Sunday, October 15, 2017

LAW 139: Food for Thought

Okay, we have been thoroughly enjoying the bounty of the garden and the sea this summer. And i have with the best of intentions documenting these mouthwatering meals with photography.

Sadly i haven't been motivated to take that next, logical step, and write a post. I find that without the imposition of regularly scheduled work hours i have a bounty of pastimes to happily fill my day.

Witness a coconut flour roux in process, destined to be the base of a gumbo.

But just a few little morsels with which to tease your appetite and curiosity. A stunning chicken and sausage gumbo, featuring fresh from the farmer kale, peppers and tomatoes; sadly, no okra, but hey, use what you've got is always my motto in the kitchen.

I adore eggplant and gorge on it through the hot summer months. It is one of those vegetables that i can not seem to bring myself to buy "out of season". Tomatoes are never fresh and ripe during the winter months; i do not like eating pink cardboard!

Eggplant, once more fresh from our local friendly farmers at Zahradka's, stuffed with organic free range ground beef, walnuts, garlic, mushrooms and of course diced eggplant, onion. All sauteed, spiced with a middle eastern palette, cumin, fennel, lots of thyme and paprika. Simmered until tender with a fresh tomato sauce.

Fresh zucchini noodles in a fresh basil pesto. Oh my, how good is this?

Fresh white and yellow perch caught by slipmates transformed into a variant of a traditional Wisconsin tavern fish fry.

The cabbage salad is definitely not traditional, at least not in northern Wisconsin, as it is a very pungent, and yummy, Syrian style salad, dry mint, lots of fresh garlic, lemon juice and olive oil.

I made the batter, once more, with coconut flour, we made onion rings to use up the last of the batter, couldn't let it go to waste now, could we?

A rosemary oat focaccia, made from the oats strained from our latest beer making experiment, once more, waste not, want not. It was already nice and yeasty from soaking in the mash overnight, had a delicious, molasses cookies aroma ready for the oven.

BTW, it was pretty yummy; i only used a part of the dough i mixed up. I plan on adding a little more flour to the next batch, and bake it at a slightly lower temperature.

We've made two batches of cider so far this fall. One straight apple, one apple strawberry. The next cider will be pumpkin apple. We are really enjoying the home brewing experience. We can't make very big batches; after all we live on a boat!

We've also started making beer, specifically we are experimenting with 18th and 19th receipts for small or green beers. The first, a ginger beer is an absolute knock out! We didn't write anything down, so.......

The romanesco cauliflower is destined to be roasted for supper tonight.

Well, more later
i promise to start keeping records of the brewing experiments to share


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

LAW 137: Looking for America, part 4

Nope, no politics, although that would be easy to do; simply the fourth signature from one of my newest projects, Looking for America. Looking for America is my newest art journal project. I created the pages out of city maps found in the index of the 1954 edition of Hammond's Ambassador World Atlas. This is intended to be a daily work project. The formal structure hinges on two questions, have i been here? Questions answered with stream of conscious writing. Could i travel by water in my EV Tesla's Revenge, with zen doodle pen and ink drawings which play off the gird of the street maps.

page 25, 8.12.17, Salt Lake City

The beginning of the 4th signature.

Page 26, 8.29.17, San Antonio

 With the following two pages i made a significant structural change in the drawings; i started with an eyes closed gesture, crossing the page a few times to create the 'skeleton' on which i would build the rest of the drawing. Most of the other drawings in this series respond far more directly to the maps themselves.
Page 27, 9.7.17, Philadelphia

 Today, as in the last few days i have begun with a blind gesture drawing. I actually laid down 3 separate gestural lines, and yes, of course i looked in between gestures.
Page 28, 9.9.17, Phoenix

Today the initial mark making combines blind gesture and 'deliberate' mark making. It is always a challenge to find an ending place. Sometimes it feels as if i could on until the entire page is a solid, dense black, my fingers usually give out before then.
Page 29, 9.12.17, Pittsburgh

This is intended to be a daily work project, although with three major projects and life, that's just not working out so well. Today i decided to be a little more structured, more formal if you will. Today's lines were all deliberate responses to the underlying grid, with only a repeating parallel line as pattern.
Page 30, 9.18.17, Portland, Maine 
 Yes, those repeating parabolas are meant to represent the Gateway Arch, and yes, it does indeed sway, or vibrate back and forth. Once more i used only repeating parallel lines.

