Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tea for Tuesday with my special Monkey Man Infuser....

I seemed to find myself being easily rattled this morning. I went to the studio after beginning my order to Jacquard fiber and paint supplies. Then I received the call for my appointment on Thursday at 10 AM at Dawes Arboretum. I think I am ready...supplies are lining up, I need to see my workspace area and check the washer and dryer facilities, and walk through the proposed layout for the installation. The sun was shining bright and for the last day of January the temperatures were near 60. I am taking this as a sign, an affirmation that all is going well. I am praying that next Thursday will be just as beautiful as we make our rounds in preparation for the actual beginning of the collection of hand painted and hand dyed fabrics. I now have my silk screen materials ready to work and "play" with as I create my design elements. I will be ordering my first bolt of cotton on Thursday ...and it should give me enough time to cut and wash the first ten yards. I am beginning my sketches ...first and rough as they are but I will begin to share them with my viewers. Baby steps ...making the most effective preparations to increase the success rate for my desired colors and images.

Last night I did something ...I had the audacity to order my blog posts as a book with a soft, laminated cover in living color. This was expensive but I am hoping just having it in a solid physical book...I will be able to share my journey as an artist with my lectures and demonstrations. It will be two weeks before it arrives so I will save judgement until I can hold it in my hands.

I had the most wonderful visitor today ...Michelle Channel stopped by the studio and we had a small amount of time to catch up and hopefully make plans to go out for dinner and maybe include Kathy Anderson. Michelle has a new position , plus she is taking her classes at COTC, and raising Reyna and Owen! She looks absolutely beautiful and I am so proud of her. She is learning in her leadership role, continuing her education process and maintaining her family rituals and duties. Her eyes were filled with optimism and a sense of commitment. Her schedule is busy to say the list but her confidence is growing. I am so proud of her and our friendship.

Tomorrow Sharon will be picking up the collage "The Life you ordered has arrived." Working small...and quick is a reward in itself so hopefully I can process my thoughts while I continue my thought preparations and review my recipes ...I need to retrieve my Ann Johnston's books for a renewal of the steps I need to take. Ken is going on antibiotics tomorrow. I made a spicy beef vegetable soup tonight for supper and cupcakes for tomorrow night. I will frost and decorate them tomorrow as we celebrate a couple people's birthday surprises. have a great week in your studios and be brave....make it work!!!! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Monday, January 30, 2012

Monday and ready for Monkey tea tomorrow....

I was driving home from the studio and was met by my favorite UPS truck ...the driver had just delivered three new paperbacks and my little monkey man Tea infuser from Amazon. The photo is not very good...the flash is not cooperating with me so I will try to take another picture tomorrow in the sunlight...yes, we are expecting the sun to come out tomorrow!!!! I feel better already...Ken went to the doctor's office this afternoon and is slowly recovering from bronchitis and probably a virus. I went in late ...it is good to be your own boss and make the time schedules! Smile! I worked on a couple of interrupted works..."leave your fear at the door".... a collage I got distracted from with all the holiday hoopla! Then I framed a small collage for a donation for an art auction for the Welsh Schools in Granville. Its title is "The Life you have ordered has arrived!" Yes, it is small but I think it is powerful...I can only see giving small works away because I have two major commissions due this Spring. Check this image out and let me know what you think!!! I would not mind too much if the people who ask me for a donation would at least stop by and make a small paid contribution to maintaining the costs of having a public studio. Jingle this is for you...."Just saying!" The last UFO is a canvas I began the first layer of foundation for a mixed media work with a portrait of an anxious woman alone in her thoughts and worries and prayers.
I am calling "Waiting"...a portrait of a woman waiting for her husband, brother, or son or daughter to arrive home safely. The Merry Christmas illustration is from a dear artist Susie Shie who lives in Wooster, Ohio and sent this to me at the Holiday time.

Tonight we went to Bob Evans and I have enough for lunch tomorrow. I need to continue my work on the written proposal for my installation. I have about 8 good friends having their birthdays this month/week and it does not seem possible that some of these wonderful people have been with me for over three decades. I do not feel like I am getting older the the gray in my hair at the temples betrays my denial. I have three new books to peruse tonight under my quilts. Ken says he is going to work tomorrow...bronchitis ...yeah right!!!

I need to get to work now while I am still awake. I have already done my time on the elliptical
machine...yes for my fellow heart conscious artists I am still on this band wagon. No I have not done enough to lose a lot of weight...but I hate to admit it I am feeling stronger. Could Ken have been correct??? Exercise is actually good for you :0)!!! Have a wonderful week in your hopefully sunny and warm studios!!! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Lupus won today...but I will be back tomorrow....

I have had a slow quiet day. Ken was ill with his cold but I think it is a sinus infection...he is going to the doctors tomorrow. I slept in and watched old movies on TMC...Father of the Bride... with Spencer Tracy. I slept most of the afternoon away ...and have caught up on the blog post tonight. Rosie has a new hair cut ...I am not sure she likes her short look. We got a light snowfall today but tomorrow the temperatures are going up and the warmth will once again confuse the natural plants and creatures here in Ohio. I am very inspired by so many of you...this weekend you have shared some wonderful works and processes. Thank you all! Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Saturday, January 28, 2012

The Sun came back today!!!!

