Sunday, October 31, 2010

Good-bye October!

TIME to say adieu to October. On Saturday we visited the Farmers Market, the last one this year. We'll now have to wait until spring for plant starts and sizzling sausage treats and homemade cinnamon bread.
Somehow it makes the wait through winter seem even longer, but it does eventually come.
I loved the colors of these cauliflower heads and after taking a bunch of photos I felt guilty enough to buy some. I did not take the purple one with the small green worm in the foreground.
The chard was even prettier and will make a delicious, nutritious meal tomorrow night.
We had family over Saturday because my niece from West Yellowstone was visiting with her daughter, Brayden, and everyone wanted to see them both.
My son, Peter, and his wife, Jenny, and their daughters Cassie and Zoe, came too. Peter made borscht, roasting beets in the oven and then adding them to tons of other yummy vegetables. We couldn't have asked for a better lunchtime meal..
There were two babies in the house at one time and there were many hugs and kisses exchanged. Happy times.
The soup is bubbling, and after the meal and our main visitors had left, Jenny and I sat down and compared our button collections. The Mister had to laugh, since he felt as though he was watching two young kids trade baseball cards. "I'll trade you these six red buttons for the one white one you have with the rhinestone in the middle."
"OK, and you can have these blue buttons because they match the others you have."
"Well, only if you take these black and white ones!" (I actually made a button bracelet today, but I didn't plan ahead on how I was going to make the closure. However, it's the first one I've done in a long time and I'm allowed a learning curve.)
We had pumpkin pie, too, with vanilla bean ice cream. Yum! Can't wait for Thanksgiving now, and more pie.
Lots of leaves fell last night and this morning there was a covering of them on the sunroom roof. I love this time of the year, with the golds, reds and browns - and the sound of the small frog in the front yard with the giant deep voice.
Tomorrow is November 1 and NaNoWriMo begins in earnest. I'll let you know where to check in to keep up with my progress - femminismo

Thursday, October 28, 2010

A Day of Darkness, A Day of Rain

TODAY, when I awoke, there was no moonlight pouring through the skylight onto the bathroom floor. Ditto for the kitchen floor. So I knew it must be cloudy outside. And raining.
When I left the house at 7:45 a.m. it was still quite dark. The flaming trees dimly shone through the gloom and I thought the political supporters twirling signs at intersections at that time in the morning were the most devoted I'd ever seen.
Did I vote for the wrong person, I wondered. Did these people get paid to do this, or are they just ardent? Do they know something I don't? Oh, well. Too late now. The envelope is sealed.
The last two mornings on the way to work it's been difficult; I pay more attention to the trees and flocks of birds than my driving. Yesterday there was fog high off the ground, above the trees. The air was clear, the streets were dry, the leaves were gold and red, and there was a waning moon in the west to set it all off. Beautiful!
There were not many sun breaks today. Yesterday was really pretty nice and I should have gone for a walk ... but didn't. The birds I have been seeing in the sky, swooping through the mists, made me think of a great verb to use for birds in flight: The little birds' wings wiped across gray skies. You've seen this happen, I'm sure.
I love the flocks of smaller birds. Yesterday there was a small string of birds leading a large clump of birds. And the clump slowly started stringing out too, side by side, so it looked as if they were making a giant upside down "T" in the sky. Then, magically, they gather together again forming another clump.
Well, you can see why you don't want to be out at 7:45 a.m. driving on the same road as me!
It was dark on the way home tonight too. Never did get too cheery out. Time to go to Hawaii ... or Brazil ... or New Zealand!
The picture of the red leaves is from last fall. The "Art-Craft" picture on the right is just one I found in a blog file. I don't know if I've used it before, but I'm too lazy to go get something off my camera. I want to go read my book, "The Bad Girl," before it gets too late. Adios - femminismo
p.s. In just a few days NaNoWriMo begins and I once again question my sanity as I endeavor to write 50,000 words before the end of November! Arrgh! Why am I so foolish?

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tina Modotti ... brilliant!

"Tina" Modotti.

What a story her life would make for a film. In fact she was in some early films.

This is a photograph (left) she took. She was with Edward Weston - his mistress and model.

She was with Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

She was in Barcelona, California, New Mexico, Russia.

Perhaps her life would make a good subject for Nanowrimo next month. I've never tried non-fiction. Perhaps "creative" non-fiction?

