Saturday, February 16, 2008

At the beach

Dedication is making art even when you're at the beach on a rare sunny week in the dead of winter. I took a small box of compost papers and the bare necessities for making collages... my glue pot, scissors, a stencil a stamp pad and a single set of alphabet stamps... just enough toys to play with but not so much that it felt like work. We were in a condo perched high above the Pacific in Depoe Bay, Oregon where the water is wild and the rocky coast is dangerous, and where sandy beaches are few and far between. We did find a lovely little state park at Fogerty Creek where one parks on the east side of Hwy. 101 and walks west, under the highway and alongside the creek and finally out onto the sand... quite large grains of sand that looks like tiny rocks.

An excursion to the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport was a highlight and I went nuts photographing the underwater sea life. I love jelly fish and got some good photos but had more fun in the transparent tunnel where one can walk through the water and experience fish swimming all around. I wasn't successful in photographing leopard shark but I'll remember their patterns for future use in a painting.

One of the first things I did after we checked into our condo was to take all my papers out of the box and choose the colors that might best serve me for the one piece I wanted to do; I put the rest back into the box for another time. Once I was set up I knew I would dabble now and then and get some work done during our down times. Here's a photo of my dear husband who good-naturedly found a tiny space on the table where he could eat breakfast.
We did some beach walking, lots of driving and sightseeing, ate most meals out (I don't cook on vacation if I can get away with it.), read a lot, and stared at the sea, mesmerized by the rhythm of the waves and enthralled by the sounds of the waves and sea spray. It was LOUD there on the edge of the continent, and so peaceful. At the shore I often feel the a sense of the ocean down deep in my core, calming me, filling me with a quiet joy.

I nibbled at making my art, working first thing in the morning one day, all afternoon another day, and now and again until yesterday it was finished. The art part is simple... 3 main pieces of paper, 2 painted ones and one solid color, but it took quite awhile to settle on the composition and those 3 pieces. I have had the experience of just tossing down some papers and have it work without much effort but that usually doesn't happen, nor did it this week. So here's the result.... Optimistic.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

it didn't come easy

Writing for this blog isn’t coming easy for me this week… I’ve composed several paragraphs but nothing is worth publishing so I won’t bother with the writing and simply show you this week’s best work. We’re going to the beach for a few days…listening to the surf pound the rocks will be just what the doctor ordered. I go to the ocean to heal, to rest, to get refreshed by God’s marvelous creation.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

What motivates you to work?

What motivates you to work? I’ve come to know that I need deadlines; left to myself I can fritter away a day along with the best of the procrastinators even though I have the best intentions in the world. Look at this week. I usually start on my sermon note piece by Monday afternoon but what with this bad cold, a new baby, and all sorts of other challenges I didn’t really start until Wednesday. I listened to the sermon on CD and took lots of notes, made some lists, and drew a page full of compositions but I didn’t start with the art until Friday. Let me tell you… my Saturday deadline was looming over my head because these pieces take lots of time! I had no wiggle room.

Then I couldn’t find the right shade of blue paper, so I got out my acrylic and inks and stained a bunch of rice paper. When I tested my pen and my stamp pad ink I found that the ink bled on the paper. Now in near panic mode I emailed my calligrapher friend Alesia who knows all about ink and paper, asking how one seals soft papers.

You see, when paper is hand made, like the rice paper I used, it may not have been sized to prevent ink from seeping into the fibers like blotter paper. This was the case with my paper. An online source gave a recipe for cooking gelatin, alum, and water which is boiled and painted onto the paper to seal the surface. I did that. I then made the artwork and then I followed Alesia’s suggestion to paint the paper with 1:1 acrylic matte medium and water. It worked. No bleeding ink.

I’ve put in quite a few really pleasant hours today doing the rubber stamping and stenciling on this piece. It’s my favorite part of this work… it’s a quiet time, and meditative, prayer-like, and I find myself memorizing the lines, asking myself and God all sorts of questions. I get into a rhythm, listen to a bit of music, time flies, and it almost seems like the world pauses to stretch my time to fit the amount of work I have to do. Now it’s finished and I am thinking about the next composition and the next deadline.
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