Monday, November 16, 2020

Adaptations Series is Complete

 Greetings All

Wanted to share with you my final two pieces from a series of work I have called Adaptations. It is based on an issue that started two years ago with my eyes and has brought me to a new reality.

All five pieces are mounted on a 9 x 12" acrylic painted board and involve the use of mixed media materials along with more traditional fibers. The works are meant to be viewed in the order you see below and each deals with a particular adaptation I personally developed or acquired from another source. 

Eyes Shut



Artificial Tears

Prism Sticker

Prism Sticker was the final adaptation that has led me to where I am today. Given the reality of this year and the adaptations we've had to make with the change we confront, I imagine there is more ahead for all of us.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Imagine That, Landscapes

Greetings to all that still have an urge to head to blogs. I've been struggling with motivation the past few months. I know I'm not alone, many talk about monotony, lethargy, motivation. There are up and down days, but hey, I'm living a life.

water soluble marker on text

Lately I'm not around many people so I've turned to landscapes. If you know my work you are no doubt surprised as I've focused on people for most of my life. I haven't deserted people, I'm just waiting for them to enter my life once again.

10 epi, 6 inches wide from above sketch

In the meantime birds and land have been my focus. Landscape is a daunting and I'm grateful for this new challenge. I'm looking more closely at my surroundings, listening to the songs the birds are singing each morning.

inspired by the view of my neighbors yard

Many good teachers before me have said, spend more time looking than doing and that has become important in my landscape investigations.

Who knows where it will lead?

Friday, April 17, 2020

Coronavirus Diaries

Well we all know what's been on our minds the past few months. No matter where you live.

In the corona spirit I offer a blog based on my sketchbook, images I've drawn for the past month based on my experience living a life at this time. I'll begin with some happy news, I had two sketches published in the New York Times.

Before Quarantine...

After Quarantine
And yes, I was in Spain.
Before I elaborate, the link for this article, entitled Coronavirus Diaries by Amelia Nierenberg is

The big idea is how people record their lives and there are a variety of examples, check it out! I'm excited.

I arrived in Spain on March 11 to visit my daughter for 3 weeks. Four days later a State of Emergency was declared and we were in quarantine. The vacation was not what I expected but offered me a unique opportunity to record my life at a very unusual time. And really, the fact I draw kept me going. It still does.

Take a look at a few of my sketches from this time period.

I take off from O'Hare, the virus has just begun to appear on people's radar

When the government declared the emergency - and they are still in quarantine as I write this - my sketching switched to what was inside.

I was lucky, my daughter has a nice terrace to expand the view

and of course the sink....

We all know how much I love laundry....

And then there was practicing perspective, oh so challenging on those streets.

And then it was time for all US citizens to go home. The airport was empty, there were 80 people grouped from several flights flying back to O'Hare.
What an unusual experience, ok, I don't need to repeat it, but still, it's all here in my sketchbook.

And now, back in Madison.

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Last Panel, Hallway Transitions

It's hard for me to believe that this is my final piece I'm working on for my series Substitute Tales. I've just started the third and final panel for Hallway Transitions, part of this series. Earlier in the week I worked a day in a middle school and was pleased to think of my weaving as I moved through the sea of people in the halls.

I think I'm on the right track.

Now I just need to keep weaving to meet my self imposed March deadline.

This is the cartoon I sketched to size using a thick black crayon and marker. You also see panel 1 already woven and hanging below, panel 2 which you can't see, hangs below that one. All are pinned to a black foam core and used as reference as I weave.

10 epi warp, 8 inches wide

The tissue paper at the right is what I slip behind the work to make sure I'm on track and relating to the cartoon. Note that I like to work improvisationally as I weave yet I do want it to relate to the original sketches.

As of today I am midway through the second lens of the glasses heading toward person #2.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Hallway Transition Series Panel 2

This morning I began work on the 3rd person in my second panel of the series I call Hallway Transitions.

Do you remember panel 1?

8 inches wide on the loom, 10 epi

There will be 3 panels woven to complete the work on my idea of substitute teaching in the Madison School District, an era that is coming to a close.
So I better get weaving.

What follows is progress on the second panel. I spent quite a bit of time in August dyeing yarns for this to make colors that might be read as neutrals but just a bit more lively. This second panel has more evident color sneaking back in, but that can happen in the halls of a high school.

this image shows a much yellower effect than the one below

Note that although these are all taken out on the deck you will see the colors shift in the first student. These are based on a violet/yellow combination that is quite prone to these shifts depending on the quality of light with which you are you are viewing.

leaves fell on the snow on Halloween

A bit of a chameleon effect I rather like.

Hope to get news to you again shortly on my progress. Wisconsin is cooperating by giving us an early winter, gardening is over.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Tapestry Weavers Create More Portraits

And have fun doing it, at least I hope so...

Mid September I revisited Lost Arts Fiber and Textile Studio in Waukesha , WI for a 3 day workshop entitled Tapestry Portraits from Photographs. Nancy Wilson, owner of the Studio, and I decided to change it up a bit this year and purposefully use photos as resource for our weavings. Pets were an option.

I think all 10 of the participants can agree with me that this was an intense workshop. Most came with looms warped and had some experience, but not all. I'm especially proud of my first time tapestry weavers, they were not deterred and returned each day ready to go.

The results were quite remarkable.

one of my first time weavers and look at the results below

he really captured the essence of his wife in this

Sam cat begins to emerge

Alice the dog with her doggles in a motorcycle side car...try that!

I bet you know what inspiration this weaver used

an illustrator used to drawing tries tapestry for the first time

a face woven on the diagonal - yikes, always hard

As with anything new, I reflected on what worked, what would needed to be changed. I have always had an aversion to photos and cartoons in my classes, I find students become too clingy, wanting to never put them aside to see where the weaving process is taking them. Photos can set you up for failure if you don't think through your interpretation.
Change and adaptation must happen.

But these 10 artists were good sports, did not give up...even when I nagged at them.

After all, as I like to say, art is hard.

Of course I arrived the night before so I could hang out at the local laundromat and do a couple sketches. Each place has it's own flavor, this was quite the find.

Tuesday, September 3, 2019

Summer Dyeing, Revamped Website and Laundry Sketches

It's official, Summer's Over....well at least Labor Day has passed...and when the kids start walking to school around here, I figure it's time for me to get into fall mode.

remember this project? remember the snow?

It was a delightful summer, Wisconsin weather behaved itself far better than last year so my dyeing efforts have been quite pleasant. I focused on some yarns I needed for upcoming workshops and the Almost Neutrals I will need to complete the final 2 pieces of Substitute Tales. These are the barely green, barely blue, slightly mauve. Very difficult colors to achieve, trust me.

I've revised and streamlined my website and the most exciting part is I've added a page of Laundry Sketches. Head over here and see them all together, it puts a smile on my face and I hope the same will happen to you.

Summer weaving focused on a new workshop I'm teaching at Lost Art Fiber Studio near Milwaukee called Tapestry Portraits from Photographs. I've enjoyed the chance to think about how I approach using photos which I do, but with great caution.

It was delightful to weave all three samples from photos of my daughter.

A better model you could not ask for.

How was your summer? I'm hoping you stayed creative and continue to do so this fall.