2016/17 Part IV

So, what of 2016/17? Well, 2016 was so blah I don't remember long stretches after Mom's exhibition.  (That was pretty special.) I did weave some in the first half, I did a lot of paper stuff in the second, I didn't garden much.

For 2017, the top priority is Ben's diabetes, our diet and health; if my weight comes down as well, great. (I've been thinking what I call "premature" aging, especially the multitudinous forgetting, is connected to my weight.) If not, I'll have to have a separate plan. (Exercising more helps. Just saying.)

I want to get back into the garden and try to make it nice for once. We're now progressing towards the end of summer, (March/April?) and I'm so looking forward to the cool season even though the task is monumental, again, and come spring it'll get too hot and sunny and hay-fevery and I'll have to give up for a weedy summer, again, but cool season gardening is now on mental calendar. Besides, the hellebore seeds I bought from the Northern hemisphere took a year and a half to germinate but have been ready to go into into the ground. So I'd love a early, cool, and long autumn/winter, and a late, rainy spring, please. If I can clean the house thoroughly and declutter, in small doses, it'll be so good for my mental health but I need Ben's help and... it's a long shot coordinating when we get motivated. (Ruby is threatening to come see me again; she, who was trained as a landscape architect. Her first question when we met was how my garden is doing, which told me, crikey, she reads my blog!!)

I can't go to Japan this Feb because friends are visiting Nelson, among them my philosophy professor from college, whom I last saw, we established, in Dec '81/Jan '82. I love Feb in Japan because it's so cold and sometime it snows and outdoor places aren't crowded. For Japan. This year, if I can manage, I might go in November because it's cool enough, some years, and big art exhibitions happen around then. It'd be nice if Ben and I could travel somewhere together, even just to Wellington, but the November earthquake has put paid to that for now. Either trip will invigorate my making mojo.

Yes, the making. I'm not stopping the mixed media and Letter Journals. These are fun, reasonably challenging but not soul-crushingly, which is why I find them accessible. And collaboration is good. Here are some recent pics:
A rather bright background on my Letter Journal for potentially three others to add on. I tend to cover the entire spread to make a color field for backgrounds, (usually with fewer hues and less saturated pieces,) but leaving gaps or just pasting a few shapes would work, too.
A finished spread; Tess worked on it up to twice, me, up to three times. I discovered one key to working in layers is not to cover completely the previous; I sometimes collage big or too much to obscure them; worse yet, apply colors over the entire spread tidily, leaving no gaps. It's good to unite the hue/value variation, but especially with a dark wash, it obscures/obliterates interest. I'm kicking myself for having ruined one of the nicest spreads that way, after two layers of successful wash.

I am the worst person to commit to something-everyday projects; I consider it a major achievement if I last a week, and some years I don't even remember I forgot. This year, I thought it would be nice if I drew a lot of face/portrait, and I've been trying to do one a night. If I forget, do two the next day, or do seven on the weekend, just because I like looking at them later. Although I forgot on Jan 2, yeah, I have done 21 so far.

By copying, I don't mean "copying" like aspiring artists do carefully, but just having an image in front of me. My efforts include crude line drawings, some colored, some in with outrageous colors, but most often with my non-dominant hand or blind contours. Many don't take five minutes.
I first copied portraits by van Gogh, of course, but also Gauguin's earlier French, Matisse, Modigliani, and Chagall's circus acrobats. Then I really got into German Expressionist woodcuts for a while, (I know I'll go back to them,) but because I want to eventually draw in my own "style", I've done a few of Congressman John Lewis and I intend to do several more until I can get the shape of his head/face right and, oh, his eyes. It doesn't bother me that I don't do it well, but it'd be nice to see some kind of an improvement, or better yet, an ease with which I take on drawing.
I am learning to see better in fits and starts. My greatest discovery is what a superb draftsman Matisse was/is. I sensed it when I tried to copy a couple of his simplest drawings in Brisbane, but I didn't have the vocabulary to express it. He express so much with the slightest twist of a line, and he's been the hardest to copy to get to the essence of the portraits. All very steep learning cliffs.

And weaving. I hope to get back to it, but I'm not pushing it. Meeting Ruby has been a big incentive, but all in good time. As I always say, I would like to surprise myself, to make something that doesn't look like things I've woven before. Bright and multi-colors are still popular at the Suter; I still like monochrome and analogous. Still, it's a undeservedly cushy life. And with that said, my 2017 can start properly.


  1. I recognized John Lewis before I saw where you mentioned him. Good "copy"!
    Hope you have a good weekend. We're all in mourning here...probably most of the rest of the world is, too, not to sound too America-centric, except that today is likely the pivot point for uncalled-for bad shit to befall the planet...

    1. Really? Was it the top left?? That was the best one. Bottom left came out a bit strange. Yes, the world in mourning, but I try not to make it a self-fulfilled prophesy.

    2. I am being really stupid but I can't work out how to follow your blog and get notifications when you publish - great read Tess xxx

    3. Tess, at the very bottom of the right sidebar, below all the tiny pictures, is a place to enter your email address to follow by emails. Is that good enough?


I love comments. Thank you for taking the time to leave one. But do be sure to leave your real or blog name.