She took the photograph of the lady on the balcony in Barcelona, I think. And this is a photograph of her and her "husband," Roby (at left). They tie-dyed fabric in California and talked a lot about what else they would accomplish - but didn't.
(She and Roby were never married, although she denied that until the day she died, I guess, according to various blogs and Wikipedia entries.)
I don't know who the lovely dark-haired woman is, but it's supposed to be another Modotti photo.
Ahh! A week of female artists - femminismo

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Another Female Artist

SERAFINE de Senlis!! I watched the movie "Seraphine" last night, about this woman of the '20s and '30s who performed menial jobs in order to buy wood panels to paint on. She scavenged the countryside searching for the materials to make her own paints.

She was a "visionary" painter, a "primitiv," or "naif," following the instructions from the angels with whom she communicated.

She was discovered in France, just before World War I, by a German art critic who was one of the first to collect Braque and Picasso.
Yolande Moreau does an exquisite job in this film, following her angels and leading a life close to nature, trodding with her bare feet through the grass, sitting under trees or (literally) hugging them.

I would love to have prints of her work. I watched to see who reproduced them for the film, but did not see this - or recognize it, since the titles were all in French. I found lots of interesting blogs with mention of her work. They are probably mostly people like me, who having seen the movie will never look at leaves and flowers and see them in the same way - femminismo

Monday, October 18, 2010

Have you heard of Paula Rego?

I HAD NOT. And am sorry I didn't "meet" her sooner. Perhaps now is the perfect time, however. Portuguese, she started painting when she was 4 years old. Here is the artist at the right.

The painting of the girl by the window, polishing her boots, was featured in a magazine (maybe The New Yorker?) not that long ago. It fascinated me. Little did I know a couple of years would go by before I found out more about the woman who painted it.

And her "dog women" paintings are not denigrating to women in any way. The animalistic, primal, in charge, natural, unaffected, superior animal is viewed by Rego (we are told by her biographers and critics) as a grand stand-in for a woman's place in the world.

I especially love this picture of people dancing - in couples, young with old, alone - on what looks to be near a seashore.

Great dynamics of form, foreshortening is exquisite and the primal feelings are tangible. Oh to be this good! But of course, if you begin at 4!! - femminismo

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Meeting and Swapping ... and Dithering

GOSH! Think the title of this blog post will bring in the curious? I Googled "meeting and swapping" myself and came up with a fascinating post on Aleksandreia about Quakers and mate swapping. It's an interesting site and the Taberna, one section, looks to be quite the gathering place.
I found myself visiting this website when I should have been finishing this post - and right after reading a New Yorker article on procrastination! Follow this link *only* if you should be doing something more important. (great article, however)
Actually, this whole post (originally) involves three things I've accomplished this weekend. First, I finally met an Internet friend, Laura Grimes - a writer, editor, charmer, mother and pickle maker.
We became acquainted following a feature article on Henry James she wrote for The Oregonian. Since I love James' writing too, I was delighted to read the article and submit a comment on it. I also followed along from time to time on her husband's (Bob Hicks) website, Art Scatter. (Another interesting site for culture freaks and those who like witty writing.) One thing led to another, and after a couple of years we finally arranged to meet for coffee at Powells Books at Cedar Crossing to exchange some pickles she made for some art I made.
It was odd fun at Powells to wander the aisles looking for a woman (didn't know what she looked like) wearing a yellow jacket. After wandering a bit and e-mailing Laura from my BlackBerry I found a chair and sat down to read Henry James' "Portrait of a Lady." That's when she found me!
People had been looking at me a little curiously because instead of art, what I brought to Powells to swap was a small basket of tomatoes, Anaheim peppers, some Martha Stewart recipe vinaigrette, and some tomatillo branches. Maybe they wondered if Powells carried fresh produce? I toted it around the entire book store at least three times. Nice long walk, so it was good to connect with Laura at last and go off to have a cup of coffee.
I was embarrassed to realize I didn't have any money/debit card with me. (Turned out to be in the car.) She bought the coffee and I did not take a picture of it, or her or the basket of produce.
What was I thinking? One young woman stopped by our table outside and commented on the "husk cherries" which is what she called the tomatillos. (Should that be tomatilloes?) A fruit by any other name ... .
So in the picture above, the jar of homemade vinaigrette looks like brown gravy! Yuck! In the bowl, with the cherry and pear tomatoes, it still looks quite like gravy or chocolate pudding, but the smell of balsamic vinegar, garlic and black pepper (a hint) was heavenly. And my kiss goodbye to the Mister was one he won't soon forget.
I did take art at the last minute for Laura, but then I didn't follow through on giving it to her. It wasn't something that was "finished" and it was large, so if she wanted to actually hang it, it would take space and work. Here's the piece, and if she reads this and still wants it she can have it. Collage and some imagination worked up a story about Edith (I believe that's her name) taking stenography/typing classes while her beloved is out on the road touring with a band, playing the trombone. That's him with the heart on his jacket.
I did the collage/encaustic assemblage some time ago - a couple of years, maybe - and found it just before I left for Powells. Maybe I'm not ready to give it up until I learn more about the trombonist.
Well, it is nearly 5 a.m. Couldn't sleep so went to work on this blog. Now I think I'll wander back to the warm bed - femminismo
p.s. The "dithering" in the blog title is all the procrastination I am doing just by driving in the fall sunshine and blogging in the early morning and not finishing writing I *must* be doing!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Paint Under My Nails

