Friday, December 28, 2012

Design board is filling up with possibilities!

The holidays and short dark days are not very productive for me. The other day, I found an afternoon to piece together small bits of strips and played with making medallions. I like doing this.

Now I have some material to play with. The two dark blue pieces in the first picture are close to completion and I will send the picture of this pillow case soon.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

"Hawaiian Hut" - quilted pillow 15x15

"Hawaiian Hut" front panel, 15x15

I am continuing to focus on sewing. The studio in the garden is getting colder and colder. The light is getting dimmer as winter approaches. How wonderful to have a sewing room in the house that is toasty warm.

I had fun doing this one. The triangular shapes are from a rescue of scraps I found in the garbage can of the fabric store that I go to once a month to be with a circle of women. What an exciting find! I am grateful to the woman that deposited the triangular shapes there.

As you possibly can see, the triangles stimulated my imagination to create huts, windows and pillars.

"Hawaiian Hut" back panel, 15x15

The back panel has only a window framed by vegetation. Hawaii is a wonderful spot on Earth. I used a zipper for closure visible on the bottom. The pillow panels are quilted and sewn together. The binding is excess fabric from the front panel folded over and this time hand stitched to the back. I discovered loving to hand stitch, so relaxing.

Thursday, November 22, 2012


"Garden" ,15x15inches pillow case

It is  Thanksgiving day today, quiet and the garden outside is full of exquisite muted colors. But this pillow design reminds me of the summer colors I find in my garden.

I enjoyed the pinks and purple shades both in the flowers that bloomed, and in the batiks that I have  collected.

The back panel of "Garden"

I am finding that focusing on the unseen aspects of the pillow captivate me as well. I think I spent more time with this panel. I did insert zipper as a closure toward the bottom. I am still struggling with the closure aspect of construction and think that I will explore "invisible zipper ". I was advised to not use velcro. The flap construction I used on the previous pillow hid the zipper with a flap, but when I put the pillow form into it, it spread out and so that did not work as a solution. One possibility would be to use buttons, but I am not crazy about that option. I have been watching You-tube for zipper placement tutorials and will continue to do so to achieve a more satisfactory result.

Monday, November 12, 2012

"Portal", 15x15 pillow case

I tried a new construction on this pillow. Because the front and back panels are thick, I decided to sew them together with right sides up, and use the extra fabric from the front panel to fold over to the back to create a mitered border. I like the idea of having a small flange, making the pillow size 15x15 inches

This is the back side. The photo looks bleached out. I do have trouble with taking photos still. On this one, I used zipper for a closure. It is hidden by a flap of fabric at the bottom. I am thinking to use velcro strip on the next one. The head of the zipper was getting in the way because of its bulk...

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Pair of bright spots

"Treasure Chest", 14x14 inches, patchwork pillow case
"Shinto Shrine", 14x14 inches, patchwork pillow case

I just completed a pair of pillow cases. I am really pleased how they turned out. One of them is going to be auctioned off on Saturday. I have a hard time deciding which one. They do look good together.

I am planning to make more, as I think they look good in set of two's or threes. Any thoughts on this?

The "Treasure Chest" sold at the auction for $100. Great!!!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

The fifth pillow completes the set

I have been very busy. The fifth pillow is large: 20x30 inches. It took quite a while to get all the paper piecing together. The weather was beautiful as well and so it was more important to take walks outside. I got to actually rediscover some wonderful trails in the neighboring state park and walked about an hour almost every day.

Studio time at this point is non-existent. I am so preoccupied with patch-working. After completing the pillows to re-invent the forty year old sectional, I had loads of scraps of fabric and so I began to sew these together without a plan. What fun!!! and what freedom to do whatever I wanted to:
I need to make a donation to a fundraising auction  and so I took the lower right medallion and began to enlarge it to make a pillow case for a 14x14 inches pillow. I just finished the front panel and all I need to do is finish the back and insert the zipper into the lower seam line. I have learned a great deal about constructing this pillow case and I think that I am getting the gestalt of how it all goes together.  I wanted it well finished inside, with no raw edges showing:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Winter Spirit coming

Winter Spirit coming, 11"x15" watercolor and colored pencils

I had just completed, or so I think, this little piece. I had lot of fun with it, as it evolved slowly. Mostly, 
I was really intrigued by the contrast of temperature and thus the title. The hot and the cold contrasts of day and night temperatures, the vegetation changing in appearance, the slow shutting down of vital functions I am witnessing as Autumn progresses, all speak of winter arriving. I am finding lot of beauty in this transition. Creating this piece got me to really appreciate the vitality that continues even through the dark and cold months to come.

