Archive for the ‘Inspiration’ Category

Cross Pollination

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

Sometimes you need to do something else. You totally love your main “thing” (in my case it is clearly art quilting), but you need a break. And sometimes, that makes your main “thing” even better. I’ve learned over the years that good design is good design, whether it is landscape, interiors, architecture, photography, painting, sculpture, apparel, the principles are the same. So I have taken online classes in drawing and photography and been enriched.

At least ten years ago, I sat down between Christmas and New Year’s desperate to do something creative. The boys were still pretty young so time was scarce. I grabbed a pile of magazines and started tearing out words and pictures and glued them into my sketchbook. That has become an annual tradition…at least most years. This year Widgeon decided he needed to see if the collage passed inspection. Happily, it merited a wag.

I don’t know if I’ve done it every single year, and some years — like this one — it was done in (late) January instead. But I like reading what words have called me to use them and seeing where my head was in a given moment.

This year, I made sure to add information about whose artwork or photo. As with most years, a lot of my fodder comes from Down East magazine. North by East is a monthly column, and in December they featured work by Ryan T Higgins, a Maine Children’s book author. I must now go to the Library and see what they have of his. I was also stunned to see the “Sarah” quote, obviously about another Sarah. I covered up the “big” before dreams, but otherwise I really liked it.
This page got pretty dense…but I liked the quote at the top (from an ad for something). I also liked the bit on the pink, but it was too much pink, so I covered it up. Using blocks of text upside down or sideways works. And I LOVE torn edges…LOVE LOVE LOVE…that exposed white framing the image or words. I also dug out my circle punches. Have some circles and a few squares.

I’ve also taken a number of outstanding art classes from Val Webb over the years, ranging from birds to children to faeries to animals, using pencil, ink, watercolor, colored pencil…I learn so much, both about materials and tools but more importantly about SEEING. Observing. I’ll never want to be a colored pencil artist, but taking birds in colored pencil with Val taught me about patience and layering. I found I now do that with dyes, with paints on cloth, with thread, in my art quilts. And this year I also took a brilliant course at Sketchbook Skool, Watercolor. I always want more watercolor!

Over the past 8 years or so I have learned about the difference between student grade and artist pigments, that using quality paper makes all the difference in the world, and using pure pigments and mixing your own (just like dyeing fabric!). I decided I needed to get a bit organized and SEE the actual colors painted out from each tube. I had bought some icky (Bienfang) cheap watercolor paper that I will never use for a finished anything, not even a class practice piece. So got out my “tag” punch and did a paint out of every tube I have. Then ordered two more tubes! In search of the perfect pink…..and replacing one teeny tiny tube that is almost done. Each tag has the name, code for the manufacturer, and the universal pigment code (PV 42 for example is Permanent Violet 42). Yes, you can go wwwwwaaaaayyyyyy down the rabbit hole with this stuff!
A good mail and watercolor day. Turns out quilting templates and rulers have lots of uses, of course we all know that! I saw the clamshell cases at Jetpens.com and couldn’t resist. When I went to order, I discovered I had left that awesome washi tape in my cart, so it had to come to me also. And then there are those two tubes of watercolor and some empty half pans. That’s another thing I learned: make your OWN palettes with your favorite colors, use magnetic tape that sticks to the bottom of the pan, put inside a palette or metal tin. And then I used my quilting rulers and circles to mark a grid in my notebook/sketchbook.

I used to have both my to-do-etc notebook and a sketchbook. I never had the one I wanted handy. So I said to heck with the cost, and bought a GOOD sketchbook and use that as my “everything” journal. I write lists, take notes at SAQA (Studio Art Quilt Associates) meetings, suss out ideas for quilts, and sometimes even sketch or paint in it! Now I will start filling in the circles with words, quotes, ideas, images/sketches, may fill the white backgrounds with ink textures…we shall see!

So that’s what I’ve been doing…along with quilting. What about you? And here’s an end of the day/blogpost dog walks photo from yesterday:

Sunset from the bottom of our driveway.

Moments, Hours, Days, Autumn, a Book of Hours

Sunday, December 23rd, 2018

Happy Solstice to one and all…at last the days no longer get shorter! To celebrate and as a Christmas gift (whether you celebrate it or not, it’s a gift of the season) to one and all, I thought I’d share a video I recently uploaded and just shared with those on my Newsletter List. (To sign up for the newsletter, go to my home page and fill in the blanks—about once a month I’ll pop in with this ‘n that.)

Those who follow me on Facebook (here) will recognize this pond and view which is down the driveway and onto Ludwig Road, between two neighbors’ houses.

