Saturday, August 16, 2014

Switzerland Day 3: Old Town Bern revisited and the Kunstmuseum

Kunstmuseum doors
On our third day of exploring Switzerland we started with the Kunstmuseum of Fine Art. I was introduced to two artists that have become new favorites, Albert Anker and Ferdinand Hodler. I appreciated the figurative work and techniques of both artists. Anker was more traditional and softer with his lighting and subject matter of everyday life. As a knitter, you can see why I also fell in love with the painting pictured below. Hodler's pieces dealt with religious themes and was much more contemporary in style. I appreciated his style, color pallet, and stylized human figures. My jaw hit the floor when we came upon their old masters collection in the basement. They had pieces from three of my favorite Italian Renaissance artists: Fra Filippo Lippi, Fra Angelico, and Sandro Botecelli.  I studied these masters in college and to have the honor of seeing them in person was truly awe inspiring.

Albert Anker (Swiss artist, 1831-1910) Christine Knitting 1887
Ferdinand Hodler: The Chosen One 1893-94

Following the museum, we walked the streets of Bern until we came to the open market held in the Barenplatz where we had the most amazing lunch. We chose a restaurant that served traditional Swiss food. My sister and I shared a dish of rusti (potatoes) with macaroni and chess with bacon all mixed into one delightful dish. YUM! After lunch we continued our tour of the town. We explored more of the streets and ended back at the river Aare. There we cooled off my sticking our feet in the refreshing cold water. Our sore feet appreciated the relief! We ended our day with returning to the market to buy fresh strawberries and ingredients for dinner.

The beauty of the water still astounds me with its perfect color.

The Munster in the distance. I really liked the buildings in the foreground next to the bridge.

Cooling our feet in the river watching struggling baby shrimp wash up on the steps we sat upon.

Bundehause, Federal Assembly building as seen from across the river Aare.

Across the river looking back at the top of the construction on the Bern Munster gothic cathedral.

I love the wood raving and architectural details!

More details and ornate carvings on the buildings.





Monday, August 4, 2014

Coming Back to Center

Finally over the shadow box marathon I've been stuck in for over a year now, I have had the time to get back to making art for me. This summer I've been practicing the basics of drawing and painting since I have been feeling out of touch with it all. Making art has become so forced that I have lost inspiration, creativity, and the freedom to express myself through my own art.

I went home to Monterey last week and was able to separate myself from technology and get back into simply sketching and doodling again. It was so freeing to start with random paint blobs and turn them into something fun. Some of my favorite sketches were of the trees and foliage I drew for use as references in other work. Although there was still a part of me I could tell I was still fighting.

On Friday, I went to the art openings of First Friday here in Las Vegas and was blown away by the caliber of work I saw. I needed to pull my head out, roll up my sleeves and get to work. I needed to focus and stop trying to be someone I'm not. Nothing like a good ol' fashioned reality check to make you come to your senses!

Saturday I researched black and white photos of women's faces to use as references for shading and perspective. Yesterday as I scrolled through the photos one jumped out at me and I immediately knew what she wanted to become. Inspired by both the photograph and the Lone Cypress of Monterey, I created the following piece. Although feeling a little flat, I think it came out much better than I had hoped.

Lone Cypress: watercolor 2014

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Elinya Shawl Completed

Two weeks ago I started a new knitting project and today I am happy to report I completed it! It was an absolute joy to knit. As I keep saying, the yarn was like butter running through my fingers as I knit. I'm allergic to wool and this shawl doesn't make me itchy like so many of my other projects do. The combination of cotton and cashmere is a dream to wear and to knit with. Rumor has it the combination is known to pill, but I'm okay with that.

The first time I tried this pattern I really didn't understand the directions of how to do the picot bind off and it came out rather flat. The end result still looked alright to me and nobody would know unless I told them. This time around I decided to do some research and watch a YouTube video on the process to see where I went wrong. It took me a quarter of the way into the bind off to totally understand what I was supposed to do and understand the mechanics of the stitch. After fighting and fumbling my way through that first section it was a breeze after that. So glad I was able to pick up speed too, it was taking an eternity to bind off! 

Elinya Shawl pattern

I blocked it all out this morning and will weave in the ends tomorrow during my weekly knitting group. If you are a member of Ravelry.com here is the link to the pattern.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Vintage Fountain Pens



This summer I was asked to help my friends go through their mother's craft room. She past away and had two rooms filled with years of art supplies. I was able to fill my small hatchback with all the goodies I helped sort through. Most of the supplies are going to be used in my classroom for future generations to learn from. There were a few choice things I kept for myself such as easels, palettes, and acrylic paints.

Among the those choice things, I found a cigar box filled and with an  assortment of calligraphy pen holders and nibs. Mixed in with these were the fountain pens and ink shown in the photo above. I love fountain pens and have bought myself very inexpensive ones from JetsPens.com over the last few years. I have fallen in love with the smooth lines they create and you can only imagine how excited and giddy I was to find such treasures hidden amongst the supplies. I went to work researching the pens to find that they are lever pull fountain pens from the 1930's. The last of the three lever pulls is a radiograph style fountain pen that has a small wire at the tip that releases the ink as you write. With love and care I spent hours cleaning them and turning my hands black and blue in the process. Needless to say, I was in heaven.