Page 31, 9.19.17, St. Louis

More parallel lines; this time connecting and changing until like Ouroboros they came back to connect.

Page 32, 9.20.17, St. Paul

This is a very soothing, rather meditative project, something that i think we all desperately need in the turbulent times we are living through. Find something for yourself to keep calm, and of course, make art!

More later,

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

LAW 136: A New Altered Book Project

I can trace my renewed interest in art journaling/altered book projects back to my participation, first, in ICAD 2016, then, my ongoing continued participation in the Daisy Yellow group. A heartfelt shout out of thanks to Tammy Garcia for her tireless work, promotion and gentle guidance.

collage, altered books, found text
the second spread from Love Songs

Jerome, A Froggy ABCdarium, builds on the new work i  started  in Love Songs. In Love Songs, i made a deliberate decision to 'foreground' the figures from the original imagery; cutting around them to allow a new collage to build up behind and around them. Since all of the illustrations were framed it was an easy choice to build the text top and bottom.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 1, A, 8.25.17, With the Help of Henri...

For Jerome i added a couple of new elements into the design mix. Structurally Jerome is an ABCdarium, an alphabet book, i am using parts of the original text of the story, as well as 'found' text about each letter to develop a  re-contextualized narrative.  I am building each of the spreads around an element of the original imagery, usually the figure of Jerome.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 2, B, 8.27.17, Waiting Beyond....
 This journal is laid out so almost every letter has a double spread. The original book, Jerome, is a hard bound children's book from 1967(10.25 x 7.5") featuring a frog that wants to be a prince. The story is charming, the illustrations, rather psychedelic. Structurally my intention is to preserve the illustrations of the frog, building the collages around him, while maintaining some sort of narrative(however surreal) while proceeding through the alphabet. Unless otherwise noted, hand cut collage with found text.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 3, C, 8.28.17,Common Sense

In this, the first appearance of Jerome, you see an unassuming, small frog. His appearance changes as he starts to realize his objectives.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 4 D,, 8.29.17, She Hates....

 In this spread Jerome, although still at his pond is assuming a larger, more central figure; his text,'Hello old witch' is part of the narrative of this page. The witch, unhappy about being called an old witch decides to turn him into something ugly. He ends up a prince.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 5, E, 9.1.17, An Epic Desire....

 In this spread Jerome, questions his 'prince-ness' ; his text,'am i.... I don't...' is part of the original narrative of this page. Technically one of the pages of each spread gets cut into, cut away, allowing parts of the 'backs' of the preceding page/collage to be yet another further back layer of the final imagery.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 6, F, 9.2.17, A Few Words....

 In this spread Jerome, presents himself in a positive light, declaring his princely stature. The finger pointing of the right side practically created itself; i knew yesterday, (almost un-heard) in part how this narrative and imagery would go. Technically one of the pages of each spread gets cut into, cut away, allowing parts of the 'backs' of the preceding page/collage to be yet another further back layer of the final imagery.

Jerome, A froggy ABCdarium, collage, found text, altered books
page 7, G,  9.6.17, The Girls....

This spread proved to be particularly problematic; my own fault, as i completely forgot to pay attention to where the image of Jerome fell on the back of the page i was working on. Since there was a completed collage where i wanted to cut i had to find another work around. Technically one of the pages of each spread gets cut into, cut away, allowing parts of the 'backs' of the preceding page/collage to be yet another further back layer of the final imagery. Oops! 

It actually took three days of work to finish this spread to my satisfaction. Probably a little to long, but hey, what else do i have to do but watch endless weather updates regarding Irma; i mean, after all, i do live on a boat.

More later,

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

LAW 135: The Art of Making Art

I know that a lot of people think that 'art making' is an inborn talent, that it is something you can not teach. There is some truth in that line of thinking, but also a fair amount of falseness as well.

It always looks wrong at the start
I think a more true statement would be; there exists in some of us an inborn desire to make stuff. That 'stuffness' could be making art, making music, being an incredible cook, a seamstress, the world of creative making is very large. For some of us that desire falls into the category of obsession, we are the makers, the creators of this world.

