Friday, June 27, 2008

New Work!

Well here it is! In one of my last posts I described that I would be moving onto a different color palette and I have completed a sample painting on both the off white and black felted wool boucle .

The Hummingbird was the first and is done on the off white boucle wool felt. I decided to make a few pieces in the round which is often found in Sumi-e. This piece is not quite finished though. I will add a silk braid or cording around the perimeter of the paper in a coordinating color to frame out the piece. I love this little guy and I can't wait to see him completed!

This is the second piece done in black. The photo doesn't do it justice. I am very pleased with the way this piece turned out. I have always been drawn to the black Sumi-e paintings using color density to create the depth of the image. There's something very intriguing to me about the simplicity which depicts a subject. Although I have achieved success with the brown color way in the past, I was anxious to see how the black would translate in this medium. I feel I was able to achieve a sense of depth in the painting using various thickness of fiber to create tonal variation which is done with different dilutions of black ink in Sumi-e. I did add a bit of magic green in the center of the flower and yellow for stamens to help create a bit of interest in the piece. I expect to frame this piece out with a braid or cording of some kind also. I will be visiting the states soon and will look forward to shopping for an appropriate option.
Bermuda has many fine points but shopping is not one of them! I drool thinking about spending some quality time in Michael's, Joanne Fabrics, Marden's, Walmart, Sam's club and grocery stores when I get home! I run the gauntlet of stores and malls in search of things that I either can not find here or are too expensive to consider. I shop for clothes only when I need something and prefer to fill my baskets with art supplies :-)

To learn more about Sumi-e visit the Sumi-e Society of America's website at

Friday, June 20, 2008

Fiber Center at Fryeburg Fair Scheduling Begins!

As the first day of summer approaches, my time is dedicated to planning ahead! I have begun the process of scheduling demonstrators for the Fiber Center at this year's Fryeburg Fair. It's not often throughout the year when I am not having thoughts about this event and it's activities; How to improve it, how to make it better.I breathe it, it's a part of my life....

Fryeburg Fair is in it's 158th year! A long standing tradition in rural life and it continues today to serve the agricultural community and to educate today's urbanites about where our food comes from, the primitive and basic processes of making yarn and clothing, and of sustainable lifestyles. I realized how important these types of events are when years ago I brought one of my llamas (yes I used to raise llamas!) into my nieces classroom for show and tell day. While walking my llama past a group of 8 year olds one of them exclaimed "look Sally! A cow!" I knew then and there that something was gravely wrong with the world I lived in! But I digress....

I have been a part of the fair for many years and am responsible for making sure that the Fiber Center is filled with educational activity about natural fibers, primarily animal fibers.

And so the process has begun! I have contacted all of the volunteers via email. Many have been volunteering at this event for 15 years or more! I couldn't do this job without them or e-mail! And now I await their replies. What days are they available, from what time to what time... I have a hole here can you fill it? Will you do a knitting demo, how about some weaving.... Can you bring an animal for the animal of the day exhibit and educate about it and the properties of it's fiber? And the list goes on. Somehow in spite of everything, the schedule gets filled but often, with final slots filling within a few days of the fair. A full three months to complete the task.

Fair week begins on September 28th this year and each year there are more than 40 volunteers, many of whom spend the entire 8 day event from 9am - 9pm daily sharing with the public their passion for Fiber Arts.It's a tireless group dedicated to teaching and demonstrating their art to the thousands of people who come through the exhibit each year. In the end we all go home a little ragged, coated with a layer of dust that takes days to wash away, yet professing that we can't wait for next year! Gluttons for punishment we all are, that we see this time as a vacation, spending time with a remarkable group of men and women, who share the same interest, doing the things we love most to do in life..... To create magical things in magical ways out of natural fibers; To keep alive basic art forms that we truly no longer have a real need for in our society, but instead, a personal need. We shed a tear or two as we part company until next year and as I say this I come to see that this is how it has been for at least 158 years! A time to come together.... A time to share... A time to commune....
I hope that if you ever visit this wonderful exhibit that you will stop by and say hello, and enjoy this community that we have created..........

Friday, June 13, 2008

A Free Valuable Artists Resource!

Good morning folks!
I've heard from family and friends that Maine weather has been beautiful with high temperatures and the feel of summer heat at last! With the prices of fuel oil someone needs to learn how to store that excess heat for the winter! But that's another story......

It occurred to me that though I tell my artist friends about the benefit of The Maine Arts Commission, that this would be a great place to tell more people about it. For those who aren't aware of it, The Maine Arts Commission is an organization that promotes Art and Artists in the state of Maine. It is easily accessible through their website and is a terrific resource! I have it listed in my favorite links. Benefits to the artist are many. First you can register with them so that you are listed in their artist search data base. This allows the public who might be looking for someone to teach or commission work to find you! It also has a very good opportunities page which has various opportunities listings for artists including, calls for work, employment and Percent for Art listings.
In addition, there is a Press release page. Not only does this give a quick view of happenings in the Maine art world but it allows a registered member to submit Press Releases for self promotion! How often have you submitted a press release to the newspapers to find that it never runs! All press releases are reviewed but as long as it is a legitimate release they will run it. The biggest benefit I have found to this member benefit is that once the press release is posted to their website, it increases your chances of being found on the web when someone does a search. As a new artist, this has been a great plus for me.
In general a press release can not only give information about an upcoming show or a new body of work, it is also a great way for an artist to promote classes that they might be teaching, or something interesting about their work and it is FREE.
The other page on the site of special note is the events page. This is a listing of openings and exhibits throughout the state.
And last but not least, and worthy of noting is the list of grant opportunities. This is not important to me at this stage of my artists life but certainly is for many others out there.

