Archive for the ‘Motivation’ Category

Irene stops by and she isn’t very nice

August 30, 2011

After a hairy evacuation on Sunday morning with my husband and 2 dogs, I am now temporarily living with friends. Our house is fine but the 3/4 mile dirt road is totally gone. Many here in Vermont have it much worse than me. My husband and I take turns reminding each other that we’re safe, have jobs, an intact house and so many wonderful friends reaching out to help.

my road 5 hours after Irene's deluge on Sunday

my road 5 hours after Irene's deluge on Sunday

It may be many months before we’re able to live at home but I’ve already made tentative plans to hike my studio out piecemeal and relocate for the winter at another friend’s space. Art will survive!

Back in the saddle

June 29, 2011

About a month ago I whined and fretted about my creative block…well I’m back! Despite a constant (wonderful) revolving door of family visits, I stole small moments to peck away at the new piece on my design wall.

I think when time is short it’s easier for me to stop dithering and start fusing.
Here’s a snippet. The colors are wrong somehow-there is NO pink in this piece! It’ll be a bear to photograph when finished.

work in progress detail

work in progress detail

Now I find my mind is percolating with ideas. I need to remember this and next time the creative block panic starts…trust in the process.

Percolation or procrastination?

May 17, 2011

For well over a month now I have had nada on my design wall. I’ve briefly played with a few new materials (fusing crushed taffetta-lots of possibilities!) and have done a few sketches. There are some bits of ideas floating around in my head but nothing that has coalesced into a firm Direction.

Cellview X

Cellview X

In the past when I’d go through a period like this I would feel really awful and out of whack: I’m a failure, there are no ideas left in me, I’m no artist… I’m haunted by that quote, “Creativity is 10% inspiration and 90% perspriration!” Who said that??

I’m really trying to view this time differently now. I’m trying to trust that valuable, creatively juicy percolation is happening down deep and something exciting will bubble up from it. And I’m consciously taking steps to hurry that along. I’m hoping to take a one day workshop this weekend exploring mark making and value using ink on slippery Yupo paper. A local artist,  Leonard Ragouzeos, does amazing work with these materials.

I have been really busy with the business/marketing end of art making: helping my local art group put on a show in two weeks, getting small work framed for that… so that feels good.

Any of you go through fallow times like this? How do you deal with it?

What a gorgeous and inspiring find!

April 23, 2010

I think this is going to fuel my imagination for a while!

While at my local library today I glanced over at a display of books  with an Earth Day theme. The cover of this book grabbed my attention immediately.

The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants

The colors, the textures, the organic shapes and the topic! I’ve been sitting out in the sun and pouring over it.

This large book, The Bizarre and Incredible World of Plants was created by a collaboration between two scientists,  Wolfgang Stuppy and Madeline Harley AND a brilliant visual artist, Rob Kessler. Kessler worked with mostly electron microscopic images and enhanced them with color (sometimes based on scientific evidence and sometimes not). Here are a few more images of pollen grains by Kessler:

pollen grain 1

pollen grain 2

The photos in here are brimming with rich, complex, intricate patterns and textures. I can’t wait to sketch some to be able to begin to know those shapes and lines enough to play with them in my art.  Then that imagery becomes part of the visual vocabulary I draw from (literally) when creating. At least, I think that’s how it works!

Fundamental Change continues

April 6, 2010

I made a piece in 2004 and named it Fundamental Change. I was trying to imagine the very point and moment of shift at a cellular level. Here’s a detail view of it:

Fundamental Change I-detail

Fundamental Change I-detail

Later that year came Fundamental Change II. Different composition but to me still exploring the same thing:



In 2006, during chemotherapy treatment (lots of fundamental change that year!), I created Fundamental Change III:

Fundamental Change III

Fundamental Change III

I guess I’m not finished with this notion because the new piece just beginning to come into being on my design wall will be Fundamental Change IV. It was clear when I was working on the sketches that it’s turning into a playful illustration of a moment of change…

What’s all this about “The Spaces Between”??

