Things are getting more and more eccentric at Casa de la Swain. Changing styles in my textile work, falling in love again with painting and photography...and then there is the ever illusive quest for continuing creativity through working with Eric Maisel. Still on the road teaching, posting now at the Ragged Cloth Cafe and taking the pledge to keep handmaiden up to date.

Friday, March 31, 2006

The Party's Over

Here are some of the finished and almost finished pieces from an outstanding class. We were all thrilled at the reaction from the other students at our accomplishment. Of course, I am blown away at the talent and creativity of my lucky can one instructor be? To be surrounded everyday by all the artist as they work through their process is such a gift.
Now off to home, arriving around midnight and...ta more traveling until Paducah. Got to get my behind in gear and hit the studio. However, with this kind of inspiration what else would you do. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Stay tuned for tomorrow's post

As usual, the students are working some fabulous pieces. We will start critique today so I will be posting pictures tomorrow. Also we did the five word creativity exercise so when I get home will post some of there truly beautiful descriptions of the creative process. Otherwise, having too much fun and wish you were here. Sorry to be so brief but today is a busy day....not like yesterday wasn't . Spent two hours demostrating surface design techniques.....a big hit....but I was knackered by lunch. ...well, worth seein their eyes light up with possibilitity.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

First Day of Class

You wanted here asre the exercises we did in paper on the first day. We work with magazine ads, cut them apart and place them in a grid. Some of them are finished pieces as far as I am concerned but they all really enjoyed the process....the freedom of working with something that that had no investment in. Now we will start to de-construct the quilts of design elements to be placed in the grid.
As usual I have the best students and can't wait to see what the final results will be. Stay tuned for more great art. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 26, 2006

As promised, posting from Asilomar

Fooled ya! got all my stuff together this trip. No news yet....we don't get into our classrooms until after 3 p.m. pst but by tomorrow there will be a breaking news flash. In the interim, been doing lots of thinking about where I am going and how I can accomplish it alone. Well, dear readers, you already know the answer...can't be done. Sooooo, guess I will be looking into an assistant when I get home.
You can either do art or you can do business.....and until you reach a certain point, you can do both. However, there comes a time when one overwhelms the other and then overwhelms you. Sorry to talk about such personal stuff but while meditating last night the realization of what I want to do, what is important to me and the business end of art became crystal clear. I have reached the point of no return on everything and feel I am accomplishing all I can.....but greedy girl that I am I want to do more.
A week here should help clear the garbage and help me tomorrow a happier post on how the first day of class went.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Watch out California, I'm on my way!

Sorry no pictures of the leaf quilt got busy visiting with family and didn't get quite enough done to post anything work seeing. However, here we go with the eternal problem. Smart girl that I am, I shipped everything to California....teaching supplies, samples, etc. so that I will only have one suitcase the deal with it would happen there isn't enough room for the most important All my careful, thoughtful planning and now I will still be stuck with two for clothes and the other for shoes. Where did I go wrong? Maybe I should have shipped the shoes also.....or maybe I can just buy shoes after I get there...nah! Too many perfect shoes for the packed clothes. Oh the angst of it all...I must get this obsession under control.

Mel suggested the other day that we have a painting retreat for quiltmakers. Count me in, dear Miss Thin. Now just perxactly where and when will we do this outrageously creative, inspiring event? Oh, Sheesh, I will have to shoes there also. Anyhow, I nominate you to organize our eager group. Any seconds?

Not much else going on around here except the usual Gabrielle going in circles, doing multi-tasking, trying to decide what to have for dinner and some how make art. This time I faithfully promise not to let you down with no posts from Asilomar. I checked all the cords and have the lap top already packed......See Debra I am trying to be a better bloggger even though it is just blathering.

Actually, a new series is running around in my head....."Haunting." Not like ghosts or things that go hack and slash but rememberances of moments. Like that guy that you loved like crazy but knew you couldn't stay with or the first time you smelled the aroma of a particular scent...or the memory of waking up to the voices of your mom and grandmother in the kitchen preparing breakfast. You get the idea....however, I want each of these to be tied to an emotion thereby the haunting.

