long, happy life together.
Judy Wise mentioned she had gotten her mammogram, and it reminded me that I'd gotten a letter in the mail from the local hospital that it was time for my yearly exam. I had put the letter aside, waiting just a little bit to call and make an appointment. But I told myself to stop being foolish and pick up the phone. Today the very efficient technician did a fast and painless job. So I found a ribbon online to post as a reward to myself for doing the right thing for my health. Good for me!
Now for some art: I have been carving in a soft block of "Mastercarve" material. I'm working on leaves and vines, something I enjoy. I'm not sure how it's going to look when it's done. Usually, I've found that even though it looks messy while you're carving, and it's nothing like you planned when you started, it turns out to look OK once you ink it and stamp it.
I'll show it to you tomorrow because it's somehow grown late in the evening. Another big day tomorrow. I hope you've gotten some art done today. - femminismo

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Learning, learning all the time.

YES, THAT'S ME. Learning all the time. Saturday night the Mister and I went to a Craig Carothers concert. Just him and two guitars - more than enough. What a great voice he has and his songwriting talents are tremendous. Very humorous fellow, too. If you ever have the chance, be sure to see him and give him a listen. In fact, you can - here on my very own forbidden (probably) video. When I shot this (gee, sound like Bernardo Bertolucci, don't I? Or maybe Gus Van Sant?) I was ecstatic. It's just a short digital camera in movie mode, but still it gives you a taste of Mr. Carothers' style. Then I got home and looked at it. Sideways! It was sideways!
There aren't a whole lot of options for fixing this problem (well, you could hold the camera horizontally in the first place), but between Google and Microsoft help I found a sort of cure and rotated the video in Movie Maker. It disturbs the pixels (stretches it out) and I don't know how to fix that, but help may yet arrive.
In the meantime, enjoy the song about Craig's love getting on her horse and riding off. Tragic ending to this song, but you won't hear it here. Check out his Web site, where I'm sure he has much more professional videos and you'll be suitably impressed.
video
Here is another photo of a page in my journal I did today just to say I'm doing an art journal. I want to make art suitable to someone who's been working continually at it for years and years, but I'm only a weekend, once in a while, artist. I know I should be more patient, but it's so hard. Anyway, it's my attempt to imitate Modigliani. See what you think. I used only the colored pencils I had at hand, since I was really supposed to be cleaning my room.
By the way, Craig Carothers said not to wait until you got the perfect, just right desk before you started writing, or your writing would never happen. So I didn't wait for the just right art materials either.
I guess this means no excuses about not doing art, even if you have worked an 8-hour day.
Will try harder. - femminismo
p.s. Sorry the photo's so darn big.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Can't leave the paint alone.

THIS MONTH I am doing a much smaller book - one of the books I made during the February book binding classes I took each Friday. Since the pages don't allow much room to do more than a small sketch or journaling, I've been missing pushing paint around.
Then I remembered I had never finished the cover on my August book, which is huge. I had visited Dawn Sellers' blog (that was on Monday) and she was doing cool things with glazing and layering matte gel and paint - and I have to admit I didn't read through all her instructions. I was just so excited I jumped up and went to my art table, took the large book, inserted newspaper to protect the pages and started dumping on thick matte gel and wiping it all over the paper with an old debit card. Then I added a little yellow paint, since August suggests yellow to me. (In Oregon, that's the month when summer really begins.)
I embedded a large tag, with a string hanging from it, and painted over it. Then I laid down a leaf skeleton from the tulip tree and painted over that (carefully) and ended up adding a piece of crumpled tin foil, too.



I stamped the cover with a star-shaped rubber stamp, did some writing ... just about everything but the kitchen sink.
The front cover took overnight to dry and last night, Tuesday, I painted the back cover. It was fun to get the gel and paint on thick and then drag a tool through it to make a pattern. I figure I can always put more goop on the outside over it if I don't like it. Perhaps I'll even check out Dawn's instructions and see if there's something even more interesting I can do.
I'm a slight bit concerned about reinforcing the spine of my "book" also, after the things I learned in the book binding class.
This August journal/art book is so large (12" x 15 1/2") because it's made from folded watercolor paper. Looking back a few months, it's amazing to see what I did and wonder if that was really me! I remember the enthusiasm I had experimenting with all sorts of new paints and techniques - cutting up fashion magazines and putting men's heads on women's bodies, and painting with melted wax. I really made some big messes.
Well, I'd better leave those excuses behind and try to get a little more radical with what I attempt inside the house, too.
It's getting late. Better be toddling off to bed soon. Cheers! - femminismo

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Hallelujah! Violets are here.

