Archive for the ‘playing’ Category

lessons learned…

Saturday, September 17th, 2016
sunset on Norwegian sea

sunset on Norwegian sea

In my last post I eluded to being away from the computer for awhile…We made a trek to Norway to cruise the coast and see the fjords, which has been a long time dream of hubs. Originally we were to go in May but had to postpone the trip to fall¬†so we¬†chose these particular dates to get the best of the autumnal colors, but alas we were about a week early, and saw maybe 2-3 orange shrubs in over 5000 miles of sailing.

We also saw lots of clouds, fog and rain. In 12 days at sea, there were two half days of glorious sunshine, and surprisingly one of those was at the very far north of the planet in Kirkenes. The fjords though were fabulous! It was astonishing to me how so many people made their homes on this hardscrabble land.

We cruised on a Hurtigruten cargo ship. They sail daily out of Bergen and in addition to cargo, there is a car deck, 200+/-passenger cabins. three restaurants, a bar/lounge and laundry & excursions. I can heartily recommend this line for the same cruise as the luxe ships for half the price.

how would you like your salmon today, m'am?

how would you like your salmon today, m’am?

While the cabin was built for munchkins the food was out of this world. The first night in¬†conversation with my ‘personal server’ about my food allergies I jokingly said¬†I love salmon so much I could eat it everyday. Well, careful what you ask for! I ate smoked salmon, gravlax and poached salmon with fingerling potatoes twice a day for most of 12 days. Actually I began to skip lunch and just eat a handful of trail mix I had brought with me, to avoid the fish!¬†I had to laugh on the return flight from Oslo on wonderful Norwegian Air when¬†I was served poached salmon and fingerling potatoes! I did eat however way more than I should have of fabulous desserts and yet still managed to lose weight on this trip by skipping¬†lunch.

best desserts i have ever eaten...and not super sweet!

best desserts i have ever eaten…

I learned so much on this trip. I love it how sometimes it takes relocation for the message to get through, and while it took several incidents to come across; it finally came through loud and clear. An aggressive chap from Down Under peppering me with unwanted attention and sexual innuendos, a stumble on a levitating floor mat, a nasty head cold and finally my trick knee making an appearance all appeared as clues in my telegram from the Universe.

When I could no longer walk without assistance, we changed our plans to go from Bergen to Oslo by train, stayed two extra days in beautiful Bergen and flew home from there. I spent the final two days of the trip, hotel bound in a huge spacious room with natural light, hand-stitching. I also tweaked a lot of photos with apps which is endlessly entertaining. It was pure bliss for me while hubs traipsed through six museums in the two days, which would have bored me out of my gourd. Everyone was happy!

kaleidoscope app of kleenex from head cold!

kaleidoscope app of kleenex from head cold!

So what did I learn? I learned that after four cruising trips (Mexico, Lake Powell, the Seine in France and this one) that I really HATE sitting and staring out the window at life at 9 knots per hour!

I learned that as much as I love world travel, I am retiring my passport. I may go to Canada but that is it. There is nothing worse than having the body fail in a foreign country. Never say never, but with us both having health & aging issues, I am just not up for the long haul game anymore. Ironically in having this discussion with peers, many are hanging up the passport! It is a sad decision and yet to reinforce it I made a list. I have been to 46 of the 50 states and 17 countries; four of those more than once! How blessed am I.

I was reminded how often I am embarrassed to be an American abroad. To be away from all the election noise for two weeks, to hear no mention of either idiot running for office for two entire weeks was absolute bliss. To visit a country inhabited by adults and not childish pettiness, self-absorption, celebrity worship, media manipulation is so completely refreshing. Sure most people here are good but that is certainly not the image we project abroad. It is just embarrassing.

