time to make dinner

For many years I resisted upgrades to our graphics software because learning one’s way around a new-ish program takes time and is frustrating.  Invariably these ‘upgrades’ take perfectly acceptable features and make them more complicated or just switch them up in ways that undermine automaticity.  I’m a big fan of automaticity.  And, yes, that’s a sign of impatience and laziness.

It had gotten to the point, however, where I couldn’t even find answers to simple “help” questions online because no one talked about our antiquated version anymore. It was time to buck up or buckle down or stop bucking the trend, and place myself, happy or not, back onto a learning curve.

That’s why I didn’t post yesterday.  Too busy figuring out how to resize pictures again.

And now, it is time to make dinner (I’m thinking — wilted cukes, shrimp cocktail, and a big salad with bitter greens, including watercress).  So, a little photo story ensues.*

I’ve done a series of thread sketches based on a photo of my younger son skateboarding.  Here it is, pinned to one of the back windows.  Given this current exploration of white, I played with the exposure bar to lighten up the scene.


He’s doing (so I’m told) a ‘hard flip’ and yes, he landed it. The photo is a little bit old –taken sometime AFTER he broke his left arm the first time but BEFORE he broke it the second time.  I study the torso pitch and the folds of denim and the outflung arm angles as an artist – what goes where? and how do I capture that sense of a body flying in a controlled sail off a set of stairs to the pavement below?  As a mother I am using it to remind me of his strengths. Strengths such as — remarkable kinetic gifts, the willingness to land and land hard, and unbelievable persistence when learning something he cares about.


dirty damask – from black walnuts, maybe?


damask-backed sketch on the floor

The above sketch was photographed on the floor.  Shot this way, the charcoal blotches are not very visible at all.  But, below, see how visible they become when the cloth is pinned up onto glass, with light pouring through.


damask on window


black thread on linen, pinned up on glass


‘wrong side’ with pencil marks is my preferred side – here against a window


side-by-side, the mintons forming an ‘implied’ nine patch


and — ah!!! — how freeing it is to paint


and then scribble in that paint with a pencil!

Something Mo said about ‘light coming through’ got me thinking about how each and every needle puncture creatures a teeny avenue for light. Some of the recent things Jude said about clean and dirty whites were rattling around in my mind selecting the blackened damask… but more, actually, I was thinking about something she said less recently about how even when we cover up a section that has been worked and perhaps beautifully so, that section does not go away.  The energy of it remains.  With respect to the blackened blotches sometimes showing, sometimes not — I think about how they are always there even if not visible.

And now it is time for bed!  Dinner did happen in between start and finish. And so did input on a Gatsby paper. And American Idol (Lazaro? Top three?! Are you shitting me?!)

I must stop before I embarrass myself any further.

*  Again, this is a response to and inspired by, the goings on at Spirit Cloth and by one of my boys.

13 thoughts on “time to make dinner

  1. Michelle

    INSPIRED is most certainly the right word here. What a great subject, and how jauntily (even if difficult) rendered in all it’s incarnations here!

  2. saskia

    the energy continues!!! love that you have chosen a son-in-action as your theme and love how I can follow your journey here, I’m thinking more and more these days: it IS the journey that matters, not the results… and the needleholes (machine?) love that, reminds me of a piece I have to go back to: canvas pierced with an accidental row of needleholes, could become the theme!
    and so back and forth we go Dee, what a ride this class hey.

  3. deedeemallon

    michelle – yes to difficult but repeated attempts provide a fluidity — perhaps that is the lesson of the barns? do, repeat, vary, do again, repeat, vary…

  4. deedeemallon

    hello saskia! those are needle holes from my machine… poked in free motion embroidery. back and forth, the themes, ideas, and inspiration – it IS great to have like minded others to be inspired by

  5. Margo

    Such a clever way to do the white, and a painting to immerse yourself in color. Ahem, she says, why didn’t I think of that?

  6. nadia

    Hi, Dee. 2 broken arms, huh? Mothering is a tough business. Great thread sketching and I really like the fact that you did it in multiples. Enjoyed this thoroughly.
    best, nadia

    1. deedeemallon

      thank you Nadia… yeah 2x and needless to say the skateboards collect dust now. sort’ve a natural progression around the ages 14/15 anyway, but a sorry way for it to happen…

  7. deanna7trees

    great post. love that you worked through that one image in different ways. i can almost feel the energy released when i puncture holes in paper…almost as if the paper is giving a sigh of relief…moving into a higher plane.

    1. deedeemallon

      I’ve never thought about what the MATERIAL might be experiencing… different way to think about things. thanks.

  8. deanna7trees

    years ago i read lots of Jung. he always talked to his pots and pans and everything else around him. i got in the habit back then and even say ‘i’m sorry’ when i drop something.

  9. Mo Crow

    ah drawing the light with light, and allowing the liveliness of pencil marks to remain loose and free in that centre image, it sings!

  10. deedeemallon

    because all things are infused with energy? I think the way I would ‘apply’ Jung to a situation like dropping a pan (or like the giant frying pan in a recent dream of Grace’s) would be to plumb it as metaphor… say more sometime, so I know what you mean…

  11. handstories

    your boy- great to see passion in action! and those puncture holes are so alive and captivating, something I’d never thought about before….though there was a close moment this fall, when a 8yr old boy asked, “how all the holes got in the cloth, for the needle to go through?”


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