Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Now is the hour...

It is time to throw up the white flag and surrender.  Perhaps I shall rise again to fight the good fight another day but until then...

I am molting!

All that hard work that chicks do, well, they need a few days (?) of downtime to restore their production levels and their fluffy good looks!  In my case I suspect it will take more than a few days as the Rooster is heading into retirement and supervisor of the hen yard, that he is,  he has some major revisions in mind!  I think it was the thought of him sticking his beak in my coop that has triggered the molt!  lol

The truth is that I have fallen behind on most fronts.  My journal/planner has been reduced to penciled scribbles, notes and overflowing piles of ephemera.  Thank goodness these new phones keep records of texts for what happened and when.  ;^)  I do plan to catch up and pretty them up.  Just not sure when.

The one constant is art school 101.  The kids come home with us Sunday and we do school Monday morning.  I am just luving our new program!

It takes 3 hours total and we can expand any of the basic segments into THE project.  We start with a timeline and add all kinds of interesting things to show where we came from, how parts of history influence art and where we are now.  Heck, I'm learning lots as well.
Then a short reminder of basic elements and art principles.  The nature journal is their homeschooling daily journal and we do show and tell and just review sketching or how to draw a bird info.  Then, RECESS!  The artist of the month follows. Did you know Dr. Seuss was an arttist?    The Project depends on what we want to focus on for the day and which they can work on while I get some kind of literature reading in.

  I intend to keep this format in future years as we can go back over the time line and focus on different things and also build on what we have learnt.   I am really quite pumped and find this even more exciting than the grand kiddies.

 I had started an 'who am I?'  journal at the beginning of the year.  I think it was the start of trying to figure out my creative self and the journey has had some amazing revelatory twists and turns.  I fully intend to hit this one hard in the year 2018.  I have learnt so very much about myself.

I have had good intentions but realize that sewing just isn't going to happen.  Perhaps the hiatus was necessary as I am starting to really yearn for sewing time and even bought a piece of quilting fabric while I was away.  This winter will likely see only hand sewing and I did get an online class for free form embroidery that intrigues me.

Part of the learning was my fashion mission.  I kinda felt this was vain and frivolous but creativity expressed in clothing reveals to others who I really am.  I've been delighted to see how art principles  apply just as effectively in the fashion world and overlap in many areas.

 We have been delighted with our young contractor as we build our new home.  His expertise and suggestions have made this such a fun project.   He 'gets' my vision and the Rooster's budget!

 We have been stockpiling pavers and the grand kiddies have been a tremendous help passing them down off the truck.

 The property is quite pretty and unspoiled.  The kiddies found a young pine that we've marked and it will be a worthy journal subject as we chronicle our time here and theirs.  :)

 We were comfortable to leave things in good hands as we took a trip out to see DD#1. We all watched Mr. Blandings Builds his Dream House with Cary Grant and Myrna Loy!  ;-O   Hubby was all about having a meal ready for the working girl to come home to and I caught up on the art scene from her trip to Paris! She had an amazing dvd on the works in the Louvre.  We had left in the first snowstorm of the year and came back to full blown winter.  But also rested and refreshed for the move from the old farm to the new town.
 I have been being creative.  I can testify that creativity isn't just an art room or even an art class option.  Embracing my 67 year old body and all the 'old rules' for what one can and cannot wear has required some creative clothing choices as I decide what I want to look like.  There have been dozens of design decisions for the house.  I have a pile of landscape books by my chair as the Rooster wants the landscape budget perfected.  Come January 1st we will need to get creative as we pack up 40 some years of stuff and transition from the farm life to small town living.  It won't be hard because every time we drive away from the property our smiles get bigger and bigger as we anticipate this new adventure.

And that brings me to goodbye.  I have enjoyed my blog and chronicling my creative journey.  I have grown and changed is more ways than even I realize.  I am so looking forward to my Rooster's retirement and our new home, our new LIFE!  I think this is a good place to end.  I'm not sure that I want to nor even can leave blogland.  But I won't be the country chick messing about with crafts under the bemused eyes of my farmer.  We will be doing life differently but definitely creatively!

Thank you for reading and being a part of my story.  Perhaps I'll see you in a book with a different title.

Blessings from elle

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Creative Catch up!

