I realize I haven’t published a post in some time! Sheesh! My life is really beginning to feel as though it’s taking on a sort of Rhythm. And it’s hard for me to discern when I should share what’s going on. I don’t want to bore you to death with the same ol’ same ol’! To be honest, what started out as a big adventure has somehow begun to just feel like a normal, everyday life! Nothing so special so share. Shrug! But I know my friends and family get a kick out of knowing what’s going on , so….
Here’s what’s going on in our life, not especially exciting or even very interesting, but here goes…Let’s see, well, I’ll begin with our construction project, since that’s what seems to dominate our lives these days. Our workers have been making good progress on the roof of the workshop. They’ve got the majority of it nearly framed with the cariolas. Which means the walls are all done as well. So, In about a week or so they will begin to put up the zinc part, which is the big metal sheets that go on top of the metal beams, (for those of you not so familiar with this type of roofing procedure!). Earlier in the week we went down to David to a place our friend Keith told us about, a place called Kame. This is THE place to find the commercial-type, roll up garage doors that we wanted to install in the workshop. We need three of them. We got a quotation which seemed fair and so Scott drove back today (Saturday) to order them. Check that big thing off our list! Just when I begin to wonder,”How are we gonna find that?”, someone here who’s in the ‘know’ shows up and saves the day! Now, the next big thing we need to find is an electrician who will actually follow through and get our power run up to our property! Ugh! This is proving to be a hard one. Read the rest of this entry
Many of my friends and family asked me to post photos of my finished pieces so here they are. My first attempts at working in Cement to create figurative sculpture has been quite challenging. The most challenging aspect of using cement has been the fact that it eats up my skin on my poor hands! Sheesh! This aspect of working with cement is nothing like clay! The lime in the cement just soaks up all the moisture in the skin and man, is it painful! I had bought a big box of latex gloves for doing my hair color and tried using them instead of kitchen gloves. The kitchen gloves just get holes in them too easily but if I wear the latex gloves under the kitchen gloves while I’m mixing up the cement it really works well. Also, while I’m sculpting I can wear the latex gloves because the cement doesn’t stick to them like it does to the kitchen gloves. The process of sculpting with cement requires layers and drying in between the layers so there’s really not the same instant gratification that you get when sculpting with clay, which is not fun! But I think as I get a bit more experience and have more than one piece in process I’ll have more to work on and wont have to wait until the next day to work. Another aspect of creating figurative sculpture that I’m going to have to get used to is not having a live model to use as a reference! Hah! They don’t have a lot of people who pose nude here in Boquete! Darn!! LOL! I’ll just have to rely on photos and memory. I really enjoyed making the birdbath and the little leaf plates make fantastic gifts, they are perfect to be used as a soap dish or a place to put your jewelry. I got this tip from Mindy! Thanks so much! As a matter of fact all these are gifts for certain people who will remain secret! If I mentioned your names it wouldn’t be a surprise….but… I’ll be seeing you three friends soon!! Hah! You may know who you are!!! I’m just horrible at keeping ‘secrets’! Sheesh! So, as you can see, I have finally found a medium to play with and I’m looking forward to making lot’s more fun things. Chris McCall, the artist who taught the class, also gives classes in Stained glass! I’ll be learning that next! I’m envisioning a couple of pendent lights for our casita!! I’m excited to learn yet another new art form that looks like lot’s of fun! In my mind, there’s really not much that is more fun and gives me more pleasure than making something beautiful, especially when it’s something useful! This Adventure just get’s better and better! And now, it’s only 16 more day’s until Mariah is here in Panama with me!! I can barely wait!!! Cheers!
