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01 March 2015

Hope

Today I bought bags of potting soil and re-potted all the indoor houseplants -- just so that I could smell and feel dirt, earth, that dark brown stuff buried under almost three feet of snow.

How desperate can you get?

Pretty desperate, I guess.

Continued working on some small collages, playing with old watercolor and acrylic paintings, bits of fabric, 'rip-n-tears' from vintage books and such . . . 

Just seems like a kind of limbo -- waiting and watching for more snow (coming down now as I write this), waiting and watching for signs of spring (amazing bird song yesterday while walking, which made me smile!).

"Dio" (6"x8", watercolor and acrylic painting remnants, batik scrap, and found paper)

Next week we turn the clocks ahead for Daylight Savings -- whoooheee! And then spring arrives two weeks later. Don't be surprised to find me on my knees, kissing the ground (if I can find it).


"Contents" (6"x6", fabric bits, found papers)

So now I'm off to the fireplace and my cosy chair in the corner nearby.  I am counting the hours to Daylight Savings, continuously crocheting, reading, dreaming of the garden and making notes on what has to be done.  Lots of work but I cannot wait.


One of my favorite roses -- the English rose, Sweet Juliet -- a light, fruity smell and so lovely!  I hope this warms your heart as it does mine (taken last summer) . . .

“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all - 
 
Emily Dickinson

10 February 2015

Ode to Barbara Rae

Oh, this craving for color is driving me wild! We are inundated with about 2 feet of snow and ice here in New England, with two more storms coming through later this week. 

Ugh. And ugh, again. 

Last weekend I was poking through my baskets of quilt fabrics -- way too many for my health, I think -- and nothing seemed to strike me. I have piles of UFOs (unfinished objects) and WIPs (works in progress), but have not put all these random pieces together into something whole and complete. 

Another round of 'ughs,' please! 

And then just as I was about to abandon my workroom/studio for an afternoon by the fireplace, I looked over at my painting area and spotted this book about the Scottish artist, Barbara Rae, which I've had on my bookshelves for several years.

  
Every time I open it, I am astounded at the range of colors, textures and patterns she creates through the monoprint and stenciling processes she utilizes in her work. If you ever have a chance to buy or borrow this book, do so! 

I stood for a few minutes flipping through the pages, half my mind still on the waiting fireplace upstairs, when I opened to the two pages displaying "Carrowteige-Yellow Field."

"Carrowteige - Yellow Field" by Barbara Rae

I stopped and sighed. The rich purples and blacks, the striations and that powerful vivid red/pink rectangle made my skin tingle [this image I found on Google does not do the work justice, sadly]. I carried the book back over to my sewing table still filled with scraps and started to sort through, pulling colors and patterns that I thought would evoke Rae's own. 

I found myself selecting colors I might not normally choose -- dark, brooding, heavy except for the vibrancy of the red/pink shape. So this is what I created in the next hour -- my humble ode to Barbara Rae's 'Carrowteige-Yellow Field.'

Color Study I (hand-stitched, machine stitched, cotton batiks)

I think of this 8"x8" work as a color study for a future art quilt, possibly incorporating the other half of her work. But for now I plan to stitch this to a large piece of heavy watercolor paper and frame it.  I want to hang it in the living room by the fireplace so that I can rest my winter-weary eyes on it whenever I feel the need. Perhaps this will get me through February and March, nourishing my spirit? 

All I know is that just when I was about to give up and walk away, a vibrant piece of artwork shook me up and inspired me. 

A random moment, yet ever so welcome.

02 February 2015

Digital Playtime:

Japanese Maple Buds by K. Marszycki

Sometimes the only thing to do to wait out this winter weather is to play --

It's been awhile since I played with digital images, textures and overlays. I worked on these two last week during the "Great Blizzard of 2015" (which kind of petered out here in western New England) -- oh, well.

I've never enjoyed painting still life; I don't particularly like paintings of still life -- and yet I do love a photographic creation of still life. There are so many awesome digital artists throughout the world, it sometimes staggers the mind when one cruises around sites, such as Redbubble, Tumblr and Flickr.


Study in Yellow by K. Marszycki

And then there are those who share willingly their digital textures and more, offering tutorials on how to alter or enhance an image. The top artist who comes to mind is the awesome Shadowhouse Creations.  But it's also a good mental exercise to attempt to create one's own digital textures, even if only to see if they are usable --

floor tile texture

Here's an image of an old beat up  floor tile that I took when walking through a store renovation last summer.  The shelving units had left years of debris and damage, but some of the tiles were absolutely amazing!

And this tile was a must, with the telltale pink heart shape smudged in the debris and dirt. I then added bits of scanned French postcards I collect from ephemera shows and antique shops.  Seemed appropriate with Valentine's Day only about 2 weeks away --

Heart's Desire (digital image by K. Marszycki)

Well, now that I've spent several hours in digital playtime, I suppose it's time to go back outside and continue digging out the cars and walkways.  Ugh.  I am so over this white stuff, ice and cold -- but the upside is that the light is lasting longer these days and there's about 34 days to Daylight Savings!

In the depth of winter I finally learned that
there was in me an invincible summer.
         
Albert Camus




04 January 2015

Your Choice (collage on nujabi paper, fabrics, rice and specialty papers)

 On this slushy, cold and damp Sunday afternoon, I find myself moping around, moving from one unfinished project to another.  I touch papers and canvases, fiddle with the oils and pastels, picking up, putting down, shifting side to side.

Ho, hum . . . this is not good.  Usually I go charging ahead in the new year, filled with goals and promises.  But not this one.  

This year it's more like a total pull-back.  For so long, I've dashed about, becoming a jack of all trades, master at none -- except at my work.  Over 25 years in the world of libraries and information research.  Nothing to sneeze at . . . and yet --

Feeling anxious, tired of the same-old, same-old.  Of course, as soon as you say that, watch out.  Life throws a whammie your way, and you instantly regret those thoughts.

Like the small work above, I suppose it's a choice of whether to continue moping and sighing, or just to get on with it. In a bit I'll light the fire, pull some crochet (my "gargantuan" granny afghan) onto my lap along with a mystery book and settle in for the duration.

So, hold tight, listen for the bird calls, find the tiny footprints in the snow -- the little things of life -- simplicity, a time for a general hunkering down and drawing inward.  Just like the natural world.  

I think I just convinced myself that this ennui is part of the seasonal process.  Soon the gardening and seed catalogs will start arriving in the mail, a sure sign that spring is on the way.  

*   *   *

“I prefer winter . . . when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - 
the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, 
the whole story doesn't show.”

Andrew Wyeth 

 


20 December 2014

Winter Solstice Eve


winter pond

snow fields

New England Barn

snow rose

North Canton Horse Farm

winter passion

Blessings on this eve
of Winter Solstice