Jul 20, 2020

Remembering The Dearly Departed

In the late 1800's, and until about 1920, many families sniped a lock (or a few) from their beloved deceased family members head to incorporate with silk threads/yarns into a 'Hair Wreath'.

Some people today might think this was a morbid practise, but considering the times, it was a sweet, commemorative way to remember one's dearly departed.... they didn't have much in the way of photos and these wreaths became family heirlooms.
It took a lot of hair and in those times women, in particular, had very long hair and some had time on their hands to indulge in this form of needlework !
SO, my hair wreath is off the ground and running ... hurray ! 
I have opted for some very simple flower/leaf shapes and I am doing simple free-motion machine embroidery to do it.  Nothing complicated or involved as I am more interested in having the names on the canvas be as visible as possible once I lay/attach the wreath on the canvas.
small paper sketch

It'll take a few more hoops of these flowers to build the wreath ... but, it's great fun .... and I'm back at doing what I love ... free-motion machine embroidery ;)

Jul 6, 2020

On My Mind

'It's a struggle ... my enthusiasm for working at my art is foremost on my mind theses days. I just don't seem to have the drive !'

This was a sentence that I wrote a couple of weeks ago but was too discouraged to continue, not wanting to whine ! 
I had a list of things that were on my mind ! Probably a good thing that I didn't continue that particular day ;)
Anyway, this sentence was still sitting here waiting for my return ! 
And, today, I am in a much better frame of mind and I am very excited to show you what/where I am going with my next project. It always feels so much better when one can get on with one's work !
This is my new canvas that I have had printed with 250 names. 
I typed out all the names in a font that looked appropriately 'old', sent to the shop and a week later have my background for a machine embroidered 'hair wreath'. The canvas is 30" x 26", landscape, with enough room on all sides to wrap around a frame after I have applied the 'wreath'
These 250 names belong to people who were buried in a little cemetery on the grounds of a The Wellington County Museum & Archives.

"The Wellington County Museum and Archives is a National Historic Site. It is located in a building that stands as the oldest remaining rural House of Industry in Canada. It was built in 1877 as a "Poor House" or place of refuge for the poor, homeless, and destitute people in Wellington County. It operated as a Poor House and Industrial Farm until 1947 when it became a County Home for the Aged. In 1974 it was transformed into the Wellington County Museum and Archives. A new Archives wing opened in 2010." 

250 residents died over the years ... not a single person to come and retrieve the body and bury it. Heart-breaking.

Hair Wreaths were a Victorian form of mourning the dead that went out of practise by the 1920's ... and museums are the keepers of most of them.
When the staff of this museum chose some artefacts that they would like to showcase alongside the fibre art of Connections Fibre Artists, a hair wreath caught my eye.

My initial attempts to create the look but use fibres instead of human hair 
... the original wreaths were made with locks of hair from departed loved ones.

Jun 14, 2020

How're Doing ?

Isn't this a weird new world ?
Face masks, social distancing and the use of more hand sanitizers than you would have ever dreamed of !
How are you coping ? What strategies are working for you ?
Is your art suffering or flourishing ?
Are you beyond missing family and friends ?
So many new things and it doesn't look like it will be over anytime soon. And you know what ?
I'm not too upset by it all. I am used to time alone, house-sitting for weeks/months by myself in the past and perfectly capable of handling the 'alone' time very well, thank you very much ;) And I am just fine with hubby being here all the time now. He is a dear, tho' 'cause at least once a week he takes off in his truck for long drives to smoke his stinky cigars and leaves me to enjoy being alone for an afternoon, a day. I'll get the housework done, the laundry and even some art accomplished. Good work.