I WANT YOU TO KNOW that violets are absolutely my favorite flower.
My mother isn't here to remember this and save a handful of the delightful purple flowers for me, and sometimes the Mister doesn't always remember, so I'm telling all my friends out there: Violets are my favorite. And this year they are blooming in abundance in my very own yard
There are many ways we feel "real" - it's different for everyone - and sometimes, as life goes by, we lose those people who remember us the best. When I lost my mother, I lost someone who remembered far more about me than even I could know.
WARNING: The following contains a crazy dream sequence - Last night I had one of those times when I awoke and couldn't get back to sleep. I felt my brain gear up to race through one crazy thought after another. I woke up because of a dream. I was sitting in a theater with the Mister on my left and two talkative women on his left. It was a Swedish play - Ibsen or Inge - and the women next to us kept talking almost as loud as the actors.
I turned to my left and said, "Shut up, and I'm not kidding!" I said it loudly. They were quite perturbed I was so rude. Can you believe it?
Then, to my right, farther in the back of the audience, a man started explaining to everyone around him that something one of the characters just said was a great example of the Swedish attempt to explore the ... what? I don't know; the existential predicament of humor in Swedish culture. I don't know what he was talking about. I just muttered, "For crying out loud!"
There was an intermission then and the two women adjusted their seating to get farther away from me. The Mister and I went on stage to explore the setting and found a door outside and then ... well, you know how dreams go. We were on to some other setting. (End of Dream Sequence)
Well, I don't believe I came online just to post my weird dreams and interrupted sleeping patterns. No. I guess I just want you to thank someone for remembering your favorite flower, or food or song. Thank them for taking time to remember the special person you are.
And I have good news about my friend Mike. I posted a "prayer page" in my journal for him not so long ago. I talked to him today and, after three weeks in the hospital, he is almost good enough to get set free. This is very good news today! Hope you are all healthy out there. I've had over 1,000 visitors now on this blog. Leave a comment. Thanks, femminismo

One Day At A Time



Friday, March 7, 2008

Tip Top! Oh, so relaxing!

Tonight I met two friends - both with birthdays in the same month, March, and the same year. Roylene's present from Mona was a facial and pedicure. When I got to the Tip Top spa they were both seated like queens with their feet soaking in basins filled with perfumed blue "magic" liquid. Their cheeks were glowing from their facials and ... could it be ... from some of the sparkling wine they were imbibing.
Mona brought forth containers from a bag she had handy - large green olives, brie, crackers, aged cheddar, dates and dark, dark chocolate - and it all went down lovely followed by the sparkling wine. I, meanwhile, reclined in the massage chair and sipped wine while they finished their pedicures. Roylene's toenails were painted coral and Mona went for bright blue.
The massage chair was the real deal. It felt like there very strong hands reaching from inside the chair, finding tension-filled places in my back. I got the full tour of the Tip Top! salon and noticed the dual massage tables in the candle lit "treatment room." The scent of warm olive oil and lavender was wonderful. It seemed like an ideal place for me and the Mister to have a rendezvous.
Well, I didn't get much art done today but I did reconnect with a couple of friends. Mona is talking about having her own art salon/studio in Idaho some day not too far off. Now Roylene and I have to come up with our own "next life-stage plan." Hmm. Guess I'll dream on that for a while ... sweet dreams to everyone - femminismo

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Another Art Reception Down ... another to go?

WELL, I and my "reception twin," Catherine, have helped put on the last two artist receptions at Valley Art. We have a good way of working together: We take it as it comes and don't sweat the small stuff. (Is there any other way?)
Catherine opened a high cupboard looking for plastic forks and found them all right. They rained all over her and onto the floor. I was walking away from the scene of the accident but I didn't hear her say naughty word one. She just picked them up and kept on going.
With the help of a couple of other volunteers we managed to put on a modest feast for our featured artist, Terry Peasley, and opened the gallery to a lot of First Wednesday visitors. Check out Terry's watercolors. They are very good.
I wanted to take a picture of the green Mountain Dew/limeade punch I made since it fit the evening's theme of "Going Green" and would have looked so good here. However, I didn't have my camera handy just then. Then I found this interesting screwdriver in the back of the gallery with this anonymous note: "Modern Art."
I hope you enjoy the photos. That's my buddy Catherine and me in the very, very upper left hand corner. Sleep tight, don't let the bugs bite. - femminismo
p.s. I say that because we've been having an invasion of small black "springtime" ants. They are driving me completely nutts-ola!! Did you ever notice the odd smell crushed ants produce? Not pleasant. -: ( grrrrrrr!