I hope that if you are a practicing artist interested in getting your name out there, that you will take advantage of this wonderful free opportunity. I believe this is a very underutilized resource that has potential for helping many!
Join today!

Friday, June 6, 2008

HeeeeeEEEERRRRRRRRRes Jackson!

And so it is.... Jackson was born on thursday, June 5, 2008 at 12:49pm to his proud parents, Melanee & Cliff. He weighed in at 8#2 oz and was 20" long. He's a doll!

His maternal grandparents drove from Maine to Massachusettes upon hearing the news and took photos to share. Grandpa, my brother, is brimming with pleasure and pride. Though there is no mistaking that his three daughters are most precious to him, I see that he is thrilled with the addition of boys to the family and that they no doubt will take a top priority in his life.

Mother and baby are doing great and I look forward to finally meeting the newest addition to the family soon!

Here is the photo of one of the sweaters I knitted for him as promised. A hoodie with tie strings at the neck, done in a boucle machine washable yarn. I chose this color because it reminded me of his mother, a blond, who looks great in these colors. It's knitted in one piece and the hood added on by picking up stiches at the neckline. I'm not sure how I like the design fit. It seems a bit boxy and the sleeves a bit long but hopefully it will do just fine!

Raining Babies!

Yesterday was a stellar day for my family! Not only did preemie Henry finally go home, but his aunt Melanee gave birth to his cousin Jackson!

Henry and his parents have been patiently waiting for his little being to mature enough and work out it's kinks so that he could finally be safely brought home. Yesterday was that day and at 8# 2oz he's the size of a typical newborn (for my family). The biggest difference being that as you can see from this picture, "on my way home", he looks more like the 3 month old that his birth date makes him. I have not held or met him yet but anxiously await my trip to Maine in July to do just that! We are all grateful that he has progressed so well and that he seems no worse for the wear; in great health in spite of his early arrival!

And then came Jackson! He weighed in, coincidentally, at 8# 2oz and both mom and babe are doing great. I have no pictures of him to share yet but look forward to seeing some and sharing them with you along with one of the sweaters that I knitted for him.

My Maine trip in July will be a busy one! Filled with preperation for the Audubon show as well as meeting the two newest members of my family!

Two down and one more to go! Sisters Megan & Melanee now wait for their sister Merrilee to give birth in July to yet another boy!

Stay tuned for more.....

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Moving On!

It's a new month and with it comes the Bermuda summer humidity and warmer temps, as well as a new era in my work! I am a creature of habit and may have perhaps continued with the brown tones of my work through eternity, but the universe had another plan....
When I first began this work, I decided to use brown as my color way. I chose it because I had a good supply of brown llama roving from my years of raising llamas and never wanting to waste anything, decided this was a good use for it. The fabric I ultimately used for the canvas back was not my original choice but was forced upon me. The best place to buy quantity of wool fabrics is at Oxford Woolen Mills in Oxford, Maine. Though they no longer weave fabric there, they have a voluminous supply from when they did, and continue to sell it. In fact they continue to replace items as they sell due to the reputation they have built as supplier for anyone needing woolen fabrics for Art projects or craft. But I digress....
When I went to purchase fabric from them when I began this Art, I was looking for a nice worsted coat weight fabric to match the roving I had. The only thing they had was a boucle. I was not impressed but I felt it was my only choice and who was I to fool with the universal plan! So, I bought it, used it, and loved it! The texture of the fabric was perfect for my application. It blended beautifully with the texture of my paper pours and unified the look. Perfect!
Well.... it seemed so anyway.... Until I needed to replenish my inventory and they no longer have, and can no longer find a supply of this same color way in this same fabric. Drat! What to do.... What to do..... After a visit to the store on one of my trips to Maine, I spent agonizing time trying to decide how to proceed. Once I got over the fact that the brown was now history, I chose to go black. This is the Sumi-e tradition anyhow, so it seemed right. I would just have to purchase some wool roving to match. Easy... done... BUT, things are not always so easy for me to decide and I was challenged with the idea of the off-white and the use of more color in my work. Initially, I exclusively worked with the monochromatic as done with the most traditional of Sumi-e but had begun to do some color. Why not get some of the off-white and do some experimenting? I indulged myself and so it is!
This week I have poured some canvases on both the black and the white color ways and have a few sketches nestled in the back of my mind for future paintings. I wait for the canvases to dry before I can begin to play....
Sometimes moving on to the unfamiliar is a hardship; it creates blocks of fear that impinge on movement in a new direction. The good news is that I had some smaller canvases of brown remaining and have been working with those, giving the new color ways a chance to settle in and become familiar. Osmosis... That's my best ticket!
As I move forward, watch for postings showing the new work. Or better yet! Plan to come to the Audubon Art & Fine Craft Show on August 16 & 17 at Gilisland Farm in Falmouth, Maine and see it. Up close and personal!