I have just finished pointillism drawing #9. These small art projects have taken their toll tho' !! I am taking some time off (6 more drawings to do) while I concentrate on my eyes and my hip. My eyes have taken a turn for the worse ... think I might have cataracts, everything is blurry and some double vision happening ... worried to the point that I have stopped driving my Land Rover ... just for the time being, until I see my Dr.  The other 'hurt' is my hip/deep buttock pain which seems to be only relieved by bending at the waist for a minute, squat, then rise. Then no pain at all until it happens again with a wrong move or getting up from sitting. This, I think, I can attribute to my method of drawing, my back straight but bent over my hip at an angle that gets my eyes closer to my work. My work on my ironing board, raised to a level that supports my arms comfortably. Ahhh, the things we won't do for our art !
So, tomorrow I am contacting a physiotherapist locally and bumping up my eye appt. from July 27th, hopefully.
This drawing took me a little over a month to do ... that's not every day nor hours/day ... just me at my own speed, whenever I could get a few minutes in...never more than a 30 minutes as eyes wouldn't let me. I do not understand why I challenged myself to do this but I am glad I did and will be just as glad when I am done because it has inspired me to go bigger next time, maybe with black paint instead of ink ... but probably NOT dots !

Anxious to get some thread painting on the go ... 3 shows to get ready for in the uncertain future !

I hope you are all well and safe from Covid-19!

Apr 18, 2020

What's Your Go-To Colour ?

Not BLUE  !
Love the colour but rarely wear it and rarely sew with it.
When this colour was decided on as 'our' next project, I was stymied for a few moments, days, weeks ! Finally I checked out my stash of threads, yes, have a few spools, some never even used !
My current work features B&W portraits. I supposed that I could do a 'blue' portrait. Maybe Old Blue Eyes himself ? Me ? in my blue phase ? ...lol 
BUT, I don't have enough of the right shades of blue and no large spools of the same 4 shades that I would need to do a decent portrait. 
Oh wait ! I can't shop for thread during this isolation the whole world is in. 
I could order online but, sorry, I need to see with my own eyes, and in daylight, the shades of blue that I would be happy working with.
Dilema, dilema !
Of course whatever I do, it will be on water-soluble (have lots ;)).  
But what will be my subject matter ?
I don't want to choose one specific thing that is blue ... I want to use up every spool of blue in this photo !
OK, I said to self ...pick a symbol, a doodle that you like. I love circles, and ovals. Now I can meander all over my water-soluble with large circles/ovals/in all shades of blue from very pale > turquoise > navy !
Just keep sewing, Sharron, 'til the thread runs out.

Sketch book drawing # 7 is well under way ... 9 more to go :0, !! yikes !

Apr 10, 2020

Who Knew This Was To Be Our Spring ???

Here I am in all my Pandemic glory ... still in my nightgown, hair dishevelled and needing a trim ... and I'm making masks for family members that I will have to mail !
So many things have changed for me, mine and the planets population !
But, the stats are starting to come in as to the improved health of the planet ... hate to say it, but, yea pandemic ! 
A healthier planet I am grateful for ... just hope that the rest of the world sees the changes and grows/learns with them.

Leading up to my recent move to a small rural town, I was also preparing mentally for the near retirement of my hubby ... never did I imagine living with a retired husband through a pandemic and total isolation with just him as company ... talk about learning curves !!
Covid19, Isolation from all that was life as we knew it, Isolation with a newly retired husband, Mask making, Ordering groceries online, Ordering ANYTHING online !, wow ... lots of new learning for this old girl !

Hope you are all well, safe and cosy in your dens !
See you on the other side !

Mar 13, 2020

Drawing # 5

Embrace the process
Follow your gut instincts
Do what you feel compelled to do
That is your voice.
... Author Unknown

I have learned something about these drawings !!!
I realized that towards the end of each drawing I didn't have much patience with the final steps ... that being the dense dots signifying the shadow around the edge of the 'photograph', and it became a chore.
So, after I got drawing # 5 laid out and the borders drawn, I decided to do the dense shadowing first !! Duh !! ... so much easier to finish the drawing knowing that that tedious shadow part was already done ;) Took me long enough !
The drawing itself was a dream and I hope you enjoy it.

'Embrace the process /Follow your gut instincts/Do what you feel compelled to do/That is your voice.'  ... Author Unknown.

Anyway, trees have played majorly in my heart and art over the years.

Love this tree !! ... by photographer Tony Saxon for the Guelph Today online newspaper ... last week.  Stunningly, simplicity beautiful.

Just a very small drawing done years ago

Very proud of this fibre/paper/tread piece ... won an award !!! Sold

Another very small drawing done years ago ... inspired by Georgian Bay

Trees in winter ... that's my thing ! Sol

Just thread ! Larger threadpainting on water-soluble ... 

