Monday, December 26, 2011

My Labor of Love

It is finally finished.  A dear friend of mine died in August. Her family allowed me the HUGE privilege of making two baby quilts and a quilt for her husband out of her favorite clothes.  At first I thought it would be so easy because it was just squares of fabric.  However, it got more complicated (and some of the complication I added on myself) because there were big variances in the thickness of the pieces and I also wanted to include as much texture and defining bits as possible....just to make it more recognizable. I also left 4 operational pockets in case he wanted to put a treasure in there or something. Then when I began quilting it (it is 60" X 72") I decided to take a bit of artistic license and quilt into some of the pieces things that reminded me of her, things that meant something to her. While it was difficult at times, I so enjoyed "spending that time with a close friend".  And I was able to complete it in time for him to have it for Christmas - their first without her. Those of us who have lost close family know how difficult a time that can be. I hoped this would be like a big hug for them, wrapped in memories of her.

So here it is - along with a couple of detail photos:

Now on to the two baby quilts! I think they will seem easy after this one. But what a thrill to think of them cuddled up in the "hugs" of their grandmother someday!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Just Checking In

I'm still hard at work on the three quilts I'm making for my friend's family. However, in  my continuing quest to bring you amazing works of art from other wonderful artists I am passing along this link. Worth your time to check out!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Slight Detour

Yep...took a slight detour to join another group doing 12" X 12" art quilts on various themes.  The theme for this section was HOT. Took me almost FOREVER to get an inspiration that I could get excited about.

One afternoon my granddaughter and I were cruising through Google Images and came across a ton of hot air balloon photos. I loved the color and the brightness and the feeling of freedom they evoked.  I knew then that was the perfect concept for my art quilt for this group. So I set about to design one for the quilt. I found this piece of black netting with colorful metallic dots on it. And I happened to have hand dyed fabrics to go with the colors of the dots. Then drew the whole balloon on paper and cut out the pieces to use as a pattern. I tried to keep as many of the dots on the alternate pieces the colors of the fabrics on either side. The balloon is all raw edged applique. Painted very faint clouds in the sky with Lumiere Pearl White paint. The "ropes" on the balloon are from my collection of speciality yarns. I didn't include the basket because the balloon would have had to be smaller and I wanted it quite prominent. All fabrics except the black net w/dots are my own hand dyed cottons.

Full of Hot Air

Taking a bit of a break to complete some other quilts.  A friend of mine recently died and her husband and daughters were kind enough to allow me the privilege of making two baby quilts and one adult quilt from special clothing of hers. I'll be back shortly!


Saturday, August 13, 2011's been a while!

Life went off the rails big time.  Getting back to earth now.  This is the second piece in the series of three that I did earlier this summer.  The one previously posted was the first one - the girl in the canoe.  This is the second.  It is all done in commercial batiks.  The subject is our granddaughter. This is from one of my favorite photos of her as she is looking up at the sky with the sun shining on her face. Since her favorite color is purple....there is a lot of purple used in her portrait.  Just finished the binding today.

Now onto the next one after a slight (oh at least I HOPE it will be slight) break.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

It's been a full month!

So much to do with Wil here! A LOT of shopping.........eating out.......bread and cheese for dinner......etc.

But yesterday I got to work on a piece. It's not completed yet but here is the beginning.  Right now it is just on the backing.  Next comes the quilting! This subject was chosen because I so loved our wilderness camping trips to the BWCA.  She is traveling toward the distant shore with the sun setting just behind the island. To the right are sheer cliffs. And all is peaceful on a calm lake.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Fun Making Journal Pages

Spent some time making some pages on which to do some art journaling.  It was a new-to-me technique.  Part of it I liked....other parts of the technique - not so much.  But the results?????  Well,  I'm very happy with that!

This is one of the new techniques on a gesso-ed watercolor paper. This page I actually cut up to use for ATCs.  It is even more beautiful in segments!

This one is procion dyes on a gesso-ed watercolor paper with salt added to to the wet page

This is a plain piece of watercolor paper with procion dyes. Sand was sprinkled onto the wet page. ho hum.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Personal Journal Page

Found this wonderful picture of fossilized ferns and weathered stones and it inspired this journal page.  I'm fascinated with old things....the older and more worn the better.  I have TONS of photos of falling down buildings and old doors and windows...just to name a few.  I think I love them because each of them has a story to tell.  I try to listen and tell that story from my own perspective. 

