Friday, February 29, 2008

louisa harding lace shawl

Originally uploaded by megan_n_smith_99

while my friend audin was taking pictures, i had him take a picture of the louisa harding lace shawl / scarf i finished in the autumn. this is sari ribbon, which is a really glorious yarn. and not too bad to knit lace with actually, at least it is big enough that you can see what you are doing!

i went to a big yarn sale yesterday.. more about that later. goodness, what is not to like about hand dyed silk?

i am glad it is friday. i hope to spend the weekend with my watercolor set!

Thursday, February 28, 2008

mouse has a nap.

Originally uploaded by megan_n_smith_99

one of the new watercolors i have been working on. i am almost happy with it! i have been inspired lately by both ernst haeckle and beatrix potter. on the face of it that made no sense. ernst was a biologist and beatrix potter was a children's book author. but actually, having just finished her bio: beatrix potter: a life in nature by linda lear, i have come to realize beatrix potter was a quite a respected amature naturalist -- though sadly for her a lot of the respect comes after her death. in victorian times women were not exactly discouraged from studying nature, but she took it a bit beyond painting flowers.

beatrix actually scientifically collected, experimented, and even wrote a scientific paper proposing that lichen was a symbiosis of algae and a fungus. this paper was presented to the linnaean society, though pretty much ignored. but lo -- beatrix was right! she also did many very fine illustrations of various fungus and mushrooms that are still used by scientists today and which have been used to illustrate scientific texts on fungi.

later in life she lived on her farm where she displayed a considerable talent for land management and animal husbandry. she worked hard at developing the bloodlines of her beloved herdwick sheep, and in generally doing all she could to preserve the culture of fell farming -- seeking to preserve the land, houses, furniture, livestock bloodlines, folktakes, etc. on her death she left 4000 acres to national trust!

so, being an artist and a scientist is a highly respected endeavor, and i only hope my own little watercolor sketches can do some justice to the tradition!

(a little background, as i mentioned in another entry, i studied science in school, geology, paleontology, biology, etc. i also grew up on a sheep farm on vashon island, in puget sound, which is in washington state. needless to say, i adore animals.)

p.s. if you have not seen it, the film miss potter is quite fun, though you will learn much more about her reading a biography! still, i really enjoyed that movie and it would be good for the entire family.

Monday, February 25, 2008

supermerino scarf

22508knit1, originally uploaded by megan_n_smith_99.

i did not have a picture of me wearing the supermerino scarf that was my january knitting project --until now. my friend audin malmin took this photo. this is a free pattern from yarnmarket, and it took 3 skeins of artyarns supermerino. it is 7' long -- so i think you could make a fine one with 2 skeins if you wanted! it's a pretty basic chevron pattern, but the varigated yarn keeps it interesting.

i am working on some very springy watercolors, but i am not ready to show them yet...

Friday, February 22, 2008

Inspiration to create

I have not done any art, other than knitting, in a few days. I think doing several rather intricate drawings in quick succession, occupying most of my waking hours for a few days, burnt me out a bit. and i was sick for a couple days right after that. but i am starting to feel inspired again. inspired to draw, bead, and knit. of course i have more ideas than time... so i will have to see what i actually manage to do this weekend (and let us not discount the part of me that just wants to sit in the sun, when there is some, and curl up in bed with a book when there isn't any...) well, better to have ideas and not enough time than time and not enough ideas.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

IS Denny's a landmark?

if you live in seattle, i am sure you have heard that the building on the NW corner of 15th Ave NW and NW Market was declared a historic landmark. that building, until a few months ago, was the site of a Denny's. Though that in and of itself is not why it was declared a landmark -- before it was a Denny's it was "Mannings Cafeteria." Mannings was a flagship store at the Pike Place Market at one time. In spite being called a cafeteria, Mannings was pretty swank. I used to go there with my relative sometimes, when I was a child. The architecture, while apparently not a good representation of ANY given style, is unique. Unfortunately the building was remodeled and neglected when it was a Denny's. But it is now a historic landmark and plans to tear it down and develop retail and condos there have been set aside.

It is unclear what will happen to the building now. the current owners wanted to sell it for this develpment and seem to have no interest in restoring it. a month ago they said if it was declared a landmark that they would not be able to sell or rent it except at a significant loss. the Denny's, interestingly enough, would be happy to move back in, or at least that was what the franchise owner said a month ago. i really hope that it is purchased by someone who wants to restore the building and open it as a public space, whether a restaurant or something else. it was the closest restaurant to my house -- 4 blocks. but i had not gone there in years because i am not so into Denny's. It was much better as a Mannings. They had a pudding bar!

news story on the decision

photos of the building's interior as it was.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Ernst Haeckel...and a hedgehog

You might think with all the art I create, and the fact that I work in fine arts administration, that my educational background would be in art. But, no.. I studied science, particular geology, paleontology, and biology, in college. And sometimes I enjoy combining those 2 worlds in my art. I have done a series of acrylic paintings inspired by geology, and now I am working on some drawings inspired by Ernst Haeckel.

These are also on etsy.

hedgehog (ok, Haeckle did not inspired this one!)

and these next 3 are the ones inspired by the work of Ernst Haeckle.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Spirit House

it was a very long tiring day -- work is pretty crazy right now -- and it was a very nice surprise to come home to a present from my sister. this is a little spirit house that she got in thailand! Thanks, Marti!


No new art today.. I wish I had more time during the week! Here is something from the archives.. click the image to see larger.

