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.

Monday, December 31, 2007

Creative Spark Update

Just a little housekeeping as the year ends. Due to a couple of cancellations there is still room for two or three students. We will be starting later the week so if any one is interested, just drop me an email with your phone number.

Everything is ready to go for a great class. I have had such a good time working on the exercises. I look forward our time together.

Wila, I have mis-placed your correct email. The first one you gave me is still bouncing. Could you drop me a line again?

BTW, effortlessness seems to be working its magic already. It does help to use it as a mantra. I even have empirical evidence. Yesterday I called my former editor and begged, threw myself on her mercy for a couple of hours of tutorial. She agreed and came over for a couple of hours to get me on track. Thanks to her visit the first issue of Behind the Seams will go into production this week. Ya hoo! and many thanks.

Hoping that the rest of the year follow that same energy. Wishing you a happy, productive and creative New Year!

Friday, December 28, 2007

New Year's Non-Resolution

Last night I was reading Christine Kane's blog at
and found a great idea. Instead of making new year resolutions which we are all unlikely to keep, Christine and one of her friends pick a word each year as a touchstone for that year. A seed planted that they can watch grow to full bloom. An energy and commitment that they use a a reminder of what the year is to unfold.

Being enchanted with this, I have chose a word from Christine's list: effortlessness
Catchy,no? Imagine floating through the year effortlessly. I may even start this mantra before the old year fades away.

Take a look at this gorgeous face....I think Christine may already have the effortlessness thing down. Check out her site for a selection of words....or possibly you have some lurking in the little gray cells.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

More Back to the Real World

Looking back on my lack of posts during the Christmas frenzy, I dawned on me how much we focus on three single days of the year to share with friends and family....Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. For goodness sake, it even prompted me to clean house. Now it isn't like I couldn't have done this weeks before but it was the expectation of everyone arriving that got me off the couch.

So I am going to approach 2008 with a new frame of mind.....I love the idea of not measuring it was a piece of fabric or how much something weighs. Success is not a measurement but a feeling. It is appreciating the small steps as well as the giant leaps. Since I journal about working, I will add to the journal daily joys, no matter how large or small. I will stop measuring success, especially by external, worldly standards, and start feeling successful....just the simple joys of daily life are successes if you truly feel them.

As I look back on the year, it has had it's turbulent moments but there have also been many fun, silly and productive moments. While the year fades into another year of unknown possibilities, my journaling will reflect back on some of these amazing moments.

Along with this, while compliments are always appreciated and external validation can bring a smile to any one's face, I have come to the conclusion that my art is only important if it matters to me. The trap of working for a particular exhibition, lines on a resume, pleasing the public for sales can be a maze where you run through continuously looking for the cheese.

The problem with the transition in my work was brought on by what others would think about the work.....not what I was gaining from the I discontinued the pursuit of the work. Oops, I lost sight....the importance of the work is what it holds for me.

Whether you journal or not, find a piece of paper and reflect back on the amazing moments you experienced this past year. Give some time to think about how you view success....but most of all, give yourself the gift of possibilities unknown for the coming year.

Clinking glasses of your favorite libation to Auld Lang Syne

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Gang's All Here

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve. Above are the Swain Boys, now Men. From left to right starting in back: Thom and Charles; in from, l to r: Craig and Chris. As you can see, some are sillier than others but no denying they are brothers. Imagine what our house was like when they were all younger....especially teenagers. They are all taller than both of us....and they were all arms and legs so instead of baby proof the house was teenage boy proof. In spite of the silliness, I think they are a handsome bunch.

The silliness continues as Uncle Craig devours home made Tex-Mex from Mom and daughter in law Jillaine. There was food sent home and still enough left for us yesterday. Please note my giant Christmas tree hidden behind Craig and the house plants. Never let it be said I don't go all out for Christmas. Watch out Martha Stewart, there's a new decorator on the block.....or not.

Jace, Chris and Jillaine's youngest, give Uncle Charles and Aunt Christy the eye. All the facial hair in the house put Jace in quite a state of "What's that on your face?" The good news is Grandpa has a white beard and albeit is slightly too thin to be Santa; the resemblance was close enough for Jace to get Grandpa lots of hugs and kisses. Jace is no fool....never take a chance with any old guy that might be Santa...butter him up just in case. Behind Christy is my assistant from Houston, Jessica and her daughter, Elle. Christy gave Jessica many thanks for going with me in her place.