Recently, I’ve been taking some journaling and watercolor classes. Then, the Mid Coast (Maine) Book Arts group had an exhibit at the Camden Public Library. I was inspired by a book of hours on display, so BFF Kathy D. and I decided to make our own small accordion books. Below the still photo you’ll see my a video tour of the book, which I have titled “moments hours days autumn” to chronicle my life this past Autumn.

Beginning at 3:11 a.m. through to my evening ritual of sitting in my chair near my hubby’s chair, with the dog and a pile of books. You can see still shots of each page in my new Mixed Media gallery.

The left page is a quote, some by me, most by someone else. The right page is a watercolor, 5 x 5 inches. I figured I would mess things up, so it was better to do each separately, then glue them to the accordion “base” pages. On the back, I painted a single LONG (80 inches!) view that runs from winter to spring, summer and fall, back to winter, with the sky running from night, through morning, noon and afternoon, back to night. I used a dip pen and acrylic ink to write Strider’s Poem, by J.R.R. Tolkien, which has been a favorite since high school and whose meaning goes far beyond the Lord of the Rings saga.

I used Daniel Smith Watercolors, Stonehenge Aqua 140 lb. watercolor paper, Yes! paste glue, and both acrylic and fountain pen inks and a dip pen for all the lettering. The cover is made from my own hand-dyed fabric fused to mat-board from Kathy with Mistyfuse.

Here’s to hoping you all have friends (which can include family!) and joy around you throughout your lives, not just this season. I hope you enjoy my first ever made-by-me book. I think I will do more! Let me know what you think, and what you’d like to see in my new Newsletter. (And to sound like a broken record, sorry, sign up here.) MERRY MISTLETOE!

International Quilt Festival #1: Tuesday, Birch Pond Seasons

Wednesday, November 21st, 2018

Tuesday Morning looking at the George R. Brown Convention center from my hotel room, ready for the first day of teaching!

Before any more time elapses, it is time to blog about a wonderful International Quilt Festival 2018.   Since I have a billion photos, I’ll just insert images with little verbiage.   On Tuesday, I taught my Birch Pond Seasons class–because it was the day between Market and Festival, the class was smaller but that meant students had plenty of space to spread out and work, which is great for this class.  I love what my students did!   If you put Birch Pond Seasons in the search box for this blog, you can find one or two other posts about previous classes.

My stuff up on the foam core at the f front and students composing their quilts! The two class samples are on the right hand board, a summer and an autumn version.

Love how Cathryn Sullivan of Pipe Creek, TX, cut the ridge line with the shape of trees–her ridge is closer to the viewer than the hills in my quilts. See below for this quilt as she worked on it more.

And Kathryn’s piece with the closer hills and “woods behind the pond” added. LOVE the silhouette of the treetops!

I love when students use fabrics that aren’t in my wheelhouse and make it their own

The sky fabric was inspired! Love that she used purple for the distant hill. See her progress in the next photos.

She had this great watery fabric for the pond, but it just didn’t sit well for either of us

The brilliant students near her helped her trouble shoot with what fabric she had and they picked this one for the pond

Once the ground/foliage near the pond was in, it worked so much better — ponds reflect the color in the sky so it fit perfectly. The blue was great as water, just not in this composition where it kinda screamed. Mo Bettah!

More great water…this student had a gentle, subdued palette that spoke to her–and amazing blue batik for the water

Another version!

And one more

And towards the end of the day with more trees and ground blocked in

LOVED the fabrics for the sky!

Work in progress!

At some point during the day, friend Luana Rubin (half of the creative team with her hubby who founded eQuilter) popped in for a quick photo:

With Luana Rubin

Then, it was a quick dash to pack up, haul the suitcase and stuff back to my room, then go to the Awards ceremony and cheer on the winners, especially my quilty friends! 

Neroli Henderson, The Eternity Spiral, 

Heidi Profetty’s heart-warming mosaic quilt

Sue Bleiweiss, Graffiti 2

Jenny Bowker’s moving and astounding work

Andrea Brokenshire won one of the top eight awards and did what I’d do if I ever get so lucky–happy-danced her way up the stairs!

And Patty Kennedy-Zafred, SAQA member, blazing new ground for IQA with her Silent Canary

CONGRATS to everyone who entered, whether you got in or not…here’s to inspiring works!

