Sunday Seven

Oh, hello, blog.  It is hard for me to know where to get started, so jumping in with seven things I have been doing or thinking about…

My perfect cat!  Toby is tiny and interesting, and at times a real shit.  But I am his favorite person.  Every morning he snuggles next to me on my pillow.  Such a small thing, but makes such a big difference in my happiness level.  Here are some pictures of Mr. Perfect.

Seasonal quilts!  The feeling of time is accelerating.  Weeks, months, seasons whip by.  I an attempt to try and mark the passing of time, I am planning to switch the quilt hanging in my dining room.  So far there has been Valentine’s Day and Spring.  Not sure what I am going to do yet for Summer.

Deadlifts!  I love them – and have a goal of doing them every day for the next seven days, and eventually being able to deadlift 120 lbs.  I couldn’t sleep last night and was at the gym by 5 AM cranking Beyonce and deadlifting.  I can’t imagine better music to deadlift to.   I have not picture of me deadlifting; however, this is an image of the type of contraption I use for deadlifting.   A hexagon-like thing.

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Baby Quilts!  First, I know TWO people who are having girls.  The string of baby boy quilts is broken.  I love baby boys, but am anxious to make some baby girl quilts.  I have gotten really, really bad about remembering to take and post finished pictures of baby quilts.  I know of at least two that have been completely undocumented and one that has been unreported.  That lunacy stops down.  I mean if I haven’t posted a picture of a completed quilt, did it even really get made.  Below is a WIP baby quilt, with a grumpy cat posing by it.

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And this is a quilt that I finished last year and didn’t report on.  I don’t have a picture of the completed quilt, just the quilt top.

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Cable.  I was hip.  I had severed the ties to the man, specifically the man in the form of cable.  I had Netflix, Amazon, Sling, HBO Now, Hulu.  But we spent so much time trying to find where who had what to watch that I was going a little crazy.  And I couldn’t just watch an episode of Ellen Degeneres or The Rachel Maddow show without commercials or when I wanted to.  Which I could when I had cable.  I still HATE cable, but I do love to go to one place that has 90% of the things I want to watch and I can fast forward through commercials.  I am not hip.

Drawing.  I am letting myself develop this skill slowly.  Like a kid would, I am tracing and copying to learn to draw.  And I am not beating myself up about it.  I don’t need to draw to feed my family or get a hostage released.  So I can be slow and bad about it.  I have drawn a few flowers recently and LOVE water color pencils and this book.

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Here is one of my forays:

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Being sparkly!  So many boring cliches to pack into a few sentences.  I love Big Little Lies.  I hate how I now look my age.  I have always been a fairly low-fuss girl.  I have never been recognized for my beauty or style, so I didn’t work too hard at it.   And my mother has always had flawless skin, so I wasn’t worried.  Ends up I don’t have my mom’s skin.  Ends up I have to do all of those boring beauty regimen things to not have my skin look like my actual age.  I hate that.  And I hate that I care enough to hate that.

In Big Little Lies (book at TV show) Madeline is recognized for being a sparkly girl.  I am doing my best.  Getting my nails done, moisturizing CONSTANTLY, accessorizing and putting on makeup.  I can’t decide if it is worth it.  I have decided I wished I didn’t care.  But it seems I do.

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Drawings and Writer’s Block

 

I want to write every day – but today is a day when my head and body are tired.  I want to climb into bed… but I am finding that pushing through is sometimes a better feeling.  Keeping this commitment to myself is important.  So, with writer’s block, I am sharing some things I have drawn recently.  I still have so much to learn, but these simple-line drawings don’t make me sad.  They show a basic competency I never thought I would get to.

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This is a picture of my stepson as a little one.  He is a very serious pirate.  He is so adorable in this picture.  I regret all the angst I had  wondering if I would fit into their lives.  I knew this was my one shot at any sort of motherhood so I kept impatiently waiting for it to click, to know their love.  It came, obviously.  But I was impatient.  img_3516

This is a picture of my stepdaughter.  She is bad ass.  She is so funny, generous, kind, and tough that I feel my heart expanding.  This was in response to some teasing from her brother.  She didn’t actually stab him.img_0010

This is Toby the kitten cat.  He is the sweetest little soul.  He gives me all of his love and takes years off my life with his cuteness.  He treats my like a mom who will totally spoil him rotten – and I will.  My mom and I were talking about the animals in our lives – the old souls and the new souls.  Annie was my old soul – Toby is a brand new fresh soul – and it is sweet to be so relied on to give him what he needs.  He is my baby. He is the antidote to losing my Annie – when I think of the hole she left, he will jump up to the surface I am nearest and demand attention and love.  And that is perfect.img_0012

This is my sweet stepdaughter getting int the basket that Toby the kitten cat had just vacated.  She is so beautiful – and in this drawing I come close to showing her sweet spirit.

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Self portrait.  Hard to draw – mentally.  Looking at my face that long was hard – so probably a good thing for me to do.  I drew this soon after I had fake eyelashes installed.  And my eyes aren’t really that green.  And my nose doesn’t exactly look like that.  But my lips are that big.

Cups of stuff

cups_penspencilsI still want to learn to draw.  It has been challenging for me, because my brain doesn’t communicate to my hands in that way.  Which is just practicing enough in order to build the connection for communication.  But when I want to practice drawing, I don’t know where to start, what to do.

