Sunday, May 19, 2019

Four for the Basket

     Four done baby quilts for Jack's Basket. I used scraps donated, partially done blocks donated, and some stash. The backs were given to me also. I tried to quilt two at a time on the longarm (different backs next to each other and it was a bit challenging). These are for the Hands2Help challenge sponsored by Sarah Craig.
     You can go to the link and see all the other quilts people have made. I had other tops for another charity, but I could not get them quilted in time. Now, I have to get these packed up and shipped out. I enjoyed making them and I hope they give the recipients some smiles.




Friday, May 17, 2019

99 pieces of scraps on the wall, 99 scraps on the wall

     Actually there are more than 99 pieces of scraps, but that boring song was all could think of when repeatingly moving colorwash squares. You might have to be a genius to solve a Rubik's cube, but there is only one right answer. In a colorwash, it moves along a spectrum of getting better. Not knowing when to stop moving it around is difficult. 
     For days, I have moved, added, scrounged up a few new squares, rearranged the trays, and taken photos. I think I found a place on the spectrum I needed to stop because it was not improving any more to my eye. This is part of the Colorwash 360 class by Wanda. The amount of information, helps, and insight in the class is staggering- all done online. I have not ever taken an online class before that really pushed me ahead in understanding, technique, and competency. So, it was time to stop. Now the columns are all numbered with painters tape, ready to take down and clip ready to sew by webbing.
     I need to find a better setup to photograph because the colors really do blend and are not choppy like the photo. I bought some new lights, but can't find proper stands. You have to trust me on the color blends. 
Last layout, I'm done
 Black and white shows value shifts
Taped numbers on top columns ready to take down

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Train 'em young

     I am gifted with a granddaughter (age 7) who loves to color and draw. She asked me to draw some flowers with her on the driveway for spring. I am always stocked with chalk.

     Then she asked me if it was a quilt back, how could it be designed, so we drew these out. B is for back. Background fabric colors and design added. All her idea.

     Finally, she designed a front and now expects me to make it. F is for front. Yikes. How does she do that so easily and I sweat over graph paper?

Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Finishes come slowly

     There is too much to do in so little time. I am sorting scraps and  cleaning out the backlog of them in my garage. Grand kid sitting, cardio rehab, and non-sewing duties quickly diminish available time. I have 4 baby quilts to do for Jack's Basket by next Sunday. Two are quilted, two are on the longarm. The Diagonal Variation quilt sat on the longarm for over a month and finally was done. All have striped bindings, done. The OBW octagons finally got a border, but needs quilting. My floral colorwash is still being tweaked on the design wall. I am not a good multi-tasker, so it goes slowly.

The sewing machine is a phony- it is a planter. I finally brought it back outside after winter.
It has a succulent planted in the tray.

With border fabric, black on black octagons, couldn't resist

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Rain, rain go away

     The weather has been very wet. And cold. And I think we only had 2 dry days in a row for over a month. The trees are very slow to leaf out. I know many areas of the country have way more wet weather, but the grayness gets to you. Thankfully, the tulips have come up and opened. The cool weather has them hang around a bit longer. There is a limited blue sky time to photo them before the gray rolls in again. 
      Tulips are my favorite flower, but in big groups. I buy mine from White Flower Farm and get the assorted Darwin perennials. My husband makes little cages of hardware cloth for the bulbs to foil the squirrels. So, if you need a dose of spring, follow below.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Reflections of not just water

     The week after Easter, my grandkids were off school, so on a nice sunny day (rare lately), we took them to Reinstein Woods, which is less than a half hour away, but I had never taken the time to visit. I heard they had lily ponds! Ok, I know it is early for them to be out, but I wanted to see if the place was worth dragging painting stuff there in the future.
      While my grandkids were delighted to see snakes (not me), heron, turtles, dragonflies, and hawks, I was thrilled to see ponds with water lily leaves surfacing. As I took photos of the landscape with wonderful reflections, I reflected on my own artwork.
See those red leaves poking up? Waterlily leaves!!
      I am inspired, like I am many times, by my watercolor teacher, Jody Ziehm. Last class, she shared her story of how she painted many nights while her young children were in bed. She always worked very hard, teaching herself and pushing her art in new ways. Her work continues to grow and refine.
     Like so many, I dabbled in all kinds of art media, always being told to experiment, try new stuff, combine media, abstract it all, but my heart was always in watercolor painting and fabric. I set those aside for working in graphic design/advertising and then teaching public school art. I amassed an arsenal of different tools and stuff, but when I had to retire from teaching, I ran to watercolor and quilting. Slowly, all the other media stuff is being given away when I can find it a home. What was it that stopped me from pursuing what I really love doing?
      Some was my reluctance to really put time into learning techniques, design and developing the craft. In art school, any type of realistic or development of drawing was disparaged. It was all about "making marks" and using as many different media as possible and leaving the work open to chance, interpretation and galleries. Teaching things like value, composition, and color were "too limiting" and "constricting". While just teaching those things can be deadening, I need a foundation to create on, and then creative process can happen.
    Ok, so I left school not knowing much and had to work to educate myself with art books and workshops (no youtube then). I sketched when I saw good compositions and art to figure out why it worked. I had the brain of an artist, but none of the skills. Over the years, I have worked hard to get them and wanted to teach them to kids. However, the prevailing philosophy is don't put effort and time into working through the "boring stuff" but to go with feeling, intuition and art being "therapy". If it doesn't work out, then you have no "talent", so go on the computer and copy and paste and throw every software option in. And if the first thing you do isn't frameable, it is not worth the effort. 
     I think I work harder on techniques, elements and composition the older I get so I have the skills to do what is in my head but has to be translated out through my hands. My observation and persistence continue to increase. And so, my art is closer to what I think it should look like. I keep taking painting classes and quilt workshops to gain another piece of the puzzle.
      Also, I was too concerned about doing something commercially viable. For all the work I did in graphic design, and all the money I spent on computer equipment and software as it became computerized from the 80s on, I never made much after paying the vendors and the bills to warrant all those hours and crushing deadlines. I was able to pay for the kid's activities and that was about it. When I taught public school, with the prep for 6 different grades a day and hundreds of students a week, teacher products, meetings, and mountains of paperwork, I never had the time or energy to work on any art.
      What if I had spent all that time and energy seriously painting and quilting? How much of a body of work could I have built and how far could I have gone? Could I have gone past the tipping point and done truly outstanding work and inspired others?
      Those are questions that I can't answer. But this I know- I can work hard now and use all I have learned to work as an artist. I can put the effort into sketching, planning, designing, observing, finishing and thinking about what I am doing. For me, this isn't hobby- if I don't create, I am weak and sad.
      Even if I never sell a thing, I will create a body of work that is positive and growing, as long as God gives me breath. I want my work to be a reflection of what is beautiful and worthwhile, regardless of what is in fashion or cool. Last February, I was spared from the consequence of a heart attack. Every day is a precious gift.
      What about you? As you look at reflections, what do you see?
See the painted turtle?

Monday, April 29, 2019

Spring Colorwash

     I had so much fun in the last colorwash class with Wanda, that I am doing it again. I have enough batiks on the trays I think to make another one, but since it is spring (real slowly around here), I want to use florals. 
     When I did not know exactly what I was doing a while ago, I did make one, but it was sold at a show. I seem to be lacking a lot of colors and values I need, so I will have to really scrounge through all my fabric to find enough- especially oranges, greens and blue greens. 
     I love florals and Debbie always inspires me as I keep going back to her gallery of floral quilts. I need flowers. I paint flowers, I just love them and all their shades, shapes, and textures. My intial efforts here will have to be mightily tweaked and added to.