Thursday, May 31, 2012

A long day

I was told by someone that the word size of my blog was a bit  too small, so let's make it easier to read.Now all I have to do is figure out what to write about today.
I just got back from a very long day of work at the gallery, followed by a  non optional meeting.  
Naturally, I had to top it off with a bit of tango. So the hours I was gone from home were long, but the balance of my day was acceptable.. We do what we must. We try to get some pleasure from it.For me it was making a sale of a beautiful turquoise vase similar to the one at the left. I did not even have to try to sell it,  the customer just showed up at the front desk with her trophy clutched in her hands, smiling. 
That's the really fun part about being in the gallery, and seeing  when the art work just speaks to someone and it is " theirs".You can tell how much they like it when they cannot let it go. This is a good thing. Really, it is so much more than just our salary, it is a validation that what we do is  appreciated by another person. Is it our ego? I think that is too simple. It is a meeting of  hearts and minds in regards to our vision.
 Any thoughts you'd care to share about this?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Fantasy, according to the dictionary, means
 " imagination unrestrained by reality; wild fancy". This is one of my masks in the "Spirit Seeker" series. As you can see it is not too much bigger than my hand. I can almost hold my fantasy in my hand. That's an interesting thought, isn't it? Usually it seems  most fantasies are up there in our heads.
 Come on now, don't we all have them? Often they are connected with someone of the opposite sex, being in the straight world as I am. Or they may be about that perfect life we want to be living; the job we desire; the trip not yet taken.It is almost as if we are in dream state with our eyes wide open.
We as artists have a free ticket to get on the fantasy ride. How else can we create except to conjure our concept, our fantasy up in our head? Then comes the real work, how to translate it into a tangible form that we can feel good about. First we create for ourselves. We hope our art is something that connects with a viewer, and they like it so much, they will give us money for it. The ultimate compliment and so we can pay our  electric bill.Utilities will not take art in lieu of money.Can you imagine...?
I like clay, it is so of the earth, so primal.I like the feel of it under my fingers. But then I want to add more to my image, usually it is feathers,even leather, hair or yarn.
 This wool I picked up off the fields in Iceland. The sheep had shed it, and while others were busy taking pictures, I was gathering up fluffy white stuff I knew would adorn one of my masks. The fantasy was not clear at that moment, but I knew it would be when I was back in my studio.. So let us take our dreams, or fantasies, and make them happen, or simply enjoy having them. 
 Thoughts to share?

Friday, May 25, 2012


Rainbows. What images they bring to our minds. There is the coolness of the rain, which is really appealing now that it is summer here in the desert. The dictionary defines a rainbow as " The arch of prismatic color formed in the sky opposite the sun and caused by refraction, reflection, and the dispersion of light in raindrops falling through the sky." The red rocks of Sedona appear different in this magical light.
Sun, sky, rain...what a series of images they evoke in our minds and souls. 
The  use of color is something we always think about as artists. I use watercolor, or the opaque form called gouache, in my calligraphy. Even one color in all its tones and hues and density can create a  rainbow effect. The  sheer power of which colors we choose to place  near, next to, or touching each other, can evoke a whole other mood or impression. We have to plan these effects. Mother Nature seems to just get it. And in this picture she did it twice!
 I look forward to that  summer rain and the magical first glimpse of those gently rounded shapes of color that peek out from the clouds, just  before it  come out in full rainbow glory. 
  Any thoughts about your personal rainbows?  

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

More Words

I got some good feed back about the "Power of Words", my last blog.  Here is a picture of me standing next to the finished piece.It is 8 feet long . I Liked the image of the words rolling down to the floor and then some. 
Don't our words usually just roll off our tongue, sometimes without a thought to where they will land?  That is why we like to hang with people who know us, who accept us as we are, and therefore will not judge our words harshly.  We  call these people our friends. We cherish their acceptance of us just as we are. We feel safe with our words around them, knowing we will be heard as we are.  
Words without the actions to back them up, there is a thought someone sent my way. It is easy to say the nice words, but living up to them is the challenge. I guess time is a great method to evaluate if someone's words are their truth. Can we as the listener look behind the verbal and get to what the emotions are behind them? Sometimes we are right on, sometimes I am guessing we tell ourselves a story that that not based on the other person't words at all. Observations are more real. That is my challenge , to observe rather than always interpret. Or ask that person" Is this what you are saying?' save ourselves some grief, perhaps.
In Calligraphy, I use words all the time. Right now I am pondering my next piece for an upcoming show. I will choose my words because of the impact they will impart to my viewer.I will try to draw my viewer into my perspective. From there of course they will give their own meaning to the words. Whenever anyone asks me " What is the meaning of this piece?" I  just say, " whatever you see is what it means to you". 
So it seems to be in life. We always give it our own perspective. Any thoughts you'd like to share about how words affect your life?  

