Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Rusting away . . .

A few pieces that were rust dyed last week. I thought that I had a small horseshoe, apparently I don't, or, it got away from me. this one is too large for my purposes. (Anyone have a spare small one?) The center area on the right one is one of my favorite designs, nails.
This piece of fabric was a remnant purchased many years ago that was wrapped around metal flashing, thus the line in the center on the left example. On the right: I like the antique effect on the backside; the faint writing, backwards, and the leaf pattern. Stay tuned for what I might do with this fabric.
The lines/pattern in this piece were begging for some color, or at least I thought so. I love dye-na-flow paint! Easy and dries fast. In real life, the black dots and blobs are separate and shine.

Quote: At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since. Salvador Dali

Saturday, September 27, 2008

It's official

After nine long months of tests and jumping through hoops Stacy, my precious daughter, is finally on the national kidney transplant list! Now the wait begins for a match. Thanks for all of the good thoughts and prayers!

Week #2

What a workout! The weekly life-stuff nearly got in the way of creating this piece! Too many health issues to deal with causing a near collapse under the weight of it all.

Anyway, the background is a piece of 5x7 inch ochre color Kunin felt. The center area is painted pellon with machine stitching, a strip of gold netting and a dried Plumeria flower that has been dipped in gel medium to preserve it. The edge stitching was so problematic that I ended up covering it with dimensional paint, black, with highlights of Treasure Gold. The piece is backed with canvas fabric which did help the felt from going wonky like it usually does, but the stitches were awful! A friend recommended a Satinedge foot that hopefully will improve the edge stitching. I think that a lot of my problem has to do with eye sight.

For Paul Newman, you will be missed!
Quotes: People stay married because they want to, not because the doors are locked.

Who's to say who's an expert?

You can't be as old as I am without waking up with a surprised look on your face every morning: 'Holy Christ, whaddya know - I'm still around!' It's absolutely amazing that I survived all the booze and smoking and the cars and the career.

You only grow when you are alone. Paul Newman

Monday, September 22, 2008

In the Mail

One of the cards I received for my birthday! Details are: Started off with canvas paper, glued some text and part of napkin with gel medium followed by watered down acrylic paint, while wet rinse aid was poured on. Dried and painted another watered down color, repeated rinse aid and dried. Did some gesso with ribbon waste. Added flourishes and grunge board. Grunge board was painted and embossed and painted. Added Happy Birthday!

Thanks DW!!!

I spent my birthday at the Montecito Inn. The next day I was "back home" in Carmel for the weekend. My heart broke when I moved from the Monterey Peninsula two years ago on the 30Th of this month so I imagined that I'd have a difficult time leaving again, but it's true, it really is hard to go home again! Maybe home is where one is planted.

"When you finally go back to your old hometown, you find it wasn't the old home you missed but your childhood"
Sam Ewing

Monday, September 15, 2008

Week One

(See Sept. 14th for details about the 52 projects. Click on photos to enlarge them.)

Week one.
Fabric painted pellon is versatile, easy, and satisfying! I started this particular piece with metallic paints, blue and red, followed with washes of more blue, yellow and a little black. Paint bleeds through pellon and often I find that what might be the backside ends up being the side I use. This piece is 4x6 inches and I did use the painted side for the background with the focal piece, a funny little abstract shape that is black edge stitched, taken from the flip side.

The embellishments are fabric beads leftover from an exchange I joined. The black fabric beads were painted with dabs of metallic paint, blue, gold, and bronze and wrapped with metallic thread before being attached to the piece with decorative ribbon. The other beads are a metallic fabric that is miserable to wrap around the straws; I dabbed a little gold paint on them for added texture. (Note: The beads that didn’t slide off of the straws when the glue dried were cut to size.)
Before satin stitch edging the piece I backed it with white canvas fabric.

I have a feeling that this piece might have been too serious if the abstract hadn’t been edged with a decorative machine stitch. Presently, the decorative stitches on my new Janome are a novelty that will probably fade in time.

“I learned that you should feel when writing (or creating anything!), not like Lord Byron on a mountain top, but like a child stringing beads in kindergarten - happy, absorbed and quietly putting one bead on after another.”Brenda Ueland

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Book Review and 52 Projects

It's not often enough when a book comes along at the exact moment that I need it, but this one did. A friend re-acquainted me with Jeanne Williamson's work and I was instantly enthralled. Jeanne's creative spirit spoke to me and her year-long projects starting in 1999 have inspired me to start my own weekly version. Basically, she has chosen a size to use for each year and creates one small quilt a week using materials from her stash and found objects such as dryer lint, vegetable net bags, newspapers and other items that enter her life. It's always a good reminder to look at surroundings with an eye for usable items; I'm grateful to Jeanne for opening my eyes.

The title alone, "The Uncommon Quilter," should alert artists that the book might not be for everyone; for the fans of Jeanne's work though the book is a gold mind of ideas, simply brilliant! 52 projects can't help but change how one thinks about small quilts. To me it's a book about experimenting, unleashing stagnant creativity and becoming playful.

