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, May 17, 2007

Continuing with Cambria Artists

This was such a dedicated and open class that i don't want to leave anyone out.After a few days of other posts, I want to return to these very talented student.....if for no other reason than to show you their talent and that you to have the same talent if you will allow yourself to be open to it....not worry about the opinions of other people and dig deep to find you way of making meaning. The first artist is June Fincher. Her whole cloth is of peppers and gourds and her small quilt is made from painted fabric. Oneof the most valuable things June brought to us was a quote that she posted on her design wall. I hope you can read it.
June's Artist Statememt: Sunday, Monday,Tuesday....Delvig inyo art. Trying to connect, to understand principles of art.
Opening my mind----stay loose---be free---experiment.
My work shows some struggle, some success. I have to that I am a beginner and not get discouraged.
Wednesday---I feel more optimistic---things are beginning to sink in.
No doubt about it, June, you are on the path.

The second work is from Marie Diederick. Marie was a total delight as a full of talent and yet so humble. An artist with no ego but an incredible eye and desire to create...unique in all of her being.
Marie's Artist Statement: My work here is just the beginning. It has released me. I have no fear. I can do it. Do it my way. I'm free. Thank you.

Marie was already free all I did was open some doors, lift some veils. I felt for this entire class I was just a facilitator a mediator guiding them to their personal expression. What a gift for an instructor.

Our last artist in this post is Marlene Barkley. Marlene has a definite direction in which she wants to go but was needing exposure to a variety of media to accomplish that vision. I think we arrived at that place. I you could see her whole cloth of the rock and sky you would feel as if you could reach out and touch it.
Marlene's Artist Statement: My work, at this stage, reflects my inner turmoil of direction. I have spent the last few days going into a free fall and feel I have become grounded.
The first few exercises mirror that inner turmoil and dissatisfaction and now my rocks and the red piece show a direction.

I look forward to seeing where Marie will take her work....hopefully I will be back in Cambria in 2009 with some of these same students so we can push further and with new students who can join in this process of making meaning.

Only four more artists left...but I hope that is not the end of the journey.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Self Discovery 2 Last for Awhile

Don't want to run this into the ground too early so these will be the last for awhile. The next work I do will focus on studio work/quilting because I know I have a totally different mind set when I work. Thinking this will make a difference in how I look I want to explore that also. Today's selection are the public me and after the "party."

The first is trying to decide what to wear. I put a soft focus on the picture because I always wonder what to wear. Lucikly, California is very casual so I brought very few choices. Other venues require much more professional gear.
Having decided I put on my war paint and am semi pleased with the results but never feel as if it quite measures up. At home I never wear make-up and always feel as if it changes who I am. We all have many different faces we show to the world....each appropriate for a particular situation. Is this the right face? Going into performance mode, I wait to "feel" the crowd, to measure how to present the lecture for maximum effect.
After the lecture, getting ready to drag myself to the shower, I relect on the evening. I am still tired from the late night arrival on Monday but looking forward to class on Wednesday. Looking at pictures from last year, I am surprised by how much older and more tired I look. It dawns on me that since I stopped exercising I have totally changed. Everything is sagging and I have much less stamina.....lesson learned. Gotta hit the rowing machine and gym when I get home to see if I can get any of that back.

Tomorrow back to the Cambria artist.
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Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Self Portrait..Searching for True Self 1

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New Project: Self Discovery

Never fear I am not giving up quiltmaking or painting but for awhile I want to focus on my photography. I am still exploring the urban/rural theme but it dawned on me that may painters use themselves as why not photographers. I have always hated having my picture taken. A childhood memory of my mom, who did not want me to get conceited by all the polite things people say about young children left me with a deep knowledge that I was not attractive.
Her comments were well intended but sent the wrong message. The main this I remember from this period was "Well, you may not be pretty, but you are use that." Not to sure she was right on that count either....but I have to take this journey.
As I am aging, I have become entrigued where that young girl was and who the woman she is today. Therefore for a while, I will be doing some self-portraits, flattering I hope and unflattering.....the raw real daily life.
There won't be any titles and maybe this is total self-indulgence but somewhere in the core, I know there will be discovery. I invite you to take this journey with me.....and please don't hestitate to comment....positive or negative. Also, please fell free to say enough might not make me stop photographing but I could be persuaded to stop blogging the photos.
Yours on the path to the discovery of who I am as an artist.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

The Great Tree Debate

For a change of pace, I thought I would update you on the home front before we go back to the Cambria artists. I have just been home long enough to get yard guy, Shannon, to start the spring/summer planting. We have had tons of rain so everything is taking hold well even though it looks a little sparse right now. When I get back from my next trip to California on the 17th, we will take another round at filling in.

