December

Hare Today

I was just explaining to my friend Peggy Jo how I’m a sprinter. Whether I’m running or swimming, setting up a new home or making art, I do it really, really fast — and then I take a break. I am not a marathoner. I can’t sustain energetic output endlessly. If I were one of the two characters in the tale of “The Tortoise & The Hare” I would definitely be the hare.

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(Sleeping Hare by Celia Hart)

Something about being a sprinter makes it difficult for me to run multiple races. I need to pick one race — move into my new home — and not add on another race — get ready for my exhibition in December — until the first race is won.

The last room/sprint to finish in our new house was the big studio where Mike paints and I work on my tarpestries…

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Race won.

Now I’ve begun to sprint towards my solo show in December at the Boise State University Student Union Gallery. The show will be of my tarpestries and I will have a variety of sizes including itty-bitty tarpestries.

Tarpitos?

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Unlike my big pieces these have no particular narrative, they’re just pure pattern. So far I’ve done 14…

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Whew! Time for a break. I’m out of breath!

Maybe another interpretation of the tale of “The Tortoise & The Hare” is that they both won the race — it’s just that the tortoise was a marathoner, and the hare was running a sprint.

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An Ordinary…Friday?

I’m so thrown off schedule by the Holidaze I had to check to see what day of the week it is! (It’s Friday, in case you too are discombobulated.) And being without any annoyingly prioritized “to do” list filling up my head, I decided to do what any other “artist who paints everything” with time on her hands would do… I painted my boots.

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No sooner were those boots painted than my feet began to itch for a little adventure. So I put them on, photographed my feet and posted my #fromwhereistand Instagram photo on my Facebook Artist’s page because I am now living in the 21st Century and that’s what I’m supposed to do.

Right?

Anybody?

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Then Mike and I went where any other self respecting former US Military Dependents go with time on their hands…to the Army Navy store.

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Seriously. If you have never been, you must go. Not only is it a great place to find hats, gloves,

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and crash-test dummy face masks,

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but you will also find every thickness and color of rope, cord and twine you can ever imagine needing…

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for art projects, tying things up, or down, or quickly rappelling down the sides of tall buildings to escape from zombies.

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Or perhaps from another former US Military Dependent trying on hats.

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Maybe it wasn’t such an Ordinary day after all. But it was Friday.

I’m pretty sure.

Breathing Room

I have been waiting for today for some time now. In fact this is the first day since this time last year that I am beholden to no one and no thing. There are no looming deadlines, no exhibition openings, no meetings, and no social events to hostess. My only concerns are my family and myself, and I am already finding it easier to think. It’s so much quieter in my head.

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The final event on this year’s very busy schedule was the TVAA Kringle Mingle last night. I promised you results of the art exchange and as you can see, I was tickled!

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I received Kathleen Probst’s beautiful abstract textile piece titled Peepholes #7:

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You can see more of Kathleen’s work at her website www.kathleenprobst.com and I highly recommend you do so.

The other cool thing is that Barbara Bowling received my bamboo utensils…

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Barbara is another one of those 1 degree of separation stories. My daughter, Lina Chambers, and her daughter, Sarah Gardner are both actresses who knew each other and acted together long before Barbara and I ever met.

We had one of those “Wait a minute, your daughter’s an actress? My daughter’s an actress! I know your daughter! She’s your daughter?!” sort of conversations a few weeks ago from which we are still recovering.

Barbara is also a very fine artist and jeweler. Her website is www.louisesleap.com

By the way, both Kathleen Probst and Barbara Bowling have terrific work in the current TVAA Foray III exhibition, to say nothing of the other 65 artists, so check out the show if you find a little time in your schedule.

Ok. That’s enough work for one day. Now I’m going to go relax and enjoy this terrific weather we’ve been having. Maybe work on my tan a little. I’ve really been looking forward to this break!

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An Ordinary Friday

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I’ve had so many things going on lately I haven’t been concentrating on my job…MAKING ART!

So yesterday I tied myself to the mast with my nose to the grindstone and knuckled down to work on this painting which is due on Monday.

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This could explain why I woke up with an ache in my back — and a smile on my face, because I FINALLY FINISHED my painting!