FIRST things first, we show the "Grandman," the best looking grandchild in the world. Just ask my daughter, the grandmother. Yes ... that, er, makes me the great-grandmother. Life is stranger than fiction (or something like that).
Saturday I was out shopping for art supplies and Sunday (today) I was at Art & Soul from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. using the supplies. I took Katie Kendrick's class, "Every Face Tells A Story."
What a place Art & Soul is, with rooms full of people creating wonderful things, treasures, gifts and new careers, I'll bet.
The hallway was full of women in aprons but no one was cooking food. Everyone was cooking up Art!
There was transformational painting, "Skulls, Wings & Rusty Things," "Funky Found Object Canvas Village," Tiny Treasure, Spinning Bead Pendant and lots more. And there are classes tomorrow, too. Oh, don't think calling in sick and getting a hotel room didn't come into my pea brain! Maybe next year I will do four classes in four days. I could eat for two days on the turkey club sandwiches from the hotel. I hear that Nov. 7-11 they are doing four days at the Inn at Spanish Head. Not many spaces left though.
So, what did we paint? Katie asked us to bring Ampersand claybord and it was great to work on. Gosh, I felt almost professional. She also wanted us to bring high contrast printed pictures of faces.
Here is my first picture from Google hosted Life magazine photos. We used light, medium and dark values of collage materials ripped from magazines to lay down for texture and then painted over them.
I was having fun with this one for quite a while. She was "speaking" to me and my fingers were covered with gesso and acrylic paint. It was like a pair of gloves! Then the fun stopped. I became self conscious and she got a bit testy, not liking anything I was doing to her. Fortunately Katie's method includes working on two or more projects at a time and so we all began another picture.
This time it was supposed to be mostly paint. Water-soluable crayons were used and stabilo pencils and sometimes a little collage. I didn't use a photo for this one, but just drew a face on my own.
You'll have to look sideways at this one. It forgot to rotate it and I'm too lazy to stop and do that now. I had big trouble with this one, so after Katie finished a "demo," I stood in line for help.
Here she is showing a bunch of different methods - transfers, stamping, shading and magic. She just jabs brushes into this paint and a little bit of that and they take on magic colors. The outlines on the faces she paints are just amazing. To watch them transform in front of you is like watching time lapse photography. Practice, practice, practice. That's all it takes. Well, not strictly all.
So after she took a hand in helping me with my face and the story it had to tell, this is what showed up in the hallway for our group show. (Mine is No. 2 and 3, both in the middle.)
I tell you what, I was going to show them all to you, but it is 9 p.m. and there's a workday tomorrow and more painting if I get home on time. We'll talk painting then, OK? - femminismo

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Racing Into Fall

THESE days are passing so rapidly that it's like that old movie standby when pages from the calendar on the wall are ripped off by the wind -- until we've arrived weeks beyond where we were.
Yesterday I went home sick from work. Tired is more like the reason my body decided it was time to go home. That and allergies. I have been pushing myself pretty hard and trying to cram too much into my 24 hours a day. I want to "possess" every minute of the time I've got and often I forget about relaxation time.
I made the Art Harvest Tour in Yamhill County this fall. Wonderful day for driving and visiting. We saw Linda and Jim Hayes in Pike (love the name of that town!) and they had so many beautiful jewelry items and a lovely garden. I owe them pictures, too.
Susan Day in Yamhill had many beautiful pastels and bicycles in her yard.
Whoops! Run out of time. Must run. I'll be back soon!

So ... now I've done yoga to relax myself and keep limber and I got a little dinner and read for a while. Then a sudden urge took hold and I poured a generous amount of olive oil in two pans and started cutting up tomatoes - red and ripe from the garden. I had to get the flashlight out and made a raid on the garden around 7:30 p.m. just to fill up some room in the pan. There were so many big guys hanging there - round and red - happy to see me. You never know when the rain might start and the tomatoes will split. I can smell them from here at the computer, bubbling away in the oven. Yum! Tomato sauce beyond "good." It will be a present for a friend tomorrow - femminismo