Illuminating mistakes

On Saturday, at the reception for an exhibition of my nature prints combined with lettering, my friend, Linda, asked how I’d created one of the collages. The one to which she referred (shown below) was the most complicated. I wasn’t sure I could explain the process of putting it together. It’s not a matter of being cagey; not an unwillingness to share “the family recipe.” No, it’s more a matter of being so absorbed in—or dazzled by—the colorful, patterned possibilities of the prints that I lose track of tangible factors such as time, process, sequence, and decisions.

In fact, the method I use is to make copies of the original prints, then tear them apart and position them onto the substrate (support surface). When I’m satisfied with the composition, I take a picture of it. I then unassemble the collage, numbering each piece. When I start to assemble the actual collage in which I use the original artwork, I follow the numbers, putting piece number one in place first, followed by the second piece, and so on.

Do you wonder why I came up with this plan? Naturally it’s due to another lesson learned “the hard way.” Of course, I pasted a piece to the substrate that I’d intended to place on top of something else. The piece had this lovely, ragged torn edge that was now never going to be seen because it would be covered by something else. I mourned my foolishness for a minute, then got going. Hey, there are more illuminating mistakes in my future!

Two distinct prints came together to create this collage. You’re seeing the whole, “raw” collage here. I cropped it to make A-2-sized note cards, and it’s exhibited in a square frame. The translation of the rubber-stamp seal is “Wisdom,” a quality for which I’m always longing for more. • Yoga sutra IV.22 from Bernard Bouanchaud’s book “The Essence of Yoga.”

It’s my party…

Do you remember the hit rock and roll hit It’s My Party by the late Leslie Gore? Some of the lyrics are, “It’s my party, and I’ll cry if I want to…?” (I thought there were also some lyrics about laughing, but I’m mistaken.) Well, at the reception last night for my nature prints that are combined with lettering of some of my favorite yoga sutras, I didn’t cry—but I sure laughed a lot!

Thank you for stopping by. It’s not often the host of a party can say they had a good time, but I’ll tell you that I had a really good time. The main reasons are because people dear to me helped me, and people dear to me came to the event.

My guests left their cozy homes to drive in dark, damp, cold weather and search—and search—for a parking spot, just to see my recent work. In fact, my friend, Shannon, observed that it was a coming together of friends from activities I most enjoy: nature printing, yoga, lettering, gardening, and writing. What’s extra exciting is that among my friends, many share several of these interests!

After Dan and I got home and unloaded the van, as I was reading Fred Vargas’ book, An Uncertain Place, one of the characters chose to open a bottle of wine to accompany the dinner he’d just made for Chief Inspector Adamsberg. The character explains his rationale by saying something like, “Drinking wine on one’s own is like having a birthday party with no guests.” Such was not the case for me at the reception for “Breathing in the Universe.” Thank you so much for your interest in my work!

Yoga sutra II.38 from Bernard Bouanchaud’s book “The Essence of Yoga.”

Peripatetic: traveling from place to place, especially working or based in various places for relatively short periods; a person influenced by Aristotle. The Peripatetic School was a school of philosophy founded by Greek philosopher Aristotle. (Chief Inspector Adamsberg was been described as “peripatetic.”)

Making supper

While making supper tonight, I heard Garrison Keillor on public radio’s Writer’s Almanac program. Keillor was reading this quote from the late Steve Jobs on the Apple co-founder’s birthday (Feb. 24): “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

Strawberry leaves

An exhibition of my prints with lettering

From now until April 10, 2015, many of my prints are on display in the serene space at One Yoga Studio in south Minneapolis. During the year since One Yoga Studio’s art curator invited me to show my work, I continued to explore the beauty of nature’s shapes, sizes, and patterns.

Ten of the pieces are collages that are the result of combining portions of prints and some of my favorite yoga sutras. The lettering created a focal point for the print—and unity occurred. Focus and unity are some of the tenets of my own yoga practice.

I’m honored and pleased to present my work at One Yoga Studio and am grateful to the community there. I’m also grateful to curator Katherine Pohlman; my friend, fiber artist, Sandra Brick, who introduced me to Katherine; my nature printing teacher, Sonja Larsen; my Viniyoga teacher, Laurie LoPesio; my husband, Dan; and my family, friends, fellow artists, customers, and students. A reception for viewing and visiting will take place on Saturday, March 7, from 6:45 to 8:15 P.M. Please stop by.

I’m beginning to combine lettering with some of my nature prints.

