Saturday, May 9, 2009

The Greens of Spring

Someone once told me that in order to really appreciate Indiana, you had to appreciate all the subtle shades of brown. But if you want to appreciate springtime in Indiana, you really have to appreciate all her shades of green. The progression began almost two months ago, which we noticed on our trip to Michigan over spring break. We left Bloomington guarded by skeletons of brown trees, spent a few days in Kawkawlin, and came back to the soft, timid greens of earliest spring. Her arrival isn’t like stepping into a new world of color, like Dorothy did in the Wizard of Oz. It’s a gradual process that most stop following until the whole spectrum of greens is on full display. All the textures, colors and variations are enough to keep an artist busy for a lifetime!

Maybe you’ve guessed that it’s been a green week for me. I’ve been thinking about the ‘Tree Woman’ commission piece and working on her leaves (see the sketch in the April 25 post). To begin I got out my big storage containers of green yarn and my crochet hook. That scared the leafy green colors and set them quivering, which is how I create the effect of a breeze (OK, OK, I’m just kidding!). To get the textured effect and colors I wanted I mixed three green yarns. Two of these I bought but one I created—you never know what you’ll find in my artwork! Here’s the story of a yarn’s mid-life crisis:

The yarn was raised as a pretty blue bouclĂ© with a wonderful texture. She had every advantage in life and was well cared for, but no one really loved her. Even the person that cared for her most knew she wasn’t happy, and that a great career in the arts, admired by many, was her true destiny. I happened to be attending the Spinners and Weaver’s guild annual auction, one of my favorite events, elbows out and bidding on yarns in the midst of the shrewd and seasoned local fiber artisans. The auctioneer was Cheryl Johnson, a local spinner, and she was desperate to help her blue friend. “Martina, you need this yarn!” she implored, but I think she knew the yarn needed me. Blue just isn’t a color I work with a lot, so I grudgingly bid a dollar and brought home the blue bouclĂ©. After puzzling over what I would do with it, I got out my yellow RIT dye and over-dyed it. Out came a magnificent, lush green (the upper right yarn in the panel of three yarns). She quickly made friends with the other greens and is heading for a dual career in the arts and home decorating. There’s always a happy ending when people bring fiber into their homes.

I have truly enjoyed the greens of spring this year, scootering or biking in to school with my boys and watching the lush foliage emerge. The highlight of this particular week, though, was going on a fishing trip in our canoe with the HoA (husband of artist) and elder son (aka the fishing machine, Tommie). I really enjoy paddling in the canoe—maybe it’s the repetitive nature of the paddle strokes that remind me of weaving. It was a beautiful evening on Tuesday, in between days of heavy rains. The water was glassy but not flat, and the partly cloudy skies let enough sun light in to see the glory of the lake and all the surrounding greens. I caught the first AND biggest fish, which usually wins you small sums of money in fishing bets in our family, but I haven’t seen the financial reward as of yet. I did enjoy the fish fry, with 25 modestly sized crappies (OK, there were a lot of small ones). But they were tasty! Especially with some heavy bread, some French fries and a bottle of Pilsner Urquel. Now that’s a fish fry!

Until next week…

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