Chris and Jillaine and my beautiful grand-daughter Jene. Jene just won first place in an America Idol style local contest for her vocal talents. She is also a wonderful writer and artist....proud betcha. Chris is doing his James Dean impression...Jillaine is relaxing after lots of preparation and cooking for Christmas.

There were some camera shy attendees....sweet Ronnie, our long time family friend Bill, Jayden, my glamour puss grand daughter who is usually anywhere a camera is being used and of course, moi, who was behind the camera. What a wonderful gift to be surrounded by family and friends. My love to you always make me smile.

So that was Christmas at Casa de la Swain. Fully recovered, I am back to working mode. After taking part of the day to prepare contracts and slides, I am determined to get some editing done. Going to slay that dragon one way or another.

Also want to announce a very special vist to handmaiden....on January 14, Eric Maisel will drop by as a part of a blog book tour for his new book, Van Gogh Blues....The Creative Person's Path Through Depression. I highly recommend this book whether dealing with depression or not. It is filled with excellent suggestions on how to develop a life plan for artist of any discipline. Mark your calendar and drop by if you have a chance.
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Coming Up for Air

Yikes, it has been forever since I apologies. I got so involved with creating, cooking and cleaning...all for Christmas that I was exhausted at the end of each day. However it was fun and now my house is clean, which has lifted my spirits incredibly.

Here are a couple of pictures of the studio during the great non-consumer driven attempt at Christmas giving. This was probably one of the best Christmas ideas ever. Alas, I did not get pictures of all the gifts before they got away but will post some pictures of what was given and received later. On to pictures of the big day in next post.
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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Knitting Answers

My thanks to all the wild women who knit for responding to my cry for help. The scarf or whatever,you know I am making this idea up as I go along, is currently 8 inches wide and 6 and 1/2 long. The yarn is 88 yards per skein and I already have another skein. I am knitting on size eight needles, with five stitches to the inch.

I am sure I have a magic book somewhere that would give me the answer.....but that would mean un-cleaning something I have already thrown on a book shelf or into a closet. Isn't that the way everyone cleans?

Originally the yarn was going to be a pair of socks for me....but I got side tracked by this idea. Being side-tracked seems to be my current m.o.

Thanks again for any help you can give...ho, ho,ho!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Hectic Holiday Doings

No photos today again because they are Christmas gifts. Just wanted to check in to let you know how much fun I am not having cleaning this house. It is almost daunting but I know I will be happy when it is done. Of course, the danger of cleaning is I will never be able to find anything because I have put it somewhere that I will be sure to remember. You know, the if I put it here I will be sure to find syndrome.

Along with Christmas cleaning and creating, I am trying to finish all the paper work for next year's gigs. Sending slides, buying tickets....all that fun stuff. Blogging has taken second place but will try to keep up as much as I can.

It finally has decided to be winter in Texas just when I need to get out and ship and again another round of dreaded grocery shopping. Ain't that just the way it goes?

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Knitting Maven...Help!

Calling all knitters....can this be saved? Here's the skinny: I wanted to make a neck warmer....not a long scarf but more the length of an ascot. Just long enough to fit under your coat collar or outside of your coat. Along with the knitted piece, I have this way cool pin to use as a closure,keeping the piece in place and said neck warm. I still have the yarn left that you see in the ball along with another skein of said yarn. It obviously hasn't been blocked yet which could help some but I am concerned about the length. So my question is do you think another skein of yarn will make this the length I need? Or should I scrap this and start with another yarn? Quick replies would be appreciated. I don't want to waste any more time on this if it isn't going to work....and therefore need to rapidly get started over. Thanking you in advance for any and all suggestions.

On a happier note, I have two of the hand made projects almost completed. Still can't reveal them but as soon as Christmas Eve arrives, you will be the first to know. I hope they receivers enjoy them as much as I am enjoying making them....and if they don't, I will be happy to add them to my personal collection and gladly given them a lump of coal as a replacement. Of course, with the energy prices such as they are I am not sure I can afford that many lumps of coal....sigh!
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Saturday, December 08, 2007

The Big Life Plan

I promised myself that I would get to the studio first thing this morning to start on the hand made Christmas presents....even got out all the stuff last night to get a head start. Am I in the studio,obviously not? Instead I woke up with The Big Life Plan whirling around in my head. Not a good way to get to the studio.

