Updates

Wall to Wall: A Meditation (Part 1)

Greetings! It’s time for filling you in on what’s happening in the studio! Never enough hours in the day, as they say, but more and more I am finding small bits of time to be down there working. When I am not making daily drawings or small collage pieces, I am working on a couple of much larger pieces….about walls.

Work in Progress (Wall Series no. 1)

Work in Progress (Wall Series no. 1)

Work in Progress (Wall Series no. 1 detail)

Work in Progress (Wall Series no. 1 detail)

I recently started thinking about walls and the ideas that lead to creating walls….and because one thing leads to another, I spun off into thinking about the ideas that come from thinking about walls. If you are from the United States, you will surely know that “wall” is very much in the news these days. My work is not usually motivated from outside references, per se, nor is it overtly political. I work intuitively and the meaning of the piece slowly reveals itself to me through the making. I trust this process….for me, it is revelatory, as the time spent making creates the space for the insights to percolate up to the surface.

So, while I started out thinking about the physical walls built throughout human history (creating physical barriers is certainly a very ancient practice…think Hadrian’s Wall or The Great Wall of China, my thoughts fairly soon turned more meditative. Drawing a wall tiny brick by tiny brick is a delightfully slow and meditative process and I realized it was a metaphor for creating a physical wall, which also must be built “brick by brick”.

Walls are used to separate “us” from “them”, the stranger, the “other”. But while a particular wall got me thinking, I realized that we all build walls and our lives are lived behind the myriad walls of our own making….metaphoric, but in a sense, physical as well, as we must navigate over and around them in our walks through life.

Work in Progress (Wall Series no.2)

Work in Progress (Wall Series no.2)

Wall no.2 WIP detail 1.jpg

So many associations came flooding through, as if, by building my two dimensional wall tiny brick by tiny brick, I was actually doing the opposite and opening the gate in a walled dam to let the water flow. Walls of all kinds can have positive and/or negative connotations depending on the context and indeed, some are absolutely necessary. Boundaries and barriers exist in nature….think of the cell walls in our bodies whose design keeps us healthy and safe from disease and toxins. Others, though are artificial, constructed out of fear and those are often the ones that keep us from experiencing the fullness of life.

While I am in the studio working on these pieces my meditations roamed freely, as the brick walls grow longer and taller. Not quite sure where these meditative drawings will go, but it is a satisfying way to spend the time, believe it or not. The repetition allows one to let go and become one with the rhythm of the mark making . For now, these wall pieces are works in progress….learning and understanding are part of the slow revelation of the process.

Looking forward to spring! It’s been a long, cold winter here in South Dakota, as it has in much of the country. Surely, there will be a warming trend in the next couple weeks! Do stop by the Etsy shop if you have a chance as there are at least 150 items there for your perusal and I add daily drawings and new collage pieces as time permits.

Cheers!

 

Winter Blues and Spring Imagined

Icy Missouri River on a bitter cold day

Icy Missouri River on a bitter cold day

Belated New Year greetings! The holidays have come and gone, with whirlwind travel and family visits, and Johntimothy and I have once again settled back into our daily routines at work. The days are busy, the weeks fly by and now, here it is February! We have just endured a week of record cold temperatures, with wind chills at such a dangerous level, the University of South Dakota (along with countless other institutions in the Midwest and beyond) closed for two days last this past week. Today it was a gorgeous 50+ degrees, but the warmth is short-lived as we’re bracing for another week of bitter cold ahead. What can you say….it’s winter!

Missouri River, Burbank, SD, January 30, 2019

Missouri River, Burbank, SD, January 30, 2019

The Missouri River, where we live, is beautiful no matter what the season. But winter brings a stark beauty, with a cool blue light to the view. We love to watch the ice flowing downstream, flocks of geese gathering on snow covered sandbars and the bald eagles swooping in from across the river to perch on the branches of the cottonwood trees.

I’ve been working in collage of late, glueing tiny bits of cut and torn paper in abstract arrangements. There are enough of them now that I am calling the series Paper Gardens, as some of them (some more than others) remind me of the way color and pattern come together in delightful ways in a garden. I work intuitively and these pieces are made in the same way, random bits here and there until the image….or the composition comes together and announces itself finished.

