A whole month of art journal pages!
Saturday, January 31, 2009
A whole month of art journal pages!
Friday, January 30, 2009
With some bemusement and fascination drawing a portrait from a series of photos I haven't seen in 40 years. What's interesting is that I have owned some of the pictures from the same series.
I drew with paint using my non-dominant hand. I've done this before but this page was more frustrating than previously, probably because I was hemmed by page, by multi-tasking (tv and crackers baking) and fact that tree was outside and my back was turned from window. Hate it when I multi-task but persist.
Drawing with non-dominant hand is very useful for drawing organic subjects: trees, limbs, flowers, crowded gardens, etc., anything that requires a loose line that might have to take off on its own suddenly. I am always curious to see what happens with that other hand.
the little photo was ripped from a Corbis stock book. It strikes me that while this image could illustrate joy or some form of exultation, to me it just kept saying work. Good work, where work is experimental and thoughtful. The figure here is working out ways to walk on his hands. He's been at it for hours maybe and in between times, he's thinking. He is curious.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
“I got my own secrets.”
“And who holds them?”
“That’s just it. Me and Abigail were talking once about what you hide when you’re married compared to what you hide when you’re not. I hide my dope in the linen closet but Nan knows it’s there. It’s not hidden from her. Nothing in the house is hidden from her. If I need to keep something from her, I give it to my brother. Not that there’s been much.” He was reassuring on this point, but I nodded as if I understood. “So we were talking about that and she asked me if I’d hold something for her. Nothing illegal and nothing she’d be checking in and out like a library book. It wouldn’t be a bother and if I needed to tell Nan, that was fine. So I put it in my underwear drawer.”
“And now you’re giving it to me,” I said, squeezing the envelope, giving it a little shake, holding it up to the light. "Love letters?"
“I guess you could pass it on to Susan,” he said.
I nodded. “Yeah, I guess I could. In fact, I could just drop it through the mail slot and let fate take a hand... Why didn't you do that?"
"And ruin your fun?" he asked with a lovely little grin.
And then, like so many detective heroes, he kissed me quickly and drove off.
And like so many sleuths, I went to the kitchen and set the kettle on to boil.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
I've quit more than one therapist, always pleasantly and with no regrets. While I've rarely met my "goals and objectives" (finish novel, find self), I've always been calmed when necessary and eventually learned to listen. Once I quit when I discovered I had better things to do with my money. "You're cured," said the shrink. The last one was easy. "I know everything I need to know," I said. "I've been trying to tell you that for five years."
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Unlike Monday, today's time could be (and was) given over to one pleasant and pleasantly long task. My little craft and I floating through the hours and then some. Even dinner conspired, cancelled and leaving me just a little more freedom. Free of irritation, my determination to enjoy a productive day was given me and I, in turn, was productive.
Monday, January 26, 2009
Symbol of aspirations, dreams and ambitions.
Saturday, January 24, 2009
I've misplaced the ability to create a gift spontaneously. Or so I thought. True, I'm stymied this morning by a time crunch. Have to pack and leave for weekend in Blue Ridge. So, instead of a journal page or a separate piece of art, I'm giving my hostess one of the journals I made just a few weeks ago.
I love the coptic stitch and while most of my books are bound with rich red thread from Volcano Arts, for this volume, I chose a beige, wanting the blues and creams of the papers (Ikea sells good-sized rolls of handmade paper in their giftwrap section. Each roll a variety of shades. I took some each from the blue collection and made this.) Today, I will give it to Sarah, who owns Out of the Blue in Blue Ridge, Georgia (do we see a theme here?).
Happily, I hadn't yet chosen end papers for the inside of the front and back cover so this morning I (spontaneously) chose and buggered up, I mean distressed, a Xerox copy of end papers taken from an old children's book. We all remember our Nancy Drew hardbacks, but in a bag of books taken from my mother's attic last year, I found a copy of a Dana Girls mystery. Have no recollection of ever reading this particular series or volume "The Secret of Lone Tree Cottage." The vocabulary is richer and more varied than in the Nancy Drew series.
Friday, January 23, 2009
My favorite bit of advice about painting comes from an artist better know for his writing.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
When I was a little girl, I received many boxes of Crayola crayons but never one bigger than, say, the 16 pack. Maybe the 32? What I never did get was the giant box of 64, the box with the sharpener. I don't know why but I got it into my head that this set was too expensive.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Don't think this is finished. the top image, which I managed quite by accident with an inkjet copy and a lot of citrus gel stripper. I thought I was following directions rubbing away with a spoon but the transfer didn't take.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
Sunday, January 18, 2009
“Yes. Well, that’s what she said.”