March 12, 2010

I’m still finding it interesting to explore the possibilities in this series.  To me, The Spaces Between is about connection/disconnection, reaching out/being guarded, communication/miscommunication…you get the idea?

The shape of the negative space in each piece (the space between) is important to me as is the imagery of the “crossing” of that space.

I’m finishing up this new one. This is a detail shot of it about 90% done. Some additional stitching in the “between” space and some well placed french knots still to come.

new work- detail

The finished piece will be 12″x12″ mounted on  silk covered stretcher bars to 18″x18″. I’ll also do some stitching on the background silk. More on that later.

Getting reaquainted with my sketchbook

February 28, 2010

This week there was a lively discussion on the Studio Art Quilt Assoc. (SAQA) list about how folks are using (or not) sketchbooks.

I’m a firm believer in the power of sketching to generate ideas, loosen up, explore, play with composition and fall in love with certain lines.  It’s almost always where the germ of an idea for a fiber piece begins. So I regularly recommit to working in a sketchbook at least several times a week. Notice I say REcommit because I regularly forget about it. too.

But when I am at a standstill (no idea percolating and self-doubt bubbling up),  once I force myself to open a sketchbook and draw…things happen. My recent favorite thing to do is to listen to a New Yorker fiction podcast on my MP3 player and draw. I do best when my left brain is so absorbed in something that it lets my right brain play without judgment.

This week I dusted off a bottle of permanent black ink, made different dilution levels (grays) in an old ice-cube tray and painted. I LOVED the way the translucent layers would form such unexpected richness. Then I found going back over places with a micron pen added a whole other level of possibilities. Here are a few of the results:

inkwash 1

inkwash 3

pen and ink wash 1

Small work in progress

February 19, 2010

My community’s domestic violence shelter sponsors a women’s film festival and art show each March. Sales go to help fund the shelter and it’s programs. A very worthy cause. I worked there as an intern 20+ years ago.

For several years I’ve donated a piece for the show. My full size works have a price too steep for this kind of show so I try to  whip up a smaller mounted piece. Here’s a detail shot of the one I’m working on. It’s maybe half done:

small work in progress

The piece itself will be 12″ x 12″ mounted onto a slightly larger pre-stretched and fabric covered canvas.

More about microscopic inspiration

December 2, 2009

Recent comments left on my last post about microscopic inspiration have led me to think more about the different types (that I know of) of microscopic images and how they influence how I design my artwork.An optical microscope is the one we’re all most familiar with from high school biology. A thin slice of something is put on a slide and you get a 2D view of it like this:

stem cell through an optical microsope

What REALLY gets me excited and my brain churning are the images created by scanning electron microscopes (SEM) like this:

SEM image of a stem cell

I can imagine climbing around in there (if I were really really tiny)! It never ceases to amaze me that this whole world not only exists but that we’re all MADE of it!

But I realize that when I envision a design for a new piece, I’m thinking of the “scene” as a 2D optical microscopic view. Maybe someday I’ll want to figure out how to create sculptural pieces that look more like a 3D SEM view…

Inspiration through a microscope

November 29, 2009

For several years my art has been inspired by looking at tons of cellular/microscopic imagery primarily online. Although I’m not trained in biology, I’ve tried to pick through the information about the functions and processes connected to the images.
plant cilia

I find that usually sparks the seed of a new work or series. It can be a certain shape, line or pattern in the microscopic images that I fall in love with. Or it can be that my imaginings about that particular process evoke a metaphorical story.

I then make sketches pulling from what’s grown into a fairly large storehouse of bioligical shapes and patterns in my head. A successful sketch, one that leads to a piece of work, usually has an imagined story/metaphor attached to it. That’s what often can serve as a guide as I make each of the myriad decisions about composition, color, line…during the evolution of a piece.

Here’s a link to an amazing collection of plant microcopic images that have been photographed and colored by Jim Haseloff.