It’s That Time of Year Again

This is the third Spring that we have lived in this house, the third Spring that I have seen the clematis in bloom, and the third Spring that I am getting to watch it engulf more and more of the house.  There is something so spectacular about this expanse of pink spreading out over the porch on the main floor and spreading up to the small deck that is off our second floor bedroom.  It almost takes my breath away.  And each year I eagerly wait for it because for me, it signifies the true beginning of the abundance of green and color that is yet to come.  I means that it’s time to wake up!

As time goes by, I am getting more and more in rhythm with this property that we are renting.  I know what to expect now that the daffodils and tulips are gone.  The lilacs are already in bloom.  The heather kept blooming throughout the winter.  Soon there will be irises, another happy moment.  It is the rhythm of Spring and the awakening of my body and my brain.  I await the lilies and the peonies and the hollyhocks as the prospect of summer entices me on these lovely sunny days.

I create in the early evening while it is still light out, and my back tells me that I’ve done enough gardening for the day.  Then I can be in my studio and allow the experiences of the day to inform what I paint or what I weave or what I draw or what I read.  All one.

Still a bit cool, especially at night.  I move in that rhythm as well.  The cool evenings invite soup or stews or casseroles, and some red wine.  I allow myself to rest and am delighted that I can sleep with a down comforter on these cool nights.

The mornings are for greeting the day and the clematis!!

getting back

This is what the studio looked like just before I left for Pennsylvania in early April. There were lots of projects in process. Paintings, drawings, baskets, painted magnets.  It was messy and lively.  It felt so good to be in there.  I was content.

Today it felt a little abandoned.  It needs a good cleaning.  It wants attention.  I need to reestablish contact with all those projects.  I need to reset my priority to be in there.  I always have great plans to float right back into painting as soon as I get back home.  I have so many ideas.  

And then I’m always a little more tired, a lot less creative, and more behind with other stuff than I bargained for.

So be it!

 

Flying Home

I flew home from PA yesterday across the country to WA. The plane flew low enough and the day was clear enough that I could see the scenery passing by. Low hills, flat plains, the Rockies, more flatness, and finally the Cascades. I was hoping for a good view of Mt. Ranier, but by the time we hit the coast, it was cloudy and gray. I was home, indeed!

So this view of the Eastern Cascades will have to do!

While on the plane and taking pictures with my iPad, I was feeling so thankful for my life. For the continued opportunity to return to the Poconos for work, play, and friendship. And for the beauty of my home on Orcas, and the love that is always waiting for me there.  It all sounds so corny, but still it is how I feel.


What Do You Mean? (again)

This is the same painting I have been struggling with for so long.  The version on the left has now become the version on the right.  I am much happier with it now.  Almost ready to stop working on it and to move on.  I have a good feeling about it for the moment.  And it seems to be about comfort and safety, so even the meaning is feeling more resolved.  Working on it again and again has given me a degree of comfort, like being with an old friend.  I’ll actually miss greeting it in my studio if it’s really finished.

What’s Not to Love?

I spent three days with this fabulous group of women over last weekend, weaving this fabulous Tahitian Market Basket out of a beautiful material called Lauhala.  We all came to Shaw Island, and not only did we weave together during the day, we all stayed over at the guest house of one of the women (the only one not in this picture).  So we cooked together, ate together, drank together, worked on the basket well into the night, and got up early to do it all again.

None of us finished the basket completely, so it will be interesting to see how they look once they are embellished with various trims, shells, etc.  But each one already has its own personality, and that will only develop more in the last stages of completing them.  Out teacher, Lei McCornack, is in the middle of the back row.  I have my arm around her in gratitude, love and admiration.  We are a strong and close-knit group of women, and Lei did a wonderful job of jumping in and teaching us this very challenging basket, in her laid back, very Tahitian way.

Challenging?  Make that very challenging.  Many steps along the way.  It’s a double-walled basket which means that you weave an inside and then start all over again to weave the bias-plaited  exterior.  And there is sewing involved.  And trim to be made by hand.  All using this sensual and amazing Lauhala to weave with.  You see it at its thickest on the exterior of the basket, but it can be stripped down to it’s thinnest and will fit through the eye of a needle to sew with.

As the work progressed, we all had our individual moments of challenge.  I hit my own wall at about 3 pm on Friday afternoon while working on the bias-plaiting.  I got incredibly frustrated, and cranky.  I wanted to just rip the basket apart and throw it away.  I wanted to scream.  I hated everybody in the room, and of course, I looked around and saw only perfection in their baskets, while mine was a pice of shit!  I told my dear friend, “Don’t talk to me!”  It was not pretty!  Not pretty at all.  But I went off and sat by myself.  I drank a lot of water, and started to breathe.  I looked at the basket with acceptance, and began to pull and tighten, and pull and tighten again.  Yes, there are some weak areas.  But I began to love the basket in spite of them and maybe even because of them.

And I got to have a quiet little melt down in the midst of one of loveliest, most supportive group of women you’ll ever hope to find.  I got to be real and vulnerable, and that alone was worth it all.  We all got to deepen our friendships with each other, and we all accomplished a Herculean task in making this incredible basket.