9 x 12 World

27/08/2017

Stone1.jpgIn order to create art, I have learned, the habits of working with materials, focusing on the task at hand, and the ability to shut out all “noise” must be daily. This is one which I have lost during the years of being a school librarian. However, all is not lost. Materials – pencils, paints, and inks – and my play remain important to me, especially during the summer. Few of these materials I have kept within the confines of my “art cupboard” despite the two decades where I immerse myself in children’s literature, lesson plans, and pedagogical dictates.

While books, especially children literature has always been a part of my adulthood, a box of Crayola watercolors, Studio Series color pencils, Windsor & Newton drawing inks several drawing pencils, eraser, and sketchbook are the tangibles giving shape to my art world, small as it is, this summer.

Two stones – one from 1986 when my husband and I were on the Mediterranean coast of France; the other, a recent gift from a friend who visited as a teacher-artist on a Greek island.

The works you see here are not complicated or even well thought out. Simply, they are my summer sandbox. They are my play. They connect me with a sliver of my past history and more than this, they nurture the quiet. To be in the moment where it is only about the lines, the colors and the spaces in between.


Mediterranean stone, approx 4″ (2″ at the narrow point)

GrkStonesGrkStonesdetail

Greek island stone, approx 1 /34 x 1/2 “

written to honor my husband, MRG and my friend, BC, who gifted me with these stones
Advertisements

Walking home

18/03/2017

cup2

Sharp intervals

17/03/2017

wire3

Sharp Intervals 

Assaulted by tone

The guise of caring Read the rest of this entry »

July4Art.part three

11/08/2016

I am reluctant to do this. Share. Having dragged out my low artistic energy into August, I admit, right here – right now – that it is a “failure.” Did I create something? Yes. Can one call it art? Yes. Did it fulfill me? No. Absolutely not. No way. And here, dear reader, lies the most valuable experience (from which I have yet to dissect, analyze, and learn).  This failure is a teaching moment for my Self.

I know and feel this: I cannot go back. Back to former techniques and past imagery.

Daylilysmall

 

evening sketch –  sitting outside

 

I know and feel this, too: I must go forward. Forward with simplicity. Forward with eyes open.


 

July4ART: part two

12/07/2016

It is two weeks into July (almost) and I am myself moving very slowly with art; I am rusty, dear friend. My process is akin to the Tin Man (The Wizard of Oz) walking before Dorothy had the good sense to oil his joints. Thus far my stiff hand has lumbered  with pencils to:

  • draw calligraphic lines at a whim
  • color with pencils random places on the wallpaper reproduction
  • repeat these two steps on varying sizes of paper
  • reproduce a pencil drawing of the “key” onto my handmade paper (Why? I am not sure yet!)
  • use a three-hole stitch binding with two pieces of work (the simpliest, of course)
  • relentlessly ask myself, “What am I doing this for?” and “Who needs more stuff to put away?”

Letting go of reason or purpose and responding instinctively is a difficult behavior to regain after years of neglect. This process. This attempt to “make” art. This metaphor for  life.


Please note that you may read The Wizard of Oz in a beautiful color, 1900 edition online thanks to The Library of Congress.  Click HERE.

July 4ART

03/07/2016

Working artist. These words hold an enormous meaning for me. Since 1996 I have not been a working artist, but a dabbler in the arts. Artists work every. Every day they log many hours thinking, creating, destroying, remaking, and revisiting their work.

As a working librarian, formerly a working artist, I have limited time to all but tap the creative side that lays dormant. Last year I cleared away a massive amount of art supplies and papermaking equipment in order to come to terms with personal changes as an artist – my capabilities and limitations. Now, my supplies are limited; I find this exciting. What can I express with what I have at hand? July is my month for art. A summer adventure in concrete limitations, but not those of the imagination.

CAM00962

My desire, dear reader, is for you to embark with me on this adventure. What do you have, right now, this very moment, in your drawers? Chalk, color pencils, your child’s Crayola watercolors?  I share my beginnings here and now to give you the gentle nudge in my direction –  a friendly push to take pencil and paper in hand. Use nature to inspire you. Play.

