Sunday, August 31, 2008

Hwy 10

PS: regarding the photos below.

A friend emailed me and asked what the highway looked liked where the windmills are. So, this photo is in response to her question. As you can see it's difficult to get a good shot of them without vehicles clogging up the photos. Not only are there miles of the windmills on the desert floor but on the mountains as well. Once we drive over the Banning pass the buildings start line the highway; I'm grateful to live in the desert where there are miles and miles of vast landscape. I don't do well in cities. I just wish that the heat wasn't so intense! But then we have very mild winters and I know I wouldn't do well in a colder climate, nor could I deal with snow. Everything is a trade-off . . .

Labor Day Weekend!

"When a bad patch shows up patch it up with a smile." Sally Huss
I thought I was going through a rough patch until a friend and member of my yahoo group shared with us the loss of a house! A lightning strike of all things! Nature at her worst!! They weren't home which was probably a blessing, but I can't even imagine going through such a tragic thing. My heart goes out to her and her family.

It seems that appliances and technical things keep breaking down all around me; it must be time to return to painting! Tubes of paint and substrates don't break down or fall apart, though, painting can be quite challenging. The glass on the oven door shattered on July 4th, then the computer mouse died and the replacement keyboard was defective. The Janome Embellisher was delivered to the wrong house, the laptop computer has a virus and is in the shop for repair. The portable AC unit we bought for the garage only works if the ambient temp is below 97, or so we were informed when we phoned customer service inquiring as to why only hot air flowed out of it. We had hoped we could place it on a high shelf and vent it out of the garage vent near the ceiling, but alas, it likes to be on the floor with the exhaust vent aimed out of the side door, not perfectly situated because of course the intense heat pours through the open door. I was finally able to use the work table in the garage this morning with the AC unit aimed directly at me along with 3 fans when the surge protector died! Why not?!? I don't want to cool down the entire garage, all I want is cool air in a very tiny area so that I can work in the garage. I was so close!

On the health front mom says she doesn't feel well, but can't explain what's wrong. Stacy's BP has been extremely high again and the side effects from the meds are giving her problems. The humidity from the tropical storms has plagued the Coachella Valley for about a week and the dampness has taken a huge toll on my health but has also reminded me that for the most part I do feel better living in a dry climate. And so it goes . . .
These photos were taken out of the car window in route to Loma Linda Medical Center last Thursday. The windmills aren't exactly photogenic, or at least I've never thought so, but after looking at the images and playing with the second one in PSE I've changed my mind. The simplicity of the lines might be abstract enough to use in something. They're of great fascination to my grandson who tries to count them every time they come out to visit.

Where did the summer go?! September is my birth month and every year I'm amazed that I've survived another year. This one has been full of trials and grief while I watch mom slide further into the Alzheimer's abyss. But, there is much to be grateful for as well and I'd much rather remember the highs.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

A rare sighting

The desert is disappearing at a rapid pace! When I moved here nearly two years ago there were large areas like this between the shopping centers and while I prefer to live near the ocean the desert is calming compared to cities with traffic and high-rise buildings. Occasionally a glimpse of the desert opens up between the ridiculous amount of buildings being built and we're allowed to see a bit of the past. In route to the new fabric superstore in yet another super-size shopping center I couldn't grab the digital camera out of my purse fast enough. I was able to get three shots before the signal changed. I was pleased that I was able to capture a little bit of the desert for myself.

Monday, August 18, 2008

I haven't posted scans of acrylic paintings in quite awhile. This tiny one, 4x6 inches, was literally painted in 20 minutes. Abstract experimenting continues to be the force behind practically every thing I create.

The two black-and-white photos are examples of seeing abstracts everywhere. Graffiti on a retaining wall caught my eye while walking with workshop participants along one of the most beautiful coastlines in the world. I aimed the camera at it while everyone else was photographing the rocky shoreline.

On another field trip during a workshop to Moss Landing I photographed the decaying buildings while everyone else headed for the beach. The buildings no longer exist; the entire area is now "upscale." I did take some photos of the pier that vanished during a storm a few months later, and that photo is a favorite of mine.

What a funny thing painting is. The abstract painters always insist on their connection with the visible reality, while the so called figurative artists insist that what they really care about, is the abstract qualities of life. Marlene Dumas

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A little joy!

Swirls anyone? The movement of swirls has always made me happy so even though this piece is a bit over the top and needs some toning down and? it pleased me to work on it. Some of the fibers are kool-aid dyed but the yellow and turquoise are roving that came with the Janome embellisher.

