Sometimes when I’m crazy-busy, I need a project that calls on a different part of my brain than the one that lets me make making tiny triangles for painted stained glass or tiny random shapes, another of my favorite images.
Having often sorted through kitchen tools in search of art-making objects, it was easy to spot a map of Minnesota cookie cutter that had been sitting on top of my stove for 14 years. “Pick me!! Pick me!!” it shouted.
Stained Glass Cat will be a new small friend, but her roots are with the nanoscapes‘ Fractured Glass family. She has brought me to the brink with a creative conundrum: is she finished?Because the Fractured Glass technique is in my comfort zone, I began work on her when I needed a break between identifying and painting new small friends and tackling new nanoscapes projects.
Now that all of her “glass bits” are finished and “grouted” with watercolor, she might be finished. But perhaps not. I might paint a “fractured glass” frame or add a horizontal line to anchor her. Or maybe not.This eerie feeling — hesitating before making a paint stroke — may be as close as I ever get to what I imagine sculptors and gem cutters feel before making a critical cut. Will it work? Will it do what I want it to do? Will it do something better? Will it cause the entire enterprise to fall flat on its face?
I made my very first batch of jam right after the Towers went down in 2001. I began with Laurie Colwin’s Plum Jam, filling jar after jar, making batch after batch. I kept this up for about three years with jams, pickles, Onion Relish, and Barbecue Sauce. During that time, I always had 6 cases of jars in my car — in case of any emergency that couldn’t be handled by the dozen cases that I stored in my house.
Time passes and people change. On this 10th anniversary of 9/11, I turned off the radio and tv, and got on with what what I do now, which is to paint with watercolors. I paint geometric abstractions called nanoscapes and whimsical creatures called small friends. Instead of fretting about an anniversary attack that had been strongly suggested in the media, I made two new paintings, and nearly completed the Stained Glass Cat.
Both Mama & Baby Elephant and the Two Squirrels are painted on 140# Arches Hot Press Paper. They are experiments and not for sale. (2014 update: The elephants and the cat have been sold.)
Yes. I love stained glass. Yes. I think that any work with glass is magic. No, I will never work with glass because it requires safety equipment for cutting or being a heat-resistant human who can work with the temperatures required by melting and fusing.
But wait! I can paint. Adding to the nanoscapes’ Fractured Glass and The Glazes, this small friend Stained Glass Cat is based on a needlepoint pattern that I have carted around for 30 years.