This blog is my portfolio of artwork, a journal about my process of making art...and the things that I have no words for...


Thursday, June 18, 2015

Peonys in bloom

 The showy white peony in my garden came into bloom June 4th so I filled my camera's memory disk with hundreds of photographs as I know they only stay for such a short time...



They're very O'Keeffe with their curves and waves...


They were so beautiful right up until the heavy rains came last week and left behind something that looked like broken angel wings...I look forward to next year's show...


Their frothy ruffles and lacy wings remind me of the old time Hollywood stars of the silver screen wrapped in chiffon...so of course, they are dramatic posing for their portraits in black and white...




Saturday, April 04, 2015

The Sketchbook Project 2015




If Not, Winter…This is a one of a kind sketchbook. 




Winter is a joy and a dread—an expected guest that arrives with a smattering of soggy, white baggage as early as Halloween. It’s a howling wind and skies bruised gray, darkness descends with the snowfall—The Winter Solstice becomes blanketed in white unless a warming trend foils expectations—it seems a sickness when there is no snow for Christmas. January, we are wary of the forecasted predictions, lately it is as if someone has flipped the switch to COLD so that by February, we are weary of the bitter Arctic breath. March, for goodness sakes, enough already with the roaring lion! It’s the relentless wind that is maddening. We consider ourselves lucky if there is anything lamb-like about it by the end. Winter grudgingly departs, leaving behind its “dirty laundry”, the ice crusts of soggy snowbanks, flattened debris, and mud. Brave little crocuses are, more often than not, smashed to a pulp by more than “a dusting” of snow. In the past, snowstorms have come as late as Mother’s Day. It is agreed that by Memorial Day, it’s safe to plant the garden. 

On full moon nights...the snow is blue and sparkly...
Winter started in November...
and didn't let up. December.
Frost on the windows...Winter Solstice.
Peace on earth. Beware the Pogonip.
Lake Effect. It's only January
The snow squeaks when it's below zero...February.
Damn it's COLD. Is it ever going to end?
We are FrOzen. Bitter COLD...
A Nor'easter. There were night I hoped...
for cloud cover to keep us warm...seeing the stars at night made me shiver
(snowstorm, icy moon)
As a rule, March comes in like a LION...
The first day of Spring...
never mind the lamb, it's taking leave like a stubborn ram.

Winter is a shared complaint—with the first snowfall, driving is a challenge until we get our winter driving “legs” and try to have more patience while on the road. I swear, if we didn’t have the weather to talk about, we’d have nothing to say to each other after the holidays. It’s an ice breaker—we warm toward one another in our commiseration, melting the cabin fever frost and grumpy hibernation hangover... (On March 29th when I bound the book, there were places in my yard that still had 3 feet of snow, today there's still a foot or more here and there, and a fresh inch arrived overnight...it ain't over yet. Not that I'm complaining.)

The cover, front and back
The paintings are composed with acrylic wash on rice paper mounted on the original 100% Scoutbook pages for the Sketchbook Project 2015. Text on white bond paper is adhered with archival paste or ATG tape, and handbound with cotton book binding thread. It may look extremely delicate, but it really isn't...it should hold up nicely.

It was so hard to part with this little sketchbook, they all are...this is my fourth contribution to the Sketchbook Project.

While making it, I wondered how many will catch the "Rudolph" reference in the word FrOzen...and laugh.(My Fred and our son both did, but that's just us, it's what we look for in the beginning of the movie.)

I just noticed this morning that I misspelled "Arctic" in the text on the introduction...oh, well! I can only hope the reader's brain will fill in the missing 'c' (if they take the time to read it)...and I hope they are forgiving if they do find it...

Anyway, I loved making it, and I hope that it will be enjoyed by many who visit the Mobile Library during the 2015 tour, and then later at the Brooklyn Art Library in years to come!

Monday, January 19, 2015

The Manuscript



This is what a work in progress looks like, not a tidy stack at all…this is my other life…the writer life…this is the complete, printed copy of my work in progress, Drinking from the Fishbowl, 704 pages (double spaced) and approximately 240,000 words…a doorstop.

What do I do with this? Read it, mark it up, clean it up, get it ready to publish…at this stage of the process, the idea is to read it beginning to end without stopping…

I’ve been working on this one for so long, there are chapters I have not seen for two years! So far, so good, minor changes…some surprises as I still recall parts that I cut out in the editorial red ink blood bath of 2007, and have been pleasantly surprised by the newer work added since then. I’m somewhat relieved that it seems to be working for me. It’s such an exciting, yet uncertain time knowing I’m so close to finishing this one at long last!

It is fiction, overall, it is a human comedy, it is a book about dreams and realities…

The first line: "Why do you want to be a poet, Georgia Sullivan?"

From that point on, Georgia's life will never be the same... 

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Pieces of me...the duality of the artist and writer...following my bliss...



Is it a bird? 11/28/2004


I didn’t have a bird in mind when I made this one…This is an old pencil drawing in one of my sketchbooks…my drawings are more meditation than a study for something specific…I started doing them in a sketchbook that a friend gave to me for a present to fill with my doodles that I had been making on scraps of paper and post-it notes…these drawings were more mine than anything I ever made before. It was a special time for me creatively, I was following my bliss in both art and writing.

