Sunday, March 29, 2009

Pastel Class Update and Finished Quilts

Well, what an interesting two weeks it has been. I have a new granddaughter, Emma Kathryn Marie, born on 3-16-09. Such a gorgeous little girl!

We also had a huge snowstorm on Thursday of this past week. We had about 10-12" in our neighborhood. By Friday it was 50 and beautiful in the afternoon. Today the winds are fierce and I think another "something" is blowing in.

Yesterday was pastel class. We didn't meet last week as the Terry Ludwig Studio (where we paint) was being used for a workshop by Lorenzo Chavez. By the time I found out about the workshop it was full.

In yesterday's class I worked on getting some color built up in the background. Two weeks ago Deb had said my background was too bright, which made the light side of my vase have to be lighter and I had no room (valuewise) to get my highlights in. She also asked me to think about the color of the atmosphere???!!! The only thing that came to my mind was the little dust motes that float by your eyes in bright sun. I knew that's not what she was talking about.

Yesterday she said think about atmospheric perspective in a landscape. Landscape 101 students know that the further back in space you go your mountains, trees, etc get more blue/gray and less distinct. So even in a still life, although your depth of space is much less and may be only inches, you can still use atmospheric perspective to your advantage. The background would be less bright than it appears. I tried to create more of a neutral/gray color using a light olive green and a mauve-y pink.

I really like the texture (sans blending), but it's going to take more practice to get my shapes to look correct using the scribble-y stroke. For anyone who might remember my early colored pencil work I drew circles.....this feels more like that process....and I like working this way..but it's not looking very realistic at this point. Another's a good thing I love challenges.

So grow along with me folks! Challenge yourself to go outside your comfort zone!

Two Quilts Finished

The above quilt is called "Old Town Star" and is 14" square. The quilt below is called "Americana Star" and is 13" square. The are both created using a folded design technique...I promise I will show how to do that one of these days.

After the binding was stitched down on these two quilts, I soaked them in a good long "aging bath".....a mixture of about 1 gallon of water and 1/4 cup of instant coffee granules. Make sure the granules are dissolved before you put the quilt in or you will have a more "spotty" look rather than an overall aging. I then heat set them in the dryer. They are for sale on my Littleton Studio shops on Etsy and 1000Markets.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Pastel class 3-14-09 and an ACEO

I missed class last week as I was in Portland, OR for a Colored Pencil Society of America Executive Board meeting. Portland was rainy and chilly but oh so beautiful and green! Coming from Denver which has become a dry desert area to the moisture and foliage of Portland seemed like such a relief.

Lots of productive planning and work was accomplished, good food consumed, and funny stories shared. It's such a great group and certainly is my "art family" across the US.

This week in pastel class I am continuing to build up layers of color with lots of texture and refining the drawing as I go. I also adjusted the shadow shape on the was too diagonal for my taste before. Still lots of work to go, but I at least can see a few steps ahead of where I am....big improvement over where I began my pastel journey. I had no plan and no idea where I was going with any given painting.

Yesterday I continued using hard pastels (NuPastels)and also used some of my pastel pencils to give me a broader range of colors. I need to order a larger set of NuPastels.

Deb shared progress on a painting she's been working on, and we talked about composition and the need for space around your composition, particularly as it related to her painting. Such a big difference from her original somewhat cramped sketch to where the finished painting is going....same view, same subject....just more space and infinitely more interesting with a beautiful abstract quality.

I wish I had more space on the sides of this painting...but it's just paper and just a learning exercise.

Close up of cobalt blue bottle


Many years ago I had a woodworking business and I had over 100 designs for wooden ornaments...I sold them under the name of Corn Street in various gift shops in Denver and Omaha. I recently have been considering repurposing the designs for ACEO's (Art Cards, Editions and Originals.)

This was my first using Stonehenge as the support and fabric, machine and hand stitching, embroidery threads, black quilting thread as the whiskers, acrylic paint, ink and buttons. The back is covered by another 2.5" by 3.5" piece of Stonehenge to cover up the stitching and provide a place to sign the ACEO.

I also will try a few with watercolor or acrylic....although the fabric is fun...the painting would be faster.

These pieces will be available in my Littleton Studio shop at 1000 Markets and Etsy.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Folded Patchwork in new Star Quilt

Working to stock my 1000Markets shop with quilts....traditional, cottage and art between painting/drawing and traveling to Portland this weekend for the spring meeting of CPSA's Executive Board. (I hate packing! Can't wait to be just beamed to a travel location!)

This small quilt is approximately 14" square and was such fun to make. The patchwork is folded and in some places where you expect a seam, there is a fold! When I return from Portland I will try to show a little bit about how this was constructed.

The title will be "Old Town Star" and may become my icon for my 1000Markets' Littleton Studio shop. I'm working to get it hand-quilted right now, hoping to get it in my store next week.

The blue marks are from a watersoluble marking pen and will come right out when finished. I usually spray my quilts and block them on a towel. Love that puckered look of a "hand-washed" quilt.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Pastel Class on 2-28

Well, my mind is other places the stock market and maybe having to find a job that pays more regularly than artwork and teaching. Ugh...

To occupy my worried mind, I would like to share my work in pastel class on Saturday. Up to this point I have been using very soft pastels, like Ludwigs, and have had some problems with too much pastel being laid down on the paper. I end up with little bumps of pastel especially in my light colors (white, yellow, bright red).

Deb recommended I try a harder pastel, like NuPastel. On this piece I am taking her advice and will try to do the whole thing with hard pastels and a more textured look so the different layers of color show through and are not obliterated by the top layer. I'm sure I will learn the best use of the really soft buttery ones as I keep learning and practicing.

While my colored pencil work is usually not this textured, it does make it easier to think of the application of color and how I would apply it in layers ala colored pencil. Keep in mind this is just the first layers. I have a few more layers on the background. I'm debating over whether to have some of the wrinkles and folds of the cloth in the background be in the painting.

I feel like I am showing all my warts and faults with this post, but if it helps someone else see the process of struggling with a new medium, new concept...then it's worth it.

The onion is not the focus of the painting but with that bright orange color right now it looks like it. The focus will be the cobalt blue bottle...I hope ;-)

A close up for a really good look at the warts!