This week I drew my cup of pens and pencils on my desk.  It is so far from good.  But it is progress.  Practice Practice Practice.

This is the first in a series of cups of stuff.  Weirdly awesomely fun to draw.

One night…

I went the whole night without television.  What an inane statement, but still I am proud.  DH and I luxuriated in the quiet evening.  He is dozing on the couch after a few hours of reading.  And I have done a lot of things that I plan to do of an evening (before I end up numb and sprawled on the couch).  My smugness is punchable.  It gets worse.  I have pictures of what I did instead of watching TV.

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Ate sushi at our dining room table!  It has been awhile since our dining room table has been used for anything other than storage or a place to lay out quilt designs.

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Read about floral painting in 18th century France.  And I learned the meaning of two new words – haptic and florilegium.  I have shopped at a store called Florilegium for many years – so when I exclaimed to DH “Florilegium is a real word!”, it was nice that he kept a straight face.

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I worked on the never-ending embroidery project.  I am still on N.  Still.

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It was a good day.  I am going to go meditate and then punch myself.  Good night!

You should see this: Chrysanthemums by Henri Fantin-Latour

 

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I love pictures of flowers.  Controversial, I know.  Henri Fantin-Latour was part of the Impressionist gang.  In fact, he painted a famous and lovely picture of the boys in the band.

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He didn’t like going outside.  So while he was their friend, he stayed inside painting pictures of flowers.  I can’t imagine a much better way to spend a life.

Very few of the Impressionist paintings in the collection are on view at the Nelson-Atkins Museum right now.  The museum is building a new gallery for Impressionism.  But there is a lovely hall of paintings right now.  Including some masterworks, and this contemporary of Monet and Manet.  Come for Monet’s light, stay for Fantin-Latour’s flowers.

Estes Park + Art in Denver

Oh, so much to blog about !!  I just finished posting about our trip many weeks ago to Bentonville, so probably just time to share some pictures from our trip to Estes Park.  More is forthcoming – the joy of miniature golf, the awesomeness that is Rocky Mountain National Park, and the treasures in the Denver Art Museum.  For right now, I humbly offer some pictures of our trip, with a commitment to the boring details at a later date.

 

 

Bentonville !

Earlier this year, DH and I took a brief break to Bentonville, AR.  I had been hankering to see the modern and contemporary collection at Crystal Bridges museum.  And DH and I really needed a break together.
The trip was fun, educational, and expensive.  I wish we could make this a more regular thing, but maybe not in the cards.
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The Crystal Bridges museum is free and fantastic.  It has American Art.  And some really impressive pieces.  It doesn’t hold a candle to my beloved Nelson-Atkins collection, with European, African, Asian, and Ancient treasures; however, the modern and contemporary is really, really impressive.
21c hotel is far from free, but decidedly fantastic.  The rooms are stylish, the hotel has a fun, funky vibe and is full of contemporary art.  But the best part is that is at the end of the Crystal Bridges art trail – making it a forested and short walk to the museum.  After experiencing the convenience and fun of that, I can’t imagine staying anywhere else if we travel to visit the museum.  But affording staying at 21c more than once a year is not feasible.  Ergh.
Bentonville is beautiful – and creepily like a town from a romantic comedy.  It is the headquarters of Walmart.  Remember when Walmart and other big box stores ruined small town downtowns by being cheaper and more convenient than mom-and-pop stores?  Well Bentonville seems to be a perfect memoriam to what was destroyed.  Which makes it more than a little creepy / surreal.
But we decided to whitewash that from our brains and just enjoy the perfect little downtown.
I could go on and on and on and on about all the art we saw.  But that would be a bit boring, so I am going to highlight my three favorite pieces (in order of their awesomeness).
1. James Turrell’s Skyspace.  A squat, stone building has seating in-the-round and a circle in the ceiling open to the sky.  During the day it was a cool and serene place.  But twice daily, sunrise and sunset, there is a light show around the done and circle in the ceiling.  It is transformative.  The colors and the experience were life-changing.  I still don’t exactly understand how he made the center in the circle seem solid – but I do know that the experience will ever be in my memory.  I think of sitting there in the very early hours of the morning and start to crave the experience.  We went the last morning on our little trip and I am kicking myself that we didn’t go every time we could.  GO SEE THE SKYSPACE!
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2. White, Pink, Yellow, and Red Roses by George Cochran Lambdin.  I came for the modern and contemporary, but this painting from 1877 captured my heart.  I love paintings of flowers – and the roses on this painting are reality enhanced.  The colors against the dark green are a mastery of color theory, and roses always make me feel nostalgic.  I don’t know anything about this artist or his work.  But learning about him and his work will be high on my list.
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3. Reflections of the Woolworth Building by Richard Estes.  Crystal Bridges has many opportunities for one to feel patriotic – full of American art, there are lots of chances to experience the joy of a diverse experience – full of unforgivable cruelty and mistakes but always striving to be more and better.  This painting feels so “American” to me.  And stirs pride in me – first, the skill is almost too much to take in (although one could argue that KC’s Richard Estes is superior).  But the subject of the reflection of the Woolworth building in the car evoked a lot of what I was experiencing on this trip – the contradiction of enjoying the ease and commercialism of American Life for some of us that is built on the pain and sacrifice of most of us.  Beauty, skill and guilt.
There were so. many. other. beautiful. things to be seen at Crystal Bridges.  More pictures included without comment.  I would love to comment, but I don’t want posts so long that you stop reading.