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Power of Words

This is a close up of an 8 foot long wall hanging I created for a show. The title is Words. Since that is the art media I am using  at this very moment while writing my blog, I naturally think  about their impact.
  Words have a lot of power , don't they? They can influence us to have certain feelings. If they are good words, or words of praise , than we feel very happy. If they are words of criticism or anger then we might feel upset or angry also .
When I look at this watercolor, I notice I am using lots of colors to bring in my desired impact to the audience. Certainly colors evoke reactions, or subtle mood alterations, don't they? Isn't red a color  that jumps out, like the oranges and yellows? The greens, purples,  and the blues are more subtle aren't they?   Consider  the contrast of which colors go next to each other. These are certain artistic choices we make when we we are looking at a blank page, a  clean slate, the  tabula rasa.With our color choices,we artists can have an effect on our  audience.  With our words, we can all have a lasting influence on each other.Whether verbal or written, our  words can stay out there in time and space, or on a page, for a very long time.
 Any thoughts on times your words had more impact than you expected?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was walking in the woods in Flagstaff and noticed this beautiful pattern in the bark of a tree.It reminds me of what I am noticing a lot lately, which is the patterns in my  life, and those around me, and how they shape my reactions to events. I think a lot of the patterns are old ones, maybe not even conscious considerations, merely habits I got into way back when, probably for survival, at an early age.
 But do they serve me now? Often not, I am thinking. They are in continuity, because I have  acted  the same for so long I have dug a deep groove where I am  familiar, hence comfortable. I often recognize them in others. How am I doing with myself? There is the ongoing experiment. 
The same can certainly happen with our art. We are almost encouraged to Re create that which sells. So, what I  can do is to make each single piece as unique as possible, truly a  "one of a kind" even if it is in a certain style. Hence I don't get bored. And every time there is a show, I like to go  way out of the mold  for a different look entirely. That seems to be a good way to break out of life's old habits also,to  just act or think unlike what is the old me. When I do it often enough, I will make  a new pattern. 
Surely there are those who share these observations also. I would love your feedback.   

Sunday, May 13, 2012

American Spirit

I like to portray the human form. This is a ceramic sculpture entitled " Native Spirit". Living in the southwest as I do, the Native culture is all around us.  I live next door to the Yavapai Apache tribe. I can drive to Navajo and Hopi villages.
 Is this figure a man or a woman? That is an interpretation I leave up to you.
Those beautiful blankets you can now  buy were wrapped around the body to keep warm from  harsh, high desert winds. Jewelry, well that was, and is,  something both men and woman  wear as adornment. That is nothing new. From the tombs of the Egyptians, to the villages of the ancient ones right here in America, we have always liked to wear beautiful stones. 
There are two words to this title, the second being spirit. Isn't that the essence of who we are? Our spirit; our energy; our inner core. What does that mean? Something different to us all I imagine. That is the part that I am most focused on, the person inside and how I relate to the outside world,  dealing with the good, the bad and the confusing.How to keep centered. As  when I am sitting at the potter's wheel, and  my body, mind, and spirit are focused on what is before me,  and so the clay follows. Focus on where I am going and what I want to create. Not so different from life. 
 I am heading out to my studio now to use the wheel. That will give  me a clue about where I am today, I imagine.
  How about you? Any thoughts on your personal journey?

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Keep Your Head On

Keeping your head on when all things seem to make you feel otherwise. Life gets so complicated these days, it's all we can do to think straight, much less keep our heads on. Well , that is the name of this piece, so I can let it all hang out as an artist.Isn't that wonderful, that we can take what goes on in life and give it an artistic expression? 
Imagine all those frustrating experiences we face each day. You know those days where whatever you do , it is like the fickle finger of fate is conspiring against you. You do everything you are supposed to and still unfortunate things happen to a nice person like yourself." Not fair," you say, and that is certainly the truth. But that does not change what happens. All we can do is try to change our thoughts. And a good way to do this is through action.    
     So,what I am suggesting is to go  to your  studio,     or your computer,or your easel,and create something. The actual physical act can       help  to get out of the repetitive negative thoughts. One can forget about time, which sometimes hangs over us when we are fighting these feelings. I am so full of good advice I truly hope I can follow  it myself. I enjoyed making this piece , but its title really helped me realize how liberating this creative process can be. Any thoughts on this ?

Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Handmade Book Continued

I just took down my show, including  my handmade books, such as this one, alas that  did not sell.  This pictures is of  the Zig Zag book that I put on the front of my show invitation .I was pleased with how this turned out.  Here I am being the teacher of this style of bookmaking  to a group of my fellow book artists. We all take turns passing on our knowledge to each other. When you look closely, you can see that it is really four individual smaller  books that fold up in a zig zag style  to create the one complete book.
 After all, as  an artist, there are always lessons to learn . We all like to talk shop, this being  the informal way to teach, as well as the more structured form as I am doing. I have taught calligraphy for almost 30 years, and it has always been a great lesson to stay ahead of my students. Certainly my peers are even more of a challenge! Maybe that is the lesson here. to just be more prepared than the ones who are listening . And never forget how much you can learn from the ones you are teaching. 
Does this resonate  with any of your experiences ? Care to share?