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A Purple Weed-Chopper

Today was a lovely hot day with puffy white clouds floating across the sky, perfect for the rescheduled fly-in at the local municipal airport. We arrived around eleven in time to see some parachutists landing. Vintage cars lined the tar-mac and then there were the planes. Mostly smallish ones–two or three passenger ones at best—and then there were the ultra-lights or experimentals.

In the background is the Polyethylene plant–I used to work there as the occupational physician. I learned a lot about people and management and work processes there. The plant looks to have tripled in size since I was there and sometimes I wish I was still there.

A friend from those days, husband’s partner and son, and another friend from motorcycle days were there with two vintage cars. Husband thought he could have parked Tessie there as it was the only one in the parking lot. That would have been nice as there was a huge turn-out and we parked a good distance away on the side of Keith Road.

As we caught up chatting—the habit of pandemic seclusion a bit challenging to break—a truck drove up in front of us towing a what is lovingly referred to as a ‘weed-chopper’.

I thought it might be a glider with its wings furled around a center mast—the wings are made of rip-stock nylon identical to sails—and made by sail making companies. The man, his son and two grand-children carefully prepared the plane—-taking about an hour to fit all the pieces together. I was graciously allowed to sit in the pilot’s seat—-

It was a bit of a chore to climb through those struts with my back not bending very much.

I took more photos of some of the other ultra-lights, flying planes—and a lot of sky with clouds and no plane—and then what my engineer-minded husband and sons think of as rather odd—engine parts.

I do not know what this is or what it does. I have been accused of thinking like a surgeon at times–‘i.e. stop talking about the problem, let’s figure out a way to fix it’ but maybe with a bit of pruning, it could be part of an engineering bent.

I will do a bit more editing of the photos I took—and upload them into my Texas 2021 folder on Smugmug.

Five Buckets of Kelly Green

Five Buckets of Kelly Green. two buckets of Purple and Sky blue and a quart jar of Yellow

I was not particularly familiar with David Hockney’s work. I had read about his work with an ipad but had never viewed any of his paintings.

However, the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston hosted a Hockney-Van Gogh exhibit and as I have a membership and given the seclusion of the past year or more, I was eager to see some art.

I usually park in the Herman Park Zoo parking lot, walk across the park enjoying the ducks and the turtles and the little train and the fountain in the middle of the pond and all the little children darting about. However, EVERYONE was at the zoo this morning—-the parking lot was FULL and dozens of cars drove around aimlessly hoping for a vacant spot. I ended up parking in a church lot with a bit of a hike to the museum.

Fortunately I was able to use my timed ticket although I was fifteen minutes late.

Hockney likes kelly green—buckets and buckets of the stuff; sometimes he contrasts it with a purple—both colors seem to come directly out of their buckets with no mixing.

Interspersed were some lovely small paintings of Van Gogh’s—he certainly delighted in color, mixing it on the canvas–and favoring a variety of greens, yellows and a turquoise-y blue. The only commonality I could see was that all the paintings reflected landscape—Hockney painted the same bit of road in many seasons and in many lights–but always with that dreadful kelly green.

There were some lovely charcoal drawings of wooded scenes and a series of watercolors–that seemed random landscapes–but perhaps that was the curator who placed them in such a fashion.

Of interest, though, one of Van Gogh’s drawings of a wooded scene was done in reed pen and ink over pencil with a wash over the top—interesting combination of media.

I did pick up a few postcards as reminders of the day—I have decided to not get catalogs–they are heavy to carry and I rarely look at them again–postcards are lightweight–easy on the wallet and reminiscent enough of the day.

The exhibit closes on June 27 and from what I could tell about ticket availability next Saturday the 19th is the last available day to view the exhibit. Next up is Monet to Matisse—one I’m sure to find more to my liking and aesthetics. However, it is always good to see art, analyze it for content and appeal, and see what I might use in my own work.

But it will not be huge doses of kelly green.

Pink is as Pink Does

Some times it is a good thing—or something to not have to think very hard about—but taking a pile of scraps and making something of them. I inherited my mother’s quilting scraps along with her threads and tools and quilting patterns. Along the way two friends in a Nancy Crow workshop also gave me their scraps—I think I cast an admiring eye on them–or picked up few—and they went home with me. They sat in a zip-lock bag for quite some time—until I decided to put them together—after all I had a niece who became a grandmother of a little girl—and this stuff had a lot of pink in it.

