Snowing here again- we are about at two feet on the ground and more coming- Jon slid off the county road last night, well actually he just misgauged the road and got his truck over into the soft snow on the side and slid down, only about a mile from our house. I drove out to rescue him- my little Ford Escape is the best of all the vehicles and since I crawl like a turtle wasn't worried.
No luck digging him out, so we called a friend with a big truck to pull him out, no luck there, the tow rope slipped and came close to the break cable- just what a wife loves to hear!
So left it there to be buried by the snowplows and tried again this morning- with a tow truck- boy do those guys know what they are doing- pulled it out backwards and checked all the cables and bolts- but once we can get to town, we will take into the tire shop and have them look at it too. Everything seems to be fine!
Girls out of school again today- dogs getting restless- I took another picture of the kokopelli, (on side bar), we have in our front flower garden for comparison, a bad winter he is up to his nose! We are getting there!!
Well here is an example of my "clumsy" attempt to use pen and ink, my first loved medium. Typically I would get about 3/4 done with an illustration and then make a mistake, smear it or the pen would drip, etc. You can see I was also trying to get as much texture in as I could and thus over working it! I love fabric collage for the shear fact I can rip someones head off and try again and again! And all the textures I can put in are yummy too~ !
I am learning the first rule of freelance illustrating.......well actually it is a toss up between- insist on a contract, early in the game or don't hold your breath depending on any job. I got myself in a pickle with both, entirely my own fault and then had to inact rule #3- once in a mess, do the best you can to survive it and not burn any bridges. Well after months of false starts and changed manuscripts, layouts, deadline, hummmm did I miss anything that good be changed after you thought you had things in the "can"- my little mini book on a Navajo Trading Post is now "on the back burner" due to the publisher "over extending" themselves.
Not really surprised. Not really bummed- way better now then when I had completed half or all the finished illustrations!! I was at the final sketch phase. They say they will reimburse me for the work completed- did I mention the golden rule of freelancing- get a contract!! Ummmm- they sent me two with typos- and we were on our third when got the news. Did I mention my husband is an attorney!! ( its the cobbler's kids don't have shoes, mechanics cars are always breaking down, attorney are not always as careful as you would think!)
So I have a lot of reference photos, a lot of sketches, a lot of ideas and now, past next week when my current deadline for a children's magazine is due- a lot of time!
I will come back to this idea- the editors in New York encouraged me in one way- in their total ignorance about what does happen at a Trading Post- even if they seemed to want to hang on to their misconceptions, instead of listen to me. But it just motivated me more to bring the modern life of Navajo children to other children in the world- guess that is what motivates most of us as writers and artist.
So here are some of my reference photos, believe it or not taken in four different states- when I did a circle out on the reservation on day- between dropping the girls off to school and being back in plenty of time to pick them up! The Four Corners is the only place in the USA where four states Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah, intersect in a +- if you know what I mean- and it is smack dab in the middle of the Navaio Reservation- the biggest reservation in the USA also.
It is a desolate barren land, with red dirt, red rock formation with names like Chimney Rock, Squaw and Papoose, and Shiprock. The Navajos are well off for a tribe due to the oil and gas leases that now are scattered across what the US thought in the 1800s was worthless land.
Here it is in Arizona looking in to Colorado. The "game plan" of the US government after out and out war with the Navajos did not seem to be working- was to break them by literally killing their livelihood- the sheep, making them dependent of goods supplied by the government through trading post, and eventually taking their children out of their mothers arms and putting in them in boarding school where they cut their hair and punished them for speaking their native tongue.
The round building is called a Hogan- they are tradtional homes but mostly you see this set up- a hogan, a trailer or double wide complete with a satilite dish, a lot of cars, pick ups and a lot of rubble.
But there is a lot of beauty too- like when the cottonwoods turn in the fall as do the grasses.
The Trading Post still holds an important place, many Navajos are hours away from any real town that would have a Walmart- which they love- so they get gas, food, coal, hay etc still from the Trading Post.
And trade, buy or sell- their livestock
I'm learning alot about the "Biz" of publishing- I know it is a fast flowing stream that I am the one who needs to learn how to "swim" in it, not complain about how it flows- but if this, the Navajos, their modern life now- is not an untapped "Niche" I don't know what is. I'm just trying to figure out how to proceed and it is becoming apparent I just need to write and illustrate my own project ( create a dummy) and then try and sell it. Ok -this is on the "back burner" but its more in a slowly bubbling pot of yummy soup- that is all the better for being on the back burning cooking away a little bit longer!