Well, after learning how to properly mix the cement, what proportions of sand cement and fiber to use, I’m beginning to get the hang of it. I’ve made a beautiful birdbath from a giant leaf I got on my property up in Jaramillo, and I made a bowl using a stainless steel bowl as a form and placing small leaves in the cement to create a leaf pattern. I also made the stand for my birdbath . Yesterday we learned about staining the cement. Chris (the instructor) gave us notes on all the formulas for the tints and dies, thankfully because he already had all the colors all mixed up and Geesh! The guy is like a mad scientist when he’s working and not especially great at teaching how to actually do what he’s doing. I can totally relate to how hard it is to teach, It’s near impossible for me to teach someone how to do a haircut! I don’t really have the words to describe to someone in great detail , exactly what to do, I have to just do it and show someone. Chris is much like that when he’s trying to teach what he already has in his head. It’s all just such second nature to him and I notice he’s best at showing rather than talking. He has provided us with some great notes on all the formulas and all the important procedures for working with concrete. So, as I said, we colored our pieces yesterday and I had a great time watching all the other students pieces come to life as they painted the different colors onto them. We really have a great group of people in our class, which to me has made this experience even more fun! You know how much I love making new friends and I met some great people as well as got to know someone I already knew. Everyone ended up making some great pieces, all very different and all just beautiful! I’m going back today to finish up a few things. I also started trying to create a figure, which was my whole goal in taking this class. I was really hoping to learn how to do my figurative work that I love so much. The torso that I started is not looking so good! Yikes! It seems as though working with cement is not quite as forgiving and its not the same immediate gratification that you get when working with clay. I just hate that I have to work in layers and wait till the next day to add any detail! I’ll work on it some more today and see where it goes. I suspect I just need to get used to this new medium. Another thing that’s not so great about working with cement is “Ouch!” it’s terrible on your hands!! Sheesh! I’m all cut up from bending the chicken wire and my poor fingers have areas with no skin from the lime in the cement drying it out so badly!! Yesterday I experimented with working with my latex gloves that I have for doing my hair color and that seems to have really worked pretty well! I can buy them at Price Mart in bulk and they aren’t too expensive so as they tear I can just dispose of them and get new ones. I’m going to keep trying to acclimate myself with using cement and I may even set up a little space here at the house, under the carport to work on making a few things. It’s really nice that you don’t need a kiln and the pieces just dry up on their own. There are so many cool possibilities, I’m psyched to explore what I can do and what I can create with this new (to me) medium. I just hope my poor hands will forgive me, Yikes! Latex gloves are my new best friend!
Day two of my cement art workshop and I’m hooked!! On the first day we learned all about cement mortar and concrete and how to properly mix it to make different figures and pieces of art. We’ve been mixing a mortar like consistency with sand cement and a little fiber and water. We practiced by making our first project which was a bowl. We simply used a stainless steel bowl placed upside down on the table and added moist sand around the lip to hide that part of the bowl and create a wide rim on our bowl. Then we covered the bowl with wax paper to assure that the cement will easily release from the bowl. We also walked around the yard and collected cool looking little leaves and placed them on the bowl over the wax paper and before adding the concrete which will give a pretty leaf pattern inside the finished piece. Another option , in place of the wax paper some used plastic wrap which gave the piece a shiny surface after it dried. I decided to scrunch up my wax paper and this gave a wonderful texture after it dried. Then we added the mortar and completely covered the bowl and the sand around the lip. I then added more leaves on the cement to give the outside of the bowl the same leaf pattern. We used a trowel to flatten the very bottom of the bowl giving it a level base so it sits nicely. Then we covered it with plastic wrap and let it dry over night. This morning , first thing we unwrapped our bowls and removed all the wax paper and leaves and used a file to smooth out any rough, pokey edges. Then rinsed it off and put a little water inside the bowl, wrapped it in a plastic bag and put it away to finish slowly drying. If it dries too fast it may crack so keeping it a little moist is important. I just love my bowl, its very organic looking, which I love. The next step will be learning to tint and die and all that good stuff. It will be very interesting to learn about all the different dies and tints and chemicals to use to create color on concrete.
