Archive for May, 2010

lessons learned

May 26, 2010

Below, you will see a failed attempt.  But all is not lost because I learned some things from the experience.

I can be manipulative.  With fabric that is.  I quilted a cutting from Ken’s shirt (thanks, Hon) and, after washing it so that it puckered, painted on it with fabric paints and even tried some dye mixes.  I have a lot more to learn about this, but the idea is exciting to me.

I can look at something and decide it doesn’t work, in this case the purple did not work with the blue background.  I added a lot of blue thread to the mix and it helped.  I like the fact that art isn’t all just a natural ability.  You can analyze and determine what a piece needs and fix it.  Erasers are allowed.

I can hand embroider easier thru layers of quilted fabric than I can thru stabilizer on the back of machine embroidery.  So, I should get rid of the stabilizer and thicken my fabrics.  I like doing handwork.  It’s a whole lot easier to hear the tv with hand work than with machine work.

I like the horizon effect.  I am going to incorporate that more.

So, the piece doesn’t work.  Big deal when I have learned so much.BTW , I was calling this piece “Outstanding in Her Field”.  I am trying to think of titles, not always so easy.

this was my week…

May 21, 2010

I’ve been a little lazy in posting lately.  I haven’t been lazy in working though.  Seems like this week has been busier than ever and I am just plum’ wore out!  All I want to do is lay in the hammock and read. Alas, it is raining so I sit in front of the computer and look.

What am I looking at?  Art!  Lots and lots of art!  I am thrilled to be able to easily see what artists from who knows where are creating.  Fiber art is holding my interest this week (who knows what I will be fascinated by next week!).  I have found a couple of links that showcase different artists…

The Studio Art Quilt Associates and Fiber Artists Collective

I am inspired by both!

In my idle time this week I have found two real bird nests in my yard, one in the fern making it difficult to water…

and another one high in a shrub that I can only see from below.

I created a bird to go with my stuffed eggs (from an earlier post).  I painted it, then “un” painted it.  Now I have a dilemma as to what to do with it.  It may remain whitewashed as has a papier mache overly ripe woman from a couple of years ago.  If you have an idea….

And then I am working on a “generations” something or other.  Maybe an art quilt, maybe a painting or mixed media piece, maybe even a tapestry (that would be ambitious).  Here is my start with sketching.  These are women from the past in my family.

And last, a cute little yellow bird that may become thread art to match the other cute little birds in thread.  This study is colored pencil on rough paper.

Going back to the women in the sketch…

Seems as if many people don’t understand why old photographs have such dismal, unhappy people in them.  I don’t really know the technical reasons or if they were told not to smile but I do know that exposure time was longer and holding a smile is difficult.  A portrait with a smile on the face of the person is a portrait done from a photograph.  It is simply difficult to hold a smile for any length of time.  Unless you are a professional beauty contestant.

These ladies look unhappy, but as I was studying them, I felt such a closeness to them, wondering about them, if they were unhappy or just tired with their tight lips (the woman on the left has a tiny infant in her arms).  I decided they were a very happy family even without smiles.  The older woman  even has a small nosegay in her hands.

The older couple on the right are Thomas Marr and Elizabeth Welch, my great great grandparents, photographed in 1908.

Stopped raining… off to read while the light is good.

My Little Chickadee

May 17, 2010

Worked on a little thread stitching over the weekend.  Here is a little chickadee poised on a red pencil.

The above is a detail scan.  I thought you might like to see it up close and as personal as the computer allows.  Each stitch is about 1/8″ long.  I would venture to guess in this little 4.5″ x 5″ piece, there are over 50,000 stitches.  That means about 12,500 inches of thread (top and bobbin included) or about 1042 feet of thread.  If there are 5280 feet in a mile, this unraveled would be almost 2/10ths of a mile.  Wow.  (I say that with great sarcasm.  I was just curious is why I bothered with the calculations.)

Working on a little architecture over the upcoming week.

no intelligent life down here

May 14, 2010

I saw an alien this morning.