Here is a progression of this piece:

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Eye of Spirit immanent and transcendent, question of point of view

Playing with shapes and glazes, initially, I had come to an interesting problem of wanting to have more capacity to work the colors in opaque, layering way. I did not know how to achieve an overlay with watercolors and so I used color pencils first. Because the paper had some texture (Arches CP 140 lb), The pencil did not work the way I envisioned. Luckily, I have a set of Conte pastel pencils and so I used them. I got a better result and was still able to preserve the watercolor effects.

Above, "Eye of Spirit immanent, the "I" of new life within the universal womb of life: the endless potentiality to be birthed, is the Spirit embodied. If I turn it around, then it evokes for me the "Eye of Spirit transcendent", the unseen, the intuited realm of being. Both are One appearing as two. Yet only the point of view is shifted.

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Late summer grove: completed

14" x 21" watercolor and colored pencil

I think that for now I am done. I used color pencils in the "grove area, to sharpen up contrasts in the red and blue areas and to define the trunks a little more. I do have difficulty with capturing the colors of the painting in their true appearance. The process of the painting has been valuable, as I want to touch into what is it exactly that drives the energy of laying colors. What is it that I love about it? I am aware of one quality I love: discovery.

Here are the previous photos of work in progress:

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Late summer grove

I worked on the watercolor more. you can see the initial layers below. It was quite blue dominant. I added layers and warmed it up. The colors are reminding me of end of summer dryness. they are all around me. I do not know if it is really finished. I wanted to use colored pencils the sharpen the grove, but then stopped myself. Was I afraid or am I really done? I do not know at this point.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Awareness of Heart and being Real, reflection from meditation group I am leading

To be real is a process of showing up. It means to be transparent in the sense of being genuine, not hidden by the various images, concepts, or ideas of who we. We just are, present, open, and vulnerable to sensing our experience moment by moment. Our consciousness is clear; the mental structures of the mind are seen through for what they are: representations of past experiences that obscure our awareness of the Heart, the innermost part of us, our vitality and essence that we could call “True Nature”, or consciousness.
When we begin to look at our life as a flow of experience, when we begin to self-reflect on what is happening and start to ask questions about who we are and what we are experiencing, we enter into a territory we are not that familiar with. We are beginning to examine with our awareness the substrate of our experience, out of which the world as we experience it by the mind emerges: our consciousness.
What consciousness is or is not is difficult to explain from a scientific point of view because it cannot be measured. It can be felt, as many meditators present and past have reported. For the purpose of examining our subjective experience, we assume that consciousness is an invisible medium that allows us to “know our experience”. Those who have become intimate with consciousness report it to be a dynamic presence, and a source of life enhancing qualities that are able to influence the mind to dissolve its rigid structures and expand our awareness.  We can assume that as human beings we have the potential to live “beyond to boundary of our conditioned mind” and that we can have life from this expanded awareness and express the innate qualities available to us to enhance life for us and others.
The process of learning to be real is not about justification of our mind and it’s sense of self.  The content of the mind, the thoughts and judgments we have about our experience is looked at as an obscuration, or a veil, that distorts our ability to experience our consciousness without conditioning, our Heart. 
To be real requires love that is very interested in what is happening along with healthy dose of self-honesty: truth. The combination of our curious, open, accepting and loving awareness that is focused to find what has Heart and meaning within our experience is what buddhists call “Wisdom of discrimination”. The capacity to discriminate with love and honesty separates illusion from truth. 
As you inquire into and discriminate your experience, you could reach a boundary where the knowing of the mind meets the mystery of not knowing what is beyond it. If you can be in this place, you could rest in what christian mystics speak of as “Cloud of Unknowing”. We are then sensing into the Heart, our essence within us. And as we sense with our  awareness this innermost essence, we could begin to discover its life giving  Heart qualities that are always available to us. We could feel the flow of presence, peace, love, inner guidance,  meaning, preciousness, and many other qualities to pour into our awareness and affect our mind to follow the Heart.
Usually we touch into this inner place in meditations when the mind is quiet, or when involved in something relaxing, but it usually is not long lasting. The mind returns to its habitual pathways. But with an intent to inquire into the habits of the mind through the practice of being real, this inner Heart can be experienced for longer periods of time and become the source of our sense of self in a deeply transformed and immediate way. What happens is that “Being Real” and “True Nature” coalesce and we feel undivided in our experience and in our presence.  We feel whole.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Work in progress

Under-painting, two layers of watercolors. I am working on the Boga board (see the previous post), and I am painting on Arches hot press 140 lb watercolor paper.  I do not know where this is going yet and I am spending quite a bit of time looking at it. The large format is bit inhibiting, but I am intent to push myself to stay with it. 