Here ’tis:

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It’s propped on a chair I painted too — I liked the way the patterns looked together.

Here’s another shot of just the painting. It’s titled “Up, Up and Away (Hither and Yon).”

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In the evening we went to two gallery openings. The first was “Tiny Wonderful” at Enso. Lots of tempting small works. Would have gladly sprung for a couple of Cate Brigden’s as well as Kelly Packer’s, but we held ourselves in check and headed to the Visual Arts Collective for the exhibit of artwork made for the traffic boxes, including the one I did.

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I couldn’t have asked for better placement of my piece in the lineup!

In case you aren’t familiar with “my” traffic box, this is the one I did for downtown Boise:

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And this is the painting which was then scanned and printed on vinyl which was then applied to the box itself.

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There were over 50 works exhibited representing the 68 traffic boxes which have been produced so far in Boise. That’s one full show. (Only 17 shy of the show I’ll be hanging next week for TVAA! — Oy, my back!)

Friday was an ordinary day. My very favorite kind of day.

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Four Favorite Books for December

Picking Favorites isn’t easy! I thought I knew which books I was going to choose a month ago but now that I’m actually composing my post I’ve completely changed my mind. The fiction in particular was difficult because the book I thought I wanted to suggest was just too dark. It had a definite December orientation, but there was too much bitter with the sweet. So, I have a different book which has more sweet than bitter. Let’s start with it:

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A lanky redheaded magician with a crinkly smile named Adam, and his talking dog Mopsy, travel to the walled city of Mageia in order to apply to the Guild of Master Magicians. There’s just one problem. Adam is truly Magic and that causes the other magicians to be jealous and fearful and to rise up against him in a murderous riot. What ever happened to peace, love, community and collaboration? Anybody?

The Man Who Was Magic, by Paul Gallico, was written for young adults, though I would extend to it the “children of all ages” categorization. It was written in 1966 and unfortunately it is now out of print. My friend Allison tracked down this used library edition for me (a First Edition, well loved). Yeah, she’s a little magic too. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s available on Kindle though, or you might find it at your local Library!

This book is sweet, sentimental, and even while reading the worrisome parts you know how it will all turn out. That may make me a sap for liking it. So be it. It’s any easy “Feel Good” on a wintery afternoon.

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My favorite book of Interior Design is Calder at Home, The Joyous Environment of Alexander Calder by Pedro E. Guerrero, published by Stewart, Tabori & Chang in 1998.

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The author first met the Calders in 1963 when Alexander Calder was 64 and Guerrero was assigned to photograph the Calder kitchen for a House & Garden article. The Calder’s house wasn’t exactly the sort of house the magazine was at all used to showing. Maybe not exactly H&G’s cup of tea, but for Guerrero it was “complete happiness and heart-stopping clutter.”

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One of the many reasons I love this book is because it shows not only the interweaving of art-making and home-making which I am so keen on, but you can also see so clearly what a wonderful pair Alexander and Louisa were and how they inspired each other.

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My favorite Art book is really just a bit of Christmas fluff. It is Greetings from Andy (Warhol) – Christmas at Tiffany’s, by John Loring, published by Harry N. Abrams, INC. in 2004.

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I’ve always preferred Warhol’s early advertising artwork from the 1950’s to his later work. What I didn’t know was his process. He liked to create the look of a print by doing a wet offset image with lots of ink splotches and then pressing two sheets of paper together. Later he would tip in watercolor loosely, purposely not worrying about staying inside the lines to give it a childlike feel.

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And finally, my favorite cookbook(s) for December are two tiny books inscribed from my mom to my Gramma Dottie: To Mother, Christmas, 1954.
They are Holiday Punches, Party Bowls and Soft Drinks, and The Holiday Cookbook, both published by Peter Pauper Press in 1953 and 1950, respectively.

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I’m actually having a cup of Hot Mulled Cider as I write this. It’s a little recipe from the Holiday Punches book, just cider, cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg and sugar. Very nice as it is currently 21 degrees and partly cloudy according to my weather app. Might as well enjoy it!

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I hope you take some time to enjoy a cup of something hot and sweet and a good book or two this month as well. My horoscope keeps reminding me this is the time of year to slow down. My guess is that would be a good idea for everyone!