Monday, January 31, 2011

Listen To Your Teacher

 To paint a rose correctly, is tricky, almost impossible but if you remember the center is darker than the outside layers, it can be done. Mine will not look like yours and yours probably won't look like mine, but it is still a rose. I remember this from Alberta Fensky. Her class was filled with roughly twelve women on an evening in November of 1992. Alberta talked out of the side of her mouth and one of her eyes squinted almost shut when she talked. I never saw her with a cigarette but maybe she kept them in the car next to the stuffed fake man she kept in the front seat so that nobody would bother her on her way home.

 She didn't like students coming late to class. I painted flowers at my house with whatever brushes I had on hand and even used Q-tips. Alberta had a list of brushes with numbers, so precise, I was going to learn much! Thirty or so minutes into the class, Barbara, another student who had shown her work in galleries raised her hand and before Alberta could call on her said, "this is not the way to paint a rose! You should start with a flat brush." That started a small chain reaction of negative comments from the other students. Without blinking an eye, Alberta calmly wobbled to the front of the room, slammed a book on the table and said, "this is the Fensky way and I am your teacher, Alberta Fensky! Thank you for taking my class."

 I still don't know how to paint a rose like hers, but I know how to respect other people's positions. There are times to be a student and times to be the teacher.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

President's Prayer

 Thank you God that I am not the President of anything larger than myself.
 My pillow is soft, the bed warm. Sleep will come easily, again.
 Thank you God for those who are braver than me to be President.
 Bless and keep them safe from harmful words that rob their sleep.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quilting Memories For A Snowy Day

Old Lady Clanahan 1984 clay 3 inches tall
       (I sold this piece to a woman in San Francisco, Ca for $45 at a time when I needed the money)
     Old lady McClanahan lived to the left of my parents' house in a shack.( That is what my brother and I thought) The house was layered with grey roof shingles, front, sides, back and roof. A puff of smoke shot straight up from the middle with a little front porch where she would sit in the hot summers, a pan of ice and a white wash cloth to cool her face and arms. I never knew anyone as fat as old lady McClanahan. Her skin was pinkish and her underarms shook like jello when she'd yell to my baby sister, "hey Rosie gal! come to old Clanahan!"clapping her hands together. She definitely had her favorites and I was not one of them. Once, I was invited inside her house that smelled like perfumy face powder, and a potpourri of questionable scents. There wasn't a toilet to use other than the outhouse in the backyard or a flowered pan that she kept under the bed. Her living room was cramped and hotter than anything I had experienced with an air that was humid and hard to breathe.

  The coke she offered me sat untouched next to her shoe boxes. One by one, she opened the lids, displaying hundreds of small bits of fabric from her dead husband's clothes. I was supposed to put the thread through a needle and she would watch me sew two pieces of fabric squares together. When she had enough, the fabric would be sandwiched between layers of old towels and more fabric on the back. It seemed like the biggest waste of time and the thought of sleeping with a dead man's clothes creeped me out enough to stay away from her. When you're nine, time flies and details are lost so I don't remember what happened to old lady McClanahan. She called me an old maid when I came home from high school and that was probably the last time I ever spoke to her.

  Eventually, my interest in quilting consumed my art. It was fun sewing memories together from old pieces of clothing. Last night it snowed eight inches and I turned to my quilts for comfort. All are hand stitched, some took twenty years to become finished. My house is cozy warm, an apple pie sits on the counter mingling scents with the nag champa incense that burns in my studio space. Before I tackle another project, I need to call my sons. Geesh, if they'd only get married, I wouldn't worry so much! I'm sounding more and more like an old lady.
              "I don't like that man much, guess I'd better get to know him." ~Abraham Lincoln

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wolf Moon 2011


                                                       "The world closing in
                                                            did you ever think
                                                     that we could be so close, like brothers.
                                                           The future's in the air
                                                          I can feel it everywhere
                                                      Blowing with the wind of change.
                                                                               ~Scorpions. Wind of Change

    The snow fell soft and fast today, covering every thing it touched. It's a Wolf moon according to Native American folklore and the first full moon of 2011. She hides tonight behind a blanket of lavender sky and I don't blame her, it's cold out! There are no wolves here howling for warmth, I hope my stray cats are comfortable under the golf green and that there will be enough fresh vegetables in the fridge to keep me home tomorrow. Nothing is making a sound outside, nothing at all. What a contrast to the chatter that went on in the world today.

  Can you feel the wind of change that is here? People are waxing and waning, losing jobs, moving, ending friendships. Our world has left the year of the Tiger and is now entering the year of the Rabbit. People are also waking up to themselves. Feeling the need to live a more authentic and passionate life. Little miracles sprouting out of discomfort. One of my soul sisters told me today that there are four unusual dates this year.

   1/1/11...1/11/11...11/1/11...and 11/11/11...take the last two digits of the year you were born, plus the
age you will be this year and it will equal 111. Pretty cool. Year of the Rabbit. The Universe is whispering that there are no accidents. We are meant to Be, uniquely us. Do the math, we are all ONE!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Goodbye Old Year

                   A.D. 1700 - 1900

     A presence strange at once and known
        Walked with me as my guide.
     The skirts of some forgotten life
         Trailed noiseless at my side.

     Was it a dim-remembered dream
         Or glimpse through eons old?
      The secret which the mountain kept.
         The river never told.
                                               J.G. Whittier
                                               (A Mystery)

    Good bye old year! You were an ok friend. Sadly, I think I took you for granted. Didn't notice how fast you would come and go. Pieces of you feel like a past life memory and other parts of you still cling like a broken record. Thanks for the learning and thanks for the fun but I am looking forward to the new one! 2011, wow!