Monday, April 2, 2018

Little Trees Quilt

I finished my first quilting project of 2018 this week!  I really have not been doing much sewing since we moved to the mountains, but finally I have unpacked everything in the basement studio and uncovered the Gammill longarm.

Little Trees quilt, Jeanne Turner McBrayer

I paper-pieced these trees for another project back in the nineties.  My mother-in-law had painted her kitchen and asked for a wall quilt to go over the breakfast nook.  I bought a pattern and made lots of these little trees and some very nice flying geese blocks.  Then she said, "Never mind, I bought a wreath to go on the wall."  End of project.

Until we rearranged our living room last week.  We got some new furniture and found a place for a nice reproduction wooden ice chest between our recliners.  New problem:  when the cabinet was pulled away from the wall, we discovered this on the back.

So, it was either paint it, decoupage, or cover it up.  I looked in vain for a small quilt already made that would work on the back of the cabinet.  So, I put together the little trees.  

It was gratifying to dust and oil up the Gammill and crank it up with good results after almost a year.  It had to spend a week outside under the front porch last year when they installing the basement floor.  Other than a little dirt on the wheels, it seems to be fine.

If I get tired of looking at little pine trees, I can turn the quilt over use the side with cute little owls.

This week we have our grandsons here for Spring break.  We drove to Charlotte to pick them up.  This weekend their parents will come for the weekend.  It is nice to have them here.  Here they are at our local cafe, waiting for their breakfast to arrive.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Facial Features Study

Today I tried painting facial features with watercolor, following Kelly Eddington's Part 3 workshop on Strathmore Artist Workshops.

First we created our own toned paper using a pinkish blend of paint.  I am working in my Strathmore Watercolor Visual Journal.

After drawing from some reference photos, we chose one dark color, and began painting.  I used Payne's Gray, which I rarely use, but wanted to try for this exercise.

In this workshop, there are written instructions to go along with a fast-paced video.  I had to stop the video again and again, and wished it could progressed more slowly.  

This is what my page looked like before the final step, which was to add highlights with white acrylic paint.  I also darkened some of the areas with more Payne's Gray.

Facial Features, work in progress

This was a great lesson on painting eyes, noses, and mouths.  I think I will continue practicing!

The other lesson from this workshop was painting shiny gumballs.  We used masking fluid to preserve some of the shiny highlights on the balls.

Gumball Study

Last weekend we went to Asheville, North Carolina, to celebrate Charlie's birthday and visit with friends and family.  Asheville was in full bloom, unlike our more northern mountains. 

 We visited several of the area breweries and also the Biltmore House.  The costumes from the movie Titanic are on display in the rooms of the mansion.  The exhibit is well done, with manikins, great signage, and gorgeous flower arrangements.  It was a good weekend.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Transparency Studies

The Doodlewash watercolor prompt for today is "Transparent."  That was a great topic for me, as I have struggled with portraying clear glass.  I purchased a poster called "Painting the Illusion of Glass Vessels"  from Robert Burridge studios,  and spent the afternoon trying to follow his suggestions.

Transparency studies, Robert Burridge lessons
I was not wild about any of these studies, but one of my favorites was the martini glass.

 Here is a clear vase of bright flowers.

Flowers in clear vase
 And a clear glass of something clear.
Clear Glass

Clear Vase of Flowers 

I think I should practice doing a transparency study every day until I get the hang of it.  Great prompt!

We ended up with seven inches of snow yesterday, and the power off for seven hours.  Thankfully, it was restored before dark.  We had a nice Gator ride across the mountain in the snow.

This is our dog Kasey and my sister's dog Daisy enjoying the snow in their fur coats.

Our neighbor across the road has a couple of horses who came down to visit.

It is supposed to snow again tonight.  I am done with it...don't want any more!

Monday, March 12, 2018

Bible Art Journaling

 Here are two new journal pages in my interleaved Bible.  The pages with the dove may be my new favorite.  We surely need more messages of peace in this world.

2 Thessalonians 3:16

The current series at my church is on "finding your cave" and communicating with God...and listening for his answer.

1 Kings 19:13

Our pastor says that the sound of God's presence at the cave was like the sound of snow falling.  

