Shades of grey being tested for my bedroom. Also the word of the day pic. I'm going with the top shade. Eventually. It generally takes me 5 years to get anything painted in a new house and I've only used 2 so far.
The blouse I wore for yesterday's strawberry picking. Xander (or was it Reese?) pointed out that the embellishment on the bust resembled the rows of plants in the berry patch. Probably Reese. (Curses on not writing things down, I'm writing this in October. Bah.)
Shots of my friend Amy from her birthday yoga-and-art retreat. Such an amazing way to spend an afternoon.
I think Amy felt pretty good about this afternoon!
Our friend, yoga instructor Aimee. She leads a kick-ass class!
Another friend here today, Gina, is also a yoga instructor, and I was awe-inspired by her form.
I met Jonah about a year ago at the botanical gardens and since then have discovered that our social circles overlap in about a million ways. She is one very talented writer, artist, and social networker!
Heidi and one of the amazing works of art produced this afternoon (mine isn't done yet, and wasn't nearly this cool...I'll stick to photography for a while yet). She taught us to look for - and paint - darker areas and then work up through the tones in a painting. Really, really different approach for me, and something I'll carry with me forever, I think. Thank you to these talented women, and happy birthday, Amy!
Richmond's art community has a monthly "First Fridays" artwalk that includes lots of open galleries, gallery openings, performances, etc. I've considered going many times but so far have never actually gone. This time around, Amy was looking for somebody to go with and two of our friends - Heidi Field-Alvarez and Anna Golden - had work on display / for sale, so it was the perfect time to go.
Heidi was holding an opening at Main Art. I believe this is her first show. Her work incorporates a lot of creative use of textiles, such as quilted paintings. Anne of Cleves (2008-2009, below left), is one such example. Her floating embroidery pieces like Leda (2009, below right) attracted a lot of attention, as viewers went back for second, third, and fourth looks.
A couple of miles away, Gallery 5 was celebrating their 5th anniversary with an exhibit of photographs documenting the venue's history. Neither of us had ever been there before, and from the looks of the photos, we've been missing out! An anniversary silent auction kicked off that night, including Anna's 1 Story pieces. Check out her blog to read about them.
Amy examining the photographic history of Gallery 5
Once outside again, we had planned to visit another gallery or two, but discovered a conclave of fire spinners performing in celebration of the 145th anniversary of the burning of Richmond. (Must add here: I love living in the capital of the Confederacy. Really, I'm serious, no irony.) They completely captured our attention and we spent nearly two hours watching them. Well, I was watching mostly through my viewfinder - can you blame me?
There was fire spinning and fire hula hooping and belly dancing and fire eating and it was so, so, so incredible. Screw roller derby, I need to learn to play with fire.
Oh, and also, you never know whose butt you're going to end up checking out. The compelling fire spinner/eater in hot skinny pants whom Amy and I ended up referring to as The Mad Hatter turned out to be a guy I know from high school. I didn't realize it until somebody tagged him in my Facebook photos. He has lost not a drop of charisma since then. (Yes, Dan knows I was leching over the guy, and I know who he scopes, even score, we're married but not blind.)
All in all, fantastic night. Good friends, great art, exciting performances, photo opportunities, and new contacts. I'm up for May!
There is nothing like a gorgeous ice-crystally snowfall to bring out the awestruck geek in me. Perfect convergence of nature, science, wonder, and photographic opportunity. I've created a gallery of photos from this year's images, with a few of last year's at the end. I recommend viewing it as a slideshow.
Xander's really into making these teeny-tiny spiral/circle shapes. He'll fill a piece of paper with them. I'm impressed with his fine motor coordination and with his enjoyment of the process. He often tells me "circle, X" while doodling.
On one of our sick days, Reese drew a
series of egg shapes that he called "the poisonous bananas". These
bananas apparently live on the playground at the preschool. Some are
white and some are black. Then he started adding faces and bellybuttons
and limbs and soon we had a host of poisonous but very cheerful bananas
"holding hands and walking along". Most of them
have noses below their mouths, and one had a beard. These must be traits specific to
poisonous bananas, because I've never seen a Chiquita or Dole with
features like those. I had also never seen Reese draw figures like these, and was so excited to watch them evolve on the Magnadoodle (of course, on the Magnadoodle!). The first three (bottom center, bottom right, top right) have noses below their mouths, but the top left banana ended up with a nose in the anatomically correct place. Nifty progression!
I asked a teacher today what the "poisonous
bananas" are, and it turns out they are mushrooms that grow on the
playground. I immediately remembered similar fungi that grew in our yard on Burberry Lane one year. They may resemble bananas to children, but not so much to adults.
Video from Oct 18th that I found on my camera. This supports my previous observations regarding the tendency for my kids to use temporary media (dirt, bath crayons, Magnadoodle) to explore new, big jumps in writing/drawing abilities. Reese has been using the Magnadoodle a lot lately and also doodling in gravel/sand/dirt. I try to snap photos whenever possible, and it looks like Griff has picked up on my urge to document. In this video, I love how he elicits information from Reese and gives positive feedback while interpreting the drawings. Transcript below because I know sometimes mothers can understand things when other people don't!
G: Hi, Reese. What are you doing?
R: Drawing a ladder. (then makes tiptoeing noise as fingers walk up the ladder)
G: What's gonna go up it?