I love water and anything to do with it. I grew up on Vashon Island, a little Island out here in the Northwest. Of course Nautiluses do not live in Puget Sound, they live in deep water, but I have always been fascinated by them.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

inspiration and february beading

yesterday i was feeling better from my cold so i ventured out in the rainy night to ballard's art walk. i stopped a couple places but the high point was a visit to bridgette mill's studio. it is SO good to get to talk to another artist face to face. you would think this would happen to me more often in my line of (day) work, but when i interact with people it's all business or they aren't the sort of artists i really want to talk to -- now, please i am not trying to trash art school, but a lot of people take some time to recover from it -- they get very intellectual and cerebral about their art -- i really want to talk to people whose art is .. spiritual, undiluted emotion, a quiet internal passion.

i also got a new painting! this is not the best picture, and i have not decided where to put it yet. right now it is sitting on my shelf next to some of my beaded sculptures. it just spoke to me -- in spanish apparently, a language i don't speak, but sometimes you do not need words. (the phrase does not translate very well but bridgette said it means something like yesterday is a tree of long memory and was inspired by neruda.) i think my visit to her studio and some dylan thomas i was reading last night have inspired me too, though it has not crystalized yet.

today i did some chores and worked on my february beaded house. now this is what i would call wishful thinking. last month's house was about winter and my desire to hibernate. this month i still want to hibernate and feel dragged down by winter, but i am thinking of spring.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Once Upon a Time & Web of Life

i am very happy with these. they are white prisma color pencil and white ink on black strathmore art again paper. they are available on etsy. they are each 4.5 x 6.5"

Thursday, February 7, 2008

happy chinese new year!

happy year of the mouse! or, rat. if you prefer.

Dragonfly Dreams

when i was younger I did a lot of Pencil sketching, sort of dreamy abstract landscapes. I think I might still have one around.. maybe I can dig it up and scan it. A bit later I started doing the same thing in black on white.. also adding figures sometimes. I really enjoy working with black and white. As for the white on black, specifically, I have been drawn back to it lately.. I think for the dreamy fog-bound quality. It just expresses something for me at the moment. And there is a certain subtlety there in the starkness.

Dragonfly Dreams is on etsy.

Here is another one from a couple of years ago (this one also has some gouache)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Monday, February 4, 2008

doe shaman and octopus kingdom

two new little drawings, and these are also on etsy. i think tonight i am tired. i might just draw in my journal.. or read.. or sleep! or possibly knit. i guess i have a hard time just resting. doing only 1 thing at a time is hard enough...

Saturday, February 2, 2008

a trip to the bead store and black and white art

in the last year i only went to the bead store once, and that was not a proper shopping trip, but a visit to the beadstore in sante fe to get some beads as souvenirs. i have just been beading out of my "stash" -- 17 years worth of hoard. but today i needed a bead. yes, 1 bead. so i went to the bead store. of course i knew i would actually get a lot of beads, and i did. but if you only shop for beads once a year, i guess you are entitled. maybe.

i finished my january beaded journal house:

and last night i worked on this little drawing, 4x4". it is white prismacolor pencil on black strathmore art again paper and it is listed on etsy.

Friday, February 1, 2008

some thoughts on art

during the day i work for a very well known artist. probably the best known artist in the world, in his field. i don't talk about it here because i like to keep my work world and my art world a bit separate. i think some of you know who i work for anyway. so during the day i am in the "fine art" world. i am surrounded my the work my boss creates, and the artwork he has collected. (which really runs the gamut from fine art to stuff he found in junk shops.) and although my role is very behind-the-scenes, i can't help being exposed to fine art dealers, collectors, magazines, books. etc.

well, meanwhile when i come home i am an outsider artist. i have taken classes and things but i did not go to art school -- heck, i was majoring in geology and never even finished that. sometimes i feel like i am making everything up as i go. right now my art is not in any galleries, but it used to be. little galleries. nothing big and fancy, nothing that advertised in art in america or anything like that. and my art did not sell very well, honestly. i might try galleries again -- i would LIKE to find a local coffee shop to show my acrylic paintings in -- but meanwhile i am doing better online. not that i am charging what i feel my art is worth, but i am doing better. and i can pay for my art supplies and a little extra but there has never been a time i could live on my art income -- though that would be w dream come true if i could.

so sometimes it is hard not to ever compare myself. to trivialize my own work. and it's all the easier to do since small works seem to be looked down on, as does watercolor. and the subject matters i like to paint are not generally what one sees in fine art, but maybe more in the art people just like to have around, i hope. but a lot of days i find myself wondering if my art is "real art." even though i have shown in galleries, won prizes, and had my work in lots of books and magazines.

and then there is the many facets that seem to be going on. part of me wants to go deep meaningful raw art, and part of me wants to do cute little bunnies in clothes like beatrix potter did. part of me wants to paint acrylic landscapes and the other part wants pen and ink. i used to be best known for beading, and i still bead a bit, but now i find myself more drawn to work on paper and canvas. maybe i need more focus -- though i do feel i have managed to create a personal style that transcends the various media i work in.

today one of my art crushes came to the studio. you know the artists whose work you just love so much you want to know them or be close to them or maybe be them. it's not a sexual or romantic thing, though. anyway i said hello and we chatted but i have never told him how much i love his work. i would be too embarrassed. i find it hard sometimes, to believe anyone could ever feel that way about my art.

but in spite of all those doubts i have sometimes, i know my life is not complete without my art. so it's a friday night, i am home alone, as usual, and i am going to go make some art.