Friday, May 19, 2017

May Art Group Meeting

I'm late in sharing my art group meeting from earlier in the week. Here's what I took along, less progress than I had intended on my leaf cluster squares for ArtWalk. I discovered that I had not 4 but 6 10 x 10 canvases and the floater frames to put them in so got to thinking if things moved along, maybe I'd have more for the exhibit than I'd originally planned. But my acceptance letter came this week, instructing me to submit no more than 4 pieces as if it had read my mind about having that many for sure ready to go. As the clock ticks down and I've at least stitched around the leaves of four more squares (seen here center and left), I'm thinking which two of those will complete the set begun by the two on the right that are done and framed/ready to be framed. My question to the group was about background quilting to fill in around the leaves, and of course, which thread to use. My mind has gone a little blank on what I could use, but I've been researching what leaves look like floating on water and have some ideas about circles. The group agrees with that tact. I also broached the subject of how to keep a series interesting, so that when the viewing public sees new work they won't instinctively think it's work they've seen before. I'm not far into my exploration and I'm already feeling its loosing it's interest. I have more to say on that topic but will save it for a future post. We also spent a little time discussing the article "Here's When You Should (And Shouldn't) Ignore Other People's Feedback" - since giving feedback is the core purpose of our group. Definitely worth the read.


We met at Vickie's new place of business - Art Place Sandpoint - a very large space for art classes that also provides gallery space for the instructors who will be teaching there. Sandpoint has needed a place like this for quite a few years since the Arts Alliance shut down. This is a much nicer space and also has studio space for rent - 3 of the 5 spaces already have tenants! She has over a dozen teachers lined up and classes are up and running with the usual mixed interest. You just never know what class will fill and which won't. At any rate, Vickie has been sampling some of the workshops and has become enamored with encaustics. She shared small tile samples and some larger pieces that are in various stages of completion. We told her that because of the colors she's using and the marks she is making, these do not look that far off from some of her textile work, her style showing through in this very different medium.


Rebecca is still mending from breaking her wrist a few months ago. While she is no  longer in a cast, you may be able to see she still is wearing a brace and says she's still quite sensitive to any pressure being put on it from either direction. Thus she hasn't been able to rotary cut or do much sewing, so she decided to share her very first quilt from a class she took along with a friend. The colors belie its age but we agreed it is still a very pleasing and soft color. I particularly liked this set and the use of smaller nine patch units than you might normally see on a beginner's quilt.


She used it to practice her quilting on her longarm machine. Below is a little color catcher she had thrown in with her snow dyeing and that came out with flower-like images. So while she can't do much with that braced arm, she did try a little thread painting on this. Click on the photo for a larger version that shows the stitching better. We suggested she introduce some darker thread to add contrast around the "petals".


All this should have spurred me back into the studio to finish the quilting on my squares but it's been one of those weeks when all I could do was stare at them and maybe run a finger over the fabric in tentative stitching designs but couldn't take that next step of making decisions about any of them. But I always mull these things in the back of my mind and think I know what to do when I head to the machine this weekend. None of my ideas should take long to execute. In the meantime, the syringa has been blooming behind my house, visible from livingroom, dining room and a bit from the studio if I'm close enough to the window to look down on them. Each year more seem to bloom up and down this wooded area and I'm loving it.

Sunday, May 07, 2017

More Printing

Quilting from the back - Leaf Cluster III
I had sort of a punky week, but still got something done toward my ArtWalk goals. Over the weekend I had finished quilting the square I showed here. That garnet (some call it pebble) stitch leaves just the sort of texture I wanted but boy, does it take a long time. I think I spent about 3 hours over three days covering the 15" square, and used up almost 3 bobbins filled with the lighter weight Aurofil thread. After about 40 minutes I'd start getting rummy and have to take a break. I haven't mounted it yet as I am going to start a stack from which I will choose the "final four" to be framed. Two down, two to go.

Printed with slightly thinned Liquitex Acrylic paint - Naphthol Crimson

I did have one more square printed with the reddish black paint but it is a possible reject. Time to print some more leaves and try unadulterated red paint. While out walking, the wandering mind prepared for the session, considering which of my variations to use on each fabric, and surprising me with a couple more variations to consider. When I got home, I grabbed my paper prints and worked the placements out. I was quite pleased with all four squares I printed, including the two new variations, and a bit surprised that the red did not pop as much off the darker fabrics as I thought it would. Still, all very usable.

This one didn't photograph that well - much better in person

And of course, there was paint left to expend elsewhere. I pulled out some white muslin that I'd printed up during my first linocut class. The paint was poor, the instruction poorer, and I really didn't know what to do with this big piece that I'd covered with the wavy block a la Cynthia St. Charles. Let's print some big red leaves on it and suddenly that background printing looks like water! The red squares were an attempt to jazz up a secondary commercial stamp I'd superimposed with little effect. The paint pretty much covered it up but if I use this piece, I'll have to figure out something to make those squares look like they belong.


On the other end of the muslin I'd printed a smaller section with that wavy stamp and it got a single leaf cluster. I like this one too. But I'm thinking I'd like to give both of these a dip in a little dye to get rid of that stark white.

I'd intended to get the four new squares layered for quilting yesterday but as I said, I've felt a little punky all week and after standing at the ironing board heat setting everything with an iron, I decided to save that task for another day.

Monday, May 01, 2017

May Day!

It's the first of May, and my pocket calendar spread is full of roses. Hmmm...it will be some time before roses bloom here. Heck, the first bulbs of spring are barely blooming. But no matter, it should be an easy page to color in, right? We'll go for red and yellow roses. But my red pencil showed very pink when lightly applied, and still fairly pink even as I applied more pressure.  That would be the big one on the right and left. Hmmm again. In the bottom right corner I tried blending it with blue with not much luck. Moved to the bottom center one and tried mixing violet. Oooo - a lovely color but not rich dark red. I gave up and gave in to the limitations of my red pencil and enjoyed the lovely pinks it was giving me. The yellow roses got tinged with a bit of orange.

So roses . . . we all know what a blooming rose looks like, right? But right away I realized I do NOT know what a bloom looks like for sure. Are the petals darker on the front than on the back like a leaf? I thought to ask this as I darkened the turned over edges of a petal. Well, if not, too bad. I liked what was happening here. I also thought perhaps I should go back over the large light areas for more solid coverage, but then remember some close-up photos I'd taken of a rose long ago, and how I had marveled at the network of tiny veins running through the petals. My light touch with the colored pencil left a surface that looked much like those veins, so it stayed just that way.

Happy first day of May. Wherever you are, I hope you find a few blooms somewhere to celebrate the shaking off of winter.