January doldrums

My piece for the (re)shift exhibit at Shift Gallery is finished, framed and delivered.  The show opens next week and I'm looking forward to seeing how the other artists interpreted the theme.  Here's my take:

Tending and Mending
Woodblock Print
2 blocks, 9 colors, 13 passes
When I considered the word ‘shift’ I couldn’t help but think of the shift dresses my mother made for my sisters and me when we were growing up.  A shift dress is a simple, above-the-knee dress, fitted with darts and a straight cut skirt.  Over the years, my mother made many of these dresses for my sisters and me, (along with sundresses, pinafores, prom dresses and bridal gowns).  Through this act she demonstrated her creativity as well as her love for us.  Due to her advancing age, my mother can no longer create beautiful dresses and gowns as she can no longer master the gears and gadgets of her sewing machine. Her legacy of beautifully sewn dresses now lives in faded photographs and memories.  And the lives of my siblings and me have shifted from being cared for, to taking care of our dear mother.

The reality of the above weighed on me as I worked on this piece.  And our little winter, with its scenic snow and ice (viewed comfortably from indoors) has ended and been replaced with the usual gray sky and blustery wind and rain. It's all left me feeling a little blue. Yesterday was another day of cold temperatures and intermittent sprinkles, but I took a walk anyway.  Happily, this little dog, in his jaunty jumper, cheered me up:  

And here's a sketch for the week...more tangles.


Horn tootin'

The new year has started with a flurry of creative activity and the oodles of time I've spent in my studio has kept me from doing posting of any sort on this blog.  More on that in a bit. First, a bit of horn tooting.
I have been included in this exhibit at the lovely Cullom Gallery in the International District of Seattle.  The exhibit is spotlighting artists who participated in the Nagasawa Art Park Program and hopes to demonstrate how participation in the program and exposure to moku hanga has influenced their work since returning.  I am flattered and thrilled to have been included.  Hey local readers, there is an opening reception on Friday evening, feel free stop by!
The other bit of news is that I have also been invited to create a piece for a February exhibit at Shift Gallery  also in Seattle.  Presently the gallery is exhibiting an interesting collection created by gallery members responding to the word "shift".  For February, each gallery member was asked to to invite an non-member to do the same. (BTW, the piece on the home page is by my friend Susan Gans who asked me to participate.)  From the press release:

"In February 2012 Shift Collaborative Studio extends its exploration of the theme "shift", inviting members of the arts community to contribute their explorations of the theme. Each member of Shift is responsible for inviting one artist -- someone not already part of the collective -- to respond in whatever way they choose to the creative challenge represented by the theme. The show will feature a range of original works in a variety of media, and by a number of local, regional and international artists, shifting the focus of the collective to the showcasing of work by others."

Thus the oodles of time I've been spending in my studio.  aack! Let me back up a little bit...a few weeks ago I glanced at my horoscope, which I am wont to do, and it warned me to not rush into anything; to be patient; to wait for *the muse*; ( I'm not kidding) .  I scoffed and ran off to my studio to begin my piece for the Shift show.   The first two attempts were disastrous, cost me many precious studio days, (along with a pile of wasted okawara paper) and left me in a panic about impending failure and the humiliation of having to tell my friend Susan I couldn't come up with the goods. Then, last Saturday night *the muse*, (mentioned in the smug little horoscope column) came to me in a dream! With that visit the path forward was suddenly clear.  On Sunday morning I began with fresh blocks, a new pile of paper, (not okawara, I'm all out) and (I'm knocking on wood as I type this) so far so good.  My biggest concern at this point is how to display in the gallery, what is likely to be a still-damp print. 

I wish I had a progress shot to share, but in all honesty, I don't want to jinx myself.  I hope this image will suffice:

This is a phone-photo of my backyard, taken during this morning's Seattle Snow Blast 2012.  I suspect *the muse* had something to do with this most advantageous snow day.  A little conspiring with Mother Nature if you will, providing me with even more studio time.  I further suspect I will never scoff at my horoscope again.



For the past few days I've been sketching tangles.  It suddenly occurs to me that these sketches are a very accurate rendition of my Christmas tree lights.