Just love trees and black ink on white !

A Christmas Card ... felt strange at first to send out
B&W Christmas cards ... but I'm over that !

Another Christmas Card

Threadpainting ... an award winner ... sold

My funnest Christmas card ... got the zentangle bug that year !
On each card I painted a red star hanging from the tree top

My fascination with trees and ink just keeps me out of trouble ;)
Then there's this little guy  ... not mine, but has inspired thousands of artists over the years. It is a lone tree growing out of the granite of the Canadian Shield, Georgian Bay, Ontario.
It inspired the award winner above.
Think I'd like it as a tattoo !! Tree + ink ! 😀😀

Feb 29, 2020

If There's Any Truth....

...to that old adage 'March Came In Like A Lion', then it did these last 3 days !
My poor truck is only close to being buried in this photo ... it got lots worse. 
Quite the storm for these 2 transplants to the snow belt !
Yesterday...Visibility very, very poor, 18'-25" of snow and blowing winds !
This morning ... the 2nd brush off of at least 10" ... my truck has a mohawk !

Anyway, spring has got to be just around the corner now ... I'm actually starting to think of planter boxes on the patio and window boxes in the front of the house.

Saw this quote a few weeks ago ... it fits right.

Embrace the process
Follow your gut instincts
Do what you feel compelled to do
That is your voice.
... Author Unknown

Looking back (almost 40 years ago), I remember seeing an artist showing his work at a mall in in my home town of Guelph Ontario, Canada. If I remember correctly, that artist was related to one of the great/famous Canadian Group Of Seven artists ... a grandson, of AJ Casson ? (but don't quote me.)
I bought a print of his ... a polar bear, all done in the pointillism style. I think artist and his print are at the root of this passion right now for dots ! I have put my print away somewhere safe (yup, some unpacking still to do)

Two more drawings completed, fifth started yesterday. I've discovered a way, with a camera filter (tho' still not satisfied), to make these show up better on the blog so am showing two of them again.
Drawing #1 ... lovely scenery and lots of trees on a dark, dreary, very misty December day,
Drawing #2 was kind of fun ... even has a house in there !

Drawing #3 ... for all the simplicity, this was the hardest one so far ... trying to create distance and a misty, dark day was challenging

Drawing #4 .. lots of dense area dots

The start of drawing #5 ... finally getting a routine !
This drawing has a big old elm right in the middle !

Feb 4, 2020

Density Of Dots

Pages 5 & 6 of my Sketchbook Project off to a difficult start. 
At first glance it appears to be the simplest drawing yet but there are converging lines of several shades of grey to depict ... different densities of dots that will portray distance, depth and the existence of foggy, dreary weather. And quite a few skinny trees to depict as one of the darkest shades in the drawing. denser dots ... and amazing that I can still add a 'few more dots' ! But, I still have lots of room for more !

To add to my worries, I have put too much stress on my one remaining (original) hip joint. Several days spent swallowing extra-strength Tylenol ... on top of the 2 anti-inflammatories that I take daily to maintain a level of mobility. But I am better today and can sit at the computer, no problem. It is when I draw ... especially dots ... when I have to remove my bifocals, which aren't worth $*#* when working close-up, and get my nose almost to the paper in order to place dots accurately ! That extra bend of my body puts just too much stress on my already compromised 'good' hip. 
I won't quit !!!! I will just be smarter and limit my drawing time !

Just in case a few viewers don't know ... I am 72 yrs. old next month, have had Rheumatoid Arthritis for 61 yrs., and have had hip, knees and knuckles replaced over the years. 
I dot on !

Jan 31, 2020

You Can Never Have Enough Dots

'You can never have enough dots' was a phrase I first heard about 15 years ago when a fellow artist, Will-i-am, commented on a drawing that I was lamenting on as 'still finding spots for more dots' ! 
I met this artist n 1999 when I got my first computer and immediately found a group of artists to join up with. They were mainly American artists but quite a few were from other countries ... Sweden, South Africa, Holland and Canada, to name a few. We were compact and productive and encouraging ... eventually sharing , physically, our art with others in the group. But MSN shut down some of their groups (?) and we had to find another way to continue our connection ... another server, but as with everything else, we eventually died off. But I never forgot that phrase and think about it every time I pick up my pen to start my dots ;)
This is page 3-4 of my Sketchbook Project. It's very hard to take photos of white paper indoors ... but it's too cold to go outside !

