Sunday, 29 January 2012

Daily project 2012: stretched over the weeks

Thank you for your little peeks in to see if I am still alive. I can tell by the statistics that blogger keeps for this site that people still visit from all over the world, and I am touched.  Not a day passes when I am not working on my daily project.  Every now and then I get up to stretch my legs and play with my new camera. 

Here is a shot of a rare sunny day last week.

 The multitude of little stitches it takes to fill the background of the embroidery I have been working on are incredibly time-consuming; I estimate I do about a square inch or 2.5 cm. a day.   It has contributed to such a sedentary couple of weeks, that I have frightened myself with my stiffness and even a tingling in my right thumb that is surely caused by repetitive stress on it.  Who knew embroidery could take such a toll?

Every day Wally practically begs me to take a day off.  And when I say," But I'm almost done" or " I think I'll be done today", he says, "That's what you said yesterday."  It's clear it takes a bit of the obsessive to persevere at this task.

The three inches of snow we were forecast for yesterday more than tripled.  We drove a treacherous drive home from a day out on snow-packed highways with many white-outs, where the snow blows so hard you can't see in front of you.  It was a little too exciting, and at one point I said to Wally who was driving, " I love adventures, especially safe adventures." 

Somebody has a little shovelling to do....

This evening the snow is falling again.  We watched it in warm security, creating a silvery background to the magnificent desert cinematography of  "Lawrence of Arabia" and I mused how much I'd miss winter if I was ever to live somewhere else.  I hope you are happy in your home wherever you live.  It is a blessing to love where you live.

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Daily Project 2012: day seven, twelve days later

Twelve days later.  100 posts so far.  With this, 101.
I watch the days slip away like wild creatures  ripping pages off my calendar.
Where's my broom?  I must chase those rascals away.

It has taken this long to regain my composure.  Two weeks ago I was invited to join my old high school chum on a trip to Costa Rica and the floor fell out from under me.

I have travelled before, always with friends or family, but never to so exotic a place.  Not even on my radar as a destination, I thought Costa Rica was an island in the Caribbean Sea.  But it is a small country located between Nicaragua and Panama in Central America on the Isthmus of Panama, with coasts on the Caribbean and the Pacific.  It has the highest percentage of land designated as National Park in the world.  It is the land of rain forests, volcanoes, 4 kinds of monkeys, sloths, sea turtles and a population that prides itself on its pacifism and friendliness.

I realize now that my wording could be misconstrued to mean I've already gone and returned.  But that's how excited I've been, the anticipation and prepartations robbing me of sleep and the other normal stuff of life. Getting my passport photo alone took  nine!! attempts!

In the meantime...

I had what I consider to be a "normal" day, embroidering between housecleaning, both of which act as satisfying counterpoints to each other.

and I played with my new camera, a lower-priced, what-if-I-lose-it-in-Costa-Rica digital camera. Well I guess they're all digitals now. 

I'm afraid this is all the daily project that I have to show for these last 12 days of my absence.  I've plucked out the stitching for the original head, realizing it was proportionally too small, and redid it in a slightly darker colour.  Yes, I'm saving the face for last.  There is a certain wear and tear on the stitching in the course of handling this project, and as I intend to sew the face in with a finer thread than the embroidery floss I am using, I am saving the best, so to speak, for last.

My partner in crime

This  has been a labour of love, this project, and has sidled out many of the other creative ideas I wish to do.  But it has been so rewarding to see a body of work build up, even one so small.  It is an interesting discipline considering it is juxtaposed with a no refined sugar diet I have put myself on.  I am re-teaching myself to look for sweetness in my life in other ways.

Thank you most kindly for your many visits, as the stats on my blog dashboard indicate. Thank you also to new follower Stefanie Seltner who is also working on a daily project.

Here's to Sweetness in our Life

Friday, 6 January 2012

Daily project 2012: day six....with some thoughts on Creativity

Here is today's progression of the embroidery I started yesterday that has taken on a life of its own and thrown my original plan to have individual daily projects right out the window.

There are a two concepts I have read about in history and witnessed in my own life:
1. Intensive handwork takes ridiculous amounts of time, and is generally supported by a patron or benefactor.
2.Creativity often lives in a world apart from 'reality' creating a reality of its own.

So while I originally intended individual daily projects, I am being put to the test to either put my needle down and find a more succint form of expression,
take joy in the form of daily project Creativity has dictated.

Creativity can be interpreted in so many ways.  Without resorting to the dictionary I would venture to say it is another word for problem-solving, but with an intuitive twist.  It comes in so many forms;  I've always considered it quite sad that our culture commonly attaches it to artistic expression alone, when, in fact,  museums are full of everyday objects from  the past that have been elevated to Art by their efficiency of design and/or craftsmanship.   The everyday object that has been made with intention can be an exquisite thing of beauty.  Of course, capital "A" Art isn't necessarily beautiful, but it is made with intention. That said, I see creativity everywhere:  the way language is used by someone who is extremely articulate and, vice versa, the way it is used by someone who is using it as a new form of expression. Both speak with intention, the former with a wide palette, the latter with a limited palette.  The same can be said of someone well-versed in engineering who makes an amazing car, and someone with a more limited knowledge, who can still assemble a most amazing machine from found parts!

Personally, I am never happier than when I let  Creativity take me where It wants to go.  Yes, I am somewhat conscious ;) of where I want my work to go, but Oh, the feeling when one can work with abandon!

