Monday, January 30, 2017

Slower Than I Thought

It's almost February and I just finished the February coloring page in my pocket calendar (scroll to the bottom of the link for the uncolored version). Normally I would not be drawn to this sort of design - a bit reminiscent of the 60's flower power motifs. But instead, it has reminded me of an annual I bought last spring to add to my pots on the back deck, and I dipped into my memory banks for images of similar flowers I have enjoyed over the years. This is such a different design than January's in that there is no obvious repeat of various motifs, but instead, the same motif scattered and overlapped across the page. So instead of picking a repeat design and coloring each repeat before choosing the next design repeat, this one called for completing a flower in one color scheme before choosing the next and its color scheme in order to get a good balance across the page. I decided to stick with the orange, orange-red, and  yellow pencils for the petals, with green, brown and red overlayed with brown for the centers. This one took more time than expected and again, gave more satisfaction and enjoyment than I expected. In the dead of winter, it is a harbinger of the splashes of color to come. A peek at March has me a tad overwhelmed again - it is a very in your face design with lots going on and not much repeated.


Also taking more time than expected is my cleaning and tidying project. I've let my documenting go for over a year, yet the things I put on my pages like fabric samples linger on my work space. I knew I had photos to print - I know, I know, in this digital world, who prints out photos? But it's hard for me to believe that after I'm gone someone will come upon my external hard drive backup where all my quilt photos are stored and "leaf" through it. Yet they might find one of my binders of documentation files and discover not only photos of my work but many details about it. At any rate, I'd lost track of what needed printing so started by getting out the current binder to see where I'd left off and going through the engagement calendar I use to track my progress on projects to see what I'd finished since then. Good grief - I discovered padfolios from May of 2015 was where I needed to start! So I made a list noting dates and then sat down at the computer to find the pictures to print (some get printed on 4 x 6 photo paper, others like the padfolios can be grouped on 8-1/2 x 11 photo paper). Of course, I ran out of ink in the middle of the project, and my order got delayed, but as of yesterday, everything is printed and waiting for me to pair it up with its details on a documentation sheet. I will feel so much better when this is caught up, and once done, a lot of the clutter on my workspace will have disappeared.


And during all this, I have been reading through some books I ran across at the library. It started as a search for information on fountain pens, believe it or not. I didn't find too much of interest in the "Organic Artist," not really looking to make my own charcoal sticks or writing implements from sticks or feathers, for instance, but it did have an interesting section on making paper from plants and adding sizing. I've wanted to try making paper by recycling my morning pages notebooks and recently stumbled across a great video explaining the process with simpler "tools" than I've seen before. I may be giving that a go fairly soon. I'm also feeling pulled closer to working with a book I salvaged with the thought of altering it. It's taken me a very long time to get comfortable with the idea of altering a book, getting beyond the feeling of defacing and destroying rather than saving and enhancing (I'm the daughter of a teacher, niece of a librarian), but I am finally there, and those two books on the left are doing their best to show me the way. Have only flipped quickly through the colored pencil collage book, but it looks to have good and inspiring information in it too. And you know how I love my colored pencils and keep trying to figure out how best to use them.

So fiber, textiles, yeah . . . you may not be seeing much of me in the coming month. Although I have to admit that the combination of snow piled up outside and the mercerized cotton bought near the end of 2016 are reminding me I meant to use up some old dyes on a different approach to snow dyeing than I've tried in the past. Maybe it's just the sewing machines that will be missing me... 

12 comments:

Living to work - working to live said...

Gosh - those books look very interesting. Might have a little gander on Amazion. H xxx

Olga Norris said...

Sheila, as the daughter of a teacher, and as a former publisher, I know what you mean about baulking at destroying books. I overcame my doubts, however the moment I saw some pages of Tom Phillips' A Humument project: http://www.tomphillips.co.uk/humument In this case the alteration has definitely produced something special and worthwhile.

I share your love of coloured pencils too. When I was last in the USA, in 1992, the exchange rate was favourable enough for me to buy a complete range of Prismacolor pencils. I was also lucky that coloured pencils were fashionable in the galleries and encountered several fascinating exhibitions.