Natter, blather....go pack...see you in Asilomar.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Come on has been ages since I did a quiz

Which Art Movement Are You? (pictures)

You're Expressionism! Expressionism was founded by artists who objected impressionism's shallowness and started to focus on the emotions and feelings their works of art held within (in other words, they were the EMOs of visual arts). Expressionists ceased to focus on trying to make the pictures look as real as possible and paid more attention on the atmosphere; the paintings consisted of bold colours, violent and intentionally visible brushstrokes and strong shapes that all supported the emotional content of the piece. Expressionism prevailed on its purset during the late 1800's the the early 1900's, but it's one of the few art movements that never fully went away - you can still see strong expressionist impressions in art made today. Famous Expressionists: Vincent Van Gogh, Edward Munch Picture: The Scream by Edward Munch - No wonder this painting is Munch's most celebrated work of art. It captures the very essence of anguish, depression, and anxiety in one single picture. Everything in this painting seems to be screaming; the violent brushstrokes, the bold colour contrast, the nightmare-sih atmosphere, and the use of sharp lines which draw the attention of the viewer to the centre of the picture - the screamer himself.
Take this quiz!

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Found Quilts and New Collage Painting

Everyone take a deep sigh of son's are all married to genius women. Christy, the wife of Charles, called last night, worried about the quilts since she remembered we had used them in the booth at Market.....and guess where they were.....right in the container where she had put them. Kiss! Kiss! Thanks for the suggestion Mel but I sure am glad I don't have to make them over.
For your enjoyment a small piece that I painted using Windsor Newton ink and then cut apart into a collage. Don't give up on me though the leaf quilt is about to be revealed. Four more leaves to make and baste to background. When that is done I will post a pic.
I will never give up is my first love but am using all the other work to spark a transition in the quilts.
I have so enjoyed this time home and looking forward to a month home after Asilomar......not much telling how much trouble I can get into. Posted by Picasa

Self-Portrait Tuesday, March 21

Living in Texas, I spend a lot of time in my car. We have virtually no mass transit so everyone drives. For my time post, I chose to show my drive to the art supply store from my house. To get to my favorite store is at least 30 minutes if traffic is good. What else could I have been doing during that time? As far as that goes, it was a beautiful day with the radio on "if it is too loud, you are too old." What is usually just a chore turned into a great trip with time well spent.
P. S. Don't tell sweet Ronnie I was driving and shooting pictures at the same time since I have a standard transmission and a diet coke in hand always.Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 20, 2006

Disaster Strikes!

Last night while packing for Asilomar, I had two particular quilts that I wanted to take for the class. Went to the closet....both are missing....not just one but two. I can't remember when I last saw them...pretty sure I took one to Australia but the other one is a vague memory. Could I have thrown them away in a cleaning frenzy not realizing what they were? These are both major pieces that "Maple Breaks" and "Eclipse."
I have looked high and low...torn everything apart....panicked for! What am I going to do if I can't find then? I can see mis-placing one by accident but two. That is just too unusual.
Trying to be Zen about it all...I am beginning the releasing phase. If they are gone, there is a reason why. I might not be able to fathom it but someday all will be balanced again. In the meantime, be sure to wipe the tears from your screen so you can read other blogs.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wow! Yousers! and Other Utterances of Excitement

If you have a chance, go to where you will get to see three new e-books with, ta-da, my paintings as the covers. Okay a moment of shameless self-promotion but I am gob-smacked. Also, I have been meaning to thank you all for the comments on the paintings. Better late than never...your support has meant so much to me.
Mel, if I could paint like you do, I might be will to give up a body part. Our work is so different but I see the value even more of stepping into the deep water.
Remember dear readers, I did not major in art. I have two BA's in such useful subject as English Literature (concentration 20th century American) and Philosophy. I add this only to remind you that you can do anything if you want it badly and work at it with discipline.
The next big step is to start selling the work...another whole nest of wasps but it can be done...and by golly, I'm going to give it a try.
When I sent Eric the jpegs of the new painting, he asked me what I thought would be a good price. Having not a clue, I replied $250......silence...."sorry but that is way too low." "Just because you are working in a different media does not effect the fact that you are an established artist. What would you sell a textile piece for that is this size?" Good advice I was considering myself less of an artist because I had changed media.....on those pesky voices in your head.
Anyway, went on way to long but was very excited and wanted to share.

Sunday? What Happened to the WeeK?

