Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Finding the Muse #13 the study of Lines

This image was taken recently at Plimoth Plantation in MA., a re-enactment of the original settlement

Today I am showing you a few scenes that caught my eye because of "line"
The chair above made me think of quarter square triangle quilt blocks.
Image result for free quarter square triangle block
from craftsy

 There is a bit of glare on this chest, a reproduction of one brought across the ocean from England. If you enlarge the image you'll see some fancy stitching ideas for quilting.

Or zentangles, or carving, or pottery, or weaving.

The point is, line is important to just about every art form. Think of ballet... the line of a dancer's leg or arm.

Line is important in music, an auditory line one can follow to enjoy music.

I am particularly partial to the following image. The floors in Plimoth (that's how they spelled it) were dirt floors. Survival was the desire in the beginning.

I don't know how this comes across on the blog, but on my computer, the lines created by hundreds of shoes in the sand are very interesting. It's another zentangle. It's trapunto and quilting lines. I am smitten with this shot. click on any images to see details.
This is what is left of Plymouth Rock... it's been chipped, and relocated, and returned, etc. 
I find this picture to be equally fascinating at least on my computer where I can blow it up. I love the shadows of viewers. I like all the lines, vertical bars, cross shadows, lines in the sand, cement blocks and waves of water. So cool!
This image is another favorite. The view across the rock capturing the lines of the pillars, the horizon, the waves crossing the metal bars. It reminds me of a Maxfield Parrish print
We also toured mansions in Newport RI.  One tour guide asked about what I found interesting and I explained I'm an artist, so I take photos of "lines"

She said she would love to see any art I make using those lines...  
well, it's not that simple. All inspiration goes into the "Inspiration Soup"  that I use to make, to write, to live a creative life.  Right?
 This shows the repetition of line. Relate it to whatever art you make. It is the dining room of a Newport mansion. Note the shape of the wallpaper, next to the rectangles carved in panels, repeated in the grid work of elaborate carved screening. The larger rectangle shapes in foreground panels, broken up by the curves of carving in the room divider.
Like sections of a quilt, broken by borders, and curvy quilting lines. It's important to design to consider "line"
In this dining room of another mansion, there is silk wallpaper. Also repeated lines. Note the windows, the carved panel below them, the subtle squares repeated in the wallpaper lines, and that top...
that is textured plaster, woven and attached to the wall. Above it the gold paint is repeated from wallpaper to the hand painted grasses along the ceiling line.

NO ONE is putting details like this into buildings now. We need to protect the ones from the past.

This was in the following home. The couple designed it themselves, and the husband passed away quite young shortly after they moved in. The wife never remarried, and soon sold the home. 

Look at the lines here! Curved shingles, fishtail shingles, curved windows and panes of glass. Balustrades repeating vertical lines along with chimneys. A large second floor screened porch over the first floor porch.

Ah, so much inspiration for us as designers and artists. I'm sure some of the wealthy home builders left design to the professionals but this couple gave much imput into the design.

Do you consider "line" when you make art?

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

a few pretties in Newport RI

Self Acceptance.
That's a lofty goal, right?
Well, we can keep learning and trying and growing.
Allow me to take you on a little tour of some vignettes that caught my eye on our recent trip to Newport Rhode Island. This area attracted America's wealthy yachting crowd at turn of last century. They built "cottages" that are show places. The historical society bought a number of them, and allow us a peak into another way of life.

Please enjoy a few pictures today, of the human figure...
this is one tiny area of the plaster ceiling in one house. Note the little foot hanging off the molding. We don't even have crown molding  lol!

At left, a winged goddess

showing us her bust

and here's another bust...  (plus a selfie)
and more busts...
golden table legs... winged females again
Imagine having a home large enough to fit furniture this scale and have it look small.
and when you want a fire, who better to hold the burning logs than naked figures.
Check out the molded ornate columns on this fireplace. Nothing is too functional to not need embellishment.

I wonder if the woman of the house marveled at the beauty around her, or just took it as her due???

Not to leave out the man of the house... who's desk has elaborate carved women as well.

lol if this were my man's desk, it would be covered with papers, folders, mail, coins, dust, music, guitar pics, and the ephemera people have but don't know what to do with.

Cole Porter was friends with the man of the house and often visited.
My poodle was named for him....jazzy....

Many people have been married here in this house. The following picture is the bride's room to dress and collect herself before the ceremony. It's next door to the Cole Porter room.

The painting is of such a bride, and lookie who she wanted in her portrait...
A black standard poodle.
Warmed my heart... 

More to come... stay tuned....

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Quilting... sort of

 This blog is about living the creative life. 