Have fun with all your new input.

The Inside Stori said...

Oh you’ve spoken for so many of us…….so many ideas, supplies, to-do lists to cross off……we need to expand our waking hours!

Chris said...

Looks like a lot of photos of padfolios. You made a lot of them. I don't have documentation like you do on any of my projects. I am really impressed by your documentation. Those binders must be amazing to look through. The only thing I have is documentation on my blog.

It is snowing here today and I am thinking about some snow dyeing as well.

Wow that was a lot of coloring for February! Better you than me!!! Looks good....

The Idaho Beauty said...

Let me know, Hilary, if you need more info to track them down, like an author. I've since had time to look more closely at the colored pencil one and am disappointed that after she goes over general materials and supplies, it's all specific projects (like patterns) with step by step instructions on a variety of substrates I'm not interested in working with. It strikes me as more decoupage than collage as I think of it. The colored pencil part is a very tiny one it would seem. Oh well...

The Idaho Beauty said...

Olga, you always have such broadening information to share. I've just spent some time on Phillips' website, reading about Humument and viewing some of the pages. Just the documentation of each page's transformation, not once but twice, would be a monumental undertaking! His picking out of words to say a new thing is just like the Blackout Poetry of Austen Kleon that I dabble in for awhile. I too found myself wanting to add related images as I blacked out the words I would not use. He takes that to a marvelous artful level. Thanks for telling me about him and his project.

My turning point has come slowly with the help of Annabel Rainbow, first with her assuring me that thousands of books end up being repulped, so choosing one of these destined for the dustbin is a saving gesture. And also assuring me that she only chose that kind of book, nothing of real value or rare, that couldn't be found in great quantities. At any rate, watching her progress through altering a book did open my eyes and see the value and beauty of the medium.

So what do you use your colored pencils for? Artists really are doing extraordinary work with them.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Oh Mary - you've hit it on the head. I need to not only expand my waking hours but avoid the trap of indecision about which of these things to dive into first! I think I spend too much time in research, could certainly start playing long before I do. Need to just grab one of those books, take it to the studio and start working through it for real. Not like I don't have the supplies . . .

The Idaho Beauty said...

Chris, you are right - TONS of padfolios! The total for both 2015 & 16 ended up to be 21 - no wonder I want a break!

Thanks for your kind words about my documentation system. Of course, I started it before there were things like blogs or flickr or Facebook, even before digital cameras! So this sort of thing was about the only way to do it. I still think it is easier to access than what is on-line and actually contains more detailed info and in many cases, actual patterns and mock-ups, a great collection of reference info I actually do find myself going back to at times. Still, I wonder what will happen to them when I'm gone. There is software data programs specifically geared to artists that might better meet my current needs, but I'm so old school. I do appreciate my digital files but I don't think I could function without my hardcopy files.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Whoops! Pressed "publish" too soon, Chris. If you do some snow-dyeing, I hope you will share over on your blog. Have you tried it before? And yes, LOTS of coloring for February! I found myself having to hustle a bit to finish on time. But I really do love the way it turned out, very lush I think. And the procrastinator in me finds it a pleasant distraction. ;-)

Sherrie Spangler said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one behind on documentation of items made! I used to do it as soon as I put the label on, but now I let things slide. I call it relaxing in my old age.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Yeah! A fellow procrastinator. :-) Sherrie, I do believe I have your syndrome of "relaxing in my old age."

The Idaho Beauty said...

I need to take back part of what I said about the colored pencil/collage book. Yes, the 2nd half IS projects complete with motifs to transfer so you can make exact copies. But there IS a short section of instruction of different ways to work with colored pencils, including how to shade and make gradations followed by several different "demonstrations" of what to do and not do and then a suggestion of what to practice that on. A mini-workshop so to speak, but she does them all on different colors of paper which I find a little confusing and distracting. Anyway, I may spend some time with her exercises. And you may want to check out the book anyway.