After faithfully promising to be a better blogger, the week got away from me. We did get dvd four in the can but now are having some glitch in the editing program. It won't damage the film but will delay the release....I need a stiff drink. Meanwhile, email and paper work came in by the droves....and shock of the century, I was overwhelmed with the desire to finish the last leaf with the abstract background. Otherwise, nothing going on here.
Guess I haven't been blogging because I don't have much to report. The bloodwork may be at the doctor's office but he hasn't called or mailed the results. Maybe no news is good news. I would guess if things weren't going well, he would have let me know immediately. Of course, you will be the first to know what the results were.
My only other excuse is I am having too much fun in the studio. In a serious working phase, where everything else takes second place. Got several drawings scaled to quilt size, still painting and working with Eric.....strike while the iron is hot. Worked until 2 a.m. last night and made major progress. Hope to get something done today but have to start getting ready to go to Asilomar.
Actually way ahead on that....shipping as much as possible tomorrow so I won't have to lug around like a pack mule. I did bite the bullet a buy a projector but haven't had time to even begin to work with it. Have a month off after Asilomar so will try to join the 21st century during that time......but I gotta admit that if the studio is calling as it is now, you know where I will be. Thanks for hanging in there with me during my sporadic blogging. I take time to check in on you before I go to bed but am usually to stoopid at that point to post. My only excuse is that I love working, and yet miss blogging. Guess in my old age I have to accept I can't do everything...nah!
Oh yeah, my guilty admission....I am a sucker...I admit it but I bought an Ab Lounger. You know those things that look like lawn chairs but are supposed to make you have great abs. No affiliation but I am sore so something has to be going on....and I have only been able to build up to 16 minutes out of the 30 minute work out. Took my measurements....don't even think about asking...going to measure at the end of each week.
Why is it that when I am on the road with access I blog more than when I have been home? We must correct this. I must lead a more exciting life with interesting stories to impart.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Couple of Details

Why am I not smart enough to post these in the proper order? Blogger malfunction by operator. Anyway, thought you might like to see a couple of detail shots.
The other good news is I am finally getting over my exhaustion from the January, February and March teaching schedule. Home until the 26th and then off to Empty Spools at Asilomar. I had, of course, great plans of cleaning the house...gaack...but instead have been taking solace in working.....actually I am beginning to like the matte finish that dust creates....think about it.
You know if I wasn' t obsessive/complusive about making art, I would have a really clean house. After all you have to channel that energy somewhere.....however, I fear it would in buying shoes.
When I look back at my life, I am often still catching my breath at what has happened and what is still out there. You just never know where one step will lead but you just gotta take it. I will never be a "known" painter as I am a "known" quiltmaker but who cares.....this is fun, exciting and giving me great ideas about future quilts. Okay, I am blathering now...just wanted to assure Casa del Swain is still in a total mess and I am very happy about that. Cleaning is highly over-rated.....and with the avian pandemic on its way...sweet Ronnie calls it the Revenge of the Chickens....I figure the more germs I am exposed to the better my immune system to fight off the little's that for a huge rationalization of a truly serious issue? Posted by Picasa

The Big Reveal

Okay so here is my first big...well at least big for me, painting on canvas. It is 36"w x 40"l.....and now I understand the fear when facing that huge empty white space but forge ahead that was short-lived. Suddenly, I couldn't wait to get paint on all that white. Not wanting to borrow from Hitchcock but this is a view from my rear-view mirror driving home from downtown Fort Worth. Shhhh! Don't tell Ronnie I was driving and taking pictures at the same time.
The small black squares are not part of the painting but edges of the easel. My next size canvas is 36" x 48"....yousers, what am I doing? However, it will be put on the back burner for awhile....working on a quilt that I have been meaning to finish for ages....your remember the leaves with the abstract background..or as I am calling it " The Last Leaves." Not to imply I will never do them again just a the last leaves of summer or get it.
The main item off the list is the new dvd is in the can and in the hands of my fabulous editor, Kelly. We were working toward a March release but we did some fancy shooting with two cameras...ah, a two shot and over the shoulder views of the projects so we are working hard but it might not make out until the end of March.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot my big news: Eric has asked if he can use three of my paintings as the covers for his new e-books. Who me? And did I say yes as fast as possible.....this could lead to some good connections but even if it doesn't what an honor. Can you tell I am excited? Posted by Picasa

