I had hoped to be able to show you that I am painting, or at least, experimenting with paint, but they are harder to photograph than I expected, so instead I give you a travelogue.
This is the view out my mother's back door, over Plum Island Sound and north over the Parker River marshes. It is inspiring.
Monday was one of those shriekingly lovely days that comes after the wind has blown all the cobwebs out of the corners and all the remaining leaves off the trees. For us, the winds peels out of the north-west, and howls around the corners of houses and whistles through branches and makes whitecaps on the marsh and on medium sized puddles. The wind was still blowing, but it didn't feel as though anything not firmly anchored was headed for Spain.
Great Kate and I took artwork to the Crane Estate in Ipswich for their show and sale. We picked up my mother, who told us things about the house (it is more of a mansion, and just shy of a castle) and the people who used to live in it. We all marveled at what it might have been like to live like that, with an army of staff to look after the hosue and grounds and people.
On the long and winding road up the hill to the big house, there was a view, and a weird tree with extravagantly lumpy greeny-yellow things on the ground. Since my mother and I both have no dignity, we stopped the car and grabbed a couple, to ID later. Great Kate reached a computer before we did, and told us it is Osage orange, which is not actually an orange at all.
To my delight, it was probably eaten by mammoths, mastodons and giant ground sloths, before those megafauna became extinct. It smells lovely, and makes me laugh every time I look at it.
And thus we segue from mammoth food to mammoth costumes. This is the underneath of the mammoth trunk, and the top is furry and perfect, and it is now time for me to continue working towards the tail and finish the skull, ears and leggings for the occupants of the costume.
The rocks at the northern tip of Crane's Beach, looking across to Plum Island. It was taken last winter, when I was visiting my mother and walking her dog on the off-leash part of the beach. It was COLD, I tell you what, and the wind was stiff.
I am particularly pleased with the subtlety of the foot prints, and the ice encroaching. From another photo taken the same day.
And then there's the final mammoth's trunk - a series of circles separated with increasing numbers of beads. It has the perfect swing. I am going to waste a happy hour or so tomorrow glueing strips of fabric on the edges of each circle, and it will be perfect.
After staring at the small mammoth (is that oxymoronical?) I made a head for the two person mammoth for the upcoming show. The next steps are to get a layer of padding and fabric over it, and settle on the construction of the trunk.
I finally started work on the Crane Estate sale works. I am stumped by the current map-like view of the marsh, so I started this one today. It is from a photo I took on my mother's back step, looking north and east, across Plum Island Sound and the marshes behind it.
I had to spend some time dyeing the fabric for sky and water in the marsh, but I am pleased with the way this came out so far.
I was surprised at how many subdued fabrics I chose for the base layers in this piece. So I compensated by making most of the threadwork more intense than usual. Alice likes this one. I like Mt Warner there in the very background - a tiny hill anywhere except around here, where it looms over the very flat floodplain!
I seem to be developing a good habit, to my surprise. Frequently I get stuck and can't figure out what to do next. I used to sit and read for an hour or so, to let things in my head settle, and then try to go back to work, which wasn't very effective. Now I take a break and work on something that made me happy the last time I did it.
I loved the moonlight on the ocean the last time, but I added too much thread. So this time I tried it smaller, and have more clouds and some trees. I was thinking of Maine when I was working.
I know, it doesn't look like this now. But things change so quickly around here! And fall really IS coming; Alice and I, the polar bears in our family, have been enjoying cooler weather and snuggling into sweatshirts in the morning, paired with basking in the sun around lunch time.
I have a second fall piece in the works, possibly a third. Whatever is finished before September 20th I'll take up to Grow Gallery. The it's time to focus on finishing up work for the Crane Estate art show and sale.
We had a week of sunsets like this while we visited my brother and his wife and their son. (In my opinion th ebest nephew in the world. Please don't tell me otherwise!) We rented a house on the hill, so we could see over Manana and into the west - the views were expansive, but the sunsets were particularly lovely.
Once we got home, it was time to get the big one organized across the river to college. It was easier this year, and will probably easiest next year, when we've had all that practice. She's carrying two orange codas and a bag of cookies to thank her dad for carrying her.
And the day after that, school started for the other one. Alice is looking rather more awake here than is usual for this time of day. The excitement of the first day of school clearly got her moving more quickly than usual.
I'm designing sets for the fall production at school. We are doing Skin of Our Teeth, the Thornton Wilder play that isn't Our Town. I spent a happy morning making 1/8 scale models of spiral stairs, turning triangles that I keep thinking of as trilithons, and people sized blobs. Since everyone works better with something concrete in front of them, I glued this together so the directors and I can talk about possibilities and exactly HOW big those spiral stairs are...
And that's what I've been up to lately. I'll talk more about the Holyoke show soon.