Every Monday I think about a blog post and every Friday I can't believe where the week went.  Now I am really dismayed to find out exactly how much time has actually passed.  It is not my intention to be one of those blogs that follow Alice down some rabbit hole!

My daily journal/planner has been reduced to scattered scraps of paper as things disappear.  Not down holes but under piles of stuff.   I can't say as this chaos makes creativity happen.  Certainly not my style of creativity.

I left off with an art lesson at the art gallery.  We are now back in school and I needed to do some kind of clean up.  The Rooster wants the computer down and more accessible so I took it from my work area and replaced it with accessible marking material.  Then the cleared space quickly refilled with 'possibles'!  Piles of paper have shifted to piles of a curriculum which has me tremendously excited.

But first:

The Rooster's genealogy genes have surfaced and that's why he wants an accessible research tool.  Knock, knock.  A Ukrainian bee keeper brought his bees for a visit.  Another learning experience for hubby as he tried to remember basic Ukrainian and the kiddies learnt about bees.   We also got chicks and the grand kiddies have even gotten in on their chores.

And back to his roots we are going.  The municipality honours the early Ukrainian settlers.
We will be spending our sunset years in the little town of Sundown.  That beautiful meadow the Rooster liked so much.  The papers are in our hands and we have chatted with the neighbours.  In fact we joined the line up for the Harvest Supper and met some more friendly people.

We have also signed with a young fellow to build us a small bi-level.  He has offered some helpful changes and he is as anxious to get started as we are.   I feel like we are on the same page and he understands our vision.  Next step is a general meeting of drillers and diggers and line men so we can place everything on the site.  It is unrealistic to anticipate every eventuality but we are doing our level to best to limit the 'we shoulda's!!!'.

So much of my creativity has been in tweaking the new house plan and figuring building placements and landscape generalities.  Once the shovel goes into the ground I shall take a few breaths before turning thoughts to paint colours.

In the meantime I am continuing my style journey.  I have my colours figured and the above is close but I need a bit softer.   A very exciting few months is coming up as the team is helping us discover our individual style.  This just resonates with me as I have been on the trial to discover me and the artist within.  It stalled because, well, it is scary.  awk!  Will I like me?  :)  But the community is so supportive and we are all wanting answers.  I'm excited as this will push the art 'me' out into the light a bit more.  One lady suggested I had perkinality. That's from Spanky and Our Gang!  I liked that.  So am I a naturally classic perkinality or a classic perkinality naturally?  lol 

A style club member suggested I look up an art program for students and it has just been amazing.  I blew the art budget and not on supplies.  Deep Space Sparkle is an amazing resource.  This isn't so much crafts as art.  And fun.  I want them (and me) to learn things.  We study artists!  And the themes  are not just pumpkins and valentines.  Specific lessons have about 7 different grade levels so I can simplify or step it up.   It is also literature based and the local library is most helpful!

I have changed things up and the grand kiddies come back Sunday with us.  Then Monday morning I have our breakfast, chores and plan for the day scheduled.  I can take them back that afternoon or give their mother a longer break.  I do things different from their mum and so this is my classroom and we do things my way.  Much better.  It also means I don't forget necessary supplies.  :O

School begins with our traditional, "If you are happy and you know it... clap, stamp, shout... then your art is gonna show it!"  Dog may have followed them to school  but was not included in the seating plan!

We then start with filling out a 6' time line on kraft paper where we added the first cave art and we'll end with current artists.  I have broken the 10 months into 10 main art periods, 1 artist per month. 

Second period is an art element for the month or an art principle.  We are starting with a dot that goes for a walk- a line.  Sparkle has lists of lessons focusing on line.  The cave drawings are all about line.

Then we drag out our nature journals.  We will focus on trees but the kids do this everyday at home and are making art tables and collecting bugs in jars, feathers and such for winter study!  I just keep the journals moving along.  Science and all is their mother's job.

Recess happens while I get ready for the second half.  pant, pant!

Our artist this month is Wasily Kandinsky.  I like his work and I don't know about the kids but I am learning lots.  He is Russian and the first abstract artist to get recognition.  I am hoping the story book, The Noisy Paint Box,  gets here before next Monday.  Though there is youtube!  lol

Our main project is where we get messy and make a related big project.  Crumpled kraft paper replicates cave walls.