We must be kind to ourselves as we proceed,  each step a lesson learned.

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Daily project 2012: day five


With just moments before midnight,  work is well started on today's project.   It was inevitable that I start an overly ambitious project that cannot be completed in one day.  It looks like it will be a 2, if not 3 day process to complete this embroidery.  My original intention was that if I was to get hooked into a longer project, I would still post smaller ones to fulfill my 365 day promise to myself.  It looks like this good intention will have to be set aside and that there will not actually be 365 individual pieces by year's end.  Oh well, the daily habit of being creative is still being met, and that is what matters after all :)

A child was born today named Solace.  Solace is a place of peace.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Daily project 2012: day four

I'm not really one for rules and regulations, and don't get me started on deadlines (there's something wrong with that word.)  But I certainly understand why they're necessary for getting things done.  I suppose it would all seem more real if I had to cover my seedlings before a night's frost or get my cake out of the oven before it dried out, or worse, burned.  You can see how I struggle with this Daily Project already by how late I get my daily blog posted.  Yet the irony is I love the results of actually making my daily project;   I haven't produced like this for myself for a long long time.  It's clear to me how I've got deadlines confused with work when they can be quite exciting things to meet.  Isn't it something like a racehorse that wants to run?  Perhaps they don't realize there's a finish line, but they want to run nonetheless.  Putting myself in this race with the clock has been laughable as my kitchen gets tidier and tidier as if sitting down to the project where some kind of punishment.

But I only have to sit quietly with my little doll,  my muse,  and it doesn't take long before I'm willing to pick up a pencil.   Today was going to be fabric collage day.  I have some beautiful textiles all picked out and ready to go,  but as it was the end of the day,  only a pencil would do.


Day Four done on a lovely unbleached acid free paper with a mechanical pencil 

I haven't told you about one of my new year's resoloutions,  but I see this deadline issue of mine as yet another reason that I remember it and share it with you.  This is a tough one as it isn't nearly as easy to keep as the daily project.  It is this:   that I be present with every moment that presents itself, not indulging in past fears, however they might present themselves ( for they sneak in in many ways as regrets, insecurities, old wounds, etc...) 

The miraculous exists in every moment; I want to be there when it happens!

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Daily project 2012: day three

Again it is late in the day or rather the evening, but I am pleased with today's work and so

better late than not at all...

Outlined in black oil pastel and coloured with acrylic polymer emulsion: day three

I couldn't resist showing it on this wonderful old ledger,  the same one that yesterday's "Day Two" project is in.  I am so pleased with all the viewers I've had in the last day and encourage you to leave a comment as it encourages one not to work in a complete vacuum.  Perhaps you might have a name for my inspiration doll instead of calling him my Daily Project.  Nothing has come to me yet.  Also, I am open to your suggestions for ways to interpret this doll.  I am only just getting my feet wet on day three, and though I have quite a few ideas so far, I know I don't have 365!


Monday, 2 January 2012

Daily Project 2012: day two

I find myself posting at the end of the day again.  A day goes so fast lately.   I hope you are feeling encouraged as we slip into the new year with all its promise and potential.  It's been interesting  for me to see Day Two of my daily project come to fruition, a new bud on the vine so to speak.  I can see the myriad of possibilities before me, and I am realizing the inevitable growth that can come of this exercise.  Just drawing the same doll over and over will certainly improve my technical skills and observation.  But what I am most eager to see is how the doll projects will evolve into a more interpretative style which I am long overdue at realizing.  As I heard Oprah Winfrey say today, " If you want to step out of your past you have to put intention into the moment."

My Christmas doll;  he charms me so.


Today's pencil drawing begun in an old ledger book.


And the finished drawing with a watercolour wash.    Day Two.

It is lovely when someone drops by to have a look at what I'm doing, leaves a comment and decides to become a follower.  Thank you  Cosmic Arcata for your thoughtful comments and blog.  After following several links I realize many of us have caught the Daily Project bug.  It seems to have a different cachet from an every day commitment that is done for one's own good, a discipline.  There is a certain joy in the air as one feels the creativity bubbling all about.  As Oprah said so beautifully,
"You are defined by the moment and by the hope and the light you bring to this moment."

Pleasant Dreams

Sunday, 1 January 2012

Daily Project 2012: day one

Well here we are on the first page of a fresh new year.   I hope you like the new design.  I'm altogether tickled with it!  It does seem altogether too easy to require too much of ourselves on New Year's Day;   already I've broken 2 or 3 resolutions as I scramble to get so much done in so little time.  Why is it that exercise and meditation are the first to go?  I was afraid I might not even meet Day One of my daily project.  But with little more than an hour to go til midnight, I have a little watercolour to show you of my Christmas doll.

I can't begin to tell you how delighted I am with this little doll made of composition material - probably sawdust and glue.  I am guessing it was a souvenire doll made for the American market in the 1920's.   The front of his clothes have faded to these beautiful sage and golden peach colours while the back of his jacket is a garish blue, his pants a bright yellow!  I love the faded side.

He'll need a name.  I'm open to suggestions.   Have you any ideas?

#1 a quick little watercolour

Thank you for stopping by and having a look at what I'm up to.  Did I mention I'm rather excited about the whole thing?   This is just the kind of challenge I need to get the old girl going :)  Check out Cathy Cullis' post for some ideas of your own.

 It all starts with the first step.   Stay in your centre and you will be surprised what can happen!