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.

Thursday, June 29, 2006


I have nothing to say....shock. I am doing nothing but being. My sleep cycle is totally out of whack. Staying up until the sun comes up, getting about three hours of sleep....trying to motivate myself to work but quite frankly just not interested. What is wrong with me? Such self-indulgence you have never even thought of. I have stopped rowing, sewing, painting and any other useful or creative thing.
The lack of posting is because there is nothing happening that you would even want to read. I did clean the studio just so I could not work in it...don't want to get it all messy. Maybe it is separation anxiety since I finished my work with Eric....better said I had deadlines for him that had to be met.However, I don't feel anxious; I just don't want to do anything.
Basically I am experiencing temporary uselessness. I would have said momentary instead of temporary but that would have implied that I might do something in a minute.....and we all know that isn't going to happen.
So dear readers, I leave you indolent but healthy, contemplating when I will make art again.....probably, possibly, positively.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Forgot One

Driving back home from downtown. Posted by Picasa

Picture Play

As many of you know I have been playing around with photographing my home town and then altering the photos in Photoshop....finally adding colored pencil, pen and ink, paint, etc.

Last night I had to park behind Ronnie's car because we had company. This morning at 4:30 a.m., he woke me up to move my car because he couldn't find his key to said car. After having to be awake enough to drive, I decided to just stay up and get some work done. Decision of the with the photographs.

Not sure where all this is leading but I am in love
with the results and the process. Took some more pictures yesterday but haven't uploaded them yet. We shall see what tomorrow brings. I should get a good night's sleep since waking up that early just isn't my cup o' tea.

No, I haven't fogotten the quilts. Still basting on Last Leaf and have three in the wings for surface design. Looking forward to getting started with the fun part. Getting my hands all messy.

Thank you so much for your comments on my lamentations from yesterday. I so value all of you and your support. Will we ever be able to repay Diane for bringing us all together?

Posting this at 4:30 my time, I am actually getting sleepy. Sheesh, just what I need to go to sleep this early and start a cycle of awakening in the middle of the night. Must think of something to do....clean know me better than that. I know turn on loud rock 'n roll.....probably sacre the hair right off Busby.
 Posted by Picasa

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sabbatical Over

First, I want to thank you all who have been commenting on my infrequent posts. You have not only given me great support but many things to contemplate. Even though I haven't responded to each you know that your spirit of community has been immeasurable. I have been keeping up with you from time to time crusing through the don't think you are not in my thoughts. Again, thanks.
Now to the sabbatical.....all at once everything going on in my life, art, business, family all caught up with me. I realized that I was doing everything half-way...not an approach I want or desire. For me, life is full tilt boogie...taking risks....juggling all the balls. To make a long story short, a small depression set it. Where do I go from here? What am I doing with the art and the business? Most of all why am I doing it anyway? What do I have to say that hasn't already been said (probably better by someone else)?
To come to the point, I became paralyzed by all these questions and doubts. I couldn't face the studio after having been on a very productive cycle. Thank you Christy, my business manager, for keeping that end of my life in order. Otherwise, I felt totally overwhelmed to the point where I didn't even want to work.
As many of you know from reading my ramblings, I think about art, how it effects our collective lives and my personal life on a regular basis. What were my options? I had to find a way out of this funk. In part, I knew I had been on the road too much which had caused me to be just plain tired. On the other hand, I love teaching and don't want to stop. The driving force, however, is the art....and there is nothing worse than an artist who is avoiding what they love.
Finally, this weekend, I sat down with one of my journals, drew a line down the middle of the page, put a + on one side and a - on the other and began listing the positives and negatives of every aspect of my journey.
I would like to tell you that for every negative there is a positive and vice versa but that just isn't so. Some are all positive; some all negative. However, it gave me a clearer picture of where I was and what was causing my depression. While reading what I had written, things started to come into focus, light bulbs went off, bells and whistles began to sing.
1. I was physically tired and needed rest. The fatigue had brought on part of the depression.
2.I want to make art...lots of different art...painting, quiltmaking, photography.
3. I don't want to work to anyone else's restrictions....size, style, production level.
4. I don't care about being "a famous" anything; I just want to do the work. I am over marketing myself to reach gallery owners, corporate collections, etc.
5. It's nice to be in shows and I am always delighted to get acceptance letters but that cannot over-ride the way I want to or technique. Shows cannot be the reason I am making art.
If you have made it this far, meet the new and improved Gabrielle. Artist cycle like this all the time and no one knows that better than I do. It had been a long time since I had experienced one of these downward cycles. I don't suffer from clinical depression; this was just a cycle of questioning that all artist face from time to time. Now onward and upward having defined clear objectives to focus on for the rest of the year.
I hope this finds all well with you and yours.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

On Simplicity

I know you are looking at this big's only squares and rectangles...who couldn't do that? Yet, I have to say to you that simplicity and composition are the most difficult for me. You still have to have all the design elements working in concert well....and in the final analysis, this series will be all about the surface design. However, it has been a real challenge for a quiltmaker like me who usually does image laden work. It has been refreshing and frustrating but I am glad I went through this experimental phase to the point that I have two more. Meditations is definitely the name since I have spent more time looking at what is going on in these pieces than other work.
The big news is I have graduated from meeting with Eric for awhile. We had our last meeting yesterday. He commented that he saw all the elements of my painting and the photoshop work coming together in these pieces. Now it is time for me to focus on working in any direction I choose. I decided that I would totally devote a month to each discipline until the end of the year so that instead of dabbling from one to the other, I could fully explore each media. He reminded me that experimentation is still very important so I should from time to time through in a day of another media during these months. He was very excited about the growth that had come about during our time together....especially when he saw these new quilts. Told me to email if I needed him at any time and then maybe we would consider working together again after the first of the year, if needed.
I cannot articulate how valuable this has been for me. Sure it sent me off on tangents from quilts but I feel those tangents brought back so much more to the work than I could have done without them. I highly recommend the coaching process for anyone approaching a transition in their work. The whole idea that pieces can be experiments and not finished works is absolutely liberating. The questions you have to answer for the coach and yourself add so much depth to your own understanding of why and what you are doing. I have truly grown through our time together. Thank you Eric for giving me the permission to discover new aspects of myself as an artist.
On a lighter note, I am off to teach for the Dallas Guild this weekend. Now many of you may think this will be so from Fort Worth to Dallas, come home, sleep in your own bed, etc. Not true....I live on the far NW side of Tarrant County and the guild is on the far NE side of Dallas County. Driving the freeways in rush hour both ways is grueling and could make me late for the lecture or class. You just never know what will happen in the traffic. Decadent as it may sound I am staying in a motel, driving over early today and back late Saturday after class. You should see my luggage, plus my light box and my overhead projector. I look as if I am moving out...ah, the joys of driving. Even better are the boxes of fabric that I plan on donating out of my studio...whew! Last but not least, I get to meet in person our own Deborah. How cool is that? Should be a fun weekend....will try and post in on the classes. Posted by Picasa