Book cover for The Fractured Hues of White Light, copyright 2010

At the same time that I was filling sketchbooks with these elaborate doodles, I was also working on the early draft of my novel, The Fractured Hues of White Light, so the sketchbook of my meandering pencil marks played a role in creating the main character Samantha Ryder…an autistic artist who makes copies of the greatest hits of the art world in miniature, which she didn’t like doing very much, she did this to please her father and the people who wanted her to make them—it is the doodles in her sketchbooks that are “hers”…it’s about that and more…


From the back cover:

To this day I still laugh at my misinterpretation when the doctor diagnosed me as autisticI thought he said "artistic"—so I laughed and cried out, "I draw just like my Daddy!" But no one laughed with me; my mother cried, my father became indignant, and the doctor defensive...Then my pencil went about the business of drawing—after all, I am artistic. But little picture's have ears—and my eyes didn't miss a thing, especially the emotions that sparkled in my mother's tear-filled eyes. My fixation with the emotional landscape of faces was always the quirky discrepancy of my being autistic—my drawings documented with intricate detail the people I loved best of all. The doctor thought this very unusual—puzzling, yet unique, he called me "special." 

My artist/writer pieces of me overlap and separate…it’s a duality that I manage (I don’t struggle with it—I’d get nowhere like that.) To compartmentalize these two endeavors, I gave the writing projects a name, Laura J. W. Ryan. It’s me, they’re mine.


I love what I do…

Currently, I'm editing my third novel, Drinking from the Fishbowl, which has been my focus for four years now, but it's been in the works since the initial notes that I started filling a salt n' pepper notebook around 2000-2001 or so...writing is such a slow process and just as meandering as my drawings...

I'm also preparing my latest contribution to the Sketchbook Project...I'm pretty excited about it—and of course, the drawings continue...

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Roses

I have only one rose bush in my garden that produces blooms annually...the others,more costly at the time of purchase, seem to refuse to cooperate no matter how much I babied them...this one, I bought for $5 at the end of the season and felt like I was doing a rescue...I do nothing with it other than let the leaves mulch around it in the fall and pull the weeds away from it in the spring and it blooms for me in spite of the Japanese beetles that I flick off of it...


Earlier this summer the blooms came and went, but these last five arrived after the first frost on our acre and they were stunning in spite of being slightly touched around the edges...


Friday, October 03, 2014

Following my bliss through a camera lens...



It's occurred to me that I haven't done much painting this past year (I have been house painting, as meditative as that can be, it's not the same!) I'm still recovering from the nerve pain of the Shingles that I came down with back in April (yes, STILL) so being on pain killers all the time is making me feel a bit dull at times, but I try not to complain - I'm a tough old girl, so I work around it. I'm trying to remember the last painting I made, but recall that it wasn't really that good - I was feeling a bit tapped out at that time. My contribution to the 2014 Sketchbook Project was my "big project" at the tail end of 2013 that overlapped into the early days of 2014. I loved it so much, it was hard to part with it. I just signed up for the 2015 Project, so I'm very excited about that! I'm a little stuck on which theme to select so I'll have to think about it. It's a fun thing to do, I look forward to it every year...I highly recommend it for anyone to do it...link here: https://www.sketchbookproject.com/

I can't say that I haven't been creative at all, I've been taking a lot of pictures with my SONY NEX-7 that I bought with money from the sale of four paintings two years ago...my being a photographer is another part of me that I've been revisiting using digital cameras - the Fuji A900 point n' shoot was a fine little camera to start with (such a simple little thing, I love it! I recently bought another one to keep in reserve should this one ever die.) I haven't been in a darkroom processing film since college, even tho' my dad had a darkroom in the basement at home, I didn't follow through on the invitations to use it...yes, I learned photography at home from my father. It was his hobby, and he spent a long time gathering what he needed to take photographs and to develop them; very often, he used my bedroom closet for threading the film into the reel for the developing tank. Later, when he finally built the darkroom in the basement, he had a place to go (his "man cave") and long ago, when I was very sick with rheumatic fever, he gave me something to do when I was bored and unable to go outside to play with my friends. I was always a sponge, looking and absorbing the world—so, seeing it through the lens of a camera was a new way to look at everything I saw. Once I learned the basic mechanics, I used it intuitively, while my father fiddled with light meters and followed the directions to the letter. 

My father, was a quiet and patient man with an incredible sense of humor, and an awesome laugh, when he passed away on July 13, 2014, I lost the physical person who had taught me so much, but his spirit continues to live on, especially every time I pick up my camera, which now has the strap from his camera attached to it. Clearing out his darkroom has been a very personal moment in my life. I miss him very much. For now, I'm following my bliss while pursuing the images I find through the lens...

Nightshade
The Weeds
Natural Arrangement
Birch bark
Delicate Lace
Sunbeams
Morning light in the barn
Mullein

Sunflower

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Knots and Layers...














I've been learning Lightroom on a 30 day free trial...having fun with it...some were worked on through old Photoshop 6...half of which I still know nothing about so my digital potential is not yet explored, but I prefer to just dabble for now...