I am thrilled to say that the morning began with a wet light snowfall and gray skies. But with a little patience I waited the time it takes to drink a cup of coffee the weather had begun to change so i prepared to go into the Studio. Poor Ken is just so sock with congestion and fatigue...he should have stayed home on Friday but he has made lesson plans for Monday if he is not better so he can go to the doctor's office. I have never felt so sorry for such a sick but dedicated teacher...we are both swingers because we were asleep and in bed by eight last night.

I worked in the studio reorganizing the Ikea table top...yes I did actually see the wooden table today. I put the ribbons, valentine design elements , cards and tissue papers on the second table...piled high but the elements are all there! I am sure this small step for mankind will help Monday go a bit smoother! I also brought home some pearl embellishments and beads I had thought were here in my home sewing studio. Small baby steps...remember I did see the wooden table top!

Then I went to locate the widest 100% white cotton for my big project....and I think I have found the quality and weight that will serve this installation well. I am going to present the proposal in the next 10 days and locate the actual places for this proposal due for completion on June 1 this year. I am excited and exhilarated at the same moment... I will become the Material Girl of Licking county with this hand painted installation. I have been cutting and collecting stencils and textures to make rubbings for the layers of color I will be applying. I am hoping to meet with Jenny the educational director to line up some family participation activities so each willing participant will be able to make their mark on this collaboration. I will keep you posted as the materials begin to come in and I will install my work stations in the education building! This is so exciting!

Well I am headed back up to continue quilting on the baby Benjamin quilt... hopefully the binding will go on tomorrow! Stay safe and have a great weekend in your studios. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Whoops i forgot to take the "after photo" and Rosie is showing her "before" shot at the dog groomers.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I did work quietly today ...

I did work quietly today in my studio creating 10 more individual Valentines to share with the shut-ins at a nearby assistant living center...in a quiet afternoon moment... with music drifting in and out of my consciousness I felt myself remembering my childhood Valentine Day. The time I was spending making these simple gifts to women I may never meet... I thought gratefully about how we celebrated this small holiday when I was with my mother decorating a shoebox with cut outs and ...well whatever my mother could round up for us to paste, glue, sew on to our individual boxes. My Mother Rose Marie was a mother of invention... my hero!!! We did not have a Hallmark store on the corner nor could we even afford whatever they might have to offer. She would often make a paste from flour and water and tempera colors and simple crayons were our main instruments of our love notes and sweet messages. Yarns, fabric scraps and strings dipped in food coloring...boy I was cooking a creation then! Thank you Mom for all the time you gave us to express ourselves ...even if we were messy...there were 6 children at her kitchen table! No wonder I do feel so adventuresome at times...my mother always believed in the "what if?" aspects and guidelines!!!

This morning I attended a celebration of a friend's artistic life...Vivian Smith's family, friends and neighbors gathered around the kitchen table to break bread and share stories about her works displayed all through her home. Quionah was so excited when I walked in the door...her Art Lady was here! She gave me a personal tour of Vivian's studio and the works displayed. I met Elijah...Vivian's grandson is now a handsome grown man. Janet, Marsha and Penny plus myself were the only artists present for this open house but I felt so honored to have been able to be there. I did not take my camera to record photos of her studio but hopefully I will be able to return and document her sacred space.

Tonight I attended a Toastmaster meeting celebrating Judith Allee's retirement from her 14 years as a mental health facilitator. She has been working on three passions...Adoption Today...Bridges out of Poverty....and homeschooling here in Ohio. I may not have the names of these programs exactly correct but you get the idea ...she never takes the word NO for an answer to a problem no matter how difficult the situation may be. The meeting room in the Newark Downtown Library was full to capacity and there were personal tributes from associates and friends and clients who have worked with Judith during the last 14 years. Our community is a better place because of the dedication Judith has demonstrated and provided for our community. She has taught us all to "pay it forward" ... one small kindness act from everyone can change the outcomes of many families living here in Licking county. I am tired but I do feel that I have been very blessed today. Peace, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Gentle spirits on an icy and sleet night....

I worked with the little ones...or should I say they worked me tonight. I put many different papers, punches, glue sticks, stickers, borders on the work table and let the magic begin. I only asked them to make a special Valentine for someone they love ...and well that was all was needed to be said. I think the familiarity of knowing one another plus a recognized awareness of working with the design elements and art materials has made this group of young artists confident enough to work together and even share their personal assemblages. One of my youngest artists lost her beloved great grandmother last week suddenly (her grandmother was a wonderful artist) so tonight I could see how tender the other artists were in working with her. She did not want to leave....the art making and freedom to choose her own designs was a release from the loss and pain she was experiencing. So many changes...so many adjustments ...the funeral rituals... almost too much for such a small soul to comprehend. I am going to try to attend the open house reception tomorrow...if the weather allows me to get down my driveway. Somehow if I am there ...she will know how much she is appreciated and loved for her joyful abandonment she shares with us when she is making her ART! Art truly saves Lives!

I was hoping beyond belief that somehow I would get to see a physical response to the amazing solar flares erupting on the sun today. I have been mesmerized by the aurora lights ever since
I was introduced to them as a child ...in my neighborhood we even had an astrology club. I have enjoyed the news coverage but I am sure that seeing them in real time must be a life altering experience. I captured a photo from the Internet ...but the solar flare is a miracle in itself.

Enjoy a quiet night in the safety of your home. Embrace the serenity of the quiet house. Simple gifts and simple blessings. Blessings, Mary Helen Fernandez Stewart

Sorry I am having technical difficulty ...I can not upload today's photos....maybe it is the solar eruptions ....hehehehe!!!