Friday, March 30, 2012

A really productive week at the easel.

Next week I will be quilting, quilting and quilting.
I have two paintings finished.  Of course there will be some working back into them with more water color paint, inks or pencils once the quilting is completed.
In thinking of my painted quilts, I have decided for at least these three pieces that I want to stay very close to the look of traditional botanical drawings and paintings, which is to make the flower the focal point and present it simply and colorfully on a background that is not demanding of the views attention.
I am trying different ways of handling backgrounds and tried my hand with a "washing" technique in the second and third piece pictured below.

 I like the muted look of this piece, especially the background, but as I look at it here on the screen, I think the yellow needs to be knocked back some.  Right now it is hung on my design wall so from time to time during the day I am seeing it but not studying it and in real life the yellow is not as demanding of my attention.  When I get to the quilting, I'll see if thread mute it some.  If not a little wash of color will do it for sure.

 Still have to paint the flowers on the one above.  When I went to bed last night I wasn't sure what color that would be.  Woke this morning thinking because the background is a pale yellow the flowers should be painted a purple hue. 
All of these pieces as painted measure about 44" wide x 48 -50".  I'll lose some in the quilting and trimming. I'll show you what each one looks like when it is quilted. 
I will be off to do a trunk show for a guild north of Tampa on Tuesday evening and I will make the drive back on Saturday to teach a class.   
Along with that, I will be packing  and returning the artwork in the "Faces of Color" exhibit next week too. 
With all that on my calendar, I plan to spend the next four days at the easel.   I have two more painting I want to get done before the other parts of my quilt life or life in general intervene. 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

I enjoyed my day trip up the road to the Atlantic Center for the Arts Center

until it became a stop and go ride almost as soon as I got off I-4 to make my way east of SR44.  Now that I know how to get their almost by rote I was surprised at the backup, not even during Bike Weeks did run into so much traffic.
As it turned out all of the traffic or the majority of the cars were going in the same direction I wanted to go and that was North on A1 or the Dixie Frwy.
The reason for all of the traffic; there was a fair or festival with vendors and amusement rides being held on a large plot of land near the airport off A1 yesterday.  But once I got past that point it was smooth sailing to the rest of the way to the Atlantic Center for the Arts.
Lunch was a clean the fridge affair, but there is nothing bad about a left over if it was good the first time around and so it was.  Lots of a little of this and a little of that and a baked potato bar.
There were several quilters/artist who were there and had stayed on after the three day class they had with me plus lots of new faces for me to get acquainted with including Pamela Allen who's work I have admired.  She was working on a new piece that I liked very much.
I got to see the SAQA trunk show displayed and now know how I can hang it temporarily at the Mark Street Center were we hold our monthly guild meetings without putting holes in the walls.
Here is a look at some of those who were there to see the trunk show.
And here is a look at what I have done so far today to the painting on the easel.  There is more to be done before it is ready for quilting.  Check back later today or tomorrow if you can.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Back at the easel

 and it feels good to be doing something creative that does not have to do with the teacher part of me.  The image below, is the one that is in the book in answer to someone who asked.
I am off to Mary McBride's Retreat in New Smyrna Beach in a few minutes to have lunch and hear a lecture by Teddy Prewitt(sp).  I will also pick up a traveling SAQA exhibit that I will display at Cabin Fever's next guild meeting. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Yesterday and the day before the postman brought a surprise package

What was the surprise you ask?  Books.  Two copies of the same book.  One came addressed the apartment I used to live in and one to the current apt. #.  Obviously they didn't remove my old address from their records when I notified them of my change of location over a year ago when they notified me "one or more of your images will be included...".
The  book has one full page size picture of one of my quilts in it.  I think I submitted three images for the publisher to consider and since the computer with those images I sent is long dead so I don't remember what was not accepted. 
I  sat with a mug of coffee the day the first one came and read the book from cover to cover.  It is a very interesting collection of quilts as well as an insightful look at a selected group of artist who submitted works for this book.
So the next time you are in the book store or on your computer visiting your favorite on line book store site, consider this book for your library.
Since I have two, I am giving one away... using it for a prize at one of my local quilt guilds Fun Nights.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Back from teaching and I had a wonderful time