So with pondering illusions of making lists and what I want to be when I grow up, I came to a great insight. Who cares? I am 58 years old, can get senior citizen discounts in some places,not old enough in others. I am not going to live as long as I have already been alive....weird syntax,no? However, there are still a few good/acceptable years left in the old gal. But is there still a need for the big life plan?

Well, dear readers, I think I am way past that point. I think it is time to really take every day as it comes. This has long been my philosophy but I easily succumb to the All-American attitude of "We are humans doing, not humans being." I could only hold onto the take it as it comes for a few days or months at a time before I would start beating myself for not doing enough or for being off of the schedule I had set for myself.

This all came about late in life to me....actually,it all started when my first quilts sold and when my books were published. Prior to that time, I was a wandering gypsy.....moving every two years from theatre to theatre.....leaving divorced husbands in my wake and bringing up my sons in a trunk to be free spirits. Then things got serious...bells started tolling for me. Got married finally to the right guy, that was a good thing, had my last baby....and great decision on my part....and started making quilts.

Being the highly educated, over acheiving, good girl that I was I kept up all the mom/wife obligations and did a pretty good job even if I say so myself....well, at least, no one is a serial killer that we know of, yet. Then the whole quilt world opened its doors which required a plan.

How do you do art, travel, teach and maintain a household? You do everything half way....sure others see you as having it all together but I gotta tell you it is a juggling act of major proportions.But do I have to do that now? What is there left to juggle since my time is all my own?

Having digested this all morning, I am clear as a bell, sharp as a knife or dumb as a post.....take your pick. The answer to The Big Life Plan is there is no plan....been there, done that multiple myself so many times I could have a dozen a.k.a.s. No more of that for me. I have decided who I am right now is just fine for the rest of my life. Certainly, there are still things I would like to do being a curious Scorpio but I don't need a plan to do so. I will just do them as I come to them.

So with the holiday season approaching, I am returning to the true meaning of being together....seeing my family, hugging them at every turn and looking forward to what the new year will bring my way....not planning what I want the new year to bring. Expectations only bring disappointments; no expectations bring constant surprises....some good, some more difficult but hey,you gotta learn to love the rope.

Now that I have trash canned the big life plan, my head is clear and I am content with a small, daily excitement of the No Life Plan.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

The Christmas Clean Up

Now the real work begins. After a long year of traveling and teaching, house keeping has become a very low priority. With the family arriving soon,things have to be re-arranged and cleaned. My poor unused rowing machine will have to be folded and put away. A perfect excuse for not using it. Why didn't I think of that sooner? Out of sight;out of mind. Instead of being constantly in my line of sight taunting me, it could have been silently resting in another room. But no, I have kept it in plain sight on the off chance an intense urge to exercise might strike me...yeah, sure.

Sweet Ronnie and I are both pack rats so there is no hope of him suddenly developing an urge for neatness. The stack of detritus below belongs to me. Books to be read, journals and sketch books.....even some knitting. Into the studio with all this so that at least the carpet can be seen. How have I let things go this far? Joy of joy,I know, I can blame my mother. I was an only child and she always had a maid twice a week. Not only did I never really learn how to clean but also I never really had the chance. It was all done before I had a chance to even try. Notice how easily I abdicated the responsibility for my own deficiency.....what a great rationalization. You can use it for free.

And the final injustice, all the blue glass has to be washed. Dusting won't do since it leaves the inside of the glass filthy.....which effects the way the light shines through the glass. Moral of the story: Be careful what you collect; it can come
back to haunt you. Even with the task ahead, I would not trade a single piece of the glass. Each has a special memory of where it was found or who gave it to wash it I will, each and every dusty piece.

The reward for all this health department prevention is that I get to spend the entire weekend in the studio. Reward,reward for a job left to long unattended. What I will spare you from are the pictures of my closet. I think there is a suit case still unpacked from some trip...not sure where or when. I am shameless...and hopeless.

A quick note: The Creative Spark class is full. Thanks to all of you who signed up. Expect a call from me after the first of the year so we can talk about where you are,where you want to go and set some goals so I can refine the exercises to your needs. I am so excited about working with you and learning from you.

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Picture Free Post

This post is going to be less than visually stimulating but I promise to post the results at a later date. Reason: we are having a hand made Christmas. I am taking the pledge against over spending and shoving through crowds. Being an artist, hypothetically, I got out all my stuff (unknown for obvious reasons) and have started work on presents for my much loved family.

The only concession I have made is for son Chris and wife Jillaine....we are having home made Mexican food for Christmas Eve. Since some of my kidlets read my blog I can see the smiles on their faces having read Mexican food.

