Sunday, July 27, 2014

Revelations

I woke up knowing that this piece is indeed a study.  I named it Together We Keep Watch.  but the visual story is incomplete as it stands now and I now know what I need to add.   I work so slowly that I really wanted this piece to be finished, but I will do a 2nd one.

As I see it now, it is about hearts and minds being in sync and of one accord.  If this is about keeping watch over a community, the landscape, being witnesses, then I need to indicate that.

Have a glorious day!

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We Rise, again and again and again and again.....

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.   ---excerpt from Still I Rise By Maya Angelou


Let me just say this blog break was unexpected.  Not to bog the blog down with details, I'll summarize the important stuff, the highlights thus far of the late spring and early summer:  

Mo and I have been 2nd hand shopping for furniture and just short of dumpster diving we've been out nearly every day scouting furniture for her new apartment for a new phase in her life.  (God be with us.) The furniture finds filled my studio and we ventured with her leading the way into painting with chalk paint.  


We'd go at nights to paint so we could  pull the furniture out in the hallway...(and the AC was out in the building, luckily enough, the nights were cooler and somewhat tolerable).  The other furniture pieces are still in storage.  A couple of dressers, a headboard, and a buffet left to go.

Mo's car completely died leaving 4 adults to depend on 1, ONE car (feels really retro, but we've adjusted quite well given the circumstances).  And she is now without a job related to her continued knee issues and asthma.  But being the hard-headed determined woman she is, she is rising.

The hub-man and I decided to house hunt for a rental and after weeks of looking we were 2, TWO, days late given notice to our complex and the best the apartment manager would do was to give us a 3 month lease because missing the date BY TWO days automatically locked us into a year lease.  And we came close to deciding on 1 of the 4 we had viewed...a 3BR, 2BA ranch, wood floors with a basement.  After five years of having a studio at Mellwood, I'm ready to bring it home and am envisioning a basement studio  So you see, looking for another place is the key. But as it stands now, October will be our deadline to move.

Somewhere in the midst of it all, I had 2 bouts with pneumonia but didn't require a hospital stay, but did do time home-bound with rest.  Also, several significant people in my life made their transition and passed on, a good friend who was my best friend in junior high; a neighbor, one of "the mothers" on the block I grew up on; and my God Mother who was my Mother's oldest, dearest friend, Ms Trudie Mae Wickliffe.  She was 98 and in her right mind.  (Thank you God for the blessings)

Ms Trudie and my Mother arrived in Louisville around the same time, sometime in the late 40's and worked at the Brown Hotel together while staying with a cousin of my Mother's who lived by the racetrack whose husband was a horse trainer.  They eventually moved out together and shared apartments sometimes with another friend, Grace.  But it was Ms Trudie, 14 years older than my Mother, who remained a staple in her life and later in my life growing up.  One of the most important affirmations I received from her when I as a young woman who left a marriage after just 1 year...she got me without me having to over-explain or apologize to what appeared as irrational to others.  She later gave her understanding of me wanting to live outside of marriage with my now husband (of the 28 years we've been together, we've only been married this last year).  It may not sound like much now, but back in the 80s, in my family, it was still a dramatic thing to do and cause for too much talk.  

Maya Angelou's passing was a moment...to have one so significant in my culturally relevant formative years leave this plane jolted my eyes to open to examine how i'm living and how I've used my talents and re-evaluate how to move forward.  I love this photo of her dancing with poet Amiri Baraka taken by photographer, Chester Higgins dancing on top of Langston Hughes' ashes buried under Rivers: African Cosmogram created by Houston Conwill (a native Louisvillian).  Now, the photo itself says JOY, but when I let all of the above just marinate for a minute or so, that JOY just intensifies and I start laughing out loud!  Living is a beautiful thing!



The last of May ended my time with the co-op gallery.  More of a financial move for me since my lower priced work is depleted and my direction is not to make more right now.  It is what has sold.  I do not want to devote my efforts to "what is selling" right now.  

The piece that had been in Form Not Function 2007, Negotiating Territory, was donated to an auction at Spalding University to help with establishing a scholarship for African American students.  But then a month later, I turn around and miss a deadline for a group exhibit of African American Women Artists at a local gallery.  Even though I have a tinge of regret, I have to believe that all things work toward good in my life and its okay.  

I'm still crocheting, but not as with much gusto since I'm no longer on steroids, and I missed a friend's birthday for which this shawl I have on my hook is for...but there is always Kwanzaa, Christmass, Valentine's Day, or any other day to celebrate just being.

Reading. I've been reading a lot and I simply must tell you about 1 of 2 books by Estella Conwill Majozo (sister to Houston, see above).  First, Sister,  Please, Can You Stand A Little Honesty.  A collection of sermons that Majozo has presented over the last 10 years or so to various faith-based audiences. Each chapter is a offering of faith-based and culturally relevant steps we can take to keep our souls intact and not just as individual women but in a community of women.  I don't know about you, but I require certain thoughts and feelings, as oxygen, that speak to me, my soul, in order to ward off the numbness that grows as a result of stress.  The offerings in the book, helped and will help me to facing forward, nurture the desire to spring high and rise.  I've been carrying the book with me when I go out and re-read parts at night before going to sleep.  The 2nd book I'll talk about in my next blog post.  It also holds personal meaning for me and my family.

