Thursday, January 20, 2011

Snow day in my old pajamas...the snowflakes have arrived.

I knew in my heart I could make it down the driveway in my little car but there would be no guarantee that I could get back up I listened to my intuition and stayed home to work from my studio upstairs. I needed to put together the couple's small commission as they begin their life together. I have the photos transferred and will be working toward a monochromatic arrangement in a softer antique flow of colors. I have selected my fabrics and laces and now will just dive into the actual play of composition. As I worked upstairs the snow fell gently on my hillside and the calm gray skies reminded me of my word inspiration for next Monday....maudlin. I had to check this word and found it to be overly sentimental, weakly intoxicated tearfully expressive. The sky today was maudlin here in color and before I knew it I had created my tiny project. A spiral came into my composition and tiny Delica beads in a matte gold made by Miyuki Shoji. I could totally get addicted to these tiny projects...they are so rewarding.

I also had a whole day watching my Ovation Channel documentary about Shelby Lee Adams . He is a photographer born and raised in Harlan KY and has documented the lives of coal miners in their harsh surroundings scratching out a life for survival. He has spent thirty years living, learning, sharing family rituals and witnessing this intense familial culture which is often very difficult for outsiders to understand. Shelby has been accepted and earned the respect from this Appalachian culture and does not pass judgment even with the charismatic poisonous snake handlers. Shelby captures true meaning through his pictures taken on and in intimate passages of these people in their mountain lives. This is a very thought provoking film and I would love to have some feedback on your impressions...mine may be skewed by the fact that I grew up close to this culture.

The second documentary was about Julian Beaver an artist who creates 3D sidewalk amorphic chalk landscapes in Paris and in San Fransico. You may have seen his work without really knowing his name and honestly I am amazed whenever I see his works...he is an illusionist who works with the cultural environment of each project plus shares the spotlight to show contemporary muralists who make their lives visible on the walls of the city. Julian documents each temporary installation with his camera and has a book published...sorry I can not remember the name of his collection. My friend Curtis Goldstein in Columbus has been featured on CBS morning show with his chalk drawings and loves Julian's creations.

The last program "retreat" was the Betrayal of an artist Rudolf Bauer. He was born in Germany and a contemporary of Kandinsky and Picasso who moved from his academic training to abstraction. He became the favorite artist of the famous Solomon Guggenhiem collector. His life was somewhat tormented and in the end he died with a sense of loss due to a family squabble and political differences. I love the flow of his paintings and geometric compositions which I realize is something inspiring me to lossen up in a playful manner in my and scatter on the papers.

I need to return to my sewing machine and work on my small wall hanging for Jodie. I shoveled a bit of the driveway and I am surprised by how tired I am at this moment. It took me some time to get warmed when I came it but hopefully I was able to help Ken make the driveway safe for both of us. Have a safe evening and Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart


  1. I too am staying in, not because of the snow, but the cold! I had to look up the word maudlin and am glad I did, I was at first thinking it was a synonym for macabre! Now, I've got some lace, stitching and other sweet things to add to it. Happy Day Mary Helen!

  2. The cold is brutal here today so I have no desire to go out into the beautiful sunshine. Maybe tomorrow I will head down to the studio when no one is around to make some progress there in the sunshine. Check out the You Tube video "You are worth the time" by Jan Phillips from 2003 minutes of pure affirmations for an artist living the artist life. Imagine and Live in Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

  3. I LOVE Julian Beaver! I use his work in math class when we talk about spatial sense and math in art. Stay warm and cozy and don't take any chances!