Friday, March 11, 2016

Another Detour Through Painting on the Way Back to Stitching

I took another wonderful detour into painting, although this time it was actually a blend of painting and stitch. Katie Pasquini Masopust was here teaching her Stitched Paintings workshop and I got to join in! What a treat. Besides enjoying ANY workshop taught by Katie, this was a chance to learn how she creates her ingenious abstract landscapes and still lives that start out with painted canvases. The process starts out with painting canvas in a palette of color the will suit the landscape or still life you have in mind. The first pass at the painting is a gradated color from light to dark. Then comes the fun of a series of mark making steps to add interest and texture to your painted canvases. These are some of mind in the various stages of painting. IMG 1256
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One of the possible composition techniques was to stack and cut through the canvases and then re-assemble them in to a non-representational abstract. IMG 1279
This is my landscape with the reference photo to the left of it. IMG 1290 The next steps are to quilt it to a backing (batting optional) and then build a frame, and then finally attach it to the frame and paint the frame edges to complement the painting. I didn't have time to do this part of the process, as I called away to work at various times during the class, but I've been so inspired by the process and painting in general, that this winter I've set up a tiny painting alcove near my studio where I can have all my paints and supply handy. You can see more photos from this workshop on our workshops blog.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Detour into Painting

I admit, I was finally seduced into taking a painting workshop. For years, as director of the Hudson River Valley Art Workshops, I've been watching all the fun people have been having at our painting workshops. It was just too much, I had to give it a try! So I joined in the Robert Burridge workshop this past October. It was listed as workshop for "intermediate to advanced." Even though this would be my first painting workshop ever, I wasn't deterred because, as you know, attitude is everything, and as long as I was prepared to look like I totally didn't know what I was doing and just keep trying, all was going to be well. The basic theme of the workshop was to work on a series. However, each morning Bob did a quick demo and set us off with some quick painting exercises to get the creative juices flowing. The first morning, we had to create a series of paintings, working with just black and white, to the "word of the moment" that Bob gave us, like "stability" or "surrounded" or "order". He allowed us about a couple minutes per painting. The point of this exercise, besides getting our painting muscles warmed up, was to really think about what you are trying to convey in a painting. Bob said that he always picked the title of his paintings before even opening his paints. He wants to have a clear idea of the meaning / focus of what he is trying to say. IMG 1118
IMG 1120 Another morning exercise was to create "carrot" figures - with a single brush stroke, lay down a carrot shape and then top it with a oval. Then you can finesse it to look more like a person. For this exercise we were to use black and white and one other color. IMG 1123 Another exercises was to play with abstract composition styles. IMG 1128 Thorough out the workshop, Bob kept a running flow of hints, tips, techniques for reworking duds into delights. Adding color over a black and white piece was one way of adding a pop of interest. IMG 1129 I've a fascination with the flow and movement of a horse's mane, so I attempted to express this in this painting. It's not much, I admit, but it has some good bits and I expect to have to do, like a million paintings before I will be satisfied with the result! IMG 1130 A few more small exercises, the purpose of which I've forgotten. (Good thing I have all of Bob's daily handouts and I bought a couple of his workbooks for reference.) IMG 1131
IMG 1132 The apple is a reworked painting. The apple is revealed by painting over everything that doesn't look like the apple! IMG 1134 These flower vases are the same principle - paint a bunch of bright splotches over a "bad" painting and then paint over the background, covering up everything that is not going to be flowers, then add a vase. IMG 1135
IMG 1143 Reworking the horse again. It was liberating to know that you could just paint over anything you didn't like and turn it in to something else. IMG 1144 Another exercise was painting pears, learning how to create the depth, lighting, and stylistic interest. IMG 1145
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IMG 1160 When I gathered up my paintings at the end of the workshop, my general thought was that my work looked "mmehh." But after looking at the photos from start to finish as I added them to this blog post, I can see that I made some good progress during the 5 days of the workshop. From rank beginner to painting a credible floral bouquet and a pear. So now I'm very motivated to continue exploring this new medium and to also use what I'm learning painting for when I am working in my preferred medium - fabric. I can definitely see how you could use painting to play with color, composition, and value a lot faster and easier than with fabric, but how these things can then be translated into fabric. I highly recommend taking workshops in a variety of media. It gives you a whole different perspective. Now all I need is somewhere to paint! My studio is small enough without trying to make room for a painting surface and supplies, so this winter I'm working on clearing out a small storage alcove near my fiber studio to be my new painting studio. This is what I have to work with. Looks like a disaster, right? Stay tuned for updates! IMG 1371

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Duck Beautification Project

Ok, real ducks look fine in the natural finery, but this white fiberglass duck needed a bit of "umphf!"

