façade

29 October, 2013 at 1:39 am (art, blue-eyed crow, family, life, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , )

Here’s what’s on the easel right now, a façade from Lille, France. After a while of working those teensy door and window frames though my eyes feel dazzled and it’s time to work on some drawings.

Most of my pieces are small but this one is even smaller than most at about 3″x5″. It may get bigger, I haven’t decided how to finish it yet.

Occasionally I pick up pieces of old lace when I go with my mom to vide greniers in her area but I haven’t been using them lately so they were scattered, bits tucked away here and there along with other flotsam and jetsam. The other day I thought maybe I’d use some precious sunlight hours to re-organise the studio but after working away for a couple hours it didn’t look terribly different so I abandoned the effort and went back to painting.

Advertisements

Permalink Leave a Comment

neighbour

18 October, 2013 at 11:46 pm (family) (, , , , , , , , , )

neighbour

The door a few down from my mom’s. The oldest records for this stretch of houses are from the 1590s because previous ones were destroyed when the town was sacked a couple decades before.

Permalink Leave a Comment

work

27 April, 2010 at 6:01 am (family, life, not so ancient devices, work) (, , , , , , , )

Instead of working on art I am being a dutiful child and scanning ancient family photos, which takes a lot of time but is interesting. I hadn’t seen steam-powered tractors before, I like how complicated this one looks. And what is flinging that hay, a haybuchet?

Apologies for the terrible joke, just one of a zillion things that go through the mind during hours of scan, label, file, repeat.

There is also time to think about how different my life is from theirs. Some years before these photos were taken some of the people in them walked 2400 km to a new life, then there was another big shift to another new life, the one I am looking at. I can’t even imagine co-ordinating walking entire families that far, through whatever weather, eating only bread, cider and sour milk offered by strangers along the road. And how to even find the right roads, without all the handy street signs we have today?

Besides a good map I think I’d want a series of serious foot massages.

Permalink Leave a Comment

urn

3 November, 2009 at 12:50 am (art, blue-eyed crow, family, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

shutterstroughsa

These are from this summer, all in my mom’s neighbourhood.

I’m working with photos for a few days to distract myself from some technical difficulties with the other series I’ve been working on. I’ve looked around to see if anyone else is doing a similar process with inks, pencil and encaustic, but haven’t seen any, so I’ll go back to experimenting with the propane torches tomorrow. So far nothing big has caught fire or blown up, that’s good anyway.

Earlier this evening I was showing a friend the website of one of my favourite photographers, Michael Eastman – his Cuban and Italian photos are incredible. Then I learned of the death of Roy DeCarava, another amazing photographer. I was trying to pick a few of his photos that I liked best, but it is so hard to choose. This is one of many, and this, and this. They are so evocative.

Now that I have loaded my photos onto this post I’ve decided I don’t like the way they look small. I love how art has such a different effect at different sizes (except when it doesn’t work small on my blog). I spent the day at an art museum with some friends recently, and was loving the difference between various pieces close up and at a distance. And the texture, that fantastic delicate texture of drawings and miniatures, it’s all completely lost in reproduction.

grassurnbells

Permalink 2 Comments

doorway

24 September, 2009 at 5:46 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, family, life, Uncategorized, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

doorway

For this I used the image of my mother’s doorway – sitting here I can smell the stone and plaster walls (unless my sister is cooking ratatouille, bread pudding with ginger toffee, or some other deliciousness). The house dates back to at least 1595, the records before that were lost when the town was sacked in 1576, and when she moved in the only plumbing was a sink underneath the window to the right of the door, all cooking had been done in the fire.

I love row houses because I love town noise, and my mom’s house is so accessible when someone drops by for a visit, but my dream house would be a ‘portland’, a row house with a long strip of garden behind.  I recently stayed in a beautiful example of that in a medieval town outside London while visiting relatives (including my most adored aunt and uncle who are fixing up a barge in the gorgeous port of Sandwich), the garden was 40+ feet wide and 630 feet long, on a south-facing slope with orchard, pond and nuttery.  Perfection.  An upscale version, built 70 years after the one I stayed in, is Rothe House in Kilkenny, which has been restored and opened as a museum.  It would be great to be part of a project like that, they did such a good job on the gardens and orchard, and next time I’ll definitely spend more time in their library.

