Getting Fired Up!

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I’m getting closer to some finished pieces at pottery class!

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Last week I hand-built these pieces and came up with a solution for the two pots I previously ruined.  Did I throw them in the garbage? Nah, I took them home and created coil pots on top of the destroyed bases. I was able to clean them up fairly well.

Here’s a look:

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They are purposely a little wonky simply because I like how it looks.  Perfect bores me -imperfect gives my vessels some personality.  With that said, I loosely applied the coils until they looked the way I liked them, attached the pieces and today I under-glazed them. After they bisque fire I will be adding an oatmeal white color to their bases.

Next:

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I added under-glaze paints to these pieces too. I pretty much spent my entire session painting!

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Oh wait, that’s not true.  I created this 18″ x 18″ rooster platter today as well.  I had found a small rooster weathervane at a hardware store some time ago and thought “hey I could use this as an impression in my pottery”.  It worked, there wasn’t much detail in the weathervane though, just its shape, so I used pottery tools to create the detail. I wasn’t sure what colors I wanted, so I left it to finish next week.

These pieces should fire this week, so hopefully next week I can glaze and finish them up! Quite the colorful batch I must say!

Uncovering the Layers

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I finished my first painting in some time today and boy was there a lot of angst attached!   Here’s the story…

So last week I had finished the months of interruptions that kept me from painting and was ready to start fresh.  I knew I wanted to start with painting landscapes because I hadn’t done too many during my 365.

I went to the library and amassed my favorites: David Hockney, Milton Avery and a few other books on Fauvist masters.

Next I pulled out ten big blank canvases.

Then I put them back and pulled out ten small 11×14 canvases.

Then I thought maybe I should work out some sketches on 3″x 5″ watercolor paper.

Then I thought well, maybe I should do three samples of each concept and figure out what color scheme I want to work with, then I’ll take the best, paint small 11×14’s acrylic paintings and from there take the best concepts and go to large canvases…

sensible right?…

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Well, I got two mini water colors into this process before I felt like I never wanted to paint again!  I had sucked all the joy and spontaneity right out of my own creative process.  Boy I felt absolutely discouraged and all-out bummed.

It took me a day to pull myself together and remind myself I have been dying to paint for the last 4 months!  I returned the books to the library.  I put all the canvases away.  I stopped looking at all the amazing inspiration I had pinned on Pinterest.  I put away everything.

Wow. I had gotten myself into such a perfectionist frenzy there was no way anything could come out yet alone create joy.

From there I asked myself “what do I feel like doing?” and the answer came.  “I want to play with fast strokes and swirl paint.”  OK.   “I want bright clean color and I want to be able to add layers if necessary.”  OK.   “I don’t feel like acrylic at the moment – it makes me too serious.  I’m not in a serious mood…” OK.  Got it.

IT’S CALLED LISTENING TO YOU INTUITION!!!

As soon as I dumped the preconceived notion of everything my painting needed to be, it allowed space for “me” to be.

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I felt a little rusty.  I wasn’t exactly sure what I wanted it to look like or what I wanted where.   I did a lot of back n’ forth until I found something I could live with.  You know, I guess it’s like the warm up before the run. We’ll call this painting some well needed stretching.

There are quite a few things I’d change in hindsight, but I was happy with where I left it.  The color is beautiful.  The mood is how I feel this time of year.  There’s breeze, sunlight and so much beauty outdoors.  This painting is loosely based on a road I drove down in Jamestown.  It was quiet, well manicured and I just loved the turn I find myself wondering …where does it lead?

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Here is the final painting.

It is gouache on heavy cold press paper 30″ x 30″.   I put a bottle and can in the photo at the way top to give you an idea of the size and proportion of the painting.

So the unnerving first painting is out-of-the-way. Hopefully now I can do away with the angst and get back to work!

Ah, it feels good to be back :)

Emilie Ruecker Wildlfe Refuge

For the next three months (or as long as my attention span can hold out!) I will be exploring landscapes.  I only briefly touched on them during my 365 and there is so much more to learn and explore.

This prompted me to take a hike with Jeanine the head of RI Families in Nature.  We set off yesterday to hike some trails in Tiverton, RI.  I’d never been to that neck of the woods which was plenty enough reason to go!

Thinking of painting compositions all along the trails, this was some of the beauty I took in.  I thought I’d share it:

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What a gorgeous day.  I received plenty of inspiration. Thank you Universe!

Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day

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All those pretty pots I threw last week, I sadly ruined this week!

I just hate when everything goes wrong!

I tried hand building on top of two vessels which completely collapsed.  In hindsight, I realize the slab clay was too thin.  Also I tried smoothing out the inside of the vessels with water which made them damp which made them fold in on themselves.

Grrrrrr…hours wasted!

But not all was lost.  Next time I now know what I need to do to succeed.

SLAB = THICKER + DRIER

I did create two pieces which turned out pretty well:

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This little dude totally needs a hat!

Ahh, I guess there’s always next week!

Where the Wild Things Are

 

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I’ve been playing with some of my artwork on Spoonflower.  I just received a swatch of this fabric and I love it!

This was the original painting:

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It wound up looking like a totally wild Damask print.  I titled it Rainforest.

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Here’s the swatch I just received.  It’s a little bit duller than the computer screen which is probably good for most people since my work is so darn bright!

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Check it out!

http://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/3400342

Getting it Done

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FINALLY!!!

I started this painting in June when my lilacs came out.  How did it take me all the way to now to finish it???

Oh yeah, my kids got out of school :)

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It feels good to finish something that I very well could have abandoned…Lord knows I thought about it!

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On another note, over 10,000 of us Rhode Islanders participated in the Coastal Cleanup this weekend. My kid’s school is responsible for a specific beach each year.

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It’s almost like a scavenger hunt to see who can find the weirdest and grossest garbage! They give you a clip board and you document every single item you find on the beach down to the last cigarette butt.  There’s always a few pairs of underwear, tons of booze bottles, way too many ice coffee cups and the weirdest for me are the constant findings of gun shell casings.

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You leave feeling good.

Our gift is living by the beach. Our duty is to be its custodians.  My daughter gets it.

My son on the other hand spends the entire morning angry.  He keeps saying “…but Mom, I don’t understand why I have to pick up other people’s litter.  If I don’t litter, why do these people get to get away with it?”

Yeah, I’ve got no good answer for you my boy. Nuttin’!

So I default back to what my parents would have told me.  You do it because it needs to get done.

PERIOD.

You can cut or you can stay in line, you can lie or you can tell the truth, you can coast or you can do your personal best, you can choose to help or you can ignore that which needs attention.

In our messed up society it must appear to children that the former is the way you succeed in life. That’s the message we see on the boob-tube daily, cutters, cheaters, liars & an inactive government. As a parent I can only share my own moral wisdom and who knows where the heck that came from. Maybe trial and error. There is freedom. You can simply do for you or you can do for the greater good of all. Is this something you or taught or something you are born with?

All I know is to the day I die I will try to instill the latter in my kids. I guess that’s what they call parenting and that’s why I will worry…does my boy get it???

Yeah, just go ahead and add a couple more silver hairs to my head buddy. What’s a few more!  :)

Upon Closer Inspection

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I take a few moments every day to wander. Sometimes mentally. Sometimes physically.

I picked all the Chinese lanterns from my garden.  I love them for their color of course.

But wow.  Look at how magnificent this little pod is.  It is so delicate and miraculous in its detail. It gives you a glimpse of the fruit inside and reminds us of perfection.  This plant is perfectly designed to dry its seed and spread it.  It has perfect protection only until it is no longer needed. At that precise moment its walls will wither and it will have done what it needed to do. Plant the seed.

Don’t we all have protective layers but do we shed them at the right time?   Hmm…deep thought for the day…

Man, there is just so much to learn about life, when we stop to pay attention.

If you don’t already have these in your garden, here’s a little more information:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Physalis_alkekengi

Back to School

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My kids were not all that thrilled to go back to school, but I am!

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My pottery classes started up again. They are every Tuesday.  It feels awesome.  I’ve been taking pottery classes for two years now and I am finally feeling like I’m getting the ropes!

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I made 6 vessels.  I centered the clay on the wheel all by myself and I did not have any failures.

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Well sort of… This pot collapsed and I probably should have scrapped it, but I just loved the way it fell.  It’s like stripey-ribbons of clay. It reminded me of a bird bath, so I am going to work with it. I’m not all too fond of perfect anyways.

I’m not sure what I am going to turn the other pieces into yet, but stay tuned.  I definitely won’t leave them the way they are!

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It feels so great to be back!