I got my final lesson on the trip home. In the airport in Bergen there was another woman in a wheelchair. We discovered we lived 10 miles apart and were headed home on the same flight out of Oslo. It turned out we “knew’ each other from past lives in fiber¬†and¬†knew many of the same people. She had been visiting a friend in Norway who she had visited¬†several times before. However this time she sustained 3rd degree burns over much of her body in a propane fire at a farmhouse. She was returning home after a month in the burn unit in Bergen. Her strength and courage made such a profound impact on me. And made all of my physical challenges seem quite minimal.

We’ve been home enough days that sleep is returning to normal and enjoying an intensive in dog cuddling. So as soon as I shake the rest of this cold which is holding my ‘sea legs’ hostage I will be back in the studio. I’ve postponed an October trip to next year and also plan to change another. Before we left I had booked us to go in a 3 week CRUISE¬†next year to Australia-NZ! For now just packing up the car &¬†dog and heading up the coast seems a lot more feasible.

Meanwhile I continue to post collages of trip photos on my Instagram feed.

it has come to my attention…

Wednesday, July 6th, 2016
Mops editing text

Mops editing text

…that my dog may need a blog! This weekend I caught her editing my work when it was suggested to me that she needs her own blog. Personally I cannot imagine this being a fruitful enterprise as it would require my giving her my passwords, and I am not sure she can be trusted with those, just yet.

Besides what could she possibly talk about? Sure there are the other dogs at doggie daycare, aka DDC, or¬†perhaps she could gossip about the other dogs on the block, or Pooki and Coco next door. She could talk about her down dog pose or she might critique her dining options, or even the cleanliness of her dog run. She can’t complain about her sleeping accommodations as she readily pops into her crate each night at¬†the mere utterance of ‘nighty night.’ She might grouse about how sneaky I have become about getting the harness and leash on her to go in the car. Or she might carry on about her carsickness which we seem to finally have a handle on.

But after that, what? Oh yea, nothing.¬†Life is good in Mopsy’s world, and by default in mine, as her human.

just chillin'

just chillin’

this and that…v.12

Sunday, May 22nd, 2016
morning walk: rotted wood, roses, yarrow, red cabbage, potholes

morning walk: rotted wood, roses, yarrow, red cabbage, potholes

I have been preoccupied with life for the past month. I continue to work on #12 in the collaborative series, with 13, 14 and 15 fermenting in my cranium.

And we continue to work on dog training.¬†Mops is coming along so well, aside from the times when she chews up something important. I work diligently to stay¬†one step ahead of her. Most recently she chewed the straps off the face mask I wear to breathe when I sleep! Not very helpful…but we love her anyway!

Mopsy, in witness protection program

Mopsy, in witness protection program

We regretfully postponed a big trip but in doing so got to add more on to it, so in the end it will be a better vacation. We would have been away now so this opens up my studio time. Abundant free time however often makes self-discipline much more difficult!

morning walk: Mops, pond scum, bbq grate, goose poop, weeping willow reflection

morning walk: Mops, pond scum, bbq grate, goose poop, weeping willow reflection

One thing I have been doing a lot of is taking photos of interesting textures, patterns, colors, etc on my morning walks. I then collage on an app and post to my Instagram feed. Many have told me they love my morning walk photos. For me it trains my eye to see the art in everyday living.

Of course medical science would say that to stop and photograph while walking is not exactly stellar cardio. We all have our priorities! ART is

11, 12 and new…

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

I recall my grandmother at about my current age telling my 20 yr old self that time passes more quickly the older one gets. At the time I just thought, well, she’s old. Now I get it and I see it everywhere, like on laundry day. Is it really 12 days since I last did laundry? On the Wii Fit, what? 5 days since I last used it? Or today, as the second month of the New Year draws¬†to a close and I haven’t blogged for a month?

What I have been doing this past month is working on the collaborative series, doing Arts Guild board biz/lead communicator for our big fundraiser, and searching for a new rescue pup.

