Monday, April 28, 2008

Spring Has Finally Sprung!

On March 1, my favorite cartoon, Mutts, addressed the issue: the little dog Earl informed his feline friend Mooch that spring was right around the corner, and after taking a peek, Mooch replied that it was coming in an old pickup truck. That's just what it felt like for the whole rainy month of March.

I always buy pansies as soon as they appear in the nurseries, but this year they sat on my porch for almost two weeks, because it was too cold and rainy to work in the garden. Now it’s sunny and warm every day and I've finally gotten all of them settled into the gardens and in pots on the porch.

I can never decide which color to buy since I love them all, so I end up buying way too many. This year I decided to plant them in a rainbow starting with yellow in the shady end of the garden and then moving through antique rose colors, to blue, purple, red, orange and then yellow again at the other end.

Since my favorite color is blue, if I had to choose just one color that would be it, although I'd still have to decide which exact shade of blue.... but then how can I resist that velvety red, or the white ones with the purple faces......

I made this pastel sketch of blue pansies planted under yellow tulips about 30 years ago, in the Sarah P. Duke Gardens in Durham, NC.

It was such a lovely place to sit and draw, or to meet my husband for a picnic lunch.

On the website it says:

Duke Gardens provides a place where people of all backgrounds and ages come for beauty, education, horticulture, solitude, discovery, study, renewal and inspiration.”

Would they be surprised to know that it is still providing inspiration 30 years later?

A few years ago I came across some of these pastel drawings languishing in a portfolio, so I did what I often do: I made color copies of them, then I cut out my favorite areas, then I made color copy enlargements of those fragments, and wove them into this series of tapestries.

I finished these in 2003, and called them "Tulipa," the latin name for tulips. I thought about naming them "Viola," the latin name for pansies, and have no idea why I didn't. Now that I think of it, I love Tulips too, but I'll save that for another day.

Each of the three small tapestries is about 6.5 x 4.5 inches, and I mounted them all together on a 8 x 16 inch frame.

This last photo is a detail so you can see the actual woolly threads.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Tapestry and Soccer

How is weaving a tapestry like playing soccer?
I know, it sounds like a strange riddle, but there are similarities.

It’s not enough to understand what to do. In order to do it well, you have to practice, over and over, and it takes a long time to achieve proficiency. Along with skill, you need to have vision, and the ultimate experience is being “in the zone.”

There have been times on the soccer field when I suddenly saw everything very clearly, I knew exactly what I had to do, and was able to do it easily. Afterwards I was surprised at myself. That is the same feeling I get on those rare occasions when I discover something completely new and exciting in the studio.

There are major differences too. Tapestry weaving involves a lot of sitting, and it's a quiet, calming activity. Soccer, on the other hand, is fast, aggressive, noisy and gets your adrenaline pumping. Tapestry is something I do all by myself, sometimes reveling in the solitude, but other times feeling too isolated. Soccer is a team sport and satisfies my need to be with other people, interacting not just verbally, but physically.

Soccer used to take up a lot of my free time, but now that I’ve finally been forced to retire (don’t get me started on my foot injuries), there is more time in the studio, and that’s a good thing.

It’s the only good thing about having to give up something that made me so happy for 30 years.

Time to stop whining and move on to new adventures. Like blogging perhaps?