Saturday, March 26, 2011

orange tulips

Two bunches of orange tulips by my desk this weekend. I got them on sale Friday where they had tons to choose from and I have a third bunch that is purple. I couldn't fit them all in one vase so decided to divide by colors. I chose the greenest buds I could find knowing they last longer if you get them green... Spring is here and that means hydroponic forced green house tulips from Virginia may soon be missing from my grocery store. That makes me sad but the garden is waking up so I will have my own flowers blooming very soon after the last snow Sunday.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

spring weekend

Basket of viola pansy and the St. Patrick's day flag in Manassas
I spent time at home again this past week with my Mom where we planted a small red Japanese Maple in the front yard where she can see from her bay window all year round. She bought it after the same type of tree died in the back yard last fall. The soil was just right for digging due to recent rains. We also glued down the puzzle she completed of a Vincent Van Gogh sunflower painting. Mounted it on a board and slipped it into a black frame under glass. Now it hangs over her piano where my  Van Gogh sunflower woodcut used to hang. Feeling very proud that she finished this difficult puzzle on her own we decided to make it a badge of honor to admire and brighten up the walls. I also brought flowers home, hanging basket of violas and double red tulips from Keith. The perfume in the car driving out to Virginia was very floral. 
Mom helping measure how tall the new tree is today.
double red tulips and the old woodcut of Van Gogh sunflowers over piano 

Van Gogh puzzle framed it's new home
Then home in DC, last Sunday Keith was free, so we decided to take a special walk for exercise and fun. There is a huge cemetery about a mile up over the hill across North Capitol Street in NE called Rock Creek Park Cemetery. It is an old fashioned monument and mausoleum style cemetery built with trees and flowers like a urban park. It was a good chance to walk and photograph before the huge trees leaf out and cast dark shadows.  I really enjoyed the quiet and the sculpture and stained glass as well as the natural setting.   I hope in time I will be able to walk over there and enjoy it without driving the car up the big hill between home and the park. Perhaps I will pack a picnic lunch next time I go. Soon it will be time for a picnic at the Cherry Blossoms down by the Jefferson memorial! Spring is really here at last. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

quilt show 2011

This year I went to the Manassas quilt show with mom and left Keith at home. He had some fantastic flowers that needed to be arranged and photographed. I know in our small apartment that is easier to do when I am not home. My absence gives him more space to maneuver the set up and pieces of his work. I recommend a visit to his blog SOGETSU ATELIER to see the recent results or look at his pages.

The quilts in the show were leaning towards a civil war era theme to mark the 150th anniversary this year though they were varied and delightful even without that dark history overshadowing. I was inspired all over again to keep up work on my yoyo coverlet and have reached a good place in the project. Only 12 more squares of 25 yoyos to complete, so I bought about 12 more fabrics to add in and keep them changing as I make them into squares. After I have 64 squares I will be able to mix them up to make the combinations as varied as possible. I want to create a wild flower garden of colors and patterns. The quilt show venders offer patterns from the 1850's that aren't available else where. Real old fashioned colors and prints taken from old quilts and dresses and reproduced they are pretty inspiring to work in to my palette.

These images are a few of my favorites from a group of about 28 all posted on my group called Quilt Show 2011 take a look if you want to see the whole batch of photos by following the link directly to that page. Here are a few favorites below.

tickets for the raffle 

Buy a fabric square for the troops? This lady was selling squares to raise money for the soldiers like they used to do in the civil war. Those squares you sign with a pen, then the ladies make them into a quilt, like the one on display and give the money and the quilt to the soldiers.

fabric and pattern sales were brisk 

loved these stars of lilac... look closely


We saw many quilts are quilted with these fancy machines. I tried out two brands at the show and got a sales lady offering to make my picture using her machine... only $12,000.00 and I could bring it home with free lessons! 

It was fun to use.

Sewing went faster or slower depending on how fast I moved it over the surface to keep the stitches evenly spaced. Moving in all directions I wanted to make loops. They suggested I write in my name. 

these tiny squares are 1 inch (2.54 cm) square I wanted to bring this one home 

 the new reproduction fabrics for my yoyo coverlet
last year's vintage fabrics cut to sew into yoyos

recently completed yoyos in a string of 5 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

seven days of drawing

my set up to draw tulips after journaling. 
photo of my subject for a week's sketches
first day they stand up like soldiers in formation
I wake up and write my journal for about 20-30 minutes each morning with a cup of coffee. Then I use the large journal to elevate my pocket sketch book to draw something as part of my morning routine.
Recently, I have done a series of different views of the same vase of tulips. This red and white edged bunch of tulips were the subject for six days. I begin my morning sketch drawings with a water based sepia ink to make the lines, afterwards I apply opaque watercolors.  The ink sometimes mixes into the paint...

day 2 starting to bend and lean as they grow

day 3 moved in closer to the low hanging tulips

day 4 they were cut in half and given fresh water but they are drooping
day 5 they began to look up again so I got inside view

I drew a new bunch of orange tulips on day 6 
day 7 they were wide open up right and giving gesture for the finale

Thursday, March 3, 2011

remembering where I have been

George C. Guarino 1-1-1960 to 3-3-1992 

Beautiful anemones from Keith in Valerie's pretty vase

Keith's Walking Iris' first bloom opened today

anemones close up so delicate and colorful

Keith working to prepare for his first demonstration 3-2-2011

I am always a little sad this couple of first days of March because my red bearded partner George  Guarino died  of complications of AIDS in 1992 on the third day of March. It was a shock and a relief because he went through some really hard treatments none of them worked in the end. We fought the good fight together but he didn't make it through. Then the following year the great guy Harry Powers who shared his mansion with us on Logan Circle died on March 2nd 1993 as I was serving him dinner in his bed. He had a heart attack at 64 and was dead in an instant. From there things got worse before they ended up getting better but I learned a lot from these people. 
So this is a day that I reflect on how far I have come from the dark days of nearly dying from the scourge of AIDS and the bright spots in my life since I saw a treatment that worked work for me and some of my friends. 

I am grateful for so many things. The creative community that I feel part of in the Washington area, the great treatments and care I receive, and my wonderful partner of the last 12 years, Keith who brings me flowers when ever I ask for them and supports my every need. I am proud of Keith who completed his studies to become an Ikebana teacher and presented his first demonstration to the other teachers in one of the premier groups here in DC. I am grateful for the great friends who have come from and support our male figure drawing group now in it's 16th year just to name a few.  Each year I reflect on today with sadness that all those great guys like George, and Harry who didn't make it through but I am very grateful to be healthy to make art and share it with anyone who wants to see. 

We have come along way since the dark days of AIDS with no effective treatment and hate and bigotry towards those with the virus.  Watching the demonstrations in the middle east and north Africa reminds me how important freedom to protest and express freely your needs to power and government is a real valuable freedom. We have many effective treatments thanks to those who protested in the streets and halls of American government 20 years ago. George was one of those protesters and he was a soldier who was thrown out of the Army for being gay which he also protested. He would be so amazed at how effective his activism was in the 21st century, I know I am. Power to the people who speak up for their rights!