Friday, November 27, 2009

10 things I'm grateful for

I saw this on Buddhagirl's Umatku blog, and even though I missed Thanksgiving by a day, I thought I'd do it anyway.  'Tis the season, right?  Here are 10 things I'm grateful for, in no particular order:

1. My health.

 2. My family.

3. My home.

4. My goofy dogs.

5. Good friends.

6. The sweet air.


7. The sacred water.     

8. The glorious earth.


9. All the colors.

 10.  The chance to experience #1 - 9.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Rocky Mountain Memories

Some of you may recall that I took a trip to Glacier National Park last summer.  Since I came back, I think about the mountains literally every day.  I had a medical procedure done this morning, and am still pretty loopy, so I thought it might be best to just post some images from my trip.  Enjoy!

I love looking at these; what great memories!  I might do this every once in a while- I took over 500 pictures!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Secret Sunday is here!!

What's Secret Sunday, you ask?
Weeeeeeell.... it's a secret, of course!   But I think it's okay to give you a couple of hints.

PSSSSSST!  I can tell you that it has to do with an organ of the body.  NO, silly, not that organ-

this one:

Heart of the World by S. Davidson

Still don't have it?  Okay, hint number 2:
It has a rhythm.    A rhythm you can feel
No, no, no!  It's not Johnny Cash!

Pay attention now, this is your  last hint:
You usually get this taken when you go to the doctor.  
And no, it's not your money, it's...


In the words of creator/editor Seth Apter: 
"the fourth edition of THE PULSE -- The State of the Art-- [is] a survey in words and pictures of the online artist community. The Pulse is a collaborative project that aims to introduce you to new artists, help you to get to know familiar faces even more, and allow you access into the creative hearts and minds of a very talented crew of individuals ".

Every Sunday, Seth is going to share with us some of the secrets that collaborating artists have sent in .Should be some really cool stuff, so get over to The Altered Page and check it out!


Saturday, November 21, 2009

Waiting (The Seed)

One of the primary symbols repeated throughout my work is that of the seed. 

Germination 2 by S. Davidson

I'm sure the connotations are pretty obvious, but especially at this time of year I'm reminded of the seed's message.  All of nature, where I live at least, has placed every bit of its energy and hope for the future inside a magical little package. 

 Nature has complete faith in this tiny, unassuming container of potential.  Doubt does not exist.

But for us short-sighted humans, it's different.  I clearly remember when I learned about seeds.  I was six years old, and we had just moved into a new house.  My grandmother, who I generally followed everywhere, gave me some tiny, funny-looking, dried-up brown things and showed me how to stick my finger into the dirt, put the seeds in the holes, and cover them up.  When I expressed my puzzlement at this, she told me something that seemed absurd to my six-year-old brain:  these little brown things would turn into flowers!  I was skepticalI guess, being outside of my very limited realm of experience, this just didn't seem  possible. 

Boy, was I surprised when, a couple of weeks later, these things had turned into marigolds!  This cemented my belief in the powerful magic of seeds, right then and there. 

At this point in the cycle, nature is once again sealing up her little packages of magic, knowing that they will come to fruition in their time. To the universe, waiting is nothing For me, it's a little harder, but I'm trying to learn.  I'm planting my seeds, and waiting.  I have to believe that faith and patience will eventually produce beautiful blooms.

 Secret Garden by S. Davidson

The waiting is the hardest part; every day you see one more card.  You take it on faith, you take it to the heart.  The waiting is the hardest part.  -Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Rabbit Hash

Last Saturday, my son Colin and I took a drive to a nearby town, Rabbit Hash, Kentucky.  It was a beautiful day, and Rabbit Hash is out in the country, on the Ohio River, so we went on a photo expedition.  Rabbit Hash is actually semi-famous for things other than its weird name.  One of these is the old general store, built in 1831 and supposedly one of the oldest continuously operating general stores in the country- or, something like that.

  I do very much enjoy this sign; the little guy with the coca-cola hat is just too cool, isn't he?

The Rabbit Hash story according to Wikipedia:

During the early 1800's the town, now known as "Rabbit Hash", was well known for a rabbit hash meal. Steamboats often stopped to order the famous hash as they traveled along the Ohio river. In 1831, amazingly enough, a pirate ship (no kidding) docked and entered the town where they proceeded to burn all of the buildings and kill every person. It is known that the next steamboat to stop for hash saw only a three foot sign with the words "rabbit hash" written - it was the only thing standing and was thought to be the name of the town.

I'm not sure if this is completely true, but it makes for a good story- and Rabbit Hash is famous for good stories of one kind or another.  They were even featured on the "CBS Sunday Morning" show, mostly due to the fact that their mayor is a dog.  Yes, you read that correctly- their mayor is literally a member of the canine species.  Here is a campaign photo of Lucy Lou, the third canine mayor of Rabbit Hash, elected by- well, anybody who has a dollar.