Start Your Art Bloghop

Friday, November 16th, 2018

Hot off the press, Lyric Kinard’s Start Your Art deck of cards / prompts is available as an actual deck or a digital download. You can get it here

Art and quilt teacher and friend Lyric Kinard (website and Facebook and Instagram) delighted me recently when she asked if I’d like to be part of a bloghop to launch her new prompts deck of cards “Start Your Art: 48 Warm Up Exercises to Jumpstart Your Art”…of course!  I shared a sneak preview two weeks ago, here; In that post I shared an exercise done waiting for an appointment on my iPhone. This time it is the official bloghop and giveaway.  Read on to find out how to win a copy of the deck for your favorite art teacher and a digital copy for you!

Update:  Entry period is over and comment number 4 won!  Judy Tucker, get in touch!

The random number generator picked 4!

One of the great and cool things is that Lyric asks you to “Make Bad Art.”  Yup, it is OK to make bad art.  In fact, it is really useful!   There is a story that has been around for eons (and likely true many times over):  A college art teacher divided the class in half.  One half of the students only had to make ONE big project, but it had to be really, really good.  They could spend ALL their time making it their best.  The other half of the class had to make many, Many, MANY things.  Guess who made the best pieces?  The ones that had to make a lot of art.  As one woman I remember from an online chat group said years ago, “make crap (pardon the language). Then make more crap.”  Throw it away.  Keep making.  Then eventually you realize you’re doing better!

Since I have the digital version of the deck of cards, I just randomly clicked on several cards, selecting ones I could do from the comfort of my living room chair–after Houston I’m ready for some random creativity and fun that doesn’t require a lot of scrambling around.  What better than zero-calorie ice cream?  The prompt on p. 60 asks you to tell how to make a sandwich or other food, with no words.  This would be improved with color, but that would require going downstairs to my studio for pencils or watercolor so pen and ink it is!

One prompt is to draw how to make a sandwich or other food with no words. Why have a sandwich when you can have an ice cream sundae?  Notice the happy me?

Another exercise is a variation on the theme of doing a value scale..how many types of marks and ways to create boxes of different value (light to dark) can you create?   Think of doing this with thread on the top of a quilt…..ways to change the color of the cloth underneath!

How to make a value scale….p. 39

And one of my favorite exercises–start with a snippet of something and make it different.  Lyric asks you to start with a copy of a favorite piece of art, but I used the version I teach in my design class:  take a magazine page and select a portion of it.

The original advertisement page from British Country Living.

And here’s a portion of it and my Bad Art.  I was doing OK until I put in one of those checkerboard things on the left side.  Ugh.  Too heavy.  So I had to add some more to balance it out…..

A fun ramble and play in front of the TV last night!  Most of it I don’t like, but I do like the way I did the leaves and love that “dropped spaghetti” railing from the photo that I extended on both sides.  Fun motif–either as a thermofax screen to put paint on cloth or as a quilting or hand stitching motif, or just improv piecing!   See….you make bad art, the brain starts pinging, and you get more and more ideas!

 

Lyric is offering a real-life deck of Start Your Art Cards to be given to your favorite Art teacher.  To enter to win this deck on behalf of your favorite teacher and a digital copy of the deck for you, leave a comment below sharing memories of your favorite art teacher.  On November 21 Lyric will randomly select a winner and work with you to ship the real-life deck to your favorite art teacher. Please be sure to leave a CORRECT email address so we can reach you if you win!

And if you’d like to play and support an artist (namely Lyric) go HERE to order them directly from her!

Perhaps most fun of all, SHARE your art from Start Your Art here on the Start Your Art Facebook page right here.  

Preview of Lilies of the Valley at Festival!

Sunday, November 4th, 2018

Thanks to my friend Jenny K. Lyon, I’ve got two pictures of my Lilies of the Valley quilt on display in Houston since she is attending International Quilt Market for the (Drum Roll Please!!!) debut of her first book, here, Free Motion Quilting, From Ordinary to Extraordinary.  It has literally just been released…can’t wait to see it at Festival!   Anyway,

Here’s a view of the Power of Women exhibit, which has three parts: the 36″ quilts, some 2×8 foot sheer art cloth banners, and in the background the 2×6 foot quilts of women to admire. I can’t wait to see the exhibits! My Lilies of the Valley is the center one…I had thought they were going to be way high up, so delighted folks will be able to see the quilting and details.  Photo by Jenny K. Lyon–Thank you Jenny!!!!

 

And a close up–Houston always does such a good job at hanging and “choosing neighbors”! And yes, my quilt IS for sale!  Photo by Jenny K. Lyon–Thank you Jenny!!!!

I get on the road to the airport at 7 am tomorrow, but won’t get to see any quilts until preview night on Wednesday.  So psyched for teaching and friends and quilts and art and friends!