Monday, August 31, 2009

I wish I was in Nashville tonight...

The CMA's are on the regular TV tonight and I have to admit my grand daughters have turned me on to Taylor Swift and the words she has written speak to all if we bother to listen. I am in for the evening and plan on working into the wee hours once again. When the house is quiet and my family is all tucked in both here and their homes I can go to my sacred quiet place and lose track of time. Country music people tell our stories and Ken says he can even understand what they are singing. Enjoy !!!

Today was a kiss from the weather gods with clear blue skies and soft gentle cool breezes. Even my animals wanted to keep going in and out to be outside in the sunshine. My garden needs some human touch to prepare for the upcoming changes in climate. My deer have enjoyed the fruits and blooms of my tiny garden but they share their little fawns with us everyday and have become a member of our family. They have eaten the clematis, nibbled to the ground my newest lilies and I hope I still have some hosta roots that will reappear next Spring. The ornamental grasses have done well and dance in the wind as the daylight moves across the landscape. What a simple gift to enjoy the passing of time under the pure sunshine.

I don't but very much music these days since I lost my job last December but I had to make an exception with Rob Thomas's newest CD Cradle. The first song is called "Her Diamonds" is written about how his life has totally changed since his wife Marisole has been living with an auto immune disease. "And she say oooh...I can't take no more...her tears like diamonds on the floor...cuz I can't help her now...she's down in in...she tried her best and now she can't's hard to see them on the ground...her diamonds falling down" We often forget the care givers and the loving spouses who live in this up and down existence and there are times when the darkness can over take all hope. Rob's words about his love for his wife have always touched me and the first time I heard this song I wanted to reach out to touch his family and let them know they are not alone. Listen to the words closely and see how your heart opens up.

My rock, Mr. Ken is having trouble with gout and his sugar; for the first time I see his frailty. Somehow it is perfectly fine for me to be sick but he is my mountain, my rock who is always there to listen to me and witness my days where I have to be in bed until a new day begins. His sugar is quite high and needles scare this leaning giant so hopefully we will be able to control the ups and downs with proper nutrition. Life is so fragile and we all need to hold our loved ones close and rejoice in being. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

the log truck in the North Caolina mountains...

I have had questions about my photo of the logging we were coming out of a summer rain storm in the mountains we came up behind these freshly cut logs. I did not get a great photo but I was intrigued by the grid ...happenstance as it was and the beautiful wood marks started my mind to wanting to somehow capture the beauty in the wood itself. I find myself studying simple patterns all around me... have I been blinded by schedules and business all around us. As I said I need to retreat into silence and slow down until I stop to see the beauty all around us. I have been working and now I need my sleep to get to the morning. Imagine Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, August 30, 2009

there are no short cuts....

I spent time this afternoon continuing my research for my exhibit and got through only about one half of the story about this quiet painter from Canada I am attempting to learn more about. The videos available and several reviews over the decades repeated some of the same themes about the medium of painting with "your back against the world". It sounds so simple and obvious at first and yet to create in your own being without a concern or connection too what the world will think about your works is an awesome triumph. Agnes Martin was an abstract painter and minimalist with her brushstrokes and processes. I have created my first impression of this magnificent woman artist 's life.

Something is missing
Abstract artist
Painter "I paint with my back against the world...isolation and quiet"
Memory ...
Innocence ...
Living in New York for ten years
Travel for two years
Gabriel movie dialogue ...
Minimalism ... sacred marks quietly made...
In infinite space
Contained in a painting...
Empty your mind
The intellect serves the ego
Servant of the facts ...
Practice quiet
Inspiration envelops the being
If you are willing to listen ...
Something new...really want it... the power in the quiet spaces
Inspirations come from creation in Life
Know what you want
All aggressive behaviors
Soften my attitude
Cleanse the soul ...
You will receive more in tranquility
Slow...slower....stop ...
Keep your mind at rest
In the mood for the Truth ...
Aware and alert
What can I do now?
Then wait patiently...patiently wait
Sleep on it
Dream state
Your dreams are the answers of your future
Sleep on it
Dream State
Beauty is in the mystery of life
Spiritual mystic
Respond slowly to and see humility
Trust the gift
Abstract emotions
Illustrates the Truth.

