Welcome to MissouriBendStudio!

This is an online journal of my artistic investigations and a way to communicate about my work, ideas, quandries and queries! I welcome comments and conversation and do hope you enjoy these musings. My artwork is available in my shop MissouriBendStudio on Etsy.com or on my website.


Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Notes From The Field: Lines and Dots

Such a beautiful time of year....flowers so long awaited, that it is hard to stay inside. We have irises of various colors all over the place, but these are my favorite and what a treat to behold. I took this photo a few days ago, and alas, the irises are looking a bit more bedraggled by now. Oftentimes, it is windy here, that is not to say, breezy, but wind that howls all night long or makes the day unmanageable to work in the garden. There is a reason this part of the country is often referred to as  the windswept Plains! As I enjoy these spring days before it becomes too hot and too buggy outside, I find myself spending most of my time reading on the front porch in the rocker. 

I know this book has been out for several years, but a recent New York Times article that caught my interest sent me straightaway to the public library to grab it. I have to say, it's an astonishing read....fascinating in ways unexpected and so well written, I find myself glued to it like a detective novel...which actually, I don't ever read! Mukherjee has a new book out on the history of the gene, which I'm also looking forward to reading.

In the absence of reports from the studio, you may or may not be wondering what's been going on in my art making world. The answer is not much, of late. I guess I needed a break and some rejuvenation, so I've not been making anything, which feels a bit weird, I have to say. But the dailies continue and I'm quite thankful for that, as I find that they often provide a springboard for new work.
That's what happened last night in a brief stint downstairs in the studio.

I looked over at the daily with its dotted line and began on a larger sheet of paper, divided in sections....not knowing where it would lead, but just forcing myself to do something, anything. This is the format of the Notes From The Ancestors series, although it won't be part of that series, but perhaps something new will be born. I started with those looping lines on the right and then went back with pen and "dotted" them, just building a pattern of meandering lines.

But rows of lines are what I gravitate to, so I began making lines on the main section and adding the dots. Once I saw that pattern building, I relaxed and fell into the flow of making. What is it about a simple line, enhanced with dots, that fills me with such joy? 

Simple marks, simple pleasures. What could be more elemental than a dot? And what can be said with a dot....I think much. I'll keep you posted and share this piece when it is finished in the near future. I'm glad to be back in the studio as it gives my life a bit more balance. Hope your week is finding some balance and joy.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Notes From the Field: Creative Play

snapshot of the jumble from the bulletin board in my studio...
the photo is of of my mother at the age of 10....
I looked just like her when I was 10

Man is most nearly himself when he achieves the seriousness of a child at play.
— Heraclitus 500 BCE, philosopher

I'm going to return to a theme that I revisit on these virtual pages rather regularly....the importance of play in the studio...to feed our humanity and the creative spirit, which lives in each and every one of us. I take my play rather seriously, actually, as I explore it through the daily drawing practice. But even I need to be reminded now and then of the purpose and the importance.

March 3, 2016

May 17, 2016

May  14, 2016
May13, 2016

As I sit down with my tiny torn 6x4" sheet of Japanese paper, I put pen or pencil to paper and let my hand move as it will. The time spent making the drawing is not about making "art", nor is it about outcome, but is experiential in a process that is perhaps akin to "call and response". Through the process I let go of any idea of what will happen or should happen and respond moment by moment, in tune with where my hand wants to move. Do I switch from making these marks to making tiny circles?....go.....Do I now want that white pen to make contrasting lines, white against the rich gray of graphite?....go.

When we are truly engaged in play, we are not concerned about the future moments and how it will all end....we are in the moment, enjoying the experience and the flow of being. There is no competition....with the self, with another, only the act of moving and thinking through the body in a process of discovery. 

But the best part is....the moments of discovery end up feeding the "art making" process, in which there is an end, a product, a culmination. And too, these little artifacts of the process, as shown here and in my Etsy shop are a reminder, a kind of document of some moments in time. They bring joy to me and I'm happy to see that they bring joy to others. I sell them in my shop on occasion and am happy to know that they touch people in simple ways. 

