Musings from the Moonroom

Thoughts on Art, Inspiration, Creativity and Spirit


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A New Direction-Wall Art

Along with creating my Spirit Messengers and other sculptural artwork, I’ve been experimenting with other ideas to expand my body of work. The reality in today’s art world is that one line, one size, does not fit all. Most artists need to expand their line of work, leverage their skills, and create artwork for a broader audience.

Some options in this area might include cards, small prints, wall art, and jewelry. Offering polymer clay classes is another way for me to leverage my skills as an artist, reach a new audience, share my knowledge and help others ignite their creative muses.

Underwater Studies

Several weeks ago, sometime after the BP oil spill, I was sitting at my work table puttering around with leftover bits of clay. Normally I’d ball up the leftover clay scraps and deposit them into my scrap clay bucket. These bits are often reconditioned into a muddy sheets of clay and used as interior armatures for my Spirit Messengers and other sculptural pieces.

But on this day I followed my intuition. I rolled the various bits into different shapes, poked them, textured them, put one color inside another, and applied them to random sheets of leftover clay. Next thing I knew, I had three miniature underwater studies on my worktable.

Underwater Study #1

Underwater Study #2

Underwater Study #3

Each underwater study measures approximately 1.25″ wide by 2.25″ long, except for study #3 which is closer to 1″ wide by 2″ long.

Of course, as often happens when creating new art, I’m now asking myself what to do next with these pieces. I bought several sheets of luscious cardstock to use as backgrounds. However, these tiny studies need something else to complete them. I’m thinking about another layer of polymer clay, slightly larger than the central piece, placed underneath. And maybe some type of border to frame the central piece.

This is when a bit of experimenting happens. I’ll try one idea. Toss it. Try something else. Toss that one. Maybe go back to the first idea. Eventually I’ll set the whole thing aside until I can look at it again with fresh eyes. That is the current situation with these underwater studies.

Polymer Clay on Canvas

For this next piece I drew inspiration from the artwork of Serena Wilson Stubson that appeared in the May/June issue of Cloth, Paper, Scissors. What drew me to Stubson’s work as it appeared in CPS was her use of circles. I love circles. Round. No beginning. No end. Circle of Life; all that.

However, when I looked at Stubson’s work, I thought, hmm, I’d like to give that a go and incorporate polymer clay into the finished piece.

For my piece, I worked on a 5″x7″ canvas. I applied a page from an old book to the canvas as my base layer. I chose three words from the book page as my inspiration for the title of this piece.

Bewildered Garden Angel

This piece incorporates layers of paper, paint, oil pastels, text on vellum, polymer clay and wire.

I’m not sure if this will go anywhere, as far as becoming a new line in my body of work. But experimenting and playing are important parts in the creative process. Maybe this will morph into something else. Or maybe it will just be a groovy little artwork on canvas.


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A Wonderful Day for a Whale Watch

One of the most fascinating experiences I’ve ever had is going on a whale watch. It is absolutely stunning to take a boat out into the ocean and then bob on the waves in the quiet while watching whales feed, blow, play, and slap their fins on the water. When this happens you truly are standing in the presence of nature’s giant and gentle beasts.

On Monday, a gorgeous sunny day with minimal wind and one foot waves, we boarded the Yankee Freedom and traveled approximately 1 3/4 hours to Stellwagen Bank at the mouth of the Massachusetts Bay. Stellwagen Bank is a National Marine Sanctuary where whale watching originated on the east coast.

It takes some time to locate the whales as they are always moving in search of food. So, before our first sighting, here are some shots of the scenes we passed on the way.

Fishing Boat at Dock

Fishing Boat at Dock

Rowers

Lighthouse

CaptLeoBoat

Our whale watching boat had several members of an Elderhostel who were visiting the east coast from various places across the country. I loved the shot below of one of the couples. Aren’t they sweet?

Couple

And this woman made me smile with her whale shirt and nautical hat.

NappingLady

Whale watches are great experiences for kids too.

MomandDau

When we started the trip, this flag was wrapped around the mast. Once we were out to sea it unfurled beautifully.

FlagOnMast

And then we had our first sighting.

FirstSighting

Off in the distance you’ll see a whale’s tail or fluke. Notice all the seabirds flying around the area. These whales were feeding! We’ve never seen this before on any whale watch.

FeedMe

Here you’ll see the whale with his mouth wide open. We were told the whales were following and eating tiny eels that they rustled to the water’s surface. The seabirds are shearwaters and seagulls. If they get too close they might also become whale food.

Here are two whales. One is facing us, right side up. His friend is upside down waving his right dorsal fin in the air.

FeedMeMore

Um, that whale is coming right toward us.

WhaleNose

SMILE!

SMILE!

Did you know whales eat 3,000 pounds of food per day?!

When whales dive, they might stay underwater for up to 30 minutes.

Bye

Bye Bye

Bye Bye

On this trip we saw Humpback, Minke, and Finback whales. The Humpback whales are the most animated. If they are especially playful you might see them breach (jump out of the water.)  That is an unbelievable sight to behold. On this trip the whales tended to display their flukes and wave their dorsal fins. Many of the whales that pass through Stellwagen Bank are identified by their flukes and given names accordingly.

The closest that the whale watch boats are allowed is 100 feet of the whales. Somewhere between 100 and 300 feet is the preferred minimum. At that distance the boats are only allowed stay for 15 minutes. And as the whales move, so does the boat…slowly.

If a right whale is sighted, the minimum distance allowed is 500 yards.  All boats must cease whale watching and return to port 15 minutes before sunset.

Whale Watching is Hard Work

Whale Watching is Hard Work

For more exciting pictures and video of whales breaching, visit Seven Seas Whale Watch

To make a donation in support of whale conservation and protection, visit the American Cetacean Society, the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society, or the Atlantic Whale Foundation. To support the Stellwagen Bank Marine Sanctuary, click here.

To learn more about the International Whaling Commission, click here.