Tuesday, December 10, 2013

A Little Gathering in the Studio

The last preparations for the open studio were completed, of course, minutes before 
guests were invited to arrive. The morning found me banging signs onto the 
telephone pole at the end the road, putting my temporary sign up at the end of 
the driveway (still need to make my RavenWood sign!), heating cider and putting out 
snacks. The week before was spent framing small work and organizing piles of all the 
rest. It was an interesting review of almost a year's worth of work.  

Pasha kept me company in the studio all day one day, doesn't he look better? 
Today he's a tad off again, hoping its just a down day... Thursday we go 
back for more acupuncture and a progress exam. 

A few inches of snow graced the forest the morning of the 
open studio... a nice bit of enchantment for the day. 

I had a small, but steady stream of visitors. I was busy answering questions, 
doing a painting demo and packaging up sales, and I completely forgot to take 
photos of the studio with anyone in it! A few folks had great questions and 
seemed to really understand what I am after with the work. Mostly the work 
has been seen by you all here, folks on Facebook, and friends who have 
visited the studio. I enjoyed hearing the stories people read in my work and a 
number of small sales helps a lot to get through the dry month before school 
starts again.

My students this semester produced some wonderful work. Yesterday was the last 
day of classes - a somewhat grueling day of final critiques, and a messy commute to 
get there. The first photos are final artist's boosk from my 2-D Design and Color class, 
the the rest are from Exploring the Natural World/Mixed Media class. (remember to click 
to see larger)

Mia with her henna-inspired animal designs

Nina with her color theory mandala book

Katlyn's  book of seasonal papercuts

Kelsey's dress inspired by pinecones and the layering of nature

Allie's exploration of the elements in mixed-media collage

Galen's collages based on the book "The Four Agreements" adapted for nature

Courtney's woman in tree

Katie's decomposing cow mixed-media with rusting and burning

Isabel's installation - mixed media with maps and rusting
 A detail of Isabel's piece. I quite enjoy this one!

In the November days before the snow came, a magical
day of blue mists captivated me and made driving about
doing errands rather dreamy! 

And on my shelf, a new owl has come to rest, brought by some visitors.
Owls, both alive and imagined, seem always to find me. I'm hoping to 
be one of the lucky ones who sees a snowy owl as many have been 
sighted nearby this year having journeyed south in search of food. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Grateful in the Forest

Yesterday found me in the studio organizing my work for an open studio & 
holiday sale next weekend. The pinboard with my larger work is like a window 
out to a mostly autumnal forest.  

There were piles and piles of small work to sort and arrange. Next I need to figure 
out a way to present them.. maybe just piles! I will have a stack of large work on
the table as well. I might have had a nice print rack for display, however, a recent 
crisis has slowed my preparations, more on that later. 

And though many of you are far, far away, here is the 
invitation to the open studio next weekend!

Seeing the work together on the board has me thinking about a tryptich... so played 
with some cropping to explore that idea. A tryptich will be visually connected by 
branches and similarities in the washes, but here I wanted to doodle with what 
I already have. The camera is a great tool for seeing possibilities. (be sure to click 
to make it larger to see the details)

My students are working on final projects, and so I become more like an 
on site consultant. I often do a bit of drawing while they work. Enjoyed doing 
some drawings with walnut ink - the backround light brown - and a brown ink, 
which turned out to be quite red-brown. Some wonderfully strange bleeding patterns 
in the background washes.  

Though the golden glow in the forest has fallen to the ground with the leaves, the 
afternoon sun has been spectacular on my walks in the fading light. 

Its been cold... really cold, and this morning's dusting of snow 
transformed my frozen pumpkin into a sugarpumkin.... 

I loved how the snow filled the spaces between stones.

And just after writing the last post, little Pasha had a crisis... and we went to the 
veternary emergency room for many hours one Sunday. They did an exam and 
bloodtests and an x-ray and determined that he was quite constipated, slightly 
anemic and dehydrated. Nothing more sinister was found, for which we were relieved. 
However, they gave him some fluid and cleaned him out with an enema 
and recommended some human medicine to keep him regular. We went home, and he 
was better, but then the human medicine really got things going TOO MUCH. Oh my, 
how I wish I'd followed my intuition and NOT given him that!! He ended up totally 
knocked out after a few days of too much going. 

The good news is that we found an alternative vet, one who does acupuncture 
and treats with Chinese herbs and supplements and who is a very gentle, loving 
and wise soul. We got a last minute appointment and ran over there. Pasha had acupuncture and was given a homeopathic remedy and Chinese herb powder to put 
in his food. He is also getting cod liver oil in his food which he is addicted to now! 
He responded really well to the acupuncture and by the time we got home he was eating like a horse, relaxed and more content and happy than he'd been in months. He's 
been eating and sleeping a lot, pooping easily and day by day seems better and better. 

I feel very grateful for having the opportunity to support him with the same kind of 
alternative care that I receive. I KNOW how well it works and am relieved that he 
will have such wonderful support for the rest of his time here. 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Slow Shifting

work in progress, 15 x 22", VClaff 2013 
I'm quiet today... as the cold stillness settles into the forest, the last of the golden 
leaves spiraling to the white-dusted ground. In the studio, the paintings glow 
with a deeper yellow-orange, as I attempt to capture the extraordinary luminosity 
of late October and early November. I imagine soon there will be a shift in the work in 
response to the slowly transforming woodlands. 

work in progress, 15 x 22", VClaff 2013

"October Tree", watercolor, 10x 8", VClaff 2013

Looking at the pinboard, I see the seasons shifting from winter to spring, to summer 
to fall. 

Things get rather chaotic on the worktable when I'm painting. 
Below is the completed "Beechwood" which I posted a photo of before 
 in process here in case you're interested in seeing how things develop. 

"Beechwood", watercolor, 15"x22", VClaff 2013
The painting below, along with a number of other small watercolors, are now 
listed in my Etsy Shop. The galleries I work with don't seen interested in smaller 
works these days, so I am able to offer the small work at very affordable prices. 
A number of people have asked about purchasing work over the last few months, 
but were on limited budgets. I really wanted to create a body of smaller works
that many more people could afford. Take a peek HERE at my shop. Or find 
the Etsy showcase down below there in the sidebar and follow the link!

"October Sky", watercolor, 8" x 11", VClaff 2013
Pasha is really showing his elder years with this season's cold temperatures. He is 
in and out of the studio and on top of the gas heater for a warm-up when inside. 
I've been feeling intense grief now and again as this little cat-love-of-my-life is 
changing. He may decide he might like to follow my mother to the other side soon. 
Its a lot of grief to stack on top of the other, and sometimes my heart just breaks. 

I'll leave you with images of my walks and wanders - the forest 
of my inspiration and the most spectacular November skies.