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Focus…. On What?

People sometimes tell me – you’re so focused. Yes that’s true. Th downside is that sometimes it’s hard to change gears or shift energy to something else that wants or needs doing. I offer this only as a lame explanation of my absence the past week or so.

it’s August Poetry Postcard Fest 2017, the eleventh for the month-long poetry writing, postcard sending group activity. It’s my fourth year I believe and it’s a daily cycle of hoping to write a poem at lunch, getting something written by late night and usually out to the mailbox around midnight. It seems particularly hard this year to do that and other things like painting and blogging and being a world citizen all at the same time. I’ll figure it out.

I am struck though by the difference in describing things in words and doing it with paint and paper. I’m not sure if one is anymore realistic or true emotionally but they are different.

I’ve done things. Painting, words, stuff. I did fix up my brushes so as not to lose them in the tall grass.

I am doing a “secret” project for postcard poetry and feel, although I’m sure it’s not true, like I created a great new technique. All in the interest of getting some consistent results multiple times.

And a little painting, but bigger than normal:

sunset

That’s all for now!

Welcome Visitors! 100! Paint! Quote!

For awhile now this blog has existed in two planes, the much older, self-hosted wordpress.org version and of late the wordpress.com version. I’d had a .com account for a long time mainly so I could answer questions about it by getting into the nuts and bolts of the settings but frankly I didn’t use it. Then one day I discovered that I could, through the magic of a plug in on the .org side, mirror all my posts to the .com side. Well why not? There was a little learning curve along the way and I really should get over there and get a better layout going etc but it’s been fine.

The best part of all this is that I have followers on the dot com side! Over time the number has gone up slow and steady and yesterday I got notice that Candace M. Bisram, over at pocket full of smiles and 99 others were following my blog. Thank you Candace for being number one hundred and giving me a little geek moment!

Hope you’re enjoying the posts, whether it’s on quiltr.com or mbquilts.wordpress.com. As always, I enjoy your comments when you’ve got ’em!

Just for some color, here’s a quick painting I did inspired by one of John Constable’s. I used the Canson paper (did better this time) and focused on blending the colors on the paper and mostly using my biggest round brush. Hey, that paper is 12 x 18 so it’s a lot of ground to cover. The paint did some interesting mineralizing effects in the sky where the ultramarine and indigo met the burnt sienna.

after constable

Turns out the paper is a smidge bigger than my oversized scanner – what’s a painter to do?

And a quote from the quote box, because why not?

You will never do anything in this world without courage. It is the greatest quality of the mind next to honor. — Aristotle

Terrorist President

Got up this morning and after awhile thought to look at what Twitterlandia had to offer. [For those who don’t mix with me on Facebook, Twitterlandia is how I re-tweet screenshots of the 45’s tweets. This started when I kept going to verify what I was reading about. Did he really tweet THAT? Yes. And that??? Yes. And Holy Crap THAT??? and so on. Some people don’t do twitter so I capture screen shots and post them to facebook with a minimal bit of tagline after the opening “Twitterlandia:”]

I can’t even say “just when you think it can’t get any more stupid/crazy/ridiculous/preposterous” anymore. Every single time the guy tweets he just makes it more surreal/absurd/beyond understanding.

So today I was thinking about this progression and about yesterday’s attack in London and about 45’s responses and about the very pointed and mocking responses to his tweets and the very real effect of those tweets globally and more locally.

Donald Trump, the forty-fifth president of the United States is a terrorist.

One of the things that sets terrorism apart is the erratic, unexpected nature of it, along with the idea that such actions and the resulting fear it causes will disrupt normal society and life, making people willing to do extraordinary things in order to feel safe and normal again.

Who do we have that does this on a regular basis? Yeah that guy.

So consider this a reminder not to get bogged down by it all – do what you can to keep your own life on an even keel – resist in all the ways you can but don’t give up what’s important to you. It’s vital that we continue to resist and insist that our other officials represent us and do what is right. It’s equally vital that we keep on making art and enjoying the world and taking care of each other because that’s what really matters.

Guess MB’s Been Busy?

Yes I have been busy! Thanks for checking up on me.

I had a few days off over the holiday weekend and spent it doing some painting, some visiting of Mom, and clearing out of some boxes and other recyclables. Geesh. And laundry. And watching painters on YouTube. And eating.