After my quiet solitude this morning, watching birds at the feeders and sketching garden flowers for design motifs, I took my glasses off.  Mind you at the age of 52, I am no longer four eyes, but now six eyes, not being able to see up close anymore either.

Without glasses you eliminate detail.  This is good if you are trying to fill in the whole picture, creating composition, establishing mass and value.

And you hear better too.

So, sitting on my patio, observing blurriness, and listening to the sweet sound of birds, I saw a space ship gliding across the dark background of a thicket of pines, gleaming in the light of the sun.  I watched it pass 40 feet or so before I realized I didn’t have my glasses on.

My large three pointed hovering alien spaceship turned into a seedpod floating down from its mother tree.  Looking for a place to plant and thrive.  Just like the rest of us.

Oh, look!  A two headed cardinal!!!

goin’ 3D

May 7, 2010

Still a birds nest, but in 3 dimensions.  The egg is canvas, sewn into the shape, stuffed with fiberfill, coated with gesso and then painted and varnished.  Very fun and I think the next one will turn out better.

The nest is a different story.  Hard, hard and hard.  Very sticky.  The sticks stuck me as I tried to place them in to the nest.  I don’t see how those little birds do it.  I think next time I will soak the sticks in hot water and see if that makes them more pliable.

I have further plans for this nest and egg.  I will let you know if it comes off.

On another subject…Remember  I told you I did this small art quilt to win a Bernina sewing machine?  The contest has started.   If you would, please visit this site and vote for me.  Only caveat is that you have to join.  See the ‘join’ red box at the top right of the screen, click on it and follow thru the directions to join the email list.  Once you are confirmed (via email) you can go back to the Stitch This page under ‘photo galleries’ and click on my entry.  At that point a small box beside the image will say “vote for this” and if you click it, I will be one step closer to winning!!!  You may vote for others, too, but you may only vote once for any image.  Just make sure you don’t vote for anyone who has more votes than me….:)

Asking that of you goes so against my grain, but thank you very much if you do take the time to vote.

Oh, and you will be placed on an email list that sends you a daily email.  Just unsubscribe if you care nothing about ever buying quilting arts books and magazines.

Have a great Mother’s Day!

havin’ some fun…

May 2, 2010

Have you ever thought about how much you look like your parents or grandparents?  More than just the same color of eyes or hair.  But think about  how your bone structure is the same and how you age to look more and more like at least one of them (or maybe the milkman).  Have you ever seen siblings who did not look alike when young, but after the course of time, looked very similar?  I guess muscle and tissue ( and fat) change, but bones pretty much  stay the same.

I was drawing myself this afternoon.  I thought I had done a fine job, my husband said he could see me, but… …so, I showed him the sketch in a mirror (I drew myself with a mirror, he doesn’t look at me in a mirror) and he thought it looked just like me.  Obviously, my face is not symmetrical! Trying to decide what to do with the self portrait,  I did a line drawing on top of my sketch.  Playing around, I placed the transparent line drawing on top of the art quilt I did of my grandmother and my features matched hers exactly!  My daughter said “yeah, but you did the quilt.   You may have imposed yourself onto it.”  So I scanned the drawing and placed it on the original photo.  It still matched!! That was so much fun.

I wonder how far back you could go in seeing your face in your ancestors faces.  Would you still see similarities if you went back 400 years?  Or even to stone age men?  Wouldn’t that be cool to photographs of stone age men?!!

Okay, so I don’t have much of a life.

Wish I had lips.

When I was studying portraiture, we would do blind contour drawings as a warm up exercise.  They are drawings where you look only at your subject and concentrate on the features.  You don’t pay attention to your hand and what is being placed on the paper, that doesn’t matter.  The point is to “see” your subject.

I loved doing those.  So today, I warmed up by doing them.  These aren’t really representative of the exercise except one of them and that is the one that looks most like me.  It is the lowest one on the right.  The least fanciful one.  I went back on the others and sketched on top.  I think they make such fun drawings.  Not really caricatures, but close.  I like the top one best.  It may turn up somehow in another form.

These were done today.  For the last couple of days, I have been working on a watercolor.  Here is where it stands now.  My dilemma is what to do with the white background.  Any suggestions?