The quilt itself is fairly simple–strips surrounded by an ocean of my mother’s pink fabric on a bolt. Mom’s leftovers required more effort—and I formed them into a tote bag—who doesn’t need a lot of tote bags with a baby.

And then I had this zippered Cathedral Window pouch my mother used to put some tissues and other cleaning supplies in her car and quilting basket—just in case.

So here they are.

I used a heart pattern to quilt the interior of those bright pink strips—the size is a good 45 by 60—a grea size as a lap quilt, to cushion a car seat, to serve as a picnic blanket if necessary.

There are a few more scraps and left-overs from my mother’s fabrics—it is a good feeling to see them put to good use by family members who will appreciate them.

Watercolor Class Venture

I’ve been listening/viewing ArtChat on Winslow Art Academy and decided to sign up for a two session class. The class is taught by Molly Hashimoto who works in water colors and printmaking. Only a few students signed up all claiming to be novices, however, when they all showed their workshop pieces, it was clear they were not.

I, on the other hand, decided to work with a tiny water color travel palette and some paper I found at Target.

I learned a lot from this class—-the paper I used is not designed to be painted on both sides; and it might be better used as sketching rather than water color. I used a water-brush instead of a regular brush–a challenge as it was relatively large in comparison to the images we were working on.

because the paper tore when I tried to remove the masking tape to define the edges, I added the strips of colored paper. I do have an official watercolor palette and a set of nice brushes and paint and better paper—but I wanted to give it a try and it was a fun afternoon.

Almost last view of Window on my World

Saturday I finished quilting this quilt. It is destined to be the wedding quilt for my oldest grandson—as mentioned earlier, he is just ten almost eleven and so I have every confidence I will get it bound and labeled before then.

The quilting took over 4 hours of stitching time; each house done individually, I changed colors for the sky, the trees, and some of the corner pieces. It would have been far easier to put on a pantograph and work away but I did want it to be special.

I pieced the backing using Texas themed fabrics, long-horns, cowboys, and regular cows in pastures. I will get a more formal photo once I have the sleeve and binding on—but those are easy evening tasks.

Now that it is in the almost done stage, I can start in on the next Block of the Month from the Quilt Show–Garden Party Down Under. I decided to use a linen background and as much hand-dyed fabrics from my ‘extensive collection’.

Acrobats and a Bull

Last Thursday was a doctor visit day and I like to spend some time in the Museum of Fine Arts. There is always something new and interesting to see and sometimes just walking through the galleries in a different direction yields something exciting. It has been a long time since I’ve been in a museum–thanks to the pandemic—and I was eager to see the Calder-Picasso exhibit.

It was beautifully displayed; the huge mobiles hung from the main gallery space as well as most of the downstairs gallery rooms. It was something that was difficult to photograph although I gave it a try.

Calder’s work began with small figures constructed of a very thin wire; some with a single piece. One grouping was of acrobats—and reminiscent of the French exhibit of the people dissected and posed but without the odor of formaldehyde. The pieces grew larger and suggested foliage and vines and airplanes. PIcasso used a heavier wire for his pieces; and the two of them both worked with folded metal sheets.

Picasso also did a series of lithographs featuring a bull. The series began with a simple line drawing reminiscent of the cave drawings and progressed to a fully modeled bull. or perhaps it began with a fully muscled creature that was pared down to a simple line image.

Of note, Picasso was most fascinated with his masculinity as that anatomic part was frequently exaggerated in size–perhaps envy on his part.

of interest also was the concept of an initial sketch of the final sculpture.

Thinking in 3-D and in motion is not an easy task. I thought Statics was a fun mathematical challenge but then when I had to think about those stationary items moving—the math was easy, the concept difficult. Picasso was able to converse equally in 2-d and 3-d formats; and Calder in 3-d and in motion.

It was an exciting and overwhelming exhibit in the complexity of display. Here are a few more images–a taste of what was there—but the magnitude and airiness of the pieces is something not captured in photos.

Pay no attention to the man with the immense granite marble.

Hercules and the Lion

This weeks photo assignment was Levitation. Photoshop manipulations is just not something I am good at and I’m not sure I really want to spend that much time in front of a computer screen. However, I wanted to give it a try.

An exhibit of Calder’s work in Houston with all of his wonderful mobiles suggested this possibility.