I adjusted the photo saturation to black and white so that I can evaluate better what is developing. I can see that I have lot of middle value shapes and the piece needs dark values. I am thinking the area below the three upper vertical shapes in particular would create more interest. Well, I imagine I will find out when I start layering more colors and shapes.

Finding a great solution to watercolor paper not buckling

I have been wanting to work on a larger scale with watercolors. But the trouble was always with the paper doing its thing when wet. I have found this great invention on the web that I want to share with you. Not only it keeps the paper stretched, but it is quick to accomplish and it provides a wonderful support for putting the board onto and easel for viewing it from a distance. I imagine, this would work very well with acrylics as well. The only limitation is the size. There is only one: half sheet, which is about 22" x 15". But for me, that is fine, as I am expanding from quarter sheet format. I suggest that you take time to view Gayle Weisfield's video on "youtube" and look at her web site. Below are the links.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thunder Spirits

"Thunder Spirits",  13"x10" watercolor, ink, absorbent ground, colored pencils
Beginning of July,  there was a week that we had the most incredible thunderstorm, lasting about 24 hours. The lightning was all around and thunder accompanied to show. The community power substation was hit by a lightning and so we had no power as well for six hours. When I started this painting, I had no idea that this is how it would come out. It was only in the finishing of it that the impressions of the thunderstorm came back to me and how dramatic it really was.
I used watercolor wash initially, followed by using black ink to paint and dribble shapes in. I did not like it and so I used Golden absorbent ground with a palette knife to layer it on. Before it was set, I painted more watercolor in. It sort of blended with the ground. When that dried, I used watercolors again and finished with color pencils. The pencils were able to overlay some of the dark remaining spaces. I even pulled out a stamp of a leaf and trees were put in.

Monday, July 30, 2012


Dreaming, 10"x13.5" watercolor, ink, colored pencils
I went to see a most wonderful exhibit: Aboriginal Art in Seattle Art Museum. I was inspired to no end. Not that the watercolor "Dreaming" is anyway related in style, but it is related in spirit. It is a permission to allow the impressions of my surroundings to take form. I have not been in the studio for a month and yesterday, I walked in and had the best afternoon having fun.

Saturday, June 30, 2012

The fourth pillow from the set of four

Pillow front panel 16.5x16.5 inches
Well, here is the fourth mate to the small family of pillows. Would you believe that this front took 41 squares of four sizes: 27 squares 1.5x1.5 inches, 9 squares 3x3 inches, 3 squares of 4.5x4.5 inches, and 2 squares of 6x6 inches. All four pillow front panels collectively, needed 119 squares of various sizes. I can't believe that I actually sewed so many little pieces together.
Now I am planning the backs of these pillow cases. Originally, I thought I will make them solid color, but now I am considering to add few squares as well. I have been thinking for a while how to execute the backs and having few pieces of color in the majority of solid color is drawing my attention at present. The only drawback is that I am not very excited right now to make more squares. I could also make the backs using different colored stripes. As you can see, the ideas are arising, none are sticking yet as being great.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

An interesting process

Universe is the unfolding and enfolding of energy,  mass, time and space
Watercolor, gouache, ink, colored pencils,  10x13 inches

I just finished this. It had me captivated. The colors look better in the original and I had a hard time photographing this. The painting began as a mire of ink colors that I poured on. I put saran wrap over the wet inks on let it dry. Well,when it dried, it was a challenge to "listen" what needs to happen next. I thought of my favorite birds, herons. After drawing the right one, I painted negatively all around it. Then the second one, on the left,  got drawn in and I painted the negative space around the bird shapes again. The broken like grid left by the saran wrap was interesting to me and the painting looked as if it had two dimensions. I liked that. The previous night, I was leading meditation group, and I had a short talk using Bohm's observation: The Universe is an unfolding and enfolding of energy, mass, time and space. This stuck in my mind and I wanted to evoke the continual change as a result of the unfolding and enfolding. I used dots of gouache to portray that solid objects are actually aggregations of particles and not solid at all. The grid gave me the feeling of reality being assembled and disassembled from moment to moment, shape shifting and so having a dream like quality.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Precession of Mooses