FOSSIL - a journal page

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Some Journal Pages

Took some play time today to work on some journal pages. And studio is not clean/organized yet....and the prospects are looking pretty bleak.  No sooner do I get a space cleared off and I find some fun thing to do which messes it all up again.  Maybe now that I have at least a path to all the important places in my studio I should call it done!

One of the groups I play in had a list of prompts for this week.  Three of them fell into place almost right away.....Night/Day, Song, Lyrics.  The main sheet music is of the song Night and Day.  The background goes from Midnight Blue to Sky Mist. The songs titles on the left side have to do with NIGHT....We're Tenting Tonight, It Came Upon the Midnight Clear and Silent Night.  On the right side are all the song titles that have to do with DAY....Morning Comes Early, O Happy Day and Some Day.  Most of the music is from a lot of very old music I got from my mother-in-laws piano bench. Then I chose to journal in the spaces of the Night and Day sheet music.

This one started out because I wanted to try out the Peeling Paint technique (oh and do I ever love it!!). I liked the time-worn aspect of it. And I happened to have stamped watches in the background of it. So, as I'm scurrying around trying to get so many things done before a friend comes to visit, and so many other things that seem to have looming deadlines, I decided Time Flies was an appropriate title and theme for this page. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fig Number Four

Here is the photo of number 4 in the Fig Study series.  The title is Dried Figs. I finished it this far some weeks ago. Not sure exactly where it is going but I know it needs something else.  Just haven't been inspired by it as yet.  Some ideas but they didn't look like I wanted.  But, in the meantime, here is Dried Figs. The background of the quiltlet is a handdyed piece. The figs are done in painted and melted Tyvek. The finished piece is 12" X 24".

Dried Figs - the quiltlet

Dried Figs - quiltlet detail

Dried Figs on canvas

The fifth and final in the series is just about completed.  Then on to the next project!!

Where IS Spring anyway?????

Tired of the frozen tundra......more snow forecast for tomorrow (saturday). I'm a true snow lover but even I'M done with it already!

So, I did a page in my Windows and Doors Journal this morning.  Just trying to keep my thoughts to the spring that will surely eventually arrive.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

New Direction

Any of you familiar with the writing aspect of the Artist's Way?  I've enjoyed that for several years but have found that lately it has been less rewarding.  Now I think I know why.

I have several kinds of art journals that I work on.  Most have been more recording the work I'm doing or I have an Inspiration Journal with snippets of things that inspire me. But this winter I was involved in, what was for me, a new adventure.  Just free-wheeling journaling. Well, there was a BIT of structure in that there were prompts. But where I took it from there was totally up to me.  One particular journal was more one of self-discovery.  And here is what I learned from that.  I so much prefer expressing myself visually than in writing (although, there was writing involved on most of the pages - it wasn't the main part. More of an extension of the visual). I found that I learned so much about my view of the world and my art than I have in several years of writing journals. 

So, while I'm not giving up on writing in what used to be my daily journal (which is now more my sporadic journal), my main emphasis these days is art journaling. This current journal records my thoughts and just whatever happens that morning. Some pages I might complete in my journaling time in the morning (about an hour) but if it extends to the next day, or even days, that is just fine with me.

I don't plan to post any of these pages as they are more for my own reflection.....but you never know.  That might change if there is something I think worth sharing. I'm really looking forward to this particular new slant of my journaling journey.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back to FACES Journal

At long last (and now that I had some pages ready to work on) I came back to work on my Faces Journal. 

To begin, I had done page 3 months ago and just never posted it so that will be the first photo for today.  I had decided that I didn't want to take classes or anything to learn to draw faces....just planned on a lot of trial and error. can quit laughing now! It made sense at the time.  So here are a few examples from various drawing instructions that I planned NOT to use!  Don't worry....I moved on from there.

Faces Journal - page 3

Then somewhere I found this free series on How To Draw Faces. It made it all look so easy I decided it just MIGHT be worth looking at. Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive study but rather a beginning place. Which is just where I am.  The first lesson was on how to draw eyes. So, that is where I began my journey as a student.

One more caveat - I practice in my sketchbook to learn to get better and better.  This journal is just to chronicle my journey....NOT to be a place to draw perfect eyes. So, don't judge my efforts by the drawings in this journal. I read a quote from a mixed media artist in the CPS newsletter just this morning.

