Australia on my mind

I woke today thinking of Australia … thinking of Barry and Fiona, and the ripples of peace they send out to the world … thinking of Mo, who dreams of a world where love is the answer …

Thinking of Australia burning …

The #crayonuary30 challenge, done with beeswax crayon bricks, was a test to see how I might hand-draw circles using the edge of each crayon …

I also wanted to see how the various colors interacted, and fought at times with keeping a smooth line as the edges caught on previously laid arcs of pigment.

And in the end, though I originally envisioned it as the world sending cooling thoughts of water to quench Australia’s droughted land, what I also saw was Earth and Sun, with Earth itself. radiating heat …

Then I was on to Acey’s Day 5 prompt: a diagonal line, a conversation.

Finding rainfall and seasonal temperature maps in the World Atlas, I was struck by the colors trending from cool to warm to hot …

Then by a book cover with an image of time, narrowing …

And finally, a second book cover with darkness falling …

I commented elsewhere that I fear Australia is much like the canary in the mine … and can’t help wondering if humankind will wake in time to save our world, or if it is already too late.

Getting there

The challenge prompts came easily, much like the journey from working life in Virginia to retired life in Texas …

Today I played with map grids and my our newest toy …

Coloring in places I traveled to or through during my 35 years in Virginia. It was stunning to realize how much I didn’t see or do …

But that chapter of our lives is done and in the books …

Then it was on to Acey’s Day 4 Collage Challenge to “plant a tree.”

I started with a little 4×6 inch landscape created last June during a workshop with Nan Henke, my first serious encounter with watercolor …

and I pulled out yet another book cover (I have three cartons-full from my the years working at the Texas State university library, so they are my go-to resources for now) …

I tore away “faith” and “religion” (yes, that had a real life resonance), leaving “instinct evolved endures.”

Having very much liked the look and feel of Grace’s collage bits, I tore the watercolor into tiny leaf-like crumbs …

then started puzzling through the pieces and glue-sticking them down, until they were mostly gone (now wishing I had taken pictures as I went along, but I was too in the groove to think of that) …

It feels done, although I confess to wondering if I should fill in the “instinct” letters or just leave well-enough alone …

Any thoughts on that?

Challenging

Taking on two month-long challenges in crayon and collage might have been a bit much, but I must say I’m having a lot of fun!

Yesterday I tore a plain square of book cover and pasted down my three hand-cut circles, completing Collage Challenge #1 in a less-is-more sorta way …

Next I tackled Challenge #2, taking two snapshots from many years ago, one left whole and the other cut into 1×1 inch squares. I proceeded to pencil a grid onto the back of a book cover, which gave me a much deeper appreciation of Agnes Martin’s 6×6 foot gridded canvases …

Then I took a page out of Ellsworth Kelly’s book (metaphorically speaking), and randomly pasted down the photo squares to complete the challenge …

Taking a break I picked up a library book to read …

which fell open to this page …

Well, that definitely left me primed for this morning’s crayon session …

Soon my crayons were scooting around Iowa like Democratic candidates and I began to notice the names of the counties were whispering stories in my ear …

people, places and things … associations triggered and then written. Note to self: crayons are not great for writing words, but process, not product was the goal …

Warmed up, I tackled Acey’s collage challenge #3: taking one large image and adding three smaller elements. What better than Gruene Hall and Lone Star beer caps?

But hmmm … copyright infringement loomed large as I read the notice across the top of the George Boutwell calendar page. So I ended up taking the rejected book cover from the other day and adding three Lone Star “pentacles” …

Here’s the cloth-coated back, trimmed with my handy corner clipper (a long-ago indulgence that I just happened to have in my craft pantry). But notice those loose threads around the edges … gonna have to work on that …

Last (I promise), I put it all into my first-ever art journal (a totally unexpected thing that just seemed to make sense with two daily challenges in the works) …

Now I can’t wait for tomorrow!