Procession of Mooses, 8x10 inches
Watercolor, ink, metallic pen, gouache
I loved making this painting. It started as a watercolor. I poured the watercolor on Arches 140lb cold press paper and after it dried, I repeated the process few more times. It sat in my studio for about six months. Last week, I decided to be challenged by the shapes and colors. I used Dr. Ph. Martin's Bombay Inks for the next pour of color. What I like about these inks is their waterproof quality once dry, and so glazing over them with watercolors does not invite muddiness. Then, I began to study the shapes and use watercolors to increase contrasts and define shapes. After that, I began to see the picture and all I had to do is to reach for gouaches. I have many colors premixed in small plastic containers and they seem to last for ever. The process of putting dots down is very meditative. I also used metallic gel pen to add copper hued lines. I actually really like this picture. It is the first one since my art education courses, that brought me back to that place of marvel and participation with imagination in a child like way. I love that when it happens.


Madrona, 10x13 inches,
Watercolor and colored pencils
This week has been good for being in the studio. Couple of days ago, I finished this little picture. I was so inspired by looking at art quilting books that I was needing to experiment with it on the paper. I began with watercolors, after drawing the grid. The results were so and so and the colors were not really to my satisfaction. And so I pulled out my Prismacolor box of pencils and went at it with gusto for about four days. I used hot press Arches 140lb paper and I was glad that I did, as I needed to lift some watercolor off in few places with a "magic sponge" from Cheap Joes. It worked beautifully, withstanding the scrubbing without fraying.

Friday, June 1, 2012

The third pillow from set of four

Pillow 3 of 4
I figure that it takes me a month to sew these bits and pieces into a 16 x 16 inches squares. I sew a little every day or so.  I just finished drawing the grid for the fourth one. It sure is a process and I am looking forward to have the four of them done. And then, I plan to get my hands into free form quilting. I have been considering dyeing some fabric. It would be another learning curve to negotiate and I must say, right now I am feeling a bit on the lazy side.

Monday, May 28, 2012


" Gateways", watercolor 8"x11", May 2012
Finally, spending time in the studio with watercolors. I have been drawn to grids... I imagine patch-working is imprinted on my mind. Here, I was using only three colors, peacock blue, cadmium yellow and scarlet lake. I was also experimenting with layering washes. I used Arches cold press 140 lb paper and what a treat that was. I always used cheaper papers and I will not do that much more. The only thing about the paper is that it buckled after using hairdryer. And so I stretched some more paper, soaking it first in water and using gummed tape. I also will experiment with hot press Arches paper to see how I like that.

What to say about the piece? The grey shapes just wanted to be there in that way as a contrast  to the colors and shapes of the background: colorful vs. neutral, organic vs. geometric. In a way, to me it may suggest that we come into the world of colors and patterns through mother's gateway. We appear as if from nothing into the something that the world is. And that suggest a huge contrast in existence. We pattern our existence through our nervous system and for the most part the dimension we came from is forgotten. The doorway is however there, within our consciousness and the movement is inward, in contrast to the physical birth being outward movement.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Pillow # 4 completed

16.5"x16.5" Pillow cover #3 front panel
It has been a while since I posted anything. I have been busy with many things. I finally finished the Pillow #4 panel. I decided to make four pillows with these square motives. Yesterday, I began #5, the third one in the series of squares. I am really enjoying patching. My collection of fabrics is growing and selection of colors is getting more complicated. But then, it is fun.
This is my design wall. It is 4'x6' cork like board, covered with grey felt. What you see is a layout of Pillow #3. This one will have two large squares diagonally placed. I am curious how it will look at the end. I never know how it will really turn out until I am done.

