Saturday, July 31, 2010

What I Did on My Summer Vacation

I'm back from my trip, and I did have fun in spite of the record-breaking heat in DC.  I thought I'd share a bit about it, while trying not to bore you with too many "tourist photos".  The best thing about my vacation, of course, was getting to spend time with my son, Colin, and his girlfriend, Lindsey.

Here we are at the Potomac River in Old Alexandria.

Old Alexandria is touristy, but very cute, with lots of cool shops and restaurants.  If you're into old buildings that are beautifully restored (which I am), this is a great place to see them.

The Vietnam War Memorial.  I wanted to get the reflection of the wreath in the foreground, with the Washington Monument in the back.  With a little help from Photoshop, it's not too bad.

Part of the World War II Memorial, which was huge and beautiful.

The Smithsonian Museum of Natural History was so cool, I couldn't resist including a couple of photos from inside.

The obligatory bones of extinct animals: this one's a giant sloth.  It was REALLY giant, so if it was coming after you, you'd be REALLY glad that sloths are so slow.

A beautiful old totem pole guards the stairwell.

The Smithsonian Museum of American Art and Portraiture had an exhibit of presidents' portraits...

as well as the winners of the National Portrait Contest.  Here, two girls talk to a sculpture of an old naked guy called, "The sad thing is that I'm so darn happy."  (Well, maybe they weren't actually talking to him, but it looks pretty funny.)

One of my favorite things was the Eastern Market.  There were vendors selling everything from produce to antiques to handmade jewelry.

 We ate two whole pints of these blueberries before we got back on the Metro- yum!

But my favorite booth at the market was the one that sold - incredibly- VINTAGE MAPS!  Can you believe it?  An entire booth that sold vintage maps, prints, stereoscope pictures and lantern slides!  Needless to say, I was a bit excited.  I was determined, however, to show some self-restraint.  I did buy some very nice prints from a 1904 Encyclopedia Britannica, including this:

 Obviously, rock hound that I am, I could not pass this one up!

This one, along with the minerals, will no doubt find places in frames and on my wall.  I don't think I'd dream of cutting them up.

I like the bright colors and designs on this one.

I think this might be my favorite.  It's from an 1889 encyclopedia.

When I got home, I was shocked to realize that I had only bought 3 maps.  What?!!  What was I thinking?  This self-restraint thing has gone entirely too far!  Now I'll have to go back... just to get more maps, of course!

If you haven't entered yet, it's not too late to get in the drawing for my give away.  Just leave a comment on the post previous to this one; entries are open until 4:00 pm Sunday, August 1.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Collage Materials Give Away

I'm so excited to be doing my first give away, which was contingent upon reaching 50 followers.  When I returned from my trip, I discovered to my surprise that I had 52!  So, thanks to my new followers, here we go:

1. You have to be a follower to win, of course.
2. Just leave a comment on this post, and your name will be entered into the drawing.
3. On Sunday, August 1, my beautiful daughter, Caitlin, will close her eyes and draw a name from the magic bowl.
4. I'll post the name of the winner, who will email me his/her address, and I'll put the prizes in the mail.

The lucky winner will get an assortment of pieces of handmade papers and other collage materials, like the ones pictured below,

along with this small collage I made.

Good luck to everyone!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Flutterbyes, Dragonflies, and a Give-Away

In my last post I mentioned that I'm doing a give-away when and if I get to 50 followers.  I don't really know why 50; I guess it's a round number (I like round things!), and seems like a good excuse to celebrate!  I will be giving away, among other things...

... some of my cool collage materials, including Asian book pages, joss papers, and hell notes;

... several pieces of various beautiful handmade papers (not all are pictured);

and something made by me, to be disclosed at a later time, like when I decide what it is!

I won't be posting for the next week or so, because I'm going to be on vacation, visiting my son in the Washington, DC area.  I'm sure I'll be seeing all kinds of interesting sights, and I'll post photos when I get back.  In the meantime, I'll leave you with some flutterbyes, who were having a huge party in back of the log house, while the dragonflies hung out by the pond.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Drafting Table + Give Away

I'm so psyched! (And I never say 'psyched', so I really must be!)  I'm having so much fun visiting the wonderful blogs of those who participated in Seth Apter's BURIED TREASURE collaboration.  It's amazing to me to see how creative all these bloggers are, and yet how different each one is.  I can't believe that I've sat and read them for three fairly long stretches so far, and have only gotten up to number 35!  Whoever said something about needing a butt-rub definitely got it right!