“Journal style drawing is meant to be fresh and casual. It's meant to capture a specific time—you do it and then turn the page.” Jane LaFazio

That is where I'm at currently. So here are pages 4 and 5 on Eyes - fresh and casual

Faces Journal - pages 4 and 5

Faces Journal - pages 4 and 5 - details I on a roll again?  We'll see.  I do have pages 6 and 7 prepped so who knows when the muse will strike!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

It's Working!!

Found a new gadget that I wanted to put on my blog called - Follow by E-Mail.  You can type your e-mail in the box and click submit.(look just over to the right side bar  >>>>>this way>>>>>) Then, whenever I post a new item on my blog, you will get an e-mail to let you know!  No post - no e-mail.  Hope you will take advantage of this option.  I'm afraid when I don't post every day you might forget about me!!!  (heaven forbid!!)  So, this way, you won't miss one exciting piece of the adventure! Thanks for joining me on the journey!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

My Altered Book Journey

I've never done an altered book before but wanted to give it a try. A friend sent me some ideas and I decided that it would be a new avenue of art to explore.  So I'll be posting the steps of this journey as they happen.  Sometimes there might be a bit of time in between because I'm still doing other things as well (and it will take DAYS if not weeks to get all the pages gessoed!!!! that a word???) So....that being said....let's start the journey!

You know they say that each journey of a million miles begins with the first step.  Seems like a logical place to start then. BTW, this is not meant to be a tutorial by any means.....I'm just recording the fun I'm having on this new adventure.

Step One

Well, first I had to choosea book.  All of us in our house are book fanatics so I knew it would be difficult to find a book I would be willing to "alter"!!  Certainly I could find a boring book in my husbands study but I'm thinking that would not be a smart move!  So....I found a hard cover book I had purchased at a garage sale some years ago and never used.  It is a hardcover cookbook called "The International Cook".  I love it because it is a tall, thinner book and besides recipes it also has history and descriptions and glossaries of countries and the foods of that country.  There are also some very interesting pictures to highlight!

Step Two

Deciding on which pages to combine to create thicker, sturdier "pages" was not as easy as it sounds. I did lose some lovely picures just because I couldn't combine then any other way.  But I still have enough to work with.  I got out my trusty glue stick and went to work gluing pages together.

Step Three

Now to take the "new pages" and stitch the edges of them to be sure they stay together.  About this time I'm wishing I had stuck more pages together!!  Oh well, I'm on NO DEADLINE so I'm doing it as it stands and just enjoying the process....

Interesting Recipe Pages
  Other Pages with Beautiful Pictures

Step Four

The next thing to do is to take all those glossy pages and smear gesso all over them so they can be altered with wet applications if desired.  Oh and they WILL be!!  Paints, watercolors, etc.  So many ideas and with the gesso I have all options open to me.  However, for those of us with very little I'm REALLY wishing I didn't have so many pages (haven't actually counted them yet.....probably ignorance is bliss???)  It doesn't take long to get the gesso's the waiting for it to dry before I can do another page! But I've started now and will just go with the flow.  However, due to drying won't see the next step posted for about a week or so....unless I get out the heat gun out of frustration and lack of patience!  LOL!!

Adding Gesso to Pages - Highlighting Some Interesting Text

So, unil next time (whenever that may be) I'll be watching gesso dry........

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Third in the Fig Study series

Went a bit smaller for this little quiltlet.  The finished size of this piece on canvas is only 14" X 11".  The title is Three Little Figs.  Even though there is now a fourth fig, the emphasis is on the three together so I'm keeping the name of the original quiltlet.

And this time I actually got photos of each stage of the process!  YEAH! Although the ones of the painted piece are a bit shiny....the background very closely matches the quiltlet color as seen in the first photo. ENJOY!!

The beginning quiltlet

The quiltlet stitched onto the canvas

Background painted

Three Little Figs completed

Three Little Figs detail
I used a purple ink on the border of the painted fig to copy the stitching around the quiltlet ones and green ink to give some shading to the quiltlet figs.

I already have the first three stages completed on the next piece so hopefully will have that one posted the first of the coming week! So stay tuned!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Second in the Fig Study series

I know...I said I would take photos of the process this time.  I just have so much fun I forget.  Third times the charm???? I have the canvas now for the third in the series.  I'll try to do better with the camera this time.