Day two (today) we learned about sand casting. We were told to bring a big leaf with us to class. I went up to our property and got some huge leaves to bring. I decided to use one of my giant leaves to make a birdbath. First we placed damp sand down on the surface about the same size as the leaf, the leaf then goes on top of this small form and then on top of the leaf is the mortar. He instructed me to make it about 2-21/2 inches thick and to make the edges a little flatter so the birds would have a place to sit while they drink. This will dry tonight, we shall see tomorrow what happens with that. I also made the base of the birdbath by rolling up some wire mesh and covering it with a scratch coat of mortar to be added to tomorrow. I cant wait to finish this piece. My mind is just racing, thinking about all the different possibilities! One thing I’d really like to consider trying is making concrete countertops for our casita! The most important part will be learning where we can buy all the chemicals for tinting and adding color. Here’s a few photos of the progress so far….. Read the rest of this entry
This day started with a very familiar activity…art. I had the pleasure of assisting a friend with her art show installation at a restaurant in town, Mango’s. Her art will be on display at the restaurant during the holidays and it was so fun to be able to help her as she strategically placed all her beautiful pieces all over the restaurant. I’ve been involved in many other good friends art shows and will never tire of watching a transformation such as adding art to a space will create. It made me think about all my incredibly talented friends who make a living with the art that they create. Weather it be sculpture, painting, jewelry designs, textiles, amazing quilted kimonos, floral designs, ceramics, photography, I’ve had the pleasure of being exposed to so many unbelievable artists. I have so many great memories of attending art exhibits as well as participating in a few of my own. I’m fortunate to have been involved in more art show installations than I can even remember and today brought back so many memories of all my talented artist friends who I miss so much. I get so much pleasure in being around kindred spirits who let the beauty inside manifest in some sort of art that they so generously share with others. It’s no easy thing to create something from your soul and put it out there for all to see . Those who have never gone outside their box to explore what can happen when you let go of your inhibitions and allow yourself to create something outside of yourself, something that is an outward expression of “you”, are missing out on an indescribable experience. You may not think your an “artist” per say. And it may be true that you will never pursue art as a means of making an income, but I firmly believe that the only thing stopping you from creating something beautiful is Your own inner “self-talk” that constantly tells you…”Oh, I could NEVER do that”. The moment you listen to that voice… you have made it so. Only when you can get past that “self-limiting”, knee jerk self-talk, will you allow yourself to experience what it’s like to actually create something with your two hands. There’s a magical thing that happens when your in the process of creating art, it’s a simultaneous feeling of both losing yourself and finding yourself at the same time. At least that’s been my experience . When an artist decides to display a body of work in a public place it takes an amazing amount of courage and generosity to expose themselves in such a way. I admire all my friends who have done just that and I’m so grateful to have been able to lend a hand today and to help a new friend to display the beauty from her heart for this small community in the highlands of Panama to enjoy. I hope all who get to see it will appreciate it. Sound familiar…Judith,Shelly,Julia,Maria,Karen,Brian,Merlin, Pam,Nancy,Marty,Susan,Oh, the names of all my artist friends could go on and on and on…Miss you all, thought of you while I was helping today.
I knew this was gonna be a good day this morning when I checked the comments on my blog and found a great surprise.
