I have become aware of dust bunnies and a neglected car, paper piles and soiled slip covers.  These things are on, and then off my radar, with no  action taken. There are a limited number of hours in a day and there is a limited supply of energy in a person. So these things usually get pretty bad before I make time for them. Grocery shopping sometimes falls in this category also. I’ll go out of my way to create meals out of nothing for many days running, just to avoid the trip. I get away with this, because I have a talent for making meals out of nothing. Those I feed seldom notice. There are several things that I wish I could say were priorities. I should walk each day and read the books for book club. Sadly, I have little enthusiasm right now for these activities. 

I DO have priorities. They are:  brushing my teeth, keeping up with garden spots that are in the public view and caring for my zone of vegetables (my husband and I have split the watering into zones), feeding two adults and helping care for grandchildren, and spending time in my studio working on projects.  I feel that doing artwork is a responsibility. Also, the laundry is usually in good shape and the kitchen is always put to bed clean (if you don’t look at the floor!).

At the end of July, I will be hanging an Abstract Art show at our local Art Center. The planning was put into motion many months ago when artists  were asked to submit 3 -5 pieces of art each. This is an opportunity for me to display some of my own abstract art. I have created two new pieces for the show. I made this a priority. 

My abstract art is often a response to the times. What did I want to say about a pandemic? How did I do this without using figures or words?



June 2020 USA

Detail of June 2020 USA

Summer Surge

These pieces  are pretty self-explanatory, once you see their titles. If you saw them without an introduction, you might see something else. 

June 2020 USA is mostly sewn by hand. I have left a lot of frayed edges. My concept was to show: hot spots (orange areas), dead people of color stacked up (brown bands), a curtain of virus (tiny white spots), and angry public protests (large red X’s to symbolize a loud NO).

Summer Surge was sewn using the sewing machine and a technique called reverse applique. I did the applique and quilting at the same time. I made a sandwich of four layers to create a quick quilt. On the bottom was black fabric, then batting, then orange fabric with red patch, and then black fabric again on top. I sewed a free form design through all layers, and then cut away most of the top black layer to reveal the orange and red. I used some of the same red and orange fabrics that were in  June 2020 USA. The small blue spot in the corner is Wyoming. I put a very quilterly binding on the edge.

Here are the two pieces together.


And now, to change the subject back to the garden. Using fresh herbs is a special seasonal joy. Here is a good use for basil.

Watermelon Salad: Cut watermelon into bite-size chunks. Add olive oil, apple cider vinegar, salt, fresh chopped basil, and small bits of mozzarella cheese.

4 Responses to Priorities

Christina M Gerrits

Recipe sounds yummy! You certainly caught the mood of the pandemic and the June Surge beautifully. A sad time! So thankful we have Adrian, Lee, and the kids here to keep us from getting too lonely.

Patty Hawkins

Thanks Joan,
Always enjoy your blog and your art!
Mask making continues here, when older daughter is up from Golden!
Great fortune, younger daughter here for two weeks/able to have whole family together for Wes’s Memorial in churchyard ( only our 10 attending)

phil lack

powerful piece. I, too, am tending the garden and somewhat cleaning the house. starting a new 3D piece so the dining area is a mess of scraps. But its just me!
I have a nest of robins in the grapevine, and that is very entertaining. one little guy was running all over this morning, a complete time waster!! eventually they decided they could fly and took off with a parent! after some encouragement from said parent

Grace Torres

Joan you are always an inspiration. There is a wonderful grounding feeling I get when reading your blog pieces.m. I have been painting quite a bit this summer, experimenting and finding just what I want to say. Always appreciative of your perspective and artistic experience. Hoping you have a lovely gardening season





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