Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Week 21 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

Another week done!! I can hardly believe how fast the year is going - it's almost half over! Where has the time gone??

Once I returned from the retreat, I was busy helping my daughter-in-law with 3 sick children and a newborn, helping another friend who is closing her quilt store after almost 14 years, and giving 3 demo's on Zentangles for a local quilt guild.  Rather than sketching this week, I decided to play with some of the photos I have taken recently. I have an a photo-editing app called Pixlr Express on my tablet that I enjoy using to edit photos. It doesn't do everything that Photoshop Elements does, but I find it much easier to use.

My first photo is a collage I created of my 2-year old grandson. He was playing a small electric piano and just having fun singing and dancing when he didn't think he was being observed - three of the photos in the collage reflect this. The other two photos are from two weeks ago, when his baby brother was born.

2-year old grandson playing the piano and taking a photo of his new baby brother. He has such cute expressions! Now if I can figure out how to blur the edges of the photos and make it look seamless... That's for another day!

These next photos are flowers and succulents I took on the Vina de Lestonnac grounds at the quilt retreat.
Combined two yellow flowers into one. I placed the center of the flowers close
to each other and highlighted the dark center surrounding the daisy-like flower.

These are the two flowers that I combined into one photo. One is a daisy-like bloom on ground cover plants. The other is a yellow lily. 

Combined two succulents, one green and one red, aligning their similar centers. 

These are the original photos of the two succulents. I love the texture that appears when combined into one photo. I want to play more with this and see what else I can do.

I also took the photo of the red succulent and added doodles with the app to make it look like a Zentangle. It didn't turn out as well as I would have liked, as my stylus battery died, so I had to use my finger to draw. I saved it anyway and had planned to post it along with these photos. When I re-opened it to copy it to my computer, the doodling wasn't saved as I had drawn it - it was all over the place with half of the doodles missing! I was disappointed with this. Not sure if I did something wrong or it's a glitch in the app.  I will try again when I can use my stylus.

Thanks for stopping by.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

More Photos of Vina de Lestonnac, Temecula, CA

More photos from Vina De Lestonnac, Temecula, CA that I would like to share with you. I know you would like to see some of the art quilts being painted. However, since the work is not mine, I don't feel that I can post others' work on my blog. I did not take many photos of Patt Blair's work, as I took so many last year. Her work can be seen on her website here. Thank you for understanding.

Not sure what type of tree this is, but the blossoms are beautiful.  Spiky red
stamens with beautiful pink-tinged petals that remind me of cowrie sea shells.
Another local denizen. These little hares can be seen in abundance. However, they
don't usually sit still long enough to get a good photo. This little guy posed for awhile for us.
Small barrel cactus with tiny pink blossoms. 
A fountain in the center of a rock garden is a favorite for the birds, especially the goldfinches. They enjoyed bathing in the fountain, splashing merrily. They flew away quickly whenever I tried to snap a shot!
These budding trees were just beginning to bloom . They will be beautiful once they are in full bloom. 
I can't remember what bush had these clusters of tiny blossoms. The flowers are only about an inch in size. 

Thank you for allowing me to share my nature photos from the quilt retreat.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Week 20 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

This week went by so quickly! Started with having a new grandson! Then I went to CA for 5 days for a quilting retreat with Patt Blair, where we painted wholecloth quilts using Tsukineko inks. The retreat is held at Vina de Lestonnac, a quiet retirement center for nuns and a few priests, in Temecula - beautiful southern California wine country.

Dragon head - created by Lynnita Knoch
for art quilt for Patt Blair workshop.
I continued to work on my dragon head that I started at last year's retreat (see previous post here). I hadn't had a chance to work on it since then - it's a large piece  (approx 35" x 50") and I don't really have a place at home to set it up.  I'm not posting any photos of the quilt yet. I don't want to unveil it until I've finished it.  I've changed the colors a bit, from what I painted on my drawing (shown here) - it is fresher and I don't need to do as much mixing to get the colors I want. I'm very pleased with how it's turning out.  I'm a little more than halfway done. I realized that when I paint, it usually takes me several months to complete a work this large, so I shouldn't be frustrated that this is taking me so long.

At any rate, I didn't get any sketching done for this week's art challenge - between the newborn and the quilting retreat. But I took many photos around the retreat center, so I'm posting some of those as my "sketching" for this week's art challenge.

Windmills in CA from I-10 highway. The mountains still have some snow.
Overlooking the Danzai winery from  Vina de Lestonnac retreat center.
Several hot air balloons over wine country early Friday morning.
Vina de Lestonnac has lovely grounds with a wide variety of plants. This purple prickly pear had its first blooms while we were there. We just need to look to Mother Nature for our color palettes.  The purple and yellows are just stunning!
One of the local denizens! He was soaking up the sun. He posed for me, allowing me to take several shots before he decided to move on. He has a lovely purple throat and belly to show off to the ladies, which he displayed for me. He has attitude and I would like to paint him for a small art quilt. 

Several rose bushes were still blooming, although many were past their peak by the time we were there. The colors are awesome on this lovely striped rose. 
Red rose still drenched in dewdrops. 

 I hope I didn't overwhelm you with photos. Vina de Lestonnac is such a relaxing, quiet place for a retreat, with beautiful scenery everywhere you look.

The only problem we had this year was the fires north of San Diego. We were between 40-60 miles from them. You could see the black smoke clouds in the distance and occasionally smell smoke. One evening, we actually had to drive from the classroom to the dining room, as the wind blew smoke from the Camp Pendleton fire into the area, making it very difficult to breathe. I pray for all those affected by these fires, especially the firemen and the people who have lost their homes.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Grandson is here!!