Hope you take some opportunities to play during your day, whether through drawing or any of a million other ways to engage in the present moment. Cheers!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

A Commonplace Book Entry: The Experience of Time

"The events in our lives happen in a sequence of time, but in their significance to ourselves they find their own order, a timetable not necessarily, perhaps not possibly--chronological. The time as we know it subjectively is often the chronology that stories and novels follow; it is the continuous thread of revelation." -- Eudora Welty

It's time for another entry from my commonplace book! Thumbing through, I found this quote by the author Eudora Welty from a book I read years ago, One Writer's Beginnings. The date of this notation in my book is September 20, 2000. Just thinking back that far reminds me not only how young and naive I still was, but also how very different everything was then. But this notion, stated so eloquently by Eudora Welty, still rings true...at least to me.

And maybe that thought is what underlies my fascination with beeswax....and the drawings on paper dipped in beeswax that form the pages of a book, creating a translucence that speaks to the nature of time....how the past, the present and future often feel visible at once, echoing back and forth through time.

This little book is still in progress....haven't yet bound the pages together, but thought I'd share the transformation that happens once the pages are dipped in beeswax. I have some "before" photos of a few pages and then you'll see the same pages shown after the beeswax...now rich and translucent.
Beginning pages from "The Book of Then and Now"...

Hope your week is going well....it's hump day, as they say. I like to think that each day is a new start....a new unfolding. Enjoy!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Studio Update: Dailies

May 6, 2016

As many of the readers of this blog know, I am fond of a daily practice that keeps me grounded and balanced and that is making a small daily drawing. These are not extravagant and come completely from intuition as I don't think about making art, but just let my hand make the first mark and follow the path from there. I confess I stray away for periods of time, dropping the practice of making a daily drawing, sometimes for days, weeks or even months. There comes a time, though, when I realize something is amiss and I reestablish the daily drawing practice, then find very quickly that I am on the way to something resembling restoration.

May 5, 2016

An assortment of these dailies have made it into my Etsy shop, most of which are the like the drawings shown here, 6"x4" on Japanese paper dipped in beeswax. I am pleased and humbled to find that they are pretty popular and at $10, sell fairly regularly. What makes me most happy though is that other people find a bit of magic in them and the drawings make them happy. What more could you ask for?!

May 4, 2016

I decided that I'd like to encourage the purchase of a grouping of the drawings, so the deal is that if you purchase 5 drawings (the $10 ones like those featured here), then I'll include a sixth one for free....could be another in the shop or could be a mystery drawing from my backlog....your choice!

May 3, 2016

These pieces shown here are making their way into the shop in the next couple of days if you'd like to have a look. The beeswax makes them look and feel luscious....and they smell delightful as well!

May 2, 2016

May 1, 2016

April 30, 2016

April 29, 2016

Hope you have a great week ahead...one sprinkled with joy and inspiration! 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Notes From The Field: Change of Seasons

Now that spring is here....and seems to be planning to stick around this time, I am shifting my focus to being outside. I am still astonished each spring at just how fast the plants grow! By the time I get around to cleaning up the leaves and debris from last fall, the plants are six inches out of the ground....and by the next day, it seems they've grown another six! The evening light is beautiful, as you can see in this shot my husband took as we were getting ready to have dinner outside the other evening. The warm, golden light as the sun is going down in the west sometimes takes our breath away.

So much work to be done outside that now I feel myself pulled in many directions....in the studio or outside pulling weeds....inside reading or outside planting herbs, tomatoes and flowers. I try to pack it all in, but haven't got the balance right just yet. 

I'm just glad to be moving about in the sunshine after being cooped up all winter. It is certainly fun picking things out at the local greenhouse and having our lives filled with flowers blooming in all colors. These flats of herbs and vegetables await, so I know where I'll be at least part of the day tomorrow. Hope you are enjoying spring....warm temperatures and not too much rain!