Sketch Booking It

If I hurry a little bit, I get to be part of the Memphis Rozelle Artist’s Guild Sketchbook 2012 Project that opens on March 2:

I’ve already missed the deadline to get in the catalog but I’ve got til Thursday to get it in the mail.  To help me along in finishing it, the universe sent me a lovely cold so that I feel like sludge.  Should I draw a sludgy slug?  I wanted to do a nice themed journal about Memphis memories but it wound up going all over the place.  It did, however, give me a nice venue to process some feelings about my mom dealing with dementia.  Here are some sample pages.

One thing I really like about keeping a sketchbook or art journal is how you can see how different moods and events impact your drawing style.

The Rozelle Artist Guild show is a non-juried one, very democratic that gives it an exuberant quality.  My husband likes to say life is what happens when you’re making other plans.   I plan to get this finished in the next two days.  It’s only 16 pages, for goodness sakes.  I’ll let you know what happens.

Moving and drawing

I’ve found drawing to be a nice sort of meditation during these days before I move.  I’m going to have a much smaller studio space but a much bigger heart and head space.  All my life I’ve doodled and talked about drawing. Now at 51, I need to start walking my talk.

Metallic ink & colored pencil

I have a bit of mixed feeling about my skills, so I figure one good thing about having a blog is that it can give me a deadline.  I can go ahead and show my work, and get over it, so I can move forward.  I’m posting these ink and pencil drawings because I had such fun doing them — the repetition of pencil strokes and pen lines are strangely (and wonderfully) soothing.  Tone and texture builds up and suddenly my scribbles actually describe something — for better or worse.

pencil interpretation of Claudia Nice's ink drawing

I’m heartened by all the art journals that are now posted on line.  When I get through moving, I think I’ll do some posts directly from my journal — bad handwriting and all.  There’s a certain magic homeliness to hand written script now that our lives are drenched with technology.  I’m not trying to make any big statements with my art right now, but I do believe that the arts — writing, music, stories, drawing, and painting — are democratic and an asset in every life.  It shouldn’t be left entirely to professionals.  We see a lot of beautiful and skilled work in our lives and it makes us feel we can’t possibly do it.  But by not learning to use the arts as amateurs, we deny our souls these avenues of communication.  Even if my art is scribbly and off-key, it provides me with a way of describing life and seeing it better.  And it’s fun.

ink tree

Let yourself have some fun today.

Dragon Draft

I think I’ve created a pretty good design for my dragon.  The hardest part was the head and it went through several manifestations before I got one that seemed powerful but friendly.  This is a Seeing Eye Dragon who will accompany a visually impaired woman in a fabric sculpture I’m creating called “Shared Vision.”

It’s for the show A Somewhat Secret Place: Art and Disability.  The show will open on July 7th at PRESENTspace at 939 NW Glisan here in Portland, Oregon.  There is still an active Kickstarter campaign going on to help with expenses and to produce a new kind of book that will make the exhibit accessible to visually impaired art lovers.  The curator and visionary behind the show is a visually impaired artist and I think her work on this exhibit has the capacity to influence how art shows are put together in the future.  But it’s a pretty expensive process and the deadline is closing in, so we need all the help we can get. Check out the Kickstarter campaign here: 

I will have three pieces in the show.  My art is almost always about the physical challenges and transformations of life.   I’m very excited about the Shared Vision piece, which I am creating specifically for this exhibit.   While making it, I sometimes take off  my glasses and just work in the blur.  I want to make this a very touchable piece.   I plan to do the title for the piece in “braille” done in french knots.

I wanted to make the service animal a dragon because it symbolizes a mythic sense of power.  I want this piece to be about the power of symbiotic relationships and how our vision is shaped not only by what we see but how we see it.

Like all my dolls and cloth sculptures, I’m starting with an idea and figuring out how to put it together.  I’ve researched how stuffed animals are made and even made a pretty awful alligator from a a pattern.  I didn’t even photograph it and I blame the pattern.  But here, at last, is a pretty good “draft” or prototype of the dragon.  This is without wings or spikes and I’ll probably fatten it up and lengthen the tail, but this is the basic pattern.  It’s going to be a combination of a Western and Eastern dragon, as well as having some canine attributes.

Enter the Draft Dragon

Her face is detailed with markers here but the visionary dragon will have beaded and embroidered eyes and a painted mouth.

Dragon Head

And these are the main fabrics I’ll be using — a pearlized gold with green contrasts.

Dragon fabric

This visionary dragon will take approximately 40 hours to construct and I’ll try to post it at various stages over the next week.  Then I’ll build her visually challenged companion.

Meanwhile, here’s the website of another artist who will be participating in the show.  I love the work of Pat Krishnamurthy who has a wonderful range of styles.  I love that she uses quilts as an inspiration and blends together fragments into singular pieces.  She has a great sense of color and story and her Archetypes for Aging series is vibrant and compelling.