Monday, March 3, 2008

Beautiful Old Friends .... and beautiful new kitchens.

TODAY Eydie brought something special to work to share. It is this beautiful bride doll she has had for a long while. We won't say how long, but the little bride must have had a little "work" done to be so wrinkle-free.
No, seriously, she is beautiful. I love her bangs. They remind me of the hairstyles in the old photos of my mother and her sisters - rolled and turned under with such care.
The gown is so wonderfully detailed. I had a bride doll, too. She was taller - maybe 20 inches - with stiff, blond hair. My grandmother gave my sister and me each the same kind of doll with wedding gowns she had sewn. I don't know what ever happened to them. The beginning of subtle hints about the woman I should become - "with this bride doll I thee wed."

ALSO I must report that I finished my final book in the series of handmade book during February. This is a long stitch book with beads on the cords outside the back of the book. Take a look-see:
And then another photo of the inside of the book. There are pockets for slipping in all sorts of things, which will come in handy, because ...
this book is going with me to sunny Mexico toward the end of March. The Mister and I are going to Todos Santos! I am so excited because it is quite beautiful there and relaxing as all get out. It is definitely time for some relaxation and I can't wait. I only wish at the end of a vacation you could be magically transported home so you don't have the stress of traveling back. The journey there is all right, but returning is another story.
Well, as I told another friend, you must return from one adventure for another to begin. And I hear Judy Wise may be teaching in Italy in 2009. Now that would be a fantastic trip! - Ciao, femminismo
p.s. Two tiny photos of my new kitchen. One with old floor and refinished cabinets (right) and one with new cabinets and new Pergo floor (below). The Mister can do anything!!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

FINISHING UP.

I KNOW all too well that February is over and done with - all one extra day of it. However, I made a new foam blue block stamp today for my "crow page" and the I Ching inspired me to see what today holds for me.
I couldn't have turned to a better page in the book!
I hope you'll agree with me that the I Ching inspired this creative person (and who isn't, deep inside, creative?), and the blue block, which is impressed with various keys I found, made an extraordinary stamp for this page.
Keys are a good metaphor because we're always looking for ways to unlock the creative juices. I love Alan Cober's crow illustration, and as you see I couldn't paint over it entirely. I hope I didn't ruin his wonderful book too much; just altered it enough to inspire my imagination and other's, too.
See you on the flip side. - femminismo
p.s. Please comment. It will encourage me more than you know.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

First Day of March.

SURE and begorra it's another month - this one chock full of 31 whole days of fun things to do.
I have been having one of my periodic body slumps, where sleep is fitful and energy lapses are, unfortunately, the order of the day.
They come and go, and just when I think it will never end it suddenly does.
I'm sorry I haven't been so very faithful to my blogging. I know if anyone checks in regularly it's been pretty boring lately.
I did have my last book making class and have pictures to post of the finished four-needle book we all did. It was a fun book that Patricia Grass has taught fourth-graders to make, so you can imagine the strain on us more mature book makers. We were all able to accomplish it somehow without ever mixing the four needles up.
The first picture, above, is of the signatures sewn together - two strands of waxed thread with two needles on each - one at either end. They are pulled even and then go in and out of the top two and bottom two punched holes.
The paper the book is laying on is its cover, which will be folded, with the top five sheets and bottom five sheets of the sewn signatures tucked into this folded cover. All bound up without the aid of any glue whatsoever. (It's a striped gold, silver and mauve. The paper is "forgiving," in that you can refold it if you miscalculate.)
The back side is black.





Here is the book standing up, the back five pages inserted into the folded back cover.
Below is the finished book closed, with a die-punched piece glued to a black square.
I think the whole book is very pretty. Now ... what should be written in the book? That's for another day, or for retirement.
Lazy femminismo signs off now.