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Saturday, January 30, 2010

Creating Art

It’s been a busy week in Lake Wobegon… sold our house, handled what seemed like a hundred or more errands, and finished my art piece, and tonight we’re venturing out to Chanhassen for dinner at my sister’s place.

We put the house on the market around Halloween, had very few showings through the holiday season, then about 2 weeks ago we started getting lots of showings – and several people interested in the property. We got an offer and made a deal. What a relief, now I just have the normal worrying until we close.

My art piece is 5” x 7” and in mediums I hadn’t before. Cut layers of plastic on top of a watercolored piece of cotton are mounted to a block. This piece has taken me longer to create than almost all of the paintings and collages I’ve done in the past. It was a good exercise – size constraints, working in mediums, and having to figure out construction techniques.

The graphic is very organic and fluid. I’ve become very interested this winter in the patterns the wind makes in the snow and I am working on a few pieces in various mediums exploring the patterns. This home on the river has very good and creative vibes that will help me in my love of creating art.

At first I was planning on doing an acrylic or watercolor painting but the patterns and size constraints weren’t working for me. Then I got the hint of an idea and how to handle it and was off to the local art supply store where I spent a good deal of time exploring materials to start working on the piece. I then made a prototype with the materials I purchased. The first iteration used a clear acetate – which looked very cool, but I didn’t like that there wasn’t enough stiffness. More trips to Michael’s and Joann found the correct weight of plastic to construct the piece.

Now all I have to do is fill out the form, come up with a title and submit it on Thursday.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

A fine afternoon watching movies

Saturday was a day with no commitments and no projects to be completed, with weather that simply said “stay in the house.” So we did. Mid afternoon we popped a big bowl of popcorn, poured a couple glasses of Pepsi and settled down to watch the second installment of “A Year in Provence."

I struggled. About half the dialog is in French of which I know very little, the other half in the Queen’s English which at times I find difficult to understand. At one point we went to the main menu looking for subtitles but subtitles weren’t available.

The story is good even with not comprehending much of the dialog and think I may want to read the book before finishing off the mini series.
In the “Spring” installment, my favorite storyline was watching the two middle-aged (or older) men skulking about in the night looking for a stolen mailbox and pool chair. The scene where they confronted the thief was classic. And, you clearly needed no knowledge of French to understand the explanation of what happened.

Ah, c'est la vie
Friday, January 22, 2010

Bags, bags, bags

Here’s my gripe with shopping in Wisconsin – Walmart especially, though Target is also an offender here  – why so many plastic bags? As a recycler, shop local advocate and known tree-hugger I am astounded at the number of plastic shopping bags stores here use to send me off with my bounty.

Questions I just have to ask:
  • Is there a law against putting more than three items per bag?
  • Does the cashier get a bonus for sending more bags out the door?
  • Hasn’t anyone viewed the videos about all the grocery/shopping bags being dumped in the oceans and landfills?
Now that I’ve got about 400 bags in my stash, I promise to get better at remembering to bring my reusable shopping bags into the store with me.

Here's a little video by National Geographic:

Thursday, January 21, 2010

And I was afraid I’d be bored here.

Maybe it’s that I’m still trying to get this new house in order, maybe it’s that I’m a little ADD, have too many interests, work slow, or some other reason that my days seem to go by so fast. All I know is that I get up in the morning and the next thing I know it is dark outside.

I did make it into Menomonie the other day and had some success at the art store. Needless to say it helps to have a college in town that specializes in some of the graphic arts. I’ll definitely return on a regular basis.

After the graphics stop I stopped and picked up a couple of yogurts at the co-op and then visited an excellent antique shop. Check out my amazing purchase.

When I got home I started on my art project. The Minneapolis Institute of Art holds an open exhibition once every ten years . The constraint of entries is that they must fit within a 12” x 12” box. I usually work at a much larger scale so this is a challenge for me. I’m also working with new materials – cloth and acetate with watercolor enhancements. The idea is good and I’m working out the details of construction and enjoying learning to work with different media.

Picked up some interesting fabric to incorporate into the art piece as well as a new Exacto knife as all of mine seem to be in hiding due to the move on an excursion to Eau Claire yesterday. One of my favorite things to do is perusing the aisles of a good craft or hardware store. Got my fill, Menards, Joann, Michaels and several others ate up close to five hours of my day. Needless to say I came home exhausted, but not so tired that I didn’t stay up until midnight working more on the art. 
Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Fog and Frost

Morning presented a gloomy yet picturesque fog, a portrait in grays, browns and muted greens. Makes it look a lot warmer than the thermometer’s 12 degrees. A light hoar frost moved in mid-morning as the fog was clearing providing a nice photo op.

The weather channel promises a high of 30 degrees which would be nice as I am still fighting with a driveway with several inches of ice. Yesterday I was able to free more than half of the ice away and have hopes today of finishing it off.

It’s a big day on our little street – garbage and recycle day. Especially for us as all the moving and IKEA boxes and more than a month’s worth of recycle (including a bit from the previous owner) was taken away in the gigantic recycle truck. It took the hauler quite a while to resort and load it into the proper compartments on the truck. Now we can start anew and keep the amount under control from this point forward.

Today I have hopes of getting into town to get some art supplies; however that will depend on how effectively I manage my time this morning.


Our new adventure began in early December when we purchased a modified A-frame on the Red Cedar River, just north of Menomonie, WI. Eventually this will be our main residence and we hope to find a pied-à-terre in Saint Paul once our house in the suburb sells.

We hosted the family Christmas celebration. Mother Nature was kind enough to provide us with a deep blanket of snow that provided hours of entertainment for teenagers and adults alike. The banner photo was taken on Christmas morning looking out from our kitchen.

The teenage girls thought the house was great because they could be in the loft and listen in on conversations throughout the house. We have no guest beds yet and the house was a sea of boat cushions, airbeds and air mattresses for the night. My son says it looked a lot like his cycling team trips – be careful you don’t step on someone’s face in the night.

A friend recently lent us the mini-series “A Year in Provence” saying it would either encourage us to spent an extended vacation in Provence or inspire a blog. I chose the later after viewing the first installment (Winter) and saw several striking similar experiences. For instance, pipes have frozen to our kitchen caused by lack of insulation; heat went out in our rental apartment that required a new thermostat and bleeding the radiators; and a clogged drain all within the first month. Yes, we are on first name terms with the local heating/plumbing establishment.

And so it begins….