A neighbor who lives right next door happened across my blog last night and realized we were neighbors when she saw the pictures of the house. What an amazing coincidence! And that’s not even the best part! She’s also a really talented artist who is very involved in the art community here in Boquete!! Ok…all my friends and family in California who know me so well know that I have just met a kindred spirit! She’s been living here in Boquete for about two years and moved from Southern California with her husband. They are loving their life here and have never looked back. Her name is Robyn Child Cole and she works in a type of art called “Encaustic Painting” . It’s a medium that uses melted wax mixed with paint and I’m not completely versed on all the details but there is fire involved as well as resin and lot’s of layers different colors and textures ! It’s a very exciting technique which allows for endless amounts of experimentation and looks like a lot of fun. She, of course has a fabulous art studio right there in here home which looks out at the same amazing view that my patio looks out on. Who couldn’t feel inspired with such a view? She even shares the same hummingbirds in her feeder as I gaze upon all day. Robyn knows all the other neighbors and told me all about this neighborhood including all the animals. In her studio was a very happy, lazy kitty just lounging about on her work table on a comfy towel. As well as a very friendly dog on her front porch who greeted me with tail wagging as I walked up the street. Just like my new dogs, they aren’t really her animals, just neighborhood animals who get lot’s of love, food and affection from anyone who will give it. She knows my two dogs and told me their names, “Big Blue, and Lady”. She introduced me to one of her neighbors, a lovely teenager who’s mother owns a hair salon in town and is also Robyns hairdresser. It was so much fun to hang out in her studio and chat while she worked on her art. I just love learning new things about art and meeting new people so I was in absolute heaven. This Friday she’s hosting a gathering at the library to introduce newcomers to the art league and I will definitely be going. I had gotten an email about the gathering but just hadn’t decided if I would go, now I’m there! I keep using the word ,”coincidence” , but I don’t really think meeting Robyn today was a ‘coincidence’ at all, I think people come into our lives at a particular time for a reason and I really needed to meet someone like her to get a bit of art into my life. I’ve missed my Sculpturistas and my regular gathering of like-minded artistic people. Today I made a connection with not only my first neighbor, but also with an artistic mentor who I look forward to getting to know and hopefully creating art with. Yes, today was a very good day.
Several years ago , I began to search for a new hobby, something new to learn . I was in the thick of the yucky “troubled teen” era of my life and felt as though I were drowning in my woes. So my solution to this sensation of drowning was to lose myself in some form of creating something beautiful. I have found solace in my life during times of crisis , by allowing something beautiful to come forth from my hands. I’ve learned that there is a transformational process for me when I’m involved in an artistic endeavor. While I lose myself in the process of creating something, I am simultaneously finding myself . That may sound weird to some people but for me it’s miraculous. I think everyone has their own way of navigating life’s challenges , this is mine.
Read the rest of this entry
This beautiful piece of art is very special to me because it was a gift from one of my dearest friends, Lauretta. (Lauretta is not only a friend but my former sister in law, so my daughters Aunt) It is a collection of old paintings done on tin. They were collected and framed by Lauretta’s mother who is deceased. Her mother collected them when the family lived in Mexico City when Lauretta was a young child. I have always loved it and so Lauretta very generously gifted it to me and long ago it hung in my home . When I designed my salon I realized it would look great there and then it would be appreciated by many people. I learned that the pictures are known as ‘retablos ‘, they were a gift of thanks to the church from parishioners for answered prayers. I’m not a particularly religious person but I love the sentiment of gratefulness they represent. I also love the sentiment of generosity from my loving friend, Lauretta. I will be bringing this with me to someday hang in my home in Boquete and it will make me think of Lauretta every time I look at it.
For the last few years We have enjoy our yearly trek with Pat over the hill to Pescadero for the Holiday fair at the Goat cheese farm. They have a big barn,( well, several big barns!) and upstairs in the converted hay loft they have a lovely array of hand crafted items to admire and purchase. All the artists are local and the variety of art is always fun to see. There is beautiful sea glass jewelry, knitted items, a women hand weaving the yarn as you admire her wares and many eatable things like lavender honey cheese, lavender sachets, peppermint bark, and jewelry made from antique beads, just to name a few. This year they expanded the fair into a second barn and its more of a small retail set up . They even had PAINT made from goat milk! What? In the original barn they have a lovely cheese shop , Scott bought two cheeses Fromage Blanc and goat cheese ricotta . They have a nice selection of many things made from their goat milk . We always like to watch the goats roam around and butt heads or chew on the fence or just chomp on hay. They are adorable little guys, for sure, although kinda stinky! Ha! Ha! I’d like to try to get back over there in the spring time to see the babies! Read the rest of this entry