I'm also pretty excited that I've gotten a new follower- #48!  Thank you so much!  Anyway, I'm so happy that I've decided to do a give away when (if) I reach 50 followers.  There will be more info about this in my next post, so stay tuned.  (And no, I'm not giving away my drafting table- sorry.)

I'm sure you're wondering what all this blah-blahing has to do with my drafting table.  Well, it doesn't, really, but I am getting to that now.  I'm very attached to this old table; it carries a lot of sentimental value, and there's an interesting (at least to me) story about it.  I was reminded of it while looking through a bunch of family photos my dad had copied for me- mostly people from past generations- when I came across a photo of my Great-Aunt Meryl Davidson.  I never met her, but it's through her that I came to have the antique drafting table that I use every day, so I feel a sense of connection to her. 

Okay, so here's the story.  When I was about 14 or so, my grandfather Davidson brought me this grungy old drafting table, water-stained and falling apart.  "I thought you might want this," he said.  "It belonged to my sister, Meryl.  It's been sitting in the basement, and needs some work, but somebody might as well use it."

Now, this was strange news, due to the fact that I'd never heard of Meryl.  I must have looked puzzled, because he then explained that it had actually belonged to her boyfriend, with whom she had lived, despite the fact that they weren't married.  He had worked as a commercial artist, making good money, grandpa said.  You have to understand that my grandfather was very reserved, conservative, and did everything exactly "by the book."  Apparently, no one talked about Meryl because she was an embarrassment, a wild rebellious girl who did what she wanted, contrary to the conventions of the time.  It was certainly not normal for a woman to behave this way in the 1920's and '30's.

        Aunt Meryl
I have no idea how old she was when this was taken, but I think she's very pretty. When my grandfather told me about her, I thought she must have been a fascinating person, someone I would have liked to meet.  My grandfather passed away many years ago, and I haven't been able to find out what became of her- when she died, where she lived, or if she stayed with the artist.  I guess I assumed it would have been impolite to ask at the time.  Maybe I'll never know, but I'm still searching for information about my mysterious Aunt Meryl.

The wood appears to be a mixture of maple and pine? ( not really sure), and the black metal pieces are cast iron. Though it has been taken apart and refinished, you can still see the evidence of wear and water damage.

Currently in progress on my drafting table:

What's on yours?

Friday, July 16, 2010

Buried Treasure: A Matter of Time/ Time and Time Again

Seth Apter of The Altered Page had a great idea, as usual.  He thought we should re-post one of our favorites from the past, as everyone may not have read it, and he would then post, on his blog, the links to all this BURIED TREASURE.  I thought this was brilliant, because I'm a slow-poke who often doesn't keep up with my blog reading.  Which brings me to the topic at hand: TIME.
(I kind of cheated because mine's a two-parter.)

  PART 1: A Matter of Time
Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali

Time has become somewhat of an issue with me lately.  To put it bluntly, I've been very stressed out about it, or, more specifically, about a lack of it.  When I'm doing anything, particularly artwork, I feel guilty about the 400 other things I should be doing.  A lot of these things just don't get done.  For example:

Cleaning the house - I mean really, doesn't it just get dirty again almost immediately?  There's practically no reward in it whatsoever!  Yet it must be done- again and again and again.

Cooking - The same thing only worse.  It takes at least four times as long to cook something as it does to eat it.  Then you have to clean it up!  

Errands - Do I really need to go to the post office, get the car washed, or buy laundry detergent?  I'm willing to bet no one ever died from not doing any of those things.  Which reminds me-

Laundry - Ugh!  Can't I just throw the dirty clothes away and buy new ones?  No, wait, which takes less time, washing clothes or going shopping?  Maybe I could just order them online, yeh, that might work... but it would be awfully expensive.  I'd have to get a second job, but then I'd have even less time to do what I want.  Aaaaaaaaaghh!!

Of course, the things listed above are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  I think you can see my problem.  I just can't seem to find much time to make art.  It can literally take me days to do a blog post!   And the business side of it, well, forget it!  I have to choose- I can do art, or do the business, but not both.  Without the art, business is beside the point, and the art without trying to sell it is...well, not getting me any closer to doing it full time.

All of this results in me feeling pressured and nervous, always fretting about something I don't have time to do.  Not very Zen, eh?  So, since I can't get this time thing off my mind, I thought I'd use my blog to do a little exploration of time.  I mean, what is it, actually?  Why does time seem to zip by when we're doing something we enjoy, but crawl so slowly when we're, say, sitting through a boring class, or waiting in line?