I prepped the duck with a bit of Goldens Gac 200 and Gesso. Then started the collage process with Goldens Gel Gloss Medium. I worked from the bottom up, collaging on the fabric in small manageable pieces so that it easily molded the the figure of the duck. I was pleased to see that the fabric molded so well to the duck that you could easily see the detail of the feathers.

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Both sides of the duck are similar and I worked back and forth from one side to the other.

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The farm and flower scene is done! All that remains is to paint the ducks face and feet.

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Here is the finished duck.

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I've delivered him to the duck committee (I was fun to walk into the town hall and say "I have a duck delivery!") and he has been given another protective clear coat. On Monday, May 18th, he is due to be installed in front of our inn, the Greenville Arms 1889 Inn, for the summer! In the Fall there will be a fun auction of all the ducks - all 46 of them!

Monday, March 30, 2015

The Duck Colorization Project

In a departure from rabbits, I've signed up to decorate a fiberglass duck for our community beautification fund-raising project. Our town, Greenville, New York, is doing ducks because our town park pond is know for its two white ducks! I was actually one of the people who suggested painting ducks. Other local towns have done cats (Catskill), dogs (Hudson), and Bears (Cairo).

The painted ducks will be on display all around town throughout the summer and will then be auctioned in the Fall. My duck will be on display in front of our inn because we are also a duck sponsor.

I'm planning to collage my duck with fabric to recreate a farm scene based on a local farm that I had previously made as an art quilt. I want to thank Laura Cater-Woods for providing me with detailed instructions on how to college a fiberglass animal with fabric. She has decorated 5 fiberglass horses!

Anyway, here is my duck. He has just gotten two coats of a mix of Golden GAC 200 and Gesso.

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I start to apply fabric next week.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Rabbit Round Up

"Rabbits! Why rabbits?" I'm always asked when I turn up with yet another fiber art rabbit . Well, I like rabbits. They are very expressive in their quiet way.

Maybe it is because my first experience of artistic acclaim came about when at the age of 5 I won an Easter Bunny coloring contest. Or maybe it was from reading Watership Down in high school. Or maybe I've been inspired by several rabbit pets.

The first rabbit quilt I made was Angry Rabbit. He wasn't angry until I was working on the eyes as one of the last pieces and I was looking for a way to make the eyes stand out in this large grey and black rabbit on a green and brown background, surrounded by bright pink flowers. When I tried out the color red I knew I had found a color that I'd use for all my rabbits from then on! My rabbits are angry rabbits! Just because an animal is quiet and shy doesn't mean it doesn't have strong feelings!

In any case, in honor of Spring, here is a round up of all my rabbits made to date.

Angry Rabbit


Rabbits in the Grass

This piece recently won an award at the La Connor Quilt Museum Festival in Washington. The space between the elements of this piece are open.


Rabbit Squared


This small 12" x 12" piece was made for the Studio Art Quilt Association's annual fund-raising auction several years ago.


Hear the Music

This rabbit departed from my more abstract rabbits and is based off of a photograph. I created this when I was teaching my process to a group at an art retreat. The background of guitars was collaged from leftover scraps from making my "Crazy Ties."

All of the rabbits below were completed in 2014 when I really went on a rabbit binge.

Rabbit on the Run


Outta Here


Creative Sprit






More to come, of course, in the coming years.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Award at La Connor Textile and Quilt Museum Festival

One of my goals this year was to submit to some Calls for Entry. It may have been half way through the year before I got to this, but I submitted 3 of my art quilts for the La Connor Textile and Quilt Museum Festival in La Connor, WA -- and all 3 of the pieces were accepted!

Then the next exciting news was that one of the pieces had won 3rd place in the Abstract Pictorial category. The piece that won was "Rabbits in the Grass." Here is a picture of my daughter in front of the quilt. I think they did not allow photos at the exhibit, but they let my daughter "sneak" in a photo because I couldn't be there in person.

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Nothing like an award to get you motivated to create!

These are the other two pieces that were in the exhibit. My daughter said that her favorite of the three was the squirrel.

