Saturday, September 29, 2007

The Mess Continues

I went looking for my kettle this morning and after ten minutes of what seemed like a fruitless search..........I found it under my bed. This has been my life as of late. I keep telling myself it will all be over in four days but at this moment it all seems quite chaotic. What was I thinking when I made the decision to put flooring in and paint right before my in laws arrive and the Images Tour begins. You could say I was being optimistic or just plain crazy...........perhaps a fine line between the two.
Today is the dreaded pricing day in which I scratch my head a lot and try to figure out what new strategy I am going to use to find prices for my new work. Yuck! I've found from talking to other artists that this is one of the most difficult things to do. Is it too low? Is it too high? Who knows.
I completed an inventory of all the work for the show this morning even though I was tripping over kitchen appliances and shelving. Unfortunately most of the "stuff" from the house has gone into my tiny studio for the time being until the painting is finished. Anyway, I have a list and now I'll just sit with it for the next couple days.
I was also mulling over my schedule for next week.............Thursday looks positively frightening.
This is the way it pans out..........the painter is finished on Wednesday at inlaws arrive on Thursday night. Like I said, what was I thinking?
Thursday I have to try and throw the house together........everything back in it's place, curtains and artwork, all lamps, furniture,pots and pans,rugs, books, and shelving. After that I need to drive to town to grocery shop and pick up the turkey, then over to Gary Brierley's to set up my part of the show, then home to start dinner for the inlaws who will arrive around 6:00pm. I'll be serving a big bottle of red wine with dinner that night.
Be well,

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Renovations Suck

My house is a total disaster.
I spent the better part of the morning wiping down doors and windows getting ready for the painter to arrive at noon. My kitchen is totally bare and most of the stuff that was on the counter is now in my studio as well as a variety of shelves, artwork and kitchen utensils. The hardwood floor was finally finished around 6pm but I wasn't around as I had to pick my oldest up from town. I was contemplating starting dinner but out sounds better.
Ran up to the framers to sign a few mats........I'll be up there again tomorrow to frame five more pieces and then I'm done. Still not sure when I'm to set up for the Images Tour but I am assuming it will be next Thursday.
The painter has informed me he will be done by in laws arrive on Thursday night. What have I done? How I'm going to get set up, hang my curtains back up, put my furniture back etc is beyond me.........but I do have faith it will all come together and if it doesn't.....oh well, it doesn't. I've been trying to put things into perspective lately and realize whatever doesn't get done will still be there tomorrow and the world isn't going to end because of it. I'm trying not to get myself too wrapped around the axel these days. The saying "life is short" is true and I'm trying to remember that.
The girls are off on a PD Day tomorrow but I'm taking the day and heading out. I've got a few errands to run and then will hopefully meet Kelly for lunch. I might drop by the house just to check on the painter (something about him just isn't sitting right with me) and to see if the girls would like to go grocery shopping. If they do come it will only be because they try to pull a fast one on me by putting things in the cart when they think I'm not looking or confused. Lately I think I've been confused a lot.........forgetful is probably a better description but I've heard that comes along with menopause. Yuck!!!
John is home all day tomorrow ( let him check on the painter) until he leaves on his overnight fishing trip with a few friends. Good for him, he's been working really hard lately and needs the break.
Just completed the above piece.........lots of thread work on this one. I entitled "Two" and it will be part of the Images Tour.
Looks like a wonderful weather weekend here...........hope you have a good one

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Autumn is Here

I went walking through the park behind our home yesterday and that sound of crunching leaves under foot reminds me that fall is here even though the weather we have been receiving lately feels more like summer. It is a wonderful time of year.
The Images Tour starts in less than two weeks and I think I can safely say I'm ready. I'm usually running around, working myself into such a state because I've once again procrastinated and now need to pull it all together in less than a week. Not this year. I've completed everything that is going into the show. I'll still work on few outstanding pieces but for a rush!
My house is in quite a state though. We are having hardwood floors put in the livingroom, hallway and stairs so you can imagine the noise. I'm hoping to have everything painted before Thanksgiving but it is looking like it may have to happen afterwards.
I like the photo I've posted, it looks quite promising for my next piece of artwork. So serene, so inviting. As if, no matter how busy your life has gotten you really need to take that walk.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