However, that is not the debate. Do you see the dead tree? This tree was a plum that got blasted in one of our 60 mph straight winds. It held on for a long time but has finally bit the dust. I mean is this a dead tree or what?

Here comes the debate: I want a mimosa tree. Remember when everyone in the '50's had one....before mimosa became a morning cocktail. I grew up with one in my parents circular driveway. There were so many of them that occasionally you will see a volunteer come up along the freeways.....and I love the shape, obviously oriental. Sweet
Ronnie is digging in his heels because they drop seed pods. Sheesh! Invasion of the Body Snatchers was a movieeeee! He gave me "the look" when I said mimosa tree but I am standing my ground. Any other tree would totally dwarf the front yard which as you can see is miniscule.

We live on a cul-de-sac with our house being one of two at the very center. Our lot is a pie wedge with a small front yard and an enormous back yard, where the roses are.
If we plant any good size tree in the front, nothing else will grow there. The whole yard would be in shade even though it faces south. As it is now I can get anything that loves full sun to grow like the debate continues. Shannon is on the look out for a mimosa; since I can't seem to find one anywhere, but I win....stay tuned.
I have also included a picture of the indoor garden which is suffering somewhat in my absence. The rubber tree is so tall it needs to be moved, and the Boston fern needs attention. Everything else is doing fine. As to the Boston fern, I feel obligated to keep it alive. It came from Ronnie's grandmother, who passed along a cutting to her daughter, my sweet mother-in-law. Imagine how old this fern is....and now since they are both gone, it falls to me to keep the family fern alive. Oh, the responsibility of it all! It is so root bound at this point that when I come home I will try to divide and re-pot it....but if I kill the darn thing, I feel some bad karma coming on.

By the way, if you would like to see something my oldest son, Charles or Coyote as we foldly call him because he is such a trickster, is doing, go to this website:
He has a great site and has done an amazing amount of research. I think you will enjoy the memories.....I am in awe of his accomplishment.

Happy Mother's Day to all. Back with more artists soon.
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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Round Two Cambria Artist

Sure am glad I have my laptop and wireless broadband card in Texas during spring weather. We got hit with another round of thunderstorms last night that knocked out our electricity. Lucky us....we have an all electric not only is there no hot water....brr...but I cannot cook or clean. The universe in balance....nothing is all bad or all good.

In the meantime, here are three more artist for you viewing pleasure. The first artist is Suzanne Golden. As you can see she painteed a whole cloth piece from a photograph of an old barn but she placed it on the diagonal so you get a very interesting viewpoint. Suzanne plans on adding more detail to the wood with thread and other media.

Suzanne's Artist Statement: The current work shows the expansion of color and design. This experience has opened my inner self to the freedom of childhood expression

I truly admire Suzanne's bold use of color and pattern. Keep it are on to something.

Next is Irene Dailey who always brightened our day with some new discovery. She was like a fish out of water with the first painting.....we simply practiced making gestures with the brush so that they could get the feel of how to push the paint...but as you can see, she didn't struggle for long. It was amazing how having so many hours to devote day after day brought such quick results. Something maybe we should all consider......the more you work the better you work.

Irene's Artist Statement: My artistic journey is my life's journey. Starting from rigidity, fear. "Be just like...," "Girls don't....,"You don't have...."
To May 2, 2007-----Allowing myself to cherish life's journey and make conscious decisions as to how to spend myprecious time here on earth.
As I have encouraged my children, I encourage myself to just be----be gentle on myself---be open to new ideas and experiences---be myself---be a learner---be joyful---be thankful for Gabrielle sharing herself with me.

I promise I didn't pay her to say that but what great insight into her own path. Thanks Irene for all the smiles and laughter.

Our final artist for today is Christine Kulich. Not to overstate the obvious but this is one talented lady. Christine has obviously worked in a variety of media and has a definite style just waiting to burst through her work. However, because she has done so many things she felt she wasn't truly an artist....pshaw!......just a little focus.....maybe a series....certainly not a lack of ideas or talent.

Christine's Artist Statement: With my art, I intend to live presently aand spread hope.
Love it still

I wish you could see the page she gave me for her artist statement. It is painted with beautiful brush strokes in a pale robin's egg blue and collaged with the "Love it still" phrase. Too cool....up on my inspiration wall for you Christine.

Back to the real world and off to get my hair done. Thank you atet and Gerrie for the comments. It is this kind of experience that is truly why I am still "on the road." Hey Rayna.....when will we meet again and yeah, I think you got the meaning.
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Monday, May 07, 2007

The First Three Cambria Divas

On Wednesday afternoon, all the students toured each of the other classes. We set up our class like a gallery show featuring each artist instead of each exercises we accomplished. I asked them to write an artist statement about the work they had completed or just their art in general. Today we will feature: Pat Bauer, a dear friend from past classes. The first three pieces are painted cloth (PFD), the remainder of the work in on paper. Pat is also a book maker and plans on using some of her painted papers in that work.