As you can read,I made it home safely from grocery shopping. Still there is something intrinsically wrong with this whole event. You have to drive to the store, put all the goods in the cart, take them out of cart on conveyor belt, pay out the nose, put bags back in cart,load them into the car, drive home, bring said bags into house, take groceries out of bag and put them in their proper places....and then to top it all off you have to cook the stuff. Great run on sentence, huh?

I did succumb to purchasing a yummy carrot cake....munch, munch. One needs to keep up their strength while in the throes of creativity.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

TheAvoidance Game

There may appear to be food in this pantry,but upon closer examination you will see that there is very little edible goods. Why is this? Simply put, I have a love/hate relationship with grocery shopping. The love part involves cooking. The whole process is reminds me of chemistry class....which if you think about it,cooking really is chemistry. You add heat, reagents, etc. and end up with a new compound. Mad scientist at work.

The freezer is also seriously lacking.....having cooked all the goodies I had stored away for a rainy day. There is a couple of bags of brussel sprouts....lonely looking for friends. Something must be done but you know what that means. I have to go to the grocery store.....the dreaded public food storage building...filled with people who are on a mission, run over you with their carts (please tell me they don't drive that way) and never enough check out lines to accomodate all the shoppers. My biggest complaint is that if they are out of something I need on the shelves asking someone to see if they have it in stock in the back is like asking them to climb Mt. Everest. First there is the rolling of the eyes,then the "Well,if it's not on the shelf; we probably don't have it" and then with a heavy sigh they finally agree to check. My point is if I don't spend $ they don't get paid so what's the big problem????

Obviously, the regrigerator is not in a good place either. There is no recourse but to be bold and face my avoidance and venture into the know world of grocery shopping. Our local Albertson's used to deliver to your door. Now that's my kinda shopping but they have discontinued the service...blast! How could they knowing how this experience fills me with dread and anxiety and rolled over toes. How unthinkable and rude of them. I no longer shop there.

So off to the shower, try to find something that fits my expanding girth,and keeping fingers crossed that I can get in and out without an accident. The upside is getting to cook, so in the end it will be worth whatever pain might ensue. Am I the only one who suffers from this phobia? Are there folks who really love grocery shopping?
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Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Tale of a Feline Thief

How harmless and cuddly and deceptive Busby can be. Who would think this sweetheart is a destroyer of quilts? Indeed, he is at heart a lover of fabric...maybe too much of a lover. I had started an Earth Strata tryptich in 2006, one of my students wanted to buy it unfinished. I told her it wouldbe awhile before I could get it done due to other committments. Never thinking it would take so long...ahem!

I put it in the stack with all my works in progress or at least I thought I had. When she emailed me regarding the quilt,I went in search of same. I had two of the smaller pieces finished but needed to finish the largest piece of the three. Quilts flying everywhere, fabric flying off shelves but no quilt to be found.

Enter Busby....somehow the piece managed to put itself in the closet where I keep my yarn and store finished quilts.....which, by the way is now full of Thom's clothes, so I can't find anything. Putting on my miner's helment and with shovel in hand, I began digging through various clothing and quilts. Finally crumpled in the far reaches of a corner, the quilt was found in a state of total dis-repair. Not only was it completely covered in cat hair but he had pulled the edges of the batting off and kneaded holes in the surface with his back paws. Just like he wanted it all nice and comfy.

I emailed the client that the quilt was not retrievable. Offered her one of my new art pieces or to start another Earth Strata. I haven't heard from her yet but hope to soon. I am devasted and yet Busby still lives. Seeing how taking his life would be bad karma, he is saved but only because he is so darn cute....and after all, it was only a major art piece.
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Friday, November 30, 2007

For Wil and Christina

To sign up for the class, just drop me a line at: I will add you to the list and send the reminder out the first week in January. If you would like to pay now, you can call me at 817.485.3781 and we will get you ready to go.
Thanks so much for your interest. We are going to have a great group..

Will have a better post when I get away from the computer. Stay is a sad tale.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Ta Da! I Beat It into Submission

After hours of pulling hair, and cursing all the code writers of Avid Liquid, I win...yahhhhaa! Actually, I broke down and called my former editor, kept it cordial but brief and got the answer I needed. Now for a moment of gloating....a short moment since now I have to get the voice over function to work but one more task crossed off the list. I am really feeling my oats or should that be feathers. Got the editing part locked's all the bells and whistles,called special effects, that are the learning curve. For now, I am languishing in my accomplishment...whew!