It is really nice seeing different places in this State I have decided to call home for the foreseeable future.  Also to discover what is available for artist.  The Atlantic Center for the Arts is one such place and I have Mary McBride to thank for this adventure.  I taught three days for her at the start of her annual 10 day retreat at this wonderful retreat facility.  The place is off the beaten path and very serene. 
What good is a place where you can't just run out for  french fries worth without a great cook.  We had a great cook.   Every meal Sue cooked was  tasty, healthy, well balanced and she adapted her menu to fit everyone.  The vegetarians , the no dairy people, the low fat, low carb and even the gluten free people like me. 
While there she served me gluten free raisin cinnamon bread that when toasted and spread with cream cheese was so good I can't tell you just how good it was without drooling.  It has been so long since I last had a piece of bread that tasted like what I remember bread tasting like.  So that was a good thing and a bad thing.  Bad because I do not need to get into the habit of having toast with cream cheese every morning so I am not going to go in search of this bread nor did I write down the name of the baker.   I will just have to contend myself with the memory.
 This is Marlene working intently on her painting.
 Linda at work on a piece that she was using freezer paper shapes as stencils and as a way to mask out an area.
 This is the painting studio.  Great natural light.
 The communal sewing space was set up in the dance studio with one wall of windows and a mirrored wall which makes the space appear larger in this picture.
There was a wood walk way that connected the builds. Turning left at the end of this walk way takes you to the dining room.   At selected places along the way were signs identifying some of the plants and wildlife; lizards and insects  rather than snakes and gators.   Here are a few images of the place and my class/studio/space complete with a place to hang wet painted or soy milk soaked fabric outside to dry. While I took pictures of some of the pieces they painted I am not going to share them here.
I had a small class of four ladies but I learned as much from them about what can be done with water color paints as I hoped they learned from me.  I loved the sense of freedom they exhibited as they pushed  the limit  of what water color on fabric could do.  Learned about the medium and what it allows when you have no care of how big a mess you make.  We were after all in a painting studio were messes as well as art was the order of the day. It was also good to see other images in water color besides flowers (something I always do) but Marianne, I have no picture of was doing some wonderful abstract stuff. 
Sorry this is a little disjointed, but I wanted to report my last weekend doings before they become old news to me.  So I have and now I am off to bed.
Answers to comments:
No Kathy the flowers are not dandalions.  The leaves look like them I know.  Yes Karen I will be in Louisville teaching a 2 day class that Rhonda Wallace is organizing on Sat and Sun May 19 and 20.  I think she is hosting it at a retreat place in Indiana near Borden(?) I think.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Yesterday when I got up and went to admire the blooms

on my Christmas cactus that is still putting on a show;  I guess benign neglect is good when it comes to this plant,   I had no plans of making another small piece, but I came across a line drawing of this simple flower online and got the itch to pull out the paint and the brushes.  I really do not need and excuse to paint or quilt, but I did have something to explore and that was  for a couple of weeks I have wanted to try using two layers of batting as a friend of mine does in her work to see if I liked the feel and look of a piece after  it is quilted, blocked and trimmed.  I must admit, I do.
The texture quilting gives a piece is one of the things I aim for in my work.  What I found was the quilting seems to be more evident with the two layers of batting and the two layers were easy to handle under the needle. 
I have been using a wool and rayon blend felt along with a layer of Warm and Natural batting for about 4-5 years in my work and like the look using both of these gives.  
Now that I have tried the two layers of batting I think working with  two layers is  worth trying the next time I make something larger.  This piece measures about 18" x 28".

Saturday, March 10, 2012

This is the last of the class samples I need to make for now.

With this one done I can turn my attention to gathering the supplies I need for a three day class I am teaching next weekend.   So I might not have much to say until I return on the 19th.