The subtle use of colors and the quiet ways of this woman have resonated in my mind's eye. I have to fight that frantic emotion to "do something fast and do it now!" Oh what lessons i have to learn in the next year. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, August 29, 2009

reflection in the sunshine on my back deck...a place for healing

Today I returned to the store to buy a few more smaller frames for my exhibit next May. The repetition of patterns and block letter and number images feels intuitively uniform for my message I hopefully will communicate with my viewers in both my assemblages and poetic verses stitched into the fiber works. I now can see how my block printed words can be connected onto the surface layers of the older linens and fabrics I have collected will unite the overall continuity in my whispers. Whew... that sounds high minded thinking...I never would have thought to even articulate this process back in 1990 when I had my first one woman exhibit at the Methodist Seminary in Delaware,Ohio. Then I was flying by the seat of my pants and now I realize how important my preparation is in making this authentic and sacred. Yes, I consider this as a form of my spiritual prayers and making them visible. They are not perfect but hopefully they will help me create a connection with my family, my community and my earthly home. Working with the fragility of fiber and threads creates an intimacy between both the creator or artist and the persons who come to experience the works. Collectively when the connection is made there is a dialogue beyond words and the fiber artwork wants to touch you back and caress us through our fingertips. I am not sure I am being clear but when I am immersed in the stitching process I get lost in the present moment and breathe into my existence a new vision. This is my prayer.

I am watching a HBO special "The Day the Levees Broke" about the anniversary of the tragedy four years ago when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans. The filmed images are almost unimaginable and hard to believe. I have been jaded by computer generated images in the movie industry in the last couple of years and this documentary burdens my mind and heart. Have we learned anything? I know meeting a transplanted musician from New Orleans when I visited Nashville a few weeks back and in a very brief time I could see how difficult surviving Katrina was to this one human being. Ri'Chard...Richard is a survivor and making a new home with good home cooked foods and live musicians every night ...Art Saves Lives...for a new community of loving expressive individuals. Cajun cooking will forever remind me of the courage this spicy man needed to survive. What have we learned?

The sunshine warms my heart this afternoon and the birds are singing their blues...summer is fading and the times are a changing right in front of me. Gentle reminders to pause...standing still...feel the caress of the breeze on my face. Angels with invisible wings pass over me as I return to my work. Imagine Peace and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Friday, August 28, 2009

Cindy Meyer's Fiberscapes....

On second street in the central gallery Cindy Myer's "Fiberscapes" are magical small weavings created from the mind's eye to delight the viewer and invite one to touch. Fortunately or unfortunately they are displayed under glass so they are not easy for me to photograph. Cindy used to come into the gallery when I was working for the LCA and she shared her weavings combined with her latest drawings. The colors and textures were mesmerizing and though the works are relatively small they are powerful to behold. We made plans to meet up together in the future and I want her to meet Chris Lang; another artist who treasures the gifts hidden in the sheep's wool. Cindy has been weaving for eighteen years but this is her first exhibit and a joy to behold. Trust me my camera does not do the works justice. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

The Man Show...the actual work is fabulous

I will try one more time...the weather outside is interrupting our Windstream connection. The LCA exhibit is exciting and fun to experience. Don Gunnerson's "Happiness" portrays himself with Miss Betty and her constant companion Princess in his wonderful watercolor and view into a new chapter in his life. Tony Reynold's newest work is enticing the viewer to reach out and caress the edges designed by Nature and Tony's talented hands. Nicholas Craig drawing invites you to come closer and study his sacred marks. The wire sculptors were especially inviting to me because it was created with rusty wire. The energy was present for all to see and view her form and shape. Earl Duck created with his expertise the intimate insight to a time gone by...maybe the 1950's...I am guessing fro the Chevy pump in the painting. Art Perry's oil of a horse in running flight is a new chapter of his design and subject process. The newest Raku works are incredible and I am hoping to own one sometime soon...abstract fired in the power of the heated earth. Be sure to check this special show and I know my photos do not do it justice in exemplifying the wealth these artists share in our community.