Cheshire Cat

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Now For Something Completely Different

I am in the studio today....trying to decide what to work on and moving Thom's stuff off my light box and work table. For some eye candy, here are a few of my favorite Photoshop exercises. Some you may have seen; others you might not have. Somehow my camera keeps me connected to my work. When I don't have time to sketch, sew or journal, the camera becomes my creative media.....and it's instant gratification....well, if you are even slightly adept at Photoshop. The first is a picture of my beloved downtown Fort Worth, a constant inspiration for me.

The second was done for Simple Still Life back when I had more free time to participate. As a lover of blue glass (can you tell?), this reflection in blue always soothes my aching mind. The glass in front was a gift from Chris and Jillaine while they were living in Germany. I shall always treasure it...but wow, what a great photo it made.

The final photo is a study in shadows and layering for an antique effect. I still love black and white photography. It is so graphic, but I decided to soften the edges to heighten the shadows. Just playing around in Photoshop gives you so much freedom to alter without changing the essence of the image.

Final word regarding the on line class. Realizing this is the Christmas season and you are probably all over committed at this point, registration will be open until 15 January. We will start the lessons sometime that week. If you are interested, please email me so I can put you on the list and I will contact you in January. Promise not to bring this up again but I am trying to get my ducks in a row before year developing the exercises and all those important things. Off to the studio to finish what I started.
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Monday, November 26, 2007

Creative Sparks

Here goes the skinny on the on line class. Thanks for your emails and comments which prodded me to get it together in a concise form.....well, at least concise for me.

Title: Creative Sparks
A six month long class centered on exercises to develop, discover and experiment with our creative potential. In this class we will do art projects with certain guidelines set by me. These projects can be created in the media of your choice: fiber, paper, paint or all the above. We will also do exercises on issues that confront why we don't get to the work, internal dialogues that inhibit us and other issues of time and external obligations.

The class assignments will begin in January and end in June. Six lessons with no deadline for completion. If you choose not to do an assignment but continue with the progress of a previous assignment, feel free to do so. However, I would like to hear from you regarding your decision so we can look at the cause.

Each time you complete an exercise, email a jpeg to me if it is an art project or an written, journal style entry if it is a dialogue exercise. During the course of each month, you will have total access to me via email. No limits and remember no unimportant questions. Also each month, I will choose 2 dates with time slots for individual telephone conferences to discuss any blocks, questions, etc. you might be experiencing. I will email you the dates and times; add your name and telephone number and I will return an email with the time for your conference. Please formulate your questions carefully since each call will be limited to 30 minutes. All calls will be at my expense since you paid for the class. If you discover your time is inconvenient, please email me so we can re-schedule.

The cost for the class is $35 a session due the first of each month. Since January 1st is a holiday, please make your payment some time within the first week of January so I can send out your assignment. Oh, and did I mention that you might not all get the same assignment. Surprise, surprise. When you sign up for the class, please include in the comments your blog, website or email me with some images and thoughts so each of you will have assignments geared to your personal needs. By and large, we will be working on the same issues so we can become a support group. However, there may be times when one student has issues that are particular to them. I want to be able to address these issues when they arise.

All payments can be made through my secure shopping cart for your protection or by check. The button to sign up will be on the site in December. Class size is limited to 15. If you would like to be included but don't wish to pay at this time, please email me so I can put you on the list...first come, first served. In January, I will send you a reminder so you can opt out or pay.

I am limiting the class size so I can give you individual personal to you needs responses, critique (gently) your work, suggest books and guide you to new appreciation of your creative sparks. This will be an exciting, productive journey for all involved. I hope you will consider joining us.

Sample Exercise
Art Project: Work in a style you have never used, i.e., collage, torn paper, crayons, markers, ink or paint on fabric or canvas. Second guideline: You can only use a single image, shape in different scales to create the work. Try working no larger than 11" x 17". You can always enlarge the design if it inspires you to create a larger piece. Remember this is to get you out of your comfort zone and start exercising those creative muscles. Some images you might consider for this exercise are letter (alphabets, fonts), a single flower in many different sizes, a shell in different proportions, squares, spirals. Remember to change the scale for visual interest. Try one exercise within an irregular grid. Layout another in an overall free form composition.

So whadda ya think? Looking forward to hearing from you.