Many years ago while browsing through a Thrift shop I happened upon a woman who was flipping through a book and when she left it on the table I grabbed the $3.50 treasure. The book, "Curves in Motion" by Judy Dales has a layer of dust on it, but I wouldn't part with it like the previous owner did. The person, (most likely defeated by trying to work in Judy's style) who donated the book left some sketches in the book of drawings made from Judy's lessons. I too was defeated by the intricate designs but have found them to be inspiring. I saw a work-of-art of Judy's at the International Quilt Festival last month and was once again moved by the motion she creates. Check out her work here.

Quote: A true friend is one one walks in when the rest of the world walks out. Walter Winchell


I needed this video today and I would imagine that many others do as well!
Thank you Tina!

I just received Rayna Gillman's fabulous creation in the mail! Her book, "Create your own hand-printed cloth" is full of photos, tips, and recipes that I can't wait to try! So, don't hesitate to add one more book to your collection, and lets face it, most of us have unused books in our collections. I guarantee that this one will be useful for those of who love fabric and making marks on it. Rayna's blog is a daily must for me.

Quote: Peace is a daily, a weekly, a monthly process, gradually changing opinions, slowly eroding old barriers, quietly building new structures. John F. Kennedy. (I will never forget sitting in a High School English class behind a girl who had an interesting birth mark on her neck when the news about the assassination of J.F.K came over the speaker system.)

Be sure to start reading Seth's blog, that is if aren't already a fan! Tomorrow he starts posting another round of The Pulse. I once again participated and can't wait to read how others answered the questions he posted. I will post some of my answers over the next few weeks, seeing how I now have more to say, isn't that always the case? One could keep editing until the end of time and never be happy.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

It's here!

The saga of the Janome embellisher went on for days and days and ended up arriving in my hands on Thursday. The house, as it turns out, is empty right now and I have no idea why I walked down two doors on Wednesday to check on the notice UPS left on the door, but it was still there. I felt certain that UPS would never be able to retrieve the machine and I was correct. A woman in a golf cart pulled into the drive-way as I was leaving and it turned out that she was the realtor who rents out the house and when it's empty she parks her car in the garage. She hadn't seen any strange boxes and the last renters moved out on July 29th. Oh joy!
UPS was just about ready to file a claim for Redlands Sewing Center when things strangely fell into place. The realtor, "M," phoned her client to see if he knew anything about a delivery. Yep, he'd received 2 boxes while he was out here and took them to his other house a few blocks away. He lives in Chicago. It turns out that not only did the UPS delivery man read the address wrong but so did my neighbor. The address label was correct. Why he took the boxes from one house to another and stored them is beyond any one's guess. And he owns 3 stores so you'd think that he would be more aware of misdirected packages! "M" was able to locate the boxes; I'm now the proud owner of an embellisher! As "M" said, "what are the odds that you would be at the house when I arrived and that I would phone my client?" Indeed!

This is a piece that I worked on today, needs a little more work, that I will most likely do free motion embroidery on at some point. The fibers are mostly from the Kool-aid dyeing session of a few weeks ago.

Quote: Painting gave meaning to my life which without it it would not have had. Francis Bacon

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Such is Life!

So, the Janome Xpression was delivered last Monday TO THE WRONG HOUSE! Apparently, the machine made a pit-stop two doors down from me; at least that's what the tracking system shows. UPS was supposed to look into it last Friday but that didn't happen until today when they were "coaxed" to do so by a sales person at Redlands Sewing Center! The UPS driver informed me an hour ago that no one was home people today so he'd try again tomorrow. I would never have known that the machine had been shipped if I hadn't received a phone call from Redlands last Friday asking me how I liked my two new machines. What two machines? The sewing machine arrived last Tuesday and is loads of fun but no embellisher.

The new sewing machine has a lot of fun stitches and after I tried them all out yesterday I added some much-needed touches to this piece that I had felted and distressed quite some time ago. Hand stitching is just too hard for me to do so I'm very pleased that there are so many stitches to utilize on the Jem 760. Threads: red, blue, and gold .
Note: this piece is located in a May post along with a pic of the attachment that is now available. Interested may contact me at: And, a friend of mine has a Janome Xpression available, also contact me and I'll connect you with her. I won't pass up a reasonable offer for the attachment.

