This is the journey we all follow, no matter who we are or what we do. Over the last year, I lost quite a few beings who were part of my life in different ways, beginning with the loss of my mentor & friend, Silvia Heyden, last March, & ending with the loss at the beginning of this year of our dog Roger, a weird, sweet mutt who sometimes made me laugh like crazy & sometimes frustrated the hell out of me.
After so many goodbyes, which have generated much introspection, it is time for new growth, especially appropriate timing right now with the yellow explosion of spring that is settling into the Sonoran desert. Brittlebush, paloverde trees, desert marigold, prickly pears, & various wildflowers are all screaming with the color of the sun. So welcome after the sere winter months.
My non-tapestry art is changing, improving, exciting. Am I backwards, polishing drawing & painting skills after I have already become a proficient weaver??? No matter, it's how my journey is going & I feel that it is going well right now; the classes I have been steadily taking at the Arizona Sonora Desert Museum's Art Institute are improving my aesthetic in both subtle & profound ways...
And have resulted in two smaller tapestries already woven this year, with another larger one in the incubation phase...
cereusly? (24" x 14")
corriente azul (12" x 26")
If you make art, keep doing it. Stretch & grow whenever wherever you can. Use it to get through the happy & the shit times. Use it to inspire others. But always do it from your soul & do it for yourself.
You're on your next journey now, sweet Roger. Thank you for being the weird & wonderful dog that you were & for sharing part of your life with us. We love you forever.
Over the rainbow you'll find a giant pot of cookies waiting for you.
Creativity, tides, moon, seasons, life. The miracle of this season for me is our little blue planet which continues to spin regardless of how we treat her or what dramas we experience in our little lives.
Desert winters are beautiful, but I crave light & sun. When winter solstice is upon us, my spirits lift because days will begin lengthening.
A new tapestry underway on my new 32 inch Mirrix loom... cereusly? ...being woven on its side & inspired by a watercolor done during my first Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum class. The watercolor itself was based on a photo I took of cereus cactus in bloom. How does a humble small prickly plant produce such amazingly large & lush blooms that trumpet forth, wantonly beckoning pollinators to dive into their waxy pink, luscious blooms?
I've completed three more classes since the first, mostly using watercolors...
...and I'm anticipating the next three I've signed up for which begin early next year.
Our year ends on a sad note. Another person in our lives is gone... Dennis' mother died unexpectedly the day before Thanksgiving. She had been ill, but her death was very unexpected. She had just made the decision to retire from a job she held (& loved) for 48 years. Bev was an admirable woman, unusual for her generation in that she had divorced twice, had a career, & lived happily on her own. She will be so very missed.
Fall is here, the time when, finally, the desert sun feels soothing, not scalding. Everything growing, crawling, prowling, or standing upright breathes a sigh of relief. El niño is supposed to bring lots of rain this winter... but promising rain to the desert is risky. We'll see.
I am breaking out of a chrysalis that has held me for several years, inside of which I have experienced both growth & stagnation. Experiencing three National Park artist residencies within four years gave me many wonderful experiences, but also pinned me down while I fulfilled the obligation of creating & donating tapestries. Tapestry weaving being the slow medium it is, & my nature to overachieve somewhat (ok, maybe a lot), kept me quite focused on those projects to the exclusion of most everything else in the artistic realm. Which was one of the reasons I needed to take a hiatus from my old blog. Once the log jam was cleared, I found myself missing it. So here I am, once again.
The last of my of my National Park artist residency tapestries has been completed & is at its new home in Zion National Park. The tapestry, canyon tide, took longer to weave than planned, but there was foot surgery involved. On both feet at the same time, which, as those of you who use a loom with treadles know, would make it really painful to weave until some healing occurred. It was a very challenging piece to weave & at times I hated it, but I'm very happy with how it turned out. I am not sure when & where it will be installed, but I've asked the curator to let me know & also to send me an image of it. Hopefully, she will do so.
As for the condor tapestry, it is still in my possession, not at the Grand Canyon. When there is more to say about that, I'll share it.
canyon tide 34” x 37.75”
Now that I am free again, I have started exhibiting again... most recently some older works in the last three exhibits at Tohono Chul Park. Currently, I have two new small pieces for sale in their invitational exhibit, Small Works, which will be up until mid-February.
As I was finishing the Zion tapestry, an inexplicable burning urge came over me to get an art degree. It was quickly extinguished when I realized I would have to work for grades, take tests, & draw bowls of fruit & naked people while paying huge sums of money. Plus, the local community college would not accept any of my credits I earned for my A.A. degree, only those for my A.S. degree, which is in nursing & so not very helpful for art. Meh! Then I remembered that here in Tucson we have a museum, of which I am a member, that is ranked as one of the top ten in the country... the Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum... & which just happens to offer a certificate in Nature Art focused on the flora & fauna of the desert. Bing! I realized I want to take classes because I have the desire for more formal training using mediums I've been using for a long time without any instruction, like watercolors, not because I want more letters after my name. At the ASDM's Art Institute I've completed my first watercolor class taught by a professional scientific illustrator. I will be taking two more one-day classes with her, plus a three day sketchbook/journaling class taught by renowned local artist Catherine Nash before 2015 ends. Although there is a required "curriculum" listed for the certificate, I learned in a meeting with the Institute's director that those requirements are for people with absolutely no art background... after a review of my portfolio, I've been given permission to tailor the classes I take towards what I feel I need most for myself as long as I meet the "hours required". Wow.
As the year winds down, I am also reflecting on those that finished their journeys here on Earth this year. My mentor & friend, Silvia Heyden, along with three of my mother's sisters are gone. Although I was no longer close to any of the aunts, they were influences in my childhood when we lived in New York & so I have been reminiscing a lot about that time in my life (I especially wonder what the person who buys one aunt's house will think about my & her son's names chiseled into the mirror smooth concrete cellar floor, something we had both thought was a great idea until the last hammer blow on the chisel when we realized we might possibly be skinned alive for what we had done).
As for Silvia, I feel so absolutely fortunate to have had her influence in my life & art. I think of her every time I sit at my loom & have had lots of memories renewed after a recent presentation I gave to the local weaving guild's tapestry study group about my experiences with her. And a very welcome addition to my studio stash is now being squeezed into my yarn cabinets... a wonderful collection of Silvia's yarns.
Table of joy.