Wednesday, April 30, 2014

This week in pictures

My latest quilt is getting near complete with a multicolored binding and bright orange-red hand quilting. I have been trying to get out and enjoy the flowers but our weather has fluctuated a lot this year. Cold one day like today with rain and blindingly bright sunshine and pollen levels through the roof the next. Crazy weather is the new normal. Still with my new camera in tow I took a walk around Brookland and went to National Gallery of Art to see Doug Kingsbury and the wisteria in bloom as well as some art. It's good to get out of the house this time of year not nearly as difficult as it was earlier during that snowy winter season but the pollen makes my eyes itch and water when I go outside. Here are a few things I have seen on my excursions recently. 
purple and orange quilt project 

 Brookland gardens seen from the curb on a weekend walk

Wisteria under gray skies and a little spring shower then a favorite painting at National Gallery of Art.

"Take Your Choice" still life of books by Peto an American art treasure. 
Rain today in Turkey Thicket and the play grounds are flooded the squirrel was on the branch by my second story window eating breakfast this morning. 

Finally a picture of some pretty flowers Keith gave me this week in my favorite color!

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Easter, Flowers wild and domesticated and loosing Tom

 Busy when spring comes we get going after our extra long snowy winter. Gardens perk up and the trees start to flower and Easter gives us a chance to get together with family for good food and company. We visited my mother and brother in Virginia for a night and saw a pretty sunset, ate home made coconut cake among other goodies and enjoyed the great tulips, flowering dogwood and, redbud in the yard. Mom always decks the halls for the season...

 Keith had a nice piece in the third week of the Ikebana exhibition at the Bonsai Museum so we took a minute to go see the wild flowers over in the Fern Valley Forest of the Arboretum. Virginia Blue bells, white and red Trillium, Yellow Rue and Trout Lilies were all flowering and the fiddle heads of ferns were unfurling. A chance sighting of a ground hog in the hollow was a treat and a chance to try my new camera's zoom lens. I was over 100 feet away and got his head in my view finder. These woodland wild flowers bloom and vanish so quickly you have to race out to see them. Only blooming in the short window between warming spring weather and the leaves coming out on the trees. It's about 2-3 weeks window of glory that changes from day to day.

 This morning I found the chill after heat wave hasn't hurt anything in our garden and after a couple years of no flowers the ancient lilac has a few blooms which we have been hoping to see again. With spring came some sad news yesterday. My friend Tom Palmer gave up his struggle with HIV and Cancer after a very long battle last Sunday. The call was a surprise to me because sadly, I wasn't in touch with him very often after he began the treatments for cancer which are so debilitating that having visitors is difficult.
He was a great guy for so many reasons and I am proud have been one of his friends and supporters. We coped with AIDS or HIV and both nearly died back in the middle 1990s We both were artists who loved drawing and the figure. He came and drew with my male figure drawing group and even posed for us a few times with his great figure and handsome face and generous personality it was a delight to have him join the group. He inspired so many people in different ways and for me it was a mutual support for making more art and living life fully with our health difficulties. He was a big fan of my metro character sketches and photos of flowers, hostas leaves and more recently the quilts. What a rich feeling it is to have had his love in my life, my heart aches at the thought of this loss but I know I was very fortunate to have Tom Palmer as my friend.

Taken by one of Tom's close friend Michael Pipitone on the 1997 AIDS bicycle ride where we riders all hoped to get to know the handsome Water boy!

ten minute sketch of Tom from 1998 using reed pen and ink wash on toned paper 
2007 on a visit Tom takes a tour of my iMac, he's  showing off his big warm smile. 

Friday, April 4, 2014

Aprils look

 This week it is beginning to appear like spring is going to actually happen. The snow of the last winter season was a record for DC in that it was the 3rd snowiest. Over 30 inches this winter and they came in bouts of small coatings so school was  and even government offices shut down often. Everyone seems to be over and done with snowy streets and sidewalks and the bursts of super cold weather seem inevitable since they keep coming back after lots of little micro bursts of spring. The ground hog was way off this year.

All done showing quilts at Anacostia Arts Center and the doris-mae gallery which was so much fun. All the quilts are home now leaving me to work on a couple of new projects, the first of this year. I was inspired by the log cabin blocks for a while now and began making them in a purple orange combination of scraps and added fabrics as I found them. The first is a throw sized quilt that might be suitable for hanging as wall art. The colors make me feel good, bright and cheerful with a rich intensity that reminds me of the "Orange Explains it" quilt. Everyone knows about me and those oranges and reds but blues and purples are appealing in fact any color is a delight in the right moment. I wrote about the orange log cabin project a while back and I decided to go for pure intense color in that first version but all the likes received on the white, orange and gray version led me to set those blocks aside. Now playing around with them in a new composition using some ideas I heard during a lecture on what modern quilting as defined by one of the founders of the Modern Quilt Guild. The results made me feel more like going graphic and playing with larger open spaces in my quilt designs. I love the minute details in building quilt blocks but sometimes it is fun to step back and spread them on a field to see what happens.