We can relate this morning!  Five inches of March snow so far.  I was supposed to head out at 8:15 to go to physical therapy for my ankle, but I canceled.  No need to break my ankle or wreck my car trying to get to rehab!

This is what it looked like when I got up.  That is my driveway going down on the right...and if I slid off, there is a pond on one side and a creek right below!  Nope, I am not enough of a mountain woman yet to venture out in this mess.  But it is beautiful!

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Pears, anyone?

Pear Studies, Jeanne Turner McBrayer

I recently joined an online watercolor forum called Doodlewash.  One of the features is a prompt for a daily painting exercise.  Yesterday's was "saturated."  

I decided to use saturated color to do some pear studies a la Bob Burridge.  He offers a weekly online tutorial every Monday he calls "Bob Blasts," and he has often featured pears as his quick warm-up study subject.

Bob uses acrylic paint on most of his Bob Blast paintings, but I tried to use his technique with watercolor.  He does a lot of negative painting around his bright subject matter.  That is a little harder to do in watercolor, but I am pretty happy with these three pears.  I used his color wheel to make the colors pop.

Edited note:  Bob Blast 193 on March 12, 20012 is about painting pears!  And thank you to Bonnie Preslar for the lovely comment on this post.  I did not have your e-mail to send you a reply.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Painting Blossoming Trees on a Snowy Day

Strathmore Art Papers has just begun the first of its free online workshops for 2018.  The first is Realistic Watercolor for Beginners, with instructor Kelly Eddington.  I like to participate in these, and pick up whatever new tips I can glean.  You can register on the web page.  There is a video, materials list with instructions, student galleries, and forums for questions or discussion.

The first lesson is on using masking fluid to make apple blossoms on a tree.  I must admit that I do not like to take the time to apply mask and let it dry before painting, and I have never been very good at making the shapes I want with masking fluid.  Kelly suggested using a masking pen, so I have ordered one (Molotow GRAFX Masking Fluid Pump Marker).  Here is my first painting. It is actually on a Strathmore watercolor note card.

The brush I used to apply the masking fluid was small, but too soft, and the blossoms spread out more than I liked.

I did a second painting, putting apple trees into the scene that is outside my studio window here in the North Carolina mountains.  We have a Christmas tree farm across the street. I used masking fluid in the creek and on the rocks, as well, 

And to practice one more blossoming tree, I painted one in my interleaved journaling Bible.

James 1:17.  Every good gift and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the  father of Light, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

Some good news this week:  Charlie and I went to Charlotte on Monday for a follow-up visit with my orthopedic surgeon.  I had a total ankle replacement on January 9.  Dr. Davis was very pleased, and released me to start physical therapy and DITCH the Star Wars boot!  Hooray!  I went to physical therapy, and was told I had the prettiest post-surgery ankle she had ever seen!  Okay, then! Not that I have a pretty foot, but there was very little swelling, bruising, or scarring, and good range of motion.  That was very encouraging!  Now I have a small brace that is little more than a wrap.  She also wants me to walk with a cane to improve my gait.

I have almost two months before I need to be able to walk all over the hilly campus at the Merlefest music festival, so that is a good motivational goal.  

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Ashe Arts Council Quilt Exhibit

We took a trip to West Jefferson with Kim and Melissa this past weekend.  One of our stops was the quilt exhibit at the Ashe County Arts Council.  This is a small venue, but the quilts looked beautiful hanging on the walls.  They will be on display until March 9.  Here are a few of my favorites, created by members of the Ashe County Piecemakers Quilt Guild.

Sunrise Over the Mountains, by Sara Moore

top:  Sunrise On the Mountain, Linda Gagnon and Gillian A. Winterton;    Below:  Running Free, Gillian A. Winterton

Garden of Flowers, Carol Skroch

Star Genealogy, Janet D. Ward

Tropical Dreams from a Winter Mountain Cabin, Catherine Finch and Gillian A. Winterton

Top  Left:  Dogwood, Gillian A. Winterton; Top Right, Larkspurs and Rubies, Michele Hays; Center,  Garden Splendor, Irene Bebber

The Arts Council is practically next door to the Ashe County Cheese Factory, so we took the obligatory photo of our daughter-in-law and her sister in front of the milk containers decorated like cows.

Kim and Melissa at Ashe County Cheese Factory