Working multiple colors at once

You can teach anyone the basics of design, the elements of style, the basic, nitty-gritty techniques of any media. You can not, however, teach the inherent love of making, the joy of creation. That, which is perhaps the most important part of the artistic equation, does have to come from within the individual.

closing in on the second shell division
I am not in any way deriding the importance of technique, practice and skill sets. After all, as we have been told over and over, practice does make, if not perfect, damn close. I've been watching the development of my needle work from this perspective.

Big decision, it is a horizontal piece

I'm about a quarter of the way through yet another major embroidery piece. Hopefully Grandmother Turtle will not take as long as the Firebird did. That of course remains to be seen, and is pretty much completely dependent on what choices i make as i finish the piece. Backgrounds, as i well know usually take far longer than the object.
Time to work on a different part
I start with a pattern that i have developed after research into related imagery; sketching out, then refining imagery until i have a drawing that i use to transfer the basic form of the design onto the fabric.

The log is complete

These pieces were originally a mix of quilted/embroidered work on blank backgrounds; as such i could not afford to mess around with free hand drawings. Once the basic outline is transferred to the fabric, i might sketch in rough ideas for important features, an example would be the shell divisions of the turtles back.
detail of log in progress

I choose a basic color palette. isolating that floss from my horde(less confusion that way as some of the colors are so close to each other that the only way to really tell is by number) than spend some time thinking about stitch forms. The way the color gets laid down, the patterning of the stitches, is all organic to the piece as it develops.

Yup, here is the part i think i could have done better

It is all a learning process, every single time. Almost always i find some thing about the piece that i don't like, that i wish i had done differently; but that is the process. That is the joy of making and learning and knowing that somehow, next time it will be better.

Wish i knew what to do with the background!

More later,

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

LAW 134: Looking For America, part 3

Sorry about being away from here for so long. Life, put simply, as gotten in the way of a regular posting cycle. My friends whom i communicate with primarily by snail mail will testify that my record there is just as bad as this one.

p.17, 6.5.17, Tulsa Ok.

I have been working diligently on a variety of art projects; i have two journal/altered book projects going, Looking for America, see below, and Jerome, A Froggy ABCdarium(more later), a new needlepoint piece, Grandmother Turtle, and a series of signs painted for Middle River Landing Marina.

p18, 6.6.17, Monument Valley, Ut

 I've been a busy girl, all of the above along with the ongoing W.I.P of Tesla's Revenge and simply, the lazy days of summer.

p.19, 6.14.17, Spokane, Wa

So these images are from the third signature of Looking for America.  I created the pages out of city maps found in the index of the 1954 edition of Hammond's Ambassador World Atlas. This is intended to be a daily work project. The formal structure hinges on two questions, have i been here? Questions answered with stream of conscious writing. Could i travel by water in my EV Tesla's Revenge, with zen doodle pen and ink drawings which play off the gird of the street maps.

p.20, 6.15.17, Springfield, Ma

Although i adore the calm, zen qualities inherent in simple black and white line drawings, some times  i just can not deny the color jones'. 

p.21, 6.24.17, Syracuse, NY

Also there is a tremendous difference, in a making sense, between drawing and collage. Almost as if the two techniques use different parts of my brain, or use them differently.

p.22, 6.25.17, Tokyo, Japan

Hard to explain, i think that it goes deeper than the additive/subtractive thing. I have always thought of myself as an additive sort of girl; yet collage certainly has a subtractive element to it, all that paper you cut away....

p.23, 7.7.15, Xochimilco, Mx

p.24, 7.27.17, Worcester, Ma
Have i mentioned i have finished the Firebird piece? That only took a year, not quite.

more later,

Monday, August 14, 2017

LAW 133: Thinking about Technology and Other Issues

I know, i know, waw, waw, waw, my computer died the same week our internet access went south here at the marina... Such first world problems. But seriously folks, don't we all rely, and rely heavily on the Internet, and it's attendant tools for information searches, for complete and instant communication? You bet we do. In my opinion, sometimes far to extensively.

Hey, every blog post needs a cat pic, right?
Most of us use portable computing devices(aka, smart phones) constantly. We take for granted the sheer power and speed of our phones, and we bitch continuously, and loudly when they don't work as advertised, when our data stream is too slow, when the wi-fi isn't working, and, and..... Remember we launched the first men into space using chalkboards, chalk and human calculators. If you haven't seen Hidden Figures, you should.