So this post is quilt related.
Grief is my normal right now. I do not feel like creating. It's been one long month since we said goodbye to our poodle son Cole. I have stitched on my hexie quilt during our long car trip but cannot get inspired to put myself into fiber art at the moment however I thought I might show you some purchases.

If I'm buying something, that's a sign that I hope to regain my creativity, right?? Sometime?

The above kit, and I SELDOM purchase kits, was bought on sale at Keepsake Quilting about two weeks after Cole left. It made me think of him so on impulse I got it. It comes with everything needed except your machine, even backing and binding, for $27. I've not done a bargello, so... it might be a way back in.
I went into the studio this week, that's an improvement.

I folded this washed fabric. When I went through the old purchases I kept thinking, "wow! I love this! And THIS TOO!"
Duh! I bought them all, but forgot about them lol.

On our recent three day trip to MA I got these treats at Tumbleweeds Quilt shop on Cape Cod

A studios magazine for $1.50
mary englebreit fabric and bathtub girls fabric for $4 bucks a yard
lumiere paint on sale for about $3
and the minnie mouse buttons

They all made me happy.

The bathtub girls made me want to make something for a few friends.
I grew up in Florida with Disney World, and Minnie was always a favorite so they were too stinkin' cute to leave behind. What can I put them on??

Mostly I'm writing a lot. And reading. This book was sent to me to review, which I will soon as well as give away a copy. You'll want it, the story is great! I read and write while listening to this...
our gurgling fountain
when I'm not walking miles in these
I have written quilts/art posts. I have written dog posts/stories.
I have friends here who share the whole creative life experience with me, quilts, dogs, travel etc.
Right now I am finding my way through the feelings.
I feel things deeply, which made me a good counselor, a good actress, a writer, an artist, and friend I hope.
I'll find my way eventually but will keep reaching out with travel and writing for a bit.

Gotta be real.  I appreciate every comment and word of encouragement you give me.
The love you've sent is balm to my heart.

I laughed the other day... remembering one of Cole's antics. He was a good boy.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Plimoth Plantation

I wish I could enlarge this more but it goes into my side bar... feel free to click on any images to enlarge them. This is Plimoth Plantation, a re-created living history museum to show us what the original settlement might have been like. Read more HERE

 I asked why this was here not in the original location a few miles away?? Well, the town grew from this, and as it grew people tore down original structures to make way for "progress" and new homes, and it grew continuously since they landed into the modern town of Plymouth!

The Pilgrims came from England and the Netherlands on two ships (Mayflower and Speedwell) in search of religious freedom. The two groups did not even agree on how to worship yet they along with the Native American tribes nearby, managed to live in relative harmony for a time.
The re-enactors were awesome. I learned so much about the time period and how people survived the elements. The native interpreters are actual tribes people of the general area. The curved structure in the background would have mats covering it woven from nearby grasses as this was a summer home.

This artisan was making porcupine hair head dresses. He said feathers would be earned and rare.

His people have been making these for a long time, him since age 6.
The concoction would be held on by pulling their long hair through an opening in the headdress.
I was fascinated with the colors, and did not take pictures of pottery, skins, mats, etc. 

They also had more permanent structures and villages inland. They found peace and trading with the Europeans who built quick dirt floor structures to get them through the winters.
Even in times of survival, the wealth was obvious when seeing the different dwellings. This one had more furniture. All had open hearths. All had many people sleeping in one space on the floors. Wall to wall people. I asked this young woman about that, and she said, men and women slept on blankets. Some men would stumble over them each night, stepping on them! It was quite hot this day, and they were all in buttoned up clothing and the women in stays.
 Every item had to be brought over with them. Additional items were sent by ship later, but not always what they needed or requested. They expected more food and supplies but got more people to house and feed!!

They had one structure to have meetings, services, and canon that could shoot for miles against ships.

Imagine, seeking a new place to settle, across an ocean with no protection or back up services, with approximately 200 people in your entire group.
Men and women alike, working to pay back their new start, sending what resources they could back to the investors hoping to earn land in the future.

I asked if they mostly got along... well... people being what they are, no.

Each had a garden to tend, and there were chickens, cows, and a few animals also brought over that roamed around the settlement.
 They had no doctors, but some people had a knowledge of healing.
One man pretended to be a minister, but was a crook!   People!
I imagined the lives these women gave up in cities of Europe, to cope with the ravages of this new world.
Their beliefs must have been mighty strong and they must have been mighty tormented in Europe to leave on this adventure.

Friday, August 26, 2016

And then there's Provincetown....more cape cod kookiness

While on Cape Cod we drove to the end  Provincetown.
Isn't that a lovely picture?? Imagine living here and seeing this daily.