There was silence for several moments. Beside me, Judith stiffened. She glanced toward the kitchen and stood. There’s a mirror in the dining room we could both see from the couch. It reflects a section of the kitchen in which I could Tim’s reflection hovering nervously on the threshold, listening and unwilling to enter. Can’t blame him.
“Were you trying to help her?” she asked.
“Who?” he asked. “Abigail?”
“Yes. I’m assuming you met her on your tour of the property.”
Ken snapped his fingers. “That’s right! I remember now. I went into a lot of apartments that day. More than I expected, frankly. A lot of people were in and happy to meet me, frankly.”
He turned to me. “So that’s what you meant. Jesus, Nora, I was fixing her mini-blinds.” He laughed. “And probably promising new carpets.” Judith and Patty laughed obligingly. I tried but no sound would come.
“Did she recognize you from Belle Vue?” asked Judith.
“I don’t think so. She didn’t say anything. Nice girl. She was making Bloody Marys and asked me to join her. I had a quick drink and left when I saw George drive up. No wonder I didn’t remember. I hadn’t been in there ten minutes.”
He gazed at me for a few minutes. I could see he was trying to work out how angry he still was and whether I should be spared or fired. Judith used the moment to slip into the kitchen and hustle Tim out the back door.
“Why did you spent your time at Belle Vue looking up files on Abigail?” asked Patty. “I just found them when I was filing.” I said, looking her dead in the eye, willing her to go no further. Had I shown her the work order? So what if I had? “You left her files out with the others. I was just surprised at the coincidence.”
Georgia, if anyone doesn't know this, is a "right to work" state. I didn't know that but Judith, much later in the day, explained it to me. "He can fire you any time and for any reason," she said. "Really?" "Really." "But he's not my boss. I mean, he didn't hire me. You hired me." "Then I guess I'll have to fire you." "But I didn't do anything." "Even you don't believe that." "But I live here. What am I going to do?" I'd never been fired before. "Go home. I'll give you a couple of weeks to find a new job. If you can pay rent, you can live here. I won't make you file an application. That's as fair as it gets, Nora." I guess I was an idiot.
Pink. Frankly, I've always liked the color if not the connotations. But then, I'm a pale brunette. It's one of "my colors" so that's no surprise.
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Mrs. Mason passed me at the door to Building A.
“I hope you know what’s good for you,” she said without a pause.
“What?” I turned to stop her but she’d closed the front door behind her. Had she been complaining of noise again? Impossible, the complex had been quiet all week and would not fill again until the new year.
Inside the model Judith stood in the living room. She wasn’t alone. Patty, from Belle Vue, was perched at the end of the small chair I used. Her stenographer’s pad, identical to my own, was before her. She seemed to be making a list.
“Hello?” I said.
“You’re back,” said Judith. No smile but a worried sympathy crossing her face.
Patty looked guilty.
“My turn to work here,” she said.
“Oh.” Chagrin, embarrassment (how could that be?) in the form of a hot flush rose like mercury in a thermometer until I thought my face would explode. The silence crackled.
Mr. Eberhard entered, evidently from Judith’s office. We will really need to bring in more desks. Judith walked to the couch and sat, arranging her long skirt, brushing invisible lint away with a light hand. She nodded to me and patted the seat next to her. Drawn, I made my way to it, fumbling with purse and coat, tripping on the beige shag carpet.
Finally, Mr. Eberhard, who seemed to be keeping his temper in check, blew a long breath from his nose, like a worried horse.
I am stalling now because when he started to talk, it was all I could do to hear him. When confronted, I react like a snail. I curl inward and hear nothing but the sound of crashing.
But his first words were clear enough.
“Just who do you think you are?” he asked.
“Just who the hell do you think you are and what did you think you were up to?”
I looked to Judith but she kept her eyes on the weave of her green tweed. She favored monochromatic outfits. Her sweater matched the lighter shades. Patty kept her eyes on the steno pad but her chin trembled.
“I just had to sit through an interview with a,” and here he consulted a white card, “Michael Boker, a police detective, about my involvement. Yes, involvement, with Abigail Snowe. Someone, a young woman from this complex, had a conversation with him about my visits to her.” He paced the room, stopped at the piano bench and sitting, facing me. “My visits.” He made the word sound like a glass marble, rolling it in his mouth as if he didn’t know how it had gotten there or what he should do with it. “What visits?” he asked and before I could answer confronted me again.
“Do you honestly think I had something to do with that woman’s death?”
I was in full snail mode now and could barely speak. I thought the back of my head was going to come right off.
