"F" is for Friday...and a Fresh Look

Literally. Yesterday as I was traveling to my favorite meadow for a walk in the glorious sunshine I noticed a road going off to my left that I'd never seen before. What made me see it then? Was it that I was really looking at how the snow was melting around the tree trunks and creating pools of dark contrast to the landscape? Maybe. Because what I was doing was really seeing because I was really looking. You laugh. But I think it may be like the practice of meditation. The point of it is to be still. Not to try to do anything. And in that stillness you really connect to something sweet. I think looking, really looking for more than a few seconds, is the key to seeing. Of course seeing is very important to me. The capacity to see things in new ways is one of the most important tools I have as a painter. I've collected books on this subject too! Here are some that I have found to be very rich in insights about seeing.

The Art Spirit by Robert Henri
If you've ever stood in front of a painting by Robert Henri you will know what his book is about. He captures the spirit of his subject. He said "There are moments in our lives, there are moments in a day, when we seem to see beyond the usual. Such are the moments of our greatest happiness. Such are the moments of our greatest wisdom."

Secret Knowledge by David Hockney
David Hockney did an extensive research project to explore his theory that at a certain point in the flow of Western art, artists began to employ the use of a camera lucida, and other optical devices to create their paintings and drawings. John Berger's classic Ways of Seeing is about how we look at paintings.

The Pleasure of Beholding by Eulalia Bosch

This is another book about looking at art. Here is a quote from the book that gets to the heart of the matter: "To contemplate, to behold something, is an activity in which the space and time of the senses are mixed with the space and time of reflection. Sensations reveal ideas, and a fleeting intuition comes to be embodied in a shape, a colour, a glimpse of that which the work seems to suggest".



Here is what has been keeping me busy lately. I have a deadline for sending my textile designs to my agent by April 1! I have done lots of work on designs throughout the year in sketchbooks, but not so many final designs. Um. Yes, a deadline always works for me. These designs will go to Surtex in May. My goal is to have about 25 new designs to send. I know I'll make it because I'm good under pressure, and I really love to design for textiles. Anything I do from the heart usually works out ok.


Ayumi Horie

Ceramic teapot by Ayumi Horie via michaelklinepottery.blogspot.com

Ceramic artist Ayumi Horie has organized an auction to raise money for Japan. Artists are signing up, and being invited, to donate work for the eBay auction Handmade for Japan. The auction was slated to take place on March 18th on eBay, but I was in touch with the organizers (handmadeforjapan@gmail.com), and they said they have had such a huge response by artists that they may delay the auction a week to include more art. Isn't that heartening! You may remember that Ayumi Horie was the artist who created Obamaware back in 2008. 

Ceramic bowl by Ayumi Horie via michaelklinepottery.blogspot.com


The Art of Living in an Imperfect World

The heartbreaking events that are continuing to unfold in Japan are tragic and frightening. What is happening in Libya is tragic and frightening. So much happens each day in this world that I find unfathomable. I sometimes feel dizzy and sick with the anguish of not being able to do much to help suffering people. Blogging about art and life seems so trivial. Those feelings are urging me to think about ways I can help. I think the biggest way I can help is to try my best to be responsible for the thoughts I put out in the world. I can really look at my thoughts and try to make them positive and loving. I believe this to be something concrete that I can control. I've found that it really matters when I judge or become impatient or harsh with someone in my life. They feel it and, as a result, suffer. That is something I can change. Doing something to put another person's needs before my own is another way I can help. Forgiving and forgetting....that can help. Comforting someone in my life by really listening, or with homemade food or a peaceful space, are things I can do. Making art that is true to myself can have an encouraging effect on others. I can do that. I can focus on something beautiful in life each day and wish that for everyone. These things seem very abstract in the face of all the need in the world right now, but I believe they are what will ultimately promote healing in the  world. This kind of mindful living is the highest form of art to which I aspire. May I be granted the courage to continue to pursue that art.

And may we all find courage and joy in the normal, everyday beauty that is also part of living in this imperfect world.


Feeding Myself

from African Textiles by John Gillow
from African Textiles by John Gillow
from African Textiles by John Gillow
from African Textiles by John Gillow
from African Textiles by John Gillow
from African Textiles by John Gillow
from African Textiles by John Gillow
On a regular basis I make a little excursion purely for the purpose of feeding myself fresh ideas, images, sounds, whatever I feel I need. Last week I went over to the Bowdoin College Library and swarmed over the art stacks for hours. I focused on these African textiles after awhile because their artistry just made me want to weep! The design is so imaginative and subtle. The color use is so unique. The craftsmanship, so beautiful. All these images are from one book, African Textiles by John Gillow. I apologize for the image quality...I was snapping away with my iphone (may the copyright Gods forgive me) and the light was not ideal for that. The light was very pretty to read in though...clear morning sun beaming over my shoulder as I bent to my task! Also, I apologize for so many images, but I could not help myself.

P. S. I am so making myself some summer tops based on those blouse designs!

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