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Sunday, November 25, 2007

Online Class Brewing to Perfection

Things have been bubbling to the surface about the on line class. Pat brought up some good points in her comments on my last post. Time is the main factor. With our lives so busy and still wanting to create having another deadline is the last thing we need. Also, what a great way to stifle creativity if your work schedule, family, fill in the blank needs you and your on line class needs work.

Following that thought, here's what I decided. First, we will do a class on creativity. The class will include art projects and issues that surround your goals and direction. There will be no time limit on accomplishing your assignment. However, each month I will give a new assignment for those who work quickly. Also, if you choose not to do an assignment you are free to do so. My only caveat is that we talk about why you didn't choose to do the assignment, i.e., time, other committments etc.

Another aspect of the class is that you can email me at any time with questions. No limit and as always there are no unimportant questions. Along with that we will have once a month individual telephone conferences. I will choose two days a month. Send out the dates and times, you email back with your name and phone number and I will call you at the appointed time. Try to have your questions formulated before the call since each call will be limited to 30 minutes. All calls will be on my nickel since you have paid for the class.

As to cost, this class will be a six month committment. That is only six lessons so if you decide you want to continue, we can discuss that at the end of the six sessions. Cost will be due at the beginning of each month so you can drop out at any time. The cost per month will be $35.

Let me know what you think. What would you like to do if not creativity? Does this type of schedule work for you?
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Saturday, November 24, 2007

Something Old and Some New Ideas

We had a great Thanksgiving. Lots of food, talked with the sons who couldn't be here, watched the Cowboys game with R and Thom. Threw the diet and exercise out the window and enjoyed every moment. Fall weather arrived just in time for the festivities and with it a renewal that always comes to me this time of year. For me the Autumnal Equinox has always started a new cycle of energy, creativity and ideas. Guess it was too many years in school and theatre....or being born in this season. Who knows but I am ready to go.....went to the studio, got out a long over due commission, decided it needed more stitching, so below is the empirical evidence.....actual stitches started, with my favorite fancy threads. The surface design is done and some stitching but the additional work will add another layer of interest.....making it more dimensional. It feels so good to be away from the computer for awhile and in the studio.

While in the studio, a lost quilt gets a new life. This is one of my famous "If it isn't working, cut it up" experiments. The working title is "Klimt Collects Beach Glass." It is very small but that is a good thing. This might not be the final orientation but you have to start somewhere.

With Christmas approaching, the knitting basket called to me. Tons of great yarn, a simple scarf pattern and time for at least a couple of scarves or maybe even a pair of socks or two. Knitting is such a fun way to get a color fix without all the decisions required for a new quilt. Also at this point a very fast, satisfying sense of accomplishment.

Finally, the ideas for finishing work, ways to do great dissolves and all sorts of big dreams are flashing through the "little grey cells." For the first idea, some feedback from you dear readers is required. My thoughts are wrangling around starting an on line class. It would be hosted from my web site so you could sign up and pay through a secure server. My question to you would be is this something you would be interested in? After that subject matter, would you prefer technique or a creative exercise class? I leave it up to you. If you are interested either post in the comments or send me an email privately with you thoughts. All suggestions welcome, regardless,and of course, opinions of all kinds will be considered. Told you this is my time of the year....ah, renewal and crisp weather.

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Thursday, November 22, 2007

My work in a museum

Digital Cameras Tools
Created with - fun with your photos

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thanksgiving Eve Finale

Why,why,why....will Blogger only post 3 pics? Any techincal discussion greatly appreciated. Now back to our story. Tonight I will prepare two deep dish pumpin/pecan pies. A big hit with boys of all ages, expecially with a small pour of cinnamon flavored heavy cream....yummy! I decided for the three of us to do a nice baked ham, our families' favorite twice baked potates, a medly of broccoli, cauliflower and carrots in my own special sauce, deviled eggs, doused with curry powder and sprinkled with cayenne pepper (wimpy deviled eggs for the jalapeno raised father and son), and the ubitiquos pea salad, full of goodies and spiced Texas style. More than the 3 of us need, but oh, what I can do with the left-overs. Potato soup, hoppin John with the ham added to black-eyed peas, rice and lots of Cajun spice.....and of course, a crustless quiche filled with broccoli, ham and cheese. I feel the lbs growing.

Tonight I will fold these while the pies bake, the eggs boil, cheese grated....all that jazz. Washed and dried yesterday. I think one task a day is plenty. How did our grandmother's get so much done with so little conveniences? I have big appliances and small appliances and still put off everything to the last minute. Maybe they used their time more wisely.....or could it be because we have these conviences we are too dependent on them?