Jo Sinnsabaugh has a one man exhibit "Consilience" in our dear friend Liz Argyle's wonderful gallery. The range of his talents run the gamut and we are so fortunate to have him share his vision. His wooden furniture guided by the mystery found in each of the individual wood he has selected is a joy to see and experience. His abstracts are kinetic and full of an energy that defies articulation in words only. The landscapes are in a velvet brush stroke and were selling even in this economy. Joe's drawings were mesmerizing to study and the mobiles seem to float above our heads as we walked through the gallery space. Thank you Joe for all you do to share and promote a free thinking here in Licking county about the possibilities for making art. I hope you enjoy the few photos I am trying to include before the power disappears once again. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

The Man Show...

Tonight is the opening for "The Man Show" designed to feature the male members of our Licking County Arts. I am sure this will an interesting enterprise for all who attend. A cookout of hot dogs and Beer for the robust to enjoy the works of art in a more effective manner. The weather is a bit tricky with thunderstorms looming outside at the moment. I have been out of town for most of the summer but look forward to seeing old friends once again and hear of their progress this past hot summer months.

I am diligently adding to my stash of found objects and still need my mother of pearl buttons...I hear that if you say this out loud the Universe will guide the design elements to your hands when you are ready to add them. I am painting on an antique linen table cloth with special attention to the intricate weaving of roses and greenery in the four corners of the cloth. I am trying to remain playful in my application and wanting to employ Transfer Art Paper processes soon as it arrives. I tried to support our local businesses first but no one even knew what I was asking for so Pro Chemical has come through and while I was at it I found a few other elements I might need to continue my play. When we come back from the exhibit I will try to add a few photos for your amusements and thank you for all who are sharing my humble words with your process friends and artists. "No one succeeds alone!"

Today is my sister's birthday...I won't say how old...I am eleven months older... but we had a good time this summer in Charleston for the wedding celebration. Our lives are a changing and we need to stay in touch with one another and support the siblings as we age and make our way into our later years. I have been able to assist Donna with some ideas for paper collage lesson plans and Eric Carl's approach to interpreting their own favorite readings. On Fridays they have a "Fun Day" to show what they learned during the week's activities. The students are in the 6th and 7th grades but with various levels of reading abilities. It is amazing to witness how the making of Art Marks is another language to connect with others. I need to go and get ready for the big Man Show and the drizzle of raindrops will not detour our support. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, August 27, 2009

my mind is racing....

I have had a scattered day today with a mad search for a special birthday gift for my grand daughter and my constant search for mother of pearl embellishments for my fiber narratives. I found the first but lost out for the MOP quest. I have studied another artist's approach to adding layers on top of layers and I realized I have been playing too safe with my process of adding colors and images on the surface. Why am I so timid? The fear creeps in until I realize I should remember to PLAY with the applications... there is no one way to make the marks and when I just forget the fear I usually have at least some possibilities. Tomorrow we will just play and see what develops.

I have someone interested in publishing some of my narratives and images in a new magazine but it is in a different format from what I have been used to. With further information and a little help from my friends...that I have never met in person...I will try to make a connection. I have a nibble on a big commission for 2010 for a family I renewed a family connection through my niece Amber. The family is interested in working with me on a family heirloom in a modern approach for four separate works. And they are also willing to wait until after my exhibit next spring. Send out good energy because I could really use the money to pay my medical expenses.

I am saying farewell to a very familiar man who had many flaws and mistakes in his lifetime but at the same time Ted Kennedy worked until the day he passed. Watching the news coverage made me remember the 70's; 80's 90's until today. History will make a final judgement of this man's worth but as I study his eyes and hear his words I do believe he was an Uncle Teddy for all in America. This family legacy of the Kennedy family has been a costly one for them all.

