Friday, October 23, 2015

Catching Up

Yesterday I waved goodbye to the last of my family that converged on me from California, Washington and North Carolina a week ago and stayed varying lengths of time. The occasion was the service and scattering of ashes held at the Veteran's Cemetery for my brother who died last March. It was an excellent, although tiring, get-together, and the first time that some of them had visited since I moved back to Idaho. The weather couldn't have been more perfect, showcasing the continuing autumn colors I shared in the last post. I'd show you pictures but since there were so many cell phones working at capturing the experience, I didn't bother dragging my camera along (I have a very basic and dumb cell phone). I am at the mercy of the nephews mostly and know they will eventually pull through.

Before they arrived, I squeezed in an on-site drawing session of the food trailer I showed in this post. I thought it would be a cinch with my plan of drawing one third of it at a time as divided by the paint job, starting on the left. But no - I had my recurring problem of not sizing the subject down enough, and I ended up running off the page. That's even after I made some adjustments, lowering the roof line after most of the middle section was drawn and I could see how little room was left for the front of the trailer. Even my photo chops off part of the sketchbook! I'm now waffling between going back to the location to edit or working from a photo I took in order to shrink that trailer down a bit more, get those proportions right. I really want to color it in and think a lot of erasing and redrawing will make me happier than starting over altogether. Arrgghh though...

By the way, I recently noticed something about the plane shown in the same post. We've had some pretty strong winds lately, and as I looked at it on my way by, I could see that the propeller was spinning like crazy! Not only that, today I noticed that it was turned a different direction. Apparently, this plane acts like a giant vane. Pretty cool.

Collage by Constance Rose
I also entered a giveaway on my blogger friend Connie Rose's site before the crew arrived and was told I'd won a pair of fountain pens. Those arrived along with one of Connie's collages in the midst of all the family activities. I haven't done much with fountain pens but as with so many things, am quite intrigued with them. Looking forward to working with them after a quick test of one on a scrap of paper. They really do have a different feel about them for writing text and mark making, and I'm keen to see how I can incorporate them into my art journaling.

I got a little break from the company on Monday as I took off to my art group and the remaining family took off to check out the old home town about an hour and a half from here. I got the last of the input I needed to finish up Masks - just a little more beading and some stitching around the edge (which will remain unfinished) left to do - and also the thumbs up on a background choice to mount my fountain sample on before I slip it into a frame. 

I found it interesting that all three of us in the group seem to be at a reassessing point for the direction of our work. I don't know about you, but I often get so narrowly focused on where I have ended up at the moment that I convince myself I must carry on in the same vein. Sometimes this takes the form of not because I necessarily want to but because that weird little voice in my head convinces me that it is what the public expects. I've had a few reality checks in that department as relates to my padfolios. No sooner had I sold the last of the 5 I made earlier in the year than I was being asked if I'd be making more for the holiday gift buying season. Oh sigh...I really hadn't planned on it but I find it hard to say no to this person, and in fact she gave me some excellent feedback that got me excited about them again. I realized that the time-consuming details I was focusing on most really weren't that important to my customers, mostly because they really don't understand what I go through to create them - like my recent photo-manipulations printed in bands and stitched onto hand-stamped fabric. They mostly want rich-looking and pretty fabric embellished with my stitching and interesting closures. It's really quite different from what a customer expects from an art quilt. 

So before the company came, I sat down with my notebook and jotted down some "Fresh Ideas" for a new batch of padfolios. I've got too much interesting and beautiful fabric languishing in the studio that could work well as padfolio covers. I don't necessarily need to create more specifically for padfolios. It was a liberating thought. Nice to get knocked out of my tunnel vision now and then. Nice to return to a previous way of working which could also lead me in yet another direction. Good that I am back to thinking of how to use what I already have.

All that, the padfolio ideas, the experimenting with the fountain pens, the sketching, will have to wait though. My family rather wore me out and I feel like I could sleep for a week! 


The Inside Stori said...

Hey…..great to hear what you’ve been up to and can’t wait to see what you create with the fountain pens….who knew how cool these ‘tools’ can be?!?

The Idaho Beauty said...

Mary, I spent some time on the website Connie referred me to for refills and oh my goodness - this could become a whole new obsession! Am thinking I want to see how they work for Zentangling as my first experiment. The nibs are a little bigger point than the Pigma Pens I've been using but I bet it will work well anyway.

Christine Staver said...

I think a lot of artists use fountain pens to draw with which makes me want to try them. I can't wait to see what you do with them and how you like them.

Michele Matucheski said...

Oh, I love a good fountain pen. Try it on the antique-laid paper stationary--or the journal I sent you. A perfect match!
As far as my journals, I always try to have a variety of the simple commercial fabric with more of a mass appeal along with the more artsy-fartsy variety that involves more work and more layers (most of which may be lost on the consumer) who just buys what they like and what they can afford. I do appreciate the stamping and the extra layers you put into your padfolios. ;-) But it;s ok with me if you want to do something else for a while ...