Wednesday, December 27, 2006

On the second day of Christmas

I went to audition a new Doctor for myself. Now that I am in Columbia for the foreseeable future I thought that was advisable. I asked this rather large medical practice to be assigned to a recently trained, male Doctor who specialized in Internal Medicine and I was.
Ive had two really great doctors since I began to think that having a Doctor that was both good and personable was a major thing for me. The first one left Louisville, moving south with his family and the second one I left back in Kentucky. In between those two I have had several duds and one that I would not let treat the dog of my worst enemy if I had anyone in my life that could be so classified. Thank goodness I don't.

I scheduled this appointment when I knew there was nothing going on with me. And since there wasn't I could evaluate his listening skills, and manner better than if I was in the middle of needing medical care. He passed.

The other thing I did that I was happy about was, I discovered how to use a projector with my computer , tat ta....power point, thanks greatly to John who is a whiz at such things. Schools these days may not be teaching kids how to make change for a dollar but they know what the F4 button does.

I began working on another design that has been laying on my studio table for a week or so.
I truly wish I could piece as freely as I sketch and color in my designs. This is the sketch. I'll let you see the results in a couple of days. The part of me that prefers order to the part of me that wants very much to be less orderly is in the mist of a tug of war. So far, order is winning.

Since this is day two I thought

I'd also let you see my last two completed quilts TOPS. Not doing any quilting yet.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The first day of Christmas

was quiet and as simple as the bow that decorates our front door. The remaining eleven days of Christmas will be the same.
For me, Christmas, the day lost most of its joy and delightfulness when the last child stopped believing in Santa some thirty-five years ago. Christmas had a short reprieved when the Grandchildren began to appear. But now that peiord too has past. Olivia, my only hope lives 400 miles away.

Of course I know that "SANTA" gift getting and giving is not the real reason for the celebration that sieges every ones purse or wallet this time of the year but it seems that is the most prominent one put forth these days.

I has no reason to go out among the horde shopping before nor will I be there today with all the people returning, exchanging and looking for bargains.

I decided before Christmas that I had everything of a material nature that I needed or wanted with the exception of two CD's. The new IL DIVO and Josh Groban's newest. Of course I could have brought them myself, but that would have meant I would have to do the shopping. I asked nicely and John and Lyn picked them up for me several days ago and I did not wait until Christmas day to break the seals and listen to them.

My day was a completely relaxed one, in that, I never got out of my pj's. I WISHED FOR SNOW, but there wasn't a flurry, so I read a book, did a little knitting and watched TV. Lyn and I cooked a traditional holiday dinner together. We ate after she and John returned from seeing "Dream Girl".

I hope you had the kind of day you wanted too.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The square is far too simple

for me to continue working with it. But it was a good stepping off point and a definate change from what I had been doing the last few years. Mid-summer I decided to give myself about nine months to a year to explore different avenues, focusing mainly on color, composition and designs. I chose to use the square because it was simple and as good a stepping off point as any. There will be other paths for me to explore I know, because as I am writing this, stripes are calling me to them quite strongly.

My friends Marti and Karoda have asked to see what I have been up to these last few months and since I have missed the last two meeting of my critique group and need some feed back I decided to put what I've done so far on my blog for them to see. Of course I know others will see what I am doing as well, so please be kind.

Whether you know it or not, going back to square one is really stretching for me. Stretching in the sense of using straight lines instead of curves, abstract color compositions instead realism which I love doing especially when it is in the form of large scale flowers. And there is more to my stretching; squares instead of circles, all hand dyes and Kona solids instead of using commercial prints with my hand dyes. Believe me I am definitely out of my comfort area.

This is the first piece I made when I decided to see what I could do with squares. Very elementary. I also decided that each composition I constructed would include some black and white, but not a commercial black and white print.

I do not like this piece because I do not like my colors choices. It seemed to be lacking excitement that a different, warmer color palette might have created. The lesson I learned. I did not like rotary cutting and eyeballing the quarter inch seam allowance during the construction of this piece. Question left to be answered. Would this piece, simple as it is benefit from the addition of a border?

For one who learned traditional quilting in the era of the template, I still find, because I do not do it often enough to be proficient, that the ruler and rotary cutter tends too much toward inaccuracy. I really wasn't happy with the 3-1/2 inch squares that did not come out to be in all cases 3-1/2 inches square. What was I to do about this problem . Practice, practice, practice because for a large composition I was not about to mark seam lines on hundreds of squares just so I could get the degree of accuracy that I strive for.

This is the second piece made entirely of squares. I like the colors I used and the gradations.
There is no originality in either one of these too. What I was trying for with this one was achieving accuracy. I got better at both cutting and sewing accurately while constructing this one.
If you are interest, all of my intersections are DEAD ON EXACT!

I find that a better composition can be had with the addition of rectangles. Playing with the combination of the two shapes produced this piece.