Each project is broken down with a list of materials and step-by-step instructions along with insight into why Jeanne chose the materials or medium she used. As mentioned in the foreword by Kerry Patterson Bresenhan, "freeing one's imagination from the constraints of expectation is a huge step toward maximizing personal creativity. How delightful it is that for once maximum results can blossom from minimal size!"

My Guidelines for the 52 Projects starting the week of Sept. 14Th.
Use fabric or fibers for a base. Stitch or needle punch each piece. Sizes: 4x6 or 5x7 inches only. Try new techniques. Anything goes regarding embellishments especially found objects. The piece “should” be created within a seven day time-frame; make-ups are allowed. Throw outs are not allowed; much can be learned no matter how awful the result might be. Try to chronicle events. Keep reference notes about each piece. Additionally, the following weeks project(s) can be prepped in advance; this might help to relieve some pressure, after all this is meant to be fun!

Why start this particular week? My birthday is the 18Th and I'd like to celebrate the end of this tumultuous decade by creating a lot of work; what better way to do that than learning something new each week? I have absolutely no idea if I can pull it off, but a few friends are joining me so hopefully we can keep each other on track.
Feel free to join us. My first 4x6 inch piece will be posted tomorrow.

Quote: Whether you're an experienced quilter, a beginning sewer, or a creative artist looking for a new medium, it's always important to experiment with new ideas, techniques, and materials. The more artwork you create, the more you grow and the stronger your work will become. Jeanne Williamson

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Yellow Dots

Black square needle punched onto blue felt; front to back and back to front until I like the blending. Strips of red felt needle punched from back first then front to tone down the red. Yellow roving circles. Metallic gold thread satin stitch edged and decorative stitched. Learned:I like the blending of two colors of felt, blue and black. Edge stitching felt has a tendency to distort the piece. The fragment/patch could be used on a larger piece.

Quote: All growth is a leap in the dark, a spontaneous, unpremeditated act without benefit of experiences. Henry Miller

Note: click on photo to enlarge

Friday, September 05, 2008

Creative Groove

Another great question Seth asked for "The Pulse" is:
How do you get your creative groove?

I'm always in the Mental Grove but a lot much depends on what is happening in my life as to when the Creative Groove happens. (Energy deficit being what it is.) Often though, it’s an overwhelming need to throw paint onto a substrate that gets me into the studio, or a challenge that I join on a yahoo group.

Just start: Picking up a well used paint brush and pulling out a few favorite colors of acrylic paint often works. Or, a response to something like the Cirque Du Soleil inspired series I began after a weekend in Las Vegas. I found the visuals of the opening ceremony for the Beijing Olympics to be exceedingly inspiring, enough so that I’ve been jotting down ideas. I’m in awe of anything done well.

Mulling/researching time: I often need to mull things over before starting to work in a new medium such as deconstruction screen printing that I’ve just become interested in. I nearly always put together a “kit” of the supplies needed for something and that excites me enough to start. DSP requires screens, dyes, and thickener all of which have been purchased; the excitement is building.

All it used to take was to photograph anything and I’d be in the groove.

Rust mono-print. Background.

Quote: Images help me find and realize ideas. I look at hundreds of very different, contrasting images and I pinch details from them, rather like people eat from each other people's plates. Francis Bacon

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

A Collection

The following is my response to Seth's question on http://thealteredpage.blogspot.com/ Show and Tell. SHOW us one photograph of the object or objects that you collect and TELL us how your collection(s) came to be and/or what they mean to you. Feel free to include any anecdote about how you might have found/bought any of your treasures.

I have the usual collections of art books, magazines, and supplies including a collection of alphabet rubber stamps that I had to have and rarely use, but it’s the mugs, vases and baskets full of brushes that hold a story. When my father died in 1999 I inherited tubes of oil and acrylic paints along with the brushes that he had used for decades. The tubes of dry paint weren't difficult to toss, but the brushes are irreplaceable. Maybe my penchant for collecting brushes is in response to the frugality my father had when it came to his supplies; he only acquired a new one when gifted.

Around the time of my father’s death, not unexpected, was when I started experimenting with mediums to replace the darkroom work I could no longer do. (Chemical sensitivity was the result of being unaware of the dangers lurking in photography chemicals; gloves and a mask would have been a good idea.) Decorative painting was the first thing I tried, but I have a problem following patterns, recipes or directions so that lasted about a minute. Each decorative painting stroke required a different brush, something I couldn't keep straight. An interest in watercolors followed and of course more brushes; watercolors aren't my thing either. Then acrylics; I couldn't use the precious watercolor brushes, so more brushes were purchased. Speaking of precious, while packing to move from the Monterey Peninsula to the desert near Palm Springs two years ago I discovered a box of brushes I had purchased years before because they looked interesting; big thick brushes with beautiful handles. During my short stint of being enthralled with collage I came to the conclusion that gel medium required brushes that are easy to dispose of which led to a collection of cheap brushes from hardware stores. And now that I;m once again working with acrylics other tools have joined the collection such as: foam brushes, spatulas, spreaders, and brayers that create texture which I have a fondness for.

What brushes do I use most? When I start a painting I reach for cheap under a dollar natural bristle brushes along with a brayer and one of dad’s brushes for luck!

Quotes: I took the road less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost

A friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself. Jim Morrison