It's Not Oprah but Still Television

So last night was my long awaited television interview which I must say was nerve wracking. All day my stomach was filled with butterflies and I had no appetite whatsoever (that wasn't such a bad thing). I drove into the television studio at about 8pm as the show began "live" at 9pm. Met with the lovely host Deanne McCallum and the other two women artists, Andrea Marcuzzi and Lois Green that would also be on the show. I even sat in the "green room" which really was painted green.
I kept thinking of why I agreed to do this as it felt really uncomfortable to me but that was exactly why I agreed to do it. I'm at a time in my life when I feel I need to take on new challenges and anything that makes me feel like I'm stepping outside of the box, out of my comfort zone is a good thing. I kept thinking.....what is the worst that could happen? No, I didn't want to go there. I finally realized everything was going to be fine and all my nervousness was just my mind wanting to make itself heard. Note to self........meditate longer every day.
It ended up being a good experience. The show ran for an hour and we discussed women in the arts, balancing art and family, passion and inspiration, the Images Tour etc. After about twenty minutes I kind of forgot the cameras were even there and it was rather like an enjoyable conversation with friends.
I guess the lesson I learned from this one (yes, I always think there is a lesson) is to take some chances. Do it because it forces you to step out of the can always get back in later but maybe you won't want to.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Work Completed, Good Music

Last post I talked extensively about my process and showed this piece which was half completed at the time. It is finally done and although there are a few things I would change I am generally happy with it. It don't think there has ever been a piece that I have ever finished that I didn't feel needed some tweaking.....I think I'll always feel that way.
This morning I saw my doctor for my yearly physical (yuck). The good news is I seem to be quite well which was a relief to me as I am a total hypocondriac. I think there was year when I thought I had every symptom of every disease known to man. I will warn you........if you have anything bothering you at any not go on the internet. I guarantee your symptom will show up with numerous horrible diseases linked to it. But I come by it naturally as everyone in family is a true hypocondriac. I'm just following the genetic path. We are a strange bunch.
John has gone to pick up our oldest daughter from play practice and my youngest is playing some wretched music upstairs that sounds like nails on the chalk board. I don't remember being a teenager and playing music my parents hated. I genuinely believed they liked my music because it was good music. Who doesn't like James Taylor, Led Zeppelin, Steve Miller Band, Bee Gees (yes, I did go through a disco was the 70's afterall). Most of what I hear now is just an assault on the senses, wow, I do sound old. I think all that talk of peri menopause was freaking me out at the doctors today. When she asked me if I had experienced a "hot flash" yet I looked at her like she was crazy. I replied rather sharply "of course not". This is a whole new territory that I know is coming in the next few years but I'll deal with it when it arrives. What is primrose oil????
On to literary interests.............I read "Into The Wild" by Jon Krakauer about three years ago when I was up on Superior and absolutely loved it. If you have not read It will grap you from the first page and leave you reading long into the night. It is a story of a young man following his dream and seeking authenticity in his life. Those are truly my most favourite books to read. It stays with me long after and inspires me to not only be a better person but to find my own truth. I saw Sean Penn being interviewed on Oprah today and he has turned the book into a film, which according to the Toronto Film Festival is fabulous. I will surely see it when it goes national on October 5th.
Well, must run the girls are upstairs arguing once again over who is taking a shower first tonight.......yes, I am taking a deep breath and am happy that at least they value cleanliness.
See ya

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Work in Progress

Thought I'd post a piece that is almost half completed. There is still much to be done but at the moment this is where I am with it. I think I'll leave the path painted rather than try to embroider it. At times, an overload of thread can cause the entire piece to be just too busy and heavy. I enjoy the contrast between the areas. It is a fine balance.
So for the many of you who have asked about my process, here is a quick run through.
I work from my own photos but do opt for creative license when it comes to moving things around. There is much prelimenary work that needs to be done before I even sit in front of the sewing machine. Colour choices for threads, design options, composition, size of completed work, a rough sketch, etc. This is not an art form for anyone who would like to start and finish a piece within a day.
Once these decisions are all ironed out (pun) I then begin to paint the cotton. With this piece I used a very light gray for the background, almost a wash. I really wanted the green of the trees to pop out against a neutral background. I then loosley painted in where my trees would be positioned as well as my grasses and shrubs. I used a much darker gray for the path and painted it about three times to not only achieve darkness but heaviness as well. Then off I went, the trees were completed in layer upon layer of five different threads. At this point I am following my basic painting of the tree trunks but winging it when it comes to the branches. I do find much of my work has now become spontaneous. Using a variety of browns on the trunks is imperative. Without many thread changes the work will appear flat and lifeless. I have just started on my first green and will probably end up using about eight before I'm done. I think I'll also add flowers to my shrubs to break things up a bit. So, after the work is completed I will then use a piece of quilt batting and loosely quilt it. I really like the added texture the batt brings to the piece and it also just pops everything out adding a three dimensional value to the artwork. Yes, it is an enormous amount of work but I love what I do and couldn't ever imagine doing anything else. I consider it a labour of love and a way to express myself that brings me unbelievable joy.
Till next time,