Thursday, March 08, 2012

The final look of my pieces is not really finished

until the facing is on.  Most often a nights sleep precedes this.  (Gotta think about it).   At times I have gotten  up in the middle of the night to make changes to a piece or just to look again at the piece on the design wall to give my brain some added info to noogle over as I sleep. 
With this piece I didn't get up last night, rather I went to bed with a decision to make.  Which one of the three ways I had thought of to crop the piece to improve it visually should I settle on so I could get to it first thing this morning.
This piece was never made to be a "for show" piece.  For one it is too small and too simplistic.  Rather it was made to test some ideas I had for creating background with watercolor paint.  To that purpose, it answered many questions I had.
I have no qualms about putting a rotary cutter to what I have done. Cropping; that's one good point for working with cloth.  The three upper images show first, the size the piece was after all the extra batting and backing was trimmed away which always improves the look of any quilted piece immediately.  The next two images are of ways I could crop to enhance the visual impact.  Thank goodness for digital cameras and photo shop.  After sleeping on the choices. I settled on is the image below. 

In cropping I had to decide if I wanted to correct the proportion of blue to orange. Or simply use the 1:1.625 ratio to make the finished shape more aesthetically pleasing. The golden means ratio won out.
When I removed it from the painting surface this piece before quilting measured 22" x 32". I trimmed it to 20" x 30". Looked at for a while then cropped it to the size as pictured after the facing is applied it will measure 16" x 26".

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

Today was a let's see what happens if day.

  I've been wanting to do something different with the backgrounds in my watercolor paintings but didn't  want to use any other medium with the water color paints I like using so much.  Products like inks, acrylic or dyes.  So by masking out the flower area with freezer paper I was able to do some surface design stuff, like brushing water color paint about with a foam brush, and stamping with some foam stamps I have made.  I tried writing with a Inktense color pencil in an area wet with soy milk.  I brushed back over the writing to smudge it.  I think this is going to be worth exploring further with some more though given to,incorporating  the background more cohesively into the composition.   So I will be giving some serious thought to the stencils, or stamps or screens I will use for the next piece, which will again be something small before I go forth with a major size piece. I will sandwich and begin to quilt tonight or tomorrow.

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Sunday, March 04, 2012


It's rare that I have that word on my lips as it relates to a quilt I am working on.  It is also rare that it takes me this long from start to finish when working on one.  But lots of stuff has happened in my creative/art life since last October.  In the past when I did pieced or appliqued quilts if something took me this long to finish I would have grown past it and not wanted to finish it because my mind was moving elsewhere.  But to my surprise when I unfolded this piece three days  ago looked at it and realized that I wanted to do something different but I had not grown past it. 
If I stayed with it, I knew it could be completed in less than a week so with nothing pressing on my list of "to-do's) I "finally" got back to this piece. 
The last quilting stitches are done and now I can "finally" say it is time to block (pressing with lots of steam)crop (cutting down to the final size and face.
I will be doing the blocking and cropping this evening.  Tomorrow I will do the hand work for the facing and put the sleeves and a label on.  
Tomorrow as I do this no brainer work I will noogle on what I will do next creatively/art/quilt. 
I have enough time to make something for Houston.  Should I aim for that? Hmmm...

Thursday, March 01, 2012

One of the fun things about making

a class sample is you can try out stuff, like color combinations or add something different to a composition that you hadn't thought of originally.  My class samples for my painting classes are small.  Small enough that if what I planned doesn't work out as planned I can trash it without feeling guilty over the time spent or the goods used.
I have always liked the purple color family especially those hues that lean more toward blue rather than toward red.  I consider this samples as much to much in the red violet range for my taste, but I thought, hey it's only paint. And it was worth trying.  
Saying that, there was a point when I did consider not finishing this piece because of the color.  I had to push back the "yuck" thought. 
Now that it is done, it has grown on me.  So this is a second sample for my painting with watercolor on silk broadcloth workshop.
Now back to the sewing machine to put on the facing sleeve and label.