Supplies

  • Faber Castell color pencils
  • Strathmore drawing paper, medium weight
  • General’s extra black layout pencil No. 555
  • Found scrap of wallpaper from our farmhouse wall
  • Printer & color copier
  • Seashell
  • Krylon workable fixative (spray outdoors for ventilation)

What you see here

Size the drawing paper to fit through the printer (8.5 x11). Color copy the scrap of 1901 wallpaper onto this paper.  Using my layout pencil to draw calligraphic strokes, and proceeding to color these according to the tones and hues of a seashell. Spraying fixative intermittently as I do not want lines or color pencil to smear, unless I CHOOSE to do this.

Check-in with me mid-July and share your process; share your art. I look forward to seeing your work in progress, as you see mine.

Subtle message

04/02/2016

Chrisgiftstmas. My son gives me new color pencils, ink and pens, paper of all sorts. Bright reds, blues. Shades of hopeful greens.

Upstairs, I rearranged my studio, yet again, trying to become inspired. I begin with the pencil. All browns, blacks, grays, yellows on antiseptic white paper. Hard angles. Sparse landscape. Graphite scrapes against the grain.

The school year. Entrenched. A library fills with books and laptops. Worksheets and critical thinking. All is drawn clinically. Shelves ordered and neat. Lines between the personal and professional.

Approached. Asked. Asked to teach one art class.

Tonight is for the green pencil.

The universe speaks to me where it can find me.  My son. Its voice.

A wish

03/01/2016

bunny bluenewyear

Haiku written by a treasured friend sending her wishes to me. A Blue Bunny now shares these wishes with you.

Watercolor by Tina Hudak; Poetry by Sally A. Rieger ©2015.

Summer’s gifts

19/08/2015

pencil drawingHome is where I spent my summer. Obligations and responsibilities permeated the few months. Reviewing each one on my list reminds me of how generous this summer has been to me.

  • delight at a birthday dinner with my dear friend at a favorite cafe & bookstore
  • reveling in spending a day with my sons at the National Gallery, Hirshorn Museum, & Freer Gallery of Art
  • the spouse and I – driving along highways in companionable silence –  visiting family in Pennsylvania, and a day-trip to the Queen’s Anne County Fair in Maryland
  • feelings of freedom by giving away furniture, kitchen goods (pottery, dishes, pots & pans), books, & throwing out the junk
  • intense gardening and yard work leaving a sense of deep satisfaction
  • revising ZiaClara
  • thrill of splurging on the building of a small stone and slate patio & walkway
  • relief at having the piano tuned so I can finally play it
  • and, gentle minutes spent in intimate coffees at the new, local bakery or surrounded by the lush garden in mornings on the porch with friends and neighbors
  • an cozy evening spent with women friends sharing book titles, gossip, and support
  • reading good books of my choosing
  • hearing sounds of the evening cicadas and midnight  “Ooooing” of a visiting owl

As I enter into autumn and  a new school year, I have cleared away the technology – laptop, phone, cords, cables – from my drafting table. My newly purchased set of color pencils sit next to an old sketch. This room will hold the slow pace and easy peace that I am leaving behind with the dark, dry seeds of my sunflowers. I plant them here. They are in shades of blue, green, orange, violet and reds. This garden will bloom indoors during the chilling months ahead. Evening blossoms. After the frenetic push and pull of the weeks and months that I know are ahead of me, I will retreat into this room. When the cicadas lie sleeping, and the dusk quickens into night, the generosity of summer will spill carelessly into my world.

In college I read The Little Prince in French. Now, my eighth-grade students read it en français. The three, 5×7 calligraphic pieces were created by me more than a decade ago.

Working as an artist meant trying to sell work, and so the quote, being quite popular, was fair game.

Looking back, and thinking about my very young students struggling with translation, I am sad. Like le petit prince, I have the moments of disillusionment. Is the magic of words, or the intrinsic need of art-making subject to structured pedagogy and commerce  – two artificially constructed forms of human behavior? Where is the time to develop a love of reading, of experiencing words without the arduous task assigned? Where is the ability to create art without the need to produce a livelihood?small paintings
Your2

You3Have I loss my stamina for both – teaching & art – as I age?  I remember a time when being “in the act” of both filled me up. This year how do I live in the moments of these without the drag and pull into the orbits of the mundane?

While loss is my theme for this summer, pondering life on my planet sustains.

“Look up at the sky. Ask yourselves: Is it yes or no? Has the sheep eaten the flower? And you will see how everything changes…And no grown-up will ever understand that this is a matter of so much importance.”


de Saint Exupéry, and Katherine Woods, trans.  The Little Prince. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company, 1971.  Print.

%d bloggers like this: