Nov 16, 2015

Two Fridays

My 'first husband' & I have become empty-nesters (have I mentioned this before ;););) ) for the first time in 41 years. Other than attempting to 'cleanse' our old house from top to bottom since the end of September, we have taken no fun time together. But Fri. the 6th of Nov., we promised ourselves a trip to the McMichael Gallery  (wikipedia) in Kleinburg. This gallery is devoted to Canadian Art and, in particular, to our iconic Canadian painters, The Group of Seven. 
I stupidly thought photos would not be allowed and left my camera in my vehicle. Not so, but the weather was so nasty that I just couldn't send dear 'first husband' out to walk all the way back to the parking lot (raining like cats & dogs ). Instead, we soaked up the atmosphere and strolled leisurely for 3 1/2 hrs. through gallery after gallery, stopping often to gaze out the windows at the natural surroundings of this fabulous place, inside a forest. It was warm inside, luxuriously quiet, the staff were very friendly and informative, and the place was a feast for the eyes.. 
The gallery has opened up some of the original family home and we we in awe of the size of this original home. In this section, was the 'This Home Was Made For Christmas' display, a newly acquired collection of original Christmas cards. The Group Of Seven did these during the winter months, when not out painting in the bush or paddling their canoes to yet another fantastic, site. It was a very strict 'no photos' when it came to these Christmas Cards ! And, they were truly beautiful ! So, if you have been in the habit of making your own cards, keep at it ! ... you never know who is compiling a 'collection' and you may be famous one day :)

Then, Friday, Nov. 13, we headed to Ontario's 'West Coast' ;), to the shores of Lake Huron on a cold, wet, fiercely windy day.
A crowd of spectators on the shore ? nope ... Inukshuks ;)

"About 200 stone way-markers, known as Inukshuks, have spontaneously assembled at Goodrich's Cove Beach during the past few months." the headlines

"A town making good from rubble, a community rebuilding what was broken. That would be Goderich after the tornado of 2011. And it would be Goderich now, as a spontaneous collection of iconic Canadian way-markers has also become a metaphor for the town's resiliency. 
In August, someone assembled a few chunks of concrete into an Inukshuk figure - a free-standing human-shaped structure common in Canada's treeless tundra - at Cove Beach.
Now, hundreds of the stone markers populate the area and have become a tourist draw.
They've also now become the subject of controversy ; the town has been alerted to a possible lawsuit after an elderly woman, who leaned against one, brochure hip when the structure gave way."
These were the headlines and we had hoped to see these structures before the 'law' came into play ... we were not disappointed ! Except that, the wind was so strong, there on the beach, that I did not venture out of the car, instead relying on my zoom lens to get a closer look. Rain and lake water joined forces as soon as I opened my car window ... camera and handler barely able to stay still enough in the force of the wind ... and both soaked ! 
Even supporting my camera on the window edge did not help much.

those waves are 6-8ft. high !

                  two other views down to the beaches of Lake Huron
Please excuse the raindrops and the blurry pics ... today would have been a better day to go there ... 13C and sunny !

Nov 7, 2015


Magic, Healing, Creation

If a raven totem has come into our life,

magic is at play.
Raven activates the energy of magic
and links it to our will and intention.

With this totem, we can make great changes

in our life;
the ability to  take the unformed thought
and make it reality.
The raven shows us how to go into the dark

of our inner self and bring out the light of our true self;
resolving inner conflicts which have long been buried.
This is the deepest power of healing we can possess.

You may think I have gone off my rocker but ...
I finally got around to reading more about what my interaction with 'my' raven could have meant, to me, personally. I am still in awe.
Now I can say that several days after my interaction with 'my' raven, thoughts of an estranged relative popped into my many trains of thought and several days after that, this estranged person asked to 'friend' me on Facebook. I am torn as to what to do. Something tells me that another bout of ill health has occurred or is about to, for this person. 
Past history reared it's ugly head and reminded me of all that had resulted in this separation in the first place. 
Is healing on the way ? Will forgiveness make all better ? Or will forgiveness be another easy route to more bad behaviour ? Will I be sorry, in the long run ?
Am I bothered by this estrangement ? No.
Would my life be more enriched ? ... I don't believe so.

I think I have to think this through a lot more .... where are you Raven ?

Does anyone else have a 'totem' ?

Oct 18, 2015

Inspired !