The "Illustration Friday" theme this week was finally an easy one! It was just a matter of which illustration I should use. "Up with the Sun" depicts ice climbing in the San Miguel Mountains- surrounded by mining towns like Telluride, Ouray and Silverton. Ouray has an ice park, where they have rigged water pipes to the side of the cliffs and can build ice walls- pretty wild!
And on the theme- check out the low cloud covering Mesa Verde National Park- I was watching yesterday morning- when the sun decided to come back to Colorado- it had been absent for a very long time and finally is pouring down on us again- Isn't God's creation amazing!!
Mesa Verde has disappeared, you can see only the very tip of Lookout Point, the clouds had socked down on the valley floor.
The cloud starts to come down like a curtain!
And walla! ( this is actually this morning- I forgot to take a last picture)
I have been enjoying reading all the wonderful "artist" blogs across the pond- recording the unusual snow fall that the United Kingdom has been getting. Many have said their days are filled with the chores of taking care of their animals and bringing more wood in for their "log burners" and figuring out the knack of keeping a for going all night! Check out Jackie Morris' wonderful blog- Drawing a Line in Time.
She inspired me to show our set up here near the Four Corners, in the USA- where we call them "wood stoves" instead of "log burners! And are dealing with......1 1/2 feet on the ground - though it has not snowed in a week!
Of course some here in the US pride themselves on a neat stack of wood, under some protection- uhhhhummmm we talk about doing that every fall- never seems to happen though- so it becomes a matter of burrowing down- to find the wood- where it was piled in the fall- which actually does stay rather dry and protected under the blanket of snow.
of course there is always an audience!
This is my attempt to stack- feeling sorry for my husband who was having a bad week- when he does the stacking he will block much of the window above, And of course on the porch for the rest of the winter, one can expect to trip over skis and snow shovels!
The wood stove is our main source of heat in the cabin- we do have a propane furance that is only used when we are away and don't want the pipes to freeze- which mean I have to vacumn out the vents for dust bunnies!
A "snow cornice" is a beautiful, but dangereous and even deadly thing- defined better than I could explain as "elegant, cantilevered snow structures formed by wind drifting snow onto the downwind side of an obstacle such as a ridgeline"- they give the appearence there is more solid earth beneath the snow but in reality- it is a weak overhang and the possible start of an avalanche when they break off.
Well I have a lovely snow and ice cornice hanging off the north side of my studio- and it is blocking the sun from coming in and well..... taunting me!
I love winter-alway have- but not this winter- and this chunk of ice is really getting irritating- you can see my studio is high up in the loft of our log house- the roof is propanel- metal- and as a steep pitch- the ice chunk goes across maybe twenty feet of the roof- so when it falls and it will, it is going to sound like a bomb went off-
Jon says we are suppose to get more snow tomorrow, so if the cornice doesn't fall today, it will just get bigger and bigger and block more sun from my studio!!
I pondered, taking off the window screen and whacking at it with a broom handle- but know better- The dogs seem to know to stay away from under such things.
Usually I like to ponder some understanding about life inspired by such "gifts" from nature-
Got nothing! It is just irritating and just want the sun to again pour into my studio and my life!
I am featured in the Fiberarts Jan/Feb issue! They were kind enough to do a little "blip" on the 2010 NPR Calendar. Pick up Fiberarts or one of their other cool textile magazines at a local magazine shop and you can get the NPR Calendar at on their website~ npr.org
Interesting Note- Fiberarts is put out by Interweave Press- a leader in textile work publishing and is actually locatedin my hometown of Loveland Colorado, just a few blocks from the house I grew up in! Didn't plan that! And Group Publishing- a leader in Christian Publishing is also located in Loveland- It's a small world!
I usually love the winter,hiking in the crispness of the cold air, the snow and then the cozy times inside with family and friends by the fire- but not this year, this year I have longed for the sun and heat on my face. The holidays were mared by worry, which in the end was just me not trusting God, again, and in faithfulness He has again taken care of the things I had no power to change by worry. I am thankful for his hand on me, but I still wish for the warmth of the sun on my face.
In hopes of some warmth, we went over to the slick rock, which is above Moab Utah, in search of the sun, but even there the snow was deep and the winter had a great hold on the desert, usually there is just a dustingo of snow, if there is any.
It got me thinking about the Illustration Friday theme this week- "Renewal" and how in the dead of winter, when there is little life in the earth, the new year comes, though we have no control over our future, we make a declaration, a statment of faith really- a New Years Resolution. In the dead of Winter we see a chance to renew ourselves.
learning my lesson today- I do feel the beginnings of "renewal" in me and delcare my only "resolution" for 2010 is for me to trust God and be more faithful to Him!
and He will bring the warmth of the sun to my face once more!