Sunday, September 28, 2008

the honey bee tree

this week i've been getting ready to go to virginia to see my family... i leave day after tomorrow.

i painted this page in my first art journal more than two years ago... i was 'back east' visiting my family, and i sat under a tree absolutely covered with honey bees painting with my sister. it was a gratitude journal -- around the edges of each page i wrote lots of small things that i was grateful for, and at the bottom in big letters i wrote the biggest thing that i was grateful for that day... i drew everything with my left hand so i couldn't get into 'perfection mode', and on this day there was no doubt what the main thing would be because i'm a honey bee lover! what a delightful morning it was -- drawing in the presence of thousands of buzzing wings... also on that trip i bought a couple of yards of silk with chenille bees on it. omg! i was ecstatic at the find! i've used bits and pieces since then, but not much. finally with my newest journal i'm using more than just a bit here and there. and these chenille bees will get to go 'back east' again. (and why is it that on the west coast we go 'back east', while on the east coast they go 'out west'?)

my new journal -- i've just bound it and am beginning to paint the silk.

inspired by roxanne i made the pages different sizes -- the largest is 5" x 7". it was harder to stitch together this way, but worth it. i also put four pocket pages in it for things like feathers and ticket stubs, and two signatures of white printer paper for gluing photos onto (that way i can use the heavy watercolor paper just for painting). both of these ideas are the result of putting together The Book.

the finished journal. boy do i love not only the bees, but also the texture of the silk under the paint. i unraveled the edges of the silk before i started to stitch the book together and it was aggravating to constantly have the silk unravel even more and get tangled up in my stitching. but man oh man, it was so worth it in the end. instead of a button or other closure on the front i decided to just wrap it with a piece of funked up muslin. ever since wrapping kate's box of treasures i can't get enough of the wrapping thing.

more wrapping -- the back of my art group journal. this ribbon wrapped a recent birthday present... it made me smile then and it makes me smile now.

are you wondering what happened to The Book?! here's what it looks like now. the pages have been sewn to the binding -- the back cover's being glued to it here. i was all set to cover this with some barkcloth that i have, but it overwhelmed the covers so i've set it aside until i come back from virginia.

i've only done two collages since my last post. i think i worked almost one whole day tearing up this one!! the main photo on the page is of a room on ellis island. i don't remember exactly what the caption said, but it had to do with immigrants who were not allowed to immigrate once they got to the u.s., so the closest that they got to the statue of liberty was the photo hanging on the wall (or is that a mirror? i can't remember). evidently the sadness of the photograph transferred itself to my psyche because i dug up everything here. the roses growing out of the sink have exploded.

'the sacred tank'

i'll leave you with billie holiday singing 'i'll be seeing you'. oh my...

i'll be gone for three weeks, but i think i'll take my computer with me and blog when i can - i'll only have access to the internet periodically. if i don't see you while i'm gone, i'll certainly be seeing you when i get back.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

at home on the wing

inspired by robyn's collage pages, i signed up for shelley klammer's online collage course. i just could not get robyn's collage images out of my mind. i started the lessons on sunday night -- this is my second collage; i'm doing one every night. the first one is at the end of the post, and the third one isn't finished. i'm beginning to think that collage isn't as mysterious or difficult as i thought it was. like everything in art, it seems to be mostly a matter of jumping in and letting go. at this point when i 'mess up' it looks like it's my subconscious (supraconscious?) mind telling me that the area could use some 'work' -- the 'mess up' seems to be a sort of indicator, if that makes any sense. i 'messed up' on the left side of this -- got carried away with a white pen a friend recently gave me. so i covered up most of it with turquoise and blue acrylic paint. somehow it seemed to make Laughing Leaping Woman laugh even harder! i loved it! i see this happening over and over... mess up, keep going, it's okay in the end. there's a quote by anahata katkin that goes something like this: 'everything's okay in the end. if it's not okay, it's not the end'.


last week i spent a lot of time working on my art group journal. this is what the cover looks like now. who knows what it'll end up like. that's a degas sculpture on the left. i read that none of his sculptures were taken seriously by the 'art world' when he was alive. too crude, they said. which just goes to show that we really should ignore the 'art world'. i like the painting of the rabbit underneath too...

the inside front cover (yeah, i really am into cutting up dictionary pages in this journal). it had a chair on it in the pic a couple of weeks back. the clay sculpture is by debra fritts. i cut the picture out of an 'american craft' magazine (i think) a long time ago. i love it here.

the first page in the journal. i think it'll stay like this. the name of our group is 'open doors' and that bit of blue is my open door.

the last two pages i've finished. is there anything i didn't use here?! the right page has pine needles from roxanne, a piece of crocheted doily, misc. papers, and paint. the left page has four hunks of bark on it plus a bunch of paint and paper. all waxed... there are things that i like about it and things that i don't. it could change. i've started gluing down more pieces of dictionary on the next page -- left brain is ecstatic!

