Thursday, September 12, 2019


Our dear Antonia... I knew there could be nothing in the world she would want more than to be surrounded by family, especially the youngest, her bisnietos... her great-grandchildren. And so, I believe, she enjoyed a happy celebration of her 100th birthday. It was a relaxed day (for us guests, at least) and thoughtfully arranged, with beautiful flowers, and good things to eat, and family happily gathered in honor of a beloved woman.

The next day, I resumed my experiments with paint and the stamps I am carving. I am trying to figure out economical and safe ways of using the paints, and cleaning up. It's probably not a great activity for our septic system, so my goal is to reduce, as much as possible, how much cleaning up leads to paint down the drain. It means being a bit more deliberate and mindful about how I use the paint rollers, so I am trying to print as much as I can in one color before moving on to another color. This sort of challenges me to set aside my free and loose art-brain, and be orderly and systematic, which is in a less readily accessed area of my noggin! Yeah, part of me wants to dash from "red hearts" to "Pink, purple, marigold, rainbow hearts," and just print away with wild artsy abandon. But to do this well, and to be careful with my resources, I need to slow down and plan... the results are satisfying, though!

I think I've talked about this before... each new medium I work with, each new art lesson I absorb, makes me see the world in new ways. With watercolor painting, I saw new colors, and thought about the color wheel, how everything is ratios of burnt sienna and ultramarine blue, or blank. Oil painting made me notice values and forms, shapes. With printmaking and carving, I think about negative space... what is there, and what is not there. I love these fresh ways of seeing the world, of relating to what is before me and how I can interpret it. The Torrey pines at sunset have always been a beautiful sight, and now they give me more to wonder at, and appreciate.

I declared this a Cairo Day. He was being particularly sweet and charming, affectionate. I left him cozy and drowsy in my bed, when I left to take Maria to school, and he was there, still when I returned. Later, he joined me in our attic space, where I have been diligently dusting, sorting, and organizing our books and stuff. I have been super-heroic and kick-ass in this mission... greatly reducing our collection, and dutifully whipping things into shape. Cairo roused himself and came to inspect... which largely involved sleeping on my stacks, visiting the cleared shelves, and moving dust bunnies with his tail. I was happy for the company.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Changing Light

August 30 ::
Two pumpkins came from the sad little sprout I rescued. It was on the discount shelf at the nursery, and I'm glad we brought it home, because once it recovered and settled into the raised bed, it became lovely. It grew and vined itself around, then gave us these 2, fine little pumpkins.

Thanks to some diligent shopping and a lucky bid, Geoff brought home pottery wheels, the kind you kick.

Q: Are we potters?

A: Maybe. We are certainly makers, and curious. Evidently that is good enough reason to jump right in!

William did not wait 2 minutes to jump in and give the wheel its first spin, which I found to be delightful. And considering that he has absolutely no prior experience, I thought he did remarkably well.

For a first try? Really good, I think. I am already placing orders for a Thanksgiving set of bowls and serving dishes.

We gave Darwin a new home on the Blackmith shop wall, where he can oversee our latest manias.

Mom's Night Out, in Janice's home. She fed us like royalty, like dear friends. Karen was in the kitchen with her, and Yanina brought this bread, with a fig spread. We sat outside, talking and eating. Then we sat inside and did more of the same.

And Janice showed me the watercolor painting she bought from Alex, and I love how beautifully she's had it framed. It is one of my favorite paintings of his.

August 31 ::

I imagined a Book Faire, and a Book Faire we had! I feel very accomplished about this. It brought us one step closer to having an orderly attic, we met neighbors, and shared loads and loads of books, which I believe makes the world a better place. Free books, for anyone that came by. The rest were donated. Jola was my effusive companion, and posted a notice on a neighbor app, so more people would take note and come by... and that worked! Plus she kept me company and we got sentimental and nostalgic about our children, good reads, and being friends for 24 years.