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Lights, Camera, Action

Here we is the first day of shooting for the next dvd. "Creativity on Demand." Got my hair the right color....don't count on this shirt being in the final version after the fifteen changes from the last shoot. I have on no make-up since I don't know what I will be wearing and I slept late so got to cover those bags under the eyes.
This dvd is the most important to me. I want to help convey visually all those exercises you read about but aren't sure how to accomplish. Another goal is to inspire the viewer to get rid of the inner critic, play, make lots of mistakes but most of all to trust their own voice.
Because of all this I guess I am more nervous over this shoot than any of the others which were basically teaching technique. It will all work out fine or will be the first to know.
Have most of the large painting finished for Eric but there are a few areas that need more work so no reveal yet......and believe it or not I actually got some sewing done this work...surprise, surprise.
I have been reading with interest the discussions on creating a body of work. My two cents comes from sweet Ronnie. When I first started out on this journey, he told me to do one thing and do it well....don't try to do everything. Find something you love and become obssessed by it. I hate it when he is right....but it worked. Now that I have accomplised that it is time to take the next step which is what all this transition stuff is about but it will still be doing one thing that I love.
Nothing else matters but making meaning in my little studio....sometimes it is easier than other times but it is the core of my laughing....or giggling...I can hear you out there about the sanity part. Posted by Picasa

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Thursday Ramblings

The ever thoughtful Charles and Christy came over Tuesday with a touch of spring in tulips and then an wonderfuly fat-filled lunch at the Mexican Inn. Can I be any luckier? However, remember, I did give him room and board for nine months. Thank you always brighten my day and make me think just to keep in the conversation.
So the dreaded cholestrol test has come time again. Ya know, it isn't even the test or the results that are a is having to go without caffiene until after the test. This has to be cruel and unsual diet coke since 8 p.m. last night. All I have to say is just stay out of my way and stick that needle in my arm fast so I can get to the diet coke waiting in my car. Will keep you posted on the results since he put me on the niacin to control the LDL.

Now to more fun with great interest Mel's post on competition vs. just doing what you want. Watch out she is thinking again. Okay to get my foot in mouth early...why would you ever make something just to get into a show since we all know that is a crap shoot at best. As artist we are trying to bring meaning into our lives and the lives of others. We have no control over the meaning that comes to the viewer but we certainly can follow the path that gives meaning to our own life. While I do enter some usually on Houston and Paducah..because I never have enough pieces to do anything else.....these quilts weren't made for the show. They were just made because I was compelled. I totally agree with Mel that you have to follow your intuition and heart where it leads you......maybe that is why there is so many of us going through transitions right now.
You reach a certain point and know that there is a staircase of steps waiting for you to take. Do you stand on the same step possible way of falling or do you take the risk of going up the next step...possibly loose your footing and fall. Even worse do you back down the steps out of fear at what waits at the next riser.
Eric's first question to me when we started working together was, "Are you willing to risk your career to move forward creatively?" We all know the answer now but there was never a hesitation in my mind. For me this a journey of self-discovery, experimentation....that some people like my work is icing on the cake but it is my own validation and acceptance that is the most important.
Fearless, committed (no, not in the white coats), and disciplined, we get back from our creativity what we put into it.....why not go for it if you have the chance.....take the next step on the staircase to see what is awaiting....and if you fall on your face, get out the band-aids...patch yourself up and take another step.
Can you tell caffiene deficency is seriously setting in...finally 7:42 a.m. here so off to the lab I go. Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Self Portrait 7 March 06

Time....the one thing we can never replace. I chose for my time 8 a.m. Not like I just got up...just got going. I am admittedly a night owl but I like seeing the sun and if I sleep to late I feel like I missed a I get up at 6 a.m. but just don't move until much later. Will try to find a more creative time for next week. Please not how cleverly I disguised the weight on the scales and how lazy I am about macking the bed.....after all you are just going to get in and mess it up again. Some cleaning of the office, paying bills and finally off to sew.
What is this constraint we place on ourselves called time? It is obviously external and necessary for commerce but I feel nature is trying to tell my body something about my own clock....and I am listening as hard as I can. Things world has just gotten ahead of me and I am dancing as fast as I can to catch up. Posted by Picasa