No squares here. I was taking a break, regrouping. Finished my signature piece for Form Not Function which I posted earlier. This is the only completed top that is quilted so far. It is a mixed media piece that includes layered tissue paper squares adhered with gel medium to the fabric in the lower left yellow area producing squares overlapping squares effect.

This is a small piece measuring 24 inches wide by 36 inches long. The 16 small squares in the center are 2" each.

A little simplicity is a good thing, especially when you know something like this is coming to mind.

This is a large piece that I am trying to decide how in the world I am going to machine quilt it. It measures approx 80" square. I really had told myself when I started down this path of playing with squares to stay within the 45 to 60 inch range in order to make machine quilting the pieces I liked less laborious. But I didn't. Got carried away again and reverted to my old habit of making large pieces.

I like the play of colors and the optical illusion that the square produce. The whole piece looks a little off kilter, when in fact it isn't. The black and white is back.

There is black but no white in this composition.
I am going to play some more with stripes in squares. I like the lost and found effect of the stripes in some of the square units too.

No black and white here, however, I did try the motif in black and white to see if I like working with it. In doing so I found the high contrast of B & W to jarring. The proportion of each was almost equal. This visual vibration made me know that I needed a color and value combination that was not sharply contrasting.

This piece measures about 50" square. The units still need to be sewn together. I decided to take a break and go see the movie "Eragon" this afternoon. By doing that, I had no choice but to sleep on this arrangement of the units until tomorrow since I wanted time to blog.
I had fun planning and making this piece too. I love the gradated orange and turquoise. Some units because the colors choices I made are perfect compliments of each other and s they seem to vibrate were the colors meet. Neat. I think the vibrating effect is also visible in the largest piece because of the sharp contrast of value where the black and white stripes join.

Now you know what I've been up to.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I see public art too

Here are shots of the three pieces I see most often.
I am now more comfortable with where I am in the city and can get around without the aid of my trusty map. Now more confident I can look around for something beside the street signs. So yesterday I found where the Martin Luther King Memorial Gardens Park is located.
The yellow sculpture stands in front of the Library. The wingy steel thing stands across the street from the Library. The concrete and mosaic bench is one of three on the corner of Ninth and Broadway. I love the form and color of them.

Now you see what I see

This is what I see as I leave the sub-division and what the scenery is like for the first 3-1/2 miles on both sides of the road until I get to the first intersection.

This is the main building on the University of Missouri Campus the front and back view.

The columns at the University are at the one in of the Avenue of the Columns and

these are the ones at the other end. I haven't looked into the history to see why they are here.

Here are two views of downtown, which to me is only about 10 blocks long and extends two blocks on either side of Broadway. The shops downtown are of two types, the affluent or the college student. The in betweens shop at the Mall or in one of three Super Wal-marts.

Monday, December 11, 2006

I don't get out much anymore

and when I did the germs of the world attacked. I'm sure you have heard by now that we go SNOWED in here in Missouri about 10 days ago. Evidence of the event can still be seen in my yard. We got 18 inches worth. So needless to say I was stuck in for that reason. But yesterday while I try to have LAZY Sundays I had to leave the house to rescue John, the youngest grandson. His mother delivered him to a classmates house on her way to teaching a class.

But he forgot the very reason for going to Michelle's house. The camera he needed to take candid shots of downtown Columbia for his art class. So I had to get out of my PJ's, dress and drive to deliver the camera from his room to him.

Since I was out I decided to take in a movie. Just by chance Dujavu (sp) was starting as I arrived at the movie-plex. I love Denzel Washington in what ever role he plays in this case I loved the premise of the movie since I am a sci-fi, thriller with a little crime thrown in for good measure kind of gal. So suspending all reason I got into the movie and at times was sitting on the edge of my seat.

OF course there was a cute girl to be rescued. What is Denzel if he is not coming to the rescue of some woman, except in his academy award performance in Training Day.

So here I am today with a headache, the sniffles, and a cough all because I went out into the germ filled world yesterday. Sniffles or not I am going out again today first to the
then to , the yard shop and if I can find my Hobby Lobby 40% off coupon I am going there, then to the pharmacy along with JoAnn's and my 50% off coupon.
And finally I am going to end my day out by seeing Casino Royal to form my own opinion of actor who is now the new James Bond if I can time it right.

Here is my lates sock project. And the remaining snow

Friday, December 08, 2006

Playing is one thing.... what ifing is another

There is nothing worse than the critic in your head asking you what where you trying to do with that piece of nothing you produced.

The defensive side of me answered. "I wasn't trying to say anything. I was just playing around with tissue paper, some glue, and some gel medium."

The landscape was a cop-out, the green and black thing wasn't.
The landscape was too close to what I've done before. It was a safe composition. I've used those colors before too. SAFE. You can't go wrong design-wise if you remember the principles of doing landscapes and follow them.

Now the black and green thing was totally different. Abstract, no connection to anything other than; let me see what torn pieces of tissue, gel medium and cloth can produce.

While I wasn't happy with the results, it was the better of the three previous ones I tried to do. There was some structure there. So it got its picture taken and lived on the wall until yesterday.

