Monday, October 12, 2015

At the Forest Edge

Small study, VClaff 2015
I remember stating clearly to a small circle of kindred souls, 
that what I desire most is to simplify, to create more time for dreaming 
and being, and to be less on my own and more connected to others. 
In the last few years, deaths - actual and metaphoric - have left me much 
on my own. I trust that my season of letting go has gifts for me -  the wisdom 
of deep, strong roots and a knowledge of the dark earth underneath, and 
maybe some truth yet unknown. Instead of simplifying, the need to bring in 
more to pay for my healing, not covered by insurance, has me busier than 
ever these last few months. I do hope that there is a way to simplify, be, 
dream and create more, and to find my way out of my hermitage.

Morning, VClaff, watercolor on paper, 2015
               Somehow, I found my way back to the studio though, and ideas that 
have been incubating for a long time are finding expression. Something in 
            the small study that wanted more attention came into a larger painting
            and I find myself at the edge of the forest, not as much in the deep 
            woodlands. As always, the small work allows me to explore many directions 
           and to find my way back into the creative process.
small study, VClaff 2015

small study, VClaff 2015

small study, VClaff 2015

Rhu is a bit of a distraction in the studio, running 
in and out through the hanging screens, wanting me 
to go out to the forest on beautiful, autumn days. 
Maybe when the door is shut and the hearth is 
heating, his visits will be to warm up by the stove, 
and not jump up on the drying paintings. 

At school, we've begun working with eco prints and 
contact printing, which this year's class is loving it. 
They are very willing to experiment and play and had 
a great time with the natural materials.

 We had some good results, and will do more dyeing 
this week. Their assignment is to use these papers 
in finished works incorporating drawing in some way.

 Color is bursting out everywhere right now, at times 
so amazing I gasp. 

                       And with the color, comes the push to get the wood in. 
                      This weekend was spent stacking the first two cords, always 
such a good feeling to see the pile shrink outside the shed, 
and become a neat stack inside. This week, the next two 
cords will be delivered and go into the shed.

 In the in between spaces, there are moments to wander
 the garden, finding joy in the small beauties - a hanging 
leaf, a stone angel among the rusting ferns, sweet Rhu 
enjoying a quiet moment on the stones, and a moment 
with moss.


ELFI said...

un joli retour automnal... avec les travaux de saison!

jude said...

nice to visit you here.

Rowan said...

Rhu is a lovely cat, it sounds as though he will keep life interesting:) I really like the look of the work that you are doing with your students, I'm not surprised that they are enjoying it. I hope we shall see some of the finished work.

Valerianna said...

Yes, season in full swing here, Elfi!

Valerianna said...

Yes, nice to be back, going to try to be more here, Jude!

Valerianna said...

He is, indeed, a crazy one, too! I will surely post updates on the student work, Rowan.

Velma Bolyard said...

our woods are cousins here in the great north woods, and much cordwood is in. but it's warm today, bright and lovely and so very septemberlike. wishing you good things today.

gz said...

inspiring and breathtaking. good work with the students..and Rhu!
I loved having a cat about the place..although pawprints on a freshly slipped plate, and a cat between the feet when carrying a boardful of fresh jugs were not welcome!

Valerianna said...

Good for much wood in, Velma! And it IS a beautiful, warm day. I cleaned up the small kindling and drying wood and neatened up the woodshed area, then sat and enjoyed the warm sunshine and color.

Valerianna said...

Awww, yes, that does sound like a recipe for disaster - a cat underfoot and fresh work! I have to be on my toes when Rhu visits the studio. I hope he'll settle into being a good studio assistant one day.

Nancy said...

Seem like "being" is going your way, among some doing of course.

Starr White said...

So very nice to see a post from you again, friend. Everything looks so beautiful there. Your work looks so expansive when viewed online, it's always surprising to see how tiny they are in real life. Little portals into mystical forest worlds. I love to look at them, and I'm so glad you're back in the studio again. The work you have the students doing looks fascinating and fun. Perhaps you could host an art retreat?

Valerianna said...

Yes, finally finding a little time for being along with the doing :)

Valerianna said...

Good to be back, hope I can keep it up now!! Some of the work is tiny, but some is a whole sheet of watercolor paper, so 22x30" Most of the larger work I'm doing these days is half of that 15"x 22". That seems to work well for me, though I also would like to get a roll of watercolor paper and go really large, but, it ain't cheap! Good to "see" you, Starr.. I'll try to get over to your blog soon!

Mo Crow said...

beautiful studies and always enjoy the wander through your wood

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Mo!

Sue Marrazzo Fine Art said...


Caterina Giglio said...

I was thrilled to see your post pop up in my sidebar, nice to have you back. The photos are gorgeous and the work is stunning, I will have to try it when my bougainvillea blooms again, so inspiring are you! Thanks for such a beauty break! x

Barry said...

Hi VA - so much in this post - some seen and admired on FB. I love the way you take the light band trunks of your forest as turn them into such strong light and contrast filled pieces. May your wood gathering continue to go well so that you and Rhu stay safe and warm in the coming months. Peace. B

Valerianna said...


Valerianna said...

Oh, yes, I bet bougainvillea would be a great flower for the dyepot.

Valerianna said...

Thanks, Barry. Waiting for the next load of wood so I can get it put up quickly! I told Rhu to get himself a pair of work gloves to help, but he just ignored me and walked away....