Jan 21, 2020

Did I Have To Make It So Hard ?

I think I may have bitten off more than I can chew !
I don't know what I was thinking when I chose my fine-point pen and decided to do 6 million dots !!!
eGads !
I have always enjoyed the challenge of pointillism but 15 drawings, even as small as they are, seems a daunting task as I come to the end of the first drawing. I think I'm stuck tho' as changing my mark making now will not be good for the over-all look of my (imagined, at this point) sketchbook.
Carry on Threadpainter ! You can do this !
just a thousand more dots and my signature - drawing done !

Jan 17, 2020

I Bit The Bullet !

The Sketchbook Project -1st ink drawing

detail of still untitled sketchbook project
Oh, yeah ... that was hard ! But forward and onward, right ?
A few titles are popping in and out of the old brain ... some questionable ;
'ROAD TRIP' .... too obvious ?
'DRIVE-BY SHOOTINGS (PHOTOS !) ... probably NOT good ... but that's what they are !
'POINT A TO POINT B' ...     ?
... this will take a while !

Jan 13, 2020

A Plain Brown Wrapper

It's small ... 5"x7" ... in a plain, brown wrapper ...the rules are simple ... creativity 'to the moon, Alice !
One of the members of my fibre art group, Connections Fibre Artists, found this little gem of an idea on the internet ... buy a little sketchbook for $30.00 and fill it with your own art, send it back by the middle of August and it would become a permanent entity in the Brooklyn Art Library.

"The Sketchbook Project is the world's largest library of artist's books, crowd-sourced from every corner of the globe.The project is changing the way creative people share their work while creating a worldwide community resource. By filling a sketchbook, you are joining te movement, adding your voice and becoming a part of something huge. Draw, write, collage, cut print, photograph - it starts with an idea. Fill up your book, send it back and join the collection. Create an account and connect your book at: sketchbookproject.com/register "

Because we were ordering 10 books, we got a discount on the cost ;)
A few words, that I have quoted above, got me hooked; share, adding your voice, become a part of something huge ... and , of course, connect !
Of course it doesn't hurt that MY sketcbbook will become part of a collection of 45,000 artists from 130 countries !! Holey Moley !
I'm in !

As per last post, the organizing of photos took a few trys.  !! I boiled down my choices from 62 photos to 15, which appropriately represents a trip through Southwestern Ontario to midway into Northern Ontario. Not an outstanding trip on a very dreary December day, but representing 4-5 hrs of constant driving from point A to point B, with only 2 pit stoops for a pee.
;) Unbeknownst to the viewers of said sketchbook, the end of our one-way drive resulted in a joyous 2 days with our very youngest grandchildren and 2 of our lovely daughters and sons-in-laws ;)

So, yesterday, I took it one step further (still reluctant to put ink to paper) and cropped my photocopies, folded them in half and placed each pic between the pages where they will be drawn. It's that 'blank page' syndrome that has me hesitant ... but only a matter of a few more times leafing through the book till I start to add a few pencil horizons/guidelines and I will begin !

Jan 9, 2020

A Creative 2020 To You All

I remember thinking not too long ago ... well, actually a LONG time ago ... that 2020 was a year that I probably wouldn't see !
Going back a little further than that, I remember hoping that I would never turn 30 ... 'cause all 30 yr. olds were very old ! ... I never wanted to be that old ! ;) Oh, if I could be 30 again !
Now here I am, on the cusp of my 72nd year, hoping like hell that I live to be at was at least 92 !! Twenty more years ... I think I'd like to be 92.
Right now I am afraid of leaving this earth, therefore I think I am not ready.  I think if I was ready, I wouldn't be afraid.
Besides, I want to see a few greatgrandbabies before I depart this world.
Selfish of me ?
I guess.