“I never said so.”
“But you do think so?”
I nodded. I had to. Was I nuts? And then I shrugged, involuntary as a spasm. I was trying, too late, to back away from the whole thing. Where, I had time to wonder, was my integrity.
And then, thank God, I got my Irish back.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Red all over. I really wanted to paint today. To just feel the color soak into the raw paper and then, as the glazes built up, feel it skate. Golden liquids on the same fat, manufactured paper I've been using all month.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
Finally got the name of this challenge right!
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Orange, eh? I set about to create a collage, something that always seems so much easier than it really is. Challenges always involve some constraint, often time (always time) and often inspiration. I was inspired by a comment/suggestion left by an anonymous reader but time contraints won out. Among the materials I keep color-coded in an accordian file were color Xeroxes of a small artist book. The prose poem is called "Love Letter".
Monday, January 12, 2009
Took a troll through the other bloggers participating in this challenge. Misty Mawn, organizer and Pied Piper has thrown out a variation for this week: monochromes. (Glad those self-portraits are over.) Monday is blue. Used the oppty to scrape some tinted gesso onto this heavy but clunky paper (Pentalic Nature Sketch, spiral bind sketchbook) and develop a wee bit of texture. Then go over it with brush pen. Am fascinated with winter branches...as you can see.
little late. Company over to watch The Duchess. So much sadder than I'd imagined.
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Last week I received a wonderful gift: a reminder of why I fell so hard in love with the condo I bought with all the impulsivity of a child with her first allowance. It was the view! The endless light. The infinite sky paired with the bulky thud of downtown high-rises---all those horizontal and vertical lines.
Friday, January 9, 2009
Thursday, January 8, 2009
I'm in here somewhere.
Tuesday, January 6, 2009
Monday, January 5, 2009
Sunday, January 4, 2009
Abigail’s minister delivered fifteen minutes of sorrow tinged with some confused warnings against wasting one’s life that raised more than my eyebrows. A slight murmur rolled among the dozens of heads inclining left and right, as if those of us in the middle and back rows were asking, “Did she commit suicide?” Now, that’s an idea that never occurred to me. How on earth could she have thrown herself against the precise edge of her dining room table? Susan was not visible from where I sat, but Kevin’s profile was in view and it looked quite frozen, as if in shock. Once, he opened his mouth as if to object, but shut it again and slumped back in his seat.
“Does he think she killed herself?” I hissed in Michael’s ear.
He shook his head. “Lifestyle,” he mouthed.
Ah, yes. If there’s one word that epitomizes the generational divide peaking in the mid-1970s, it was lifestyle. Meaningless and therefore useful for all. Abigail’s family minister had appropriated it and charged it with a code that was to mean excess.
She was divorced; she was in debt; she was flying about; and she had been drinking and, in that state, had killed herself. Got it.
“They still keep insisting she was drunk, but she couldn’t have been.”
“That’s what I hear but that’s not what her family believes.”
After the minister came a hymn led by Susan’s husband. People were asked to speak if they wanted to but after five painful minutes of silence, the Patterson’s man stepped forward and invited us all, on Kevin’s behalf, to a reception at the house on 5th Street.
It was here that I realized Kevin and Michael were more than friends. Judith’s husband took over the kitchen as if he owned it, marshaling a trio of Peasant waiters in crisp blue Oxford shirts and black slacks. A traditional spread of ham and sausage biscuits, salads and desserts had been set out in the dining room on an antique table covered in lace. The waiters swam among guests with trays of bite-sized quiches and champagne. I drank one glass and left. There was nothing more to learn and nothing more I could do. The realization made me feel like a fool. Judith, I reflected, had been right about me. Perhaps I could have helped Abigail had I been in the office, but I had not been there and that was not my fault. Now I was just being nosy and intrusive, occupying space belonging to someone who really did care about her. I should go back to Arborgate and do my job while I still had it.
I left without saying goodbye to Kevin but Susan was smoking a cigarette too close to my car to ignore her.
“I’ll call you later this week,” she said. “I still need your help.”
“Really? Judith said you wanted to handle it yourself.”
She blew smoke down the front of her navy wool coat and shook her head. “Not at all. I can’t stand the idea of going through everything. If you could do the kitchen and bathrooms in particular, I’d appreciate it. I’ll pay you.”
All the way up Peachtree Street, I wondered why Judith had told me otherwise.
Was there something beyond Abigail’s involvement with Ken she didn’t want me knowing? What was it and what could I do about it, anyway?
Suddenly, I was sadder than I’d ever been and, with it, a sense of defeat crept through me. In this mood, I turned left on Biscayne and descended to the complex.