Defining Moments #11 in process

Defining Moments #11 in process

I am now stitching #11 which I hope will be the last piece I ever do about my surgeries. I thought long and hard about how I wanted to make a profound yet simple statement and I am thrilled to say that has been accomplished. What also feels like closure to the tale is the backing fabric is from the early Tall Girl Series art cloth I designed. I plan to use more fabrics from that series for the facings and sleeve as well. As number 12 is percolating in my brain I am thinking a lot about hand-writing the stories to cloth rather than printing them. With a total of 25 to do, coming up almost to the halfway point is very gratifying!

In the meantime my exemplary skills as a volunteer were heralded in the latest issue of the SAQA Journal. And I have been worker bee extraordinaire for the annual Arts Guild off Sonoma REPO show. This is a very quirky show comprised of donated artwork made of minimally 70% recycled materials. Over seventy artists are donating work. The show is up March 5-26 . Check the website for details.

Keeping Up Appearances #11, vintage cotton tablecloth

Keeping Up Appearances #11, vintage cotton tablecloth

I am submitting two pieces of the Keeping Up Appearances series; #11 and #12 to REPO. ¬†KUA #11¬†is a dye-painted screen-printed vintage 50’s cotton tablecloth. When viewed close-up the stencil printing of that era is apparent through the surface design. In addition KUA #12 was also dye-painted and screen-printed with etiquette text on mid-century pink and red monogrammed linen dinner napkins.

Finally, ever since we lost our old dog Millie last summer I have been perusing rescue sites. We rescued/then ¬†surrendered a jack russell mix last fall. It was heartbreaking and I was pretty sure then I was finished with rescuing dogs. As defiant I was in my resolve I continued to search and last weekend cast a wider net finding exactly what I was looking for…a terrier mix that was neither pittie nor chihuahua. So this week we went to Monterey and adopted this wire haired sweet girl we have named Mopsy.



And so we begin anew…she is already in training to be my ever faithful studio companion!

…on documentation and dawgs

Tuesday, November 10th, 2015

hand-dyes from Soderlund class

A few years ago I added an important¬†form of documentation to the categorization of my work. I put together a 3″ thick binder, in chronological order, of all the work I have made since 1998. Initially resistant to the idea as I already have a website and hardcopy portfolio; the reasoning behind this was posterity. So when archaeologists are digging through my house in 2500 they will know why I made this work and what it entailed. Yea, I know, a big stretch. ¬†All the same it is good information to have especially laid out in chronological order.

So I was a tad¬†astonished today, while looking¬†at my documentation¬†binder to find¬†a¬†small work finished since 2013 to enter in the local arts center member show, that I only had two pieces that qualified and one of them I showed there last year. The remaining piece is the other half of the diptych and even though looks slightly different I am certain there would be outrage that I showed the ‘same work’ there two years in a row!

I was also surprised¬†that in 2015 I have completed just four large pieces of work. Throwback to 2009 when I made over 60 pieces in one year. It seems I have slowed down a bit in the past 6 years! Of course I have all kinds of reasonable excuses; both knees replaced, my father’s death, and a year plus of chronic debilitation, so that is understandable. I also have been engrossed in the 3 year collaboration, so the four pieces I made this year were for that. And there are all big ones!

It really is somewhat of a personal accomplishment that I have slowed down production so much. I’d been so prolific in the past in comparison. Maybe just maybe I am living life more presently¬†and making art differently as well. Before my work was fairly spontaneous whereas now it requires a lot of research and introspection before even drafting the design.

Mizu in dog friendly, fancy hotel dining room

Mizu in dog friendly, fancy hotel dining room

And then there are the additional procrastination modes: the¬†aforementioned rescue pooch who is both delight and terror barks at anything that stands still, or in hubs’ case exhales. My days are full of interruptions to calm the dog, to work towards ending her fear aggression. It is exhausting and yet somehow I get the message that maybe this is the point. The point is to get me to stop, breathe, stay in the moment, and chill.