Let me clarify that.  The town is actually owned by the Rabbit Hash Historical Society, which needs money to maintain the wooden buildings.  So they decided to hold an election where each vote costs one dollar, you can vote as many times as you want, and you don't have to be a resident to vote.  (I believe there are approximately four residents, if you want to get technical.)
The first two mayors having gone to the big kennel in the sky, they held another election in 2008.  Lucy beat out several dogs, two cats, a pig, and a jackass (who prefers the more politically correct term "donkey") to become the new mayor.  I think she's doing a pretty good job.

I'm not sure why, but the town has become a motorcyclist mecca on the weekends.  Some people complain about all the noise, but I guess the influx of bikers keeps the store in business.


There are some  nice old log buildings, including a museum and art gallery.  Disappointingly, I saw no pigs there at all, crossing or otherwise.  We walked around, watched the bikers, and took pictures of funky old stuff, like this old stove and- thingamajig..

Colin, who is a part-time professional photographer, has a much better camera than I do, and I'm jealous.  He's going to be really aggravated with me when he sees this picture, so ha!

Of course I'm kidding, except for the part about Colin being a  great photographer.  He is, and I'm not just saying that because I'm his mom.  You can see his work here.


There are also a couple of antique stores, and an inn called The Old Hacienda".  I don't know if these old gas pumps work or not.

All in all, it was a beautiful day in Rabbit Hash, despite the overabundance of motorcycles and complete  lack of pigs in the pig crossing!

So if you ever pass through Boone County, Kentucky (and who doesn't, right?), stop and visit Rabbit Hash.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Still Pluggin' Away

Last week I sketched the figure for the 3rd of the Traveler's Tale series.  (You can see part 1 of my process here, and part 2 here.)   I glued down the castle and the tree, and added a little to the path that goes up the hillI always do my sketches on tracing paper so I can see more accurately how to place it, and what it will look like once it's there.  
I had a hard time with this figure, because I didn't have a live model or even a good picture to work from.  On top of that, it's quite difficult to distill a figure down to only two values.  It gives me a newfound respect for those 60's blacklight poster artists, let me tell you!

I debated with myself for a long time about whether she should be clothed.  On one hand, I wanted her to look like a stranger in a strange land, but then I just couldn't see it working with a bare butt in front of a castle- I thought that might seem so much out of place as to be distracting.  In addition, I thought maybe her dress flowing into/ merging with the pathway might be a nice compositional element.  So, I decided to go with the dress.  (Don't you just adore knowing my every mundane little thought? Ha!)

I then took the sketch of the figure and placed it on the map I had chosen, taping it down carefully with artist's tape.

Then I put the handy-dandy transfer paper underneath and went over the lines to transfer the image onto the map.

Using my trusty x-acto knife, I slowly and carefully cut out the figure.  I taped it onto the piece to see how it would look...

...and I think it looks too small!  Yikes!  It looked fine on the sketch- what's up with that?  Also, I really don't like the map I chose for the figure; it's too busy, too many words and things.  And I still have no idea what I'm going to do about those snakes in the sky.  Where's St. Patrick when you need him?

Well, I guess it's back to the drawing board...

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Traveler's Tale: Balance

I finally got a photo of the second piece in the Traveler series, which I had finished a few weeks ago.  I am now working on the third, tentatively called "Long Ago and Far Away".  So far, this second one has been the hardest; I knew what I wanted the figure to look like, but the background was a *&#^@!   The original sky map was printed in 1957, and I knew I would never find another one, so I scanned it.  Of course, my scanner only accepts up to size 8.5 x 11 inches, so I had to then try to splice the pieces together.  The map doesn't quite look like this either, as I wanted the circle to go all the way around, which it does not because in the past I have cut pieces out and used them, not anticipating that I'd do a whole series like this!  Lots of improvisation was involved.  It took me weeks just to find the right maps for the bottom part, and the right way to combine them, as well as what and how to incorporate the "land" she's walking toward.  But overall, I'm pretty pleased with the result.  What do you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Falling Behind; Looking Up

I was feeling pretty sorry for myself, and extremely stressed.  Not only is my job more overwhelming this year than ever, I was getting depressed about not having time to make art.  I felt like I was always running, yet falling farther and farther behind.  Then, I read Karin's postAnd I realized what a big, pathetic baby I am.  I felt like a very bad person, whining about, well, mostly...nothing Blah, blah, blah, wah, wah, wah!  Why can't I be grateful for what I haveWhy does it take someone else's suffering to open my eyes to all the wonderful things in my life, things I take for granted?

I began thinking of Karin's request that we share any prayers that we say in times of trouble. No words came to mind. This is a tough one for me; I thought, What do I do when I feel the need for spiritual comfort or strength?  It occurred to me that I find my spirituality in nature, and that contact with that life-force, or whatever you care to call it, is what makes me feel better when all else fails.  Someone once told me that if I felt weak or tired, I should put my arms around a tree, and draw from its strength.  Sounds strange to some, I suppose, but this has always worked for me.

There's another way I 'pray'- I look upAt the sky, at the tops of the trees, at the place where they meet.  This, I believe, is one of the faces of God.  So Karin, I share these with you, in the hope that in some small way, they will serve as my prayer for you.