Silk Flags of Surrender

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Iris Flag (dye on silk, 15 x 26)

Colorful dyes flow onto the beautiful silk and I set them with an iron as music plays in the background. Then the frustration begins. I carefully sew the hem at the top and bottom of the flag with my sewing machine, then tear it out because thread snarls up underneath and the stitches have jumped randomly about. And yes, I have tried all the tension adjustments (on the machine and in my mind) and I have put a piece of paper under the fabric to give it stability. Since sewing is one of my least favorite things to do, this has brought an end to making these flags and a beginning of a new use for the machine as a boat anchor. If you happen to have a suggestion for a friendly sewing machine, I might reconsider.  For now, this is the end and I feel a huge sense of relief. Would you like to see the other three flags?

Painting Sunshine in the Dark

Pink Cactus Flower, 9x9 watercolor

Our body, even our soul seems to crave sunshine. In Alaska, we are in the dark part of the year now. Here in my studio I can work under artificial light, but it isn’t the same as the intense brightness and warmth of the sun streaming though the windows. In an attempt to bring sunshine into my studio, I’m painting a series of cactus flowers, glowing in the Arizona sun.  I hope it brings a little sunshine into your day as well.

Warm and sunny thoughts during this Thanksgiving week.

The Moon Shone Down

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Yesterday, I went shopping. The nearest store is fifty miles away, but the scenery is beautiful. We’ve had several snow storms so the sunshine was bright and sparkling.

On the way home, I stopped several times to photograph the full moon. I took this photo at Long Lake, just as darkness started to close in. It was a sad moment because to my left is the site of an accident that occurred a few days ago. A young mother and her two children lost their lives and although I didn’t know them, our small community feels the loss and we freshly face the danger of driving this road.

What dangers do you face and yet keep going?

Enter the Dark

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I’ve lived in Alaska for years, yet the quantity of darkness always sneaks up on me. Every November I mumble, “It’s so dark…” We are fifty miles from the nearest street light and it feels as if the darkness sucks the light right out of the headlights. When the sun peeks out above the mountains, I grab my camera and coat-usually just the camera. Snow fell this week, then the sun came out. Cool.

Scribbles in the Shade

Arizona Sketchbook

Not so long ago, sketching was an unpleasant experience for me. I would  look at what I had drawn and wonder if these scribbles would ever look like an adult had done them. They were scary. I will still make some initial marks on the paper and say, “Oh, my…,” and start over. An amazing thing about drawing is that the more I do it, the more pleasurable it becomes. It is as if I haven’t really “seen” a place until I sketch it. My favorite sketching tool is a pen with watercolor washes.  I sketched these in Arizona last month in the late afternoon when the sun was blazing down on the front of the condo and we sat in the shade out back. These are fifteen minute sketches, or however long it takes to sip a glass of iced tea.