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Thursday, August 25, 2011

Irony of Events? You Tell Me!


A very small amount of the glass that was on our family room floor after the quake
So, on August 23 we experienced a 5.8 earthquake here in the Washington, D.C. area. I mirror what others are saying. At first I thought that what was occurring was the simple vibration of a large truck rumbling down the street. It didn't take long for me to realize that we were in the middle of a full-blown earthquake. Now, my family and I went to California just last month. Before going, I considered the possibility that we would encounter the uncomfortable effects of an earthquake. While there, I even had a fleeting thought now and then about the possibility of the earth moving. Who would ever have thought that I would have come home to such a thing? And, by the way, if I am going to endure the sweltering summers and the freezing (for me) winters in the Northern Virginia area while I smugly say that "at least we don't have to worry about earthquakes," then I think that it is only fair that we DON'T have them. Of course, life has never been fair and I am just happy that no one was hurt during this interesting event. I can't say the same for a piece of pottery in my home.

I was on my way out the door to go to the studio for much needed painting time when the earth started to move. My first thought was to be sure that Artie (my son) was fine. He was in the house with me. He is also 22 years old and fully capable of taking care of himself, but I swung into 'mom' mode as soon as apparent danger struck. Then, while we both heard the loud crash of broken glass, I thought about how grateful I was that the glass piece (I wrote about that in a post on June 27) that I just purchased was still in the storage box, safely tucked away in my home studio. So, I was concerned first about Artie and second about art! It is truly odd the things that we think about in the middle of such an event. On the other hand, being concerned about Artie and being concerned about art just about sums up my life thus far!

Artie and I spent at least an hour cleaning up broken glass in the family room of our home. It seems the painting propped on the mantle (propped, not hung, because we don't get earthquakes here) jumped off the shelf taking a piece of pottery with it and the glass shattered into a million pieces. I was reminded of a sculpture that I made in college using broken glass. While scooping up the glass, I thought about saving the pieces to make a new sculpture, but decided against it.

All's well at the studio. Went in there with a bit of trepidation. I even got some work done on a new piece. Now, let's see what happens with the upcoming hurricane....

Sketch for new painting


Start of new painting on my easel



Still in progress on the easel
















Sunday, August 14, 2011

Less Than 100 Days to Dinan

Yikes! There are less than 100 days left before I leave for France. My son is exercising his eyes with a daily eye rolling indicating that I have PLENTY of time. What he doesn't realize is all that I have to prepare before I go. The list keeps growing with regard to what I am going to need. I just found out that I am to host a reception at the cottage at the end of the month-long stay. This will be when I display the work that I have made while there and a piece will be selected for their collection. For some reason, I am hung up on the idea that I will have to make an invitation. This from a former graphic designer. I must be losing my grip! Instead, I should be concerned that I won't be able to communicate with the people attending my reception. Further, perhaps I should learn to drive a manual shift car? I KNEW I would need to know how to drive one of those things.... Ironically, it is next to impossible to rent an automatic-shift car in Europe while it is really impossible to rent a manual-shift vehicle here in the States.

I am proud to say that I have completed French 1. That means that I have taken roughly 60 hours of lessons not including my time spent listening to CDs and podcasts. Today, I purchased a small French phrase book (no real confidence regarding my French!) and Frommer's Guide to Paris. My friend Chris loaned me 2 guidebooks for Brittany as well as some books that she read prior to her trip there. She is a peach. She also loaned me a very small printer which I can use to print those invitations that I am so concerned about. I just picked up a new suitcase to hold all these things as well.

My new suitcase with guidebooks, etc.
 In the meantime, I am pleased to announce that I will be participating in the McLean Project for the Arts Artfest on October 2, which means that I need to get cracking making paintings in advance of the show. To see information about that show, click on this link: http://www.mpaart.org/artfest.php

Also, my work will be featured in Building 4 at the Workhouse during the month of November, so I need to make work for that as well. I was inspired by the family trip to California that we took last month. This trip was wonderful and caused July to blast past in a blur. I will be making a series of pieces that are related to that trip. In fact, I have already started one. I decided to use a very textured surface to remove myself from the comfort zone that I have been in relative to my work. Here is an image of the work in progress:
The beginning of the "Facing West" series on my easel.

I suppose this is the year in which I will remove myself from comfort zones. I am excited about the trip, but feel a measure of trepidation as well. I guess trepidation is the order of the day. All one needs to do is open a newspaper to feel that.... In my case, the anxiety is tempered with elation and excitement... c'est bon!

P.S. I have not forgotten the promise to make a painting of Artie... took pics in California for that very project. Unfortunately, that needs to be put on a back-burner....