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sights and Sounds of the City

Yesterday John and I had a fabulous time. Our friends Jay and Karen gave us tickets to a Blue Jays game for our 20 year, I don't like baseball and neither does John but the gift has sentimental value as for our first date we went to a Jays game. Even twenty years ago I never liked baseball but I liked him and if that was what we were going to do on our first date, I was all for it.
So we dropped the girls at my brother in laws and headed downtown. Toronto is such a fabulous city there really is an electricity that runs through the air there. If you ever have a chance to visit you'll love it.
When we arrived at the Rogers Center and picked up our tickets we then realized that our seats were in the nose bleed section as they had been on our first appropriate. We ended up leaving early (we did on our first date too) and headed over to Le Saint Tropez on King Street for an early dinner. Le Saint Tropez is one of my favourite restaurants in the city as it reminds me of being in France.
All through our meal I couldn't help looking over at John, really looking at him and remembering all of the memories we have shared over the last twenty years. To say I love him now more than I loved him when I married him is an understatement. We have so much history.............and although we are now very different people than we were back then..........I feel we have grown together. He knows I will never like fishing but I know he will never like sewing and isn't that gung ho about art either but that's OK. We share the important things.
I believe he is one of the "best" people I know.
After dinner we headed back to my brother in law Gregor's house. It was his son's second birthday so we joined in on all the festivities.....lots of cake and pizza.
Didn't get home until so much later than I had anticipated and unfortunatley missed out on Kelly's annual bash. It is such a blast and I do look forward to it every year. All types of musicians show up and play guitar and sing.........last year her husbands band played and it was fabulous. Yes, people do get up and dance which I did one year but we won't get into that. That is a story for another day.
Tomorrow back to work...........
Hope everyone had a wonderful weekend..............

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Fall is Here

Today we had a bit of rain and sun but that wind was cool and the leaves on the trees in my backyard are really beginning to turn colour. It was a great summer I have nothing to complain about. I actually enjoy the four seasons quite a bit but find winter a tad longer than I would wish. Come the end of February I am really ready for spring.
I didn't get into the studio at all today. I picked up some work from the framer, ran a few errands, went for a walk, did laundry, dishes, washed the kitchen floor, got dinner ready, did more dishes.......that kind of stuff.
Andy and Laurie came over today and finally decided on the piece they wanted for their home. It was wonderful to see them and it sounds like they had a fabulous honeymoon.
I also heard from Mary Profitt this morning and I'll leave you with a quote she sent me that is by the spiritual master Rumi.
"Let the beauty you love be what you do. There are a hundred ways to kneel and kiss the ground" Enough said.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Motivation.........Can't Seem To Find It Today

I didn't have a very good sleep last mind wouldn't quit running and it kept dragging me along with it. This morning at 6:30 am I felt like I hadn't slept at all. Remember when you were a kid and there was no such thing as a "good nights sleep"?.....every night was a good night sleep. I do sometimes long for those days. I think it all started after I had kids (that will do it to you). Your always listening to hear them at night just in case they need you. Perhaps even though they are now 13 and 14 I just haven't been able to break that habit.
This morning my youngest, who never sets an alarm slept in, as did I. Bus leaves at 7 she didn't get up until 6:30. The morning started off in a panic as I must have jumped 3 feet off the bed when she came running down the hall to inform me she was late. I told her she needs an alarm clock she told me "I'm stressed and cannot talk to you right now". Oh........teenagers, they are such a joy.
After this morning I just haven't been able to get my "mojo" going........I think that translates to motivation doesn't it? My kids would just be cringing if they read this or heard me say that word.
I do need to get to work on another small piece I'm in the middle of and head up to the framers to sign a couple pieces.
When I was on line yesterday I read about an artist residency in Italy. Tiny house outside of a lovely village, a garden and studio space..........I can dream can't I?