Monday, March 06, 2006

More Evidence of Gremlins

Okay who is bringing stuff to my house without me knowing. See what happens when you go on the road....gremlins sneak in and leave the place in a mess. Not to worry, I have until next Monday to get this debacle corrected. We were going to start filming the next dvd yesterday but between this mess and the fact that you can tell what color my hair really is we thought better of it....and no, I am not posting a picture of the hair...just trust me when I say it is really multi-color now.
This time off is really such a gift. I hope to make good use of it but then I am famous for piddling away time better than anyone. With that said, still want you to consider working seriously in more than one media. In part, the mess is from doing both but the ideas are sparking like spark plugs. Don't just take my word for it.....look at the wonderful photography Deb at RSR is doing.
Part of the creative process is exploring any avenue available to you. Deb and her camera are composing great designs eveyday she posts.
Okay enough woe is to start correcting the problem. Posted by Picasa

What Happened in My Absence?

This isn't even the worst of it. There are gremlins afoot no doubt. Somehow my perfectly organized office and studio have fallen to rack and ruin. I could not possibly be responsible for this.....or could I? Now you know what I will be doing all week...hopefully with some art moments interspersed. I would show you the rest of the house but it is all too horrible. Posted by Picasa

Saturday, March 04, 2006

For something completely different

One of my dearest friends for over 30 a manic drummer who lives in Austin. Not having seen each other in about 6 years, I took a side trip for lunch with Art Kidd. This is mostly for my sons...Art was present the day Craig was the kitchen boiling scissors....thought they would get a kick out of seeing their Uncle Art especially Craig, who just turned 30 last! time flies. Thanks Art for a great lunch and conversation. I miss our long talks. We won't hold it against him that he and George W. were in the same class at Yale. Posted by Picasa

Karen Combs and Her Creative Chicks

What a hard working bunch of ladies Karen had...I am not sure about the feathers but there must have been some creative mojo working. Posted by Picasa

How Could You Resist?

My wonderful, creative students and our gorgeous surroundings. We had wonderful warm, sunny weather and I made it to the hot tub every night. Try not to feel to sorry for me. Posted by Picasa

Fingers Work Best

Occasionally there is nothing to do but get you hands into the work. It is well worth the results but you do end up with colorful hands. Posted by Picasa

Great Results

Once started they were unstoppable. They used anything that they could to get the desired results. None of my wonderful ladies had done any surface design before so I am very proud of the fabric they created. Posted by Picasa

Play Day

From top left to bottom right, Mary Ann, Maisie, Harla and Sue hard at work on creating a piece of fabric using all the surface design techniques possible. We used water soluable oil pastels, Shiva paint sticks, colored pencils, Pigma pens, artist crayons and Seta color permanent markers. They were really giving me a hard time the evening before when I announced what our next morning would be....but as you can see their creativity got the better of them. Posted by Picasa

Under Construction

By using template free applique, the work progressed quickly. They loved not having to do any prep and simply placing the master pattern on the light box, drawing the required piece, cutting while adding seam allowance and then off to applique. I promise you this cuts down 95% of prep time......which I hope will make applique more appealing to all quiltmakers. Posted by Picasa

Change of Heart

Harla starts with a landscape and ends up with a create of apples....sorry I somehow missed the drawing but it is spectcular. The squares you see are going to be the apples at the bottom of the crate. By basting the simple square or rectangle in the background, she has the freedom to add the actual apples over these and get a true depth without all the work. Smart girl! Posted by Picasa

Design Work Begins

A field of irises by Maisie, rock face by Sue, Sunflower and Iris by Mary Ann.....but the work is just starting. Posted by Picasa

Not Abducted by Aliens

Wouldn't you just know that in my haste packing I forgot my power cord to the laptop so after the first day of downloading mail the battery went dead. I am sure I have lost my faithful readers due to the long traveling schedule I have been on but I'm back....and will be home until 26 March. Sigh of relief!
We had a great time at Quilting Adventures and I highly recommend it to those of you who love having four and a half days with one instructor. The facility is to follow...great food and is in the middle of the most beautiful part of Texas...the Hill Country.
Now that I'm home for what I consider an extended period of time there is so much work to do I don't know where to start. Gotta get the leaf abstract quilt ready for Houston, still experimenting with the peltex and still painting for Eric...really for myself. However I do promise faithfully to post on a more regular basis. I truly miss blogging when I don't get to do it. Looks as if you have all been busy and having a great time. Stay tuned for more pictures of the retreat and works in progress. It is good to be home.

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