Archive for the ‘Photography’ Category

Quilting Arts–my article on using your camera as a design tool

Saturday, July 7th, 2018

Delighted to share that I have a new article, “Use you camera as a Design Tool” in the August/September 2018 (just came out) issue of Quilting Arts magazine.  The article is inspired by my “Inspiration in the Ordinary” lecture which encourages quilters–traditional, art, modern, any and every kind–to look for inspiration in the world around them.  All the photos in this quilt and in my lecture were taken in my daily dog walkies and a couple forays (to the farmer’s market).

Delighted to be published in Quilting Arts magazine again…gosh, I just realized the first time I was published in QA (and in a national magazine ever) was twelve years ago!

The cover of the issue with my article and some great ones by friends that I can’t wait to read!

There are examples of my world (including my slippers), some challenges for you to try to think, or re-think, how you approach design.   After all, good design, a good composition, is just that.  It doesn’t matter if it is a photograph, a quilt, a painting, a garden.  The same principles apply.  In the next couple of weeks I’ll share a few more tidbits that didn’t fit into the article so by coming to my blog, you get even more!   Here’s today’s tidbit:  pause briefly and take three shots changing only the horizon line.

Look at what a difference changing the horizon line makes in your composition. Three quick snaps with your phone on a dog walk to practice design.

 

I’ll be back soon with more tidbits!

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Inspiration in the Ordinary, links and sites

Saturday, January 27th, 2018

Hi everyone!   Thanks so much to those of you who were able to attend my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary.  Thank you so much to the many guest artists who allowed me to share their work in my lecture.  You’ll find them below, along with links to a couple apps that I mentioned in the lecture as well as website links to two exhibits and several books, including The Art of Sarah Ann Smith…so far.  

Street shots from Lowell, Massachusetts. All images (c) Sarah Ann Smith

Inspiration in the Ordinary                   A lecture by Sarah Ann Smith

 

Guest artists, apps and websites

 

Deborah Boschert

http://deborahsstudio.com

 

Kathy (Kate) Daniels

 

Louisa Enright

http://louisaenright.com

 

Bonnie K Hunter

http://www.quiltville.com

 

Kristin La Flamme

http://kristinlaflamme.com

 

Heather Pregger

http://www.heatherquiltz.com

 

Wendy Caton

http://theconstantquilter.blogspot.com

 

Teri Sontra

Purple Moose Designs  https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com

  • Sandy Toes pattern is here https://www.purplemoosedesigns.com/product/sandy-toes/

 

Timna Tarr

http://www.timnatarr.com

 

Jim Vander Noot

https://www.jimvandernoot.com

https://www.etsy.com/shop/TidewaterStudio?ref=search_shop_redirect

 

Angela Walters

http://www.quiltingismytherapy.com

 

Websites and apps:

 

Pantone  app

Pic-Collage app

PicStitch app

 

The Art of Sarah Ann Smith, so far

http://www.blurb.com/b/8193077-the-art-of-sarah-ann-smith

 

Inspired by the National Parks

http://www.npscentennialquilts.com

https://www.amazon.com/Inspired-National-Parks-Landscapes-Perspectives/dp/0764351192/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1445953799&sr=8-5&keywords=inspired+by+the+national+parks

 

Threads of Resistance

http://threadsofresistance.org/home.html

http://threadsofresistance.blogspot.com

 

Here’s a downloadable Inspiration in the Ordinary PDF of the information above.  Thanks again to all my visiting artists!

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Inspiration in the Ordinary Lecture on Saturday, January 27 in Waterville, ME

Friday, January 26th, 2018

Hi all…quickly popping in to say HI!  I’m debuting my new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary, tomorrow at the Pine Tree Quilt Guild quarterly meeting in Waterville, ME.  To get directions, click here for more information.  Note, however, that the meeting has been moved down the hill to the auditorium.  Just look for where there are more cars parked!

From Sarah’s new lecture, Inspiration in the Ordinary. Many of you have seen my “dog walkies” photos…this is what inspires me, and a I’d like to inspire YOU.

Tomorrow I’ll have a follow up post with a PDF and links to the “visiting artists” websites, pattern links, information about apps, and the books mentioned in the lecture.   Hope to see many of you there!

And the last slide in the lecture

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Winter in Maine

Wednesday, December 20th, 2017

So as the frenetic 2017 winds down to a close, I thought I’d share some photographic inspiration from a recent dog walkies.  I’ve been largely absent from my blog, mostly because I’ve (a) been too busy and (b) been posting on Facebook, which is faster and easier than the blog.   But I figured I need to do at least a little bit of blogging.  Maybe I’ll ease in with a post a month, and see if I can get it up to two a month by spring?   Anyway, please enjoy the beauty of my world!

Let’s start with one of the most seasonal images. I love the shallow depth of focus. For non-photographers, that means adjusting the aperture, how far the lens opens, so that the berries are sharp and the woods are not.