This second piece is called Figs of Gold.  The background is hand dyed fabric, the figs painted with metallic paint.  The shading is pen and ink. And here it is!

Figs of Gold - the quiltlet

Figs of Gold - stitched on canvas

Figs of Gold - Completed

Figs of Gold - Detail 1

Figs of Gold - Detail 2
(This one looks a bit different because I had to turn off the flash. The reflection was wiping out the details. I wanted to carry through the stitching around each fig so the ones on the canvas are "stitched" around with pen and ink.)

Now...onto the third in the series!!!  Here's hoping I remember the photos this time!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Discovered Creativity

Just received a link to this and HAD to share it with you all.  I think it comes under the heading of art.  What about you?

Click on this link to the video on YouTube.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Back now - Hopefully!!

Yep dark days....survived to tell about it. THEN I get sick....yes....AGAIN!!  But now I'm back for what I hope is a good long time!!!

Time has not be totally wasted however. I've started on a new project that I am quite pleased with.  I was inspired by a couple of techniques a friend shared with me.  I modified them a bit, combined them and found that I really like the results.  The origianl idea is to use this technique for my individual manhole cover projects but I wanted to try it out first to see if it would turn out like I envisioned.  So, I had a series of little quiltlets that I had done for a class. Why not try it out with those and see what happened???

So here is my Fig Study series as I begin to complete them with these techniques. I was so excited and having so much fun that I didn't take photos of each step (drat!!) on the first one but I'm trying to do that on the second one. I do have one was difficult making that first brush stroke with the paint onto the fabric!  But I'm glad I did!

First is the branch with little figs growing on it. It startes with the original quiltlet.

Fig - Branch (quiltlet)

Then I stitched it to the canvas (didn't get this photo).  Next I mixed acrylic paints to get the color I wanted and then painted the canvas.  Also extended the branch and the tip of the leaf. (I did later adjust the color on the leaf tip....looks much better later on.)

Fig - Branch (stitched on painted canvas)

Next I painted with acrylics to add an additional branch and leaves.  All branches and leaves wrap around the canvas on the sides as well.

Fig - Branch (completed)

One last step.  I added shading with pen and ink on the fabric as well as the painted leaves and branches. Just making little dots with the pen and ink. Here are a few detailed photos.

Fig - Branch (details of pen and ink shading)

So, that's what I've been up to lately. I just stitched the next quiltlet onto canvas and when that one is completed I'll post the photos of the steps on that one.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Journal January 2011 - Days 22 - 24

Dark days.  Dark journal pages.  Decided not to post them.  Just that the project is now complete.

Hopefully, brighter days are ahead.....somewhere

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Journal January 2011 - Days 20 and 21

Almost caught up! And it is only the middle of February!!!  Oh well....I've been working very hard on another project which involves a LOT of lino cutting.  Had to give the hands a break today so I decided to do a couple of journal pages.

Day 20 prompt was our front door. Well, my front door is uninspiring to me...especially right now for several reasons.  SO.....I decided to expand the topic and chose one of my very favorite door photos to use for this page.  This "door" is from a very old building in a very small town in northeast Texas.  I like this so much. It is the door to creativity!  And why not?????  Did my journaling in the "brick" patterns I drew on the page.

Journal January 2011 - Day 20 - Door to Creativity

Day 21 prompt was Bluebells.  Well, you gotta understand.....this Texas girl couldn't even think of doing blue flowers without doing BLUEBONNETS!! The Texas state flower.  This is my favorite mental picture of Texas.....a vast field of bluebonnets in the Hill Country of Texas with a couple of live oaks just over the ridge.  It evokes deep emotions even now.  Even though I haven't lived in Texas in many many years.  Guess you just can't take the Texas out of this girl after least in some part of my heart.

