Thursday, April 2, 2020

Pastel Sketch of Sheep

The Rocky Mountain kind...
these guys are a group that hang around the edges of the Highway 96 in Custer County.
They aren't alway visible, but this day I was lucky enough to get a drive-by shot with my iPhone.
We live in a small rural mountain community - 
our count of the COVID-19 virus, as of today ~2 positives.
I am a 'stay home' person to begin with...I ain't goin' nowhere.

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Where I Stand Sunday with the Sunrise





For the last 2+ years, I have been able to rise (most days) and stand on my front deck and catch beautiful sunrises over the Wet Mountains, in Colorado.  In the evening, I stand on the back deck and catch the sunsets over the Sangre de Cristo mountains.  Today was no exception.  My phone and my cameras are full of colorfully awesome skies - morning and evening.

In a quiet space in my head as I view these spectacular events, that song from 'Fiddler on the Roof', always plays...

Sunrise, sunset, Sunrise, sunset,
Swiftly fly the years.
One season following another, 
Laden with happiness and tears.

and although we are in a much HEEDED 'lockdown' with most everyone else on the planet, it seems like time is standing still, but the days continue to fly by - a contradiction of events. Here are a few more morning breaths of color...






I am grateful to be able to see these skies each day.
"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend my life standing.  Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend out lives walking on.I am not the only one who posts about this - google it.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

A Walk Down the Road

In an attempt to stay active during 'stay home'..we took a walk down our road to the next driveway, which by the time we walk from our house to the road, walk some of the road and back again, is almost a mile. It was a beautiful day and we got a change of pace by doing it.  You can see our house, studio, outbuilding 'compound' over on the right of the pano photo.  Wind is blowing terrifically today...now they are warning about wildfire danger, as if we need that on top of everything else?
Hope you are hunkering down and staying well.  Our governor, in Colorado, has made a 'lock-down' ruling - started this morning. Not a problem, we were already in that state of mind, here.

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

A Pastel Painting of Longhorn Cattle

This is today's #stayhome #socialdistancing attempt in the studio.
Pastel on Wallis sanded pastel paper.
Thanks to Debbie Mason Gilliam for the use of her really inspiring photo!
I have wanted to paint longhorns for some time, just never had a good photo like this one!

Not certain it is finished, will leave it out to look at it closer and farther...if that's
what it takes.

A Pastel Painting of a Cat

Oregon pastel artist, Kitty Wallis, no longer markets her archival sanded pastel art paper. It is out of production, as many of you pastelists may know.  Luckily, she had some leftovers she was willing to sell, so I decided to take the plunge and purchase 100 sheets from her.  I was limited to what she had left, which was 9" x 12" sheets of warm mist.  I received my bulk order last week.  

Yesterday, I jumped right in.  Using it ~ is the best thing for doing pastels in my opinion.  I don't think I have ever completely bombed a piece of it.  UArt makes great pastel sanded paper as well, but having 100 sheets of this stuff is like having the GOLD of Fort Knox, to me.  I don't know what I will do when it runs dry?  Art done from a friend's photo.

"Among the Alstros" ©
9" x 12"
pastel on Wallis sanded paper
 (Staying home is so important right now.  We, in the U.S. need to make it through this virus pandemic.  I'm staying home, are you?) 

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Where I Stand Sunday - Looking for Signs

The Hope of Spring - that is what I went looking for today.
The only thing 'green' in this high desert setting is the Yucca plants, BUT their
greening, definitely spruces up the landscape.  Maybe there is HOPE.


I checked the local ant hill, no activity yet but I know they will be back, they always are.


Looked at the birdhouses, as I know the Bluebirds have returned, but they aren't around the houses too much yet.  When I DO see them, they seemed to have picked their houses for their spring brooding.  That is HOPE. We have about 7 birdhouses, all cleaned out recently, thanks to DH.


AS you probably ARE...I am doing lots of little things today that need to be done once in awhile, like clean the shower, vacuum the house, clean up the stack of dishes from last night and this morning...living off-grid as we are,  we don't do dishes after the sun goes down, 
we generally wait til after breakfast and showers.  

Once upon a time I was gluten-free...it helped my stomach for sure..but since then I have lightened up on my gluten-free life - I eat food with gluten once in awhile. One of the great things I kept doing since those days is baking gluten-free banana nut bread.  It is so good.  Cooking and baking have taken a special place in my days.  I want to make good food and I want us to eat as healthy as we can, eating lots of immunity enhancing items.  I have one of those very poor immune systems.
More thoughtful meal planning, also, helps to keep that battle against LOWER immunity going. 


NOW that my income taxes are done..(what a struggle because I generally SO dislike doing them),
 I am ready to return FULL FORCE to my studio. That is HOPE.

