Stay Loose

loose

Today’s Art Marks prompt was “Loose.” I’ve been feeling anything but loose most of the day… but tried to keep it fluid for 15 minutes, and this guy showed right up!

I am pretty sure this is my subconscious trying to run away from reality.

Polarize

1. restrict the vibrations of (a transverse wave, especially light) wholly or partially to one direction.

I used the word “polarizing” in conversation today while talking about the state of affairs in the US right now. When I got home I looked up the definition because I wasn’t completely sure about where the word originated and whether I was using it correctly.

It is more accurate than I had originally thought.

More and more I am finding myself pushed to take a stand to the left or right, black or white, yes or no… to figure out what exactly I stand for, what position do I truly support. And I am having a hard time doing that because I tend to see both sides of many issues, and I appreciate certain aspects of many people in my life, even when I may disagree with some of their beliefs. My brain struggles with balancing science and faith and experience and stories.

I’m unable to to be restricted wholly or partially to one direction right now.

I’m going to continue to post some images here, I think I will stick to a 4×6 size, that can be downloaded and used for postcards. Send them to your lawmakers. Send them to friends. It doesn’t matter to me, but connect with someone, speak what’s on your mind, even if you wander off in all directions.

Download yin-yang 4×6 here

yin-yang_4x6

Doing Something

Right now, it’s hard for me to figure out What To Do. Things are happening quickly, and I am not a fast-acting person. However, I did take my pink hat art and format it into a postcard size and am happy to add it to the printable art out there that folks can download and mail to their elected officials.

pussy-hats_4x6

click here to download 4×6 postcard

It’s also available 4-up to print on a letter size sheet that you can trim to whatever size works.

hat-postcard-4-up

Leave a comment if you’d like this file but run into any problems downloading.

Meditating

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This is from the Art Marks Challenge, prompt #9: Chevron. I noticed something today when I sat down to do this. My thoughts flowed.

I’ve attempted various types of meditation, with mediocre success. I tend to obsess. So when I do guided meditations the first time is usually wonderful, the second time I am thinking about what is coming next and oh boy this is my favorite part or oh huh I don’t remember that from last time is this really the same meditation and so on. I’ve tried seated silent meditations — I’ve been told that you are supposed to practice just letting your thoughts wash through your mind, and honestly that’s what I feel like when I am over-caffeinated so I never truly understood how that would be grounding. I guess I’ve done walking meditation but I usually have too many “ooooOOoOOoo look at THAT!” moments to actually feel like I am calming myself.

But today I set the timer, pulled out my paints and started creating this pattern. And my thoughts just flowed. Earlier political online chats, wondering if I logged out of my database work, thinking about a troublesome book project that is in the works, the bald eagle I saw yesterday, grocery list… and at the same time making spontaneous decisions about color and pattern and proportions of water to paint… and suddenly I had a brief moment of Ahhhhhhhhh.

Or maybe it should be oooooooohmmmmmmm.

Whatever. It was a moment. When everything was like… well… like rain. Thoughts just kept falling and falling, and trickling off.

And yeah, then it was over and I started wondering why I couldn’t mix purple very well, and did I need to throw another log on the fire, and was my timer actually working? But hey, it happened.

And I mentioned the bald eagle — here it is, across the road, down into the field, in my favorite tree by the river.

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Art Marks, Vermont March, and Bernie Sanders

cranes

Montpelier, Vermont, January 21, 2017 — filled, like so many other places, with people coming together to show unity around equal rights, kindness, and moving forward together. Vermont is a small state, and I believe the Montpelier population is 8-10,000 people. There are estimates of 15,000-20,000 folks that showed up for the rally. There were signs and banners and music and children and dogs and … us.  Myself, my partner, one of my best friends, her daughter, and daughter’s friend. I made hats for all of us, and armed with posters we marched along the fringe of the parade, towards the beginning, and then stood across the street from our capitol and watched people congregate on the statehouse lawn. And watched. And watched. So many people.

We could barely hear what most of the speakers were saying, so we people watched, had our photos taken, and chatted amongst ourselves. Then there was a bustle of activity near the podium, and a voice we all knew boomed out over the crowd “THANK YOU” and the crowd burst into yells of delight, and probably a few tears. Bernie Sanders, indeed, had come home to be with us. He spoke with the passion he is known for, straight and to the point, about us joining together . . . but for a moment he was truly just ours.