Journal January 2011 - Day 21 - Bluebonnets

Well, only three more day to do to catch up on the Journal January 2011 project!  Might do another one this afternoon.......we'll see.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Journal January 2011 - Days 15 and 19

I never did find the photos I was looking for so I went ahead and did Day 15 with generic faces.  The prompt was about stories of women.  I wanted to do the story of my heritage.  My heritage is a long line of very strong women. Not perfect mind you.....but strong and mostly independent! I figure part of the strength I get to jump in and try new things I've never done before is from these women.  Chosen out of many are my great-aunt-Orvie (a solo missionary to Burma when she was only 17), my great-grandmother Mary Davis (who traveled to Texas in a covered wagon from Missouri), my maternal grandmother Inez Skinner (who when deserted by an alcoholic husband raised three kids on $12/week - and went on to marry a wonderful man!!), my fraternal grandmother Ocie Lambright (although I disagreed with what she believed, sacrificed so much to stand up for and live by her beliefs), and my mother Dean Guest (left a fine life to head off with my dad to Africa as a missionary with only a one-way ticket).  Those are only single examples of the strength that they have lived by. There is so  much more.  There are other un-named faces going back before these women.  Strong women don't spring from the dirt, so I figure there must have been other strong women that were examples for these women in my life.  And I was privileged to know all of the ones listed.  Now...I can only hope to carry on that heritage to my grand-daughters and make those in my past proud.

Journal January 2011 - Day 15 - Strong Women - My Heritage

Day 19's prompt is Toy Talisman - a favorite toy from our childhood. Well, try as I might I couldn't think of one! No really!  But what DID come to mind is all my books. It all started when I memorized (and recited ad nauseum so I hear tell) all the nursery rhymes I could get my little 2-year-old hands on.  Even slept with all of them.  Then it was Dr. Seuss, then Nancy Drew throughout my early school years. That is when my love of the mystery was born! After that I found Agatha Christie!! Amazing. Then as an adult a friend recommended Anne Perry. Another wonderful mystery writer.  Then another friend introduced me to Diana Gabaldon. Not much of a reader of fantasy books but this series is so steeped in history that I fell in love with it! Today, as a voracious reader...I can look back to the beginning and see that my first love of books began at a very early age and I have enjoyed many adventures through these and so many others.

Journal January 2011 - Day 19 - Books

Monday, February 7, 2011

Journal January 2011 - Day 18

Got inspired this morning and completed TWO journal pages! Well....this second one was rather a fun lark and just playful.  I didn't plan really - just took it as it came.  I had a bunch of tools on my work area so I just grabbed what was at hand and started making funky letters.  It reminded me of how we "decorated" our bookcovers with those big fat letters when I was in school.  Who knew it was art back then???  But the practice came in handy it seems!

And my zebra still likes to peek in and play on some pages now and then.......

Journal January 2011 - Day 18 - Lettering

Now, only day 15 to get to....then 19 thru 24.  Whew! I hope I make it by the deadline! (Obviously the deadline is NOT the end of January...thankfully!)

Journal January 2011 - Day 17

This was a fun one for me because I have never drawn a still life.  I did some in fabric for the FIG study but that is a bit different than drawing one.  I decided to use watercolor pencils because I wanted the more pale yellow/green pears.  Found several images of pears online and got the idea of what I wanted.  Then I lightly sketched it onto the page and then got out the watercolor pencils (I DO love them!!).  Then I used my Aquapen to blend and highlight areas.  So, here they are -- plump pears!

Journal January 2011 - Day 17 - Plump Pears

I obviously have a very long way to go to get a still life I really like but I did learn a lot and enjoy the process very very much!

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Inspired by ? - a new journal - Joan Miro

Starting a new journal with art prompts by Milliande.  This one is to be inspired by chosen artists.  The first one is Joan Miro.  I love the playful form and colors of his work.  At first I had a subject in mind and tried to draw a Miro-inspired picture of it.  Didn't work too well.  So, I just started drawing shapes and went wherever it took me.  When I started coloring in the shapes, the title came to me.  The title is The Embrace. And in honor of our Spanish artist I am calling it - El Abrazo.  See the girl near the upper left?  Her very long arms are embracing all the varied bits around her.  I see it as embracing a variety of things that surround me in art and life.  To embrace them and let them change who I am and how I view my world. Truly enjoyed this page!

Inspired by ? - Joan Miro - El Abrazo

Journal January 2011 - Day 16

Yep, I'm skipping day 15 for now. There is something I need that I can't find right now and I am going to wait until I find it. 

So, day 16 it is!  Favorite Number is the prompt.  My favorite number is 7.  However, even though I don't believe in "lucky" numbers or anything, I have playing card, dice and dominoes on my page.  I began to wonder....just what attracts us to a certain number and not to others?  Some experience in our past, whether remembered or not?  I wonder if any studies have been done on that subject??  Anyway, number 7 is the choice for my page!

Journal January 2011 - Day 16 - Favorite Number