Thursday, January 30, 2014

Book Club with Blue Twig Studio

Deb Prewitt of Blue Twig Studio started on online book club this month. The book we read was  Art & Fear by David Bayles & Ted Orland.  Its about our fears about art - both with ourselves and others. Deb has a nice summary on her blog. 
I really enjoyed the book. It was very thought-provoking – making me think about: Why I create art? What are my fears about my art? Is it the process or the end product I’m concerned about? – as well as all the questions Deb mentioned in her blog. I agree with Deb – you have to make art for yourself – you have to forgot about others and what they think of your work and just do it!!
I took a few art classes many years ago in oil painting, colored pencil, and watercolor. I loved them. They made me get out of myself and do something that I grew to love and work on it every week. I participated in a few exhibits with the group I was involved with and even sold a few paintings and received a couple of commissions. Then the group started getting clique-ish and I was no longer welcomed because I didn’t live close enough.  (Looking back, I really think it was because I was one of only a couple people that actually sold anything or got commissions from the exhibits.)  I allowed myself to quit painting and drawing because of their attitude towards me. 
I started quilting, as I had always enjoyed sewing. I love quilting, too, but it took me awhile to get to where I felt comfortable making art quilts. This past year, I took a workshop in painting wholecloth quilts. This combines my drawing and painting background with quilting. Wow!! Who would've thought I could do that? 
But I still missed painting and drawing. A couple years ago, I discovered  Zentangles, They inspired me first as I thought they would be great to use for quilting designs. Once I started creating Zentangles or ZenDoodles, I wanted to get back to painting and drawing. However, now I want to do acrylics, watercolors, colored pencils, pastels, and mixed-media. I enjoyed oil painting, but the fumes are pretty strong.  So I think, for now anyway, that I'll stick with mediums that are more chemical friendly.
I've learned that I love making art because it’s part of me – I have to paint or draw or make an art quilt. I’ve finally gotten over my fears (most of the time! they still haunt me at times! LOL!) and make it for myself. I'm also learning to loosen up and not be so obsessed with perfection or details.  I want to enjoy the process more, not just get the finished product done. I do enter shows (not always accepted, but that’s okay – it’s a learning experience). I'm actually trying to enter more shows or exhibits on a national level, not just the local field. Like having four of my Zentangles accepted into a book - Zen Doodle Tons of Tangles. (see my blog posted Sept 9, 2013).  
All of this, is to let you know where I’m coming from and why this book, Art and Fear, really spoke to me. I had to read sections 2-3 times. I know now, from experience, what the book is trying to get across – just create because you want to and enjoy the process. If people like my work, fine, but if they don’t – that’s okay, too.  Art (and creativity) is a part of me.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Week 4 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

I continued to work from J. "Neon Dragon" Peffer's book Dragonart Evolution this week. I started her exercises on drawing dragon jaws.  After completing the exercise, I added some details to make a more complete dragon head.

Pencil sketch on drawing paper."Closed Overbite" jaw type. I like
the way this one turned out. I think the dragon has a cute face.

Pencil sketch on drawing paper. "Open Overbite" jaw type.  This
one looks a bit ferocious. I also think this one looks like it should 
be a sea dragon.

Pencil sketch on drawing paper. "Open Under Bite" jaw type.

This is as far as I got this week. There are still several jaw types I didn't get drawn, so I will probably do some more of these type of sketches next week. I will do a better job, too, of labeling my sketch correctly before shooting a photo of it to post on my blog page.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Late January Sunset

My husband and I walked the dogs tonight to the local park during sunset. I took my camera with me and shot a couple of photos. I love sunsets. I would probably love sunrises just as much, but I just can't get up that early.
Taken from Shawnee Park in AZ
Taken from Shawnee Park in AZ
Taken from street on way back home. I love the plays of the mauves, 
purples, yellows and blues. The sky would make a lovely painted fabric
for quilting. May have to try my hand at that sometime. 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Week 3 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

DragonArt Evolution
by J. NeonDragon Peffer
This is week 3 of the 365 Days of Art Challenge. I didn't get much sketching done this week, as my hands were really bothering me. I have just one small sketch.  I love dragons and my nephew gave me a book on drawing dragons, DragonArt Evolution How to Draw Everything Dragon by J. "NeonDragon" Peffer for Christmas.  It looks like a great book and I'm looking forward to doing all the exercises in it. The author breaks down the dragon into various body sections and then finally puts them all together. She includes a variety of dragon types. This week I tried the 4 different types of eyes she demonstrated. I only used pencil. I need more work on the shading. Adding pen will be next and finally drawing them in full color using a variety of techniques, such as colored pencils, pastels, watercolor . . .whatever the dragon tells me.