It took less than a week to replace my trusty old Mac laptop. Sadly i have yet to recover my files from the old hard drive. This is a very sad thing. Yes, i do know that i should be backing up my files, and yes, i have learned my lesson. Still, i have lost, hopefully not for good, an enormous image file, family photos, and eek! all of my own art images. Time to send the hard drive out to a professional company, and time to get my camera out, again.

Magellan, the sleeping cat, working on my hard drive problem
It took close to three weeks to get reliable internet service, truly an eternity in the digital age. This was just a little scary, Don was still working, my only access to the outside world a text only wifi only smart phone. No internet, no wi-fi, no, you get the drift......

What rubs me against the grain about the whole smart phone phenomenon? The phone seems to be taking the place of face to face communication. Spend some time in pubic places watching people. Watch people at dinner, at the bar, at a party, hell even people sitting together under the trees, enjoying the view. If there are four people there, its likely that at least three of them are on the phone, texting, talking, playing music, surfing mindlessly. We are becoming a culture that seems incapable of being present in the moment.

Sunset mirror
I don't want to live that life. I do try, really, to put down my phone, pay attention to the people around me. I try to pay attention to the beautiful world around me.
Now about my e-reader.......
really honey, i just want to finish this chapter.....

Full moon rising over StoryTeller

More later, mainly about art next time, i promise.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

LAW 132: Tesla's Revenge, a work in progress

We've 'been thinking lately about bespoke vs bought. Surrounding ourselves with beautiful, functional and other work made by people we know has always been important to us. Be it handmade clothes, art, furnishings, handmade ceramics, oh man are we suckers for beautifully made serving or dinner ware, we cherish the things that have been made for us by others, as well as what we have made ourselves.

So, we decided to use wood as our primary construction material, aiming for a pergola look.
Installing the cross members!

 I love my Nick Corso pitcher, we use it every day!

I love collecting and using hand made ceramic kitchen ware
Beautiful, handmade, great pouring pitcher.

So, knowing the maker is important to us. It is even more important to be a maker. What's the fun  buying something that a whole bunch other people have? Cookie cutters. are, after all, for cookies. Not for our goodies, not for our art, not for the food we eat. So why should we have a boat that looks like every other one on the water? That has been a topic of conversation lately. Actually it is a thread that has run through our entire life together.

It is getting hot now, time to wrap it up for the day, the carpenter is sitting down on the job.
Almost the last cross member, its getting late and real hot!

Face it, we're Aquarians, artists, iconoclasts, old hippies, if you will. It makes more sense to us to build, rather than buy. Or, in the case of Tesla's Revenge, seriously modify.

On the two hottest days to date we erected the frame of the pergola style hard top over our existing cockpit. Creating in essence another room here on TR. Talk about buckets of sweat!

Don't be afraid of drilling into your boat hull, it's only fiberglass, what can go wrong?
I love watching men work! Don especially!
By the end of day two we have 90% of the frame up, and most important, shade! It has been nearly impossible to use the cockpit, without shade the light is absolutely blinding,

We chose to use wood as a building material, trying hard to mimic the angles and curves of the original boat design
Stern, cockpit view

The addition of a 6' bamboo blind on either side of the cockpit gives us pretty much 24/7 use of this space, which to date has been pretty much a collection of whatever we didn't really have room for in the boat proper.
Bamboo blinds, a fast, inexpensive fix provides much needed shade for the cockpit.
Aah, shade! Glorious

Not done yet, but getting there.

Have to say that we are pretty unhappy with our GAS ONE dual fuel, butane/propane stove.  Butane can be hard to find, and expensive, plus it looses efficiency at temperatures below 50 degrees. So the possibility of switching from butane to propane was appealing. Except, something the manufacturer does not disclose, the pressure valve for the propane is not up to a 20# tank in hot weather. We've had two break down in the last month.
Chef's salads, those artfully composed, delicious combonations of greens, freash and pickled veggies, meat, in this case Serrano ham, and cheeses
Salad, yummy! Just because i haven't share food photos lately

We're looking into counter top(RV) technology propane. I'll let  you know.

More later,