I am still trying to limit myself to one hour on this computer universe but today a daily OM reminded me that putting yourself first means that it may be necessary to say NO to someone else in order to say Yes to yourself. "I am caring for myself so that I am better able to care for others." Remember to just breathe. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

a moment in the quiet end of a day...

sit quietly
listen to the quiet voices in my memories
as I stitch by stitch with soft colors of floss
meddling into my hand dyed fabric
a signature in time
this moment ...
after an hour or two
I pause to see the path of my needled marks
so much to do and yet I am reassured to know that
the journey is my own.
Patterns renewed ...set the time aside to pause to dive into
the process of losing oneself in the work experience.
Why do I fight getting back to work
when I have broken my familiar ...
seeking outside my norm takes energy
though it is a different chapter of awareness...
I find myself wanting to return to the solace
solace and quiet in the creation without boundaries
only the requirements I put on myself.
Let go...let go...let go and remain in the safety of the womb of your quiet working space.
Let go...let go...let go... and nourish the quiet solace of making your sacred marks.
Imagine and Live in Peace,

a time for now children

I have been in a quest to make my money stretch as far as possible and yesterday found some intriguing frames at an unbelievable price of 75% off. I have been searching for an unusual frame to employ as my upcoming works will reveal themselves in both words and images. With each small accomplishment I feel more confident in my focus and hopefully will offer my viewers an intimate view into my own whispers and echoes. The gallery should be a good match for the images in process but I still feel an enormous pressure to make my marks authentic and valuable. Now on to the next step in my journey.

I am drawing "rough" dream images before I put a brush to my canvases and continue my stitch-by-stitch journey as anxiously I am wanting to begin my beading play. Some tell me it's tedious work, but for me it is just another manner of journaling and processing. I had an interesting dream where my Father, my Mother and my Aunt Helen were walking beside me ...healthy...youthful... and guiding me in my collective process of evidence. I did not want the dream to end and yet found it to be a little unnerving because they are gone from my sight but not my heart's mind and eyes. They were so healthy and full of life... it felt so real. I am thinking about the gift of being with them once again through my art work here in my home.

There are whispers of change in the air as the blush of color in the tips of the trees and a coolness in the morning breezes... I have complicated feelings about this annual event as September walks through the door. I need to go and work once again but await the messages and messengers in my dream time. I feel the voices from my trip to Australia years ago sounding in my subconscious so I am still listening and looking into the deep well of midnight blue. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Thursday, August 20, 2009

my day of fabric testing...

I began to test my antique/old fabrics and wash away the marks from use and the play of time. I do put my fabrics in the old Maytag and if they survive a gentle wash then I can begin my alterations and embellishments with my dyes and Seta paints (soft transparent paints from France). I am enjoying this time consuming process and have learned that I will know more about the fabrics that will become intimate in my fingers as I allow the threads to tell their stories. I am still catching up on my emails and mail from the last three weeks. Ironing the freshly washed linens is a moment of standing still and thinking about the next step I want to try when I get home from OSU tomorrow...The rhythm is beginning to emerge as I nestle down in the studio. I have simple repetition in fraying edges and the use of cotton flosses with future placement for my most valuable pearl buttons. Several narratives are beginning to speak to me and I need to hide myself from the rest of the world and just work. I love the solitude and yet after awhile I need to connect with another who will try to understand my quiet voice in my works. The threads have a way of being very powerful when they unite in the final presentation/completion of the tactile work. I love the energy I give and even more receive as I work in my stitches and quilt by hand the stories I hear from the whispers and echoes of my women guiding my hands. I still need to do more on line research but with my images coming to life in my mind's eyes and the voices in my heart to make a connection in my process...I realize the quiet time is a gift to be able to continue my hand made approach. I am tired now and have an early morning ahead of me. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

I am a lucky girl...

As you can now see that I am slowly returning to my familiar and beloved world here in Newark, Ohio but I have made many new acquaintances who share my love for adventure and culture diversification in music, customs, art processes and incredible Cajun foods and deep South crab delicacies and sweet tea. Now I still have unpacked suitcases in my living room and scattered around the dining room and the bedroom is in upheaval of clothes, reliquaries, clothes sorted by colors yet to be washed. Yesterday I needed to make required deliveries to the post office, my bank and select some last minute specials for the grand daughters and their first day of the school year. When I finally made my last stop I went home to discover we were going out to dinner with some dear friends and ended up at the kid's house. I went to bed without a care and for the first time I am back on my home keyboard.

