winter

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!

 

Winter White

Maybe it was the look of the winter-white world around me that inspired me to paint over a drawing I'd begun with various layers of white. Maybe it was the ethereal nature of white, inducing a kind of blindness, a metaphor for all the things we miss when we look...everything we are blind to, the visible and the invisible. Its all there, but we miss so much, of course. And maybe it was the ethereal nature of dreams, images arising from the subconscious in an effort to create meaning and memory from the events of our lives.

I found myself painting everything white. As I kept working on a drawing, following my intuition as is my usual practice, I began to cover areas with white acrylic and then began drawing and writing in white over top. With pencil the tiny squares I started in the middle of the page found their way down and further up the page into a tower. I never know, when I begin, what is about to happen, nor why, but by the end of a drawing like this, I usually come to know the meaning, for me, at least. Once I was confronted with the tower and acknowledged it was a tower, I understood that this was a reflection of the unnamed feelings inside me about this huge two story house being build right next door, where, until recently, there was just a small cabin....this house changes the landscape and the view, as it towers over us. So there it is, like a waking dream, where our mind creates literal versions of the metaphors we use to navigate, I gave some kind of form to my mixed feelings about that towering structure next door. That must be our little house....the little one over on the lower left.

Winter White no.1 (detail)

Winter White no.1 (detail)

A second drawing followed the first and I realized I was actually making a series of drawings based in white and though I searched for a series title, and waiting patiently (I thought) for its name to arise, I realized by mid-week that Winter White was really just right. After the foot of snow we had on Monday, transforming our little corner of the world once again into a winter wonderland, I realized the cool cast of these pieces really is a reflection of the physical world around me. It's winter....I'm basking in the beautiful whites of winter.

Winter White no.2 (detail)

Winter White no.2 (detail)

Wasn't there something in the news this past week about a meteor sighting somewhere in the upper midwest? That must be the reference in this no.2 drawing....and is that a mountain of snow? I'm not sure....I'm not ready to decode these entirely. It is interesting to me that the asemic writing is back in the work. The written word is magical for me....and powerful, needless to say. My day alternates between work in the studio, reading and photographing/posting/listing work online and in my Etsy shop. There is never enough time for any one of those things, so I try to balance it all. Along with a little yoga every afternoon....now that I've discovered this amazing yoga app (Down Dog), I actually look forward to my late afternoon time in the room we have set aside for yoga. 

Winter White no.3 (detail)

Winter White no.3 (detail)

Above is the third piece in the series. This looks like cloth to me, which I love....since I don't actually work on cloth. I'm becoming more active on Instagram (feel free to follow me here) and there I see the work of so many artists I admire, including textile artists. I love the look and feel of cloth and of stitching (which I think of as drawing) on cloth, but I've never gravitated to working on cloth myself. Paper is it for me....and sewing on paper suits me just fine, but in this piece I found myself piecing together scraps of imaginary cloth. Its just layered lines, but for me, they evoke the texture of cloth. 

So, I've got a couple more of these winter whites underway on my desk downstairs. I look forward to seeing how they unfold. It is interesting to see the way that the internalized events of my life and in the world around me come through in the work. I'll leave you with a view from earlier this week after our big snowstorm. It's a view I never tire of, that's for sure. Have a great weekend!

Winter snow January SQ.jpg