Sunday morning it was bright and clear and blowing like snit from the north-west. I know this because I heard it all night at my mother's house, sleeping in the other bedroom. Her dog tried to tell me something in the middle of the night, but since we agreed it wasn't about my mom's health, we both went back to sleep again.
You can just barely make out the swirly wind shapes I was drawing on the image. I printed it onto a cheap vellum paper, and stitched it into the book. This is the end of Book 2.
For Book 3 I was thinking about February, and Valentines and pink, and then I wondered what the opposite of pink might be. If you have suggestions, leave them in the comments! The first page looks like this:
I printed this image onto printer-ready canvas – I think a coating is what makes it printer ready – and then stitched in the spruce tree behind the big sycamore. I realized a while ago that my threads for evergreens in winter are not the right set of colors, I needed more that were grayer, and less green and even dustier. This was a test of one of the new evergreen colors.
Today I went back to the cheap vellum paper, and tried gluing it down with semi-gloss acrylic medium. Which sounds like an incomplete idea, but if you think of medium as the stuff that carries color in paint, then you realize that acrylic medium is basically acrylic glue/varnish/texturizer (the uses are many). Using it as glue produced some crinkling and buckling in the paper, and a certain amount of color smearing, but it could be worth exploring further.
Many things have gone right today: Aerin and I found the bassoon guy after a very twisty drive into the edge of Boston. We got home from that safely too. I found my camera. I bought a new faucet for the kitchen sink, and removed the old one, and installed the new one, and with Red Kate's help even managed to remove the old sprayer spigot and replace it with the new one. I found a bunch of pieces for the Music Man set that will get built next weekend. I also have enough budget for a lot of them.
So here is yesterday's piece – a transparent piece on the back of the previous day's piece. I like the way the image is visible and less so depending on the intensity of the gesso that bled through the fabric.
Today's was one more reason I am mighty. I used an opaque transfer, and I wanted some of a transparent transfer over the top of it. So I ironed the transparent transfer face down on the opaque transfer…. and it STUCK. ARGH!! I tried to peel it off, and Red Kate tried to peel it off, and we agreed maybe water might help, and IT DID. (mighty, I tell you what!)
The end result is very misty and mysterious, and might still have a thin layer of paper over the top, but at least the image is visible. Which is better than I hoped for originally. (Really. I had a picture of the blank white back of the transfer paper, with pathetic little rips along the edges, all ready to post because I had already accomplished so much today I was willing to let that go. And then: win!!)
Negative results are still results, and these two are good examples of refining ideas and making them work. I wanted to try transparent transfers onto fabric prepped with gesso. Yesterday's had a seam in it, so the contact with the iron was spotty, meaning it didn't peel well.
Today's I tried putting the transfer down on the gesso while it was still wet (experimentation plus impatience) and ironed over the whole wet mess. I think the bubbly bits in the center were where the gesso steamed as it was cooling, and failed to stick to the transfer.
And I cannot find my camera, so these are taken with my phone. Which, when I say it that way, makes it kind of amazing, that my phone has a good enough camera to take pictures of what I'm doing, so I can edit them a little and post them here.
In other news: cold. Really, really cold, plus wind chill.
Sunday the snow from the night before was still stuck on the branches and telephone wires – it didn't start to fall off until the wind picked up. Or until the squirrel galloped across the phone wire, that brought a lump of snow onto my head when I was not expecting it. This is white paint pen (from Sharpie) sketching in the snow on the trees.
This one is an attempt to show how the weather came in from the west, high and fine at first, and then lower and gray.
A friend and I clipped some of the winter coat off the red mare, so she wouldn't get so hot exercising. One of the other women in the barn asked what kind of meany clipped a horse before the temperature plummetted? While we were working, the wind picked up and the snow started. I left her wearing her thick blanket, and I probably have to go find a midweight one so she doesn't get too cold…
Honestly, there are days I feel like this book is nothing more than a weather report: today it snowed, it was pretty.
I took the simplest of Margaret's suggestions (I know the toothpaste was a joke, but I did think about it for a minute, because Aerin's is blue with sparkles, and Alice's is faintly pink and I wondered what that would look like) and used gesso with a toothbrush to spatter snowflaky speckles on silk organza. What is harder to see is the white pen indicating snow on the branches of the tree underneath, which I was quite pleased with.
I was experimenting with plastic bags to impose distance again. I drew on them with marker in long sweeps.
I wonder what it looks like if I sew on them?
What I like about this image is how it looks old, and battered, and almost like a fresco on the fabric. I ironed one image down (onto silk, which is why there is that sheen underneath the image) and then tried to iron a second over the top. The result looks exactly the way I feel, so it could be accounted successful.
I also started a new larger piece, inspired by all the fog and rain and veils of water in the atmosphere over the last couple weeks. One small piece of it looks like this:
Open fields on a hillside. A lot more will happen to this.
All the winter's weather is happening right now, all at the same time. I woke up to bucketing rain, drove to the barn in fog, and freezing fog (a whole new level of dreadful driving) and while I was there it warmed up 1o degrees to simply mist, alternating with stair rods of rain. A very impressive display.
I spent most of the drive up and back composing doggerel regarding the things in the other seasons I wish for when I'm in this one, and the drawbacks I forget about the other season.
This piece is everything, all at once. The underlying image transfer and a layer of silk organza, stitched in long vertical lines to indicate rain, with a layer of plastic bag with drawing on it, topped with a last layer of silk organza. I like the way the plastic glimmers through the organza.
Today was so much warmer, we were talking about it being distinctly balmy at the barn. A degree over freezing!! Break out the bathing suits?
Driving home, the sun was shining from one part of the sky and snow was sifting slowly down through the branches of the trees next to the road. The snow was stuck to the tops of all the branches too, so everything was strongly shaded, bright on top, deep dark wet bark colored below.
I tried two layers of plastic bag for this one, with white paint dotted onto each layer. Margaret very kindly offered a series of useful suggestions for snowflakes, including paint, gesso, glitter glue and toothpaste. I'll try gesso and a toothbrush tomorrow, but probably not toothpaste because it is water soluble.
Today was much warmer; all the way to just below freezing!
Thursdays are peaceful for me; I have lunch with Al, I have a Theater Tech meeting, and then I go home and do a good deal of nothing.
I was interested in trying a method to show how shiny and icy the ground is. I stitched a piece of plastic bag over an opaque transfer, and used marker to accentuate the shape and color of the tree. I think I can experiment with stitching on the plastic as well.