OK, so you want to get a little confidential with me? Tagged by my friend Jeanette, who surely has more energy than is legal to get from drinking merlot, the quest is on for 7 random things that might pass for a personal glimpse.
1. Let's start by noting that today is a gloomy gray grouchy grungy sort of day here for some people, but not for me -- because I love to walk in the rain! Well, not pouring rain that inserts itself down your neck and then some other places, but gentle rain that somehow enhances the deep coloring of everything, picking up the blue tones that are otherwise so subtle in nature. After my walk late this afternoon, a warm shower felt especially refreshing, aided by the branch of eucalyptus hanging in the shower. If you haven't tried that, I recommend it!
2. It's also the perfect day for full-volume stereo, a treat for when I'm home alone. As a violinist, I enjoy my extensive repertoire of violin recordings, and playing at full concert level right now are several CD's by the young Joshua Bell, including "Voice of the Violin" and "Romance of the Violin" and "JB plays Tchaikovsky with the Berliner Philharmoniker." Did you see the Washington Post article about his playing in a DC metro station in April? I admire this orchestra, too, from the five years I lived in Berlin and took pleasure in attending their many offerings. Also in the CD changer are Il Divo, terrific voices for caressing your soul on a gray day, the Metheny Mehldau Quartet, and Lee Ritenour's "Smoke'n'Mirrors".
3. While working in my studio space, like many of you, I require a simpatico atmosphere, not just organization. In less than two weeks, I'm off to attend Silver Bella (happy music on their site), with all the glittery Bellas, like Teresa, Kim, Amy (go see her new button trees!), Hope, Tammy (who has promised me a treat when we meet), Donna (who created my "Spooky" sign below), and so on. So today I've brought out a few more acquired glittery things to start setting the mood on my desk. Now I need to go buy more tulle, pompoms and ribbon to soften the edges, fairy glitter dust, and . . . Wait, who's cleaning up after I do this?
4. It seems like, well actually it is, many decades since I was a President's Fellow at RISD, but even after all those years of painting and exhibiting in various countries, it is still what I'd choose to do. But I envy those whose careers can now take advantage of the ease which the web provides. My printed exhibition catalogs, where every color photograph was precious, seem so hard-won compared to the instant gratification of posting one's work online.
5. Due to the workings of my 3-D mind, most of my paintings have been constructed and layered, using mixed media and an architectural drawing style. Still, there is also room for an obsession with pattern, like the ubiquitous and unending tile patterns of the Middle East, which have imprinted themselves onto my personal art history after several years of living among them.
6. My favorite dessert is fresh strawberries, with or without the cream. I've made sure I know how to order this dessert with champagne in many languages. When I studied on scholarship in Paris and in London, in spite of my student's stipend, I managed to dine at many exclusive restaurants by ordering only this dessert. Wherever I travel, I continue to test this rite of exclusivity, and am always pleased to find so many willing co-conspirators among the wait staff in the best places.
7. There are two motorcycles parked in my driveway today. Neither is mine, although I first learned to ride a Harley on the madhouse streets of Philadelphia. Lots of stories there.
Who will continue this tag? May I call on Amy (returning the favor, my dearie), Candice (whom I'm also looking forward to meeting at Silver Bella), Michelle (too close to the CA fires), Donna (my recent swap partner), Tammy (so kind by email), Korie (such admirably inventive talent), and Vanessa (whose fanciful twist I so enjoy). Here's to you, ladies!!
Oops -- Here are the rules which must be posted on your blog if you are tagged:
1. Link to your tagger and post these rules. 2. Share 7 facts about yourself: some random - some weird. 3. Tag 7 people at the end of your post and list their names - link to them. 4. Let them know they've been tagged by leaving a comment at their blogs.
Last night I had such a fun time teaching my "Elegant Halloween Banner" class to the delightful ladies who joined me at Scrapbooks Plus. However, with a lot of construction steps and product to use, we stayed on a little longer than the 3-hour class we had planned. I am so pleased that they enjoyed themselves and were determined to finish the banner. And that they already knew where they planned to hang their "elegant" new decoration.
Several readers requested kits, too, and of course, that flatters me immensely. It's wonderful to know that a class project is appealing to others. Their requests have all been honored and, having stepped up the production line, I still have enough supplies for one more kit, maybe even two. If you are interested in purchasing a kit, please email me. I'll be happy to give you the details.