R: (finishes walking up) People. Yup, a lot of people to go in outer space! But, they -
Sarah and I are taking a class at VisArts as part of an effort to get a little social time, jump-start creativity, get out of our comfort zones, and learn something new. I believe our selection criteria had something to do with choosing something interesting that freaked us out *just a little* - not paralyzingly new, but not easy and safe. Neither of us had ever worked with glass and only had a vague idea what fusing and slumping were. Fusing, just in case you don't know, is heating pieces of glass until they melt together. Slumping is when you melt glass and let gravity shape it so that it slumps down (often into a mold) and keeps its new form when cool.
Aside from the fact that cutting glass is HARD and I kindof suck at it, the class is awesome, sore fingers notwithstanding. Sarah likes what she calls my eye for color. I envy her style choices and her ability to come up with designs in her head (and she does, despite whatever she thinks, have her own eye for color). We also usually go out for coffee or a bite afterwards, a nice girlfriend bonus after a couple of hours of unwinding while crushing frit.
Most of all, I like how this is part of my general shake-up during the past couple of years. I'm really enjoying being the me I want to be rather than the me I thought I was supposed to be.
Above: practice pieces made at the end of our introductory class - I included copper wire so that I could hang them.
Below: tiles from second class. Was supposed to be four 4" tiles but I was sleep-deprived (great when you're cutting glass, eh?) and didn't notice while cutting the first tile that my ruler was missing the first 1/2". I also totally lacked inspiration that week, had no vision/plan, and consequently kindof just slapped things together. I only really like #3, the stripey one with bright colors.
In the kiln:
3rd class: fused 7" circle to be slumped into 1" deep bowl
4th class: fused 10" circle to be slumped into plate mold; small suncatcher made in spare class time
If any of these really call to you, please let me know! I'm not sure what to do with all of this stuff!
Second week of Griff's and my round of Side by Side Saturdays. This week we were signed up for a fiber arts class to make a bag or pin...turned out we did the embroidery for a drawstring bag, and also did a little project for the Visual Arts Center. Each adult was given a shape like the one below on the left, and each kid was given one like the one below right, and we were asked to fill it in with something representing ourselves. Supposedly the shapes will be cut out and pieced together into a dress. I think I heard that right. A dress? Huh. Ok. Hopefully I'll remember to go check it out later, although I have no idea when it will be on view.
Ok, so then we got down to the embroidery. Have you ever transferred your own design to fabric? It's pretty cool. We sketched in pencil, then copied it onto tracing paper, then turned the tracing paper over and traced the mirror image with a transfer pen. Then we ironed it onto fabric. Nifty! Then started the real work - teaching a six-year-old how to do a backstitch. He has had a little bit of prior experience with a needle and thread, but the embroidery concept was new. We kept finding new challenges and new solutions, and in the end he had a finished design he was proud of: a piece of pizza, a macaroni noodle, and his name.
Our instructor, Tesni, took the finished pieces home to turn them into
bags, which we'll pick up next week. I wasn't done my painstakingly
tiny-stitched embroidered dinosaur (for a pouch for Reese) so I took it
home to finish on my own. I can whip up a bag, no problem, it's just
finding time for embroidery that's an issue.
Griff LOVED this project, and I love that he's so into learning different craft techniques! I also realized this week that 1.5 hours is just about his limit for sitting still. That's a LONG time for a six-year-old and speaks to his powers of concentration as well as how interesting the classes are. Still, it's funny that two weeks in a row he started *vibrating* right around the 1.5-hour mark and started using furniture in jungle-gymmy ways just before 2 hours. I think we'll wait until another year to do any of the 3-hour summer camp sessions. ;)
The VisArts Center received a grant this past year for a program they call Side by Side Saturdays. Adult-child pairs attend two-hour sessions on three consecutive Saturdays to create art together. There are a host of class choices, including ceramics, tie dye, embroidery, jewelry making, batik, watercolor, collage, woodworking, comic book art, and more. And it's FREE!
Griff was psyched to have his first "art date" with me this morning. We picked tie dye for our first class.
That last photo is a collection of spinning wheels on the wall of the fiber arts room. Seeing the looms and wheels and spools of thread made me really, really want to take a weaving class. It also made me look forward to my upcoming glass fusing & slumping classes with Sarah.
Stay tuned for more art!
Horrible photos, but a great milestone - Reese's first representational drawing! He's much more interested in imaginative play, handling toys, and gross motor activity than in fine motor stuff like drawing, and it was such a surprise to see him pick up the magnadoodle and sketch with a purpose! I missed the very first drawing, a shape that was similar to this one and which he said was a uterus. This one was initially a uterus but then he added eyes and a mouth and said it's a baby. He was glowing with pride. I love seeing Reese so happy with himself, it's something we're seeing a lot lately.
Griff's first representational drawing was on a magnadoodle, too, and Xander's first scribbles also used that toy. The company should totally capitalize on this.
Just before Reese's doodle, he asked Griff to draw bacteria. Yeah, he really did. The results are on the right. Cilia and everything. I'm so proud.
Neither of these photos is perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but both are from my first 48 hours of going fully manual. The toothbrush pic was an experimental snap taken in horrible late-night bathroom lighting immediately after putting together some critical ideas about white balance, aperture, and shutter speed. It was taken without a tripod, and hey, it's just our toothbrushes in the lousy bathroom light, but it's a million times better than any other photo taken by me under those conditions would have been before my eureka moment.
The grape hyacinths were just fun playing on the windowsill. I'd love to get a better macro and really be able to zoom in on the stamens/pistils inside. The lens I want (which would be a total tripod lens, ugh, but worth it to get great macros?) is a 60mm, and anywhere you look at reviews or descriptions, Canon exclaims that "you can fill a 35mm frame with a grain of rice." OMG. That phrase is like macro porn to me. Can you imagine the photos??? I sure can!