Saturday, January 30, 2010

Take care

If you see this before closed eyes, you know that getting snowblind starts like this. I should have taken the walk with sun glasses! So please, if you walk in the snow in the sun, don't forget to protect your eyes! Fortunately, this went away very soon. In minutes.

It was an exiting walk, deep snow and the cold, clear air. We walked fast because of the freezing temperatures. A fieldfare had a meal from small fruit in a tree. In the medieval times, these were the poor people's chicken.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Today, we booked our holidays

Winter is getting on our nerves. Today it started snowing again. I took this picture at night which explains the weird colors. Aperture: 8 sec.
So we went to the travel agency today and booked. We have been reading hotel descriptions and travellers' ratings on the internet for a week and looking up places and pictures.
First we were interested in Malta and the stone age temples. But what we read about the hotels was less attractive. So we shifted our aim, and I recommended Turkey which my husband had not been too interested in.
I was there twice in 1992, and I was enchanted by the Turkish lifestyle.

Sometimes I think I did not fall in love with my first husband but with his lifestyle.
This fancy remained after divorce.

The offers convinced J.
Hope the holidays will convince him even more. Two weeks, all inclusive, 1940,-- $ for the two of us.
Something to be anticipating.

I started quilting again. The hand bandage prevents wrong twists of my wrist. I keep working on the quilt for my husband.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Tiny little Watercolor Tutorial

Some artists would like to work with watercolor, but something keeps them from really integrating this technique into their art.
Please don't be scared of watercolor. Just make sure to use

- a very smooth wooden board to stretch the paper on,
- water-soluble glue strips to fasten the edges,
- the best water color paper that money can buy,
- old-fashioned razor blades to scratch off excess paint.

Soak the paper in water for a few minutes to maximum maceration, allow to drip off and flatten it on the board. Fasten edges with glue strips. Remove excess water with paper towel. Allow to dry over night.
Start working. This paper will not bend or warp. You can torture it with brush or blades. Good quality will not show holes or ripples, it will even get smoother if scratched carefully. This way, you can create highlights without using white paint (which spoils the water color impression anyway).
Allow finished painting to dry another night before cutting the strips.
-- Don't get frightened by the "bang" of the paper shrinking when being cut off!
A friend shows his true face, when you argue with him; paper shows its true face if you wet it.

In addition to yesterday's posting...

Tally posted wonderful pictures of the frozen Alster, Hamburg's town river/lake (actually it started as medieval mill pond). And she took a picture of a bench on which I was fotographed more than 50 years ago with fur cap and muff.
I may look somber, even angry; I wasn't. It was my idea of looking dignified, I guess.
It is just a bench with a stone wall in the background. But I was thrilled to see it is still there, and remembered the walks I took with my Dad or grandparents.
Thanks, Tally!

Last night we had 1°F.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Not so sure

Jacob's Ladder/Landing UFO. I'm not so sure, it reminds me of church windows. This motiv will probably keep me busy. Here's an old version in acrylics.
The red beings are cherubs/shuttles.
I don't know why I combine the ladder motif with sphinxes. I think the story is about the dream of angels going up and down the ladder. This version will certainly not be the last one, because the "glassy" technique has been tried too many times before, and the small mosaic does not go with the larger parts, to say it briefly: It is nothing yet. There is another old version I also like better.

In the meantime, I finished the watercolor picture "Courts & Towers". In orange. It looks much like this.

Last night, we had -20° C/-4°F

Winter in the city

A radiant blue sky, 25 °F. The ice on our town lake Alster is almost strong enough to allow skating and other pleasures. Although our administration haven't opened the ice yet, many people are seeking their pleasure on their own risk. With extreme zoom, I was able to take this photo. A full turn shows this lovely scene, a row of mid-19th century buildings close to the townhall.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Working in Series

Another Variation of the "Courts & Towers" theme. Watercolor, 5.9x6.3".
Background still white. I found I rather spoilt the last one by adding a background. It looked okay before I did, but yet it seemed a bit cluttered. So I painted a new version and tried backgrounds by alternating the picture with photoshop el.
These paintings look very quilty indeed, but I have to paint them because it is faster, and I cannot sew yet, that hand just won't get better, and my elegant glove (which I still like because it prevents pain) is rather a nuissance if I try to sew.
That's why I have to renounce on cloth which is a shame. There is nothing like a hand quilted surface. When I lie under my bird quilt, I stroke it, thinking, okay, I did that, and if I will never hand quilt again.
Painting is fun. I love it. I'm working on another piece already.
If I could paint the backgrund as evenly as my electronic brush does, it will look either like this or like this. Would you like to tell me your choice?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Blogroll or not?

Recently I found that some bloggers whom I follow removed their blogroll. They had the impression that it is unnecessary. Imho this isn't so. I found by analysing the coming and going of visitors on my blog that some really are interested in the blogs I read, and some even visit them systematically. The reason may be that if you are interested in a blog and see it with appreciation, you will see the blogroll as a line of recommendations. This can be helpful in confirming your idea what is "good" fiber art -- I did try to develop my taste by using blogrolls as references, especially from those (mostly) ladies who appeared to be talented AND successful. It has helped me tremendously to find out what they think is worth reading and seeing.
Blogrolls make the blogging scene come alive. You move from one to another like a gibbon in the jungle trees (forgive me this comparison). The "web" of blogs needs the blogrolls as an open door to the next one. Commenters often are the same most of the time. I find it interesting to follow these links, but it won't get me that far. Sure, there is a link to jeopardy choice, but this is not the same if you are looking for art or fiber art etc.
So please don't give up your blogrolls!