As you know, I don't usually post about my family, but who can resist bragging about a newborn!! Our newest grandson arrived in the morning on May 14 at a whopping 8 lb 15 oz and 21 in long!
Simon, 8lb 15oz, 21" long.

Proud Grandpa (PaPa)!

Grandma with the newborn

The proud papa, our son, with his exhausted wife and all the children.

Now, I'm off to California for a quilting retreat with Patt Blair! 

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Week 19 of 365 Days of Art Challenge - Skull Challenge

March/April 2014
Cloth Paper Scissors magazine
I had fun with sketching this week. I even got done early! I created a skull for Cloth Paper Scissors readers' Skull challenge for Dia de los Muertos. This was first posted in the March/April 2014 Cloth Paper Scissors (CPS) mixed-media magazine.  I actually started working on this a few weeks ago with a couple posts (see Feb 27 and Mar 6).

I finally chose a skull shape to work from and added some doodling to it. Then I used Aquarelle watercolors to paint it. I added brighter colors with Prismacolor markers, Sakura Souffle pens, and Sakura glaze pens.

Dia de los Muertos reminds me of my heritage, my ancestors, and where I come from - all combining to make me who I am today. With that in mind, I wanted my skull to be colorful and happy.

Floral Calavera is a 6" x 6" mixed-media Dia de los Muertos skull doodled with flowers and various other patterns using 0.005, 0.01, 0.02, and 0.08 black Sakura micron pens, Prismacolor markers, Sakura Souffle pens, Sakura Glaze pens and Aquarelle watercolors on 140 lb. watercolor paper. 

Cloth Paper Scissors will post the winners on May 16. I hope to find my name listed. The winners' work will be published in the Sept/Oct 2014 issue.

Whether I win or not, this was fun to create and I think I will print it onto fabric to  use as a centerpiece for a Day of the Dead quilt that I've been planning to make.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Week 18 of 365 Days of Art Challenge

It's been a very busy week, so I'm a bit late with this post. I've been getting everything in for the ZenDoodle: Oodles of Doodles challenge. (See info from previous posts here.)  The editors at F&W Media are doing something a bit different with this book, than they did for the Zen Doodles: Tons of Tangle book. They are doing a few "spotlight artist" pages. I was chosen to be one of the artists they are going to spotlight!! Wow! I can hardly believe it!! At any rate, it required me sending in several more doodles or Zentangles or Zentangle-Inspired-Art (ZIA), plus writing up a couple of pages worth of information for them to work from. This took me a few days to write and pull enough ZIA's together (or draw new ones) that I thought would be worthy of publishing.

One of the ZIA's that I sent them was this alphabet that I created. I thought this would be something different than the usual abstract or animal ZIA that I usually do. I have been trying to learn some calligraphy, as well as, working through one of Joanne Sharpe's lettering courses. This doodled alphabet is right in line with that and will be something unique for the Oodles of Doodles book, if they choose this one for my "spotlight artist" page. 

Tangled Alphabet.  5 ½” x 8 ½”
2-ply vellum Bristol paper
0.005, 0.01 and 0.03 black Sakura micron pens and a graphite pencil.
Includes various tangle patterns.
I had so much fun creating this alphabet. Anything was possible!! No rules meant capitals or lower case letters, funky or realistic shapes, and any doodle I could think of,  find, or imagine. I would like to do another one and color it. Bright, bold colors would really make this sparkle!

Have a good week! Happy sketching!!

Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Club - Mixed-Media Self-Portrait's finished

The book club started by Deb Prewitt of Blue Twig Studio continued reading the final chapter of Cate Caulacos Prato's Mixed-Media Self-Portraits: Inspiration and Techniques this month. (See review of the first chapter at Blue Twig Studio's blog here and my blog here.)  This is an excellent book if you are interested in self-portraits.
Mixed-Media Self Portraits by
Cate Caulacos Prato

The last chapter is full of projects to create self-portraits, such as art dolls, collage, photography, a fabric book, a plaster cloth mask, an assemblage of found objects, and a photographic art quilt. Full instructions for each project are given. 

I found this chapter very informative, as it's full of real examples of self-portraits that do not include a face!  When one says "self-portrait", usually a facial view comes to mind and that is terrifying for most. This chapter shows many different ways to achieve a self-portrait without including an actual facial view - it makes creating a self-portrait do-able and less terrifying. 

The journey doll is interesting, as dolls are used by children to role play and dream. A journey doll can become a vision of one's dreams or an alter ego or how one sees oneself at this moment in time. The sky's the limit in terms of embellishing a journey doll. 

I love the idea of the journal - a fabric journal, a paper journal, a mixed-media journal - that focuses on a specific year, event, milestone, whatever in one's life. The example chose the year of birth and created a page for each month highlighting what was happening in their life and/or the world. This could be done for any important time period in one's life. This is one I could see myself doing. 

Some quotes from this chapter that I really like are:
     "I don't want to get to the end of my life and find that I lived just the length of it. I want to have lived the width of it as well." - Diane Ackerman

     "The journey between what you once were and who you are now becoming is where the dance of life really takes place." - Barbara De Angelio

     "The aim of life is to live, and to live means to be aware: joyously, drunkenly, serenely, divinely aware." - Henry Miller

I collect quotes. My grandmother started me doing this. Before she died, I had asked her to create a journal of her life for me. She wrote many quotes that she really liked in the journal. I've continued to do that over the years. I am now adding them to art journals. So I had to add some quotes from the book that I find inspiring.

Thank you, Deb, for recommending this book. It really is a great book full of ideas and how to get to know yourself better in order to create a self-portrait, that can be done in many different ways. I'm sure I will be using this book as a reference for years to come. 

Check out Deb's blog for next month's book, Ignore Everybody and 39 other keys to creativity by Hugh MacLeod. From the title, it's got to be a great book!!