Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Lilac Time

I have been very slothful about writing. It's been over a month since I returned from ArtFest and not one entry. Tsk tsk! ArtFest was everything I had hoped for, and more. I went to Port Townsend a day early, on Tuesday, and spent the night at a nice B&B called The Lemon Tree. It was nice to have a day to myself to get into "art mode" and to leave mundane thoughts behind and begin to focus on making art. I went to a lot of my favorite shops and galleries in Port Townsend, did some shopping and a lot of looking and had a wonderful, quiet time. I splurged and took myself to dinner at Wild Coho, which is uptown, and had a truly delightful meal. Great food, fantastic service and a lovely wine list. I can't recommend the restaurant more.

On Wednesday, I spent a lot of time in the morning at the beach. I found some good shells but it was the lovely day that drew me to the water. The sky was blue and although it was a little breezy and cold, I had a great time. The only real problem was that I had managed to leave home without a coat! I didn't realize what I'd done until I was on the ferry. I did manage to find a nice car coat on sale in PT, but I felt like the fool I am. Who would leave home without a coat in March? That's just dumb!

I was in line for check-in at three and got my packet and did some shopping at the tables Teesha and Tracy had set up. I turned in my piece for the gallery, my koi 8 by 8, and then went down to my dorm, 225, and found my room. It was small, comfy and just enough. I had a single iron bedstead, a desk, a dresser and a clothes rack for my hang ables. I wasn't too far from the bathrooms and very near the exit door. I must say, I rather loved my little room. It made me wish I'd been able to have a single while I was in college, as the freedom to read or write or sleep whenever I wanted was a great luxury and one I didn't have in college, when I had to consider the needs of my roommates. Well, 35 years (or more!) later and my dream of a single had come true.

Dinner Wednesday night was the usual trading frenzy. I made a lot of trades and had a good time doing so. So many creative people and so very many fantastic charms, ATCs, goodie bags and bookmarks. I lost count of how many items I traded, but it was a lot. After dinner we had the opening talk in the conference center and after that I got my ATC fatbook and my first sight of Bee for the year. The ATC book was amazing and stuffed full of wonderful ATCs. I love it! Bee, with the help of &drew, did a great job of making the books with pockets so the ATC could have lots and lots of embellishments. Clever design and wonderful covers. Bee rules!

On Thursday I had a class with Carla Sonheim called "Voice Lessons" in which we were lead through a variety of different types of art in the morning and then encouraged to work with the medium we most enjoyed in the afternoon. I did watercolor portraits and while I over-worked most of them, as is my usual frustrating method, I did manage to stay loose and do one that was light and airy and fun. In fact, it rather looked like a young Aunt Margaret (or maybe it's Aunt Mary---hard to tell)! It was fun to do and I enjoyed my time with Carla a lot. She is a very nice lady and a good teacher---kind, insightful and full of good ideas.

Friday morning those of us who are members of the Photo Journal group met. It was fantastic to meet all these amazing women face to face. There are several of us from this area---Bothell, Mill Creek and Edmonds. Cathy Anderson turns out to be a tiny little redhead from South Africa, with a delightful smile, a wonderful accent and just brimming with enthusiasm and energy. She's amazing! We all agreed that we would make little mini photo albums for each other with photos from ArtFest. I have been working hard on mine and just got them mailed off to Cathy today. Since I am just about to be buried in EAF duties, it seems like I must get all these art projects I've committed myself to, done and mailed off. (I still have to do a page for the art journal group by June 7, I have pages due for the photo journal group by June 1st and I have just signed on to do a fatbook swap for Art and Soul in Portland---34 pages for that one. I must be demented.)

Friday was my class with Ann Bagby. What an experience that was! I love Ann's work and have been eagerly reading all her articles in the mixed media magazines for some time now. She does amazing things with acrylic paint, paper and stamps, making what she calls "complicated paper." We worked making backgrounds in the morning with some of her papers and anything of ours that we'd brought and then in the afternoon we learned about different methods of glazing and gesso-ing and altering the paper to use in our art. I did a torn paper couple of men that turned out to be rather Mongol-looking---fierce, funny and fun. I also did a goddess stencil that I used on the three panels of background paper I had created. I had so much fun in Ann's class that once I returned to my room, I could hardly wait to start working on my items again and really sort of rushed through Vendor's Night. Then I stayed up waaaaaaaaay too late, to well after one AM, working on what I had started in class, but I was on a roll and loving it. The two Mongol figures are my especial favorites, but the stencil goddess lady got turned into an Indian lady, complete with gold jewelry and a red and white sari. It was such fun! The only problem was that my room looked like an art bomb had gone off and while I can leave a studio in a huge, arty mess, I cannot sleep in a room with a huge arty mess. My OCD kicks in and it's just an impossibility to close my eyes until things are neat again. So, there I was, cleaning my room at 1:30 in the morning. When I got up on Saturday morning, I found the acrylic paint neatly stowed with my unguents and lotions...that could only happen at ArtFest!
Saturday morning was not so much fun as I was seriously under slept....I managed to get to my class on time, with Linda and Opie O'Brien. I shared a table with Deb Denton, of the Teesha and Tracy Moore thank you journal fame, someone I had been hoping to meet and hadn't connected with. Deb turns out to have a bent, wacky sense of humor, rather like mine, and the fact that the two of us were sharing a table was probably not the best idea.....but, my, did I enjoy her and I had a great time. I can't say I loved the earrings we made, but I learned how to patina metal and punch metal and make connections and I really got my money's worth. Not my favorite class, but the fact that I was so tired might have had something to do with it! Nice people, Linda and Opie, and they have obviously been married a long time as they have the old married couple bickering down about as well as Connie and I do!

