Thursday, March 30, 2006

Out the Door!

We were up and out the door about 8:30. The shuttle for the airport was waiting to leave at 9:30. This quote from Ellie Clemens is something we will think about on the long flight:
"As for what I want to gain, or what any of us would gain, I think what
is fascinating is the idea of women who have known each other online for
years, and have even met from time to time (at least some of us), being
in a space, and for a long period, where they can be working together on
their art for the first time, to see each other as artists at work and
be able to add that dimension to the words-on-the-screen dimension.

Art itself is a transition from thought space to physical space -
transforming ideas into something solid, palpable, something we can see
and touch. Transforming friendships from cyberspace to art space seems
to be an intriquing - and brave - thing to do!" -e

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Last Visit with My Girls

The residency in France has been planned, tweaked, researched, and packed, so I have one more bit of time with my girls before I leave. Daughter One and I had put as many ducks in a row as possible -- but you know ducks, they just keep bobbing up and down. Daughter Two brought baby Lucy for a visit and we did all the girl things for the day.

Mentally, I'm not as ready as I should be. I wrote this last August when we began to plan:
"I think the preparation efforts will get some remote part of our brains ready to absorb the 'remote country' and that what is produced in the month will only be the beginning of a greater period of change and growth for each of us.

We did no painting in the NY trip, but I believe it made a difference in who we have become and will become as artists. Seeing the art in the museums and galleries let ME have a place in the line-up. This remote area will have some of the commercial images we see everyday, but there is also a space here which is relatively free of 20th-21st C intrusion. It will let us find images in ourselves. There is something about stopping in a 12th C. church or bridge which was built by the Romans . . . .which also lets me know I have a place in the line-up."

The book proposal has consumed so much of my brain since February that I will now need some time to shift from how to put words together to how to put images together. I'm not even taking many painting supplies. Will wait until I get there and shop at the big art supply store in Carcassonne when I know what this time will mean for me.

So . . . I have no projects in mind, no plans for a show, no specific medium or technique to use. I had planned to use one of Daughter One's custom designed sketchbooks, but wound up just buying a couple of fun/not-serious sketchbooks with orange and hot pink covers.

However. . . This is a new adventure. Perhaps it is better to go with few expectations, but to just go! I think this is a good message to leave with my three girls. When an opportunity comes, even if you think you are not quite ready, just do it!

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Cookie and the Kind Words

Sometimes a voice from the past triggers so-o-o many memories. This one did. Cookie tried to think of all the things from ten years ago which would remind me of who she was. No need . . . some people, you don't forget!

Cookie was always excited about EVERYTHING! At the time she was beginning watercolor classes with me in my big old studio in a downtown storefront, she was also taking tap dance lessons and a creative writing course. She and her husband were renovating a remakable 1918 home in my neighborhood and frequently driving to Louisanna from Georgia to check on family. And all the time, she was bubbly and enthusiastic. How could I forget Cookie Phillips?!!

She called to tell me that she is being featured in a show and wants to send me an invitation. She also wanted to tell me how many times she hears my voice from those first classes even when she studying with someone else. She wanted to thank me for a good beginning. For a teacher, it doesn't get much better.

The Spring Watercolor Show is called Nancy Melton and Friends and highlights the paintings of Cookie Dittmann Phillips. If you are in Lake Charles, LA, you can find it at the Frazar Memorial Library between April 7th and May 25th.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Susan and My Little Books

Since the major book proposal came to a screeching halt this week, I asked Susan to edit, print and bind my notes from a little book draft I have been working on over the last few years. I had asked her earlier to create several sketchbooks with different papers for me to use during the Residency, but I decided this would be more helpful. The little book is full of tips to use for squeezing in a little art on family vacations or exciting trips where there is NOT an art instructor -- the idea being to 'take me along' in the book. She printed and bound 7 copies so that each of the artists in our group would have one to review and give me feedback. Someday, I'd like to publish it -- or not -- guess we'll see what kind of comments we get!

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Random Thoughts From My Inbox

I am tying up the loose ends before the month in France and noticed these bits and pieces in my emails. Unlike the other artists who will be in residence, I don't have my bags packed and don't know what I will work on. But . . . . This is what happens when there is much to do and 8 days before the plane leaves Atlanta. I get a little crazy.

While there, I will just content myself "with a joy ride in a paint box," (1) pour ainsi dire. (2a) After all, "I'm not 40, um, 50, um OK - 60 plus, I'm $59.95 plus shipping and handling" (3) and I can be described as having "unique brilliance and clarity, more permanence that ever before, produc{ing}es breathtaking washes with ease and {offering a} savings of nearly 40% per mil over the 14 ml size, (4) et ainsi de suite. . . . (2b)

I promise to blog a little and maybe post some photos. But I hope you won't mind if I'm just too busy. La jalousie (2c) is a terrible thing, you know! hehe.

(1) A reference to Winston Churchill's quote in Robert Genn's artists newsletter
(2) Phrases from "ainsi" and "la jalousie" meaning 'so to speak, 'and so on' and 'jealousy.'
(3) Quoted by my high school friend, Donna, in a list of funny signs. I added the decades!
(4) Descriptions of larger sized tubes of Winsor Newton Pigment by ASW art supply folks.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Beware the Ides Of March

This morning, I received a phone call from an childhood friend. Ed and I reminisced about things we remembered from more than fifty years ago and some things from mutual experiences in the last five. Although I busy, it was a treat and the time flew by as we talked.

