Category Archives: Drawing

The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

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The Sacred Life of Trees – artist’s book – Illahe Gallery in Ashland

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9×10 inches.  140 # watercolor paper with muslin glued to surface of pages.  Watercolor, acrylic, oil pastel, graphite, collage.

The Sacred Life of Trees an artist’s book I created from an idea I had about how much I love trees, and how much everyone values and loves trees.  It seems, from my research, that trees have been a source of mystery from the beginning of time.  I wanted to do a more in depth study, but was unable to complete the whole thing in time for the Illahe Gallery Invitational Artist’s Book Exhibit in Ashland, Oregon!  So I concentrated on the most loved concepts of sacred trees.

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Double page spread.

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The Tree of Life with a guarding snake, and golden fruit!

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The Apple Tree – worshipped by ancient celtic cultures for the bounty of her fruit.  Some think it was an apple tree that instigated the downfall of man in the Garden of Eden!  Maybe, maybe not.  But she is lovely!

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The quiet little Hazel Tree – also bearing life sustaining nuts.   The hazel was considered by the ancient celts to be a magical tree.  Her wood is used for making dowsing rods to find water.  A hazel wand is very strong – be sure to thank her if you take her branches!

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The Ogham is an ancient celtic alphabet – often referred to as the Celtic Tree Alphabet.  The marks were made vertically on standing stones, many of which, are still standing in Scotland, Ireland, England.  They are read vertically from the bottom up.  I have written the Ogham name for each tree on the right hand bottom side of the drawing.

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The beautiful Willow Tree – known as the Lady of the Moon.

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The Birch Tree – Lady of the Wood.

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The Oak Tree – royalty of all trees.  Very strong, long lived, the king of trees, in this case the queen!

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The sacred Hawthorn Tree – the wand made from a hawthorn twig is truly magical.  The ancient celts believed the tree to have healing qualities, as well.  If a hawthorn self seeded next to a natural spring it was believed that dipping a scrap from a piece of clothing in the water and tying it to the tree would bring good health, and good luck.  Many of these are still honored in this way in the celtic countries and are laden with odd scraps of cloth.  They are known in Scotland as a ‘Clootie Tree’.  A clootie is a scrap of cloth.

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Final page with a verse from Loreena McKennitt.

I apologize for the lack of quality in these photographs.  The finished product really does look better than this.

 

 

 

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On My Work Table

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I have been creating patterns on fabric with rust.  I mostly used steel wool in a half and half solution of apple cider vinegar and water.  Before the steel wool fully rusted I dipped the linen into the solution and got the lovely soft gray color.  Then I lay a piece of the steel wool on it to create the subtle color change.  After the steel wool rusted I took out pieces of it and lay it on the wet muslin after a few hours the patterns shown are the result! I’m using the rusted pieces of muslin and linen for the pages of a handmade book.  Gluing them down to folded heavy watercolor paper to create signatures for a handmade book.  I intend to incorporate the rust patterns into the pages, although that didn’t happen below.

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This is one of the pages I’ve created for my book, I’m calling it “The Sacred Life of Trees.”  Using watercolor, oil pastel, pen and ink for 12 original drawings depicting the spirit that humans have given to trees through folklore, religion, and daily life.  The letter “A” is painted in bright gold paint.  I like the kind of medieval look of the gold paint – kind of like an illustrated manuscript. This is my first page so I may discard and have a “do-over.” haha

I’m creating the book for the book arts exhibit at the Illahe Gallery in Ashland, Oregon in April for their Fifth Annual Artist Books Invitational and Printmakers; Also, the “Community Press” work by community members. First Friday Art Walk April 4, 5:00 to 8:00 PM

Merry and Bright…

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“May Your Days Be Merry “

Journal page – watercolor and oil pastel 5 x 7 inches

Wishing you all a happy Christmas!  I’m flying out to Denver tomorrow to have Christmas with my 5-year-old grandson!  He has a lot of plans this year: 1.) hoping to catch Santa in his task of stuffing stockings, so possibly sleeping under the Christmas tree Dec 24, this undoubtedly includes me as well.  2.) A visit to see Santa and we won’t tell him our plans to surprise him!  heehee

 Wishing you all a very happy Christmas and a peaceful and prosperous New Year ahead!

