March 31, 2010

Sweet colors of Pacque

A few Printemps ago I took a trip to Lyon, France with my sister to visit my niece and her family. I was struck by the brilliant yellow of the forsythias on a grey day.
See the poisson (luscious chocolate fish) in the fenetre (window). The French Easter/Pacque motifs are not bunnies running around but fish.
Ah Delicious!
Ah savoring Spring in Lyon with my sister!!
Have a memorable Fete de Printemp with your family this week!

March 17, 2010

The Secret of Keeping your Art Mojo Alive

I started collecting art when I was in college. Fortunately, for me I married a man who loves to collect also. Everywhere we have lived we have gotten to know the community we are in through its artists and artistic contributions. While living in Okinawa, Japan, I continued my love of contemporary printmaking by collecting the work of Japanese contemporary printmakers, learned about Mingei (Japanese Folkart) and was introduced to Japanese culture through the various arts and crafts. Now I live in a small house with a variety of objects, both two dimensional and three, let alone the dog, two cats and friends and children. Soo because I love to cast my eyes on objects and do not like to be inundated with too much visual clutter I have developed a way of putting on display only parts of our collection at a time. Every 2, 3, or 4 months, whenever the spirit moves me I change the objects on my walls. No, I don't repaint and sometimes, frequently- I don't change the nail holes (that is part of the challenge).
For instance, somewhere around the end of February or the first part of March I pull out more of our Japanese collection, in particular our Hinaningyo. Hinaningyo are dolls which were traditionally used to celebrate, The Doll'sFestival, Momo-no Sekku (Hinamatsuri) and is celebrated on March 3.
 Because I have 2 girls (now young women, not living here) I especially enjoyed the idea of having a time set aside for their celebration. But because I am not Japanese I did not display them in the traditional manner. I arrange ours, to fit in a small alcove in our Living Room. Traditionally there would be the Emperor and Empress, followed by the royal court and appropriate displays of food and peach blossoms. Our ningyo(dolls) come from a collection which was divided, so is not complete.
 I also change the pictures in my Living room and Dining room to go with the season. I don't put up all Japanese or all city scapes or landscapes. I find that too boring. I do think that art when juxtaposed with other work, becomes richer especially if they might share compositional or color similarities. 
This year because we were not at home, March 3, I did not put these dolls out until this past week. Last year I did try an exhibit of ONLY landscapes which I felt was visually boring. I enjoy letting the Ningyo have their moment away from the tissue coverd boxes they reside in, when not on display. 

Besides I can only think that Spring must be round the corner, (even if the snow is flying here in Denver), when I see this lady and silk screen print done by my friend Eugenie Torgerson.

I remember the Springs of Okinawa when I get this dancing lady out.

Or set this lady dancing on the bingata (ikat dyed fabric from Okinawa) of a Noren (curtain).
These objects allow me to remember and to
 look at the new visual liveliness they will bring to my life before I tuck them away for another time when Spring needs heralding.

Ah so you get it?! My Mojo, my secret energy booster is often visual and creating a space which is visually energetic must be flexible.

March 5, 2010

Colores de Guatemala

I've returned once again from a country which dazzles my eyes with color and emotion each trip. Guatemala has much magic and one aspect which is often focused on, and rightly so, is the weaving made by the various indigenous groups of people. The close packed tightly woven fabric can be seen everywhere one travels in the highlands. I picked up an excellent book in Antigua which is making me think more deeply about the fabric and helping me to look at the land, air and environment through the glasses of the colors and weft of the fabric. "Weaving Space: Textiles and Tales from Guatemala" David B. Greene is the author. So let me show you a few pictures of the space which people walk through in the markets.
I selected these photos because I wanted you to see the ease with which the color red-violet is interjected into the everyday life. See the stunningly woven blouse the women is wearing in the bottom picture. She has a sun-ray embroidered neckline which I believe indicates she is from the Chichiconstenango area. Now, I am not an expert just an admirer. A person whose eyes become happily filled with color.
These are tortillas carefully arranged in overlapping concentric circles. We asked the two Mayan women who helped us in the kitchen of the Cascade Medical Team if we could purchase handmade tortillas from them for one of our meals. They brought them in baskets gently warm and invitingly arranged. A treat for the eye and tummy. Notice how the repeated colors of the cloth create a visual rhythm as they enfold the tortillas.
Last year I began a series of paintings based on what I experienced in Guatemala and the colors of the color wheel. This is one I did thinking about the red-violet colors I had seen on the lawn and noticing the beauty this gardener was carefully picking up.


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