It was Studio Tour this weekend and my friend, Helen, dropped in and dragged me out to see a few friends in their studios. I didn't need much convincing and it was a beautiful cold, fall day ... I was washing windows and floors, so jumped at the chance to visit them, with her. I don't normally do this 'studio tour' thing ... I always feel studio spaces are a private affair and hesitate to drop in even though it was a weekend of open studios. I am so glad I went ! Aren't other artists inspiring ? I think/hoping this is the shove I've been needing !
I have a whole floor at the top of my house that has been recently vacated by my daughter and her family (8+ yrs. there) and I am anxious to move my studio, (closet), up to the larger room that has a double closet across one end and is 19 feet long ... wowee ! I don't even want to wait to have it painted ;) !!!
So just home now and Ive pulled up some photos to show ... because I have been inspired by my artist friends !!
These are sketches that I did while away camping;  I tend to write a lot above/beside/under my sketches telling myself how? why? what? where? & when? ... any bit of history to go with them helps me 'paint' a better picture.

 My iPad was leaving lots of shadows ;)
This was the day that I needed to deal with the actual colours in the rock ... and how to make them appear wet.
 A show is coming up in the near future where I will attempt a thread painting of this beautiful, young  woman, my gr. grandmother. 'Maggie' died when she was 36 yrs. old, 11 days after giving birth to her 7th child. The baby survived and the children were separated. Her oldest daughter, my grandmother, was kept on the farm to help raise her 3 little brothers ... she was 13 yrs. old. Her sisters were taken and raised by aunts. The 7 children eventually were reunited and became very tight in their adult years. Two of the boys were bachelors and the third only had one girl child ... so that surname petered out.
I can see that I need to make her face a bit fuller and her neck a smidgen shorter ... being able to enlarge my sketch on a big computer screen, straight up in front of me, is such a great tool !
I have done a bit of research on her outfit ... I suspect this was taken on her wedding day ... and I am pretty sure this was popular in her mother's day, so probably borrowed ... and it is a dark colour with a stiffened batten burg lace collar. Lots of work on water-soluble coming up !

Oct 2, 2015

She Who Talks With Ravens

I have been missing for too long ! 
I have just been very busy, this summer, with shows, proposing shows and miscellaneous family affairs.

On Sept. 1, I helped 2 others hang the '18 SQUARE' show at The Rotundra Gallery, at City Hall, Kitchener. It came down Sept. 30th. and is heading to a large booth at The Creative Sewing Festival in Toronto, for the 16,17,18 of Oct. 
'18 SQUARE' will continue to more galleries for the next couple of years ! 

Our other successful show, of last year, 'CELEBRATE THE SEVEN', will travel to The John Parrot Gallery in Bellville in January, 2016 and onwards to The Homer Watson Gallery, May, 2016 ! 
Both of these shows are booked at other galleries until 2018. Many thanks to Maggie Vanderweit, Bethany Garner, Wendy O'brien and myself ;)
Then, as a group, we have a new show (untitled as of yet) for the Wellington County Museum & Archives, for April, 2017, in celebration of Canada's 150th Anniversary ! Lots of fun ahead !

Personally, my work has been at a standstill as far as any thread painting being done, but my 3 week camping holiday (Sept. 3-27) was looming and I knew I'd get back into the groove. 
I did, finally, after lots of company the 1st week, get back to my Inukshuk that had been languishing on my table while I photographed the 18 Square pieces ... all 24 of them ! 

Anyway, the Inukshuk piece needed a wet look and I got right to work attaching bits of smoke and rust chiffon to the rocks and I am happy with the 'wet' look. 

basting stitches still holding un-sewn part of the piece
One of my guests this past Tues. liked it too ! 
She claimed it for herself as soon as I unrolled my canvas to show her ... Still unfinished �� ! That makes the 2nd piece sold before it's finished this year !

I was especially lucky one evening at sunset to be behind a couple having coffee while the sun went down. As she waited for him to come back for a canoe ride, she sat on the end of the canoe that was beached on a bit of 'dune' that Mother Nature was busy rehabilitating with beach grass ... A few small trees had gained foothold there .... all of this silhouetted against the late evening sky ! 
Of course I hadn't taken my camera down that evening so I went back the next night and got some photos of the trees and grass, but the woman & canoe had gone :(
Definitely inspired me to find my sketchbook and draw the scene for a future piece, with the silhouette done in black thread on water-soluble �� !
Beaver Dams beach
The weather was fantabulous this September !

Another inspiration was one of those enlarged photos printed and sold for home decor. This particular one was a late fall photo of pines covered in hoarse frost ... Which made me realize that I have lots of such photos (which I could easily change the seasons of) and use white thread on water- soluble ! 
Can hardly wait to add white trees to my collection of water-soluble trees !

