Monthly Archives: September 2010


It was so good to get home  yesterday, but the transition process is a mixed bag of emotions for me. Saying goodbye to friends from the workshop… being excited  to try new techniques in the quiet solitude of my own studio…  trying to catch up on paperwork and laundry…remembering it was trash day… planning meals for just 2 of us again…  All day I puttered from thing to thing, accompanied by the oddest feelings. Though I did not get into the studio,  I accomplished more than I thought I would, while carrying around an empty feeling in the pit of my stomach that seemed to be a combination of melancholy and excitement.

If I could paint  what this re-entry feels like, it would look like this view from the ferry around 5 p.m. yesterday, looking back at Great Cranberry Island as I headed home to Islesford.


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Day 3 Vermont

Holly, Angie, Marly, Wendy and I have had a superb time staying at the home of Donna and Henry Isaacs while taking Celie’s workshop in Bethel. We each took the responsibility to plan and provide food for one dinner, and we have had enough leftovers to pack a lunch for the next day. We have had a lot of laughs, and eaten a lot of good food without being overwhelmed at any time by kitchen duties. It’s going to be hard to get back to cooking every night and even harder to say good bye.
On the way to class on Monday, Holly and I took a detour past Celie’s to see the farm belonging to Davis Dimock. (The guy spends a lot of time with stones!) It is always a treat to see someone use natural elements to create sculpture in natural surroundings. Before we even got to the land, we stopped to take in the wonder of a field of cobwebs in the morning mist.

This pond was my favorite part of the little bit of property we saw.

Celie is sure we will be able to close a gap like this in a bezel of unfired PMC! (She was right.)

Wendy works for the National Mango Board. In a preview to her fabulous meal, we all got a lesson in how to choose and cut the best mangos. (Did you know that every mango has a “nose?” Also called the “eye?” It indicates where the pit is, in case you didn’t already know)

We still have a full class today to finish up our pendants and trade information before heading off in numerous directions to pick up our lives where we left off on Friday.


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Workshop in Vermont

I am in the middle of a 4 day class to learn about polymer inlay in metal clay. It is so interesting to be working with polymer again after such a long time away from it. Celie Fago is a great teacher and it is a treat to learn her tear-away technique to add to my sources of textures for metal clay. In this workshop, however, we are also texturing polymer clay with the tear-away sheets and then enhancing the designs with acrylic paint.  Yikes! Two workshops that involve paint and color in two weeks time. I am no more comfortable with paint this time than I was in Henry and Ashley’s oil painting workshop. But being uncomfortable does not prevent learning and I am taking it in even if I am complaining while I do it.

It is a stretch for me to put myself in two workshop situations so close together. There is a progression of feelings I should have recognized from 2 weeks ago, but I forgot that it is like this for me. For the first two days of learning something new in a group, I look around and think everyone else’s work is better than mine. I hate what I am doing and wonder if I will ever use what I am learning because I am so uncomfortable doing it. I hate painting, I don’t understand color, blah, blah blah!

But I love the people in the class, and I really enjoy Celie’s relaxed teaching style and sense of humor. I know from experience that at some point I will find the edge of a new comfort zone, even if I have not entered it fully.

So, this morning I’m making a conscious effort to embrace the whole process, self diagnosed failure and all. A fresh start for Monday.

Tear-away being demonstrated.

Conditioned polymer clay:

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Off to Red Dot, then off to Vermont

Here are a few of the pieces I just sent to the Red Dot Gallery in Deer Isle. Now I’m packing for a workshop in Vermont with Celie Fago. It starts Saturday, I can’t wait! Stay tuned for classy classroom shots!


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Labor Day Weekend = Plein Air Workshop

Henry Isaacs and Ashley Bryan led the second annual painting workshop sponsored by the Islesford Dock.

Friday, pre-hurricane, we painted at Frank and Kim Newlin’s house. Photo journalist, Richard Hill, took many shots of the class. Click here to check them out. The weather started to get windy so we regrouped at the dock after a picnic lunch.

Tiny homemade potato chips from home grown potatoes! One of my favorite parts of the lunch!

A change of venue brought renewed energy to the painters on the first day. We were all pretty tired by the time we met up again for a critique and then dinner. (I was not only tired but was beset by a huge migraine. Talk about bad timing.)

On Saturday morning, Hurricane Earl had taken a two hundred mile detour to the east and we were all spared the extreme weather that had been predicted. We did get a heavy downpour which kept painters inside (and migraine sufferers in bed) until the sun came out again around noon.

After lunch we assembled at Bunker’s Cove to work on capturing this:

or this:

(Same view, rapidly changing sky.)  At this point I still had my headache and was thinking I would never become a painter, and I was not sure if I ever even wanted to become a painter! In total frustration I painted a huge zig zag on my canvas and threw it down on the rocks.  I lose something between looking at the landscape and touching the brush to canvas. It’s like I become blind to seeing what is light and what is dark. Most frustrating. If someone recites numbers to me, my brain shuts down and I can’t focus. I think its why I don’t like card games. I have discovered that plein air painting has the same effect on me. When I try to capture what I am seeing on a flat piece of canvas, I can no longer focus on what I am seeing.

Give me a camera, instead of a paintbrush, and I can see exactly what I wish I could paint.

I’ll try again tomorrow, but I think I will start with painting something that is 2 feet away from me.


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