DH and I have lived remote for MANY years..we chose that when we retired.  We lived on a 100 yr old farmstead on 7 acres near a very small community in Kansas for the first 11 years and now live on a 40 acre ranch near another small community in Southern Colorado.  We are hermits - and that is the way we like it.  It isn't hard at all for us to 'distance' ourselves from others.

Today I am sad.  I think about all the people who have died due to COVID 19, all over the world..and how the relatives and friends are coping (or not) with those losses.  There doesn't seem to be much HOPE there. 

It's important to stay in touch with one another.  Even if it is on social media.  I use Facebook Purity (an app you can download to your FB) and I put in 'keywords' that eliminate the crap that is being shared.  I choose only what I want to read about or see.  It helps keep my blood pressure in check - ha ha.  And I have 'snoozed' MANY people, as well.  Feels much better.  

So MY HOPE for you is you are keeping a positive vibe for yourself and your loved ones, you are taking care of yourself and washing hands and keeping distance..
and you have LOTS to keep you busy.  
I would love to say, "It'll be alright, don't worry!", but you wouldn't believe me because I
don't believe it myself.

"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend
my life standing.  Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend out lives walking on.
I am not the only one who posts about this - google it.





Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Happy St. Patty's Day

Just thinkin' back to those days of old...green beer and happy times...like these...
(google images)



Wednesday, March 11, 2020

SQUALL

It's that unsettling time of year - weather-wise, when Winter is waning and Spring is nearby.  Living in the high country of Colorado, Spring isn't even a thought yet..but nature and weather are taking a peek - here and there.  On our way home yesterday from the 'flat lands', it's an hours + drive, there is that last stretch of road, you come up over a hill, and there is our homeland, the Sangre de Cristo mountain range and the town of Westcliffe.  There was an amazing snow/rain squall happening just forward of the mountain's edges and yes, there is a big beautiful mountain range behind those clouds.  It was coming right out of the front edge of the clouds.  Hard to take a photo of the whole event...but here are pieces.






A Lenticular cloud bank which often forms perpendicular to the wind, hangs over the valley.  

The wind has been something we have learned to deal with.  Why wouldn't there be lots of wind here, we live right off a giant mountain range.

And at the end of the lighted day, there is usually an awesome sunset right out our backdoor.


I especially loved those 'rays'.  



Sunday, March 8, 2020

Where I Stand Sunday

WE have always done our own Income Tax each year.  With a 'business' added on to the 'personal' filing, it takes extra time.  I am in that 'time' - and I say 'I' because I am the one who does most of it.  I am actually after it a bit earlier than usual. It took a slow start, as I also needed to paint to get something for the first art show of the season at 3rd Street.  I had some travel and visits, as well.  I didn't want to jump both feet in, til I had all my 'irons in the fire' cooled off, so to speak.  

So, here I stand, and sit, and grovel...days upon days - of reconciling, digging, running figures - I am an ARTIST, NOT a bookkeeper and a very reluctant one at that.  Each year as I finish up, I consider doing the whole thing differently...and then the next year comes along and it just doesn't happen. Time to mull it all over is not a problem, anyway.  I seem to have time.  But to me it's like going to the Dr. or Dentist for a dreaded appointment, having something done you don't want, like a root canal or a colonoscopy..ha ha.



"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend
my life standing.  Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend out lives walking on.
I am not the only one who posts about this - google it.

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Weaving Rag Rugs on a Loom

AS you can see, this Kessenich jack loom is huge. I feel like I am at a concert organ, especially with the 8 peddles on the floor that operate the shafts.  I have my carpet warp sleyed and I am headed to making rugs out of the carpet thread and strips of NEW fabric for two of them and old denim for the third.  This is my second project on this loom, after the mug rugs.

I kept thinking - what have I got myself in to?  My instructor was kind enough to come to help me get my first warp going. Since then, I have done three of my own warps, and learned that warping is the 'make it or break it' piece of weaving on a loom.  AND you can buy a DVD that helps - it's a process that doesn't exactly stay with you in the beginning.

Part of what took a very long time and is tedious, is cutting the strips of fabric that I wove with.  I used a cutting wheel and a cutting mat (just like quilters do) and cut 1 1/2 to 2 inch strips.  You need a ton and FYI, I have a 'She Shed' full of yarns, fabric, crafting supplies (from my 'hoarding' years), that are 'outside' of the realm of painting or 'doing mark making'.



















This is my first rug, I used fabrics with a touch of purple.  It measures 28" x 44".  No fancy weave pattern, just simple 'tabby' as it is called...back and forth - two shafts - up and down.  Pretty easy, once you get going.


This rug is on it's way.


Rug is finished.  