What phrase do you still remember your mother/father saying ... a lot ... that stuck ... and pops up more than you ever thought it would ?
My mother pronounced very often that 'hell is right here on earth' !
I catch myself thinking/saying this very thought way too often ! I think she may have been right.
Terrible things are happening right here on earth ... I don't think we need to go to hell to find worse ! Wild fires destroying a whole continent as well as many of it's unique animal species going extinct because of the all-consuming fires.
Planes crashing/exploding, killing hundreds of human beings on a regular basis.
Volcanoes and earthquakes killing thousands more.
Dictators killing millions of their own people for the sake of religion.
Countries firing missiles in a display of power, threatening many more millions of people.
Our oceans filling up with discarded plastics killing off so many more species.
Priveleged billionaires pushing countries to the edge of war for the all mighty dollar !
Woe is me.
Will my greatgrandbabies have a world to be born into ? ... will it be safe to live there ?

My genealogy research shows me that my mitochondrial DNA is 20,000 years old ... it has survived female to female all this time ... I'd hate to think that now, in a short time, it will probably be wiped out. Is this why it has survived 20,000 years ?? For naught ?? What on earth does the future hold ?
I digress.
I came to talk about being creative.

My creativity is fairly strong at present, which surprises me after many months of 'not doing', as setting up a new home had priority.
I am on the forefront of 32 ink drawings ... or maybe 16 ... or maybe a lot less !! ;) ... the sorting has begun. I photocopy my photos in B&W ... for ink, I don't need colour !

In the previous post I mentioned a road trip from my new home in southwestern Ontario to the Near North, Ontario. I took many 'drive-by' shootings of the round trip. 62 drive-by shootings to be exact.

Done ... decision made ... 15 ink drawings coming up. Wish me luck ... the deadline is August 2020.
The Sketchbook Project

Jan 2, 2020

A Busy End To 2019 !

Our 1st Christmas alone since 1972, just the 2 of us, in a new house, in a rural town, and surprisingly, very easy and very lovely. 

Our new town is now a conglomerate of 3 rural towns under one name ... Minto. 
Minto is a town in midwestern Ontario, Canada, on the Maitland River in Wellington County. It is named for Gilbert Elliot-Murray-Kynynmound, 4th Earl of Minto; 8th Governor General of Canada. Population: 8,671 (as of 2016).

After opening gifts to each other, we headed to the other side of town (all of 2 minutes) to our son's house to share gift opening with his family of 5 and breakfast ... such a nice treat not to have to cook !!
Later in the afternoon we were off again, this time to our son's, in-laws house to have Christmas dinner with d-i-l's parents and her 2 brothers. Such a gracious couple, so willing to share Christmas dinner with us. Before and after dinner, games of euchre kept the chatter and sharing at a high.

The next morning, there was an awesome window of good traveling weather so we took advantage and headed out on a road trip across southwestern Ontario up towards the Near North, Ontario to visit 2 of our daughters there and their families ... so nice to see all 5 of the little grands, colds and all !
 On the drive there ... almost 5 hrs one way, I had time to mull over what on earth I was going to draw in my little 'The Sketchbook Project'. Several members of my fibre group are also participating !
The 5"x7" sketch book has 16 pages ... that's 32 pages to draw on, paint, stitch, you name it ! I had already decided that I wanted to do ink drawings in my little book, probably of winter trees because I love the look of a naked tree against a snowy background ... then, as interesting trees, enroute, were catching my eye, the camera came out. From the passenger seat I am able to get some very nice photos and once I'm drawing I can eliminate or improve any blurry areas ... I call these 'drive-by shootings'. I would really like to use this as my title of my sketch book ! Dare I ?  I'll make a more informed decision as my drawings progress. The drawings will now be of our road trip to North Bay, in the Near North, from Southwestern Ontario. The day was kind of dreary but I think I can improve on the mood as I draw. 'Road Trip' would also make a great title !
Looking towards the centre of the city from the 5th floor of our friend's condo.

New Years Day was spent back in our home town with a dear friend, his dau. & s-i-l ... great food, great wine, great friends !
It's already Jan2, 2020 ! I'd better get to work !
Hope you all had a very Happy New Year bash/get-together/dinner/family time ! 
And wishing you a very happy & creative brand new decade !