I returned with a summer cold because I do realize that I over did and my body said whoa several times but I failed to listen and obey my inner muse. I stayed in and began catching up om ideas and inspirations from the latest road trip. I also collected some anonymous women's works that I need to clean, fray and organize for my growing pieces in various states of development. Ken is on his way back to his Fall teaching position so I will have time to meet with an incredible woman who has changed the community here in Licking county. I still have to unload my car with my treasures one else except an artist could see and realize the potential of a past conversation to be discovered in these aged threads and tattered garments.

Thank you for you patience as I get back into my "groove" pattern and work ethic...daily daily daily work hard and the process will guide my hands and fingers. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

I am fine...I have been on the road...traveling

I am writing from a beautiful city...Nashville. I was unable to meet up with Kathy Mattea but have had a wonderful visit with my brother Ed and his wife Leigh; she is a wood worker who creates wooden totems of her muses and designs gifted in the depth of the wood itself. This journey is one of trust and perseverance in the actual creative journey. I will add a photo or two of her works at the end of my blog. Several other artists have been concerned because I have not been on line at my usual regularity but I have been physically writing in a new journal that has allowed me to recapture the joy of pen and ink and hopefully I will add color and texture in my collage/quilted approach when we arrive home i a few days. I am always amazed when I travel to once again discover how much I learn about myself. The separation of the familiar and new environmental landscapes opens and widens my peripheral vision of my existence here on this planet and is renewing my spirit for the renewal project with my patient friend Seth and others. The gentle unfolding of secrets hidden in the open and often too busy to pause to see the gifts of the present moment. I am trying to hold onto this important lesson in making an authentic artist's life.

We were on a quest to find a matching gallery for Leigh to share her arts in this area/community. Finally when we arrived at the destination we were saddened to learn with this economy the gallery had been forced to close six weeks earlier. The website was filled with a group of artists from all over and they were diverse in their applications and techniques so the opportunities were so plentiful. Well make plans and watch the gods laugh. We then headed downtown to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts to see a Chuck Close collaboration with paper collages and self portraits; with incredible print makers...little did I know I would meet an old friend...Keiji Shinohara who had been a resident print maker at Denison about ten years ago and now he is collaborating with Chuck Close. I felt a warm rush of renewal and a need to renew our friendship when I get home. The six degrees of separation is alive and well on this planet Earth. I had been explaining to my brother about Shinohara's processes and walked into the room to see his work in this incredible collaboration of artists.

When we came home I was way over stimulated with impressions and images and the heat knocked me out for a couple of hours. In my dreams my subsoncious wove images of the power of the printed/collaged images. Tonight I watched Ovation... what a treat since we do not have it at home. I witnessed a documentary about an artist named Ryan Larkin who is living today on the streets of Montreal as a homeless but genius man. He was a recognized film maker and illustrator from the 1960's and 1970's before cocaine destroyed his relationships and career as a professional. One of his most recognized works may be on you-tube called "Walking" which is totally illustrated with his personal is not a computer animation that we have grown so familiar with in the last couple of years. He now fills his days with making portraits of those he meets on the streets and has been documented in a film short by another contemporary in film animation and this is called "Ryan". I am hoping to find it and save it on the computer when I arrive home because I did not give the film my undivided attention.

Tomorrow we have a whole day to explore another couple of museums and galleries so I need to get some rest so I can keep my energy up. Nothing like living in the present moment. Thank you for your patience as I make my way home to my cabin in the woods. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Saturday morning.....

As you can see I am still struggling with someone else's computer...last night was a feast of southern hospitality and total comfort. We ate incredible Southern cuisine and met some wonderful people who will become family with the wedding ceremony. The weather is hot and very humid but the energy is high and joyful with optimism filling the air for this young couple. Life is great so continue to imagine and live in Peace. You are so loved!!! Mary helen Fernandez Stewart

the rehearsal....on a rooftop...on the ocean....