Friday, August 17, 2018

Do You Have A Favorite Season?

     Each season has special delights to offer, but is there one that you treasure the most? I'm not sure if I have a favorite, but summers have always been special to me. Perhaps it's because it is the time of vacations. Vacation from school (both when I was a student and when I was a teacher) and vacation with the family away from home. Summer, for me, is a time to flourish; to feed the mind and soul.
     This summer has been no exception to that. I started in May, by getting out into the forest in which I live to remove invasive plants. I don't want to use any poisons so I've been removing them by hand. I go out every other or third day and pull up ferns, coral ardisia plants, and thin out grape vines that are too prolific. While I'm doing that, I discover micro worlds and ecosystems on the forest floor that have a beauty that astounds me. I've found various types of live snails that I didn't know were in my own yard, teeny tiny toads, and listen intently to sounds of birds, insects, and the music of leaves capturing the breezes. One day, my shovel hit something just under the surface of the dirt that was hard and hollow sounding. As I explored, I realized it was rectangular in shape. I even got a little excited hoping I had found a treasure chest. I've lived here over 30 years so it was at least that old because we hadn't buried anything on the property. In the end, it turned out to be roofing material. Probably left from when our house was built. But that's ok. It gave me some moments of fun and adventure.
     In July, I had more adventure when we went on a trip to Cuba for three weeks. We had signed up for a tour. In their literature, they said the group size could be anything from 2-12 people. When my husband and I showed up for the group meeting in Havana, we were the only ones other than the guide. No one else signed up. So we ended up having the tour with our guide in a private taxi! Although, it was very, very hot, we had a great time. I think my gardening in the Florida heat of May and June got me in shape for the trip. The things I liked best about Cuba are the people. They were so friendly and interesting. When we asked someone if we could take their photo, they smiled huge and posed and then carried on fascinating conversations with us. The architecture seems to be trying to reveal stories with every patch of peeling paint and plaster. And the landscapes were stunning from the tropical beaches to the limestone mogotes of Viñales. Since this is basically an art blog, the photos I'll share with you from Cuba relate to that.
Fusterlandia is a place built and designed by artist, José Fuster near Havana.  It is described as Gaudi on steroids.
Fusterlandia, the art of José Fuster

     We had so much fun exploring the house and neighborhood decorated in mosaics. He even honored sewing machines.
at Fursterlandia
At Fursterlandia

     My favorite city was Camaguey. One of the reasons was because the artist, Martha Jiménez , has her studio there. Photography wasn't allowed inside, but the paintings and sculptures there are exquisite. I purchased a small ceramic artwork of hers that is part of her sewing machine series where she honors the work of women. I wish there was a book that had her artwork in it, but I can't find one.
The Longing of My Mother by Martha Jiménez
     Now, well into August, I'm still out in the woods every few days pulling up plants. This is the time for cicadas here and sometimes the sounds from them are deafening, but I really enjoy being out there.
     And, professionally, I've had several things happen this summer. I had an opening reception for my solo show in June and the closing reception is August 24, 6-9PM, at the Blake Elliot Gallery 102 Artisan Alley in DeLand. 386-450-0337. Also, I've had artwork published in the newest book by Jane Dunnewold, Improvisational Screen Printing Second Edition.

A detail of my work in green in the center
My artwork in green in the chapter on stencils

It's a fantastic book full of ways to add imagery to a surface and I'm honored to be included with the other artists in the book.
     I hope to wrap up the summer with a couple of new artworks that are presently on my design wall. And to continue with color studies I'm doing for enrichment.

color studies in paper
     I always dislike seeing summer ending, but also look forward to the idea of autumn being a time to letting go of things that need to go and making room to move forward. I'm linking this to Off The Wall Friday where you can find other art blogs. Please make comments on the artists' posts to let them know you stopped by. Thanks for visiting.