Other treasures I found were the vintage mechanical pencil, on the bottom of the photo, with a tiny cardboard tube of replacement lead. I immediately added these to my father's old drafting tools he passed onto me. At the top of the photo you can see replacement graphite and a red lead holder. I have always wanted one of these and was pleasantly surprised with how nice this one is weighted. It has become one of my favorite writing utensils to draw with and I carry it with me always.

After helping my friends sort through their mother's art supplies I decided I needed to clean and purge my studio too. This was one of the inspirations for the new and improved studio as discussed in the previous post regarding the new light and plants. My hope is when I die that my art and supplies will go to loving homes and to people that will cherish them. So back to work I go, creating as much art as I can, while I can.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Switzerland Day 2: Buren an der Aare




On our list of "must see" places was Buren an der Aare, the birthplace of Stotzer. We woke up early and drove out to meet the lovely people in charge of the archives at town hall. While we were there, we met other Stotzers and learned the history of the town and its inhabitants. We come from a long line of farmers and metalworkers or schlossers. Downtown is only has about a one block radius that is surrounded by farm land. I loved the colors and architectural details.

Illustrated Map of Old Town

Mold from creating the town's bell for the clock tower which includes all the families' crests.

Detail of the bell mold with the Stotzer family crest. It is the arrow between two stars and above three hills.

Original clock gears for the clock tower.

We had lunch down by the river Aare by the historical covered bridge. The weather couldn't have been nicer that day. We soaked in the view and digested all the new knowledge of where we came from. 

Down town as seen from the window of town hall. One of my favorite things in Switzerland were the arched walkways.
The most elaborately decorated building was that of the police station and jail. 
Interior of town church with the pipe organs and elaborately carved ceiling.
Ceiling of town church
















Saturday, July 12, 2014

Newest Knitting Project

Back in February I posted about the Elinya Shawl that I had completed. Last week I decided to start another one. I enjoyed knitting of it as well as the results of the striped color work. As I was rooting around in my stash, I came across some yarn that I had not only forgotten about, but had set aside for another project. I felt they would be perfect for the Elinya shawl instead. The yarn had been bought at Tuesday Morning a couple years ago and is Louisa Harding Aimee in the colors Storm and Seagrass. It is made of 90% cotton and 10% cashmere and is so ridiculously soft. I love the softness running through my fingers as I knit it and can't wait to snuggle into this shawl when it is all done. Heaven!!!!

I've made it quite a bit farther than this photo, especially since getting stuck at the car dealer for three hours and then again at the DMV for another two and a half hours. This is the best photo of the yarn and color striping and I promise to show you the completed project.


Thanks for letting me share!

Knitting: Blue Boxy

Last year at this time I bought myself the yarn to make a sweater. A little birthday gift to myself if you will. Last week after 10 months of working on said sweater, it is finally complete. This is only my second sweater I have ever made and it's very obvious that I am still learning the ropes. In the end, I feel since I'm the one wearing it, the mistakes don't matter. The yarn couldn't be any softer and the color is simply stunning. Now I just have to wait for this Vegas heat to cool down to really be able to enjoy it.

In the beginning...

Completed and drying

The pattern is called Boxy by Joji Locatelli and I created from Cephalopod Yarn's Skinny Bugga in Fluorescent Millipede.

Etsy Shop Update

It is official! I finished adding all the listings for the dioramas to the Etsy shop this morning. I hope you enjoy them and are able to give them new loving homes.

Thanks for stopping by and checking them out! Please let me know if you have any questions.


Friday, July 11, 2014

Adventures of Being a Home Owner

      In 2009 when I bought my condo the garbage disposal was already limping along. I rarely used it, only on those occasions when it would back up and I had no choice. It required using the unjamming hex wrench to give it a jump start. Always an ordeal and it sounded like the loudest lawn mower chewing rocks when it ran. Just one of those things I kept putting off. Well, the monstrous thing finally died last night and I had to buy a replacement. I ended up buying a mid-range disposal that has a 7 year warranty. When I uninstalled the previous disposal I found that it had a good sized crack on the back. Yikes!


Needless to say, I am happy that everything went smoothly. I followed the directions and now have a wonderfully quiet new garbage disposal that runs beautifully. Playing with my tools was also a lot of fun. I love building a making things. It has given me such a sense of pride to know that I was able to accomplish this all by myself. 

Pepper doing the initial assessment.

Crack I found on the back of the old disposal!

Boo helping with the final inspection.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Straight from the Springs Preserve and into your House

I have been honored to have been exhibiting my work at the Springs Preserve since February.  I had to pick up my work yesterday which is great news for you! I am slowly taking photos and adding them to my Etsy shop. Some of the work is getting purchased as fast as I can load it. (Very exciting!)

Here is just a taste of what you might find:

Common Buckeye butterfly, dragonfly, and cicada

Hummingbird with Yucca

Gambel's Quail

Kangaroo Rat