It felt good to be there.

Today is Normal Life again. With a heightened awareness perhaps, but revolving around giving the dog a bath (8 pound blind poodles turn into whirling dervishes when you try and wash them, so “giving the dog a bath” also includes cleaning the bathroom, changing out all the towels, and usually taking a shower myself), filling the bird feeders, doing laundry, and getting caught up on Stuff.

Including the Art Marks Challenge! I’m still doing it. Today I am doing 2 days worth. Yesterday’s prompt was “Dozens…” sort of a no-brainer…

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Fighting off a cold

The cold hit rather suddenly yesterday, and since I have plans for Saturday I tried to hit back with an equal and opposite response. So far I am keeping it at bay with homeopathics, tea, and lots of kleenex. The prompt for Day #5 of the Art Marks challenge was “more than one”…

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Trust me. There is way “more than one” kleenex in my garbage pail. Today was the first day that I felt like I was understanding gouache, the way it mushes together if you want or allows you to layer. I’m still trying the 15-minute time limit on these, I like not having time to re-do anything, or over think it.

notecardsToday I also folded some sample notecards, small, A1 size, which I like for sending out quick notes to folks. Getting the card and envelope into the plastic holder (Eco-friendly! Score!) is going to be my nemesis. Hopefully I’ll continue to sell these at our local bookstore (Ebenezer Books) and figure out the best way to offer them through this site. One thing at a time.

I’ll have to update my work projects page soon, I wrapped up a few catalog supplements, and worked on some pretty cool titles with Chelsea Green Publishing recently, including Letter to a Young Farmer, The Greenhouse and Hoophouse Grower’s Handbook, and the Rules for Revolutionaries ebook.

Feels like I am just rambling on here. I think what is really on my mind is tomorrow’s inauguration, and feeling fairly helpless watching events unfold. I made this little banner the day before the election. Still appropriate.

trumps

 

Concentric

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Challenge Day 3 complete! The prompt was “concentric” and I got a kick out of doing this. I was daydreaming about all the little lazy circles you see in ponds which means not only did I spend my 15 minutes (okay, it was more than 15 minutes, but really, drying time… it doesn’t count…) doing this spread, but then spend a little more later on in the day doing this little guy… Have I mentioned lately that I’m ready for spring?

03-frog

Art Challenges

30-day

I don’t think I have ever completed an Art Challenge (this includes most of my projects while in college. Ugh.). I tried a Sketchbook Challenge, a 365-day inchie challenge, Art Card challenges… etc. So when someone on Facebook posted a link to a 30-day Art Marks Challenge I scrolled by. And then went back. And then scrolled again. Went back. Clicked through and thought, huh, maybe this will help jump start daily sketches again.

I forgot about it until today, so now I am officially a day behind, which is about right. Then I chatted my Mom to remind her (since she said she would do it as well), saying “I guess today we start with petal-like marks” and she replied “we?”… so the whole apple/tree theory is true.

We regrouped and agreed to give it a shot, and do 2 prompts in one day so we can catch up (why do I think we are setting a precedent here?). I’m going to use my 2016 pocket calendar that didn’t get used much, and try out my gouache paints and a white gel pen.

You’re supposed to set a time limit, I chose 15 minutes since it’s a small book (open and flat the spread is 7″ x 5″). So… is gouache supposed to smell? Mine does. I’m used to watercolor which seems odorless compared to this. Also, I went a little heavy and it’s taking forever to dry. Now I know why I see people using hair dryers on their work.

Because I am who I am I had to start with a spread annoucing what the challenge is. I already hear the sound of doom signaling that I won’t make it 30 days. I think it took more than 15 minutes. Drying time shouldn’t count… right?

Day one prompt was “petal-like”… this was fun… I like how this paint layers up and then you can draw on it.

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Day two prompt was “needlework” and about half-way through I remembered why I stop doing challenges. I feel like I should just plow through whether I like it or not, and sometimes that aggravates me. No cheating this time. I was thinking about crewel needlework, and when I was learning embroidery stitches, and then I started thinking about hand-stitching when you patch clothing… and basically everything started turning brown, and the paint was too wet for my gel pen. This 15 minute timer thing is going to be my undoing.

02

At least I am caught up now.