The idea of a small, quiet Thanksgiving is very appealing to me at the moment. We will miss a house full of family but are still thankful they are well and have their loved ones with which to count their blessings and sharing in the giving of the simplicity of Thanksgiving. Enjoy, drink and be merry for Christmas is on its way.
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Thanksgiving Eve

Today I am going in here even though it appears daunting but with just a few quick throws space will be available.

I am not going in here...yeah, yeah, I know deadline, sales, etc. However, there is only so much comfort in creativity of this kind. I need to touch fabric.

Or these already layered, ready to quilt pieces that have been languishing in their batting. Maybe it is like marinating meat or vegetables. The more flavor they have the longer they rest.

Or I might start a new project...
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Monday, November 19, 2007

Me and My Shadow/Computer

Please allow the refrain of "Me and My Shadow" to run through your head while reading.

I freely admit that I am totally insufferable right now and on two counts. 1. I am having to learn how to use a new program, well, new to me. 2. I know just enough to catch when there is an error in lighting, audio, editing in a television program or movie. Which means I am not winning any popularity contest on the home front.

While y'all are preparing for Thanksgiving, I am running between the editing computer and my regular computer which has Photoshop on it, editing, putting stills in Photoshop to make titles, uploading them to my jump drive, downloading them to the editing computer, putting titles on them, etc.,etc.

This isn't whining.....sigh....just reporting. Only Thom will be here for Thanksgiving so I don't have to jump through hoops for the three of us. I do plan on doing a small feast, smallbeing the operative word. I will take the day off......part of my plan for the new year.....but until then it's nose to the key pad.

Losing an editor to circumstances beyond my control has been a good lesson. I do know how and love to delegate projects but in the future, I know I will have to be more involved in the process. If I had paid more attention to my former editor, I would know more now that would be to my advantage. Shame on me.....'cuz now I am paying for being lazy.

Thanks Deb and Sue for the comments on my last post. Wish I had time to email everyone thanks but I do appreciate hearing from you. Hey Deb, we still have vinyl, turntable, etc. that we could plug in anytime if we dug it out of the relic drawer.

Here's wishing you all too much turkey surrounded by the one's you love. Happy Thanksgiving!
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Friday, November 16, 2007

Exercise In Futility

Spending a quiet night at home sweet Ronnie and I started playing one of our favorite games....why we can never divorce. This game always has the same beginning and the same end. It starts with who gets the cd's. Our biggest bargaining is over the Crosby, Stills and Nash collection.

I want 4 Way Street and Daylight Again.....which always sets R into a spin. However,it is patently obvious that I deserve Daylight Again because of the song "Southern Cross." I am the one in our marriage who has been to Australia and seen the Southern Cross. OK, he was in the Navy and sailed the Pacific, but not the Southern Latitudes. I have also been farther North than he having had a terrific teaching gig in White Horse in the Yukon Territory. I can't tell you how much this disturbs the old salt.

When we finally get that resolved,we move to Bob Dylan's Bringing It All Back Home,which is obviously mine. More high roller betting goes on, you can have Rubber Soul if I get Abbey Road....I get Wheels of Fire, OK then I get Cream Gold....R wants Elton John's Tumbleweed Connection which means I get Joni Mitchell's Court and Spark....and the game goes on and on....Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen, Julie London, Diana Krall, Billy Idol, Pearl Jam, Bob Seegar. Stone Temple Pilots, Etta James, Janis Joplin, Billie Holiday, James Taylor, Warren Zevon. You get the idea.

We end laughing so hard we are begging the other to stop but the bargaining continues. Out of the blue, I mention we will also have to divide the books. That's when we both cry Uncle. It is obvious that we have to remain married until death do us part. We would never be able to go through a property settlement without the lawyers rolling in the floor in unseemly.

That's the great thing about being born in the same decade. We have a long list of shared experience....and the music and books are the words and sound track of our lives. In a bold decision, we have decided yet once again that we are stuck with each other....and lots of great music...played loud or soft....there is definitely something to be said for being married to the right guy.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

When I was a Child

Maybe it is because I just celebrated my b'day or maybe it is true that as you get older you remember more and more about your childhood.....who knows. However, this evening as I was soaking in the tub the strangest thought struck me. I never go back to the town in which I grew up.