WHAT IF you quilted it? So I did.
"That didn't help much." the critic said, "after all you pretty much quilted it as you would any other piece you have made. You didn't venture into using thicker threads or metallics or anything DARING."
No I didn't I just fumed a lot. Said a few #*$(% and )(*$&^% & @&&&&&^% out loud. Good thing no one was home but me. I broke four needles in the process of quilting the *&&^^%$ 21 by 25 inch piece.
"The quilting could be closer"
"I don't think so.... I will NOT break another needle on this piece of I don't know what."
"OKAY, OKAY. DON'T GET UPSET, I UNDERSTAND. WHAT IF you added some paint? WHAT IF you added some more shapes?"
"To what purpose?"
"NONE, we are just what ifing here."
"Right, we are WHAT IFING!" So I got out some paint and a couple of brushs. I added curved lines,FUN and I added blobs that looked sort of like little squares, FUN.I added squiggles, MORE FUN! I added a dash of silver mettalic paint. A little here, a little there FUN, FUN, FUN.


The black and green think that now has red and white and some dashes of silver destiny is unclear. Finished it and hit it in the closet or give it a quick burial in the trash can

"What are you trying say."


My little voice of understanding said to me over a cup of tea this morning.

"Every thing you make doesn't have to be a masterpiece, it doesn't even have to be good, but on the road of what ifing you might find the path that lead toward making something good and maybe, just maybe a little further along the trail you may find your way to your masterpiece.

Maybe I should have a cup of tea in the mornings instead of coffee from now on.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

A productive play day

Yesterday I couldn't get a thing accomplished in the studio because the phone kept ringing. The ringing phone wasn't my cell phone which is always nearby, an arms reach away to no more than two steps. It has caller ID which means if I don't want to take the call I don't answer it. No the ringing phone was the house phone. Of course there isn't an extension in my space so I have to go the kitchen or Lyn's room or John's room to answer it. The closest extension is in the kitchen.

I do so try to stay out of that room because of the pit falls it holds. The PHONE SITS BY AND NEAR THE BAD STUFF. The candy, chips, soda,and ice cream. I could add cake and cookies to the list except I am really, really allergic to wheat and avoid it at all cost. At times I do so wish I was allergic to sugar too. Allergic in the sense of hives, stuffy nose etc, a Benadryl curable kind of allergy, NOT DIABETIC.

I know you know what I am saying when I say that every time I had a good thought the phone rang and spoiled my thinking process. Every time I came back to pick up where I left off, the phone rang again. Then the furnace man came to see why Lyn's closet stays cold when there are two heating vents in there. Then John came home. Then the phone rang some more and I GAVE UP went to my room to read.

This morning was different. The sky was clear of clouds, the remaining snow made the house very bright and sunny and I got up full of gusto and was in the studio without taking time out for eat breakfast. I was in the kitchen just long enough to brew a fresh pot of coffee and serve myself a cup that went with me to the studio. I knew what I had wanted to do yesterday was a lost cause so I said, "I'm playing today." Let it ring, let it ring, let it ring.

Would you belive it didn't. Not once. So undisturbed I didn't stop playing until hunger began gnawing my stomach. Only then did I realized it was nearly 3:30 PM. A sliced apple and peanut butter and a warmed over cup of coffee later and I was back at it again.

This is what my experimental playing around today gained me I want to add some red to the green/black piece. I will more than likely use red opaque acrylic paint to do it.

The orange landscape piece I don't know what more I want to add at this time. Will keep it on the wall and look at it for at least another day before I begin to quilt them. Both pieces started off larger but will be cropped to what you are seeing now. I do love the ability to try out different amounts of cropping in my photo program before making a final decision. More important, the final CUT.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Snowed in.

Carlos is here and I am finally getting dug out today. Of course Lyn using my jeep has not been stranded. The Jetta sits too low to handle the depth of snow we recieved, so here I have been since Wednesday. The snow fell on Friday morning and did not stop until there was 14-16 inches of the stuff in this area on top of about 2 inches of freezing rain that fell all the day on Thursday. Luckily we did not lose power and we have all been snug as bugs.
I have worked through all of this. The light that is gained from clear skies and sun reflecting off of snow is great.
And I have been entertained by my neighbors. For they were out digging themselves out of 2 and 3 car wide driveways. I don't know why they bothered so soon they could not go anywhere because out street did not get plowed until late last night.
The mail man did come on Friday or Saturday, but will be able to get down our street today. I haven't recieved my Quilting Arts Magazine yet and I WANT IT.
The children in back of us were having the time of their lives yesterday and I got a good laugh watching them playing in the snow. Their father had dug them a down hill sled track that their saucer sled fit into perfectly. Down the hill they came, spinning around giggling all the way to the bottom. Where they picked up their sleds and climbed back up the hill to do it again and again.
This is my signature piece for Form Not Function. "The Coming Winter" It measures 12" x 19-1/2 inches. I did it before the snows came.