The four types of eyes (orb, reptile, round pupil, and jewel) demonstrated in the book.

The other creative thing I did this week was dye silk scarves with a few friends. We used Colorhue Dyes and some Dye_Na-Flow Fabric Paints by Jacquard to dye the silks. Roberta and I first saw the Colorhue dyes at a demonstration at the Long Beach International Quilt Show a couple of years ago. It was quick and easy and not very messy. So we bought a package of dyes. They do not create very intense colors, but the colors are still beautiful and dyeing fabric is just so much fun. Following are the scarves I dyed. 
(Note:everything is dyed with Colorhue dyes, except where noted. Photos show half the scarf.)

11"x 60" Flat Crepe silk scarf.  Dyed using turquoise, blue, and lime green. Spritzed purple Dye-Na-Flow over punchinello to create a dotted pattern. The fabric paint bled everywhere and I ended up with mottled purple, instead of dots of purple. I plan to add some foiling later.   
11" x 60" Flat Crepe silk scarf. Painted a lime green stripe diagonally across the center, followed by turquoise, blue, eggplant, rose, and finally orange on either side of the green. Then I added black creating diagonal pleats going different directions across the scarf. I want to add some beaded fringe to the ends of this scarf. 
11"x 60"  Flat Crepe silk scarf. Lime green and green background. The flowers at the ends and in the center of the scarf  are created with a mix of turquoise, blue, eggplant,  and black.  Added some rose, goldenrod, and turquoise for highlights.  Used accordion folding the scarf to create the stripes. I plan to add some beads to the flowers and maybe some beaded fringe to the ends of the scarf.  (There isn't a line between the large flower and the stripes - it's a fold in the fabric that needs to be pressed out.)
11" x 60" Flat Crepe silk scarf. Goldenrod and orange background. Turquoise, blue and eggplant mixture for the spirals at both ends of the scarf. Added turquoise and goldenrod, creating the green center. Used a toothbrush to splatter emerald, blue, purple, and yellow Dye-Na-Flow fabric paint over the entire scarf.  I just love the excitement added with the splattering.  I think this scarf is my favorite of the ones I dyed today.

8" x 54" Habotai silk scarf. This was my clean-up scarf. Whenever there was excess dye left on the table, I used this scarf to wipe it up so as not to waste any of the dye. The more and more that I cleaned, the prettier and prettier the scarf became. Hard to believe this "waste" scarf has turned out so beautiful!! That's one of the reasons I like the Colorhue dyes. They adhere to the fibers so quickly, that the colors do not become muddy as colors are mixed on the scarf.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quilt for 2014 AQG Quilt Show

It's that time of year again. Time to get an entry into the 2014 Arizona Quilters Guild Annual Spring Quilt Show. I didn't think I had a quilt to enter this year. Last year just wasn't my year to make quilts. What I did make were given as gifts and I no longer have access to them. As friends kept asking me what I was going to enter and the deadline's approaching, I decided to go through my quilt tops that need to be quilted and see if there was anything that I could get finished in time for the show.  (No, I'm not even going to go through my UFOs !!)

I came across three that could work for the show. One, with 3D stars in a multi-color batik on a black background, actually has the quilting started. However, I'm working with metallic thread and I'm not happy with the way it looks. The quilt design needs some revamping. So I decided to set this one back and finish another day.

The second one is a wool applique quilt done by hand with the blocks sewn together on the machine. It was designed by a good friend.  I have it thread basted to a wool backing. I'm afraid that having it hang for half a week will cause the wool to stretch. Maybe I need to remove the wool backing and put on a cotton backing, to prevent any stretching. However, I really like the wool backing on it. Hmmm....dilemmas!!  So.....I don't think I'll enter this quilt (this year, at any rate).

Cara Gulati's Radiant Suns quilt.
Finally, the last quilt is a one that I started when I was first learning to quilt over 10 years ago. I started it in one of the first classes that I ever took. It's made with curves and I remember being told that I should start with a drunkard's path as a beginner quilter. Since I had been sewing clothing for over 30 years, curves weren't a problem - bring on the harder curves. The quilt is made from Cara Gulati's pattern Radiant Suns.