I did this because I had cut up some paper and one piece didn’t cooperate, had a little boo-boo along an edge and it ended up this weird shape. Really just wanted to work out getting some tree/foliage texture going on so I’m calling it a good practice piece but not a good painting.

This was done one day at work using an iPad, a Pencil and the Procreate app.

I found some lupines in a field not too far from work so I did this quick sketch from a photo.

Everyonce in awhile I like to try to paint along with one of the youtube painters I follow, but of course I don’t know what the final idea is and I am too impatient to stop the video to let things dry so I carry on. This is a screen shot of the one by Alan Owen of the UK.

This is mine, looking a little more “spring in North America”:

More to come! Lunch over!

Long ago, in a tiny galaxy far far away…

Many many years ago, at some quilt-related something or other, this appeared amongst a set of blocks on display.

It wasn’t originally crumpled. I think I did that as a gut reaction when it was brought to me. I may have tossed it over my shoulder at the time. I have never much liked the notion of “the quilt police” and I sure as hell don’t like sneaky little people who leave anonymous mean remarks about someone else’s work. I didn’t much like the willingness of AQS to roll over for a woman who complained about male genitalia on a quilt that contained no such thing.

When I was a quilt show bureaucrat I often said that while I carefully read all comments and suggestions about our show, the rage-filled and non-constructive ones which were anonymous got put on the bottom of the pile. I feel strongly that if you have something to say, you should be willing to put your name on it, if only so someone can follow up with you, get the rest of the story, give you more info etc. Start a dialogue. Maybe sign you up to help improve things.

As I recall we didn’t tell anyone about this little note but I fished it out of the trash and it went home with me. See the little dot at the top of it? That sucker has been pinned to a little bulletin board in my workroom doorway ever since. Geesh, you’re thinking, that’s sort of grim. Why be reminded of stuff like that?

I kept it there – and look at it regularly – as a reminder that people of all walks of life act this way. Quilters aren’t some special lovey-dovey society that is uber sharing and kind and respectful. All the little sub-genres grumble and laugh and point at all the others that don’t follow their interests and “rules”. Quilters are just people, like you find everywhere else, good and bad, and all the rest of it. They fear things they don’t understand. They try to make themselves feel better by putting others down.

This week there’s been chatter on the web about other people in the quilting world, small as it is, using social media to ostracize and bully others who aren’t like them in any number of ways. Secret facebook groups make it easy to get people talking about other people. Remember that old cartoon – on the internet no one knows you’re a dog? Well eventually, if you’re hateful and mean, the truth comes out. Doesn’t matter what circle you’re traveling in, there are mean people who try to control with rules and bullying everywhere.

I don’t like their behavior. Sometimes I spare some pity in their direction, that their whole life is so fear-filled, so control-lacking that they will do anything to anyone else to try to gain an upper hand and a sense of superiority. Sometimes. Other times I can convince myself to ignore them.

These days I don’t think that ignoring bullies is the right thing to do. If you choose to wear an offensive shirt or hat I will try very hard to converse with you as a human and I hope you will do the same. If you are rude to me or someone nearby or generally offensive in your comments I’m going to tell you to stop. Gently at first but firmly. I will not give you the satisfaction of whatever it is you’re trying to do. Hate is wrong but frankly I think you’re mostly full of fear – fear of difference, fear of failure, fear of being outside. Ignorance and fear, the great instigators of hate-behavior. I’m sad your life is full of all that garbage but I’m not stepping in it.

What will you do next time you encounter someone who makes racist or sexist or whatever sort of hurtful, ignorant remarks?

He who wishes to exert a useful influence must be careful to insult nothing. Let him not be troubled by what seems absurd, but concentrate his energies on the creation of what is good. — Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Watercolorists of YouTube

First off, I LOVE that so many of the youtube videos about watercolor are UK guys. You get to watch them paint and listen to their wonderful accents. They’re generally very good and good teachers. This one I just discovered uses a blow torch to dry between goes – none of that namby-pamby hair dryer stuff. Nah – blow torch does the trick spot on! This fellow is from Australia I believe.

Holy mackeral. Slap on that paint and dry it! (Part Two is here)