Now ... the reason for my title ... 'She Who Talks With Ravens' !
One early morning last week, I was getting ready to leave the park and head home (a 4 hr. drive) to attend my 'diet' class. Out behind the little facility, where I was attending to an early morning ritual ;), I heard a ruckus that sounded like a crow and a racoon having an argument over a choice morsel on the ground. I tried to look through the brush but saw nothing. I went to my trailer, put on my backpack, picked up my walking sticks and headed down the road to the showers (quite a little walk for someone who doesn't walk much, but I had been practising for 2 1/2 weeks ;). As I walked I kept hearing mutterings behind me and turned around 3 times to see who may be out for a walk ... nothing ! There was no one camping on my road so I checked a few empty campsites to see where the noise was coming from ... not for a minute did I suspect it might be the bears that were roaming the park !! 
Anyway, as I stood dumbstruck, I heard the noise again ... from above me ! 
On the lowest branch of the tree sat a raven, and he started to talk ... low, gentle chattering from his throat. Then I introduced myself and told him how handsome he was. While I talked he cocked his head and listened ... then he talked ... then I talked ! he had a very extensive vocabulary of sounds ... I was mesmerized !
It was one of the most awesome experiences I have ever had. I kept up the conversation as long as possible, but I was starting to get a crick in my neck. I finally told him how lovely it was to talk to him, but I had to get to the showers ... I was on a time line ;) I swear we exchanged conversation for 10 minutes !
I got his picture on my phone, just don't know how to download it to my computer ! HE had been the noise I kept hearing behind me ... he followed me down that camp road !!!! There were tears in my eyes as I walked away. I looked back a few times and finally he was gone. My only witness was a man out riding his bike who passed us three times.
I know that this was something very important ... have to do some 'raven' research ;)

Aug 14, 2015

Yikes, Summer's Almost Over !

Just a note to say that my proposal to The Homer Watson Gallery was accepted ! ! !
A local gallery, but kind of a big deal ! They love fibre work of all kinds.
We are booked for May1-June 5, 2016 !
I submitted it on behalf of my group 'Connections Fibre Artists' for our 'Celebrate The Seven' exhibition that is now heading to its 3rd showing ... it is booked also in April of 2018 at The Stratford Art Gallery !  I would love to keep it travelling, as it is a tribute to the Group Of Seven who will celebrate their 100th anniversary in 2020 ;)
'Celebrate The Seven' ~ my image was chosen for the posters and invitations in 2014

I am heading into my 4th week of my diet and everything is going smoothly ... we're not to worry ourselves daily, or weekly about how much we have lost ... but I have to say my jeans fit so much better already .... Yahoo !

I am finished my house-sitting stint where I had been happily drawing, journaling, rust dying and piling on the stitches of my Inukshuk piece (previous post). I also read 2 novels by Louise Penny.

The summer has disappeared rapidly ... I hope yours has been terrific ! Soon I will be off on my annual, 3-week camping trip, sewing machine and boxes of 'stuff' in tow ;)

I haven't had much time for my blog lately, but hope to add some photos soon and I intend to come 'round and visit you all.

Jul 25, 2015

Still Messing Around

No big project to do ... well a few ... but nothing urgent, so I am still playing around with colour combos, textures, precious bits of this and that and practising my very basic hand embroidery stitches.  Having fun, which is important for my sanity.
Non are complete ... still making decisions as to what to add next.
Three pieces with a detail of each;

I have an aqua panel waiting on the sidelines. It's nice to have these little things to fall back on when the machine sewing gets tough. These I can take to a more comfortable spot and still be productive/creative ... not rocket science, I know ;)

I have been doing a lot in the way of getting a couple of shows set up for my fibre art group, as have a several others, and we have shows through to 2018 already !! Lots of fibre art to prepare ... one of which will be a fibre protrait of my gr.grandmother, Margaret (Maggie) Davidson Deacon ... today is her 136th birthday ;)
Maggie died on the 23rd July 1916, 11 days after the birth of her 7th child ... she was 36 yrs. old.
My plan is to do her portrait with some colour. I'll have to research the clothing of that era and figure out what fabric that dress is made of.

Heading out to house-sit for the next 2 weeks where temptation will not be trying to sabotage my diet. I've mentioned in a previous post that I was going to participate in a Medical Bariatric Weight Loss Clinic ... after a year of waiting, I have now begun a 24 week program where we are helped to lose weight (900 cal/day ) and to understand and find other ways to manage our weight. The end result I want is a lighter body weight to carry around while I attempt to walk the rest off. I've become very sedentary in my life-long struggle with Rheumatoid Arthritis (56 yrs, now !) and I would like that to change. I walk in the pool but that season is so short. Throughout next winter, I plan to take advantage of the mall (walkers abound before the stores open) and the local indoor track. Maybe my hopes are high, but something has to happen.

Enough moaning ! I hope each and every one of you is having the best summer ever !