Saturday, September 8, 2007

On The Search For A New Gallery

I finally took some time today to type up a few covering letters, C.V.'s, and artist statements to send off to a few potential galleries that I like. I would ideally like to find a gallery in Chicago or perhaps New York. I would also enjoy to visit both of these cities so I guess I would be killing two birds with one stone so to speak. I've heard good things about the Vale Gallery in Chicago on West Superior. When we were up at the lake I was introduced to a friend of my mother in laws who is a professor in Chicago. He was kind enough to give me the scoop on the area in which the gallery is located and it sounds great. Anyone out there have any gallery recommendations in either of these cities?
So, I've got quite a bit of work ahead of me which does need to be done. Once the Images Studio Tour is over I need to find a few new galleries for representation. I've procrastinated enough..........time to take some action.
John and I had a good morning as we took off early for the farmers market to pick up a few things. We always intend to pick up a few things but always buy so much more. How can you help it.........fresh local produce, yummy pies, organic meat. Besides I would far rather spend my money supporting our farmers than at the supermarket. I so enjoy walking around outside visiting all the vendors............everything from my friend Jennifer who sells the most delicious pies, to Sharon who farms fabulous organic produce, the bread woman who bakes my favourite sunflower flax bread and the great olive guy (don't know his name) who has six different varieties of stuffed olives (garlic, sundried tomato, feta, blue cheese, roasted red pepper and I forget the last one). I feel very fortunate to have such a great market 10 minutes up the road and for John and I it is a nice ritual. The girls are teenagers so of course they are sleeping in and not interested in heading out to the market. We have a leisurely cup of coffee around 6:45am and are usually at the market by 7:30pm Pretty sweet.
Well, must go. I am making Vegetable Fried Rice for dinner but sticking some organic chicken in so I guess it is not really vegetarian is it? Don't tell Kelly.
The above piece I absolutely love but I don't necessarily love the photo of it. I cannot afford to hire someone to photograph my artwork so the deed is left up to me. I think most of the people who view my work in person see it much differently then it is online. In a photo you really can't appreciate the vivid colour and texture the way you can live. That is surely a drawback when it comes to galleries viewing your work but as John would say "it is what it is".
Take Care

Thursday, September 6, 2007

You Gotta Love A Daughter Who Can Make Sushi

Tonight my youngest daughter made sushi for dinner. I didn't have to participate in making it or help in cleaning up..........all I can say is "yeah". I'm not an all out sushi nut which means I won't eat eel or any other creepy fish whose name I don't recognize. I like smoked salmon, shrimp and tuna but that's about as far as I will go. She loves sushi, california rolls and sushimi and decided it was was what she wanted to do for dinner so I said "go for it". It was fabulous.........she even lit candles and put on "buddha bar".......I love buddha bar music.
This morning the light in my jeep was flashing "check engine" even I, who knows nothing about the care and maintenance of a vehicle knows that this is not a good sign. John and I both drove to town, I did groceries and he went to the dealership. $200.00 dollars later we returned home. My relationship with my jeep is definitely a love hate relationship. Wish we could get away with only having one car but not possible when you live in a rural village.
My girls are getting ready for their first dance of the year at high school tomorrow night. My oldest daughter is on the Student Activities Council and told me the dance is called "Shut Up and Dance" apparently there is a song by someone named Rhianna called "Shut Up and Drive".........I do not know this song and they have let me know that anyone who is anyone knows this song...........I do not which I am assuming means I am not anyone important. Teenagers are such a weird breed of people.........they roll their eyes a lot at their parents, think their friends have figured life out and eat all the grocery bill is getting crazy. They still hug me everynight and tell me lots of stuff that goes on in their life and let me know they love me........... so as a mom I think I'm doing ok.
The above piece is once again from our trip this past spring to Portugal. Thanks and love to Kelly who left a great comment on the blog. She was on this trip with me and we did spend the day together in Cintra........which was a blast. Kelly is the best.............everyone should be fortunate enough to have a friend like her. Love to you Kel..........but you already know that.
The weather here today is stiffling hot which seems bizarre for September but global warming and all that stuff................
Lots of love to my cousin Leslie also.............your emails about my blog keep me inspired girl