There were still plenty of titles when Leslie and Ido came, and I enjoyed reading aloud to Bex, and watching her pick and choose new favorites. When books, and the hot sun became too much, the party moved to the backyard, where Simon applied his ceramics camp knowledge, and got busy trying out our new maker space and equipment.

If you could see the videos! So funny... Spencer eagerly, willingly, was the power at the wheel, and kept things spinning for an hour, or more.

Bex provided her own spinning power, and we had bowls and dishes appearing, one after another!

I'm not sure we were ready to be open for business. Alex figured out that he could adjust the seat, and Geoff is working on leveling the wheel. It was days before I realized that the metal catch attaches beneath the thing... never mind. I don't even know the proper names, but I did add the thing to the thing, and it works better, now. Lol.

Lucky for us, Michelle H. saw some of my Instagram posts, and kindly offered to bring Steve D. over to give us tips and technical support! It will be most welcome!

School began, without much fanfare here on the blog, and that's probably because it kind of knocked us over... for all of us, too sudden, and for Maria, a bit too much! She's got 8 classes to complete in a year; four this semester, then 4 more in the second half of the year. The hard part is that she got all of her tougher academic courses in this first semester. By spring she will be sailing, with easier courses, but for now, it's a rigorous load.

Time to pick the bigger pumpkins. Somebody was noshing on our pumpkins and we lost a couple, and all of the watermelon. I think it was the spray of catmint oil that saved these 5. I used our natural mosquito repellent, covering the pumpkins with a mist, which I hoped would deter the garden thieves... and it worked!

The blacksmith shop got a West World vibe, and we say that the barn is the Midwest.

September 1 ::
We were spoiled by mild weather, all summer long. And then came back to school, and the first of September, and lo! Summer really arrived, finally! And even though it's hotter than ever, the light still suggests a change, and the imminent arrival of fall. Of course the "arrival of fall" has no promise of seasonal fall weather, and we haven't many trees to watch for changing leaves. But we will see signs, and sooner or later we will know that summer is over. Probably later, than soon.

When the goats can get into this end of the run, they will inhale my floral display. Their lips will vacuum each marigold... a happy amusement.

When Maria decided to make a cat-faced pizza, we all joined in the fun. Our friends, Susie and Michael, were over for pizza-making, and we confirmed that making pizzas and watching them heat up in the oven is a totally engrossing pastime.

September 3 ::

September 4 ::

After school, the sky gave a stunning show... clouds that were building and whirling, and churning, so that everyone in the area was posting fantastic pictures, and we were all in suspense... would it rain? I decided to tempt fate, and I put out a blanket and pillow on the lawn. Soon, big drops of rain were falling down. It was brilliant! Max and Maria, then Alex, came running out, squealing... and I stretched out, inhaling the charged air, enjoying each raindrop. What is it about summer rain? Why does it feel so energized, exhilarating?

September 5 ::

I've been learning how to carve stamps. The part that I enjoy most is that I can see the pay-off from my last couple of years of sketching and practicing art. Now, I have my own resources, and material to draw from for stamp designs. Geoff made sure I started with good quality tools, and I am sure that has gone a long way toward making this new activity easier, comfortable. I had thought I would use fabric yardage, and sew articles that I print, but while my sewing machine is out of commission, I found ready made articles to print, and I am in Heaven! Don't let me get cold feet: I want to sell my art, my makings... our motto has been We make, we play we share, and I love this message and philosophy, but we also need to be able to sustain our home and make ends meet, and it's time to see about making our making pay.

September 7 ::
Someone asked about a goat print, and just as I sat down to sketch a little Ada goat... I turned to the garden and saw that my actual goats had escaped! I set my pencil down and went out to see what could be done. Play... that's what. We had a long and fun romp with Ada and Tasha, which largely involved observing Ada eat odd things, like pepper leaves, a very old cucumber, and a corncob.

September 8 ::
This print was a late night inspiration... from the stained glass window in the church in Tacupeto, the Sonoran village, where my Abuela lived. I wanted to make something unique and meaningful for her... a gift for her 100th birthday.