Saturday, February 27, 2010

Collage of the Day

I made this post card for Lili using some shipping tape transfers (from the recent class I taught), an old border from some postage stamps (subject: dinosaurs, I think), part of a white pine branch printed from an old book, and some paper scraps. On the back of the card, I wrote her a note telling her how wonderful it is that she can get around now on all fours now like her brothers Milo and Charlie. (I don't think the fact that those two are cats matters to the three of them...)

Because of the continuing snow, the drawing class I planned to teach this morning was canceled. I used that time to get my Panama journal into shape for the trip. I don't exactly how I'm going to use it yet. It may get taken apart once we return home and reassembled in another format. For now, I like making a special cover for it, and it is filled with a nice light-weight watercolor paper that will be perfect for sketching, making bird lists, and collaging artifacts. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Slow in the Snow

This was the view from the bedroom yesterday afternoon. By this morning, the snow-laden branch hung low over the bird feeder, covered by a thick blanket of white. Then the power went off. Luckily, the coffee had just finished brewing and was still hot, so we admired the 10 inch snowfall with eyes wide open. It really was spectaculor. After the Great Ice Storm of December 2008 when we were without power for four days, we knew what to do. So we did slow things doable without electricity, a furnace, and running water - reading, shoveling snow, sitting by the fire, napping, and packaging art work for mailing to Saranac Lake for submission to the 12th Annual Juried Show sponsored by the Adirondack Artists' Guild.

I always find photographing my work before sending it away very challenging, and today was no exception. A bit if serendipity interfered when I tried hanging the work on the front porch though, making the photos of the two little spring flower watercolor sketches into multi-layered images of winter giving forth to sweet growth and color.

The main piece I sent off was the collage of four little collage pieces that started with the botany illustrations. Working with plant images and terminology reminds me so much of my childhood experiences in the woods and fields where I grew up. One Spring while exploring the fields and woods around my grandmother's farm near Bath, NY I found a whole hillside covered with white trilliums. I was completely enthralled. Another Spring a few years later, I discovered intriguing sprouts pushing up through the leaf litter and dug some up so I could watch every bit of the progress made by the emerging plant. I planted the shoots (and their roots) in pots in my bedroom. Then I found branches with swelling buds and stuck them in jars of water on my shelves and desk. Then I watched. Again, I was enthralled and awestruck as the shoots sent up leaves and then jacks in their pulpits. The buds swelled to bursting, and maple catkins and oak leaves and black cherry flowers unfurled, shedding pollen and tiny larvae and little winged creatures across my homework pages and text books. I was in love with it all. And still am.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Some Elements of Botany

A few months ago I printed some scans from an old botany book (Elements of Botany) on butterscotchy-beige rayon. After some refreshing play sessions when I remembered how much I love free-motion sewing, I turned the four little fabric pieces into a set of four fabric, paint, and stitch collages. If you aren't familiar with free-motion sewing, it is simple - think about drawing with a sewing machine needle instead of a pencil. I used some scraps of upholstery fabric to enhance the illustrations, and I love the way it frayed like crazy - made me think of root hairs, so I left a lot of them. I am in the process of mounting all four on a piece of wood so I can enter the piece in an upcoming juried show.

The other project going on now is preparing for our trip to Panama - coming up soon. It started as one of our intensive group birding trips with a professional tour company and has turned into a an intensive birding trip with a pre-trip adventure on our own up in the mountains west of Panama City. We'll be there for awhile, and I am mulling over which art supplies to take. I nearly always take more than I can use - both the actual phyical materials and the ideas I have for journaling, painting, and drawing. I am building a blog that I hope to use for postings every few days. It will include bird sightings, my journals and drawings, our progress with Spanish (we are not really complete novices), and lots of photos. This plan depends, of course, on the accessibility of the servicio de internet in El Valle near our cottage and our lodges during the birding trip. That link coming soon...