Pat's Artist Statement: I really looked forward to this class because it would force me---in a pleasant way---to try new things that I had always avoided before. Sometimes it was painful and stresful. Trying new things always is for me.

The things I have tried, the things I have learned are now a part of me. I will be able to use these new techniques and incorporate them in my work---for the better I hope.

The exercises had expanded and stretched me in ways that allowed me to continue to grow.

Our next artist is Rosemary Koeneke. This class was a constant surprise for Rosemary and she was a constant delight to all of us with those surprises. Rosemary is an avid reader and an incredible wordsmith but never though of herself as an artist. I think you can see from the work she is well on her way to adding another aspect to her work.

Rosemary's Artist Statement: Art is a personal process, an argument of defined expectations. It dares to ask the provocative "What next?" (Wish I had thought of that one.)
Our last artist for today is Maggie Villanueva. Maggie is an incredible talent but due to other responsibilities has little time to create. We discussed carving out a day a week of 15 minutes in each day to satisfy her deep need to create. You can see from both her paper and fabric work, this great lady has talent just oozing out. She and several others got so excited they came back at night to paint. We used an entire jar of white acrylic paint.....note I said jar not tube. However, they never faulted and as you can see from Maggie's work, she is a natural at color mixing...who needs whie?

Maggie's Artist Statement: Being an individual was something that was not encouraged as a child. We were taught to think in terms of a "Group." What was best for the family, to watch out for each other.

Even though I do not wish to disconnect myself from the "Group" mainly because without them I would lose part of my identity. I do long to be an individual, an only child.

In the past few days, with the help of Gabrielle, I have discovered that art is a way with which I can express myself and have being doing so.

Three more artists tomorrow. My deep appreciation of this work grows everytime I get to look at it. I also want to thank all the artists for being willing to share their work and their thoughts with us. I miss them already....even though they were getting so far ahead of me I was having to tap dance to keep growth from them is immeasureable.
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Sunday, May 06, 2007

Home from Cambria

Thought for the Day:
Your own self is
your own mainstay,
for who else could your mainstay be?
With you yourself well-trained
you obtain the mainstay
hard to obtain.

-Dhammapada 12, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

I thought I would give you a Sunday thought to start your week. Today I will start posting the artists work from Cambria but I couldn't resist give you this great quote to inspire you to continued work.
Artists coming soon.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Cambria Creativity Divas

After all my bragging about my wireless broadband card, it totally went south the last three days. Something about the hills and where you are in relationship to the repeater....anyhoo, here I sit at the San Jose airport on my way home and finally in touch.

To honor their hard work I have decided for the next few days to feature the artists in my class including their artist statements and a comprehensive look at all the work they accomplished. In the meantime since I am in the airport,here we are on the last day before saying a fond farewell. In back from left to right: Rosemary, Suzanne, Paula, Pat, Jan ( who was my angel and made my life way too easy), Judy, June, Christine and Marlene. In front, Irene, Sharon, some strange woman with weird red hair, Maggie and Marie. I cannot begin to thank these lovely ladies for enriching my life these past few days. They really kept me on my toes, thinking on my feet and loving every minute of it.

A very big thanks to Sandy Turner for giving me the privilege of teach this class at the Out of Heart and Hand Retreat......these students embody the title of the retreat many times over.

Don't get home until late tonight...after I checked in the delayed the flight 20 minutes. Lots 'o spring weather in Dallas/Fort I will start posting the individual artist statements and work tomorrow.
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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Cambria Day2

For the sake of time since blogger is a wee bit slow, I collaged some of the collages. After the collaged we painted on paper a lesson in gesture and patterning. More pictures to follow. We also gave a reading list of artist to study so that the students might find something in their work to inspire them in quiltmaking. Today we paint on fabric and learn to use a view finder to discover what I call the sweet spot.....a place in a photograph that may end up being slightly abstracted but it perfect compositionally.
This may take more than one day so tomorrow I will post the photos of their gestural paintings.
Wish you were here....we are really discovering tons about ourselves creatively and producing pieces that surprise each one of us.

On a more personal note, thanks to Karoda, Diane D, Valeri and Jeannie for the comments on my recent posts. Now that I am trying to post every day I was beginning to feel like a solitary voice. I truly appreciate and thank you for resonding. Off to paint and create more havoc among the students
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Day 2 Cambria

What a great day we had. These are the last of the paper collages that were done on the time theme.
Some used torn paper as you can see to imply aging as in a flower losing its bloom. Others focused on text combined with newsprint and magazines.
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