I haven't been back since my mom's funeral....she died in 1991. I didn't even go back to the house when I sold it. I went to the title office and then came home. Is that strange? After all I spent the first 18 years of my life there and did go back frequently while my parents were alive but now I don't feel any connection to that place at all. My parents are both buried there but they live in my heart. They aren't there anymore; they live within me.

Even more weird, I have only been to two class reunions...the 10th and the 30th. I thought about going this year to the 35th and then realized I don't even know those people. I went all the way through elementary, junior high and high school with the same people, but have no connection to them now. We have lost some of my classmates which saddens me, but in my mind I have lost them as I remember them; not for who they are now.

At our 30th class reunion, I was voted the person who had changed the least. Whoa doggies! From my perspective, I was the one who had changed the most. I was the one who had serious wanderlust and moved every two years from theatre to theatre during my jaded youth. I was the one who got caught on the news protesting the Viet Nam war. Half the time my parents didn't know where I was until I got settled into a new home.....even divorced one husband and didn't even call until it was all over.

My fellow classmates have all stayed in touch. Some of them still live near where we went to school; some of them have the same friends they ran around with in high school. Maybe I should envy that type of long standing friendship but to be honest with myself, my best friends are women and men I met long after high school.

This is an unusual post for my blog but had to get it out of my head. My childhood may have been where the creative spark started but it isn't reflected in my art. Not that I am trying to escape it because most of my youth was idyllic.....I just don't have any angst over that time of my life. Is therapy in order?

Shutting up now; still slightly perplexed. Wondering does your childhood find its way into your art?

Monday, November 12, 2007

The Artist's Life

Before I launch into the new year plans, I thought I might take a moment or two to give you some thoughts on living the life of an artist. This is not a pretentious statement on my part, simply the thing I must do....create.
While most of us share this compulsion, some of us aren't as obssesive as moi and find a balance between friends, family and a social life. I try, believe me I do, but never quite succeed. Art is my passion, the blood that flows through my veins. This often causes total anxiety.....what if I run out of ideas, how can I keep up with the business of art and the making of art. The photo below shows me in one of these anxiety ridden moments. How do I separate who I am from what I do? And does that even matter? Isn't it enough that I have found something that brings me peace, joy even if it is often filled with constant questions of how to make meaning in my life and work. Sigh! Never satisfied.

I talk to myself or write in my journals about how to get more work done. I admire those of you who can work in a smaller format but can't seem to get my images to that size. Big, visial impact seems to fit my imagery so I will never produce a large body of work. No problem I accepted that fact ages ago. However, it doesn't keep me from admiring the smaller work and wondering how I could do it. An artist life is all about compromise. There are always questions to answer and the answer is different for each of us.

Here are the answers I have found for myself. Some you have heard before but I present them to you again as the new year approaches.

First to approach my work with flexibility, the ability to see it in many different ways, ambiguity if you will so that the work won't become a chore. Second, to retain an introspective stance. Constantly learning, continually questioning, what if? Looking inward for those blocks that make me question change. Third, being disciplined about the work. ( I admit here and now this has been a bad year for discipline.....fell completely off the wagon around April.) But discipline is the key to growth and craftsmanship; knowing this and maintaing it are two different animals. Remember this is a new year so I hope to correct my laziness. The remainder I will simply list in order and allow you to see how they apply to your life as an artist...with a few possible lines from me.

Honesty...while it is easy to sell out to what the market/public/what other artist are doing is that being true to your vision?

Self-centeredness....knew that would bring a pause to you but you have to put your art first and remain centered in a place that allows you to access your creativity at any moment. Not what you thought, right?

Self-direction....while it is good to discuss art with friends, learn a new technique to add to you work or any number of other possibilities, you cannot allow external forces to be the motivation for your work.

Resiliency.....when it isn't working, don't give up. Try a new approach. Trust your resources. Keep you head down, your arms up and keep on punching. Try to work through the doubt and possible depression that the failure of a much anticipated piece might bring. There is always another idea working its way through the grey matter.

Finally, and aren't you glad, non-comformity. Sure we would all like to be as rich as Thomas Kincade but what price glory? Go against the grain....walk off the ledge into the unknown...that is when you will truly discover your identity as an artist....your style and your bliss.

Many thanks to all of you for the birthday wishes. It made my day very special hearing from all of you. What a wonderful community Diane has created for us. Our community is a true sisterhood of artist, regardless of where we are on this incredible journey. It is an honor and pleasure to be in such good company....go make some art.
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