And these are the other two rugs from this warp...
I switched the second one to DENIM, used and new fabric.


It measures 29" x 33".


And the third one, same fabric as the first rug, smaller size, 29" x 30.
These aren't designer rugs, they are for function.
Someday soon I will attempt some rugs made from rug wool with
designs and pattern.
For now, I bounce between, about a month of painting and then about a month of 
weaving.  The guild I joined - "Wet Mountain Weavers", in town, has a once a year weaver's guild sale around and through Labor Day.  I participated in my first sale this year.  It was great fun, got to be with my weaving friends, and I met some new people.  I even demonstrated weaving in the back of the gallery - MUG RUGS.  It was fun seeing many "new to weaving" people who had the very same reaction that I did, thinking that this was an impossible, mysterious art, however...  
...it isn't. I think you just need a mathematical mind, 
and can think in patterns and numbers, 
perhaps a little 'sewing' knowledge - as you have to finish your pieces. 
The designing and beyond this tabby weave stuff ~ is also about creativity.
As with everything I 'get into' - THE POSSIBILITIES ARE ENDLESS.
I have a whole studio and 'She Shed' and under beds and in closets in my house - that are 
FULL OF ENDLESS POSSIBILITIES. 😁😁😁



Thursday, March 5, 2020

Weaving - Part II

Last post, I shared my newest 'creative journey' I am taking, it fits into my days, along with my usual LOVE of doing mark-making on paper and canvas.  Today, allow me continue to tell you MORE about 'weaving'!! 

Here are a few more projects that were made on my smaller Cricket Loom. 
(Dish towels and some more scarves.)



Before any warping takes place on the LARGE loom, I needed the utility of a 'warping board' - a place where you can measure off your lengths of yarn/thread that will be SLEYED through the reeds on the loom.  Warping boards are pretty simple pieces of equipment and some people come up with inventive ways to measure their warp.

I searched the internet for an idea of a DIY warping board, as I knew DH and I could build one (we build lots of things).
I found this diagram and Howard Ruttan's explanation and plans are HERE.
Mine is not the exact copy of Mr. Ruttan's, but it does a really fine job.  We built it for sturdiness and utility.  Since there is NO WHERE to put it permanently in the studio, it hangs on the hooks that DH made for it, it is UP high on the wall and out of the way, right behind where the bench is located. 
 I used OAK for my four sides.


When I need it, it lifts and drops down to the bottom 2 hangars.  
All so convenient and made for the long haul!

The first weaving project I put on the BIG loom was some more 'mug rugs' - aka coasters.
These are fun to make.  I used 8/2 carpet thread for the warp and cut up fabric into strips for the weft.  Once you warp the loom, which should be a lot of warp, you have room to make MANY mug rugs.  I made four sets of four each.  Here are two of the sets.

 Come back tomorrow to read about 'weaving rag rugs' on the loom.






Wednesday, March 4, 2020

A Weaving Story

For those of you who may not know, last year I began an additional creative journey I have always wanted to take, but didn't know how to go about it. Then came the day I saw a fellow artist weaving on her loom at the gallery- Dec. 2018.  She invited me to sit down at the Baby Wolf loom -  and voila - it was love at 'first throw of the shuttle'!   I made part of a 'mug rug' in holiday fabric and color.  







Fast forward to Christmas of 2018, I decided to move further along to learn how to weave.  I ordered a "Cricket" table loom from Dick Blick art supplies.  My big thought at the time was, with all the yarn I had in my stash from years of knitting and crocheting, was surely I had lots of materials to weave with.  And I did.  I soon became familiar with 'how to warp' the loom (it's not hard, but tedious).  Made a few scarves.  And I also started buying some quality yarns to weave with.




Our artist's guild offers classes of all kinds, and luckily - in addition to watercolor, pastel, oil, there was a weaving class!  YAY! I signed up for a beginner's class in Feb. 2019, with the same weaver friend, Jere,   We learned about yarn, about how to read patterns, about words and technical operations of looms, about warping and wefting.   I was in 'the weaver's mode'..it was mysterious and required patience and thought.  I experienced an INKLE loom, one you can make woven straps on and a couple of other looms - believe me - there are many kinds, shapes and different operations to make woven goods.  A photo of my two day attempts at the different ideas and projects we made is added here.  We made a small dishtowel. That intrigued me - wow - dish towels!!  