And finally to ward off the melancholy that occurs when I'm unable to be in my studio space creating something, I've picked sketching back up...specifically sketching faces.  A face a day is what I'm doing and then I upload to my personal FB page.  




Until next time, peace....



Saturday, May 17, 2014

Because She Can

I'm aware that something is going on with me physically that I cannot quite name...at first I contributed it to the never-ending winter coupled with the extended care of my grandchildren and my mother paired with a couple of bouts with bronchitis. I've not been able to quite snap out of the lethargy and am riding the wave of up and downs.  I'm keeping my docs in the loop and there have been some changes to my meds, but thus far, I feel like I'm still pushing boulders up hill with some spurts of energy and enthusiasm along the way.  I'm happy to say I think my Mother is doing so much better and my daughter's schedule has changed and now I get to go back to be fun loving Nana.  My 4 year old granddaughter called me "boring" 2 days ago.  When I asked her what boring meant she said "its when you don't want to go anywhere".  That was said in reference to me not being ready to leave the bookstore.

Yesterday, my spurt of energy came from a visit from two friends; one, Mary, is walking across the 31 states east of the Mississippi River...she is taking a reprieve here in Louisville.  I will not seize to be amazed that I know someone who is so bold to undertake such a venture!  She started October of last year in Boston and has 19 more states to walk through before she returns home to Boston.  Over lunch I sat asking questions and listening to her tell stories in that Bostonian patois about the people she has met and her experiences.  Mary has a facebook page called Because I Can where you can follow along and read about her positive experiences on the road.

I used the spurt of energy to further progress on #2 in the series of Morrison quilts.  Here is the progress thus far on Fallen Through the Crack (working title) based on The Bluest Eye.

Quilting should begin on this piece sometime next week and the next quilt in line will be based on Tar Baby but I'm still working on composition.  I see 2 shared elements in the first one I did and this one...before I name them I'm going to see if they will continue to show up in the quilts to come.  There will be more encaustic pieces in between.

Peace,

Monday, May 12, 2014

Captured thoughts...

I received the Kentucky State Fair catalog and while flipping through the sections on Craft/Hobby/Fine Art/Antiques...I realized I could submit in all those categories.  I'm going to aim to submit a crochet shawl/scarf, an encaustic piece(s), and a textile art piece.  I might get it together and submit one of my great grandmother's dresses or the one I have that belonged to my great great grandmother.  I need to do something to keep them better, they are beginning to dry rot  .I've thought about putting them in a quilt, a shadow box or in an airtight vacuum bag.

I picked up 3 more birch panels for encaustics and also 3 small bottles of the Golden High Flow acrylics that I'll use for marbling sometime in the next few months.  I decided that I would only work in one size for encaustics, 8"x8" panel with 3/4" or 1" (can't remember) deep.  Did I mention the Shiva sticks play well with the beeswax?  Everything I create will go on a wall here at home until I decide what to do with them...the same with the Morrison quilts.  Don wanted the one I've completed to hang in the gallery.  That didn't feel right...I'm not about production.  I want a group, a body of art, to make a statement...not a quilt one, hang one, quilt one, hang one, etc.

While painting today the ghostly figure with changling blue eyes...I thought of a woman who I knew back in the 80s who thought she appeared white after she sprinkled herself with white baby powder from head to toe.  She wore wigs that were bone straight or bone straight and blonde.  My contact with her was only a few weeks before she returned to prison for prostitution.  I had not read about Post Traumatic Slave Disorder back then, but now, I see her as having a very extreme and severe mental disorder.  What comes of someone, a woman, who is so disconnected from her own story, truth, mind?  It was the quilt for The Bluest Eye.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Breaking Bad and Cooking

with beeswax and damar resin.


 Starting out with 2 experiments today, working with paper on the first one and cloth on the second one before I launched into working with intent.



Shiva oil sticks plays well and I have one R&F pigment oil stick in pale yellow and a blending stick.  These are the 2 pieces on birch cradle boards which I actually thought about what I wanted to do design wise. The board is on top of a teflon cooking sheet.  The watercolors were used on the cheesecloth as well as the the first layer on top of the board (allowed to dry with help of the heat gun)





Don is also playing with encaustics.  We started out experimenting together in his studio which was fine and went well, but I had to be alone in my own studio to really pay attention to what I was doing and learning and thinking.  I had to own the process in my own space.  What is interesting is how Don, a painter, approaches his experiments compared to how I, based in surface/design/cloth/quilt, approach.  I'll try to remember to get a few snap shots of Don's pieces tomorrow.

I mixed my own beeswax and resin earlier in the week with a imprecise measure of 8:1.  My mixture gave a harder surface (the one in the post below) than the the Jacquard pre-mix (the ones in this post).  I prefer my mix to the touch over the pre-mix.  The pre-mix still feels pliable...maybe a couple of days to cure will change that.  Tomorrow I'll add a pinch of damar resin to the pre-mix.