I also began to paint with watercolors, finally. These are mostly 7"x7" studies. I am getting the feeling for how they actually flow. And so life is good. I am grateful.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Studio tour

Welcome to my studio tour
More storage
10x12 feet
Storage for papers and paintings under
foam pad
Work table, looking into the woods

Another work table for standing

More storage
I hope this gives a flavor of what my creative
space looks like. I love it. It is simple and small.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Pillow 3 completed16.5"x16.5"

I just completed the front panel for another pillow cover. What fun!!! The idea came from Kaffe Fassett. I had placed the different squares in my own sequences and also I followed my own color scheme. I  learned more about how to put the squares together from a wonderful woman in a quilt shop in Langley. This creative project has been very healing for me. I am beginning to  make a mate to this one and possible do a threesome. The process was tedious, but then I do love detailing. I am considering creating large watercolors using this principle of grids. I love colors and I finally am letting go of all the concerns about the elements and principles of design. While that knowledge rattles around, I do not engage with the rattle and follow my bliss. I have not been in my studio for a few weeks. I need to clean it up after the classes I took online and put away all the collage paraphernalia. I have not really enjoyed the process of collaging that much.
The spring is finally arriving and with it a sense of renewal on all levels. I am completing teaching a six week long meditation class and am pleased how the attendees responded. The class has also preoccupied my time, as I prepared the talks about the practice of meditation. One more class and then I am done. Today, life feels good.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Welcoming Spring

Flower Buddha, 13"x19", watercolor, 2003

The sun is shining, the hummingbirds are back and the early spring flowers are blooming. I always delight in this time of the year. This painting is about that.

I have not been in my studio for over a week. I have been putting together a meditation class. A nice group of people is coming weekly and each week I present another aspect of meditation practice. I have never done anything like that, though meditation is a significant part of my life. And so this has become my creativity at this point.

I am allowing myself to not feel pushed to create something visual at this point and am enjoying the open space that emerged, a space that feels contemplative and full in some mysterious way. I feel like an expectant mother, just settling into allowing the unseen growth of new inspirations within to happen without interference.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Illumined One

8x10 watercolor
I was looking through my work and came upon this watercolor. I was into negative painting at that time and this was a very complex one to complete. It represents the one neuron that "gets" the whole picture about the nature of reality. The Universe is lit up within it's experience....

I look with nostalgia on my previous work with watercolors. The past 2 1/2 years I have been pursuing education about design and composition. I have reached a burn out stage at this time. I enter the studio and face the acrylics and the colored papers and engage in collage assignments. I almost hate it. The acrylics, collage and I do not do well together. I am so looking forward to completing my commitment to the class I am taking now, clean up my studio and settle into being with watercolors again. Though I will need to reacquaint myself with them.

I may even not wait till the end of the class...

Monday, February 27, 2012

Second pillow case is born

I have completed my second pillow case. It was quite involved and lots of fun to do. The two pillows are now brightening our living room, bringing a bit of sunshine feeling inside. I need that. The winter is still happening.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Happy Tibetan New Year

"Om Mani Padme Hum", 8x10.5 inches, acrylic
Today is the celebration of Tibetan New Year, or Losar. The year is to be in the sign of a Water Dragon, representing great strength and fulfillment. What a blessing. We all could benefit from the gifts of Water Dragon. May all of you be happy, peaceful, healthy and full of well-being. May all of you have great strength to overcome all difficulties and be fulfilled in the heart of your soul.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Full Moon prayers

I tried a collage on canvas. It was an interesting process of gluing many pieces of papers down. The fun part was the continual metamorphosis. I completed this in December 2011. Now, with the new online class in composition, I am continuing with collages as a mode of expression. It is so different from watercolors. I enjoy now the variety of mediums through which expression for me becomes possible.

I call this piece, which is 12"x 12", "Full Moon prayers". It reminds me of seeing the moon through the window of the woods I live in.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Starting a new online class

As I am finishing Jane Davies "Uncovering secrets of Color" class, I am getting ready for her next online class on "Composition". The experience of online classes has been interesting. Beside focusing on the class material and practicing the lessons at my own time, the big learning came out of how to negotiate the blog world. Feeling more comfortable with my ability to navigate the cyberspace, I can now relax into fully paying attention to the new topic of composition.
I continue to think that knowing something about the components of design is something necessary for creating a piece of art. And I also know from my personal experience that creative expression happens on its own and I enjoy it best when I am not focusing on the concepts of design principles and the elements that are involved.
Above is one of my older watercolors painted in that surrender to the creative process just happening on its own. I am looking forward to come back to that unplanned, spontaneous creativity again, hopefully with my desire for understanding the way art is analyzed satiated, and wisdom to follow my intuition being stronger again and balanced with an analytical eye.