Salvador Dali

Timothy Ferriss,  Four-Hour-A-Week Entrepreneur, states: "Conceptually, time is the framework that allows us to put experience on a continuum. Practically, time is a non-renewable resource that determines the redeemable value of almost all renewable resources on a personal level. Income, for example, cannot be traded for experience without the requisite hours or minutes. Time is the master limiting factor."  

Oh yeah, I hear that, Timothy!

 Nude Descending a Staircase,  Marcel Duchamp

"Time is the fourth dimension. The passage of time is an illusion."We have this illusion of a changing, three-dimensional world, even though nothing changes in the four-dimensional union of space and time of Einstein's relativity theory."If life were a movie, physical reality would be the entire DVD: Future and past frames exist just as much as the present one."   - Max Tegmark, Cosmologist. (MIT)

I like this idea better, but how do I make this work for me?  If all moments exist at once, why can't I just move to another spot on the DVD?   Maybe Carl Sagan can help me out:


Okay, I'm not so sure that was helpful, but I do love Carl Sagan!  I think I'll have to continue my time exploration later, because, yes...I'm out of time.

PART 2:  Time and Time Again

In my last post, I kind of ranted and raved about my arch-nemesis, TIME.  I'm sure most artists, especially those who, like me, work a full time day job, can relate.  At this time of year, it's easy to start freaking out about not having enough time to get things done.  I've gotten lots of empathy, which I truly do appreciate, and even an idea or two.  The most intriguing one was to "command time", requiring "just a tiny change in thought."  (Thanks, Cat!)  Apparently, Cat has been reading up on her General Theory of Relativity, a la Einstein, who happens to be one of my personal heroes.  Here's how he sums it up:

"People like us who believe in physics know that the distinction between the past, the present, and the future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion."  -Albert Einstein  

Here are a few other thoughts on time that I thought I'd share with you.  This one's pretty funny:

The line between science and mysticism sometimes grows thin. Today physicists would agree that time is one of the strangest properties of our universe In fact, there is a story circulating among scientists of an immigrant to America who has lost his watch. He walks up to a man on a New York street and asks, "Please, Sir, what is time?" The scientist replies, "I'm sorry, you'll have to ask a philosopher. I'm just a physicist."  Clifford Pickover, Nova Online

 So, I thought I'd check out what philosophy has to say.  Here's a bit about the Tibetan Buddhist perspective:
Kalachakra Mandala: The Wheel of Time
The word kalachakra means cycles of time, and the Kalachakra system presents three such cycles – external, internal and alternative. The external and internal cycles deal with time as we normally know it, while the alternative cycles are practices for gaining liberation from these two. 

According to Buddhist thought, we humans discriminate between past, present and future, and we give them substance by attaching name and meaning to them. This everyday notion of time is not reality and is based on fundamental ignorance (or avidya). Unlike the Christian concept of time, time in Buddhism has no beginning and no end.  In order to awaken to true reality, one must do as Hesse's Siddhartha did - i.e. eliminate the concept of time by realizing that it has no substance. This is how [one] attain[s] wisdom and enlightenment.  -The Conscious Universe  
The question is, how do we make these ideas work for us?  eHow has some suggestions on How to Transcend Time and Space: 
*  Meditation is one of the best-known ways to transcend time and space.
In the Moment  by Laurel Julian
* Try attending a trance dance, ecstatic dance or another movement class where there is no talking allowed in the space. Allow the music and movements of your body to take you outside space and time.  

* Make a commitment to spiritual growth. The more you practice living in the present moment and loving yourself, the more you will experience pure moments of superconsciousness.
Spirit in Flight, by Laurel Julian  
Busy yourself doing something you love. Crafting, reading, painting, singing: Do anything artistic that you enjoy. If you are truly focused and love what you are doing, time and space with dissolve. You can even transcend time and space while doing household chores!Turn your creative outlets into a ritual. Set intentions for what you want while you are creating.
Wait a minute, wasn't that what this whole TIME thing was about in the first place-  not having the TIME to do what I love?  Is that ironic, or what?  I guess I've come full circle here; it has been pretty cathartic in the end.  I guess it's TIME to stop whining and get back to making art!
By the way, I'm pretty sure the part about household chores is a lie! ;)

Don't forget to check out all of the BURIED TREASURE!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Blueprint For Enlightenment

Blueprint for Enlightenment,  8" x 11"
Ingredients: map pieces, parts of vintage book pages, stamp, woodblock print, acrylic ink, watercolor pencil, magazine cut-outs on Rives BFK paper.
Working on this piece was, for me, a meditation of sorts.  Like many of you, I have been following the moon with Donna Iona Drozda's inspirational "Luna See".   I was inspired by this post, in particular the part regarding the solar eclipse of July 11, to "move into the proactive realm of a vision."  On the night of July 11, I could not sleep.  Lying awake with so many thoughts and visions swirling through my consciousness, I felt an energy propelling me to fulfill my life's true purpose, to bring these visions to manifestation.  I know it sounds pretty corny, but that's what it felt like to me- the light was green (hey, Donna!), and I had to hit the accelerator, or get off the bus.  Well, I'm not getting off.