It was hard to think that ArtFest was over on Sunday morning but I had arranged to meet Bee in PT, and we spent a long time shopping. We went to the gallery where I had put a madrone wood bowl on hold so I could pay for it. It's a thing of beauty, made my PT artist Hilda Winter (or maybe it's Winler, hard to read her writing on the bottom of the bowl). The bowl is very red with black spots and gold, red paint and it is mostly dyed, I understand. I love it. We went to the antique mall and Bee found all sorts of goodies and I found a wonderful photo of 1920s bathing beauties for my bathroom at Grant Creek. We shopped until almost 5, then headed for Edmonds. Bee and I had dinner at the Italian restaurant and then made an early night of it as we were both exhausted. The next morning we met Nonie for coffee then went to the beach. We spent all day on the beach and I think Bee had a very good time. I know I did! She had to pack up all her things for the trip back to Nantucket and that took quite some time. Glad I didn't have to negotiate an airport with the baggage she had. It was sad to say good bye but I am hopeful she'll come back next year, early, and stay after ArtFest, so we can really "do" the beach and maybe some gallery sleuthing in Edmonds. She is a darling and I miss her.

I had such a good time at ArtFest that I decided to take the plunge and I've signed up for Art & Soul in Portland in October. I will be down there from October 2 through the 8th. I'll have a room to myself at the Airport Sheraton and I got into both the classes that Ann Bagby is teaching. I also managed, somehow, to get into Sally Jean Alexander's "Soldering for Virgins" class. That one I REALLY need! My soldering is abysmal! The only downside to Art & Soul is that I won't be able to do south for Alex's 2nd birthday. It's too close to when I have to leave for Portland. Maybe I can get down there a little later in the autumn....I hope so!

Kellie brought Emma over about a week ago and we met Granty at Brackett's Landing. Emma had a good time but seems to be very frightened that a crab will come and bite her. I had to carry her most of the time we were on the beach, even after we ran into the Ranger who explained to Emma that if the crab is smaller than a an adults finger and thumb touching, it can't pinch you because it's pinchers won't open far enough.....she was dubious, to say the least. We did look hard for a baby crab but were unable to find one. We had lunch at Claire's and then sent Emma home with a dollhouse. Kellie and Don report that she loves the dollhouse so I have gone back to the toy store and bought furniture for her birthday gift. I'm ready for September 16th!

I was in the local little jewelry shop, BlueFish, were Barb and her minions make lovely bracelets, necklaces and earring from beads and baubles. I was wearing my bracelet I made to feature my artwork and Barb loved it and seems to be quite interested in buying some ready made charms of mine to use in her jewelry. She thought it would be fun to do a window display, with "original designs by BlueFish featuring artwork by local artist...." blah blah blah. I am really excited, if somewhat stunned. I have been working on making up some charms to take in to show Barb. I have made some featuring my photography as well as my artwork, because I think some of my images make nice pendants. I did one with two gulls sitting on a roof that I took down along the waterfront last summer, and had a lady admire it in a local shop today, asking where I had gotten the pendant! Maybe there will be a market for these??? That would be so much fun.

It's full on spring now. There are blooming lilacs, rhoddies, shrubs, trees, bushes, plants everywhere you look. It's a beautiful time of year, and I love to watch the hostas in the yard explode out of the ground (and before the slugs find them!). Everything is fresh and new. Ah, live is beautiful


Gwen said...

Hi Michelle!
I have been checking your blog occasionally since AF to see if you had posted, and was delighted to see that you have!
I enjoyed meeting you at AF and hope that we can get together sometime, after EAF...
I loved seeing a glimpse of your little books for the AF swap in the photoart journal group, I haven't started mine yet, I have two fatbooks to finish doing pages for first. I do know what I want to do, though, and already have my photos printed.

take care!

&rew said...

That photo of lilac is BEAUTIFUL!! And that photo of Bee is really good one.

Thanks so much for your great account of your ArtFest experience!