This is Hercules and the Lion. I did some photoshop work on it make it look like was floating but the other students in the group did floating slices of lemons and people and flowers and….all beyond my skill level.

a visit to see the Calder-Pciasso exhibit at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston was delightful. The mobiles of Calder and some of Picasso’s metal work were exhibited elegantly. It was one of those events difficult to descxribe in words; however, I took some photos and this was the best of the group. Calder’s Hercules and the Lion. I did some photoshop work to create the colored background to simulate the floating requirement. While not as detailed as someo f the others in the group, it was definitely outside of my skill level. My thanks to Calder and to the Museum for providing such a great exhibt.

A man and a challenge

Thursday was a doctor visit day in Houston. I prefer to park in the Herman Zoo/Park area parking lot and walk through the park to the appointment. There are fountains, pools, trees, and birds—lots of them. Waterfowl of all sorts wander about begging for food and nest on the island. In the spring there are ducklings.

There is a water spray area, a small train that runs around the park.

And then there is this giant granite ball floating on water.

It is a challenge to turn it so the entire ball is wet.

And after a bit of effort and several tries—success!

Best laid plans

With the pandemic in full swing, and sheltering in place—a nicer thought than stuck at home—I have been going through projects and boxes and cartons and working on finishing up things.

I dug out a package containing a quilt kit; I bought it at a quilt show several years ago–it was offered by a shop at half price. It was strips of batiks—and the pattern looked fun.

Cutting for a quilt takes some space–laying out the fabrics, and cutting the pieces. I studied the layout choices and decided to combine two options into one. I cut and stacked the pieces and put them neatly into a clear plastic box. I carried it home and put it somewhere in my sewing room—no–it is not a studio entitling me to be messy and disorderly—I might call it a work-room—but definitely not a studio.

Other projects seemed more important and I worked on those.

After a few weeks or maybe even months had passed, I decided to work on this project.

Did I remember what I had thought I would do?

Of course not!

And the worst of it was–the shop-owner who had cut the strips had not centered the fabrics…so I had several unusable strips due to the dreaded ‘v-shape’ strip problem.

But I managed to figure out something to do with those cut-out pieces.

It has joined the stack of ‘to be quilted’; a stack I had down to just two by the end of 2020 but is now back to five or six. Far better than nearly thirty at the beginning of 2020—that included my mother’s grandchildrens’ wedding quilts—glad that project is done–she had about twenty or so.

A paintbrush, banana bread, and a spatula

Dogs are supposed to be man’s best friend. It is true they are loyal and loving.

But then sometimes, particularly if you have a Border Collie mix—and double that with an Aussie-Border Collie mix, there are always surprises.

One day, earlier in the lifespan of Toby, I came home to discover an entire stick of butter had disappeared from the counter top. Did she have diarrhea? Nope! She just licked her lips and smiled at me.

She surveys the counters in the kitchen on a daily basis to see what has been left—as you must know , we never feed her or offer any treats of any sort! And if you believe that, there is a bridge I’d give you a great deal on.

I sliced some luscious banana bread my friend had sent me–we each had two slices, Toby had four.

I looked for the spatula to turn the sausage cooking in the frypan on the burner; I found it under her bed in the breakfast room.

But then there was this;

And what tasty treat did I use this brush for?

It was not brushing melted butter on the top of rolls.

It was not basting a roast.

It was a glue brush.

Ann and Andy meet their final destination

Sixteen legs and three panties was the beginning of this project.

And now they are completed and in the hands of the grandmother who asked me to finishe them. She had cut out the bodies; picked out fabric for dresses and suits and pinafores and included the pattern and a huge ball of bright red yarn for the hair.

This project required a lot of hand-work–something I do in the evenings. Stuffing them took three evenings, the faces two, buttons on the pinafores three and the hair four. It was a big project as I completed each step on all eight before moving on to the next step.

And here they are:

And because I know you want to see what I look like after this project;

And yes, I was able to get back up from the floor without assistance—I know you wanted to ask but were far too polite to do so.

Word of the Year

Each year I think about what I want to accomplish. What groups do I find valuable and interesting? What things do I want to do? What unfinished projects are staring me accusingly in the face? What friendships do I want to cultivate? And what do I need to let go?

Last year was full of health challenges—far too many. I am trying hard to excuse myself for not getting done what I had hoped for. That is a hard task for someone who is goal-oriented.

But this year I am planning on doing—whether it is just reading, or classes via internet or physical travel to places new or familiar. I plan to have fun and adventure.

My word of the year is ADVENTURE

While last year was one of health challenges, the year ahead will be one of exploring, traveling, and adventure . i plan to have fun no matter the avenue–reading, classes, new friends and hobbies, and travel to both familiar and new places. My word of the year is Adventure.