"The most important thing to remember is this: To be ready at any moment to give up what you are for what you might become."   - W. E. B. Du Bois

Thursday, July 8, 2010

My Cabins in the Woods

My recent trip to the country was awesome, but not so restful as you might imagine.  While it was certainly beautiful, and quiet, I actually went out there to work. About 6 years ago, my husband and I bought 60 acres of forest on the Kinneyconnick Creek in Lewis County, Kentucky. The original cabin on the property was built by the man who owned the place in 1959, from redwood that he had shipped from California.  When we purchased it, the cabin was in terrible shape, complete with a partially rotted roof.  Since then we have been renovating it, and it's now structurally sound and looking pretty good, but not completely finished.

Then, I guess because I missed the two log houses we had built and just sold, or possibly because of incurable insanity, I decided I wanted a log house.  So we found one somebody wanted taken down, and moved the logs- several times.  Then we started construction. Believe me, none of this is as easy as it sounds; sometime I'll gather all my photos and give you all a more detailed account.  This picture shows how far we got on our own, before we had to enlist the help of a crane to put up the second floor logs.  This is actually the second time we did this, because the first time, it sort of... fell down.  But that's a whole other story.

Anyway, I thought I'd give you a little tour of the "yard", and the progress made this past week.  The redwood cabin is on the right, and at the time this was taken (2005), had been stained, a new roof put on, chimney repaired, etc.  For directional reference, you (and the photographer) are standing in the driveway.   Let's come back to the present, and walk down to the redwood cabin's nice shady porch.

We're looking at the porch, or side view of the cabin.  Let's step onto it and turn around to look out toward the driveway.  You're now seeing the only (that I know of) redwood tree in Kentucky.  It stands just between the driveway and a very steep drop to the creek.

Planted in 1958, it's just a little baby, for a redwood.  It's a bright yellow-green color in the summer, and I believe it's about 100 feet high, give or take.

 Here's the path leading down to a huge part of the Kinney that everyone calls the "swirl hole".  It starts behind the redwood cabin, so step off the porch and turn left.  This is so pretty, with lots of lush mosses and ferns.

Oops, I forgot, we're not going to the creek right now.  We have to work on the log house!

Due to the magic of the internet, and you not really being here and stuff- voila!  We finally put the doors on the log house.

We're now standing in the "back yard", looking at the french doors we just put in, and the opposite end of the redwood cabin.  Let's walk around to the front and check out the other door, which we put on yesterday.

Doesn't the door look nice?  And to think, only one person was injured putting it in (guess who?).  Let's go inside.  Wow!  It's starting to look like a house in here!  There's still some chinking to be done, and of course, the floor...

Finally, after a dip in the swirl hole to cool off, we're sitting down under the big pine in the front yard to admire our handiwork, and maybe have a beer.

It's a beautiful evening; lean back and relax, enjoy the peace and quiet.

Isn't it great that the sky has been this color the whole time we've been here?

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Recent Developments

Transformation 43 was chosen by my client to go with her other two pieces, and will be shipped off to its new home next week.  Yay!
 Transformation 43

Five pieces of my work have been accepted into the 12th Annual Collage, Digital, and Mixed Media Juried Online International Art Exhibition at the Upstream People Gallery.  Transformation 42 won an award of Special Recognition. The exhibit can be viewed here.

 Transformation 42

My work will be included in A Summer Collection: Works from the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen  from August 6th through September 10th at the Scott County Arts and Cultural Center, located at 117 North Water Street in Georgetown, Kentucky.  This show runs in conjunction with the World Equestrian Games, so hopefully it will be well attended.  The opening reception will be on Friday, August 6, from 6:00 until 8:00 pm.

My solo show at the Artspace Gallery in Richmond, Virginia will be in the Frable Gallery from October 22 until November 21.  That's all I know right now, but I'll share more details as things progress.

  Frable Gallery

While visiting Berea on Tuesday, I found out that another piece had sold, and I need to take more work down to the Promenade Gallery!  I guess I'd better get to work!

currently on my easel

Now, I'm off to my place in the country for a few days of R & R.  When I come back, it's time to get serious!