Permalink 2 Comments

cashio

11 June, 2009 at 9:27 pm (art, blue-eyed crow, family, friends, life, work) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , )

cashiocrop2a

I’m excited because I’m getting ready for three months of travel, but I’m also mourning because I haven’t been able to work on assemblages lately, and I won’t be able to bring those materials on the road.  I will be restricted to working on pieces like this one (which I do love creating), plus a few fiber projects which pack easily.  It’s frustrating to want to be making things and not be able to get my hands on the bits and pieces, but at least I will be finding more in the four countries I’ll be travelling through to visit my family.

There are a few things I’m sharing from the garden before I leave – raspberries, boysenberries, figs, pads for nopales (with lentils, yum!), and this lone avocado, very buttery.  When I get back there may be a few strawberry and pineapple guavas left, then there will be pomegranates.  I’ll miss the peaches – heavenly when they’re ripe and the skin slides off in your fingers, also the ripening of the manzana bananas and thimbleberries.  My stubborn pineapples think they are just for show, all the other bromeliads bloom while they just sit there, but I am very happy because an ancient cycad that was damaged and seemed to die three years ago just produced a beautiful crown of leaves.

I love traveling, although I will miss a lot of close friends – three months is a long time between visits, but I will be staying with family and friends, some of whom I only see every few years, and there will be a new bébé when I get back.

avocado1a

Permalink 4 Comments

fields

8 March, 2009 at 2:35 am (art, family, friends, life, local, Uncategorized) (, , , )

irishswan

What an amazing number of people can pack into a house when there is a band, eh?  Especially when there are violins, a mandolin, guitar, whistles and a bodhrán (that last is essential).   One of the violinists was 12 years old, a 78-year-old sang two solos.  Of course towards the end of the evening the songs of separation and rebel tunes came out.  Athenry was summoned, and a song that started with an Irish boy losing his leg in the American civil war ended with Bush and his Iraq war.  Predictable, but perfect.

Permalink 2 Comments

parallel

2 November, 2008 at 8:49 pm (blue-eyed crow, family, work) (, , , , , , , , )

I just got back from a long walk with the hounds, so dog bodies are strewn all over the rug and they are ready to let me work on this crow.  When I was little and visiting my dad’s relatives in New Mexico I loved their tiny old adobe houses and the beehive ovens outside.  That was the first time I saw a crucified Christ figure, which had quite an effect on the drawings I did at the time.  The pottery had a longer influence though, the full shape of the pots and bowls, the limited colour palette, and the animals and designs all filled with fine lines.

Permalink 2 Comments

plotting

17 October, 2008 at 6:19 am (family, work) (, , , , , )

I grew up in a map & chart loving family, they hung on the walls, filled drawers, burst from pockets in the car, and were consulted frequently.  I especially love ancient maps, they are so beautiful, at the same time more complicated and simpler than modern maps.  Just looking at them brings adventures to mind – Maria Sibylla Merian arriving in Surinam in 1699, my aunties bribing their way across a Chinese border decades ago (and getting arrested), being 17 and trying to find a long enough train ride in Austria that I can get some sleep.  Because I have been working with metal recently they are not very prominent in my current pieces, but some boxes develop stories as they progress and end up with a map fragment hidden somewhere inside.

Permalink 2 Comments

market

2 October, 2008 at 6:22 pm (family) (, , , , , , , , , )

Two shots of the market in my mom’s town, taken by a friend, Derek.  I was never really a dapple grey person, but I really like that horse.  My great-grandfather’s horses consistently took top awards, the ancient amulets I’ve seen from where our ancestors lived are suns or horses (or both), all my cousins had horses, but my mother is somehow immune to their charms (and that of any other animal).  I’ve been reading my great-grandmother’s journal where she writes about how she gets so absorbed by reading that she doesn’t want to eat or sleep until she finishes a good book, which I completely understand.  I have never read a book while riding a horse though.

Permalink 2 Comments

Next page »