Sketchbook Pages

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I have been working sporadically in a thin sketch book – hoping it wouldn’t be so daunting to fill up the pages.  I seem to have lost momentum this year, and have very little to show for myself for 2013.  I can’t say specifically what the problem is, because I honestly don’t know.  Whatever it is, I hope is works itself out soon and I will emerge with a more clear idea of what I want to say in my art.  For now I jump all around and and envy everyone else for their ability to concentrate, to produce, and to know what they want!  Watercolor, charcoal, graphite.

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The summer Crow Wars seemed to have calmed down a little with the beginning of autumn.  They fought like crazy all summer, often leaving small caches of feathers beneath my deck.  The sparrows fought with them, the jays fought with them, and the crows fought with vocal curses at one another all through the sky- blue days of summer. Watercolor and graphite.

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I don’t know what this is about – just some sadness that came over me one evening and stayed around until I sketched this out. Charcoal and watercolor.

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The Fawn’s Child.  Pastel, oil pastel, graphite.  Sometime I try to imagine what it would be like to live outside all the time.  To know the darkness as well as I know the circles of cast light in my house.  To know time through the seasons of the earth.  It seems so magical, so impossible with all our contrived conveniences and measured time.  But still, I can imagine a great unknown forest with creatures defined by that space.

Pearl

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“Pearl”  24 x 30 inches.  Acrylic on canvas.

“Pearl” began life with the ocean in the background and a house beneath her feet, holding hands with her mother and the painting was to have been called “Pearl’s Mother.”  One afternoon I was staring at the unfinished canvas knowing it was all wrong, but couldn’t figure out what to do about it.  The parts worked separately, but all together they didn’t say anything.  So I took a palette knife and began painting over most of the painting with white paint.  The palette knife was a new experience, and I really liked how you could build layers of colors one on top of another!  I painted “Pearl” fairly quickly with the palette knife then went back and added details and painted over with the palette knife again until I liked what was happening.  The Great Blue Heron in the right upper corner I had already painted in and I left it, and the redwood trees beneath it.

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She is holding a eucalyptus branch.  I was thinking of the central coast of California, with the redwoods, the eucalyptus trees and the great blue herons, that are glimpsed only occasionally, these days.  I used to see them flying very high like  great long-legged angels moving across the blue skies.

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I preferred Pearl without any hair.  I did paint some in, but it took away from the intensity of her gaze and I covered it up.  It summarizes her essence  more this way.  Her very human longing for some unspoken thing hidden behind her eyes. I’m not sure if Pearl is yet a child, or if she rests carefully on that cusp between woman and child.

Small Things of Wonder

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Moths bumping against the screen on a summer night.  Seeking the light from indoors.  What does it look like to them?  Is it a bright star they are mysteriously drawn to?Moment in Time 002

I’ve been working on another handmade book – a smaller project than the last one.  Was thinking about the little moments in-between the spaces of our lives. The small transitory and easily forgotten things we see in a blink and file away to be remembered or forgotten, but none-the-less, recorded by our brains.

This book is made mostly of recycled materials.  I used recycled paper from cardboard boxes that I soaked in water until I could strip the paper from the corrugated box sides.  Its a really nice heavy brown paper, that takes a lot of water and rubbing and sewing into without buckling or tearing.  I’ve had these small pieces saved in a box for the longest time – but I knew I would find a way to use them eventually!

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Found objects , leaves, stones, twigs, old pieces of darning…whatever seems right at the moment.  I’m sewing the pages together and binding it with cardboard backing.  For the backgrounds I’m using mostly watercolors and oil pastels – my two favorite mediums.  I’ve only completed a few pages which I’m sharing with you today.  I drew the moths on some scrap papers leftover from the last project.  I bought the bunny at a flea market – I think its from an old cuckoo clock.  He has a nice little red bead for an eye.

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The mountains were made from the paint over edges when I made paste papers.  They were the papers laying on the work surface to protect the surface from the paint.  I’d torn a piece from the edge and folded it down so it was the white torn side against the paste paper over brushing and I thought it looked like mountains.  I glued it over the scraps of over brushing, and painted it in blue, purple, and gray. I think it does look like mountains in the background, and strata in the foreground. I outlined the torn edges a little so they would show up more.

I’ve still got more to do – more to color  and layer over the brown base.