Inkle Loom

I was hooked.  I began exploring all the things you can make on a loom.  I became interested in making things to wear, other than scarves - and how weave pieces and construct them into wearable pieces. And then, because my instructor had to downsize, she offered one of her 'floor looms' for sale.  It was one she used to make 'rugs'.  Rugs???  WOW - I had always wanted to make rugs.  So I bought the behemoth and we helped pick it up from her storage unit in town and delivered it to my studio, with the help of 3 other kind people/friends.  It is a Kessenich 8 shaft, rigid heddle, Jack loom, complete with bench and lots of accessories (particularly some dents and shuttles - which are imperative).  It is made of lovely OAK..takes up more space than I can afford in a painting studio, but it is, what it is. 

I joined the local 'weaver's guild', "The Wet Mountain Weavers", who meet once a month at the local library.  We have show and tell, and there are always demonstrations and learning experiences, and they have an extensive library of 'how-to' weaving books and magazines for borrowing - not to mention the camaraderie of like minded individuals.  Many of them have their own fiber sources and fiber farms with goats and alpacas.  Some spin.  Some dye.  The possibilities to learn are endless.  Tomorrow, I will share some of the work that has been done on the Kessenich loom and some more about my creative journey into weaving.  AND, I still DO art...painting, drawing, etc.



The Kessenich, 8 shaft, LOOM


Tuesday, March 3, 2020

A Pastel of a Wolf


"Wildwood Marauder"
9" x 12" in an 11" x 14" frame
pastel on Kitty Wallis sandpaper
(been coveting that paper for awhile, almost out
and I heard she doesn't make it anymore?)

 The photos I took of this one didn't turn out true to the color of the background 
and no matter
how hard I tried it, I could not Photoshop it to the correct hue.
I think it was the late afternoon light in the studio.
I will try another couple of photos of it, before I put it behind
the glass. This was one of those..."OK, I am pissed off
because another painting (an acrylic) is NOT happening!" ~
began this one and it was like it drew itself.

I really think I was meant to just DO wild dogs.



Monday, March 2, 2020

Doing It Now


An art friend shared this poem many years ago.  Since then, I have had it 'always' hanging on my easel in the studio.  This country's political news creates such a stir and at this point,  I am only heeding the important 'health organization' and health 'expert's' words. 

There are a lot of variables in my own health that make me a little nervous about this entire virus outbreak from this point forward.  Bottom line, I have to keep this virus away from 
me and my family.  And I know that is your plan, too.

Know that if you are my friend, I may back way off when you come for a hug when we see each other - it's only for survival at this point.  I will not be making travel to the big cities, or operating in big crowds any time soon. Self protection is the key.  I don't feel as though it is a matter of just washing hands, although I do it constantlly.  Not thinking about it as much as I first was, and considering I didn't contract Ebola, SARS, MERS, H1N1, or any of those others ~ is my shining star.     
I have to read this poem every day...and know that every day is a gift. 
 Make the most of your gift today.  
Paint on!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Where I Stand Sunday


As I wrote somewhere below, Chaco, the dachshund, the 'wiener' dog, our ONE and ONLY dog is almost 17.  He is doing well...he has the best care from our vets along the way..Dr. Amy in Kansas. Dr. Patti in Pueblo and Dr. Kayla in Westcliffe.  Like in 'people drs'., his vets have seen that he is on the right amount of meds, supplements and food.  If you would have asked me - way back - when we had 3 dogs, who would live the longest? - it would NOT have been Chaco..but HERE HE IS.  

He still has a cute attitude and a bit of humor going on.  His antics makes us laugh and smile.  He sometimes lopes along/a sort of 'bounce', in a pseudo-run.  His sight is going and he needs you to clap loudly if you want his attention.  (Kind of like us, as we age.)  Chaco howls when I am gone, just like a hound dog.  (We have always been very attached to one another.)  He is an old man..but a sweet old man at best, altho sometimes he gets 'cranky' and can reach out and snap at you..we had to learn how to get around him with hands and arms..so as not to get nailed.  He needs to be carried out to do his 'jobs', but we don't mind, it keeps US hoppin'.  Neither of us have ever had a dog reach this old age, so we are experiencing it one-day-at-a-time. 

Our dogs have been everything to us.  Married for almost 21 years, we have always had dogs. I don't know what we will do when Chaco goes.  No doubt our lives will change greatly. However, I don't worry about it, as life will be ~ what it is.  It's March, a month that brings that idea of 'luck'.  We are LUCKY to have him, each day a gift in that regard.

SO, HERE I stand this Sunday, MARCH 1st...both of us giving Chaco some 'bouncing' time 'out front'.  Nice that the mud freezes each night...doesn't get mucky until afternoon, and then we try to steer clear of it. Enjoy your day!


  


He is hopping into the wind.



Chaco with Herman in 2007.

"Where I Stand Sunday" is an ongoing photo essay examining the different places I spend
my life standing.  Too often we take for granted the everyday places we spend out lives walking on.
I am not the only one who posts about this - google it.