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I've been continuing my series with rabbits and am now working on a largish piece. It will feature a line of duplicate rabbits and then one large rabbit.

Here are the duplicate rabbits in process. The faceless rabbits have sparked some more ideas!

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A full hand of rabbits! I made seven, but am not sure how many I'll use in the current piece. It was great fun to make a batch of duplicate rabbits (the same fabric selection for each piece is the same of all rabbits) and fun to have a stack of them ready to use.

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Monday, May 26, 2014

One Rabbit, Two Rabbit

I've just finished two more of the rabbit series that I began in Katie Pasquini Masopust's workshop "Working in a Series." I've been using this rabbit image for quite a number of years, but Katie gave me the push I needed to experiment with color!

This is the first rabbit piece. I took it easy and only expanded my palette with the color blue for all the dark and light values. I call it "Outta' Here."

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I had such fun with color on that piece, I decided to go all out on the next one - a rainbow rabbit! I call this one "Creative Spirit" and it is inspired by the architecture of the resort and creative environment of the Alegre Retreat.

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Sunday, April 27, 2014

Colorado Canyon Rabbits

It seem like ages ago already after being back to reality for about a week from the our trip to the Gateway Canyons Resort for the Alegre Retreat. The retreat and trip were everything I hoped for and needed. I would definitely recommend it and will be saving up to hopefully go there myself again in a couple of years.

The location is self was quite inspiring and luxurious. I took quite a few pictures! To make it easier on you, dear reader, I'll group the photos by class photos, landscape, and cars - in that order. That way if you are not interested in canyon landscapes or antique cars, you don't have to read that far!

First the class report. I was in Katie Pasquini Masopust's "Working in a Series" workshop. The idea for the workshop was to bring an existing piece and then build a series from there.

The piece I brought was the one on the left, "Rabbit on the Run." For my first tentative foray in the series, I decided to add a touch of color to my usually naturally colored rabbits. I substituted blue for all the dark and light values in the rabbit. Fun! Then I had to come up with a background for this rabbit. Thinking of keeping with the theme of "rabbit on the run," I thought I'd call this piece "Outta Here" and design a setting to give the impression of a speeding rabbit running "outta here."

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I had such fun adding that bit of blue to the rabbit, that for the next piece in the series I decided to go all out with the color and created a rainbow rabbit! The background is inspired by the adobe buildings of the resort and muted blue sky. I'll probably be adding more details, but was anxious to move on to the next piece!

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For the final piece, I decided to stay colorful, but also go BIG! I used cool tones in this rabbit and am thinking of doing a matching facing rabbit in another piece that will use warm tones.

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Here are all of the rabbits together for the final walk-through of the classes (everyone at the retreat walked from class to class on the final day to get a look at what everyone else was doing).

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Now I'm revved up about my rabbit series once again and can't wait to continue letting these rabbits multiply. I currently finishing up the quilting on rabbit #2 and should have it done in the next week.

Okay, now on to the stunning and inspiring landscape of the Gateway Canyons.

The first two pics are of our room and view from our room.

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The outstanding feature of the landscape around the resort was, of course, The Palisades, that monumental tower of red rock.

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A small, but dedicated group walkers went out every morning at 6:30am. We had some morning greeters on one of the walks.

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The Gateway Canyons Resort was built by the founder of the Discovery Channel, so it is not surprising that there are lots of fun stuff to discover around the property! We saw this "dinosaur nest" on one of the early morning walks.

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After the retreat was over, we stayed an extra couple of days in Grand Junction, CO to relax and see the sights. The first grand vista was seen from the Bed and Breakfast where we stayed, The Los Altos Bed & Breakfast. (I picked this inn because of the name - we use to live in Los Altos, CA!) It was a lovely inn inside as well, and the breakfasts were always yummy.

On one day we toured around the nearby National Monument Park. Lots to inspire in this park. I loved the colors, textures, and sweep of the vista.

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If you love antique cars, or just cars in general, you must plan a trip to the Gateway Canyons Auto Museum. This is John Henderick's collection of American cars. It is incredible even if you aren't in to cars. The museum is set up to display the cars as the works of art that they are, and unlike a lot of car museums, every one of these cars is completely restored to running condition! Wouldn't it be fun to take a spin in anyone of these beauties?

Don't ask me what any of these cars are. I just loved the colors, shine and beauty of design!

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