I like the movement of the curves. I chose to do the red/orange suns in a rainbow of colors and the green/purple background in neutrals - whites, creams, browns, and blacks. Since I was new to quilting, I didn't understand "values" then. So my neutrals have the same values as my rainbow of colors. I was disappointed that my rainbow of suns doesn't pop as much as I had intended when I chose my color scheme. That contributed to never finishing the quilt. But the main reason, I never finished it is because I didn't like just the narrow border to finish the quilt. It seemed like it needed more (at least in my color scheme). I wanted to add a rainbow of scallops around the quilt outside the narrow border. At the time I created this top, I had no clue how to add scallops. I thought I could probably manage the actual scallops, but how do you finish them? How do you bind them? So I just set the top back and moved on. Now, some 10 years later, I know how to add the scallops and how to finish them. So I decided to put this quilt in the AQG Quilt Show this year. . . . IF I can get find my original fabrics, add the scallops, and get it quilted and bound in time!!

Circular Rainbow.  57"x 76". Cottons and cotton blends. 

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Week 2 of 365 Days of Art Challenge - Drawing class

Saturday, I took a drawing class at Jerry's Artarama. It wasn't quite what I expected from the description of the class and the sample.  The instructor wanted us to work on toned paper in either tan or gray. I liked the warmer tones of the tan better than the cooler gray. Such a shame I had to buy another art journal, but this was a good excuse to get one! It's actually a 2-part class. In this first class, we worked on line drawings with black Sakura micron pens of various sizes.  In our next class (which I'm not sure yet, I can take), we'll add color. That is really the part of the class that I wanted, as I've never achieved such vivid colors from colored pencils as the instructor's samples show. The second part of class is not until the middle of February. So it will be awhile before I finish this drawing.

The first photo is what I chose to work from. I took it over a year ago when I was visiting my parents in Ohio in the fall.  I got there at the height of the fall colors! A mushroom was peeking out from the leaves that had fallen. I played with the photo in Pixlr Express, a photo-editing app on my tablet. I have Photoshop Elements on my computer, but I'm still learning how to it.

Leaves and Mushrooms. Edited in Pixlr Express. Photo taken Oct 2014 in Ohio.

Leaves and Mushroom line drawing. 8 1/2" x 11" toned tan 80 lb paper.
Black Sakura micron pens from 0.005 to 0.8 in size.

This second photo is my line drawing,  using micron pens of various sizes to ink in all the details and values.  I started it in class, but with arthritis in my hands, I needed to finished it at home. I've never used pens to do all the detail work and the values, so it's a different approach for me. I usually do all the value work with colors.  This has been a challenge for me, but now, I can hardly wait to add color!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Feather Spiral Zentangle

This Zentangle was inspired from a picture of a wholecloth quilt I saw that was quilted in a spiral design. I love the use of feathers in quilting.  So I combined a spiral with a feather quilting design for this Zentangle.

Feather Spiral.  6"x 6" mixed-media paper with pencil and Sakura 0.1 micron black pen.
I had trouble with shadowswhen I photographed this drawing. The one corner looks
pretty light and the other dark, when they really are not. This was a fun doodle
to create, making the wavy spine and deciding how to draw the feathers. 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Week 1 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

I've joined Deb Prewitt of Blue Twig Studio for her 365 Days of Art Challenge. She is doing an inchies or twinchies everyday and a sketch or drawing for a weekly challenge. I'm doing the drawing or sketch weekly.  I finished my first sketch yesterday with a new Zentangle drawing.

Swirly Doodles. 6"x6" mixed media paper with pencil and Sakura 0.1 micron black pen.
 I enjoy drawing Zentangles, as they are very relaxing and just fun to do. They get my creativity flowing. I also enjoy being abstract with the doodling. I've been working hard at loosening up and Zentangles is great for that.

Deb's challenge will also help me be better at keeping up with my blog. I've been off line the last few months, as first my laptop dies, then my tablet died, and finally my husband's desktop computer's monitor went on the fritz. It worked, but you could barely see anything on it. So it was too hard to see what I was doing to use his computer. For Christmas, my son fixed my tablet, a friend installed a new hard drive on my laptop and we were able to get a new monitor for my husband's computer. Whoo-hoo! I'm back in business!! Thank you for being patient with me.