(On the home front: Stacy had yet another miserable test last Tuesday at Loma Linda Medical Center. The RN who did the bladder pressure test, AKA something I can't pronounce much less spell, told us that Stacy's numbers are in the right zone. You'd think that we'd be doing a happy dance, but now we need a verbal clearance from the urologist at Loma Linda before Stacy can be placed on a a kidney transplant list. The doctor is booked solid until October. There is a little concern about the urine reflux problem that still exists from the birth defect that caused all of the kidney problems so that might need to be addressed . . .)

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to leave me comments or email me! It means a lot!

Quote: The job of the artist is always to deepen the mystery. Francis Bacon

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Blue Lagoon

Okay, the idea is to formulate a plan of attack that might just get me out of the doldrums. (where did that word come from? I have no idea what the origin of the word is but it seems fitting. pl. verb A period of stagnation or slump.
A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.)

The latest fascination, besides Kool-aid dyeing fibers, is Breakdown Printing aka Deconstructed Screen Printing. A member of my group brought it to our attention and it immediately captured me in its web. (lots of info by googling it) So, I purchased the book by Claire Benn & Leslie Morgan and have ordered the DVD by Kerr Grabowski. Armed with some info I've also purchased polyester curtains and stretcher bars to make the printing frames. But as mentioned many times, the intense heat is keeping me out of the studio space in the garage. This is a messy process and one that should probably be done in the garage. But, I can prepare screens, mix dye, and have fabric cut and ready for that one day when the temps might just drop to a doable 90-something, whenever that might be. We used to tell our photography students to always be prepared to print in the darkroom so that when the time became available there wouldn't be hours spent preparing to print. I've gotten out of the habit of prepping or pre-planning projects and right now just getting fabric soda ashed, dyes mixed, and tools ready might be the only thing I can do. Always be prepared!

When I started to think about stagnating I dragged out some paintings that weren't finished or needed some redoing and discovered "Blue Lagoon" a piece that has gone through so many transformations that practically none of the original colors exist. I have a feeling that working with fabric can also end up that way, covering up, layering, and using the first idea as a foundation for the finished piece. A good foundation might be what it's all about along with not becoming too attached to the first layers. I know that when I love an area of a painting so much that I can't finish the piece I need to put it away until the love ebbs and I can either use that precious area as a jumping off place or completely cover it up. In the case of this painting I covered up an area with Tar Gel so that only some blue from the bottom layer remains. For more texture I tossed on some clear plastic beads to the layer of gesso which is something that I might do again.

Quotes: The creative process is a process of surrender, not control. Julia Cameron.

Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery - it recharges by running. Bill Watterson - the creator of Calvin and Hobbes comic strip.

Friday, August 01, 2008


Does this fungi have a purpose? Here it is hotter than blazes, 114 yesterday, and in the garden I spotted this crop of fungi happily growing. There is absolutely no reason why this plant exists; it isn't edible or especially decorative, though, I was captivated enough by it to photograph it, so why grow? Pain has kept me awake for too many nights again and when that happens my mind wanders into dangerous territory. Was it impulse buying that brought on a frenzied need to buy an embellisher and new sewing machine at the International Quilt Festival, or, is there a yet-to-be-determined need that led me to these two machines? I don't seem to have a direction, there is a glimmer of a few possibilities such as redoing my wardrobe and enhancing/embellishing tired shirts and giving them new life, and I'll be needing tote bags to carry groceries home in, but outside of that I don't have a plan or direction regarding all of the experimenting I've been doing or likely to do once the machines arrive. So, why in the world do I keep experimenting with new to me processes and techniques? Without something to create I know that I would fall into a deep depression so maybe that's reason enough to continue to follow the journey I seem to be on. But then, what do I do with all of the things I create? I can't imagine that there is a need/market for anything I enjoy creating regarding painting abstracts, felting or working with fabric and how many swaps can a person do? I love receiving trades and surprises in the mail but after a while they end up out-of-sight when something new comes along. How many of us enjoy the process and don't care whether the end result is usable or necessary? How many of us continue to try the latest making-the-rounds technique rather than ask ourselves, is this something I can use in my work or do I simply want to be part of the in-crowd that is exploring a particular process like Kool-aid dyeing? Or, is it my mood that is questioning everything right now? I have a feeling that I'm just rambling while attempting to find a reason to continue creating . . . Isn't just being interested or curious enough of a reason? Probably.

Quotes: It is art that makes life, makes interest, makes importance and I know of no substitute whatever for the force and beauty of its process. Max Eastman

In the long run, we shape our lives, and we shape ourselves. The process never ends until we die. And the choices we make are ultimately our own responsibility. Eleanor Roosevelt