What we didn't know was  a parade was just finishing, clogging the streets with floats and people. People in costume and people in their unusual daily attire. The parade/festival is "Carnival" and the theme was "back to the 80's"
We arrived just after the parade was over. The one main street was so crowded of people milling around we were stuck til a man in a big pink dress and even bigger blond wig directed people out of our way.
He stuck his head in the car and said, " I like what you've done with your float..."
We found a place to leave our "float" and joined the throngs milling around the streets, to get a feel for the place.
It's wacky.
We went in a couple stores...
and looked at some very cool and unusual beach houses...
We were told the blue plaque means this house was floated over to this location from the sandbar location. I liked the half door... in MD if you did that bugs would come in, eat all the people and carry the house off. There's a puppet guarding this half door. We saw another house with a ships masthead attached. Another with a naked statue covered in carnivale beads. Lots of dogs. Lots of costumes. Lots of colorful characters...
These four went as four "Disasters of the 80's".
The first one is Mount St. Helens eruption. The next is the Valdez oil spill. The next is Chernobyl radiation leak. The last one...
 the tylenol poisoning.

We also saw these colorful characters
and looked at this for a long time
to kind of cleanse our psyche of all the craziness.

I was sorry not to see Cher or Hillary or Andy Cohen. The traffic was hideous trying to leave the Cape later that night but we made it back to the hotel so we could go to Plymouth the next day and see something historical.

We were only there three days but it was a big change and reminded us there is not only a big country out there to experience, but a big world. No need to get locked into a rut here... gotta keep our options open.

A change was what we needed. Cape Cod, Plymouth, then Newport Rhode Island.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Finding the Muse #12 Beatuful vistas and colorful stores

Oh, the clear blue skies over the salt marshes on Cape Cod MA. This is a view from the window of the Bird Barn Gallery. I fell in love with this tiny art venue that used to house birds. In fact, I felt I'd been here before... and had lived a life here near this place, so strong was my feeling of homecoming.
 There is a quality of light, and a gentleness of visual beauty here. In the olden days, barges were dragged along the shallow waterways to gather salt, Today kayaks are seen trying to navigate the many streams, but it was the birds that caught my attention.
Inside the gallery I found a young mother and her daughter. The building felt like a magical cottage, with tiny multipaned windows, open to the breeze, sound of birds and dragonflies, binoculars available to use, and my mind quieted immediately. Nothing mattered but the quality of light, the gently swaying grasses, the clean smells, the expanse of nature.
The muse lives here too. I have not felt like creating fiber art, but on this day in this place I found myself longing for my paints. My watercolors would capture the blues and greens. The light... light captures the imagination of many artists. It felt good to feel like creating again. Something deep inside stirred and wanted to see color flowing on paper. I imagined seeing threads creating grasses in delicate colors against a hand dye.
The approx. 4 year old girl was playing inside the building and my inner 4 year old longed to take up a teacup and play grown-up with her. Of course, being adult is no day at the beach sometimes and loss that comes with being alive and loving takes some gloss off play. Still.... I could remember how magical this place would have felt to young me, because she is still in there, and responded.
That part of me who loves whimsy responded to the fish swimming through the air... the stacked flowers and birds in the yard
If I felt like quilt making, I might love to do a primitive, whimsical stack like this. Maybe one day soon I can face the studio. Like I mentioned before, I create from a place of joy, and right now my spirit feels like a skinned knee. I am happy to be responding to beauty again.

Sometimes it takes a bit to open your eyes, and your heart to beauty after a loss.
The muse in the form of beauty is there, waiting for us.
For now, I want to paint, and to write. I Felt something. I want to return to this place of calm and healing.

On this day, we tried to see as much of an overview of Cape Cod as possible, so we drove the length of it stopping at only a few places, vowing to return for a leisurely exploration. The area has small old (really old, like 1600 era) towns for me to look at architecture. It has natural vistas, stores, restaurants.

As an aside, we stopped in Barnstable for a quilt store, (a TERRIFIC Tumbleweeds by name)and lunch. While strolling to the outdoor cafe, I spied a sign that said Remote Sensing. Hmmm that's my husband's engineering specialty.... and he said, "hey...that's the business name of one of my UMass associates"

Sure enough, it was his friend's company here on Cape Cod instead of in Amherst! How exciting to run into Jim unexpectedly. When he worked alongside Jim, Drew was finishing his masters degree and we were about to wed so it's been at least 22+ years since they talked! Small world.

If we had not been ambling along, stopping where our fancy took us, we would have missed this moment.

I wrote a short fiction story about the young mother and the Bird Barn. The muse is still by me.