my first collage. i think i feel like the yellow bird most of the time. i'm delighted (and relieved) that the beautiful creature in the foreground knows the way!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

art and bones

i snapped this last night on my way home from our art group gathering. if i get my camera out at the end of a long day, it's gotta be a shot i absolutely can't resist. in the morning i take pictures of everything. by nighttime nothing calls me. i don't know what it is about these signs and lights that i love so much... maybe it's that after driving 50 miles through flat, open country, i can't resist the color of the signs and the flashing-ness of the red lights. finally! after driving in an almost straight line for an hour i get to turn and see some color to boot!

i left at 8 a.m. to drive to roxanne's, about an hour and forty-five minutes north of here. i love this drive and took a bunch of pics while driving, but evidently it wasn't a good day for photos while driving. most of this area used to be underwater, and from what i understand the white settlers drained it for farming. so i'm driving on a former lake bed... there are lots of formations like this one that just jut up from the surrounding flatness. i really like them.

farther down the post i've shown one of the paintings i worked on at roxanne's... it was wonderful -- the whole day. sharing techniques and supplies. getting new ideas. eating good food. roxanne has some pics up already on her blog if you'd like to look. i took very few pictures -- i wanted to paint and talk.

gathering up my stuff in the late afternoon, i started for home. i had to stop for groceries first, and that devil caffeine twisted my arm 'til i broke down and got a mocha for the road. oh that sweet, tasty goodness! my next stop was one of my all time favorite places,

the petroglyph cliffs just south of the oregon california border. i've changed the tint to sepia to try and bring up some contrast...

they go on and on for what is about the length of a city block. to say that i snapped a lot of pics would be an understatement. i just snapped, and snapped, and

snapped. this is my favorite art. period.

the last time i was there i found a few owl pellets at the far end of the petroglyphs, so i wanted to see if i could find some this time. at first i only saw small bones scattered everywhere in the dry soil at the foot of the cliffs, but after about a half hour of walking and picking up tiny bones, i started to find owl pellets. and then i found a LOT of owl pellets. they were all over the place. i was beside myself with bone joy. grrl, kate, jo, i thought about you. you would have loved it...

i've barely begun to photograph or take apart the pellets... life seems to be happening faster than i can document it these days! but i do have a photo of

this one... with a bird skull and many bird bones in it.

and this one of a mouse skull, which was laying near the owl pellets.

i could hardly believe my good fortune. gratitude fills my bones!

i started this page yesterday at roxanne's and finished it with some wax and nickel azo yellow when i got home. roxanne gave me the lace and those big brads (which i looked for at safeway on the way home but unfortunately they didn't have them. what?!!). thank you roxanne for your generous kindness throughout the day!!

left and right page -- the hand belongs to one of the 'bog mummies' found in denmark (nat'l geographic photo). i got a bunch of national geographic mags earlier in the week on my other trip. they have the coolest photos/articles. bog mummies with orange hair intact after more than a thousand years!! i've been cutting up old dictionary pages and gluing them down a lot in this journal. something about it...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

pack rats, etc...

thank you, thank you to everyone who commented on sunday's post! you make me laugh out loud, ponder, and smile - but most of all feel very grateful...

yeah, pack rats exist. i went to wikipedia this morning to read about them, and it turns out their homes are called middens. i found this extremely interesting:

A pack rat midden is the nest of a pack rat. Due to a number of factors, pack rat middens may preserve the materials incorporated into it up to 40,000 years. The middens may thus be analyzed to reconstruct the environment around the midden when it was built, and comparisons between middens allow a record of vegetative and climate change to be built. Because middens are abandoned after a short period of time, they are uncontaminated "time capsules" of several decades of natural life, centuries and millennia after they occurred.

now i'm more impressed than ever.

while i was gone i went to a cemetery to take pics of an angel i've been wanting to photograph since last year. she's lovely beyond words.

her feet...

the last finished page in the journal for our art group. it started out with three of my photographs on it (inspired by peter beard); i painted over, dug into, and generally destroyed two of them... other than the photos it's mostly acrylic and beeswax.

roxanne's journal for our group is stunning...

Sunday, September 14, 2008

my sunny day

come along if you'd like!

i'm walking up the manzanita lookout road - it ends about eight miles up at at the fire lookout. this sign is at the beginning of the road... i passed it for years before i noticed that the letters are reversed in one of the words.

this tree is a powerful scent generator! it stops me in my tracks to breath in pine and lichen... the sky's smokey to the west.

i wander off a little ways to take a pic of this tree flag, which has been out in the elements for a year now. the smudgy black at the bottom is the stabilo water soluble pencil (what was i thinking?). the caran d'ache crayons and pigma marker outline have faded only a little, and neither have run.

back on the road, this bush was positively loaded with bees, butterflys, and miscellaneous flying insects. i could have taken 20 macro shots of cool insects but the wind was blowing too hard. this was the only pic i took, and somehow it turned out. one of the many beautiful creatures feasting on these flowers.