Saturday, January 3, 2009
This Moleskin paper is making me draw like a writer. I mean, these branches are calligraphic, are they not? Two friends with cancer, lot of reading, especially The Healing Path by Marc Ian Barasch. Lot of thinking. These branches are just the beginning of a long walk in the woods. These days I could envy the religious among us. Their certainty must be very nice.
A foggy Saturday. Good intentions of a long walk with two 3-Day buddies up in Riverside Park, Roswell was changed to a shorter walk in Chastain Park with one 3-Day buddy has been, by way of illness for one and need to put down beloved old dog while simultaneously coordinating clearing out room of recently deceased mother-in-law for other (GotJunk.com) reduced to (possible) walk in beloved Piedmont Park before or after returning overdue library books and delivering two pairs of slacks to tailor in Ansley Mall. The shoes are on, the jeans less snug than a week ago. Finished the last butterscotch chewie and am ready to take on the new year.
Thursday, January 1, 2009
Her hands had been folded across her heart, a crystal rosary artistically intertwined between her fingers. Someone had given her nails a pearl-pink manicure. Touching her cold skin briefly (was it warmer than when I’d last touched it last Thursday?) and turned away, heading for an alcove from which I could gather my wits and watch.
I don’t know why I felt so self-conscious except that, at 23, I still retained many adolescent ideas. The notion that I was under constant scrutiny was one of them.
Nor was I completely wrong. Abigail’s Belle Vue neighbor, Rick, had walked in and was staring at me, his eyes glassy with tears held in check. I nodded and turned away, walking down a short hall thinking to find a ladies room. Instead I ran smack into Michael Fish, Judith’s husband.
“Michael,” I said. “What are you doing here?”
It took him a minute to recognize me. Even then, he did not place me at Arborgate, but, rather, as Kevin’s dinner companion.
“Who are you?” he asked.
“Nora Cahill,” I said. “We met the other night at the Peasant and-”
“Of course, Kevin’s new friend.” He offered his hand and I took it in a brief handshake.
“Yes,” I said, warmed by the designation. “But I also work for your wife.”
I laughed nervously, biting back an impulse to ask how many wives he had.
“Yes, at Arborgate.”
“Oh. Oh! You’re the one who found her.” His body turned slightly toward the coffin. We both glanced into the viewing room, catching Kevin’s eye. He smiled slightly and gave a gesture. If he’d had a glass in his hand, it might have been a toast. As it was, he simply waved slightly and smiled as if glad to see us together. His lips moved, mouthing words I could not understand.
“What’s he saying?” I asked Michael.
“Take care?” he said. “I’m not sure. Well, let’s get a seat. They should be starting by now.”
“There’s a lot more people here than I would have thought,” I whispered as we brushed past a covey of uniformed Delta flight attendants. I wonder if they’re like cops and send representatives when one of their own go down.”
“She didn’t die in a plane crash,” he said. “But you may be right.”
“There’s a guy from her last apartment,” I said, pointing to Rick. “I think he had feelings for her.”
“Is he the one she was seeing at Arborgate?”
“No. We think that was the new owner.”
“Ken Eberhard?” He whistled thoughtfully. “That’s interesting.”
“Why? Because he’s married?”
“Well, that doesn’t seem to bother him. He’s been seeing a lot of Judith. You know we’re separated, I guess.”
“I did. I’m sorry.”
“Nothing to be sorry about. It’s amicable. But I don’t like Ken much.”
“Proprietorial, probably. I’m a dog in the manger. Seriously, I’m the only one who worries about Judith. Everyone thinks she’s so together.”
“You’re right. I sure do.”
“Of course, compared to you, she is.”
“I mean, she’s older and a mother. She’s very in charge but she’s hasn’t always been. That’s all I’m saying. In another ten years, you’ll be just like her.”
“But what is that? Competent on the outside and a marshmallow inside?”
“That’s not what I mean. It’s just that I know her vulnerabilities. I’m afraid Ken might know them,too. I’m not so sure I trust him with her. He strikes me as a predatory kind of guy.”
“He certainly seems to go after what he wants.”
“But I think he just wants Judith to work with him. She’s smart and ambitious.”
“She is that. But what about Abigail? From what Kevin tells me, she was a bit of a loose cannon.”
“What does that mean?”
“That she didn’t really know what she wanted but would get all fired up anyway. She was impulsive, he said.”
“Did you know her personally?”
“Not at all. Kevin talks about her, that’s all.”
“Are you guys good friends?” I asked, but before he could answer, strains of organ music hushed us all and the service began.