During these past two weeks, my middle son took leave from his assignment in Iraq to join our daughter-in-law for some much-needed R & R in Finland. Leaving the 100+-degrees temperatures in Baghdad, where he wears almost 60 additional pounds of battle gear, to cool off in the chillier northern climes of Lapland was a welcome relief. Taking the dry-heat Finnish saunas daily, sometimes twice a day, was another. Finding his name on everything from coffee mugs to Christmas decorations was good for a little comic relief, since his very Finnish name doesn't register in our commercial market.
From attending a Marimekko fashion show in Helsinki where his cousin Dana was modeling to enjoying total privacy at a spa retreat above the Arctic circle, they enjoyed their short time together. And at one of the markets, they happened upon some adorable additions for my Little House, including Finnish staples like coffee, cheese and salami, a Helsinki newspaper in the mail, and a sample of a family favorite, Karjalanpiirakat. These rye pastries wrapped around steamed rice and topped with egg butter or munavoi are delicious but time-consuming to make by hand. Naturally, we reserve them for special occasions.
I am thinking this playful gift is his subtle suggestion of what he'd like to eat when he finally comes home next year: Finlandia cheese sliced thinly on pulla, a big glass of maitoa, and especially a big plate of Karjalanpiirakka with munavoi, probably even for breakfast.
(The pink mat in the background is scaled by the square inch.)
OK, so sometimes it's important to just fool around, you know? Get off the treadmill and smell the pumpkins. Would you believe what's lurking out there? Go have some carving fun of your own here. It's downright devilish, I tell ya!
Can ravens be charming? This flock of ravens are, just swooped in from my ArtsyMama'sSweet and Sinister Swap wonderful partner Donna, who is truly a fan of Halloween. I can't wait for my grandson's reaction this weekend to this delightfully spooky black wreath she made for my front door, with creepy crawly embellishments accompanied by a raven perched and ready for mischief.
He'll enjoy the rest of the swap goodies, too, undoubtedly having a say in how to decorate with them, especially since they are just the size for his clever little fingers. That tiniest of handmade ravens is so sweet, nestled as a witch's pet. And surely something sinister is brewing in the raven-embossed jug. Dare we pop the cork?
Fall has already cooled its heels, shrugged and politely backed off, as once again temperatures in the 90's bring a summer reprise. In fact, we set a record high today, hottest since 1982. The rhododendrons had been picking up a bit as the temperatures slacked off, but all the summer's faithful heavy performers are now in the grip of wilt and bloom fatigue in my late garden. Hardly any monarch butterflies at present, although the purple butterfly bushes hardily persist. The dogwood are dropping their red pips everywhere, actually quite pretty, but the bombardment of beech nuts sounds like a local fusillade. The squirrels are in a frenzy to hide the plenty for later.
In the herb garden, the basil is going to seed, the Italian parsley is flush but top heavy on long stems. Of course, the sturdy rosemary holds up, but even the lavender looks peaked. At least, if this keeps up, my grandson will not be chilled when he visits my haunted halls for trick-and-treating.
Meanwhile, the raven collection I assembled for my Sweet and Sinister Swap partner Donna should be in her hands soon. Most intelligent among birds, ravens are her favorite. Ruling the roost in the collection, this sinister but sweet Mama Raven and Baby (in the nest) are guarding the collaged box, while inside are more handmade birds suspended on vintage seam binding but ready to take flight. The Big Mama raven is securely wired through the box lid; the baby is wired into her nest. No late night Halloween flight for them. Other raven items round out the swap collection, but the real treat is the raven card -- it sings beware!
Saturday, October 6, is the day to register for the fabulous weekend line-up of classes at Get Croppin's Scrap Bowl 2008 in February and, if you have any time left over, for the all-day crops held in the huge Expo Center hall. As I did last year, I'm hoping to take a class with each instructor (let's just say I like to be well-rounded), but this time I'll spend my (minimal) free time at the crop so I can pretend to be finishing my class projects while I socialize. Get your keyboard fingers ready and go here.
With bowls of glitter, rolls of crepe paper, black flowers, black poodle rope, bats, ribbons, collage medium, and secret spooky techniques a-brewing -- take a peek at my next class at Scrapbooks Plus. We'll make an elegant Halloween banner to add a little dark glamour to your home. And we'll collage the reverse side with papers that will stretch your banner through till Thanksgiving.
EDITED: As requested, a fuller photo of my Elegant Halloween Banner project.