Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Teasel Time in the Garden!

Teasel - quick sketch

When the teasel blooms, its quite a spectacle!
I love the spike patterns and the strange way it 
 blooms. Sometimes it starts from the center, 
other times from the top as this one... 
what a truly amazing plant to witness - from 
dangerous to downright over the top fancy in a few days!

Weed drawing from yesterday...

Balance is a good thing.... I've been 
balancing my list of art-biz tasks with
blocks of time in the studio. Some of 
the urgency around deadlines is eased, so, 
finding balance is easier. At present 
I'm mostly exploring, playing and settling
in after bringing so much old work 
back from my parents' house that 
needed to find places to live in my 
small space. 

When work is happening.... piles of paper and bits 
of inspiration fill my work table.

Two older sketches exploring natural patterns. 

I cleaned out the studio loft 
that housed nothing but empty moving 
boxes... they seemed precious at the time, 
but since I don't plan on moving,  
better to have my old work 
stored nicely somewhere. I need to 
build some shelving to house the 
HUNDREDS of old sketchbooks from 
Greece and piles of drawings my 
my parents so carefully saved.  
I think I was probably 10 or 11 when I did this one below! 

click to enlarge and read the funny signs!

This is a self-portrait from sometime 
in the 1980's - I 
KNOW my mother must have 
said it was sooo unflattering!
Below is one of my first 
paintings from Samos, Greece. 
Goats in Agios Konstantinos where I
studied art in a small studio program and 
fell in love with the land and began  
eight years of living there part-time. 
"Goats" from Summer 1987.

Below is a small diptych from graduate school, 
sometime in 1993, I think. I was playing 
with using the grain of the wood panel
as part of the image. I used this technique 
a lot in later paintings if I could find interesting 
panels. I'm still interested in this idea and want 
to explore it again. Not the best shot of it, 
but you get the idea. 

I visited my parents twice in the past few weeks, 
to finally get to the overwhelming task of 
clearing out a huge wall of work I had 
stored there. They are moving, so, finally 
I had to go do it. It was actually kind of 
entertaining to re-visit all my old images. 
My father and I laughed at some really bad stuff,
and I had a kind of semi-private retrospective 
exhibition in the basement. 
I purged quite a bit, but couldn't let go of 
sketchbooks. Some of the ones from Greece
are wonderful to look back at. I'll share some 
images from there sometime. 

My father took two trailer loads of old paintings, 
drawings, and sculpture to the dump - some awful work and
some damaged. I took carloads of large paintings, sketchbooks
and portfolios back home with me each time. 
Thank goodness for the studio loft!

someone's stone stack in the river

On the weather situation, we still have had very 
little rain. Thunderstorms seem to skirt around 
here many afternoons, but very few have 
come to the forest. Its been hot, which means
I've been swimming at the river. 
I can't quite make it home without a stone or two. 

Feeling an abundance of gratitude today while strolling 
through the garden. There is something so profoundly 
healing in sharing space with an exuberance 
of flowers and the strangely blooming teasel. 
Buzzes and flights of pollinators 
doing their thing all day is a healing thing. 


steven said...

valerianna thanks for this nice meandering immersion in your world. the teasels make me think of my dad who started out very much the prickly one and ended up the beautiful flower of a buddhist that he was meant to be. steven

A mermaid in the attic said...

What a gorgeous post, and I love all your sketches, the ones of the teasel and the weeds are so beautiful and delicate. Funny the synchronicity in life...I watched the 'Spiderwick Chronicles' with my girls the other day, and your beautiful sketches and notebooks remind me so much of Arthur Spiderwick's 'field guide'! What a wonderful treasure trove of work, and memories, you have!

Valerianna said...

steven - that's quite a teasel tale... lovely that it brought you there....

mermaid - I watched that film a while ago - fun! I loved that field guide... hadn't thought of the connection at the time. Glad you liked the weed drawings, I was actually frustrated that day 'cause I couldn't find the small pen nibs that I wanted so I thought the drawings were a bit clumsy! Maybe I will look at them again and find their delicacy...

Valerianna said...

PS mermaid - well, after looking again, I'm good with the weed drawing, its the teasel sketch that I find clumsy! I've only drawn it a few times, its a plant that demands serious observation to draw no matter what one's style I will try it a few more times.

stregata said...

Your weed sketches leave me breathless!

acornmoon said...

It must be very unsettling in more ways than one, to move studio and home. I hate the idea of taking your work to a dump! Thank goodness you saved your sketchbooks.

I love seeing artist's spaces and I loved the nature notebook with the owls.

We have the very same teasles in flower at the moment, I took lots of photographs of them, and lots of bees!

lotta said...

Thank you for sharing your current botanical sketches, and for the glimpses from your past. Your work is beautiful, now and then.

Valerianna said...

stregata - now THAT's a compliment!

acornmoon - the stuff that went to the dump really was not all that interesting... at one point in my life I was sooo prolific, it was good not to save everything, but to make a decision about what I really wanted. Enjoy the teasle and bees!

lotta - thank you and thanks for stopping by. I loved your last post on queen anne's lace, I love it to draw and use in prints as well.

Kayla coo said...

Hello Valerianna,
Such beautiful drawings and I love the bold brush strokes in your self portrait.
Interesting to see your work space, I envy your surroundings.
M xx

ger said...

Yes, well, I have to admit I envy your surroundings, too... - + I enjoyed your drawings + the peep at your work table... - thanks for your lovely comment...!

Kimberly Wachtel said...

I love seeing some of the stuff I saw yesterday in your studio online plus more I didn't see when I was in your space. I found looking at your sketch book inspiring and interesting. Thanks for sharing your meanderings...I'm looking forward to more sketches and stories about Greece!

ArtSparker said...

Is it true teasel was once used for carding wool?

I like the exploration of the wood panel, and the drawing from when you were ten or eleven is pretty impressive - I think I was mostly trying to draw horses then.

Valerianna said...

Hi Kim - thanks! And plenty of more sketchbooks to thumb through when you're here....

ArtSparker- Yes, I believe that teasel WAS used for carding wool.. just learned that a bit ago.

Studio Sylvia said...

New to your blog, via Stregata's. I enjoyed viewing your work desk. Your botanical paintings are wonderful - very talented. Thank you for sharing.

Valerianna said...

Studio Sylvia - thanks for stopping by... yes, what is it about viewing people's studio spaces? I love that and I also love seeing the houses of creative people, inspiring.

WhisperWars said...

Hi Valerianna, I am carry out a study of 'Teasels' for college and just came across your wonderful delicate drawings. So inspiring!!