The photo shows me when I was in a webdesigners' school in 2001 during a public performance of our achievements.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

My elegant glove

What a chic model! This is the suspension bandage I'm wearing on my left hand now. It is such a practical device with a zip and a support for the joint inside, I love it. Health insurance pays most of it; I just had to add $ 7.50. Get a public health insurance, I recommend that to you!
Actually, I just wanted to show how much snow fell last night.
J removed the snow from the car to have an easier start tomorrow morning.
Then we took a walk around the lake. It is not large, but there is a little island, a refuge for birds like the grey heron.
The lake was almost completely frozen, and on one of the trees on the bird island I saw the heron standing still. I enlarged this part of the picture to show him more closely.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

I'm fine, he said

"First of all", my husband started his phone call, "I am fine, nothing happened to me. But I had a car accident." Just a little crack in the rear bumper. A truck tried to stop behind him at the red light, but couldn't, due to the ice. In a way, I was prepared. I don't trust car traffic in this kind of weather. Still around 26°F. I have a lot more confidence in the metro. But his way to his office is not practical at all; by car, he can just cross over from the north east to the north west of our town; by subway, he would have to pass the city, there is no northern rail connection. God knows why not.

Town admins have decided: We'll be getting streetcars again.
Car drivers hate that. But I believe this is the only way to solve traffic problems in European towns. We just don't have room enough to build highways as wide as cornfields. I love streetcars.

Still cannot please you with fiber art. My left hand is hardly getting better. I saw my doc and he said, "the joint is okay" (good news), "you just strained that hand." I'll get some electric treatment next week, no idea how and if it will work.

Sorry if I miss some of your postings and/or commenting them. I have to be quite busy with the memorial project in the weeks to come.
Today I photographed a load of documents which were hidden in a chicken shack roof for 40 years. Communist party books and papers. This will be part of the project. The man who owned them was executed in 1944. The documents remained hidden in the shack until it was torn down long after the war.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Looking back

Hamburg in the early Fifties was a place full of ruins. On the right picture, you see me sitting on giant ship chain links. The second view is taken from the tower which you can see in the 1st picture.
Ruins must have been a familiar sight to me. Children take all kinds of circumstances as normal, they are incredibly flexible.
I only remember one of these ruins because it was half a kitchen, it was in a house right opposite to where my grandparents lived, and I kept wondering what happened. The table was still there, an old coal stove stood at the wall, and rain and snow came in.

At the moment I'm working on a picture performance as part of a memorial project for our district parliament. The intention is to commemorate names, faces (if possible) and facts about the lives of murdered neighbours.
You may have heard of the project "Stolpersteine" ("stumbling stones"), brass plaques with the names of victims of the 3rd Reich. It is the idea of a German sculpturer, Gunter Demnig, who has undertaken this gigantic work of placing one plaque with name and life dates for every victim in the pavement near his/her home of the past. It is like these pledges people take in fairy tales in order to free someone they love from bondage or as a work of expiation. A task that seems to be too big to ever be finished. And this is what Gunter does, on his knees, in any kind of weather, day by day, year by year.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

WIP: Courts and Towers

Another miniature, 5x5" at the moment. I used a method invented by Kandinsky: I chose a scale of colours and mixed them before starting. The rule is to use only these -- I have a china palette with 12 little bowls which is good for this method. -- This will be another version of the sea bridge, but more elaborate, and better material. The sea bridge was painted on the reverse side of a cardboard piece in a clothes pack I recently bought. Warm underwear for the snowy weather. We don't have to suffer much in town, it is snowing, but not so heavily, and the temperatures are around freezing point (pic: view from my kitchen). In the country, many villages are cut off, and the snow reaches as high as a man in places.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

This is not innovative

Watercolor miniatures are all I can do at the moment instead of sewing, embroidering or quilting. I don't really feel inspired, and I guess these things follow the trail of Paul Klee and Lionel Feininger very closely. They are very small, the "Sea bridge" is about 4x4", and "Stock Market Dreams" is 5.12x7.5". You can see the influence of fiber work in them!

The sea bridge could also be a town on wooden piles, as Venice or the center of Hamburg. When the subway was built, the workers found one of these medieval oaks and dated its use back to the 13th century. This means that its growth started about 800 years ago. It was put up inside the subway station near our town hall. An artist carved it into a sculpture of maids of 7 centuries. The street above the station is named "Maids' walk" which used to refer to the housemaids who went to market over this path along the water.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Global warming?

In my childhood, some winters were very cold. The lake in the background is situated right in the center of Hamburg, the "Alster", actually a river which was turned into a mill pond in medieval time. This photo was taken in 1955 or 1956, when I did a scientific research on the thickness of ice.
Then, in the mid-seventies, we had very warm winters, once on Christmas Eve 1977, it was 18° C/64°F. Now, we are going back to "normal" winters, it seems. Twice, at night, we had temperatures around -16° C/3,2° F.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Caught in act:

... the teeth of the biting cold on our balcony rail this morning. Around the middle of December, temperatures were even lower, going down to 5° F. Last night, we had about 22°.
J hates the cold, I cannot inspire him to take a walk with me, although the sun comes out for short moments.
Art is reduced to water color doodlings of this kind:
WIP, stolen from Klee, started as a steal from Kandinsky. Something naive, a childrens book illustration without purpose.
Size: about 4x4"
I miss quilting! But my hand still hurts after almost 4 weeks. Getting better slowly. If not, I have to see the doc after all.

Just learnt what "blue moon" means. I was lucky this time! The moon was mild on me. Very often, full moon causes health problems, mostly when the weather is dry. This time, it was on my poor husband...
(I don't like full moon)
P.S. His stomach is better now after mint tea and good meals.