The collage pieces are made on beautiful 6” x 6” handmade paper and all of them can be found over at Missouri Bend Studio on Etsy. They are such fun to make! Playing with warm color and pattern takes the chill of winter away.

After a few months hiatus, I’ve also started the daily drawing project up again. I find that the small amount of time spent making a drawing each day….that is, the dailiness and the ritual of it, help keep me grounded. Each one is a small meditation, a tangible version of letting go and letting my thoughts move through and out of me onto the page. Each day is different and I never know quite what will emerge! Some drawings I like better than others, but the main point is the practice of making a daily drawing. Many of these are also available in my Etsy shop.

Daily drawing, February 1, 2019

Daily drawing, February 1, 2019

Daily drawing, February 2, 2019

Daily drawing, February 2, 2019

Hope your year has started off well. Despite some health issues that made for a rough January, 2019 is shaping up to be a good year…so far. I think I will able to spend more time in the studio, as my “other” work life is now becoming more routine. I’m looking forward to exploring some new territory.

Given the political situation, I’ve been thinking a lot about walls lately and beginning to explore ideas related to walls in some larger scale drawings. Stay tuned and I’ll share some work in progress and my thoughts about walls…through material, meaning and metaphor! Hope to see you next week!

 

Hello....Again!

SPRING Website Shot.jpg

Greetings all...it's been a long time since I have updated you with a blog post! After a long absence, I think I'm ready to get back in the saddle, so to speak. I started a new full-time position in the middle of March and the adjustment in terms of my day-to-day life, not to mention energy levels, was more than I bargained for. The position required a steep learning curve and I came home each day exhausted and unable to think about being in the studio or doing more than a bare minimum to maintain my online life. Now, a couple months later, I believe I've gotten enough experience and gained enough confidence to be able to turn my attention back to the creative side of life. Any of the readers of this blog who have gone through such a life change can understand, I'm sure!

So since I wrote last, spring finally came to South Dakota....though we had our doubts all the way through April. The Missouri River where we live is truly beautiful....quiet and peaceful! Days are getting longer and Johntimothy and I enjoy mornings with our tea on the front porch listening to the cacophony of bird song....and evenings in the back, either on the deck or at the fire pit, watching the river flow by. Since I've not really been in the studio, I'll take this opportunity to share a few shots of a recent trip.

View of the mountains from the plane on our way to Seattle....via Phoenix!

View of the mountains from the plane on our way to Seattle....via Phoenix!

This trip out west was planned before I took the job, so I was able to take the time away and so glad to have spend a week with Johntimothy and some fun-loving family members at Lake Chelan, Washington. We were the guests of his cousin who booked a condo at a resort there, though none of us really knew anything about the area. We were delighted to find when we arrived that we were in the heart of a wine region, with more wineries in the area than we could possible visit in the week we were there....and not for lack of trying!

Lunch at one of the many wineries nestled around Lake Chelan

Lunch at one of the many wineries nestled around Lake Chelan

Fabulous views, great food and wine and fine company....such a relaxing treat! The mountain air was fresh and the lake, though frigid cold, was the gorgeous blue green that tells you it was created from a glacier. Just stunning in all directions!

Dinner at yet another

Dinner at yet another

At the tail end of the Chelan week, we had a day or so in Seattle, which is another place I dearly love (it was love at first sight on my initial visit nearly 20 years ago). Naturally, I insisted we all ride the ferry, so our last dinner together was at a fabulous restaurant on Bainbridge Island.

Leaving Seattle on the ferry

Leaving Seattle on the ferry

View of Mt. Rainier from the ferry

View of Mt. Rainier from the ferry

On our last day, we got a final bonus along with the ferry ride....a spectacular view of Mt. Rainier that I'd never been able to see before. What a treat!

We came home from that 10-day trip, exhausted but happy, as you do after experiencing so many wonders. And now, after another week at work, getting caught up there and at home, I think I can begin finding my way to studio. I hope to be back soon with some new work. But first, I'll be sharing some of Johntimothy's beautiful work....it's summer and with no classes to teach he can spend time in the studio (when he's not weeding, mowing, fixing the sprinkler system, etc.). I'm excited to share some of the prints and drawings he's been creating.

Hope your spring has been filled with beauty and inspiration....see you soon!