A fence near the pond where I take sunset pictures during warmer times of the year. Sunset is now about 4 pm, so I don’t get over there at that time of day.

Selected for my photo challenge–this week’s theme was round. Mother Nature’s ornaments! Round is more than a circle or a ball. The apples, the tree trunk, the seasons going ‘round…. not to mention my obsession with lichen spreading out. Minor adjustments to clarity, shadows and red hue saturation to get it to look like the eye sees it.

My obsession with lichens continues… look at these subtle colors and textures and intricate shapes!

Another view of the berries. This run-off creek(shrouded in snow, trust me, there’s a creek under there) is at the back of our property if you were to walk up it a quarter mile or so into the woods. There it is flat and almost not there, but it picks up water from the two folds of the hill that border it on the way down to the road.

My friend Jenny Lyon loves grasses and has made some stunning art quilts of them. I think I’ve been channeling Jenny a bit, especially with the next photo. My friend Jacquie has teased me that I am doing a series of art quilts on weeds. She’s right–I love the wild bits of nature that creep into my world.

This photo is the one that most makes me think of Jenny’s work and her beautiful California garden (seen only in photos as we live about 2800 miles apart). This clump was transplanted when we built the garage because it was where they needed to trench for electricity. It has limped along since 2012, but finally this year is showing signs of perking up. Plus, just this year I finally learned what it is called (and it is written SOMEwhere…hope I can find it), so I plant to put in more. The fluffy tops cast the most glorious shadows on the snow when it is next to the porch and lit up at night.

Not the most riveting shot, but it is the beauty of my world as I see it from the house–at this angle I’d be in the kitchen at the sink though this was taken outside as immense snowflakes began to drift down.

And another scenic shot of a barn down on the street, about a half mile walking, perhaps 2/10 as the crow flies over the woods and neighbor’s lots. Appleton Ridge is in the distance, barely visible as the snow moves in.

Enjoy the season. Tomorrow is Solstice, when the sun begins to return and the days lengthen.  We will light candles to celebrate the return and look forward to a family weekend together!

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Speak Up, Speak Out

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Emerging briefly from the production tunnel to share my latest piece which, thankfully, I CAN share despite the fact I’ve entered it in the Threads of Resistance Call for Entries (Deadline in about 2-3 days)!  As many of you who have known me for a while know, I haven’t usually been politically involved or spoken out.  This is, in part, the legacy of being a federal employee, when you were not allowed to be political (there were ways you could do it, but it was such a fuss that it was easier just to NOT).   However, the last election cycle aggravated me so much I began making political posts and comments on Facebook and getting involved.   Even though I didn’t really have the time, when a group of art quilters got together with this exhibit concept and called for entries, I knew I wanted to try to make a piece.

Speak Up, Speak Out © Sarah Ann Smith 2017. Although the Women’s March imagery has become ubiquitous since the March, I decided to proceed with my concept because it was my experience.

It began during one of the debates last autumn (2016).  The then-Republican-candidate (I *refuse* to use his name) kept saying “Make America Great Again,” as if it weren’t great already!   I will be the first to say that we are an imperfect union, this great nation of ours, but that is part of why we are a great nation….or were and must recover from the collective idiocy currently gripping the country.  I started sketching during the debate and came up with two ideas for art quilts, one about Maine, one about our nation.  The latter was to have a border of hands, holding hands, and phrases and words that represented the US, but the center wasn’t yet clear to me.

With my soon-to-be daughter-in-law Ashley G., I traveled to the Women’s March on Washington on an overnight bus (overnight going and returning…LONG nights sitting up!).   I bought a cheap spiral notebook and asked riders on the bus, if they wished, to trace their hands so I could use them as the border in this piece.  Every hand traced is here (one twice, because I needed one more hand to make things fit properly).

At the March, I took many many photos and as the day wore on I knew that being in this sea of humanity, most in some sort of pink hat or cat ears (reference to the-one-who-shall-not-be-named joking that he would grab a woman by the pussy–slimeball! that’s sexual assault you jerk!) I had found my image for the center of the quilt.  The images of women and men marching, protesting peacefully (not a single arrest!), has since become ubiquitous.  So much so that I considered NOT doing this view because it has been seen.  But I decided that since I conceived of the quilt before the march and finalized during the day of the March as the images had barely first been seen on the internet, I decided that since it was also “my” March, I would proceed.

This photo became my starting point–it is the only photo I didn’t take (since I’m in it..someone on the street offered to snap pics for us):

Some of the ladies from the bus. We are on East Capitol Street heading toward the Capitol. Mainers were to wear blaze / hunter’s orange. I’m on the far right standing next to Ashley, who has her orange scarf on, and we’re wearing the hats I made us.  There is an odd aberration in the photo, but so it goes.  I printed this photo on the label.

