Riding the Wave of Busy

For a retired person, I am astonishingly busy these days.

My class at USC this spring is photography (for the non-art major) and I am learning cool things about how use my Nikon D5300 DSLR camera that I bought last summer. That class has challenged me to think about photography differently – creating still-life tableaux and photographing them, taking pictures of people (as in portraits), and our last few weeks will be landscapes.

This year’s Creative Visionary Program (CVP) with Nicholas Wilton has started up – I went through it last year and feel like I barely scraped the surface. This year I am already going deeper. We’ve been encouraged to start spending “5 minutes on art” every morning – writing and painting/drawing/whatevering on a spread in a small journal. I am using a 6×8 journal I got at Michael’s for $6 (on sale!) and after a couple of days it’s already addicting. They are purely for fun, and the photo above is the first one I did.

I’m also newly inspired to return to encaustic work – I made a batch of encaustic medium, tidied up my encaustic supplies, and started a new piece. More projects in mind for that, too, including using corrugated cardboard as a substrate. I’ve seen some lovely examples of that on Ruth Maude’s All Things Encaustic site.

Last Saturday I took a class on how to make paper lanterns with wire and wet strength tissue paper – so much fun! I still have to decorate mine and I have ideas for more.

Of course, I have my guilds – Fiber and Art – so I have those meetings and I am the webmistress for both. The imposition of new rules around emails from private domains (so they don’t get rejected as spam) had me pretty well occupied for a while but hopefully that’s settled down now.

One huge discovery I made thanks to my photography class is that you can buy pretreated cyanotype paper!!! It took a couple of tries to find a quality product, but you know I found some. And I am in love with lumen printing. This is a process where you take darkroom photo paper, put objects on it, and expose it to sunlight (UV light). Even old expired paper produces amazing results. Today’s pictures show this with a piece of paper that my professor gave me to use at home. This first one shows the changes that have started about 20 minutes in. The next is the final print after 8 hours in the sun.

Sometimes it all seems overwhelming, so I just remind myself to keep breathing and keep it playful. Ride that wave wherever it goes.

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