Their mum has asked we include a folktale so I have a list and try to get that in while they work.  If not we can do it after lunch!

The yard, garden, and fruit trees have been amazing.  Kinda makes us wonder why we want to leave.  Then we had another wind storm and more shingles blew off the barn!  So we rolled up our sleeves for clean up and went right on downsizing!

I have been trying to revive my flagging baking skills!  Gluten free scones need lots of work but were edible, at least when warm.  I shall have to use my creative skills to tweak the recipe!   The cookies worked!  The wee town has a small post office and that is it.  We are 'going back to the land'!  sort of. 

And finally I am going to have to get creative with time.  The Rooster hasn't retired yet but we are glued at the hip when he is home so I need to be thinking how I can manage my blog life in the future.

So as the gals say in the style club comments and suggestions welcome!

Friday, July 28, 2017

Creative Instruction

Art 101  The grand kiddies are home schooled.  Their mother and I have a vision for the art program.  It is not about doing crafts which does not thrill me at all.  So I totally am on board with the art program including art history, nature studies/journaling, techniques and Understanding.  We all are learning as we go along.  A new year is approaching and the ideas are rolling in.  When I heard that Pablo Picasso was being featured at The Winnipeg Art Gallery,   The WAG , I did some research and thought we need to do this!  I have coveted a big gallery experience for them and kinda thought they might be a bit young.  The youngest, 5, did indeed think so as there wasn't a lot of colour in his palette and there were a lot of sketches which were hung at an adult's eye level.  :[  But we all enjoyed it so very much and learnt LOTS!

It is a very big experience for little art students and was totally kid friendly. 

 I am learning right along with my students.  We knew not to touch.   I was reading the questions specifically for kids  when Josh sat down on the platform.  Photos with no flash are okay.  A photo opportunity!!!   I 'felt' someone come to stand behind me as I talked about art to the kids and got my camera ready and the photo taken.  You now see a NO! NO!  The nice security man listened and smiled and then told me the platform is a buffer and not to be touched either!  oops.  But he was very nice as were all the staff.

Incidentally this is where understanding comes in.  Picasso was a master class artist and could do remarkably life like portraits by the time he was 14 years old.  But his intense passion was to do more than paint likenesses.  He wanted to paint what HE saw and what HE felt.  Above is a portrait of him, his wife, and his son.  Can you see three faces?   He spent most of his 91 years trying to unlearn the traditions and learn to paint like a child.  That resonates with me because if I want I can just use my camera to record images.  Portraying what I see and feel is an whole 'nother matter altogether.

The kids centre was wonderful.   In fact some adults tried things as well.   Framed glass was available to trace one's friends and make art.  Josh did Jolina and Eliana did me!

Then Josh got very busy.  We had spent time talking about lines and shape on a small painting we'd seen and he was replicating it from memory.  I was SO impressed.  He ran off to check and came back and confirmed it was the same!  ;^)

Picasso was very prolific and worked in many mediums. Jolina liked the pottery and plates best as they had more colour.   I had known that he also did collage, my and Eliana's favourite!

After a lovely roof top lunch and the sculpture garden we went to the permanent gallery.  Perhaps we should have gone there first at it portrays the history of art.  We will definitely be returning after we have studied that a bit more.

Eliana just lighted up when she saw the art supplies in the gift shop.  Jolina had a wish list as well.  Josh went for big works of art and surprisingly the jewelry!  He learned about big numbers! :/   But I wanted 'souvenirs' that would further our studies. These were for sharing but the 9 magnets are reminders but very easy for Jolina to copy.  The wee puzzle helps Eliana stop and see all the details.  The cards will provide details for Josh and also familiarize them all with artists and their works.  The book is a treat.  Very instructive and interactive, finishing with two sheets of collage parts.  I'll photocopy them for the young artists to practice with. ( and me ,too)   I just may have blown the art budget for the first trimester but...

Interestingly enough creativity overlaps into many areas of our life.  I am trying to find creative ways to clothe myself.  I bought some fashion books as well as art books.  I was amazed by Timeless Beauty which uses art as examples of how to create beautiful profiles and silhouettes!  It will spend as much time in the art room as it will my sewing room and closet!  And Mona Winks is a delightfully short but entertaining explanation of various museums which favour the certain eras. You kinda feel like you are there and  he is a hoot! 

