Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Tackling the Green Giant!

For years I have been making quilts with no more than a quick sketch for reference.  I have always had a more complete picture in my mind, but would only rough out the basics to use as a reference when I pieced the quilt.  But since David Hornung's Design and Composition class, I've been working rather differently.

I'm trying now to start my studio day with a quick collage.  Sometimes in black and white, sometimes using painted paper.  If you've taken one of David's classes, you know that he advocates the use of painted paper rather than construction paper.  With thin painted paper you can create a range of tints and tones from a few primary colors (red, yellow, blue), black, white and burnt umber.  It gives you many more choices. And I do like choices, whether I'm working with fabric or paper.

I found that initially I was cutting curves, circles, spirals and other hard to piece shapes.  They made dynamic compositions, but they were not anything I would reproduce in fabric.  I like to piece, but am not terribly fond of doing appliqué.  But the more collages I make, the more I seem to be using shapes that are angular and "pieceable."  I've made several that I think would make good quilts, including the one below.
I decided to keep the two color palette, though of course I can't seem to use just two fabrics.  So I pulled a range of yellow-greens and blacks and dark grays and got to work.  I started with the lower left hand section:
I pieced it more or less in columns.  Here I've worked my way to the top and then to the right:
This is a view of my design wall from the my sewing machine.  And you can see that the right hand column is in progress.
And then it was finished.  At least the top was finished.  And much squarer than it looks in this photo:
I loaded it onto my old Gammill Classic and quilted it in dark gray thread.
And here is the finished piece.
Galligantus, 48"w x 58"h
I've been referring to this quilt as the "green giant," but that is not what I ended up naming it. While I was piecing it I was reading The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag by Alan Bradley.  If you like mysteries, I strongly recommend the Flavia de Luce series by Bradley.  I love them.  The Weed That Strings the Hangman's Bag is about a puppeteer who visits the village to perform "Jack and the Beanstalk."  He calls his huge green giant puppet Galligantus.  It seems an appropriate name for this quilt.

So I finished quilting Galligantus on Sunday and once again faced an empty design wall.  I have three calls for entry that I intend (need?) to make pieces for.  But did I start working on any of them?  

No, of course not.  I decided to make a smaller version of Galligantus in teals.  
And I'm having a blast.  Though I feel slightly guilty about the other quilts I have to make.  Oh well.

I love the idea of using collages as the basis for quilts.  I've already picked the collage I want to use next.  We'll see if I have the discipline to wait until I've made those pesky "call for entry" quilts......

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Confessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!
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Friday, July 21, 2017

JOY! is at Sacred Threads!

I am very excited that my quilt, JOY!, is being displayed as part of the "Live Your Brightest Life" exhibit honoring Yvonne Porcella at Sacred Threads.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Summer Art Camp

I spent the last week at Susie Monday's Art Camp at the Camp at Capilla Peak.   It was my second time at Susie's Summer Camp, and it was amazing!

This year the camp featured instructors Junanne Peck, a printmaker, and Dale Jenssen, a metalworker.  Each day featured printmaking sessions and metalworking sessions.  I spent the week bouncing back and forth between the two disciplines.  I enjoyed working outside of my usual media very much.
Junanne Peck showed us printmaking techniques, including
monotype, collograph,  drypoint, woodblock 
Dale Jenssen demonstrated metalworking and guided us through several small projects.
The Camp at Capilla Peak is situated halfway up a mountain southeast of Albuquerque.  It is a truly beautiful, magical place.  
View from the road up to the peak
View from the top of Capilla Peak, 9301 feet above sea level
The camp is at about 7,000 feet.  It is rustic but very comfortable. The moon was full and the view of it over the Ponderosa pines was breathtaking.  This was taken right outside of my cabin.  I could see the moon from my bed each night as I went to sleep.
I have never printed with a printing press before.  These are two monotypes on paper.  I spent most of the week printing monotypes on fabric.  The fabric pieces will show up in my work soon -- stay tuned!
Monotype prints on paper. 
I made a copper box of which I am inordinately proud.  It looks great with a votive candle in it.
The main barn is large, airy and beautifully lit.  A great workspace!
Susie had also arranged for us to go into the town of Mountainair to take a mosaic workshop with Tomas Wolff.  I've never done a mosaic before, and it was so much fun.  Here is a detail of my piece in progress.....
And once all of the glass and tile pieces were glued to the hardy board with quickcrete...
We left the pieces to dry at the Mountainair Art Center.  They ended up way too heavy to pack into our luggage to fly home.  Luckily, one of our camp mates from Arlington had driven and offered to bring Rhonda's and my pieces home.  They are not grouted yet.
On Tuesday, right before we left, we helped Judy grout her piece.  Judy (along with her husband, Rick) owns the Camp at Capilla Peak and had brought her mosaic back to camp with her.  It looked wonderful grouted -- I can't wait to get mine back and to grout it.
Judy hard at work
We only saw one bear this year.  He was sitting in the road as we drove down from Capilla Peak and scampered away as we drove up.  But the bird life was super abundant. Three types of hummingbirds, western bluebirds, several types of jays, several types of woodpeckers, nuthatches, flickers, hawks...we spent every evening on the porch watching the birds fly by.  The feisty little hummingbirds were constantly fighting over the feeders.  
Our last morning we met for brunch and to share the art we had made during the week.
It was a fabulous week spent in the company of some fabulous artists.  I am so glad I went!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trying Out a New Process On a New Challenge

After doing the things that needed doing after two weeks away from home (stuff like laundry, grocery shopping, cleaning...), I finally got into the studio on Wednesday.  And it felt fantastic!