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Kids Back To School, I'm Back to Work

I realized today as my alarm went off at 6:00 am that my vacation is now over. I was trying as hard as I could to drag it out but the cold reality is is over. From the comfort of my bed I could hear my two teenage daughters fighting over who was going to take the last muffin in their lunch. For a brieft second I did pull the covers over my head and pretend I could hear the waves of the lake lapping up over the shore but when the yelling reached a fever pitch I knew I had to get up. My oldest is up at 5:30am for a shower and to "get ready". What getting ready entails is shower, blow dryer, hair straightener a touch of mascara and throwing together a lunch. When I was her age "getting ready" for me was just dragging myself out of bed. When I tell them this they say "well, that was in the olden days" Yikes...... Unfortunately the bus picks them up at 7:00 am which seems obscene to me but that is the price you pay to live in the country.
It rained all day today which made me feel a touch blue. I know the rain is necessary but the dreariness of it all just makes me realize summer is over and fall is on it's way.
I writing this at about 9:30pm and I am tired. I worked off and on from the minute the kids got on the bus until just a few minutes ago. I say "on and off" because there is always laundry to do, dishes to wash, carpets to vaccum get the picture. Tonight is our "no" TV night which I think is great but unfortunately I do tend to work more than I should especially when I'm getting ready for a show. It was good to look out the window and see the kids playing badminton together instead of sitting in front of the television.
The piece I'm posting is from the trip John and I took with his company this past spring to Portugal. We spent a fabulous day with friends in the lovely village of Sintra. Yes, Kelly was there. I'm really proud of this one as I love the contrast between the acrylic paint and the thread work. Tomorrow it will head off to the framers and will be a part of the Images Artist Studio Tour in October. Hope your all rested and looking forward to the cooler weather ahead.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Celebration Part 2

When we got down to the beach all of our friends and family formed a circle around us. John's uncle Jim read a passage that he had written regarding love, kindness and strength. Our good friend Bob spoke about what being "a friend" really means. Both of my daughters read a passage that they felt was revelant. One was from the book "The Prophet" and the other a native blessing. Various people spoke from their heart and at times I was having a difficult time not bursting out into tears.
John's family has a family ring which represents their connection to Lake Superior. Everyone of us has one except for my two girls. When they both finished reading their pieces, John's mom and her husband came into the circle and presented the girls each with the ring. Now I really felt like crying. The ceremony ended with our friends Marilyn and Charlie. He accompanied her on guitar while she sang. Beautiful.
Rather than have our guests sign a traditional book we had them leave a message on one of the rocks from the beach.........this way when we are at camp the rocks will always remind us of what a wonderful day that was..........filled with love, good friends and kindness.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Still Basking in The Glow of Lake Superior

I'm finally back from vacation but I left kicking and screaming. It just didn't feel like we had enough time to "just relax"......but I'm not was simply amazing.
We arrived at camp on the 19th on a beautiful sunny day. It felt like a wonderful welcoming from the lake. John left the next day with his brothers for a few days of camping and I spent most of the week working out the details for the party which at this point had grown from 30 people to 86. Much of my help came from my sister in law Rachel who was surely my port in the middle of the storm. On the Wednesday we found out our dear friend Tom, a native Cree elder who was to officiate at our ceremony, had fallen ill. Of course our first thoughts were of him and of him making a speedy recovery but now Rachel and I had to put together another ceremony, one of our own making. Yikes!!!
Our friends began arriving on Friday night at which time we threw together a pot luck of burgers, salads, sausages etc. I don't know how we managed to squeeze so many people into our tiny cottage but we did and had fun doing it.
I woke up Saturday morning to a gloomy day and immediately began panicking........yes, we could move the party indoors at the lodge if it rained but I so didn't want to go there. Our ceremony on the beach was to begin at 2pm and I was praying it wouldn't rain. The sun finally began shining but around 1:30 the clouds came back in again. John, being John, said, "it will be what it will be, we can't control the weather". I hate it when he is so sensible in the middle of one of my "freak outs". The picture I have posted is of the pathway down to our beach. At 2:10, hand in hand, we walked down this path to greet our guests and to celebrate.
I'll post more tomorrow...............