I have learned  that grey is a good neutral for me and silver is such a great accessory.  I had thought glitter and  metallics were for the young girly girls. No!  It adds such highlights to our aging bodies.  I am a believer and I may not be a girly girl but I can sure be a senior with sparkle!   Now to find the perfect purse so I can spark some creativity!  The museum silk scarves were way beyond my budget, even with creative refiguring!  lol

Garden wise we have been trying to get everything lovely for next year and the new owners.  This year the blooms have been remarkable both on the trees and shrubs as well as the perennials.  This has been more practical instruction as I observe the length of time for the trees to reach maturity as well asthe  expansion tendencies of shrubs and perennials.  I'm taking note of favourites, (green /white variegation's) and pleasing groupings.  Maintenance levels are also dully noted!  And I don't think we'll be having any vines other than clematis.  The Rooster is right!  If they were once well behaved, they have left that stage far behind!  I am kinda excited to leave this one in good shape and turn to making another creation.

Instruction is always good, even constructive criticism.  It just helps us be that much more creative!

Monday, July 10, 2017

Complex Creativity

Summer should be spent in a comfy chair, on a deck by cool running water with some nice cold lemonade close at hand.

Not the case here by any means as we clock up the miles scouring the highways and byways and then returning to tackle the near and far corners of our current yard.

First up, the Rooster has fallen in love with 5 acres of meadow in a wee town.  Just houses, 2 churches (graveyards), a community hall and a post office in some one's porch.  But it is looking most promising!  The site is a lush wildflower meadow and the trees/bush are on the perimeter.  It has what us flatlanders call a hill!  lol  See those round bales on it!  That would be a good place for a house.  Which leads me to my first creative endeavour that doesn't involve any of my messy supplies.

As a young fiancee, my Rooster promised me a new house!  It just hasn't been something I have held him to but he can't help mentioning that it may take 50 years but...  We'll see.  Way too many options but I do know what we like and how we actually do life.  So from 3 plans to a few tweaks on the favourite and then will be the tally!

Since the actual house plan went fairly smoothly I began to think about the outside.  I did take a landscape course way back when.  I have managed to save the best resources and went to hunt them from the depths of the book closet!  Oh, FUN!!!   This will give us lots of things to talk about during those cold winter months.   The trick will be to contain our enthusiasm to match our energy and resources!

My very favourite book is Outside the Not so Big House.  I am putting all kinds of sticky notes on the page edges!  I do like the 'not so big' concept.  The Rooster is particularly interested in the maintenance aspect!  lol

While our house is sold we will maintain the yard until we have our own place secured.  So we have been making sure all the grass is cut and trimmed.  Sadly the young trees that were to protect the big barn roof didn't survive the winter/spring turn over, except one (?),  but everything else is lush and almost too bountiful.

Remember the blue coop?  That was from that landscape course brainstorming!  And it is off in a far corner!  :/

I am still thoroughly enjoying the 40+ style club.  This month is colour and we are encouraged to get creative with our neutrals and our colour combinations.  I am a cool winter, and a low to medium contrast.  I do have an odd pull to warm colours and since colour can be complicated I wondered if this gal, ColorBreeze,  might have something to add.  She bases her concept on Albert Munsell's colour tree which totally resonates with me as I like his colours.

 Wouldn't this make a great colouring page for the grand kiddies!

Another fascinating fashion tool is beauty bundles!  Since I adore making up vignettes, this totally captivates me.  Who knew one could make an whole outfit around choosing a few items from a beauty bundle.  Pick your favourite neutral and get creative!  I don't have a lot of red so scooped up some beads to make some creative accessories!

At the bridal shower we attended over the weekend  they had props for taking fun photos.  The girls picked their favourite beauty bundles!

And of course their mother is planning for next year's home school curriculum and wants a staff meeting with the art department!  moi!   Jolina (5) just had a birthday and wanted art supplies.  While I drove her home she was busy opening things and trying them out!  She has been my keenest art student and her official school start is this fall so I need to come up with lots of creative projects.

And one last photo to remind us all to stop and smell the roses even when summer is at its busiest and most creative!  pst!  Those are lilies and smell heavenly!  The white roses are way at the end and the very last ones beat the lilies hands down for fragrance!   :)