a couple of miles up, i get off the road and head for some shade to eat my lunch. almost immediately i see this big packrat house. i'm a huge fan of packrat architecture, so i go in for a closer look. if you click on the pic you can see it better-- it's very hard to photograph these as they don't show up against a backdrop of trees and ground. it's built against an uprooted tree stump.

their building materials are eclectic. a juniper sprig is tucked in amongst the sticks...

i sit down on the back side of the house -- in packrat terms, it's a mansion. the more i look, the more i marvel at it. if i were a packrat i'd love to live here. look at all of those perches! and there's a stone 'porch' in the lower left. i think those 'porch' rocks, held in place by tree roots, may be the nicest rocks i've ever seen.

i eat, have many brief conversations with a mulitude of bees and flys, then move in for a closer look.

boy, i'd love a stone porch like this... you can see where he comes out to have a look around...

sure enough, he, uh, sits here...

i pack up my stuff and head across the way to look at another packrat house. this one is humble in comparison. maybe a son or daughter moved out?

walking back toward the road, this culvert catches my attention. i think to myself that i've never walked through a culvert, so it seems like it's about time. at this point i stop at the entrance and take the pic in friday's post (actually, i took about 20 pics). then i walk through. pretty crazy walking under a big pile of earth with only an eighth of an inch of steel between it and you. this shot was taken once i got to the other side -- i put the pink line in to show you where the road is.

i keep walking downstream (another dry creek bed). walking slowly, looking around, i spot this...

good heavens! it's the biggest vertebra i've ever seen! i'm not sure what animal it belonged to... cow, horse? after googling cow and horse vertebra, i'm thinking that maybe it was once part of the neck...

the lovely, lovely lines of bones...

another scent generator, this one's a juniper...

i wander around some more and head back to the road. i'm going to walk towards home and look for a nice, shady spot to sit and paint, which i find near another big culvert.

they're so clean inside! does the forest service keep them this clean, or are they somehow self cleaning?! i wonder about this... i don't walk through this one -- just sit in the shade of big trees and paint...

now hanging not too far from the one above, in a stand of giant cedars... they deserve a lot of tree love...

i like that they formally tell you you're at the End. i'm almost home now...

i'll leave you with the sweet marvin gaye singing 'mercy, mercy me'.

i'll be out of town for a few days... thank you so much for coming along, and i'll see you when i get back!

Friday, September 12, 2008

haiku friday

sunshine stored lies here
radiant warmth heart smiling
trees melodic song

today was a fabulous day out wandering -- saw so much! became entranced with the big culverts under the gravel road i was walking on... for now i only have this pic edited, and

this one -- the biggest vertebra i've ever found! more than four inches long!

what i mostly want to tell you about is the new peter beard book that's scheduled for publication in november (amazon is taking preorders). i found out about it from kelly kilmer, who's turned me on to most of the art books i've bought in the last year. she's got an eye for The Good Stuff! thank you, kelly!

i haven't seen anything that's grabbed me like this for a long time... it moves me. it wakes up new parts of my brain... this is photography, collage, and journaling at its most brilliant.

you can go to his website to see more...

from yesterday's walk. not many pics, just this one of the day's tree love...

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

tying up loose ends

the last few days have been ones of tying up loose ends. finishing the last few paintings for The Book so i can start putting it together. i'm leaving in a couple of weeks for the east coast -- i'll spend a few weeks in virginia with my family. between now and then i want to assemble The Book and make a new journal to take with me.

a pluot. i finally tried one... they're gorgeous inside and delicious. much better than a plum, i think.

the most exciting development was the arrival of my easel in the mail. i LOVE it. what a joy it is not to have to look down at your work. the angle is adjustable, as is the height, but, heh, i don't think i'll be putting the extension up anytime soon. i just tape my little pieces to it...

here are the few pieces i've been working on. i used acrylic and watercolor on all of them.

after the dry creek walk...

little (4" x 6") and crazy, but i like it...

i wanted to mess around with modeling paste and corrugated cardboard...

done. what is this?!! i don't know... into the conglomeration it goes!

this took an afternoon -- i made a new coptic stitch journal for our art group. we're all working in a book and will decide what we're going to do with them when we get together again in a couple of weeks. this is the inside cover and first page -- neither of which are done. i used st. armand watercolor paper, which is heavy, so only two sheets per signature. i'd started in another blank journal (what me, hoard blank journals?), but nah, needed to work on some heavier paper.

i think i took this when i snapped the one of the easel (above). walking away, thinking to myself, 'ahhh, what a lovely, photogenic mess'. jeane, see my spray bottle (cobalt blue, edge of table)? uh huh, i've been gettin' jiggy with it. you're right, it's indispensable.

one last pic from this morning. i woke up and started taking pictures... what is it about some days? the light seems to call to you, and off you go to get the camera.