Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Patina of Age

As I was walking through my flower gardens yesterday, I was disappointed to find that many of the summer flowers were winding down.  My first thought was that it wasn't very pretty; heat, lack of rain, and time had taken their toll.  Perennials that had produced lavish displays of color all summer were finished blooming, leaving brittle dry stems and faded flowers that were going to seed.  But as I slowed down and really looked, I began to see that a transformation had taken place.  They were still beautiful; I just had to look at them differently to see it.

The colors are muted, with more variation in tone than before...

grays and browns are mixed with soft mauves and peaches...

 ...with petals dried and curled until they look like crazy dancers in a windstorm.

They embody the Japanese aesthetic quality called wabi-sabi. Put in simplest terms:


Wabi is the beauty that comes from the right kind of imperfection,

and Sabi is the beauty that comes from age.

And aging means changing...


...it's a different kind of beauty...


 but beautiful, still.  I can see that now.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Transformation 44, with a little help...

Thanks to all of you, here's Transformation 44.

Ingredients: Rives BFK, litho ink, handmade paper, metallic oil crayon, Caran D'Ache crayons, watercolor pencil, help from my friends.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Transformation 44, undecided & unfinished...

This piece isn't quite finished, but it's getting there.  My main problem at this point is that I can't decide which way it should be oriented, vis a vis the whole up/down, top/bottom thing.  As usual, my pathetic indecisiveness has left me to ask you, my blogger friends, for your opinions.

So, here we go:

This way?

Or this way?

Thanks for the help!

Monday, August 16, 2010


It is quiet here.
Peace wraps around my heart.

Hemmed in finest lace, the field is dressed in green and pink. 

There, a fairy ring of joe-pye weed
is guarded by a weathered fence post... 
If I stand very still, and listen, 
I can hear a bird calling,

and the hypnotic drone of bees at work.

Wind shushes softly 
through the Queen Anne's lace and iron weed.

 I peer inside a secret world
that smells like sunlight...

I hold this peace inside my heart
so I can always find it.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

One More Time!

Like a dog with a bone, for some reason I just couldn't let this one go.  Maybe it's stubbornness, or, put in a more positive light, persistence.  I guess there was something I liked about this piece, enough that I thought it deserved one last try.  If you'd like to see some of its past incarnations, here is the first version:

 After getting some advice, I tried to fix it, but still wasn't satisfied with it, here.  So I decided to use Photoshop to do some experimental cropping, here.  Ultimately, I was unable to make a decision.

After putting it in my "scrap works" drawer, I came upon it again last week while re-organizing my studio.  I'm a big proponent of recycling old artwork anyway; most of my collages include pieces of my work that I have "scrapped", so to speak.  Call it what you will: reusing, recycling, thriftiness, or just being a plain old pack-rat.  Sometimes it works beautifully, and sometimes, it doesn't, but my motto is: It's worth a try.

I've also been inspired by Jeane Myers's recent series of gorgeous re-dos at ARTIT, whose motto is similar to mine: "What's to lose...?"   That's only one of many great examples, so please do check out her blog for several others that are just as awesome- as is all of her work.  In fact, I just noticed that her newest post is also about a reworked piece!

Here's my final (I think) version of this piece:

Ingredients: multi-media art board, vintage maps, vintage book pages, handmade papers, joss paper, graphite, watercolor pencil, Pitt artist pen, metallic paint pens, eyelet, vellum, PVA glue, acrylic gel medium, kitchen sink (ha!).

I have cropped the top, bottom, and left side, and added more book pages and a few other bits.  Of course, the main difference is the addition of the raven.  I felt it needed a focal point to pull everything together, but it had to be something strong in value to hold its own against all the bright colors.  My solution was to go with black, which seems to work.  It's entirely possible that this piece is way overworked, though I think some of the compositional problems have been resolved.  What do you think?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

June Bug Versus Hurricane

I dunno about this one, but I call it June Bug Versus Hurricane (thanks to Lucinda Williams for the title), because that's about how I'm feeling right now.  Trying to get ready for my solo show, which takes place in a town several hours away (I know, it's not until October, but I like to start freaking out in advance!), and with school about to start, it's a bit overwhelming.  But I'm just trusting that I'll be able to glide on the wind, so it's all good!

Ingredients:  Rives BFK, acetate, watercolor, acrylic ink, monotype cut-outs.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Marietta, Ohio

And now, the rest of the story...
         I know you all are dying to hear about the rest of my vacation, so here it is.  (Try not to get too excited.)  Our last night in Alexandria ended with this beautiful sunset, included here just because I like the photo:

Nice, huh?