And by¬†default I am the tech guru in the family. So a new modem-router threw everything connected to it out of whack. I have managed to reconfigure a few things but still have daily technology reconfiguration headaches. I’d much prefer to sit back with my crazy pooch and toss bonbons than try to reprogram the solar panel connector or the Netflix device that won’t allow me to sign in.

In a perfect world someone would come in with a magic wand, make everything work and calm the dog in their wake. Yea…and I believe in the tooth fairy too.

new pooch…

Wednesday, October 14th, 2015


As if I weren’t finding enough reasons of my own to avoid the studio lately, this week I came up with a new one! We just¬†rescued a 7 yr old Jack Russell Terrier mix from the animal shelter. My daughter, the¬†dog whisperer and ‘mother’ to two Doxie rescues was hot on the trail of another pooch for us to rescue since we lost our beloved Millie in July. We weren’t sure we were ready yet¬†as¬†there is something to be said for no canine responsibility. Finally I decided we should ‘just go look’ at two dogs. We never made it to the second shelter.

My big criteria this time was a smaller dog as handling an 85# dog is no longer my preference. As tall folk we have often laughed at big people walking small dogs. If I have learned nothing in this life, it is that which provokes the most judgment in me frequently comes back as my reality!

So my days right now are immersed in housebreaking, training, cuddling and walking. It really is not a bad life once one surrenders to it! Possibly the side benefit is I am already spending less time on my electronic devices and more time just chillin’ . Me on relax is a whole new social experiment! Mizu is already having a good influence on me.

As we learned with Millie, when we rescue dogs they rescue us right back.

this and that…

Sunday, April 26th, 2015
glorious NM clouds make for fantastic sunsets

glorious NM clouds make for fantastic sunsets

Last week I traveled with a friend for a mixed media art class in Santa Fe, NM. Anyone who knows me well knows I am a total NM junkie. It takes little to convince me to go to NM, and this my 14th trip was no exception. This time I spent no time in galleries, the cooking school or on the plaza, however.

All my time was consumed with art-making, eating and sleeping. With possibly 100 great restaurants in Santa Fe, we chose repeats at our favorites! And with preparation I was able to consume everything I loved including an entire week of green chile and blue corn anything.

green please!

green please!

foodWe also crammed in two errands, one to see the SAQA NM region’s Cultural Red exhibit at the capitol roundhouse and the other a visit to our favorite indian jewelry trading post, the Santa Fe Exchange. ¬†It was delightful!

We studied with Betty Busby whose work I have been in awe of for a long while. I¬†bought a piece of her work in 2011 from¬†the SAQA auction and having it hang in my office is such a treat, and¬†daily reminder of all that is possible to explore in this medium. Spending the week with Betty¬†really demystified her¬†work for me and made me appreciate even more its detail and intricacy. Additionally¬†she is such a generous soul and funny person so it was overall a great¬†experience. As¬†I was fully ‘in the moment’ I was also able to appreciate the art immersion, the relaxation and the gift of time away.

painted leaves

painted leaves

We painted non-wovens, such as these leaves and the outline of an aged cactus, which strangely looks a bit like a totem.

old cactus sketch cut in fabric

old cactus sketch cut in fabric

We also painted several pieces of silk under/over textured mat surfaces…

painted silk over plastic mat

painted silk over plastic mat


And used Shiva paint sticks to create patterns on previously painted fabrics.   shiva

Now that I am back I am picking up where I left off on the collaboration as well as enjoying an online class titled¬†iPad for Artists which reminds me I best get started…


random thoughts…

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013

Today I was tidying up in the studio so I could pull, press and organize fifteen of the Tall Girl Series pieces to ship next week to an exhibit. Simultaneously I was searching my stash for a vintage kimono strip which I bought in Japan in 2002.

Last Sunday as I perused the merchants at the local antique faire I stumbled across another incredible vintage kimono section which I believed could be paired with the 2002 acquisition in new work.  So as I searched through both the Japanese fabric section and the surface design & other extraordinarily gorgeous fabric stashes a random thought appeared.