Usually when you see photos of protest marches, so many of the signs are manufactured, a printed graphic done by someone professional (ish).  What impressed me about this March is that almost all–upwards of 95 percent–of the signs were homemade and many were clever and/or inspiring.   I selected my favorite ones and used them.  One of the signs in the quilt is the actual sign that I made and wore on my jacket during the March.

Left side of the quilt. I loved the sign calling for a return to civility, courtesy, charity and compassion.

In the sky above the marchers, surrounding the capitol dome, I quilted the Preamble to the US Constitution on the left.   Brief signs/slogans are under the hands at the top.  On the right I quilted the First Amendment’s four freedoms of speech, religion, assembly, and right to redress the government for grievances (which is what we were doing!  Democracy living and in action!), as well as more slogans and thoughts.

There were three huge signs in the shape of cats, maybe 4 feet tall, so I appropriated one of them to use.

Center left. I LOVED the quote attributed to Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg (I think I am falling in love with that woman!) and made sure she really did say it before including “Better bitch than mouse” as one of the signs.

By the way, I used Fabrico felt tip pens and Pitt Artist pens (brush and bullet tip) for the signs.

When I graduated from Georgetown University (in DC) in 1979, a t-shirt was popular that said “A woman’s place is in the House, and in the Senate.”  At the time, no woman had been elected (or maybe just one or two…I’m thinking Margaret Chase Smith and Nancy Landon) to the Senate that had not gotten there by taking her late husband’s seat.  It was still common to be told that a woman’s place was in the home and the kitchen, not the office.  Now I’ve said “A Woman’s place is in the House, the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Oval Office!”

Center of the quilt. I was really pleased at how the dome turned out. I used my photo as my guide and sketched out the pattern, cut the shape (as usual I am using Mistyfuse on fabric and raw edge collage; the dome is a rare case of me using a print fabric instead of a batik. The peach-yellow hand on the left is my dyed fabric, the salmon-pink-purple on the right is Laura Wasilowski’s, from a fat quarter from a class I took with her.  The fabrics in the signs are mostly my hand-dyes.

The coat hanger sign is a combination of two such signs that I saw.   I loathe the idea of abortions. But when I was in my 20s, I was a US visa officer.   I was processing the paperwork for a British man’s visa based on his marriage to a US citizen.  When you do that, you need to establish that the marriage is legal and valid, so you need to see if there were any prior marriages and, if so, that they ended legally.  He was a widower.  To break the tedium, I used to look at cause of deaths when these cases came across my desk.  His first wife died of septicemia (blood poisoning) from a self-induced abortion (because it was illegal in the UK at that time). Ever since, I have stood for freedom of choice because there will ALWAYS be women who are that desperate, no matter how awful I or others believe abortion to be.  Moving on…back to the quilt.

Center right. I loved the take on the Don’t Tread on Me flag from revolutionary war times that turned the snake into a uterus and says Don’t Tread On Me (on left, on Laura Wasilowski’s fabric).  The big pink sign with Michelle Obama’s mantra is what I wore at the January 21, 2017 March on Washington.  That’s my DIL Ashley on the left in this photo, me on the right. I modified a sign carried by a Vermonter to read (in the sky writing) One Maine snowflake in a storm.

Center bottom right. A bit sharper photo.  In the bottom left, under the copyright, you can see a “ribbon.”  The center woman I think of as “Everywoman.”  Then there is Ashley (DIL) in braids, and me on the far right.  Ashley’s hand is the purple one at her right shoulder, mine is the blue one next to Ashley, one in from the corner.

Some generous unknown-to-me person who couldn’t go to DC made and gave away these ribbons to those from Maine who marched. It was done in the Mainer’s blaze/hunter orange. That was pretty bright for the front of my quilt, and I didn’t want it to distract from the imagery. So I scanned the ribbon into the computer, then in Photoshop darkened the color so that it would work visually on the front. THANK YOU whoever made these!

Far right. My friend Gail Galloway-Nicholson used to be the Curator for the Supreme Court so is as familiar with Capitol Hill as I am, if not more so from having worked there for a good bit of  her career..  I worked for a US Congressman for two years, and we also lived just two blocks behind the capitol (yes, I got to see our old house).  She asked me to carry her name in my pocket since she couldn’t go to the March. I did, and added the names of more friends (some I’ve only known via the internet and quilty stuff).  Thank you all for being there with me!   I love knowing you and that you wanted to be there in spirit and on the cloth!

So that is all the details, well, most of them, of what went into this quilt.  Don’t know if it will get juried in–I know there is some awesome art being made for this that doesn’t use the ubiquitous image–but I am glad I made it!

And I have decided to get involved volunteering for my Town of Hope, Maine.  I decided that one needs to put your time where your mouth is, and as the saying goes, all politics is local.   Here’s to giving back to my adopted-shoulda-been-born-here home state of Maine!