On the way home from visiting my son in the Washington, DC, area, we decided to take a bit of a detour and investigate the town of Marietta, Ohio.  It was the first town in the Northwest Territory, back when Ohio was part of that vast, largely unsettled tract of land west of the original colonies, which had just recently become the first 13 states in that newborn nation called The United States of America.  Here's what Marietta's official website says about it:

The City of Marietta was established on April 7, 1788 as the first permanent settlement of the Northwest Territory.
Located at the confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers, the City of Marietta offers heritage homes, historical parks, monuments and cemeteries, charming shops in our quaint downtown shopping district, museums, trolley tours, and seven miles of paved brick streets.

 The town is really cute, and I loved all the historic buildings and brick streets.

The confluence of the Ohio and Muskingum Rivers (Muskingum on the right).

This is the old bridge that used to cross the Muskingum to Fort Harmer.

You can't walk on it any more, for obvious reasons, but they have constructed a walkway beside it so that you can still get to the charming town of Harmer.

I loved the bridge, because of its aged wood and rusted metal beams...

Harmer, like Marietta, is full of beautiful historic homes and little shops...

... and some wonderful old trains.

On the way back we saw a paddle-wheel boat cruising down the river...

... and a dad with two kids in a rowboat...

... and a pretty impressive backflip!

The only thing about Marietta that disappointed me was that most of the shops and antique stores are only open on the weekends.  Sadly, it was Monday... which means I'm going back!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Finding My Way -or- Where the Heck is My GPS When I Need it?

   Finding My Way
Ingredients: map fragments, cut-outs, watercolor, acrylic ink, watercolor pencil, photocopy, metal game spinners; painted, drawn, glued, and punched.

I finally finished the collage I had started before I went on my trip.  This is another experiment; I have no idea if it will lead to a new series, and have decided not to worry about that any more.  Go with the flow and see where it leads, is my new motto. 

I had a lot of fun with this one for several reasons.  I didn't worry about whether the elements in the piece really made sense together, but proceeded more according to intuition, coupled with (hopefully) a decent composition.  I had this fragment of a old piece with an astrolabe on it, and I'm notoriously bad with directions, so I made a bit of a visual pun around that idea, combined with the idea of searching for my artistic direction.  Did that make sense, or am I just rambling?  I've also been thinking for a while about incorporating objects, particularly metal, into some of my collages, so I got a big kick out of the metal spinners.  Doesn't take much to amuse me, eh?

Moving on to some random blogging questions, I'm wondering if anyone can help me out with these.  This issue has bothered me for some time.  I so appreciate the comments of my readers, and want to respond to all of them if possible.  My problem is that many people have no email address to respond to, just the "noreply-comment..." thing.  I'm never sure if I should put my replies on the post's comments, because I don't know if anyone comes back to check them.  Personally, I rarely go back to a post I've commented on, partly because I can't even keep up with reading the new ones, and partly because I don't always remember which posts I've commented on and where/whose they were.  Any ideas?  I'd like to know how other bloggers handle this, and is there a consensus on what is "best etiquette" here?

My other question is technical.  For whatever reason, when I'm creating a post, I sometimes have trouble getting the program to allow me to type once I've inserted a picture.  The cursor simply will not move, so I'm unable to type anything below the image.  Has anyone else had this problem?  If so, were you able to solve it, and most importantly, how?

Thanks for your help, and as always, for visiting my blog!

Monday, August 2, 2010

And the winner is... ! + A Summer Collection Show

First, I want to express my thanks to everyone who entered my give away, and to my new followers.  I appreciate your kind and wonderful comments, and each and every one of your visits!

My daughter left before 4:00 yesterday, so the honor of choosing the winner fell to my dog, Scout.  As you can see, she was very excited about it.

Well, okay, maybe not so much.  But anyway, I took all the names and tossed them onto the floor, and the first one she sniffed was...

...deb, of Dryadarts Weblog!  Congratulations, Deb!  Email your address to me at sharmon.davidson@gmail.com, and I'll put your prizes in the mail ASAP.

Saturday, I took a piece to the Scott County Arts and Cultural Center for the exhibit A Summer Collection: Works from the Kentucky Guild of Artists and Craftsmen.  The center is in a very old (and no laughing here) jail.  The building is on the historical register, and is soooo cool!

The gallery is in the front, which was actually the jailer's house, but I think they're trying to renovate the rest of the building as well.

This is the front of the Center, and it's just as beautiful on the inside.

Here's the poster for the show.  (They forgot to include my image, but oh well.)  Please come by if you get the chance!