Monday, October 28, 2013

Capturing Critters

Saturday afternoon was intended for garden cleaning.  Seven little distractions halted that plan.  

While pulling out parsley, I noticed a yellow-dotted caterpillar clinging motionless to the nearby dill.  Closer inspection revealed six more.  Either my activity or the falling temperature had slowed them.  I touched one and his little yellow horns flared out.  My inner child squealed with delight (really, I didn't do that out loud).  I dashed inside and brought out my bag of sketchbooks, pens & colored pencils.  I also texted my butterfly savvy sister & niece for advice.  The light was fading and temperature falling.  One quick caterpillar sketch and a bit of color and no time for more.  I plucked the dill, creatures and all, and placed it into the jars.  They're all hanging out in the garage now, munching the dill and getting closer to chrysalis stage.  We've done this a couple of times before and released the butterflies in the spring, but never with so many at once.  I'm a little bit excited.

I intended to draw more and still hoping I can do so before the little buggers change.  Homework for the pottery class prevents me from doing so now.  Time gets away from us.  Regardless, I'm glad I stole a few minutes to record the moment.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Throwing Dishes from the Roller Coaster

Okay - someone please find the roller coaster operator.  He's been away eating deep-fried Twinkies too long and it's time to give the riders a break.  Oy vey.

Life itself is one heck of an amusement ride (not always so amusing), but lets just focus on ART360 and yesterday's up/down-fest.  Our most recent lesson was bowls and sgraffito.  I finished the sgraffito carving on my split & rejoined bowls yesterday.  When you see the pictures, yes, the bowl is supposed to be noticeably grafted together.  I thoroughly enjoyed the carving and scraping.  Then, as usual, I was dreading moving on to the next lesson - throwing plates.  I was just getting the hang of bowls!  Why do we HAVE to move on?  Well, you know what I love about plates?  Plates don't have sides that go up!  My issues with wobbling off center as the sides get higher is not an issue with plates.  Yahoo!  I created one rather decent plate and am looking forward to Thursday's class.  However, we also will be making and using stencils for the first time.  Sigh.  Another new method to learn.  More angst of the unknown. I'm sure I'll be fine again when I figure out what I'm doing.  I only wish there weren't so many downs between the ups.

Photos from the classroom:

The dark side will be black.  The lighter side will turn dark blue when fired and the stoneware will show through where the leaves and stems are carved away.

There has to be some kind of metaphor here with bowls cut apart and grafted together to make something interesting and lovely.  It's not coming to me now.  Maybe when that slacker ride operator gets back I'll figure it out.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What a Difference a Year Makes

I took the weekend off from everything except laundry and football.  Me and the hubby hung out in the living room trying to banish evil cold germs.  Sipping Sleepytime Sinus Soother tea with honey tonight and feeling maybe almost human again.  I scanned through a few days of blog posts and discovered one artist, Shari Blaukopf, is celebrating two years of blogging.  Her art & blog are a steady inspiration.  Today she inspired me to reflect on the past year.

September 24, 2012: One rusty artist starts a quest with no real idea where it will lead.

Follow-through is not one of my great traits.  This blog, intended to keep me accountable, has done just that.  I have not always fleshed out grand plans hatched in this blog, but I'm still at it.  I don't sketch every day, but I do every week.  A few times a week is better than a few times a decade.

What came out of the tackle box so far:

Sketchbook Project
two newly filled sketchbooks
a few readers inspired to draw or create
a whole bunch of found moments to sketch

I've been beating myself up for not sketching enough.  Daily sketching is still a goal, but it's reassuring to see that list.  Thank you to my family and friends for your support and indulgence.  I am blessed.

Here's one of the found moments this past summer - a quick sketch of the newly cleaned combine as I waited for the guys to finish up a repair.

October 14, 2013:  Time to warm up my tea and continue the journey.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Midterm Eval

I have not felt artsy lately.  Life has thrown wrenches at us from multiple angles and I want to pull the covers over my head and ignore the world.  Actually, I'd rather ride off on the Harley with my man to a quiet inn with big soft beds and then hide under fluffy covers with bowls of shredded chicken nachos and hot fudge (separate bowls) and peak out only to watch a Monk marathon or the Carol Burnett Show or The Princess Bride on repeat.  Now I have my husband's chest cold.  And, it's too hot outside.  And, it's too windy.  I'm a grumpy lump and I'm venting here.  Apologies.  The point of this is that the stress makes me want to skip pottery class.  However, I go because I paid for it and I know it's good for my artist soul regardless of how the day went.

This week is the halfway mark of the semester.  Tuesday night we were asked to write an evaluation of what we've done so far - struggles, achievements and such.  Here's a completely different self-evaluation.

  • The pottery wheel is a sadistic medieval torture device disguised as a fantastic art tool ... centered, not centered, centered, not, good, not, sigh... another wonky pot.
  • There are numerous types of clay and all respond differently on the wheel.  I'm overwhelmed.
  • Working alone is my preferred modus operandi.  I'm a hermit.
  • Carving into the clay has been the absolute best part of the class.  I'm a sculptor.
  • I am relatively boring.  I have not died my hair, pierced anything beyond my earlobes, or sat in a communal hot tub with established artists.  (Please feel free to participate, just not my thing.)
  • I am messy - always leaving with clay or glaze on my clothes.  I didn't really just learn this.  I've just decided to embrace it.  I'm a slob.
  • I would love to continue working with clay (sans wheel) and hope to figure out a way to do this.

So, I'm an overwhelmed, sloppy hermit who likes to draw and sculpt.  To be honest, the last class went exceptionally well.  I created two mostly centered bowls, scraped clay off my Mishima design and participated in a Raku firing that was an excellent smoky distraction.  All in all, it's a good experience with some expected frustrations.  I'm looking forward to the second half of this adventure.  Really, I am.
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