This was the third unexpected call in two weeks from long time friends: Susan, Charles and Ed. All three were delightful surprises and it seemed my life passed before my eyes. I wondered if this was a 'near death experience!' I don't think so. (tiny smile)

I have been doing research on African-American artist Emilio Cruz for this week's BioGem. He uses imagery from many sources to fill his work with the spirit of life and the tenuous thread of imagination and fear which threatens that spirit.

The Ides of March - A reminder of old friends and the spirit of life.

(Photo: My first friend Shirley and me.)

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Studebaker II

I sent a note to Peter William Brown about his collage which I mentioned in 'The Studebaker Phenomenon' on March 10. He said "I have no problem with my art being used, I suppose I made it to be seen in the first place." So now you can see it here.

P. W. teaches art in an inner-city high school. Tough job. Thanks in many ways, P. W.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

New Chapters

Some days, there is little to add to the blog. Like today. Just more work on the writing project all day today. I finished writing the outline of a few more chapters -- such a time consuming job, but one which seems to be working. I am torn between the writing and preparing for the studio time in France. Thank goodness, packing will be a matter of mostly painting clothes and some brushes.

I did take a break earlier in the day to chat with Lucy on the phone. I sang "This Little Piggie Went to Market" and she giggled while her mamma pinched her toes. Can you believe she is seven months today? I love this photo of her in front of her mirror.

Another chapter for me.
Another chapter for Lucy.

Friday, March 10, 2006

The Studebaker Phenomenon

Working on the David Smith BioGem this week, I was struck by his connection with the Studebaker. I wrote an opening paragraph on Wednesday and continued to do some research. Last night, it occured to me that this might be one of the most obtuse connections I have made when writing about an artist and I thought I would start over.

This morning, Robert Genn's newsletter appeared in my inbox. On the clickback page, there is an original collage with a yellow Studebaker and the Parthenon. I took that as a good sign and finished the BioGem. Smith was a determined artist with a unique vision. Some people collect his work; some people collect Studebakers. He died in1965 in a car crash. There was no mention of a Studebaker at the scene.

Genn's clickback: Photo is with letter from Peter William Brown at bottom of page

The Studebaker Museum:

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Spirit and Enthusiam

Today, the ladies in my neighborhood had lunch for two 'birthday girls.' One was a long time friend who is 91. I had not met the 88 year old before today; she drove herself to the party. They blew out the candles and their spirit and enthusiasm was contagious. We all went away feeling that there is nothing we can't do at any age!

It's not a big thing, but after lunch, daughter and I decided that it was time to stop by the local nursery for a few tomato plants and some parsley, basil and dill. We're expecting 29 degrees tonight, but we'll plant them in the ground tomorrow and watch them with much enthusiasm. The trip home was fragrant and our spirits were boosted by thoughts of future possibilities.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Marking Change

Almost forgot to note. March 6th marks both the death of Georgia O'Keefe and the birth of Michelangelo. Seems typical of a March day -- endings and beginnings.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Awaiting Spring

One of the most amazing things about communications in today's world with emails and blogs is that people are actually writing again. The descriptions of daily life, the weather and celebrations are not unlike the letters my grandmother received from her friends with an occasional article clipped carefully from the newspaper or photograph tucked inside.

Emails from friends and blogs of strangers are beginning to have strings of words which describe the awakening of spring where they live. There is the unspoken sense of renewed hope in the adjectives and modifiers that even my toughest English teacher would have loved. What a treat for me!

I could tell you about the coming of spring
in middle Georgia.

I could describe some of my favorite signs,
but I think that, today, I'll just tuck in
a photo or two of the tree next door.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

A Report on the Attic Sale

At the book tables, I found 'The Poems of Doctor Zhivago' with lovely line drawings, a fan book with mini-bios of artists and 'Wine for Dummies.' Across the way, I picked up some interesting wine glasses and 3 beautiful lavender soup bowls. Hum-m-m! Daughter One found a wonderful paper lamp which she will repair with either Japanese washi or her own paper. She was able to Google the artist! Daughter Two filled a bag with goodies for baby Lucy. It was a successful outing, doncha' think?

Friday, March 03, 2006

Sir Henry's BioGem

Sir Henry Raeburn's birthday is tomorrow -- March 4th , but I had my webmistress post it a day early. It's titled 'Being A Painting' and the painting in yesterday's blog is one of his portraits of children. Do follow the link at the end of the BioGem to his funkiest and most popular piece.

Tommorow is also the day of our town's biggest attic sale. Aargh! 7:00 will be early and cool, but we'll be there to see what treasures we can find among the trash! I usually head for the books first.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Memories Past

Funny how things happen. I have been researching Sir Henry Raeburn for this week's BioGem. There is a big connection to this painting in my long ago past. You'll have to read the BioGem to find out about it!

Image from Royal Academy of Arts, London

Today, I had a call from a friend I haven't seen in more than seven years. She had a wonderful request which I was honored to accept. Odd how the past is never in the past.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dots and Dashes

One of my daily joys is the Metropolitan Museum's Frontpage on my computer. Every day I get to see a wonderful piece of art from their permanent collection. Some days, it's furniture; others it's ceramics or illuminated pages or sculpture.

Today, there was a painting by Samuel F. B. Morse. This is a marvelous image of his daughter with glowing colors and her own sketchbook on her lap. Later, Morse turned his brushstrokes into dots and dashes and gave the world Morse Code and the telegraph. Go here for the image and a terrific zoom capability. Check out his dots and dashes for yourself.