Risking adding more clutter

As I think about clutter, I’m reminded of two quotes. One is from a black, bound, blank book in which I recorded pages of favorite quotes while I was in college. This is from page 272 in Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn: “Order in affairs maintains peace of mind.”

The other inspiring comment is from Susy Pilgrim Waters, a mixed-media, collage, paint, and paper artist whose work I admire. You can see her comment on her blog: “My brain feels much better when my desk is TIDY! So I dream on….” Susy’s quote.

Clearing the clutter

An artful friend stayed home last night to clear the clutter in her studio. Another creative friend reserved a book from the library that addresses dealing with clutter. The three of us agree that we are more creative if our workspace is in order and we have a clear space on which to begin our next project.

Many Americans admit they have “too much stuff.” In fact, have you ever heard anyone say “I have just enough stuff”? The book my friend reserved is on Amazon’s list of Best Books of the Year for 2014. You may be familiar with it; the title is The Life-changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo.

It’s the same book about which my husband emailed to me this link: http://althouse.blogspot.com/2015/01/unbelievable-as-it-may-sound-you-only.html

As it is with many decisions, balance is what many of us are trying to achieve. How do we dedicate enough time and thought to avoid an accumulation of clutter without becoming overly occupied with this activity?

Prairie Smoke (Geum triflorum) leaves

Happy new year

Happy fresh, new year to you. This time of year and Labor Day are the two times when many people get inspired and consider making changes, improvements, or fresh starts.

The most inspiring material I’ve read in a while is the interview on the Daily Paintworks blog with Minneapolis painter and teacher Kat Corrigan. I think you’ll be inspired and uplifted by Kat’s candid, generous, disciplined, ebullient approach to being an artist—and to life itself.

Is it important for an artist not to have favorite works just as parents shouldn’t have favorite children? I don’t know the answer but I will admit that I’ve always liked this muted blue print of unknown leaves. The paper is the Sprinkle Gold Sumi-E-like paper made by Pia (a Paragon Product) that Liz from Wet Paint encouraged me to buy. The little gold specks are on the top surface of the paper. I’m now printing on my fourth roll of that paper!

Happy holidays

Thank you for stopping by my space yesterday at the Womens’ Art Festival. Creating artwork would be a lot less fun, worthwhile, and profitable without people to admire it, ask about it, and purchase it. I and my fellow artists appreciate your curiosity and patronage.

The new venue—the Colin Powell Youth Leadership Center—was favored by artists and guests as having good lighting, better parking, and a pleasant atmosphere compared to the previous location. The hourly music, provided by women musicians, was magical, particularly the women’s choir which creats an atmosphere of being in the presence of angels.

With yesterday’s event being my last for this season, I’m now focused on preparing for Christmas. We started with dog baths today which were preceded by vacuuming and laundry and will surely be followed by baking—and eating—cookies.

I wish you a merry and meaningful holiday season including Hannukah, the winter solstice, Christmas, Kwanza, and even Festivus (“for the rest of us”), created by Kramer, Jerry Seinfeld’s neighbor.

Some festive images for this wintery season.

Women’s Art Festival

One of my favorite events of the year is the Women’s Art Festival. What’s not to embrace about being in the company of 130+ creative women, women musicians, and inventive refreshments? Naomi Siegal does a first-rate job of organizing and publicizing the event. Load up your vehicle with pals and stop by! Saturday, Dec. 13, 2014, 9:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M.

http://www.womensartfestival.com

Seasonal images

Spontaneous printing

For me, one of the many rewards of teaching is learning from the students. In June, while demonstrating nature printing at my local library in south Minneapolis, a woman selected a wild anemone (Anemone canadensis) from the specimens I’d brought along. She applied the rolled-out ink to the leaves and blossom, placed the dampened Sumi-E paper over the print, placed a newspaper guard sheet on top of the printing paper, and pressed mightily. This is the resulting print! Isn’t it splendid?


Student print of wild anemone.

What I particularly appreciated about learning from this nature-printing enthusiast was her spontaneity; her daring. With this type of specimen, I had been using a more painstaking, complicated method to record the plant. I learned from this student that my efforts weren’t necessary.

I recalled this valuable lesson last week as I prepared to print a Christmas cactus (Schlumbergera). Instead of setting up my usual involved method, I flattened the specimen slightly in a phone book while preparing my workspace and the paper. Then, I rolled out Akua water-soluble fluid inks with a soft-rubber brayer, gently rolled the ink onto the specimen, and printed. I’m pleased with the result. What do you think?

A spontaneous print of Christmas cactus.

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