Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Getting Organized

Being a distractible personality doesn't help.

Granted, we just returned to WA state and I'm trying to get transitioned to the other environment, sorting out the studio and house.......

But distraction is a problem. It was the bane of my existence when I was a child. (Although, I must admit, it was like tickling your brain and most entraining.) In school, a teacher would say something that would set me into an imagination spin, galloping off into the land of 'what if' and I would suddenly realize that time had past and I hadn't heard a thing for several minutes. I would get in a lot of hot water over this.

It still happens. Only today, there's even more things to pull your thoughts every which way.

Take YouTube for instance. You can chase some thread for hours just letting whatever lead from one thing to another, playing out until you have gone completely off what started the whole thing in the first place.

It doesn't help that I'm the Queen of Collecting Random Facts. No one in my family will play Trivia Pursuit with me any more. I nearly always win. (One of my favorite things to do is watch TV and try and figure out what's wrong with the patient before "House" does.)


All this caused me to order a book about how to get a grip on this runaway disorganization thing and take better control of myself. So far, I haven't even opened the book. I'm nearly afraid to. Maybe it will change my whole life. Maybe it will make me a very dull person indeed. We'll see.

To be continued.

Whenever I get the things done enough

to the point that I want to get them done

before I completely devote all my attention to delving into this 'getting organized thing.'


I promise.

But right now, I have about 5 things I need to do first.

Monday, April 21, 2008


I don't have a kiln god--I have a kiln dragon. This fellow hangs on the wall near my kiln. I've had him for years and honestly can't remember when I got him. It must have been when we were stationed in Japan. Somebody must have given him to me, 'cause I wouldn't have bought him......He's made of all sorts of electronic wires and other plastic detritus. (The paper umbrella is my addition after we moved to the Pacific Northwest.)

Recently, I bought a slide converter--one of those great gizmos that converts 35 mm slides into digital files. I'm in the process of taking stacks of old family and art slides to store onto discs both for an art archive and to share the family ones with my children.

In the process, I ran across this old watercolor from many years ago. This was done in an experimental class dealing with creating paintings on very wet paper and manipulating the color runs. The title is "Realm of the Red Dragon".

See the resemblance? Hint: The head of the dragon is in the lower left-hand corner.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Playing with Design

I'm fascinated with pattern. The other day, I saw a program about the Aborigines in Western Australia showing some of their work being exhibited in an arts festival. It was very distinctive with more line and pattern than drawings and paintings I had seen before. I found them to be quite beautiful. It was the inspiration for this series of drawings:

Preliminary idea sketches--very quick and spontaneous. Just enough to get an idea down.

Further expansion of the first ideas with more developed thoughts with the inclusion of points in space; exploring the impact of just one more line element. (I really like the top one.)

Almost going over the edge.

Seeing how the design expands and changes with color.

Another variation: Working vertically and expanding an earlier design with limited color, changing the appearance with a deeper color change.And the dimension of the element of points

And a bit more tightly worked horizontal design with the tiles and first lines placed, then a double line and the added element of multi-colored areas. Note that the tiles have now been taken to areas of color of space with the removal of the bottom and top borders of the white line areas.

These ideas could work as well in a large wall painting or in clay. Any one of the individual tiles in any of the drawings could be taken out of the arrangement and used as a great tile design. Or, used together would be wonderful on a large tray or wallpiece.

Sidenote: After I worked on these drawings, I went out onto the patio to read. I looked up from my book and saw this: Who says our environment doesn't have an impact on us?

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Packratting can be Handy - One Example

When I went on the Dipper Jag a couple of years ago, I designed them so that an object could be added to extend the handle. I used carved chopsticks, black bamboo cuttings, wooden dowels skewers, salvaged lighting fixtures brass bits, knitting needles, etc.

Several years before, I had admired a grouping of African Porcupine quills and bought a handful. They were stuck in a flower frog in my studio. I'd originally thought they would make cool needle tools, since I couldn't ever seem to be able to find one when I needed it. My brain said, "African Porcupine Quills. They'll stick out in the jumble--I can find THEM".

Turns out, I never did use them for that; they are too beautiful.

Instead, I found they perfectly matched the corrupted black/brown glaze I was using, (no picture available, unfortunately) so they became exotic handles. They even looked good with white dippers.

Maybe the subtitle for this one should be, "LEAVE me alone 'till I have my coffee! Hissss"

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Sometimes it pays to be a packrat. It's my belief that most artists are so. We collect objects; things of color, texture, form, pattern; things that interest us. We're like that New Zealand Weka bird that lives in a burrow. The farmers there know if tools or any other shiny thing is missing, they search for one of the nests and start digging. "There's that spanner I've been looking for!"

Right now, I have a small box of hummingbird feathers on my kitchen counter. They are breathtakingly light and beautiful. A hummingbird collided with one of our windows and died. I picked him up and had a really good look at him. It's rare that you get this chance. I know right away he was dead and not just unconscious because his long, delicate, feathery tongue was sticking out of his beautiful black beak. His feathers were iridescent whispers.

I have compartmental boxes of shells from every beach I've been on. I've moved my favorite rocks around for years. I have a selection of fibers like raffia and cane, bamboo and branches. Beads I have collected and made myself as well as antique buttons are stored in tins.

I hoard colored cords and threads sorted into groups ready to be used as are colored pencils, water and acrylic paints and exotic paper. Surface clay pigment finishes and metal foils are in a filing cabinet in my studio along with drift wood, cane handles and corks large and small. Even odd and interesting bits of plastic designed to be thrown away I find interesting, ambiguously anonymous and possibly useful one day. "Would this look good on a ray gun?" A broken glass Christmas ornament worked really well on "Ecto Extracter".

In closets, in baskets and drawers, in boxes and bags; these things are "archived" and all over my house and studio. This is my lexicon - or maybe I should say adverbs? to art.