Well, it didn't feel fantastic to face the empty design wall.  That felt a bit sad and very daunting.  After the big deadline of the show, I have absolutely no projects in process.  Where to start?

At the NTAQ meeting we were given a new challenge, "The Peasants" by Pablo Picasso.  The piece isn't due until our next meeting, which is over a month away, but I thought I would give it a go.  It seemed a good place to start.

My cutting table had been taken over by painted paper scraps, leftovers from the class with David Hornung.  I had a brilliant idea -- why not make a collage and work from that?
Just a bit of painted paper......
The original painting is from Picasso's Rose period, painted in 1906.  It depicts two figures, two oxen and a box of flowers.  Here is the picture pinned on my design wall.
I decided to make a small painted paper collage, recreating the composition in geometric shapes.  Not only would it be fun to see if I could turn a paper collage into a finished quilt, it would also allow me to clear some of the paper off my cutting table.  Win-win.

I started gluing pieces of paper in the upper left corner, reducing the background and figures to squares and rectangles and more or less matching the colors  As I got farther down towards the lower right corner, I started moving farther away from the original composition.  After I filled the collage with squares and rectangles, I added a few lines -- black, gold and blue.  I felt it needed a few lines.

I managed to make a piece I rather liked, only upsetting the cup of glue once.  Did I mention that I am a messy gluer?  It is kind of a problem...
Painted Paper Collage, 7" x 9"
The next step was recreating the collage in fabric.  I found that I had all of the colors I needed in my fabric inventory.  Not that surprising, I guess....I have a rather large fabric inventory.  I broke the piece into sewable sections and got to work.

I think the final piece is pretty close to the original collage.  I changed the proportions a little, especially of some of the linear elements, but side by side you can see that they are closely related.
Collage with as yet unnamed challenge piece, 31" x 39"
It was fun working this way.  In fact I'm on my way up to the studio to make another collage.  Perhaps it will also turn into another quilt!

I'm linking this post to Nina-Marie's Off the Wall Friday, Confessions of a Fiber Addict and Crazy Mom Quilts Finish it up Friday.  Go see all the wonderful work there!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

NTAQ Meeting Report

My critique group has finally named itself.  Good thing, because I'm tired of saying "my critique group."  We've decided to call ourselves North Texas Art Quilters, NTAQ for short, pronounced "En-Tack."  As an avid watcher of the NCIS crime dramas, I think this is a very fine acronym.  It sounds very official and military.  Don't mess with NTAQ!

We met yesterday and revealed our pieces for the latest challenge, "Cliche" by Stuart Davis.  The pieces produced this month were obviously related, both to the source painting and to each other, but we all managed to put our own twist upon it.  If I do say so myself, we did a great job!
Our pieces.  Wow!
"Cliche" by Stuart Davis
You might remember I blogged about my piece here and here.  I really enjoyed this challenge.

The program last month was small collages that were fused, hand stitched and mounted on 4" x 4" canvases.  Some of us brought ours to the meeting.
I am really not a fuser, so this project was totally out of my normal comfort zone.  Which is a very good place to be every once in a while.  

On a totally different note, B and I made mango frozen yogurt last night.  I'd purchased mangoes before I left for Ohio but they never got ripe enough to eat.  By the time I got home they were a bit beyond ripe.  So I cut them up and we dusted off the ice cream maker.  It was delicious!  And very welcome on a hot, steamy summer day!

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Two Wonderful Weeks in Ohio!

I've just returned home after two weeks studying composition and design with David Hornung.  It was an amazing experience!
David is a painter and Professor of Art and Art History at Adelphi University.  I had taken his color theory class several years ago, and was very excited to have the opportunity to study 2-D design with him.

Working with paper, paint, ink and glue, we started the class exploring simple shapes and the concept of stability vs. instability:
We then combined the shapes into more complex compositions.   And we added a little colored paper:
We did some gestural drawing with india ink and pencil.  And created cut paper color compositions from some of the drawings:
 The second week started with a study of progressions and transparency.  We worked in black, white and gray:
 We painted thin paper with acrylic paint, creating tints and tones and expanding our palette mightily. And then the fun began!  We spent most of the second week honing our design skills:
I created a number of small compositions that could be the basis of new art quilts.  My final piece, though, surprised me.  It didn't look at all like a piece I would make.  And it doesn't look like collaged paper.  I think it looks like a painting.
If you get a chance, take a class from David.  He's a wonderful teacher, and the skills you learn will enhance your work.  I know it is going to affect mine!

I'm featured on Maria Shell's Blog!

The wonderful Maria Shell has blogged about my work and my show!  You can read it here.  Wow!

Thank you, Maria!

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