I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. The view out the window above the sink is over my neighbor’s backyard, across the side street, and into the parklike property of the medical center.
I love the strong lines and balance created by the structures: the picket fence that surrounds the property, the large and low deck, and the red brick medical center. This time of year, the leaves are gone, leaving bare branches and squirrel nests.
At one time PInterest and Facebook were flooded with images and videos of bowling ball size ice balls. Fantastic patterns radiated from the center, and the colors were beautiful. The ice balls were made by filling water balloons, adding to each a couple drops of food coloring, and leaving them in freezing temperatures for several days. I had to try it.
When the weather turned colder here, I bought some balloons. Water balloons the size I wanted weren’t available so I just bought regular balloons. I also didn’t have any food coloring, so I skipped that, too. When the weather was well below freezing, I filled the balloons inside and carried them outside, setting them on the grass. A couple of days later the balloons began to tear and like an egg opening, an ice sculpture emerged.
I’ve done this several times now with smaller balloons, and with balloons of varying proportion. Sometimes concave bowls develop, other times solid spheres form.
Above are photos of some of my best results. In 2017 the bowls melted the same day. In 2015 they lasted a few days.
I start thinking about my holiday card around mid-summer. There are three stages to my process: design, engineering, production.
By September I’m usually already experimenting with paper and other materials. (If I don’t have a final design by early October I’m in trouble.) Once I have a design I like, I break it down into its most basic elements and record the size of each piece. Then, in almost assembly line fashion, each card is constructed.
I created my first card in 2001. Below are seven of the cards I’ve created since then. I don’t always remember to save one for myself, so there are quite a few missing.
I recently entered this drawing in a local juried art show. Sadly, it wasn’t accepted, but it was fun to create none-the-less.
The drawing is based on the cumulative children’s song There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, also known as I Know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly, There Was an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly, and I Know an Old Woman Who Swallowed a Fly.
I know an old lady who swallowed a fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.
I know an old lady who swallowed a spider,
That wriggled and jiggled and tickled inside her.
She swallowed the spider to catch the fly,
I don’t know why she swallowed the fly,
I guess she’ll die.
She goes on to swallow a bird, cat, dog, goat, cow and horse.
At the bottom of this drawing you can see the old woman’s head tilted back, her mouth wide open and her tongue sticking out, waiting to accept her deadly feast. Her big nose is visible too but her eyes are outside the frame.
The large mass at the top is a horse’s head. Inside the horse’s head is an entire cow, set at an angle. Inside the cow is the goat. Inside the goat a dog, then a cat, bird and spider.
Like many people, I’ve always loved looking at maps. The idea of taking invisible elements like property lines and borders and having them appear defined both confuses and amuses me. I started my map study with the two places closest to my heart, Chatham and Highland, NY.
Map of Highland, NY
Map of Chatham, NY
Having waited too long to start creating a handmade holiday card for this year, I think I might draw something and then have it printed on note cards. This is my first attempt, as well as my final design.
Advertising poster for 2015
I’ve enjoyed designing each year’s the Farm Film Fest poster since the first event in 2006. For the poster each year we use a picture as the focus, usually stock art. This year I wanted to do something different, I wanted to incorporate my graphic drawings with graphic design. The samples above was done entirely by hand. I didn’t trace or copy anything I didn’t think up or create. I did five or six other full iterations of this final poster before I knew I was done.
Working on a poster for an 2015 agricultural event, and these pear and apple patterns came to mind and I had to get it down on paper.
One of the things I enjoy most about my vegetable garden is photographing the harvest. Cutting open this Early Girl tomato inspired me to sketch it out.
I’ve often thought about incorporating text into my designs, but it is only recently that this has begun to take shape. This piece, 9″x12″, was commissioned as an engagement gift for a lovely couple that I know well. The central feature is the engagement ring.
In early fall, 2012, the Columbia County Council on the Arts announced a juried show called Poets and Painters. Artists were asked to enter work that was inspired by poetry. The piece I submitted was inspired by an excerpt from Rainer Maria Rilke’s Third Elegy.
Mother, you made him small, it was you who started him; in your sight he was new, over his new eyes you arched the friendly world and warded off the world that was alien. Ah, where are the years when you shielded him just by placing your slender form between him and the surging abyss? How much you hid from him then. The room that filled with suspicion at night: you made it harmless; and out of the refuge of your heart you mixed a more human space in with his night-space. And you set down the lamp, not in that darkness, but in your own nearer presence, and it glowed at him like a friend. There wasn’t a creak that your smile could not explain, as though you had long known just when the floor would do that… And he listened and was soothed. So powerful was your presence as you tenderly stood by the bed; his fate, tall and cloaked, retreated behind the wardrobe, and his restless future, delayed for a while, adapted to the folds of the curtain.
Look closely at the patten and you’ll see that the top half (the horizontal top half) and the bottom half are mirrored, only the shapes are filled in reversed. As daughters, we fight to be different from our mothers, yet as our life nears its completion, we find out how very similar we really are.