Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Secret Garden - Building Walls

Time for a little update on the The Secret Garden project.  It is slow going, but that's ok.  That's what I wanted.

Last time, I showed you the little garden gate and the stones surrounding it.  Here I began laying the stones for the walls.

Here the stones have all been stitched on with a teeny tiny little blanket stitch around each one.  And, I tried to give each one a little stoney texture with some simple straight stitches and french knots.  And now ivy has begun to grow upon the walls with couched threads and lazy daisy leaves.  As I said, this is pretty slow going.  Each "leaf" of ivy is comprised of three tiny lazy daisy stitches.

This has been nice, meditative stitching.  This is by far the most long-term, on-going project I have ever attempted.  It requires patience!  I find myself wanting to rush and get finished.  That is when I put it away and work on something else for a while.  I don't want to rush.  I want to take my time and do it well.  I've compromised so many projects in the past due to my impatience to finish.  And really, what's the rush?  I'm having to re-program myself to not be in a hurry to finish.  I have come to realize that in almost every other aspect of my life I have been in a hurry to get finished so I could then go on and accomplish the next task. But, I'm learning that finishing is not necessarily a rewarding goal in itself.  Getting to the end of a journey is not always the point of the journey is it?  Sometimes the journey itself is more rewarding than the destination.

I continue to be amazed at how much art is teaching me about myself and about life in general.  Some of the mistakes I have made with my art projects have been the same mistakes I have made in life.  Being impatient and impetuous.  Going forward with an idea before thinking it through carefully.  Biting off more than I can chew!

Do your artistic pursuits also teach you things about yourself?  About your abilities and your limitations?  Do you see your own strengths and shortcomings reflected back at you in your art?

Ok.  Deep thoughts for a Saturday morning.  So, I will leave you with some pretty pictures.  We've had tons of rain, and the mosses and ferns are just gorgeous right now.

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Cold Sky

Feeling the cold today.

A cold, heavy winter sky.  Beautiful in a lonely sort of way.

My husband cut the meadow this weekend.  The tall, golden, whispering grasses are silent now.

Even Smokey seems to miss them.   Or maybe he misses the field mice and rabbits who lived here.  It's childish of me, but it makes me feel sad to see it this way.  To think of all the little animals who lost their homes.  I feel responsible for them in my own silly, ridiculous way.

Back at the house, a small clump of daffodils that I brought from my Grandmother's house smiles up at me.

As if to say, "Cheer up!  Spring is on its way."  

All things will be new again soon.

Is there anything on earth more cheerful than a daffodil?

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Something Fishy

A couple of years ago I painted this sunfish in acrylic on canvas inspired by the dot paintings of the Australian Aborigines.  I love that style of artwork and wanted to create something similar.  It was lots of fun!

Here lately, I've been toying around with the idea of combining my painting and my stitching into some mixed media pieces.  So, I decided experiment with the idea using one of my favorite subjects - fish!

I began by sketching the outline of the main parts of the fish onto a piece of muslin.  Then I used acrylic paint and water to add washes of color.  As you can see, the water carried the paint beyond the borders of the fish, but that's ok in this case, because the plan is to cut him out and attach him to a pieced background, eventually.  When the paint dried, the colors were much lighter than I was hoping for, so I went back in and deepened the color in some areas with watercolor pencils.

Then, I just went to town filling him in with all different types of stitches.  I didn't really plan before hand, just sort of used whatever I felt like at the time while trying to keep it looking fishy.  That honeycomb buttonhole stitch was a first time for me (you can probably tell that, huh?)  But it was fun!  Next up is designing a background for him to "swim" around in.

I have to say that I have enjoyed every part of this project.  The painting was fun.  The stitching was fun.  I learned so much in the process.  I am learning as I go along this journey that the best teacher of all is just the doing.  As one of my favorite teachers used to say, "We learn by doing!"  She was so right!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Stitching A Prayer

My very first prayer flag.  2013 will be a year of major changes and lots of uncertainty for me and my family, and quite frankly, I have lately been almost overcome with anxiety.  I'm not one of those people who handles change well, and I'm certainly not comfortable with total uncertainty, so I've been struggling a bit.  And praying a lot.  I love the idea of stitching a prayer flag  - to somehow give a physical form to my prayers.  And so, here it is.  The first of many, I'm sure.

"For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord.  Plans to prosper you, and not to harm you.  Plans to give you a hope and a future." 
                                                   - Jeremiah 29:11

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Bunny and a Kitty

                                                                A bunny I sketched.

                                                                    And a kitty I cuddled.

Overall, it was a good day.  How about you?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Salt Shaker Conumdrum

So.  I live in a super humid climate in the bottom of a valley near several streams and creeks and boggy places.  This environment is wonderful for growing the things I love - mosses, ferns, and mushrooms.  Unfortunately, it is not so good for anything metal.  Things rust here at an alarming rate.  Including the lids to things like - you guessed it - salt shakers.  Now we're getting to the point.

Once again, I go to refill the salt shaker and the lid is rusted shut.  So, I come up with the brilliant idea of purchasing a salt shaker with no metal on it whatsoever.  And it just so happens that my favorite antiques shop has a whole wall of wonderful vintage salt shakers!

As soon as I saw this sweet little couple, the farmer and his wife, I knew they had to come and live with me.  I fell in love at first sight.  Too much in love as it turns out.  I love them soooo much, that now I don't want to use them!!! What if one of them gets broken?!!!  They would be separated forever!  I just couldn't bare it.  They're just so sweet!  The farmer's wife sort of reminds me of a Matryoshka doll.

So, after all that, we still don't have a salt shaker (at least not one I'm willing to use ;)) Last night my husband walks into the kitchen and catches me pouring salt into my hand to sprinkle on the potatoes, and he just looked at me and shook his head.   Good thing that man loves me.

Happy weekend!!!