I would like someday to use up every piece of this fabric! ¬†¬†It was such a delightful and innocent thought which¬†startled me in a way; as if my inner kid was quite optimistically saying someday I am going to use up all this fabric which I have long believed to be untrue. ¬† It also reaffirmed how much I love working in cloth. And it could not have come at a better time…when I have finished a long-term project and am pondering what’s next? It could be almost anything that involves cloth…beautiful cloth!


On another note I finished painting the shoes for my photographer friend. I learned so much in painting these small shoes. One of the reasons my shoes are so cool is I have a large canvas to work from. These shoes are womens 6/mens 4. There was hardly any canvas on which to paint. They ended up far more gold than I would have liked but a couple dabs of paint and the shoe was covered! ¬†It was a good experiment though as the Arts Guild is interested in having me do custom painted shoes. Could I be so bold as to request no shoes under size 9?!!! Probably not…


one size 13 step at a time…

Sunday, September 9th, 2012

I am in a very weird place with my knee replacement recovery.¬† At almost 8 weeks my mental energy has returned with a vengeance but my physical body (the knee anyway) is not able to keep up! I continue to work hard in physical therapy, alternating with gym workouts and walking the track. I am walking some at home without the cane but still using it out in the world. I am driving again but with few places to go where I can stand for more than 15-20 mins. Short trips to pick up a few groceries or in the kitchen making a quick lunch or breakfast…things are progressing.

Before surgery I left a design template on the wall to inspire me to get back to my art-making. I also picked out the fabrics for same. This is my practice whenever I travel to have something other than a blank wall staring back at me to motivate me to get on with it.¬† I’ve been thinking that perhaps this week or next I will start work on it.

And yet I am not sure I want to. Much of my mental process during this recovery has been about my art. For so many reasons I feel as if I am on a precipice …but of what I am not yet sure!¬† My father’s death in June combined with my 2nd knee replacement in 9 months have catapulted me into a new chapter in my journey. I am not yet sure where I am, where I am going or what I am supposed to be doing etc.

And yet I know from past experience that I am over-thinking it. I simply need to get out of my own way. Whatever it is may not even happen now. I just need to stop trying to figure it out,¬† get back into the studio and futz around on anything, not necessarily what is on the wall…just something to get those creative juices flowing again…one size 13 step at a time!

abstract landscape class…

Tuesday, March 27th, 2012

This past weekend I took an abstract landscape class with Patty Hawkins.¬† I have long admired her work and knew I wanted to study with her.¬† While¬† it is always good to meet other artists and hear about their perspective on life and art I don’t take as many workshops as I once did as I have pretty much found my way.

Yet workshops challenge me in unexpected ways!¬† I have a fabulous studio custom made to my specs. I don’t share it with anyone or anything.¬† For me to work in a small shared space with all sorts of distractions is a challenge but one well worth it this time.

I have lousy depth perception when it comes to making art so my many attempts at horizons have often been curved…the world is round, no? So it was a great delight to consider abstract ways of constructing the landscape.

I chose this photo of Lake MacDonald in Glacier National Park for my starting inspiration. I am not going to include the fisher-person and boat as the leafy branches provide enough interest for me. 

This is a black/white/gray fabric prototype of the photo.

I have completed the forest and one of the mountains in the background using a Hundertwasser mosaic technique.  I am next creating more mountains as I am leaving the dreaded water reflection to last.  If I can conquer my reflection anxiety then I have a lifetime of fabulous images from which to work!

Because I cannot work in a totally cluttered area I spent this morning finishing up some things in progress. I finished sewing a stack of embroidered linens together to paint and made cloth storage bags for the new recently finished works. Now my¬† studio is free of that clutter and ready for me to create new clutter as I press on (pun intended) with this new work. Stay tuned…